Since its inception in 1991, the World Wide Web has been used by millions around the globe. The creation of social media platforms has also helped people share stories as well as connect with friends and family, far and wide. But, the ease in sharing information also comes with a price. At one point or another, we have been taken in to believe certain myths because of how realistic they sound. While they may sound simple and believable, not everything you read on the internet is true. That is why we have gathered some modern myths and debunking them.
Myth #1: The color red makes bulls angry.
The myth that bulls become angry at the sight of the color red is believed by many. In fact, they actually don’t and the truth is that bulls, as well as other cattle, are color-blind to red. You might have seen a matador waving the red cape and bulls charging at them. It is not because of the cape’s color but rather the movement of the cape as well as the matador that causes the bull to charge.
Bulls are defensive creatures and will charge towards anything if they feel frightened or even annoyed. In the animal world where one has a fight or flight instinct, the bull definitely has the fight instinct. In 2007, Discovery channels’ MythBusters conducted three experiments with flags in the colors of red, white and blue. In the first experiment, the flags were stationary but regardless of the color, the bull charged at all three of them.
In the second experiment, three dummies were placed with red, white and blue flags, and as expected, the bull charged at all three; with the red dummy actually being charged last. In the final experiment, a man wearing a red shirt was placed motionless while two cowboys ran inside the ring. The bull chased the cowboys around while leaving the man in red alone. (source)
Myth #2: Humans swallow at least 8 spiders a year in their sleep.
The myth that humans accidentally consume spiders in their sleep has been circulating the internet for over a decade. Spiders like to make nests in nonhuman-infested areas. So, it makes no sense that a spider would intentionally crawl into a bed, since it offers no source of food for them. Apart from that, spiders are afraid of human beings. Bill Shear, a biology professor at Hampden–Sydney College in Virginia, explains that spiders find humans to be scary.
Even in our sleep, we are breathing, our hearts are beating and sometimes, we snore. All these activities can create vibrations, that they consider as dangerous and stay away from. Vibrations are crucial for spiders, since it warns them of any impending danger. (source)
Myth #3: Mother birds will reject their babies if it comes in contact with a human.
This is a myth that is widely believed by most of us. When we see a baby bird on the ground, we feel helpless and will try everything to help them back into their nest; while trying to limit any contact. According to Michael Mace, bird curator at San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, birds have a poor sense of smell and would not know the difference, even if we intentionally touch them.
National Geographic says that birds who are often found on the ground could be trying to fly and returning them to the nest only disrupts the process or even prolongs it. Other than that, the bird’s mother could also be around since they never go in search of food too far from their nest. If a momma bird sees a human being messing with their chick, they would most likely come after you. It is believed that the myth about not touching baby birds originated in order to prevent inexperienced people from handling birds.
Myth #4: Entering your pin backwards in an ATM in case of an emergency will alert authorities.
One of the most common myths related to banking is the reversal of your pin when using an ATM, that automatically dispatches the money and informs authorities. The answer is NO. No ATM in the world is equipped with such technology. The myth has existed even before the internet was created (mid-1980’s) but has recently started to circulate again, thanks to chain e-mails.
While the technology sounds like a great idea, it cannot be physically implemented. One of the major issues with it is the use of palindrome number. For example, if a user has the pin ‘7117’, even if they type if backwards, it’s the same pin; which will confuse the system. ATM manufacturer, Diebold, also confirmed that to their knowledge, there’s no such ATM in the world that has an emergency-PIN system. (source)
Myth #5: When threatened, ostriches will bury their heads in the sand.
The myth about the largest living bird in the world has existed for decades. It is widely believed that when an ostrich gets frightened or senses danger, they dunk their heads in the sand to escape. Although the birds are large, they have tiny heads; which also helps them dig holes and dunk underground to dig roots. So, when they are searching for food by digging holes in the ground, it might appear to the viewer that they are hiding.
Another reason why the myth is easily debunked is because of the fact that the ostrich cannot breathe for long underneath. Apart from searching for food, the only reason they dunk their heads in holes is to make nests and to check on their eggs. According to National Geographic, the bird dunks its head in its nest several times a day to turn the eggs around. So, this process could also cause some to believe the myth.
If an ostrich senses that they are in danger, they will run. The birds, who are flightless, are excellent runners who are capable of reaching speeds of up to 31 mph; whereas the top speed clocked for any human is 28 mph. (source)
Myth #6: Bananas grow on trees.
Bananas are excellent sources of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fibers for all ages. The fruit grows on something the size of a tree that can reach heights of up to 25 feet. Although it is widely believed that the fruits grow on trees, the banana plant is actually the world’s largest perennial herb. The banana plant does not have trunks or branches that qualify it as a tree; instead they have strong stalks and long leaves. A single banana plant is capable of producing anywhere from 50 to 150 bananas in a single season. (source)
Myth #7: Private or “incognito” mode means you’re anonymous online.
There is a common misconception or myth circulating the internet that if you switch your browsing mode to “incognito”, your browsing history will remain anonymous from the rest of the world. Despite the widespread belief, the reality is far from that. In fact, every website or search you do can be traced. The only thing “incognito” mode does is prevent your browser from saving your search history, passwords or importing your bookmarks. It does not mean that your visits to websites are invisible. (source)
Myth #8: Leaving your phone plugged in destroys the battery.
If you’re like most people, you probably have the habit of leaving your phone plugged in overnight so you can utilize the fully charged battery the next day. Of course, there are many who are opposed to it, claiming that leaving phones overnight could critically damage the batteries and could even shorten your mobile phone’s life. In fact, studies show that there’s no proof that this habit damages one’s phone or it’s battery in any way. Today, smartphones run on lithium-ion batteries, which are smart enough to stop the charging session when the battery reaches its capacity. (source)
Myth #9: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
This is a commonly believed myth that can be extremely dangerous. Lightning can strike any location more than once; or at least within close vicinity. An electrical strike in one location has no change with the electrical activity in the storm above, which creates another strike as soon as it re-charges. If you find yourself within the close vicinity of a lightning bolt, take shelter immediately. Try to avoid touching any metals or electrical substances, as well as staying away from windows.
According to NASA, the chances of lightning striking within close vicinity is about 45 percent higher than what people commonly assume. A study conducted by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the University of Arizona debunked the myth. In the study, scientists used video and other technologies to study light. During the summer of 1997 in Tucson, Arizona, a passing storm was recorded to release 386 flashes. Among the 386 flashes, 136 flashes (35 percent) struck the ground in two or more places that were separated by tens of meters (yards) or more. (source)
Myth #10: Bats are blind.
It is commonly believed because of a myth that bats are blind. Bats can in fact see in black and white, and at night, they can see the world way better than we can. The only thing they lack are color receptors, but because bats are nocturnal, it does not affect them. Perhaps the myth evolved from the fact that they have poor vision during daylight or the fact that they are perfectly capable of navigating using sonar. (source)