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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2009 :  16:37:32  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My mom just had me finish up cooking a soup while she ran an errand. When she returned, she asked if I had removed the bay leaves before blending. I said no. She seemed worried and I asked why. She said, "You're not supposed to eat bay leaves, they're poison." This immediately struck me as absurd, although it took me a couple second to process why. I realized that if they were poison if eaten instead of just being used to flavor soups there would be a warning label on the package as required by the FDA. I said this to my mother and then pulled up Wikipedia. There I found this passage under "Bay Leaf":
A number of members of the Laurel family (including mountain laurel and cherry laurel) have leaves that are poisonous to humans and livestock. While these plants are not sold anywhere for culinary use, their visual similarity to bay leaves has led to the oft-repeated belief that bay leaves should be removed from food after cooking because they are poisonous. This is not true - bay leaves may be eaten without toxic effect. However, they remain very stiff even after thorough cooking, and if swallowed whole or in large pieces, they may pose a risk of scratching the digestive tract or even causing choking. Thus most recipes that use bay leaves will recommend their removal after the cooking process has finished.
My mom was amused by this debunking and mentioned that it had been a friend of hers (a highly educated person who teaches at the college level) who had told her they were poisonous.

Anyone else have similar stories of misconceptions/falsehoods they you've encountered in the every day that average people might take for granted?

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2009 :  18:11:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by marfknox

Anyone else have similar stories of misconceptions/falsehoods they you've encountered in the every day that average people might take for granted?


Oh sure. The Ten Percent Myth comes up often. Some people believe that we only use ten percent of our brains. I usually ask them which part of their brain they would be willing to give up since most of their brain is going unused...

And Marf. Bay leaves may not poison you but you really should take the leaves out before processing or serving. They are tough little leaves. You're Mom was right for the wrong reason.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9672 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2009 :  11:07:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

Originally posted by marfknox

Anyone else have similar stories of misconceptions/falsehoods they you've encountered in the every day that average people might take for granted?


Oh sure. The Ten Percent Myth comes up often. Some people believe that we only use ten percent of our brains.

Whenever I've heard that 10% number, I've figured they meant that we never use more than 10% of our brain at any given point in time. Having 90% of un-used brain matter doesn't make sense. I reasoned that all parts of the brain is used, just not constantly.
A poor analogy: A CPU in a computer only access one or a few memory addresses at any one moment, yet the computer utilizes the entire memory range if it's running many applications.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
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"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2009 :  11:38:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One of the most common myths is the idea that crime rates/hospital visits go up during a full moon, an indication that human beings are affected by the position of heavenly bodies. Of course, that's entirely untrue.

One of the difficult things that makes this myth so persistent is that people will often claim to have independently confirmed it. Unlike other orally transmitted myths like the 10% brain use or even poisonous bay leaves, where people are merely passing on a piece of information they've heard, I've talked with people who claim to have directly experienced the societal effects of lunacy. A nurse might say "It is said that people act crazier around a full moon, and I can tell you from first-hand experience the ER always gets wilder that time of month." Except, it doesn't. Study after study has confirmed this. What's probably going on is a matter of basic perception bias, where people tend to remember strange or difficult cases better when they occur during or around the time of a full moon, but not when they occur at other times of the month.

But try telling that to someone who's convinced they've experienced the moon effect for themselves. They often get angry and defensive, since they may feel that they are being called a liar. Others simply won't believe the results of the studies even after being shown, since "they know what they know" and won't be told otherwise by some egghead who wrote a paper. But if handled correctly, this myth can be the starting point for introducing people to the importance of skeptical thinking. Explain why our perceptions are unreliable, and why empirical studies should be trusted over our own personal experience. That can be a tough sell, but if you explain it properly to a person ready to hear it, they just might start thinking about the world in a whole new way.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Chippewa
SFN Regular

USA
1496 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2009 :  12:41:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Chippewa's Homepage Send Chippewa a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Another moon myth is that the rising full moon is larger when near the horizon, being "magnified by Earth's atmosphere" or various other explanations. The full moon can appear to be larger near the horizon but this is an optical illusion.

