10 Widely Common Myths on the Internet Even to this Day
The Internet is filled with myths that are believed by millions of people. From the myth that putting an ATM pin in backward will alert the police to the myth that ancient scholars were dumb enough to think the Earth is flat, we bring to you 10 of the most widely common myths on the Internet!
1 Myth: If you enter your ATM pin backward at an ATM, it alerts the police.
Fact: This is not true. If it were to happen, then people with a palindrome PIN would have a hard time.
If you ever enter your ATM pin backward, the ATM will not place a call to the police. This rumor has been prevalent since the 1980s. It originated from a proposal that the American police suggested for the ATM pin system. They suggested that this would be a proper way to capture criminals. The idea originated in 2006 in the form of a hoax email chain across social media platforms. This is how the modern generation became familiar with this myth.
The proposal never took off as there were numerous issues with the proposed system. Reversible PINs such as ‘7667’ or ‘8888’ (palindromic PINs) would have to be made unavailable for the system to work. Moreover, PINs such as ‘3783’ or ‘1031’ would also need to be avoided so as to minimize the risk of entering them incorrectly. If instead of ‘3783,’ the person accidentally enters ‘3873,’ the police would be called even when there was no robbery. All these problems might have made the authorities to scrap the proposal. (source)
2 Myth: You eat “X” amount of spiders in your sleep.
Fact: The actual number is zero.
There is a common belief that humans swallow an average of eight spiders every year. This would mean that we swallow on an average 52 spiders during our lifetime. But in reality, the odds of that are actually zero. It’s very unlikely for a spider to come crawling near a human, let alone crawl into the open mouth!
Spiders detect danger by sensing the vibrations taking place around them. When a person is sleeping, their breathing, heartbeat, tosses and turns, snores, and the sounds they make during the course of their sleep are clear signs of danger for a spider. So, it’s highly unlikely that a spider would venture near a sleeping person! (source)
3 Myth: GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are harmful.
Fact: There is no proof that genetically modified foods are harmful to consumers.
GMOs or genetically modified organisms are one of the most controversial segments when it comes to the food industry. There is a question looming over everyone on whether they are healthy or harmful to mankind. But science has debunked the myth that GMOs are harmful.
GMOs are foods whose genetic structure has been altered by scientists to make them more efficient. Disease-resistant papaya, non-browning apples, high-yielding crops, etc. are all examples of GMOs. There has been no scientific proof that GMOs are harmful. It is just a common misbelief among consumers. In the U.S., every new GMO product is thoroughly reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration regulators. The Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency also participate in the review. The FDA, upon major scientific studies on this issue, has declared them safe. Despite this, many people still hold onto the notion that GMOs are harmful. (source)
4 Myth: Drinking alcohol during winter keeps you warm.
Fact: Drinking alcohol gives the sensation of warmth, but while one may feel warm on the outside, the inside of the body is getting colder.
It is a common ritual to open up the alcohol bottles when winter strikes. The common belief is that alcohol helps to keep you warm during the winter. The truth is even though one feels warmth after drinking alcohol, it is just a sensation. In reality, the core of the body is getting colder.
We feel cold when the blood flows away from the skin into the organs in order to increase the core temperature. When alcohol is consumed, the reverse process takes place. Blood flows from the organs towards our skin giving the sensation of warmth and at the same time decreasing the core body temperature. This sudden drop in core body temperature is actually harmful and increases the risk of hypothermia.(source)
5 Myth: Vikings wore horned helmets.
Fact: Costume designer Carl Emil Doepler created horned helmets for the Viking characters, and the stereotype was born.
The first element that comes to mind when someone talks about Vikings is their distinguished headgear. In most of the movies on Vikings, they are depicted as wearing helmets that have horns attached to it. But in reality, they never really wore horned helmets. Depictions dating back to the eight century shows that the Vikings were either bareheaded or adorned with simple helmets made from iron or leather. Archaeologists have not yet discovered any Viking-era helmet that was embellished with horns.
So where did this misconception arise? This goes back to as far as the 1800s. Scandinavian artists like Sweden’s Gustav Malmström used to portray warriors and raiders wearing horned helmets. In the 1870s when Wagner staged his “Der Ring des Nibelungen” opera, Carl Emil Doepler, the costume designer, created horned helmets for all the Viking characters. This is where the stereotype originated. (source)
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