by Robert Waltz
Not for the faint of art.
|Today, just a gentle reminder that we don't always know what we think we know. From Cracked, so it's also amusing.
Only it's not limited to science.
We all love science, sure. It's what makes things explode when we want them to, and keeps things from exploding the rest of the time.
Leave it to Cracked to succinctly explain the primary purpose of science.
5. "You Are What You Eat"
And if you eat a lot of a nutrient, you build a whole lot of it into your body. Right? That sounds reasonable enough. But that very last observation is kind of only true with fat, which is something your body likes to store away (and even fat storage is more complicated than that). With other stuff, you have to eat it, but if you eat extra, your body just kind of discards it.
This is demonstrably true, but the article does a pretty good explanation of why it's so.
Anyway, my mom always used that line on me: "You are what you eat." She was a lousy cook and I was a lousy kid, so one time, I said "You're saying I'm garbage?"
That was the last time I said that.
4. "Save The Rain Forest, It's The Earth's Lungs"
Most oxygen doesn't come from trees at all. It comes from algae in the ocean. And you don't get many trendy charities for looking after algae, because no one had fun climbing algae as a kid.
I gotta give 'em this one. Assuming it's as well-researched as the other points, it's something I never looked into, so I didn't know. In any case, there are plenty of other reasons to save the rainforest.
3. "Let's Keep Squeezing Solar Panels Everywhere!"
Having conceded that trees are great, though not in the way some people think, let's also reassure you that we think solar power is great. The tech works, it's advanced enormously recently, and we should build a bunch of new solar arrays. But many people seem to take this to mean that we need a solar panel, like, right there, right where they’re staring right now.
Minor quibble with this one: even deserts have biodiversity and what life exists there is dependent on sunlight. Build giant solar arrays out in Nevada and what happens? Shade on the ground. The ground that's harboring some really delicate life. So if we can put solar panels on things that are already blocking out the ground, like roofs and roads, I have no problem with it. But the article also goes into the economics of such.
2. We Have No Way Of Picturing Extreme Probabilities
This one's a pet annoyance of mine. Large and small numbers are incomprehensible. Hell, to most people, numbers are incomprehensible. It doesn't help that a lot of people don't see the world in terms of probabilities; only in black and white. Either I win a hand of poker, or I don't. Either I win the lottery, or I don't. If I get vaccinated, I could still catch the disease, so why bother? (The answer to that last one is because your chance of catching the disease drops by several orders of magnitude.)
1. None Of Us Can Picture Distances In Space
There's a Douglas Adams quote about how big space is, something about how it's considerably more than even the distance from here to CVS.
The actual quote is "“Space [...] is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space.” I first read it when I was fairly young, so I didn't know "chemist" was Brit for "pharmacist," and was confused. What's really confusing is that their word for "peanut" is the same as ours.
In any case, this one is kind of related to #2. Some things are just hard for our earthbound ape minds to comprehend.