Rumor Flies

We got the sauce

Rumor Flies comically addresses the origins, evolution, and veracity of your favorite rumors, myths, and misconceptions. Tune in every week for more research, stories, and unsolicited commentary! Participation encouraged. 

Rumor Flies is a member of the Dark Myths collective. Check out these amazingly talented people and their awesome shows!

 

Snap Judgment #18: Flies are Singing for You

Snapple Fact #1382: A housefly hums in the key of F
 

Verdict: True

So I had originally planned a different one since this is another "music related" topic (sort of) like the black holes post, but Ryan and Josh picked up the camel topic I was going to write about for our most recent recording (we did another Snapple fact check episode for this season!). This was the other topic I had prepped, so here we are!

According to Mental Floss, the common household fly flaps its wings around 190 times a second, which the human ear perceives as a note in F major (which includes F, G, A, B♭, C, D, and E). The wings are flapping are responsible for the sound we hear, which is actually pretty common among insects. Even though there is variation in size and speed of each fly, the measurements are proportional, so for instance if the wings are larger the number of flaps will be less frequent (and vice versa). This insures they "stay in key." 

 Image source

Image source

Female mosquitos, according to the previously linked Purdue article, use this pitch to attract male mosquitos. It is a rare example of a female species using sounds to attract males in their species. It is so enticing, a tuning fork tuned to the key of F will actually attract male mosquitos pretty effectively. I couldn't find a good video example of this, so if you know of any let us know! 

Sorry this one was a little shorter than usual. It was interesting (at least to me) but somewhat straightforward. We will hunt down a big one for you next week. Until then, we hope you enjoyed this "Snap Judgment"!

Thumbnail source

Snap Judgment #17: Those Trees had it Coming!

SNAPPLE FACT #705: Every ton of recycled paper saves about 17 trees

 Awww yeeee getting fancy with the gifs now. Also,  source video.  

Awww yeeee getting fancy with the gifs now. Also, source video. 

Verdict: True

Recycling: We've all known about it since we were kids (for the most part, I assume). Recycling paper is often particularly harped on because 1. It's relatively easy to do compared to glass or cardboard, and 2. Because of the association with trees. Trees are the arguably the biggest, easiest to identify symbol of nature, and the imagery of trees being chopped down and bulldozed en masse by "evil companies" is a very tried and true tactic for building support for ecological causes (think: "Save the Rainforests" or FernGully). So a claim like this is naturally going to engender a few reactions. 

Well, it's true! We have a few sources and some interesting other stats to accompany them. According to The University of Southern Indiana, the average household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year (mostly through packages and junk mail) and the average American uses seen trees a year in paper, wood, and other tree-based products. According to Recycling Revolution, the 17 trees you can save from recycling can absorb up to "250 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air each year," while, "burning that same ton of paper would create 1500 pounds of carbon dioxide." According to the EPA, recycling one ton of paper would "save enough energy to power the average American home for six months, save 7,000 gallons of water, save 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space, [and] reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one metric ton of carbon equivalent (MTCE)."

 Image source: https://i.pinimg.com/736x/22/69/54/226954871cf5bfd3aa6167b25875b5cb--recycling-bins-funny-animal-pics.jpg

Image source: https://i.pinimg.com/736x/22/69/54/226954871cf5bfd3aa6167b25875b5cb--recycling-bins-funny-animal-pics.jpg

I started looking into the arguments of how the paper industry planting/using trees factors in, but that argument got pretty political emotional very quickly so I haven't found any great sources that show the net cost/benefit for that. If you have any info we'd love to see it! Otherwise we may have to revisit this...

Thumbnail Source

Snap Judgment #16: The Black Note

#931: The nothingness of a black hole generates a sound in the key of B flat.

 Image source: http://www.syfy.com/sites/syfy/files/wire/legacy/BH_wip_v14.jpg

Image source: http://www.syfy.com/sites/syfy/files/wire/legacy/BH_wip_v14.jpg

Verdict: False (sort of)

Black holes are crazy. For those who aren't quite sure what they are, here's a little primer for you. There are many variations and sizes and origins for black holes but the incredibly untechnical tl;dr version is this: It's a point in space that is so dense and compressed (TONS of mass squeezed into a very tiny space) with an absurd amount of gravity that even light can't escape. You literally can't look at one, you can only see what it's doing to the objects around it, as well as its effects on space and time. They are often the result of massive, dying stars, though again there are variations and this is an over-simplification. 

So now for the "False (sort of)" rating. It's actually pretty simple: There is a blackhole that "emits" a tone of B-flat, but not all blackholes do this and NASA even has examples of other notes. The black hole Snapple is probably referring to is a Super Massive Black Hole" in the Perseus Cluster. This note is also 57 octaves lower than middle-C, making it, "the deepest note ever detected from an object in the Universe" (as of 2003). It is literally over a "million billion" times lower than what the human ear can hear. Perhaps South Park was on to something...

