Debunking 52 popular myths

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Uh, if the different regions of the tongue all detect certain chemicals equally, why does the shape of the glass affect the qualia of various drinks?

/ While I’m at it: why not ask: “What? You’re trying to tell me that every square mm of the tongue is exactly the same? Next, you’ll be telling me that every inch of my small intestine has exactly the same nutrient-absorbing properties…”

// Came back to add:
In judo (especially in judo!), a black belt indicates not competence in basic techniques, but proficiency in basic techniques. You’re now sufficiently qualified to teach others.
A judo black belt takes years to get. Judo, the world over, has a system which awards points in competitions. The number of points awarded is based on how you won and who you won against. After a brown belt, you need to accumulate enough points before you’re allowed to take the next-belt tests.

/// Just click bait, if you ask me.


I thought that was mostly about smell - both the surface area of the drink and where the smells are directed.


Sigh, that’s going to require hours of googling and reading.

Thanks! I think.


Speaking as a sleepwalker, i would much rather that you try to wake me up or help me realize I’m sleepwalking.

It doesn’t harm me at all.


“This photo of central Inner Mongolia, about 200 miles north of Beijing, was taken on Nov. 24, 2004, from the International Space Station. The yellow arrow points to an estimated location of 42.5N 117.4E where the wall is visible. The red arrows point to other visible sections of the wall.” Credit: NASA.

Viking horned helmet, from the Oseberg Tapestry, mid- 9th century. It’s a safe bet that horned helmets were worn by fools and pretentious people in all ages, from the time of the invention of the helmet to the present day, but there are extremely few surviving examples of Viking helmets, so we don’t know how common such foolishness was in the Viking era.

Lower right corner, 9th century bronze plate depicting Ă“Ă°inn (the Norse god Odin) in a horned helmet.



The “you can’t see stuff from space” just seems wrong.

I think I remember hearing you could see the Great Wall of China from the Moon, which is certainly wrong, but if you are in an orbit at – say – 180 miles and the Golden Gate Bridge is about 1 mile (180/1), you can of course see that. Just as well as you could see a baseball from 60 feet away. (60/.3)


See my earlier post, but yeah. The issues are cloud cover and lens size. At any given time roughly 70% of Earth’s surface is covered by clouds when seen from space, so you have to watch for a long time and compose a mosaic to get an unclouded picture, which makes dealing with moving objects a computational problem (and if you’re not geosynchronous, everything’s a moving object!). And the further away from something you are, the larger the surface area of your lens has to be, because the photons bouncing off the thing you’re looking at are spreading out in a cone away from the object. You can cheat this one with multiple observation points, again making it primarily a computational problem.

In reality you can see individual people from space - if you have enough hardware!


I figured that this was a scheme to sell overpriced glassware.


The usual argument is that the other dimension is the problem. The wall is easily long enough (which presumably gave rise to the idea in the first place) but it isn’t very wide.

Of course for a good answer you would need more exact rules.

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The theater department at the university I went to put on a production of Marat/Sade that was, according to legend, so upsetting audience members were throwing up in the aisles. This led to the aisles being called the “voms”, short for “vomitorium”.

Let me emphasize this was according to legend and happened decades before I came along. The story had been passed down among students. I hope the professors knew better but none of them bothered to issue a correction.

And if stories about the production were true it must have been pretty horrifying. Supposedly students were required to live as their characters when not in class.


There are a few mistakes there. One is more a case of bad wording: Salt water actually does require a higher temperature to boil. And while there is no direct evidence that Washington smoked weed, there are records where he requested his gardener to separate the female plants from the male plants. Which is mostly needed when you plan to get high…


Because the straight-sided pint glass is a gift from God and blessed beyond all other beer glasses, that’s why! Tulip glasses are a trick of the Adversary!


I’m thinking even with a Mark I Eyeball, you should be able to see individual objects like large ships and bridges and such without much trouble, and the human eye is good at tracking lines, so identifying a highway should be within the realm of reason, too.

I don’t know if you can pick out the Great Wall from the mountains around it, though, unless you know exactly where to look – but it’s not a size problem, I don’t think


I should imagine the no-sex-before-a-game one is more to do with getting a good night’s sleep that with actual sex.


Well, I can see it with my v1.3 eyeballs in the picture I posted above, which was taken from the International Space Station twelve years ago.


I am wondering if you people know anything at all about mythology! This isn’t it.


We would need to know the lens. If you allow arbitrary optics, then how could it not be true? The question is only interesting assuming a naked eye.

For example one minute of angle at the Kármán line corresponds to just under 30 m. From 330 km, at the lower end for the ISS, it would be just under 100 m.

And then we would have to decide if just being able to locate the wall because of differences between the two sides (vegetation, snowdrifts…) counts or if we need any detail of the wall itself.


Did anyone else instinctively hover over the picture to try to see the alt text?