True or False? Part One
I love the show "Mythbusters." It's a great program on the Discovery Channel that attempts to either debunk a common myth or prove that the myth is in fact truth. They answer if it's possible to use an umbrella as a parachute or if dropping a penny from the Empire State Building could in fact kill a pedestrian down below. If you haven't seen the show, you need to - as the two hosts enjoy blowing things up.
I decided to do my own little mythbusters posts about things we all have heard and are common, everyday beliefs. Here are just a few interesting scientific "mysteries" that seem to have questionable explanations. True or False...
Yawning is "contagious."
We've all expereinced such a phenomonon. Someone near you yawns, and soon you yourself are yawning right along. You can easily set a chain reaction of yawns in any room. Why we yawn is actually still a mystery. The thought that we yawn in order to rid our bodies of extra carbon dioxide to get more oxygen into our lungs was shown to be incorrect by Dr. Provine's research in 1987.
Recent studies have shown that between 40-60% of the population finds yawning contagious. Why is that? Scientists believe it might be a remnant of an important social instinct from early man. They believe it was a way for a group to feel cohesive...or perhaps to signal to the group that it was time to sleep.
Although there are still questions to be answered, it's safe to say that this one is TRUE. Yawning, for some reason, seems to be "contagious." Even chimps have exhibited this behavior. I think researches should also investigate the contagiousness of farting.
The five second rule works.
Many of us live by the "five second rule" when it comes to accidentally dropping food on the floor. You drop your buttered roll onto the floor, and if you pick it up within 5 seconds, it's pretty much germ-free and you can eat it without fear. Perhaps you are one of those that extends the five seconds to 10 seconds with particular favorites or treats. You drop a piece of chocolate, many of us will eat that thing a week later off the kitchen floor. In college, it was common knowledge the 10 second rule was the drunk version of the 5 second rule.
So is the five second rule true?
Unfortunately, several studies have shown that when both dry and wet foods are dropped onto a floor contaminated with bacteria (such as E.coli), the food becomes contaminated instantly. Even if picked up less than 2 seconds, that piece of food has germs sticking to it.
The good news is that most household floors are generally clean.
Sorry folks, unless you want to have the runs by dinner time, lose the five second rule - because this belief is FALSE.
Men think about sex every 7 seconds.
I've heard this scientific statistic quoted by television shows and magazines for years. The logic here is that since men are genetically and instinctively made for mass pro-creation, men must think about sex often. There was some sort of scientific investigation, and the results were startling. Men think about sex every 7 seconds. That's over 12,000 sexual thoughts per 24 hour period!
How on earth would you even measure such a thing...have a participant sit there in an empty room and write little tick marks every time he thought about sex? Impossible. The most recent widespread poll was taken by ABC Primetime in 2004. They found that around 70% of men think about sex every day, women were HALF that. 43% of men think about sex several times a day, women were at 13%.
I'm sure there are men that think of sex a whole lot every day, but over 12,000? I doubt it. Maybe Charlie Sheen does, however.
So this statistic about the male libido is FALSE.
True or False, to be continued...