So let's hit another aspect of black holes since that was all pretty simple and since black holes are so totally crazy awesome while simultaneously operating as a potential source of literal and existential dread that you can't control!

If you observe an object entering a black hole, it will first seem to "slow down" then appear to freeze in motion and time because the light can't escape, meaning it'll take an infinite time to reach you. You are quite literally stuck with the "last image" of the object before it crosses what is called "The Event Horizon," the point of "no return" for objects near a black hole. The closer you get to this point, the more time seems to "slow down." If you saw the movie Interstellar you saw this effect at work on the water planet. The planet was pretty close to a black hole, meaning it felt some of the effects (while remaining outside the event horizon). The longer they spent on that planet, the more time passed outside of the area due to the relative effects of time. A few hours on the planet equaled dozens of years in "normal" space. 

So yeah, don't get too close to your local black hole, everyone. 

Thumbnail image source

Snap Judgment #15: Columbus is a Citrus-Planting Piece of $%*&

#402: Christopher Columbus brought the first lemon seeds to America.

 Image source: https://www.snapple.com/images/snapple_facts/small/snapple_fact_402.jpg

Image source: https://www.snapple.com/images/snapple_facts/small/snapple_fact_402.jpg

Verdict: True

Greg here, and as is the case with anything Columbus related, that particular context is important. Anyone who has listened to even a few episodes of this show will quickly recognize that my complete and utter distaste at anything Christopher Columbus-related is hard to truly capture. That's partially why I chose this subject: it forces me to just do some research and sit back without too much editorializing. But this topic also gives me a fun launchpad to discuss some side stuff, which we will get in to momentarily. So now: Citrus stuff!

 Image source: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/content/dam/news/photos/000/786/78681.ngsversion.1422285424997.adapt.1900.1.jpg

Image source: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/content/dam/news/photos/000/786/78681.ngsversion.1422285424997.adapt.1900.1.jpg

A cursory google search will quickly reveal to anyone that this is widely accepted and parroted. While all the specifics are a little debated, it seems to be consensus that Columbus brought lemon seeds - along with several other citrus seeds - to the "New World." Ironically, his crew also suffered a horrible bout of scurvy on their long expedition.

I made it a point to find a more "academic" or accredited source to back it up, and indeed there doesn't seem to be any major contradictions to the claim. I found a few books that point to sources saying he planted them in Haiti for sure, then in the Americas, where they flourished. He also brought death and ruination in the form of poor governorship and horrible diseases (I had to get at least one dig in). 

It's important to note that this trend of bringing and unleashing animals, plants, and even diseases, is something we see over and over again in colonization discussions (and even beyond). The Spanish introduced horses in the 16th century, which fundamentally altered the lives of Native American communities in the plains regions of North America, who famously learned to integrate horses into their communities. Over the next centuries, horses became as culturally ingrained in the mythos of the "American West" as tumbleweeds and six-shooters. A quick digression, but something worth mentioning (in my opinion). 

  Ok. Two digs.    Source:  XKCD  under Creative Commons. 

Ok. Two digs. 

Source: XKCD under Creative Commons. 

So now for something completely different and probably a solid 30% of the motivation for my post/topic choice. Did you know there's an indie record called Columbus? Did you know it was a musical? Did you know it was produced by Andrew Dost (Anthallo, Fun.) and features such indie darlings as Nate Ruess (Steel Train, Fun.), Michael Nau (Page France), Joel Thiele (Anathallo), and more? It is an absurd and plucky record that takes ridiculous liberties (knowingly). It is so silly and funny and even catchy (and yes, at times a bit cringe-y, but that's always a risk with something like this). They even pressed a bright magenta vinyl record. I don't know if Columbus will ever rock broadway...but hey, stranger things have happened. 

 Image source: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/OkBWGbeNvfI/maxresdefault.jpg

Image source: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/OkBWGbeNvfI/maxresdefault.jpg

Snap Judgment #14: Will Headbang for Food

#437: The woodpecker can hammer wood up to 16 times per second

 Image Source: https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/finister2/images/4/4c/WillieWoodpecker-1-.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20110830151227

Image Source: https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/finister2/images/4/4c/WillieWoodpecker-1-.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20110830151227

Verdict: True

So this one isn't as crazy insofar as checking true vs. false, because it's pretty easily verifiable; however, that isn't why I gravitated towards it. Reason 1: I really wanted to make a Woody Woodpecker reference, as seen above. Reason 2: Woodpeckers are really cool and I was kind of curious how they don't damage their brain (and general face area). Turns out, it was really interesting! 

