Today, things get repeated so many times that people start believing in them. Like a wise man once said, common sense is neither common, nor sense. With the ease in using technology and the ability to share information at a fast rate, some take advantage of it. We have all grown up believing certain things are true because people around us often talk about it. It’s always good to differentiate between fact and fiction and for that same purpose, we have gathered a list of common sense “facts” that are just not true.
Myth #1: Wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger on the left hand because it is the only finger that has a vein which is directly connected to the heart.
Truth: All of our fingers have vein connections to the heart. Different cultures have different traditions in which rings are worn differently and there’s no special “love vein”.
It’s a common misconception that there’s a special ‘love vein’ in the fourth finger on the left hand, which is why most Westerners wear the ring on that finger. Although it sounds adorable, the myth about a ‘love vein’ or ‘lover’s vein’ is completely wrong. The origin of this story can be traced back to ancient Romans, who believed that the vein on the left hand ran directly to one’s heart. The Romans called it “vena amoris” or vein of love, to represent the love of newly wed couples. The romantical representation is scientifically disproven and according to This Insider, the decision to wear rings on that specific finger can be traced back to around 450 years, when the Church of England broke off with the Catholic Church.
The reason why the Church of England chose the left hand was because it was the exact opposite of what catholics did. Prior to this, most couples put their wedding rings on their right hand. As decades went by, many people adopted the tradition and simply attributed the reason to ancient Romans and their lovely gesture. Another fact is that not everyone wears their wedding rings on the fourth finger on the left hand. In fact, in some cultures, there are no rings at all but instead have wedding bands or necklaces. (source)
Myth #2: Washing hands with soap removes all germs.
Truth: Some bacteria are tolerant to soaps and hand sanitizers. In fact, Australian scientists discovered that the superbug Enterococcus faecium is growing increasingly tolerant to key ingredients in hand sanitizers.
Today, almost all hospitals have anti-bacterial wipes or hand sanitizing dispensers installed. As people are becoming more concerned about their health and spreading of diseases, these cleaners do help us control the spread of certain illnesses. While hospitals are seeing less infectious diseases, they are also seeing a rise in a superbug bacteria called Enterococcus faecium. In 2018, Australian researchers found that some kinds of bacteria (specifically, the Enterococcus faecium) was becoming more and more tolerant to key ingredients in hand sanitizers.
Enterococcus faecium can affect the digestive tract, the heart, and other body parts. It is important to understand that hand sanitizers are important tools that help in reducing certain illnesses. However, doctors and scientists suggest that we use not just soap, but anti-bacterial hand soap to wash these bacteria down the drain, rather than using hand sanitizer and keeping them on our hands. (source)
Myth #3: In case of any fire, always use water to put it out.
Truth: You should never pour water to put out a grease or electrical fire.
In the United States alone, over 160,000 homes annually are affected by fires which are a direct result of a cooking mishap. A large percentage of these infernos are preventable but most aren’t aware of the fact that you should never use water to put out a grease or electrical fire. Most incidents occur around Thanksgiving or Christmas and are\ responsible for more than $1 billion in damages. So, how do you put out a grease fire? When you are cooking, always have a fire extinguisher handy. If not, the first step is to turn off the stove and then cover the flames to remove all oxygen so that it doesn’t spread elsewhere. Always use a metallic lid or material to cover the inferno.
If the fire is small enough, spread some salt or baking soda around the affected area. In cases where the fire is big, use a grease fire extinguisher or run for safety and call for help immediately. No matter what, never try to put out a grease fire with water. Since water contains oxygen, you will be powering it even more, instead of putting it out. (source)
Myth #4: When you cook food using a microwave oven, it cooks the food inside out.
Truth: Microwaves are not capable of reaching the center of most food items. They can reach up to 0.4 inches into most food and the rest is warmed up by internal heat transfer.
Microwave ovens are an efficient way of cooking food. They channel the heat energy directly into the molecules inside food, which allows us to cook them at a faster rate than a conventional oven. It’s commonly believed that they cook the food from inside out but the truth is, microwaves are not capable of reaching more than 0.4 inches into most food items. The remainder of the food in the center is cooked by the process of internal heat transfer. (source)
Myth #5: Only white teeth are healthy and yellow teeth means the person has a calcium deficiency.
Truth: Yellow teeth are actually stronger than bright white teeth. Most people bleach their teeth to get the perfect pearly whites but the process of bleaching actually weakens them.
