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A Reddit Thread Has Circulated “Facts” That Are Completely Untrue… Go Figure

This Reddit thread reveals the hard truth about some well-circulated myths and “facts”: they are fake.

Image Credit: HD Wallpapers

As of July 30th, 2020, approximately one in five U.S. adults claim to get their news, especially political news, from social media. It is fair to say that the dramatic increase in social media has drastically changed the way people intake their information. In fact, there’s been a massive influx of misinformation spread through various social media channels. On Reddit specifically, there are countless threads where people can add, edit or spread any information they choose. 

One Redditor, KnotKarma, posted a thread to the r/AskReddit board about the spread of myths: “What myth is still widely circulated as truth?” The Reddit community responded with vigor, answering in the response section with an array of entertaining answers. 

You Have to Wait 24 Hours to Report a Missing Persons Case 

Reality: It appears that this myth has been spread through media, like film and television, to generate suspense in a storyline. However, according to the NYPD, if you know a person is missing, you should report a missing person case immediately. In fact, criminal justice professor and former NYPD sergeant, Joseph Giacalone, says that one of the biggest mistakes family’s make is waiting too long to file a missing person case. The first 24 hours are crucially important to find a missing person. 

We Only Use 10% Of Our Brains 

Reality: The human brain is incredibly complex (it is the greatest machine on the planet). To think we only use 10% of the brain is laughable to a neurologist like Barry Gordon from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. Although it is unknown where this myth made its way into the mind of the public, it has been propagated heavily by films like Lucy. According to Gordon, we are using 10% of our grey matter at rest and while thinking, but “we use virtually every part of the brain, and that [most of] the brain is active almost all the time.” Think of any time you are breathing, talking, walking, driving or playing any sort of game — your brain is constantly taking in information, processing that information, condensing the information and giving rise to the brain’s higher functions

Lemmings Commit Mass Suicide

Reality: The culprit for this myth is a 1958 documentary titled White Wilderness, a film which is apart of Walt Disney’s documentary film collection: True-Life Adventures. The nature documentary depicted lemmings, a mouse-like rodent native to the tundra and grasslands, leaping off of the cliff into the “ocean” below en masse. This has spread a ridiculous myth that lemmings have a strange compulsion to commit suicide with each other. In reality, the documentary was filmed in Alberta, Canada (where lemmings are not native), along a riverbank, and Disney producers supposedly staged the entire segment by purchasing the lemmings from Inuit children and staging the mass leap. The lemmings were supposedly thrown from the cliff by the filmmakers to specifically spread this false “natural” occurrence found in the wild. Where Disney got this idea? We’ll never know.

Watch the disturbing clip below:

Bulls Hate the Color Red

Reality: A popular trope of bullfighting is the red cape — the colour which is supposed to drive the bull into a mad frenzy toward the matador. Or so cartoons taught us. In actuality, bulls, like dogs, cats and cattle, are colour blind. The red cape (or the muleta) really serves a gruesome purpose: the muleta catalyzes the charging of the bull because of the movement, but the cape conceals the matador’s sword and the red colour masks the bloodstains from the audience. I wasn’t interested in the idea of bullfighting before, and I’m even more put off now.

Urine Neutralizes a Jellyfish Sting

Reality: I blame Friends for this one. Do you remember that iconic episode (“The One With the Jellyfish”) where Joey and Chandler “help” Monica with her jellyfish sting on the beach? And then they promise to never speak about it again as millions of viewers at home looked on? Thanks for that one, the 90’s. Contrary to popular belief, urinating on a jellyfish sting would cause a victim severely more harm than good. There is simply too much water in human urine to make it an effective remedy, and too much sodium to make it have any effect other than some serious stinging in the open wound. Instead, remove any visible tentacles with tweezers, apply a pain-relieving ointment to the wound (or take Advil), use an antihistamine if you are showing any allergic reactions, and get to a hospital immediately. Studies have also shown that vinegar has had successful results in relieving pain from a jellyfish sting, as well as immediately stopping the release of venom.

These are only a few chosen from a wide array of colourful, informative answers. In a day and age where information is spread more rapidly than the truth, it is important to stay vigilant and question everything you are told. In some instances, the truth can save yours or another’s life. In other instances, the truth can save you from embarrassment. If there’s a common “myth” or “urban legend” spread by everyone, there’s a likely chance that this tidbit is 5% truth and 95% misinformation. With a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips, it is easier than ever to stay informed. 

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