Things You Thought Were True 

It’s always best policy to take anything someone says with a grain of salt. There are very few absolute truths, so the more commonly held truths are usually false. Below, some age old classic myths are cleared up.

Sugar makes kids hyperactive.

The idea that sugar makes kids hyperactive has been debunked for decades, yet it’s still a commonly held opinion. If there is a connection between sugar and activity, it hasn’t been proven. There are many factors that parents overlook by operating under the assumption that sugar is causing kids to act out. Age of the child, environment, activities and interactions have a greater effect on a child than diet. There are potential medical concerns with too much sugar in a child’s diet, but hyperactivity probably isn’t one of them.

Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis.

Most likely perpetrated to get others to stop an annoying habit, studies on knuckle cracking and arthritis are inconclusive at best. The funniest study was from a doctor who, after warnings by his mother, cracked only the knuckles on his left hand for 60 years, finding no discernible difference between his two hands. Still, swollen hands or reduced grip strength may be a different result to watch out for.  

Bulls hate the color red.

Spanish matadors used red muletas centuries ago, probably because that is the color of their flag. Bulls charge at the object in motion, not a specific color. They are color blind.

Bats are blind.

Bats can fly perfectly well at high speeds in dark caves, though not necessarily because they are able to see in complete darkness. They use a process called echolocation, in which they make noise and listen for the vibrations from objects. Bats do have a keen sense of sight, most as well as humans, and some even see in color. Next time someone says you are blind as a bat, take it as a compliment.

Vikings wore horned helmets.

Helmeted vikings was a stereotype that began with artists in the nineteenth century. The use of ornaments on a helmet likely would have made battle harder on vikings. They typically wore carefully riveted cone or dome shaped iron helmets. Breaking this myth is less romantic, so people will probably go on believing vikings wore very elaborate costumes like Thor.

Restarting your computer is bad for the hard drive.

Common thought prevails that it takes strains a computer more to start than to keep running. In a lot of ways, machines respond to stimuli like humans. A computer needs exercise, but also can get keeps the system refreshed. Like restoring the immune system, the computer keeps strength to deal with corruption or viruses. To start fresh reduces load times and enables faster performance like a well-oiled machine

Alcohol kills brain cells.

Drinking in moderation is fine. Long-term brain damage has been noted with heavy drinkers, but some of that is due to nutritional deficiencies rather than alcohol specifically. Alcohol impairs function, reducing communication between neurons by restructuring brain cells, not killing them. The notion of killing brain cells is more true within the developing brains from unborn babies to teenagers. But, alcohol is still dangerous and causes other problems, specifically esophageal cancer. Also, it’s a myth that humans use only 10% of the brain. In fact, the entire brain is at work all the time.

Hands-free phones are safer while driving.

In most, if not all, states, hands-free devices are a permissible form of cell phone use while driving.  However, that doesn’t make hands-free devices safer. They provide a false sense of security for drivers. Plus, having a conversation on the phone has shown that drivers process images slower and have only half the normal field of view. Studies have shown little to no difference between dangers of handheld and hands-free devices.

IT jobs are not sustainable after age 35.

The IT industry has a long history of ageism. However, routine tasks are typically outsourced to specialists, people who need a specific knowledge, not knowledge of all computer systems. Many positions have huge need for workers, while employers can’t wait around several years for an expert to graduate. Fields like analytics and marketing are well-suited for literature or music backgrounds, not necessarily math or computer science backgrounds. Basically, if someone is willing to do those jobs, they can get hired at any age.

The Dwarves are the greatest rock and roll band in the world.

For twenty-five years, the Dwarves have not been shy or humble about acknowledging that they are the greatest and even named their last album “The Dwarves Invented Rock and Roll”. All that time, the Supersuckers have held the same claim. In fact, their website header lists them as “The Greatest Rock-N-Roll Band in the World.” I tend to believe the Supersuckers with evidence from an interview by Dwarves’ singer Blag Dahlia, in which Supersuckers’ singer Eddie Spaghetti clearly tells his peer in rock that the Supersuckers are the greatest, to no objection.

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