When the full moon is high overhead it may also appear to be smaller than when its rising but it is actually closer to you. (You're standing on a sphere and you're actually a bit closer to the moon when it is high overhead.)

People are often surprised to discover that the moon when observed from Earth is about the size of an aspirin tablet held at arms length.

Some say you can eliminate the "moon illusion" by turning your back on the rising full-moon, bending over and looking at it up-side-sown between your legs. (This may result in odd looks from neighbors - unless they're already used to your antics.)

Diversity, independence, innovation and imagination are progressive concepts ultimately alien to the conservative mind.

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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2009 :  15:11:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One of my ultimate favorites in this category is the shape of rain.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2009 :  16:31:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Your Mom Lied: 5 Common Body Myths Debunked.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2009 :  09:29:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In reference to Humbert's link: I think the myth about hyperactivity in children caused by sugar is widely believed by people who work in the field of early childhood education because I have yet to meet a kindergarten or preschool teacher who doesn't mention it at some point.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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ktesibios
SFN Regular

USA
505 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2009 :  12:57:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send ktesibios a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've always considered adding bay leaf when making stew to be indispensable- as is fishing the damn thing out before dishing up the finished product.

That's not out of any fear of toxicity, it's simply because I dislike chomping down on a leaf when I'm expecting a nicely-cooked piece of potato or carrot.

"The Republican agenda is to turn the United States into a third-world shithole." -P.Z.Myers
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Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2009 :  20:06:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Um, the whole x-raying of halloween candy. The original case of tampered with halloween candy was in regard to custody and the non-custodial parent trying to get out of support payments.

The poisoned candy scare was a moral panic in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s regarding the threat that children could be in danger of ingesting razor blades, needles, or poison introduced to candy by tampering, especially during traditional Halloween trick-or-treating. Apart from one incident—actually an act of premeditated murder by a trick-or-treater's father—there have been no recorded incidents of deliberately poisoned candy during Halloween or any similar occasion.[1]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoned_candy_scare

I actually remember hearing about this when it happened. We never did take our candy for x-ray but had always tossed candy with damaged packaging for reasons of contamination more than tampering. Made pixie stix harder to get into - you needed scissors after that.

...no one has ever found a 4.5 billion year old stone artifact (at the right geological stratum) with the words "Made by God."
No Sense of Obligation by Matt Young

"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying and vile!"
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines.
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Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1943
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astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2009 :  10:24:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
How about the ol' water spins clockwise down the drain in the northern hemisphere and counter clockwise in the southern hemisphere. LOL.

Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death.

Cannabis is a gateway drug - in other words, it leads to abuse of more potent drugs.

Edison Invented the Lightbulb.

I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

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Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 10/07/2009 :  14:22:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death.


Naw, everything else just shrinks around the base giving the appearance of some growth.

...no one has ever found a 4.5 billion year old stone artifact (at the right geological stratum) with the words "Made by God."
No Sense of Obligation by Matt Young

"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying and vile!"
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines.
LtGen Thomas Holcomb, USMC
Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1943
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astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2009 :  10:54:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Trish

Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death.


Naw, everything else just shrinks around the base giving the appearance of some growth.


Yep....that's why I listed it as a myth.

I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum
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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2009 :  07:23:13   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by ktesibios

I've always considered adding bay leaf when making stew to be indispensable- as is fishing the damn thing out before dishing up the finished product.

That's not out of any fear of toxicity, it's simply because I dislike chomping down on a leaf when I'm expecting a nicely-cooked piece of potato or carrot.


There is nothing wrong with fishing them out of course. I use to fish them out and eventually decided who ever find it, gets to fish it out. I've never once ate one or and part of one thinking it was something else.
How about the biggest and oldest myth,,,,,




there is a God/s. SS

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
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Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2009 :  13:25:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by astropin

Originally posted by Trish

Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death.


Naw, everything else just shrinks around the base giving the appearance of some growth.


Yep....that's why I listed it as a myth.


I enjoyed my cadaver labs. Lot's learned.

...no one has ever found a 4.5 billion year old stone artifact (at the right geological stratum) with the words "Made by God."
No Sense of Obligation by Matt Young

"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying and vile!"
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines.
LtGen Thomas Holcomb, USMC
Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1943
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