The Phoenix

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

True or False? Part Two


Here are a few more common myths explained:

Animals can predict impending natural disasters.
This has been a belief going back to 2000 B.C. when it was documented that weasels abandoned their normal habitats moments before earthqakes struck the island of Crete. Most recently, people witnessed elephants and other animals running towards higher ground before the tsunami hit Southern Asia.

So do animals posess a sixth sense when it comes to predicting Mother Nature's wrath?
At this point, scientists cannot say there is ample evidence to conclude that animals have some sort of extraordinary powers to do so. It's well documented that animals do have keener senses than humans. Dogs have an amazing sense of smell, for example. Animals probably are able to sense certain vibrations, changes in air pressure, or smell the change in the wind - and their natural instincts guide them to avoid disasters. Therefore, you have a few elephants running away from the sensed danger, and other animals follow their own herding instinct and 'get the hell outta Dodge.'

This belief is FALSE, although anytime you see a bunch of animals running in a certain direction in a panic...you probably should follow.

* * * *

A dog's mouth is more sterile than a human's.
I've heard this quite a bit. I am a dog lover, but I do not allow my dogs to lick my face. Some dog owners do...and they say it's OK because they state the fact that a dog's mouth is actually cleaner and more germ-free than a human's.

Why do people believe this?
There were some studies done a couple decades ago that proved human bites had a higher rate of infection than any other mammal's bite. It seems from these findings, people drew conclusions that a dog's mouth - or any other animal's mouth - was more sterile that a human being's.
Recently, those studies have come under fire as not being so accurate.

The truth is that a dog's mouth is not more sterile that our own. "A dog's mouth contains a lot of bacteria," says Dr. Gary "Ask the Vet" Clemons. "Remember, a dog's tongue is not only his wash cloth but also his toilet paper." I've watched my dogs lick themselves...now why would I think that somehow their mouths are cleaner than mine? I know where MY mouth has been, and I can say for sure it has not been in my crotch. So this myth is truly a myth - and a FALSE one indeed.

* * * *
Running in the rain is effective.
Most of us to this - we're outside in the rain with no umbrella, so we run (or walk very fast) to get underneath some shelter. So is it worth it to run in the rain? Do you really end up less wet by running?

Scores of physicists have created formulas and many scientists have done a ton of experiments. The problem is - there are just too many variables involved with this situation. The size and shape of the human body, wind velocity, rain direction - all of these affect the outcomes. The main argument against this belief is that if you run, you will actually get more wet; the runner is simply running into the "rain field" and therefore getting more drops to hit him. An Italian physicist, several from England, a few from the States - all have come up with the same conclusion, overall:

When caught in the rain, it's best to run. Two scientists from North Carolina took the test outdoors to the Appalachian Mountains during a 1996 summer rainstorm. One of them wore a cotton sweatsuit and hat and ran a 100 meter loop in the rain. Then donned a dry, but identical sweatsuit and hat and walked 100 meters. Here's what they found: The walker's sweatsuit was 40% wetter/heavier than the runner's. Interestingly, the runner's hat was far less wet as well.

So this belief is actually TRUE. One physicist has a website where you can enter all kinds of data - like your body's dimensions, your speed, rain speed, and windspeed. Then it will tell you how wet you will be on your head, your chest, your rear and your sides. Check it out here. No matter what physics tells you, however, I think the best thing is for you to get an umbrella. And guys, you won't look like a sissy carrying an umbrella. Without one in a rainstorm, you will look like a moron. A wet moron.

23 Comments:

Blogger siren said...

Great post! I have five umbrellas, but they're all in the trunk of my car for some reason. So, I am the one running in the rain.

1/31/2006 8:28 PM  
Blogger kim said...

Mythbusters did the dog tongue and the rain thing. They found the dog tongue to be a lot lot lot cleaner than a human tongue. I think their test agreed with your rain analysis.

Good stuff Phoenix!

1/31/2006 8:48 PM  
Blogger Big Pissy said...

I hope the dog tongue is clean~I let my little Buster "kiss" me on the face all the time! :)

1/31/2006 9:08 PM  
Blogger Bruce said...

I never understood why some men are so self-conscious about carrying an umbrella. The drowned rat look went out of style 100 years ago.

1/31/2006 9:58 PM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

It never rains here. When it does I leisurely stroll through it for it might be a long time before it happens again. But I will run from a dust storm.

1/31/2006 10:51 PM  
Anonymous Haas said...

I believe animals have a sixth sense and I would search of cover if they start acting wierd :P

Dogs mouth well its definately not sterile (coundnt they just take a sample of the saliva and test it :P )

And for the record I walk in the rain :)

Cool post... thanks for sharing

2/01/2006 5:55 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

Good ones, Phoenix. The documentaries I've seen on the animal disaster one, however, lean the other way. Be it vibration sensitivity, a better sense of smell, or something else, the studies found animals historically do show an ability to sense danger before humans. Maybe not enough to say that animals are "psychic," if that's what you are saying is false.

Am I the only one who LIKES walking in the rain? I've never understood people who run through the rain--after all, unless you live in the Chernobyl area, it's probably not going to hurt you. What is there to be afraid of?

Then again, I have a shaved head and don't have to worry about the rain damaging my carefully pampered hairstyle. For that, I'm thankful.

As Eric Draven used to say, "It can't rain all the time."

-- david

2/01/2006 6:07 AM  
Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

Well crap! I always heard a dogs mouth was cleaner than our own too (despite the whole "ass-licking" thing). My poor Pit, Jezebel, will be very disappointed next time she wants to lay one on me and I turn my face away.