According to Gizmodo, woodpeckers basically have giant sponge heads. The beat, their muscles, their bones, even a third inner eyelid - all these contribute to shock absorption (combined with the angle, or lack thereof, of their strikes). Because they can absorb it without damage, "a male woodpecker will peck between 500-600 times a day, 18-22 times per second — twice that during courtship season — with deceleration forces of about 1200 g." The deceleration is another key component here as it makes it so the energy from the impact is released over a longer period of time. There are all sorts of industry and safety applications from this research, from potential redesigns of football helmets to shielding spacecraft from orbital debris or other possible impacts.

 Image Source: https://gizmodo.com/new-video-series-explains-why-woodpeckers-are-built-to-1761068758

Image Source: https://gizmodo.com/new-video-series-explains-why-woodpeckers-are-built-to-1761068758

According to Mental Floss, 99.7% of the impact is absorbed by the woodpecker's body, with the remaining .03% impacting the brain in the form of heat energy. The prevailing theory is that they deal with it via short breaks - hence why you don't hear them go consistently for long durations. They take a break, let the brain cool down, then get back to smashing their face in to find food, to build a nest, to attract a mate, or even to simply mark their territory. They also slightly shift the impact point between brain and skull as they work while maintaining the linear striking motion, so the angle is maintained but they don't keep striking the same spots over and over again. 

Basically, woodpeckers are the best metal heads (you knew this was coming). They can thrash around for hours a day and keep on truckin'. They're basically concussion-proofed birds, so as we mentioned earlier, the scientific research opportunities are pretty substantial. 

Cheers!

Snap Judgment #13: Bro, do you even fold?

#77 No piece of paper can be folded more than seven times. (False)

 From "The Hydraulic Press Channel"

From "The Hydraulic Press Channel"

So let's jump right into this, because there's a lot to unfold (hue hue hue). So the answer is no, a piece of paper can in fact be folded more than 7 times; however, it's very difficult and has a lot of parameters that need to be met. If you tear a small piece of paper out of a notebook, you will not be able to do it without serious strength, and even then, if it's the wrong material it can simply explode or suffer some other sort of failure. Every time you fold the paper, it becomes exponentially thicker and thus harder to bend/flatten - this is the crux of the challenge. 

As is often the case, Mythbusters also tested this and found it to be false. The video is fun as always, and they even managed to fold it eleven times. In this case, they were able to accomplish it by 1. making sure the paper was massively large, and 2. bringing enough "strength" to bear in the form of heavy machinery to flatten/crease the paper (as well as having several people fold it). 

 Sauce: https://www.scienceabc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/The-group-which-made-a-record-with-13-folds.jpg

Sauce: https://www.scienceabc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/The-group-which-made-a-record-with-13-folds.jpg

Enter: Britney Gallivan. Britney decided to REALLY test this, as well as do research into the forces at play. Mental Floss has a solid overview: she used a 4000-ft long roll of toilet paper and managed 12 folds. For the more mathematically inclined among you, she even derived a formula. She also figured out that "single side folding" is arguably the best method. Later in January of 2012, St. Mark's School in Massachusetts beat her record with another method, achieving 13 folds.

So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed this week's Snap Judgment. 

Cheers

Snap Judgment #12: Deliver us from Shell!

#455: Lobsters can live up to 50 years.

 Pictured: The Crustacean Elder Council

Pictured: The Crustacean Elder Council

Verdict: True

I am, well, disappointed. For so long, I have touted my offhand knowledge about how lobsters have no shortage of a particular enzyme called telomerase, which causes them to not “age” in the style that most other animals do. Telomerase is an enzyme that lengthens the segments of DNA called telomeres, whose degradation is a well-known cause for many diseases, particularly cancer. In easier terms, telomerase is a spell-checker for your DNA that tries to keep up with your atrocious genetic grammar as you grow older. However, as one ages, eventually the editorial staff decides that this work isn’t worth the pay and starts quitting one by one. Welcome to old age and the eventual transformation into a delicate human card tower in the wind.

Lobsters pay their editors better. There is little to no decrease in telomerase present in lobsters as they grow older. So, this means they don’t reap all the hinderances of old age, right? Well, yes and no. While you won’t be seeing a chemo clinic for lobsters any time soon, they still have their downfalls. Most lobsters die from complications during molting, which is the process of shedding its previous shell as it grows into a new one. This process takes up tons of energy for lobsters, and the energy required grows as they grow. It’s like starting with a marathon on your 26th birthday, then adding a mile every birthday.

At some point, you would die from exhaustion, just as lobsters die from exhaustive molting. Now, these critters have a nice workaround to avoid molting death: don’t molt. However, this just leads to the shells being more prone to damage, infection, and eventual death. Generally, though males can live on average 30 years and females 50 years before the molting issues catch up to them.

Pretty good.
Now that we know lobsters aren’t immortal, what is?
Drum Roll….

JF.jpg

This Fucker.

