Rumor Flies

We got the sauce

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

Filtering by Tag: comedy podcast

Snap Judgment #36: Laugh it up

#831: Adults laugh only about 15 to 100 times a day, while six-year-olds laugh an average of 300 times a day

Image source

Image source

Verdict: partially true

Live. Laugh. Love. Simple rules to live by and a pretty strong mantra for only three words

When I first read this, it sort of made sense. As adults, we get caught up with life and our day to day activities while forgetting the simpler things in life. Bills need to be paid, diapers need changing, and beer needs drinking. We tend to lose our sense of humor rather easily while kids don’t have any of the stress. Kids are more worried about their Fortnites and pokemans or whatever they are into these days.

Laughing 300 times a day though? That seems a bit excessive to me. Simple math tells me that if you’re awake for 16 hours a day, that means you need to laugh almost 20 times in an hour or approximately once every three minutes. That just seems a bit excessive for anyone.

So what did my research tell me? That this is all subjective. As unsexy as that is, it boils down to what you would count as a laugh. Is one good laughing spell count as one laugh or 50? Do you tell the difference between a chuckle with a good guffaw? It really all depends.

There was one study that was done on the amount of laughter adults have over a three day period. They did find on average adults laugh about 18 times a day. Unfortunately, this is the only credible study I found on laugh counting. I did not find much concrete evidence on children laughing around 300 times a day. It was mostly research that was referencing other studies that referenced other studies that referenced one study in particular but no literature was out there for me to get my hands on.

The bottom line is that we all need to laugh more. While children may not laugh 300 times in one day, they do laugh more. I think there’s something to that because I feel that children are happier than adults most of the time. It’s good to laugh and important for our mental health. Don’t take life to seriously and remember to let lose. In the words of Bo Burnham, “Laughter is the best medicine, ya know, besides medicine.” 

Sources: 
https://www.laughteronlineuniversity.com/children-laughter-frequency/
http://www.aath.org/do-children-laugh-much-more-often-than-adults-do
http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1999-15807-001

Snap Judgment #33: DEM BONES!

SNAPPLE FACT #1388: Human thigh bones are stronger than concrete

Snap Judgment 05032018.jpg

Verdict: True

As with most of our facts here, this requires a caveat. The straight and simple is that the strength of a femur, the longest and most durable bone and our body, depends on the angle of the pressure that is applied to it. At its weakest, the average femur will break from about 20 lbs. of force applied to it at a 90 degree angle. Not much.

This is why car crashes and failed trampoline tricks usually result in the majority of femur breaks. However, at its most ideal load-bearing condition, which is top to bottom of the bone, the femur can withstand 899 pounds of force. This is one of the reasons some extremely morbidly obese people can still move freely. The femur has tons of weight accounted for. This is mainly due to the femur’s light-weighted fibrousness (lots of pores) and flexiblity. These factors make it 12x stronger than a proportionally sized piece of concrete. But that’s not all…

 

Femur are stronger than steel!

Proportionally by weight, at least. This is actually why a lot of structures like bridges and building frames aren’t just solid walls of metal. Bones are so efficient at staying light weight and yet still durable that some of our own infrastructure is built upon their properties. It’s efficient, cost effective, and arguably aesthetically pleasing. Though, I do kind of want to see a bridge of bones. That weird?

-Ryan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlz8O4VMO4o

http://interesting-shocking-facts.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-human-thigh-bone-is-stronger-than.html

Snap Judgment #28: Special Agent Catnip

Snapple Fact #1454: In the 1960s, the U.S. government tried to turn a cat into a spy.

Image Source

Image Source

Verdict: True. Completely and utterly true. 

I am not ashamed to admit I spent more time looking at spy cats/coming up with puns (I'm currently favoring "Tacti-cat" for the above image) than I did doing research for this post. It's not that I didn't do a lot of research, it's that I spent in exorbitant amount of time checking out cat pictures. None of us are immune, so stop looking judging me and enjoy the adorable cat pictures like nature intended. 

The CIA did a lot of..."interesting" (often morally questionable) projects in the 60's, and Project "Acoustic Cat" (big missed opportunity for "Acousticat") is arguably one of the more absurd onesA quick warning: if you are squeamish/have issues with what most would consider "animal cruelty," I would not advise continuing on.

The goal was simple in theory, difficult in practice: hide a recording device on a cat, gift it to the Soviet Union, let it do its work. They also wanted to implant a small device to give it cues so they could direct it at at least a basic level. Now remember the year: there are no personal computers, audio recording is still 100% analog, and small batteries with long life are hard to produce (even today that presents a challenge.) The cat had to look like a cat still as well, so where do you hide all the necessary components?

Unfortunately, the CIA went ahead and created what assistant to the CIA director Victor Marchetti described as "a monstrosity." They performed surgery on the cat and implanted a battery, they then had wires running the length of his body woven into the fur, then placed a small microphone in his ear canal. The cat also had serious issues with wandering off or becoming distracted when bored or hungry, so they did more surgery to "help with that." I am not sure what that means, but I'm sure it's just more awfulness. From conception to implementation, this cost $20 million dollars over 5 years. 

On the first trip out into the real world, the cat was hit and killed by a taxi while crossing the road before even making it to the target. From The Atlantic (and once again, Marchetti): 

When it came time for the inaugural mission, CIA agents released their rookie agent from the back of a nondescript van and watched eagerly as he set out on his mission. Acoustic Kitty dashed off toward the embassy, making it all of 10 feet before he was unceremoniously struck by a passing taxi and killed.

“There they were, sitting in the van,” Marchetti recalled, “and the cat was dead.”

Thumbnail image source

 

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 #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 #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 #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.”

11o7ow.jpg

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*

TowMaterCars3Artwork.jpg

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!

 

 

Thumbnail image source

Doctor image source

Cars image source