52 Common Myths, Rumors and Falsehoods Debunked
A list debunking commonly believed falsehoods, misconceptions and just bad ideas.
There is so much information thrown at us at any given moment that it’s often hard to separate the worthwhile from the superfluous. Some of it we know to be true or false based on our own knowledge base, cultural background or the trust we have in the source. But the rest of the info? It requires searching and cross-checking which most of us do not do. As a result, as much useful stuff that we hope inhabits our brain, some of it is likely full of half-truths or worse.
Thanks to the gods of the internet, a helpful soul has arisen and created for us a comprehensive chart of some of the frequently encountered “facts” and what they are in reality. Put together by the data journalist and information designer David McChandress, the chart chronicles research into the most common misconceptions or “myth conceptions” as he calls it.
For instance, maybe you didn’t wonder recently if Napoleon was really as short as they say. But this bit of info is probably ingrained in your head as a result of the cultural conditioning that has maintained Napoleon’s short stature for centuries. Well, it’s not true! Turns out he was 5’7” - an above average height for a French man of his time.
Something else that I’d not even think of questioning - do bulls hate red? Surely they must, judging by the millions of cartoons, movies and paintings that have reinforced that idea. Turns out it’s not true! They just react to the motion created by the bullfighter, waving the cloth in their face.
Of the next set of misconceptions, watch out for some key ideas - we didn’t directly evolve from chimps, and you can actually swim after eating!
Coming up we have the tearing down of the classic “we only use 10% of our brains” and the fact that however many of the brain cells you use, they are not likely to be killed off by alcohol:
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In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.
- Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
- The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
- Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
10 of the most sandbagging, red-herring, and effective logical fallacies.
- Many an otherwise-worthwhile argument has been derailed by logical fallacies.
- Sometimes these fallacies are deliberate tricks, and sometimes just bad reasoning.
- Avoiding these traps makes disgreeing so much better.
For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.
- In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
- This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
- Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
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