Meet Turritopsis dohrnii, otherwise known as the immortal jellyfish. Most jellyfish live only a few months at best. This one found a strange workaround. The three main stages of the jellyfish lifecycle are larva, polyp, and medusa. Most of us are familiar with the medusa stage, since it is generally the largest and fanciest looking. Turritopsis dohrnii can literally cycle its stages in a single life.

When things are starting to look bad, such as conditions of starvation of inhospitable environment, the medusa can revert back to polyp and start over again when better conditions arise. Sometimes they revert back just for the hell of it. It’s the non-metaphorical born-again Christian of the sea. In human terms, it’s like realizing you made a serious of fuck-ups in your career and adult life, so you decide to hit reset and go back to the first day of high school, then you fuck up again and keep trying to fix it.

This jellyfish’s process effectively can cause it do skip death. As great as this sounds, consider this: this jellyfish will never die a natural, peaceful death. There is no slow fade into the abyss as an old jellyfish on its little jellyfish rocking chair surrounded by its polyp children and larva grandchildren. It pretty much has to get eaten or starve before it can slide back into an early stage. So, score one for every other animal. 

-Ryan

https://www.snapple.com/real-facts/455

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_immortality

https://teara.govt.nz/en/diagram/5355/jellyfish-life-cycle

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turritopsis_dohrnii

Snap Judgment #11: "We're having a Bay-Bee"

#775: “Bees are born fully grown”

Verdict: False

I remember seeing this in a commercial not too long ago. It was a very weird setup where a husband and a wife are dressed in bee costumes in the delivery room of a hospital. Next thing you see, a big beautiful baby boy pops out…except he’s not a baby boy. He’s an adult. The fact that Snapple was advertising this to be true means that it can’t be false, right? Whomp whomp. It’s bullshit.

Funny enough, I had a hard time tracking down this commercial. They got a ton of backlash over something that seems really trivial and takes minimal effort to seek the validity of a statement. Bees, like most other insects, undergo the normal process from eggs to larvae to big beautiful bee. While the growth from larvae to a fully grown bee can take as little as ten days, there is a cycle that all bees undergo. If I had to guess, people say bees are born adults because of how quickly they go.

What also bugs me about this statement, as with many different topics we cover in this podcast, is the vague and broad “fact” that this applies to all bees. Why is it bees and not a specific type of bee? Not all bees are the same. They’re just like people in the regard that they have different cultures, environments, and lifestyles. Don’t paint all the same bees with the same brush. Actually, just don’t paint bees at all. They don’t like it 

-Josh

https://www.buzzaboutbees.net/honey-bee-life-cycle.html

https://www.perfectbee.com/learn-about-bees/the-science-of-bees/honey-bee-life-cycle/

Thumbnail source: http://www.sciencefriday.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/24244989859_3b50723170_k.jpg

 

Snap Judgment #10: Mango Burns

#1416: “Mangoes can get sunburned.”

 Image source: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/H4SW8yOoSNM/maxresdefault.jpg

Image source: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/H4SW8yOoSNM/maxresdefault.jpg

Verdict: Probably

So Snapple is on a winning streak right now going into Snap Judgment #10! The score is currently 7-3, so Snapple is batting a .700. Not bad, but we are sure we'll find some more mistakes down the line. So I decided to give them a "yes" on the scoreboard here, despite the "probably." I had trouble pinning down mangoes getting sunburned, but it is well documented that fruit trees can receive sun damage, so they get this one for now. This one I decided to stick out if for no other reason than I found some other crazy info down the rabbit hole. Snapple also did a commercial for this topic

So get this: the enzymes in mangoes can actually cause a severe skin reaction when combined with sun exposure. Don't worry, this does not happen to everyone just because a little fruit juice may spill on you. It is the result of "phytophotodermatitis," which the article describes as "a skin condition that happens as a result of sensitivity to chemicals in certain plants and fruits." This condition, coupled with sun exposure/juice on the skin, leads to a chemical burn. 

 Image source: https://www.thelittleepicurean.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/lime-margarita.jpg

Image source: https://www.thelittleepicurean.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/lime-margarita.jpg

This also occurs with several other fruits and vegetables. According to this CBS article, a bartender (Justin Fehntrich) working on the beach received what's called "the margarita burn." This burn was also the result of "phytophotodermatitis" combined with lime juice and extended exposure to the sun. The juice from the limes Fehntrich was squeezing made his skin hyper-sensitive to UV-rays, thus resulting in 2nd degree burns. Don't worry though - as long as you wipe the juice off within a reasonable amount of time (it needs 10-30 min to absorb) you'll be fine. 

Cheers!

 

 

Snap Judgment #19: Termites are so Metal

#33: Termites eat through wood two times faster when listening to rock music

Verdict: True

So this one I really expected to be nonsense or based on VERY loose research/facts, but turns out it's totally true. When rock is played, termites get amped up, start a circle pit, and chow down. What's also interesting is that this claim has been asserted as early as 1968, but became more well known after Snapple introduced it as a "Snapple Real Fact" sometime around 2002-2003. A 2005 study confirms the strong relationship between the eating habits/speed of termites and various frequencies, as well as the fact that the frequencies found in what most would consider "rock" did in fact speed them up. 

