Jennipher#8217;s #8220;Believe it or not#8221;

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Throughout history, people have always put faith in the written word. For whatever reason, everybody tends to believe something simply because they see it in print.

Newsflash: don’t believe everything you read (except what you read here, of course!)

Anybody can sit down at a computer and write whatever they want to write, be it true or not.

There’s an interesting, accurate and entirely legitimate website that I frequent a lot –

The site debunks common urban legends while verifying stories and facts that are indeed true.

I stumbled across a few interesting ones while browsing through the site a few nights ago.

For instance, most people believe that humans only use 10 percent of their brains.

That’s simply not true.

The myth has been around for decades and spread rapidly through magazines and books.

It was derived from a study in which a scientist discovered that humans only use between 10 and 20 percent of their brains at one time.

However, all

of the brain are used at some point during the day.

No, we don’t use only 10 percent of our brains.

Aside from people who have suffered brain damage, humans use the whole 100% of their brains (though I’m sure it seems a lot of people hardly use any).

Another common misconception is the widely held belief that the average person swallows eight spiders per year.

Ironically, this tidbit was made up by a columnist who did so just to prove a point that people will believe anything they read.

Have you ever heard that a person’s fingernails and hair continue to grow after their death?

That’s not true, either.

The fact of the matter is, skin shrinks after death because of the loss of water in the flesh, which makes hair and nails appear longer.

However, there is no real growth.

I’m sure everyone has been warned by their parents at one point or another not to &uot;penny the tracks&uot; because it might derail the train.

The truth is, the train is more likely to derail you than the other way around.

There have been numerous cases of people dying while waiting for a train to flatten pennies, because they’re standing in the way of it.

There has never been a case where a train was derailed by a penny.

Another false &uot;fact&uot; is the myth that men think about sex every seven seconds.

Actual numbers from the Kinsey Institute show that 54% of men think about it every day or several times a day, 43% a few times a month or a few times per week, and the rest less than once a month.

Many people believe that if an execution attempt fails the first time, the prisoner is legally entitled to go free.

That’s not the case.

This belief stems from a false interpretation of the right for protection from double jeopardy. However, that right applies only to the prosecution of the accused, not the carrying out of the sentence.

Perhaps the most enlightening one for me was to find out that what caregivers have been torturing me with since the day I was old enough to swim is not true.

&uot;Those who go swimming less than an hour after eating will get a cramp and drown.&uot; We’ve all heard that one, I’m sure. But guess what?

There’s not an ounce of truth to it.

Water does not cause cramps.

Swimming does not cause stomach cramps.

If you swim after you eat, you will not – I repeat, you will not get a cramp and drown.

Your kids will not get a cramp and drown.

Stop tormenting the poor things and let them swim.

Don’t believe anything I’ve said?

Look it up for yourself.

I would.