It’s very easy for us to hear something and believe it without question. After all, if a lot of people say that they fully believe it, then it must be true, right? It turns out that this kind of thinking is wrong. The number of believers does not necessarily count in validating the credibility of a belief. It’s the scientific data and the historical facts that really matter. Which common beliefs are actually wrong? Here are few of them.
Wrong: Lightning never strikes the same spot twice.
Right: It’s actually common for lightning to strike the same place twice.During thunderstorms, remember to stay away from high areas and trees. You see, the tallest place in an area is likely to be struck multiple times until the lightning moves to the next target. One favorite victim of lightning is the Empire State Building.
Wrong: Antibiotics can help you cure your common cold.
Right: The common cold is caused by a virus, whereas antibiotics are helpful only against bacteria.
Wrong: Brain cells can never regenerate.
Right: In 1998, researchers from the Sahlgrenska University Hospital, in Sweden, and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, in La Jolla, California, found that brain cells in mature humans can actually regenerate. It’s not the “regeneration” of a dead neuron, mind you. It’s “neurogenesis”, or the creation of new ones. In fact, neurogenesis happens only within the subventricular zone (SVZ) and subgranular zone (SGZ)—these areas of our brains can create new cells and initiate new cell growth. Because this common false belief is cleared up, a cure for Alzheimer’s may be discovered in the future.
Wrong: The Great Wall of China can be seen from the moon.
* Right*: None of the Apollo astronauts had any documented sightings of it. Even astronauts who orbit the Earth can barely see it. Additionally, International Space Station commander Chris Hadfield tried to find the Great Wall of China from space, but he was unable to do so due to it being “narrow and dun-colored”.
Wrong: We only have five senses.
Right: We actually have at least nine senses, while most scientists believe that we have around 21.
Basically, a “sense” is a sensory system that responds to physical stimulation and corresponds to a particular brain region that receives and interprets the signals. Aside from the senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, there are also the senses of itching, thermoception, thirst and hunger, among others.