So this goes into 3 elements (at least when I saw it was true):
1. What counts as "rock"?
2. Why rock?
3. Is it TWICE as fast? 

As it turns out, a lot of music can be categorized by the frequency of their main instruments. The sound frequencies generated by electric guitar and bass is ~2.5KHz, with 600Hz - 3kHz being more represented in rock, so I assume that is what is used as the definition of rock. Termites, as it turns out, are attracted to wood vibrating via a ~2.8kHz signal, which answers part 2. Part 3 is where I had the most trouble. I couldn't find any good info or graphs on how much it increased their consumption speed by. So while I still consider this to be a true, there is a strong BUT if you want to be particular about the language. 

So this was a pretty short one, so I decided to add another arbitrary set of facts! One thing I was curious about was what kinds of wood termites prefer. We in New Orleans know that they can't eat cypress wood, which is part of what made (and continues to make) it so popular as a building material. Redwood, cedar, and cypress, as it turns out, are all naturally resistant to termites. Just a little something extra for you. 

Thumbnail image source

Snap Judgment #9: Penguin Knights

#1011: “Norway once knighted a penguin.”

 Image Source: http://images.mentalfloss.com/sites/default/files/penguin_knight_0.jpg?resize=1100x740 

Image Source: http://images.mentalfloss.com/sites/default/files/penguin_knight_0.jpg?resize=1100x740 

Verdict: True

Nils Olav is one famous penguin. Excuse us, Brig Sir Nils Olav is one noble and decorate penguin of the highest caliber. According to NBC, Nils Olav received medals for good conduct and long service, made honorary colonel-in-chief of the elite Norwegian King's Guard in 2005, and was promptly knighted in 2008. He is the 3rd of his noble lineage to be granted this honor. In 2016, he ascended to the rank of Brigadier in the King's Guard - you can even see the event here. During the video he is seen regally waddling along the path inspecting the troops. Truly he is a stickler for polish and discipline, but it seems the troops made it through with no reprimands...this time. 

One thing I found interesting is how the above video occurred in Scotland. I did a little more reading and found this article by The GuardianWhile all this may very well be an expensive piece of entertainment utilizing an old monarchical structure, it's also used a way to foster cooperation between nations. As Barbara Smith of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland puts it: “We are honoured to host his majesty the king of Norway’s guard as they bestow a prestigious new title upon our king penguin, Sir Nils Olav. It is a very proud moment and represents the close collaboration between our two countries.” What I had missed in my first readings was that Sir Olav does not actually reside in Norway. He is a resident King Penguin at the Edinburgh Zoo, so this is a fun spectacle that is also meant to bring the two countries together. 

2401.jpg

This realization then led me down the google rabbit hole once again as I looked for other examples of "Knighted" or well-decorated animals. I then came across this Mental Floss piece. A few of them were pretty silly historical examples that honestly just didn't catch my interest, but then I discovered Taffy IV. Taffy IV is arguably one of the most decorated goats in history. He saw active duty in WWI and received he received the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his valor in several battles during the war. Apparently, since the US Revolutionary War, Britain has regularly deployed goats on the battlefield. How much they do that today...well, perhaps that'll be a fun new piece. 

Cheers!

 

Snap Judgment #18: Flies are Singing for You

Snapple Fact #1382: A housefly hums in the key of F
 

Verdict: True

So I had originally planned a different one since this is another "music related" topic (sort of) like the black holes post, but Ryan and Josh picked up the camel topic I was going to write about for our most recent recording (we did another Snapple fact check episode for this season!). This was the other topic I had prepped, so here we are!

According to Mental Floss, the common household fly flaps its wings around 190 times a second, which the human ear perceives as a note in F major (which includes F, G, A, B♭, C, D, and E). The wings are flapping are responsible for the sound we hear, which is actually pretty common among insects. Even though there is variation in size and speed of each fly, the measurements are proportional, so for instance if the wings are larger the number of flaps will be less frequent (and vice versa). This insures they "stay in key." 

 Image source

Image source

Female mosquitos, according to the previously linked Purdue article, use this pitch to attract male mosquitos. It is a rare example of a female species using sounds to attract males in their species. It is so enticing, a tuning fork tuned to the key of F will actually attract male mosquitos pretty effectively. I couldn't find a good video example of this, so if you know of any let us know! 

Sorry this one was a little shorter than usual. It was interesting (at least to me) but somewhat straightforward. We will hunt down a big one for you next week. Until then, we hope you enjoyed this "Snap Judgment"!

