Myth: Undercover cops have to tell you they’re cops if you ask them.
Fact: No, undercover cops are not bound to reveal their identity if you ask them whether they are a cop or not.
Since the mid-1970s, people have been believing that undercover cops have to reveal their identity if you ask them whether they are a cop or not. This myth is based on the belief that it is illegal for a police officer to entrap a citizen into committing a crime. So, people believe that related action by police such as lying about their identity would be illegal too. Also, police entrapment is not illegal.(source)
Myth: Sugar makes kids hyper.
Fact: Sugar does not make kids hyperactive.
When kids become hyper such as jumping on the bed or bouncing off the wall, parents start blaming sugar for this behavior. But through various experiments, scientists have discovered that there is no substantial evidence which can link sugar to hyperactivity in children. In 1982, the National Institute of Health announced that there is no link between sugar and hyperactivity, and it has been scientifically proven.
But the myths still persists. This may be due to the fact that children become extremely excited during birthday and Halloween parties. Since the food served during these parties have a high amount of sugar, parents still believe sugar is the cause of hyperactivity.(source)
Myth: A special compound added to the water in swimming pools will reveal the presence of urine and catch those who peel in the pool.
Fact: There is no compound which can reveal the presence of urine when added to swimming pool.
The compound which can reveal the presence of urine when added to pool water is, in fact, a chimera as no such substance exists. Experts claim that it is possible to make compounds which can detect the presence of urine in water, but it can be also triggered by the presence of similar organic compounds likely to be present in the swimming pool.
The myth is actually a sneaky parent trick to keep their children in check. An old-time Boston-area poolman once said that if such chemicals did exist, every municipal pool in Boston would be bright purple.(source)
Myth: Napoleon Bonaparte was short.
Fact: Napoleon Bonaparte’s height was 5 feet 7 inches and was slightly taller than the average Frenchmen at that time.
Napoleon Bonaparte’s short height is one of the most popular historical myth today. This myth originated when he was listed as 5 feet 2 inches at the time of his death. But this height measurement is according to French measurement units. In the modern international unit, Napoleon’s height is 5 feet 7 inches. At that time, the average height of an adult French male was 5 feet 5 inches in modern international units. So, during those days he was, in fact, taller than the average men of his country.
Also, this myth stems from the fact that Napoleon always appeared in public surrounded by his guards. One of the main requirements for being his personal bodyguard was that they should be tall and broad. So, during public appearances, he looked quite small as compared to the men surrounding him earning him the nickname “Le Petit Caporel” i.e. “The Little Corporal”.(source)
Myth: Seasons are caused by the Earth being closer to the Sun in the summer than in the winter.
Fact: Seasons are caused by Earth’s 23.4-degree axial tilt.
People believe that during summer earth is closer to the sun and during winter earth is farthest from the sun. Scientifically it is incorrect. This is because in the Northern hemisphere, we have winter when the Earth is the closest to the sun, and summer season occurs when the sun is farthest away. So, basically, the sun is so far from the Earth that its nearness doesn’t affect the seasonal changes on earth.
The real reason for seasonal changes is the tilt in Earth’s axis. The axis is tilted at an angle of about 23.4 degrees. When Earth orbits the sun, its tilted axis always points in the same direction. So, throughout the year, some parts of the earth receives more solar energy than the others. During June solstice, North pole is pointed towards the sun, and hence, June, July, and August are the months of summer in the Northern hemisphere. On the other hand, the South pole points away from the sun, and so they experience winter season during this time.(1,2)
Also see: 20 Popular Myths Debunked. Part 1