Much of people's knowledge comes from things they've been told by other people throughout our lives, and while this can lead to people developing a rich understanding of the world around them, it can also cause them to believe some things that are untrue. Many myths get passed from person to person and stick around long after they've been proven false. These are 10 myths that are still regularly repeated that have no basis in fact.
1. Dogs see in black and white.
This popular myth has some basis in fact, as dogs can't see the full spectrum of colours which humans perceive. However, they can see colours, just not as many as their owners do.
2. Eating rice kills birds.
Throwing rice at weddings is an old tradition that is now out of fashion, and many people suppose the reason is that rice swells in birds' stomachs and can lead to their death. The truth behind the decline in marital rice-throwing is just the opposite; throwing rice at weddings attracts birds, who make a mess in the churchyard or outside the wedding hall. Hungry birds are a major problem for rice farmers.
3. Chewing gum stays in your stomach for 7 years.
Swallowing chewing gum isn't generally a good idea, but it's complete nonsense that it stays in your stomach for any longer than anything else you might eat. The human stomach isn't able to digest chewing gum, but just like seeds, chewing gum passes quickly through the body if swallowed.
4. Blood is blue inside the body.
The thinking behind this myth is clear; veins appear blue, so the blood inside them must be blue also. But this myth has absolutely no basis in fact: blue inside the body is the same colour as blood outside the body - red.
5. Leaving a fan on overnight can kill you.
This myth isn't commonly believed outside Korea, but many people there have believed for years that leaving a fan on at night can result in sudden death. A possible origin of this myth may be electrical fires caused by fans in the past. A darker suggestion is that the myth started as an alternative explanation for suicides. Wherever it comes from, it simply isn't true that leaving a fan on overnight can kill you.
6. Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
This is an odd belief that can be instantly disproved by looking at the top of any really tall building. Why would people bother putting lightning rods at the top of skyscrapers if they were only ever going to be used once?
7. Bees break the laws of physics.
In the 1930s, French scientists found that typical models for explaining animal flight couldn't explain how bumblebees fly. However, since at least the 1990s, scientists have been able to explain how the rapid movement of bumblebees' wings create vortices that allow them to fly. This hasn't stopped some people believing this myth until the present day.
8. Left-brained people are logical and right-brained people are creative.
This sounds like it might be scientific, but it really isn't. Different areas of the brain are associated with different types of brain functioning, but there is no truth at all to the idea that some people have greater activity in one-half of the brain than the other, and that this is correlated with how logical or creative that person is.
9. Bats can't see.
Bats famously navigate using echolocation, making sounds to find their way in the dark. This unique ability has led to the popular myth that bats are completely blind. That isn't true; they don't have very strong eyesight, but they aren’t blind.
10. The Great Wall of China is the only man-made object visible from space.
The Great Wall of China is an incredible feat of ancient engineering, but it isn't any wider or more expansive than the average highway. It is therefore completely illogical that the Great Wall of China would be the only human creation visible from space.
These are 10 of the most persistent myths which have been proven to be false, but there are many more that could be added to the list. Thankfully, people now live in an age where the correct answer is just a quick internet search away. So, the next time someone repeats something that sounds unbelievable, take to the internet, and find out the truth.