Thumbnail source

Snap Judgment #8: Ye Olde Spam

#950: The first spam message was transmitted over telegraph wires in 1864.

    goo.gl/bDsSye

 

goo.gl/bDsSye

Verdict: True

YUP. According to The Economist, it was an advertisement for dentistry. “Messrs Gabriel, of 27 Harley Street, advised that their dental practice would be open from 10am to 5pm until October.”

We've had to deal with this nonsense for 150 years and it's as annoying now as it was then. Time also verifies this, though not the specific example given by The Economist: “the first unsolicited messages came over the wires as early as 1864, when telegraph lines were used to send dubious investment offers to wealthy Americans.” It appears that people and institutions would in fact receive unsolicited telegrams. 

 http://i.vimeocdn.com/video/475993245_1280x720.jpg

http://i.vimeocdn.com/video/475993245_1280x720.jpg

Now here's another interesting part: "Spam" (according to the same Time article) came about as a term in 1980 as a result of a Monty Python sketch. Definitely worth a watch - vikings and insanity abound. 

Now back to our 1864 example. According to Curiosity.com and the above linked The Economist article, people dealt with it with far more indigence than we do. While we usually accept as an unavoidable reality of email, phone calls, etc., someone went as far as to write a complaint in The New York Times: "I have never had any dealings with Messrs Gabriel and beg to know by what right do they disturb me by a telegram which is simply the medium of advertisement?"  

Cheers!

Snap Judgment #7: Incessant Bloodhound Gang

#435: Bloodhounds can track a man by smell for up to 100 miles

BH.png

Verdict: True (more or less)

Here we are discussing smell again, but whatever. BLOODHOUNDS ARE SO COOL. Seriously. They are crazy good at sniffing things out. The specific claim "up to 100 miles" is hard to pin to the very number, but they have reportedly tracked a scent for up to 130 miles according to PBS, so Snapple probably played it somewhat conservative at 100 miles. In addition, "their extraordinary ability to discern a cold trail has sent them on fruitful missions, following tracks over 300 hours old.”

Bloodhounds have up to 230 million olfactory cells (40 times more than humans). Their sense of smell is so good and so reliable that it is admissible in court as evidence. According to that same PBS article, one famous dog, “Nick Carter” (yup, Nick Carter), led to the capture and conviction of over 600 criminals. 

BloodhoundsHunting.jpg

In order to really put them to the test, Mythbusters took a crack at trying to fool bloodhounds as shown in movies: running in random directions or zig-zags to throw off a pattern, running in a stream or other body of water to throw off the scent, and other commonly depicted techniques. Despite their best efforts, they were unsuccessful, and the ever capable Morgan tracked him with little issue. Having learned their lesson that bloodhounds are friggin' awesome at finding people, they tried again. This time, Jamie threw fish on the ground to throw off the scent and distract his pursuer. He also attempted to mask his scent with various products and suits as well as cross an even larger body of water than the first time. Once again, the able Morgan found him with little trouble. 

So there you have it. Bloodhounds are coming to get you - AND THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT. 

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Bloodhound pack image source

Cool technical piece by CIA on usefulness of scent in investigations

Snap Judgment #6: Dolphins like to think their &*%$ don't Stink

#970: DOLPHINS ARE UNABLE TO SMELL

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Verdict: True

This is a pretty short one mostly because it's true - that being said, there are some interesting extra elements to this, as is generally the case with the "Real Facts" we choose from Snapple's list. According to Whale Facts, this is true, despite the fact that dolphins do appear to have olfactory tracts during fetal development. There seem to be no olfactory nerves, however, meaning it is functionally useless. 

What I found interesting was the relationship between their sight and echolocation. For those who are not aware, dolphins use echolocation - similar to bats - under water. Many (if not most) animals that use echolocation have very poor eye sight, but this is not the case with dolphins. What isn't clear (at least in my research) is how good their eyesight actually is. 

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The above article from Whale Facts claims that dolphins have particularly acute vision, while this Business Insider piece diving into the various testing (really interesting) they did to figure out dolphins visually perceive their world claims they have pretty poor visual acuity. That being said, they are able to recognize and point out various shapes and appear to perceive the world similarly to other mammals both under and out of water. They had particular trouble, as did chimpanzees, with discerning shapes that were similar (such as a D-shape and U-shape), and were often confused during the testing.

As always, thanks for reading and supporting the show! Please let us know what you think of this patreon bonus content - do you like it? Should we swap it out with something else and make these public? Feedback is always appreciated! 

 

Image sources (in order of appearance):

http://www.letsplaysega.com/wp-content/uploads/images/gen/Ecco_the_Dolphin_II.png

https://images.vice.com/vice/images/articles/meta/2015/10/27/there-must-be-something-in-the-water-my-nightmare-of-ecco-the-dolphin-325-1445952536.jpg?crop=1xw:0.9485164512338425xh;center,center&resize=1050:*

https://visuals.zoomph.com/Visuals/VisualFile.ashx?id=4tcsp6ks2ORNErq02A5kyg_2_2&key=whitebg

Snap Judgment #5: Freaky-Deaky Jelly-Fishy

 #18: A Jellyfish is 95% water

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Verdict: True

Jellyfish are really fucking weird, man. Have you ever actually seen a jellyfish in the water? And I don’t mean on tv or in pictures. I mean in actual person. They just drift and blend in seamlessly.