We tend to assume that white teeth are not only attractive, but healthy. Most people who are unsatisfied with the yellow color tend to go through the process of bleaching, to make them look pearly white. Studies show that the process of bleaching actually weakens your teeth. According to Adriana Manso, a clinical assistant professor in the Faculty of Dentistry, told The University of British Columbia, “Bleaching products contain hydrogen peroxide that diffuses through the enamel. It breaks down the compounds that are causing the discoloration, known as chromogenic compounds, and your teeth become lighter”.
“Bleaching products can have multiple side effects such as damaging the dental enamel, causing irritation to the gums, tooth sensitivity and more,” Manso adds. “Some of these effects are lasting; for example, the damage to the dental enamel is permanent and irreversible.” (source)
Myth #6: Use ice to soothe a burn and to speed up the healing process.
Truth: Placing ice on burns only causes more damage. Mayo Clinic also states that placing ice cubes on burns can also cause frostbite.
Growing up, we have heard from our parents to place ice cubes on small burns to relieve pain. The truth is that placing ice cubes on small burns can not only delay the healing process, but could also damage the affected area. The ice-for-burn technique might be soothing but it is less helpful when it comes to the process of healing. In a 1997 study, a team of scientists found that easing burns for 10 minutes was causing more damage and even harmful in some cases. According to Mayo Clinic, the best way to soothe and heal a small burn is run the affected part under running cool water. Then, cover the area with gauze but no ointment. (source 1, 2)
Myth #7: Food dropped on the floor is safe to consume as long as we follow the five second rule.
Truth: Depending on factors like the food’s moisture, surface geometry and floor condition, an apple could’ve picked up toxic salmonella bacteria during that brief time window.
There’s no denying that almost all of us have done it at least once in our lives; where we picked up dropped food items and considered them fit to be consumed. The five second rule is a myth that has become part of our everyday knowledge. Experts however, have to disagree with us. According to research by food scientist Paul Dawson from Clemson University, South Carolina, U.S., “an apple could’ve picked up toxic salmonella bacteria during that brief time window, especially on a tiled or wooden surface”. The toxicity of a food does not depend on how long it’s been exposed to, rather factors such as the food’s moisture, surface geometry and floor condition. (source)
Myth #8: Never wake up a sleepwalker as it might send them into shock upon their sudden awakening.
Truth: It will only send them into a confused state upon their awakening or an awkward situation for you.
Almost 15% of the population experiences occasional sleepwalking, which occurs during the first part of the night during NREM, when the muscles are not paralyzed like during REM sleep. This allows people to act out their dreams without being aware that they are acting out in real-life. Despite the challenges of waking up a sleepwalker, experts suggest that it’s better to wake them up than put their lives in a dangerous situation. In order to do so, make a loud, sudden noise from a safe distance, which will prevent the sleepwalker or you from being hurt. The person upon waking up might be disoriented and confused so it’s best to keep distance and make them understand the situation. (source)
Myth #9: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
Truth: Lightning can strike the same place multiple times.
This is one of the oldest and most persistent “common sense” myths around. Lightning can strike the same place more than once, in fact, a NASA study found that the chances of being struck at the same place are about 45 percent higher than what people commonly assume. If the myth was true, then lightning rods installed on top of buildings would be designed for single use only. In reality, a lightning strike looks for a path to the ground. When it finds a suitable one, it will use it to move the charge from the clouds to the ground. So, the possibility of finding the same path is high. To further debunk the myth, there are many cases where people have been struck by lightning multiple times at the same location. (source 1, 2)
Myth #10: The Fifth Amendment protects me against self-incrimination. Police cannot force me to unlock my phone once it’s locked.
Truth: The Fifth Amendment only prevents the government from compelling someone to turn over a memorized PIN or passcode. Fingerprint and face recognition software can still be used to unlock your phone and obtain information.
The Fifth Amendment protects people from incriminating themselves during legal proceedings and also prevents police or any other government agencies from compelling someone to turn over a memorized PIN or passcode. Fingerprints and facial recognition on the other hand are an exception. While Apple purposely incorporated the technology for security purposes, authorities however, have found a loophole. Instead of forcing someone, they are issuing warrants for phone-unlocking fingerprints, and judges are willing to sign it.
The only way to turn off a phone’s fingerprint or facial recognition software is to restart your device or turning it off. When your phone is being turned on by a third party, it will ask for your password, and won’t unlock with fingerprints or facial recognition. (source 1, 2)