Eh, screw it...you gotta die of something, right? ;)

2/01/2006 6:52 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

Siren, I have one...but it's all bent up and useless.

Kim, Yeah, but I bet that dog hadn't licked its own ass yet.

BP, I'd wash your face afterwards.

Bruce, In high school it's just not cool. In college, you look like a total idiot walking to class soaking wet.

Fuzz, Maybe I should invent a dust storm protection device. Oh wait, there is one...your CAR.

Haas and David, Personally I believe not just some animals but humans also have some sort of 6th sense. Science just can't say for sure yet. Wild animals are sensitive to the environment in a variety of ways, but I don't think that necessarily means they have ESP.

Stacy, I guess so. I can think of better things to die from, however.

2/01/2006 9:10 AM  
Blogger Laura:) said...

I to believe that animals can FEEL impending natural disasters but not PREDICT them.

A dogs mouth be more sterile, doesn't bother me. I try not to think about where its been, along with a lot of my ex-boyfriends.

See, I didn't even realize that running in the rain was such a BIG issue. I prefer to walk, that way I don't slip and fall. Plus, depending on how long its been raining, this helps prevent the water on the ground splashing up and soaking my jeans. I hate wet jeans! Eck!

2/01/2006 9:11 AM  
Blogger Bruce said...

I guess I'm "old school", being that I'm in my mid-50s. I just never wanted to look like I'd just stepped out of the shower, because I received enough grief as it was back in my teen years.

2/01/2006 9:41 AM  
Blogger Pixie said...

In hight school its also cool to co coatless through the winter.The less clothes you wear the more you need to be looked up to.
When some men "grow up" they feel they are not a man unless they carry an umberella.Although thats what I like about St Louis , it hardly ever rains, unlike England!
As for the dog thing, what about the people who share forks and spoons with their dogs EWWW.

2/01/2006 10:19 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

Laura, wet jeans irriate and chafe my delicate skin.

I hear ya Bruce,I don't see why some men have problems carrying umbrella. It's one big phallic symbol anyway.

Pixie, who on earth shares eating utensils with dogs? I've never heard of that! YUCK!

2/01/2006 10:30 AM  
Blogger cube said...

I think animals hear & smell better than humans and thus are better able to feel impending physical events. Their sense are more alert to certain changes in the environment.

As far as my dog's mouth goes, well let's just say she likes to eat poop. 'Nuff said.

You get less wet when you run in the rain, but if you slip & fall while running in the rain, then you're way wetter than the walker ;-)

2/01/2006 10:54 AM  
Blogger cube said...

BTW, I just noticed the little cubical link for my blog. Very cute.

2/01/2006 10:57 AM  
Blogger KC said...

I think I'll continue to follow the animals if they start to run away. If it turns out to be nothing, then at least I got a bit of exercise from running with them.

How about cats? My cat likes to lick the tip of my nose. He also tries to put his snout in my mouth if my breath smells like mint.

2/01/2006 11:25 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

I've seen cats lick themselves too.

2/01/2006 11:38 AM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

I hoard umbrellas. We must have about ten. I keep a few in the cars, a couple in the coat closet, and a few here & there just in case. The funny thing is, I usually end up just pulling the hood of my jacket over my head instead of using an umbrella because I don't want to carry the wet umbrella around.

I might vomit if our dog licked my face. Simba is a Mastiff. She's big & slobbery & has never been allowed to live inside the house. Just the thought of her slobber makes me queasy.

As for the animals having a sixth sense for danger, only Dr. Doolittle knows for sure.

2/01/2006 1:08 PM  
Blogger Ben Heller said...

Great post,

Can't stop, it's raining and I'm gonna test your running theory.

2/01/2006 1:22 PM  
Blogger BrianAlt said...

I hate umbrellas. Not because I'm afraid of how it will make me look, because they're a pain in the ass! The wind blows and they're gone. It's hard to hold other things and an umbrella. They're just generally annoying! And where do you put it after you're done? I can't put it in my briefcase, it's just too wet to do that. Annoying!

Of course I don't like getting wet either. So it's safe to say that I dislike rain storms.

2/01/2006 3:34 PM  
Blogger angel, jr. said...

Carry the friggin umbrella already! And I knew it about a dog's mouth. I'm not really a saliva person, so it irks me when other people's pets lick me.

2/01/2006 3:50 PM  
Blogger LostInTX said...

Umbrellas *are* annoying. I agree with David.. it's just rain. It irks me when I see people at the grocery store blocking the exit when it's misting b/c they don't want to get wet. I push my way through and walk to my car to show them that it-will-be-okay. I'd worry when you can't feel the rain anymore.

I always believed the clean animal myth too. I kiss my cats on the nose conveniently forgetting they bathe themselves and God know what else. As I type this my cat just burped in my face... Reason #2 for keeping animals away from your face.

I'd like to see you post about the myth involving uring killing athlete's foot. That might be funny.

2/01/2006 7:13 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

My problem is that I'll bring an umbrella into a building, for example, and leave it with the other wet umbrellas. When I'm leaving, I always forget to grab it...that's why I keep having to buy new ones.

2/01/2006 9:30 PM  

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Welcome to the blog that aims to examine the lighter side of science. From the paranormal to wacky inventions, to strange mysteries and goofy experiments, I cover it all. Thanks for stoping by blazingtalons.com...where science is always stranger than fiction







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