I’ve heard this rumor before but didn’t give it much credence. The simple truth is that this is true. Jellyfish are indeed about 95% water. For reference, humans are about 60% water. So what’s the other 5%? Glad you asked Ryan.

Jellyfish are composed of three layers: the epidermis on the outside, the middle layer which is filled with jelly (huehuehue) called mesoglea, and the inner layer called the gastrodermis. They do also have a very basic nervous system which allows them to smell, detect light and some other basic functions.

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Oh and they have an ass. And a mouth. It’s the same hole. Jellyfish always go ass to mouth because they don’t have a choice essentially. These assmouth eats zooplankton, small crustaceans, and sometimes even other jellyfish. Bottom line here: jellyfish are carnivorous assmouths. Have I mentioned their ass and mouth are the same hole yet?

Lastly, jellyfish do have separate sexes as well. They release the sperm or the eggs into the water at the same time which is how babies are made. So while there isn’t much to these little critters, they manage to stay alive and function like most animals on a very basic level. It’s crazy to think of something that consists 95% of one substance is able to function in such a big and scary environment like the ocean.

Sources:

https://water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html

https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/jellyfish.html

http://eu.oceana.org/en/feature-about-jellyfish

Image sources (in order of appearance):

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/f8/54/de/f854de5c04d3ee5d413c8e9fe04fd678.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/44/Jelly_cc11.jpg

Snap Judgement #4: Honey, I Ruined the...Honey

#25: The only food that does not spoil is honey.

Verdict: False

I love honey with a passion and could do an entire series on it, but I'll try to keep this short.

Of all the facts Snapple could "retire," this was the most surprising, because I didn't even know it was wrong until literally yesterday while listening to Foodstuff. Honey is, in fact, an amazing product. It tastes great, can be made into booze, has some supposedly healthy enzymes, and it can be antimicrobial, which is why it "doesn't spoil" and can be used for preserving foods. I store everything in honey: fruits, some veggies, jerky, cash, dreams, the list goes on.

However, the very reason why honey is good for food preservation is the same one that guarantees it can spoil: hygroscopy.

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Hygroscopy is the ability for a substance to attract and hold onto water in its  surrounding environment. This, along with honey's natural acidity, is what sets up a poor environment for microbes to inhabit. it sucks the water right out of them. As long as honey stays under 17% water content, it will indeed have a nearly limitless shelf-life. However, honey being so hygroscopic, it is hard to maintain these conditions. Water can be introduced into honey by not sealing the container well enough, opening the container too many times, or worst of all, adding fruit to it for preservation. Though the honey will stay pretty acidic, the water content raises the chances of some spoilage critters up shop.   

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Now, I'm not disparaging this wonderful bee snuff. It still is a tried and true preservative, semi-antibiotic, and general treat. This particular fact only happens to be very conditional, which is not a term that qualifies a "never" to be used. Good on Snapple for retiring this one, though.

Last Note: crystallized honey ≠ spoiled honey

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygroscopy
https://steemit.com/food/@apismellifera/honey-never-spoil-true-or-false-or-or-miod-nigdy-sie-nie-psuje-prawda-czy-falsz
https://io9.gizmodo.com/why-honey-is-the-only-food-that-doesnt-go-bad-1225915466

Snap Judgment #3: Eye-Popping Orgasms?

#58: "A sneeze travels out of your nose at 100mph."

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Verdict: False

This is an oldie but a goodie, one I'm sure most (if not all) are familiar with. There are many variations of this myth, such as you close your eyes to keep them from popping out from the sheer force of the sneeze (called "subluxing").

A funny bit we also found in that same article:

Dr. Rachel Vreeman, co-author of Don’t Swallow Your Gum! Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health says she discovered an 1882 story in the New York Times about a woman whose eyeball popped out...after sneezing. 

This myth is literally over a century old, it turns out, making its way from The New York Times to the myths and tales we still tell each other to this day. Our inspirations over at Mytbusters actually explored this subject as well, for those who are interested. 

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Some fun extra reading: 

Snopes has an interesting theories on the origin of “Bless you." These include such gems like, "'Bless you!' was a protective oath uttered to safeguard the temporarily expelled and vulnerable soul from being snatched up by Satan," and, "the sneeze itself [is] the expulsion of a demon or evil spirit which has taken up residence in a person."

A related (and hilarious) myth was also found on Snopes as well: sneezing 7+ times can induce/feel like an orgasm. Before you go grab some pepper for a "totally scientific experiment," no, it's not true. Sorry, fam. 

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Snap Judgment #2: Slippery Myths

#110: “FROGS NEVER DRINK”

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Verdict: True

Snapple is now batting a .500! Frogs have a thin, permeable skin they use to absorb water. This makes it so they do not need to consume water orally, meaning that technically they do not "drink" water as we would define it (though they do consume water). Take it as you will, but we are counting this as a "true" fact for Snapple - so points on the board for them. 

They also breathe via their skin, which means they can drown like we do (their lungs fill with water). They do in fact breath underwater via their skin, but if the oxygen content isn't high enough, this can cause problems. They also can die if their skin dries out, so frogs are just finicky and picky (obviously). Due to how specific conditions need to be for their continued survival, over 50% frog species are actually in danger of extinction. Small, simple changes to their ecosystems/habitats can be lethal. 

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We also found a cool video about a poisonous frog in the Amazons that secretes a chemical many times more powerful than morphine - a secretion that is now actually used by a pharmaceutical company. I found it interesting. If you don't then...well...yeah! 

Sorry to double-dip on reddit, but out of curiosity I went ahead and looked up r/frogs on reddit. They are a small, nice community with lots of resources on how to help save frogs! So we encourage you to check them out if you're looking to learn more or are already passionate about our slimy little buddies who, apparently, don't drink water!

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Snap Judgment #1: Bananas, Mosquitoes, and Health Insurance (Sort of) Fraud

Welcome to the first ever Snap Judgement! As described on Patreon, you will receive super special news letters from us over at the show. A mainstay will be semi-regular write ups about an interesting true or false (or somewhere in between) Snapple factoid. In addition, we will frequently feature a write up about some current event or topic that caught our interest. So without further ado, let's get to it!

#11: “Mosquitoes are attracted to people who just ate bananas”

  The illusion of safety

Verdict: False

This one is interesting right out the gate, as during my research I found claims that it attracts or repels. Both claims listed the exact same cause: Octenol, which is found in bananas. Octenol, also known as “Mushroom alcohol,” is a chemical that attracts insects and is commonly found in mosquito traps (along with carbon dioxide). I found this myth particularly interesting given the completely contradictory application of bananas (some claim it's an attractant, others claim it's a repellant).

According to NBC, it is nothing more than "old wives' tales." ABC also cover this topic, with Susan Paskewitz, an entomologist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, claiming that they found no correlation in their lab studies – though interestingly enough, different people were inherently more or less prone to attracting mosquitoes at different times throughout the day. For good measure, this CNN article also discusses how there seems to be zero connection between what you eat and/or drink and how attractive or disgusting you may be to mosquitoes.

Our New Favorite/Horrifying Subreddit:
Unethical Life Pro Tips

Lucky you! On this first “Snap Judgment” I will be tackling a (sort of) current topic. If you haven't seen it before, there is a subreddit that is awful and hilarious called Unethical Life Pro Tips. They are terrible and funny and we sincerely hope no one actually does this stuff. That being said...I looked into two of our favorite “pro tips.”

1. A nice outlandish starter: “Do you have a chronic medical condition (e.g., MS) that costs your insurance company $20,000 per month? Great! Tell them you'll switch insurance companies if they pay you $10,000 per month. (Obamacare makes this possible) Repeat as needed to fund the life of your dreams.”

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Alright. This one is a little whacky. It's one of those, “I see why you would think that's a good idea, but there's a reason probably no one is doing it...” type of ideas. Nothing I could find online - across several search variations and many search pages deep – even hinted that insurances would agree to pay you to not insure you anymore. And why would they? Sure, there may be individual cases where perhaps it's worth considering, but the moment you do it, you risk others asking for the same options. If you took this to its logical extreme, you would wind up in a situation where insurance companies are literally not insuring anyone and just paying people to not insure them anymore. I'm going to label this one a big negative, Ghost Rider.

2. “Brake fluid will !&% up a [car's] paint job much better than paint stripper will.

*deep breath* First off: DO NOT DO THIS TO SOMEONE. You're better than that! *end lecture*

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I chose this one because it's actually really interesting and while researching if it is true (it is for the most part, some argue really good paint can take it for a relatively short duration) I found some suggestions for what to do if it happens to you. That being said, it is really bad. If you do not act quickly and carefully your paint will come right off.

According to Car Care Guide (linked above): “Try to use a towel to soak up the fluid instead of wiping with a rag, since you don’t want to spread the fluid around and make the problem worse. Then clean the area immediately with soap and lots of water, as water can help neutralize brake fluid. Although these steps likely won’t stop the damage already inflicted, it may help mitigate the destruction.” If you do mess up, get your car to a shop immediately so they can properly remove it and to prevent it from eating through to the metal.

Hope you awesome patrons enjoyed this first edition of Snap Judgment! If you have any questions, additions, or suggestions, let us know!

 

 

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