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: myths podcast

Snap Judgment #32: No Stompies in Germany

Snapple Fact #1366: In Denmark, citizens have to select baby names from a list of 7,000 government-approved names.

Verdict: True

So as it turns out, many countries have specific laws as to what you can and can't name your kids. Some are pretty obvious, such as no slurs or generally offensive names, but the laws get a lot more interesting as you dive in a little deeper. Denmark, as it turns out, is just particularly strict, while many countries vary pretty wildly. 

Let's start with the initial subject of this Snapple "real fact" - Denmark. Denmark does indeed have a list of approximately 7,000 government-approved names. One can apply for special permission through their local church, then the government reviews it. They are so strict that they actually reject 15-20% of submitted names. A few banned names: Anus, Pluto, and Monkey. 

According to the earlier linked Mental Floss article, here are a few rules of note:

  • Names must indicate gender 
  • Creative spellings of approved names are largely not allowed
  • Last names can't be used as first names and vice versa
  • Part of the rationale is to protect "rare Danish last names" 
Image source

Image source

 

In 1982, Sweden enacted the "Naming Law," which was originally designed "to prevent non-noble families from giving their children noble names," but it has since evolved. First names can't be offensive or "cause discomfort" for the individual bearing it, you can only change your name once, and you must keep at least one of the original names you were given if you do change your name. A few banned names: Metallica, Superman, Veranda, Ikea, and Elvis. Interestingly enough, they specifically allow "Goole" as a middle name, and Lego is an approved name. 

The US has its own federal naming laws, but it also varies wildly from state to state. Some states ban obscenities, some states (such as Kentucky) have no name laws at all, and in some cases, courts interpret the right to name a child whatever the parents' want as a matter of Free Speech (1st amendment clause) and Due Process (14th amendment clause). California actually doesn't allow for diacritical marks (ex. José, Noël), and some states limit the number of letters a name can have for record-keeping purposes. 

To close it out, here's an article from Business Insider that lists some interesting banned names by country! Enjoy, and if you live in Germany, do not name your kid "Stompie." 

 

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Snap Judgment #32: No Stompies in Germany

Snapple Fact #1366: In Denmark, citizens have to select baby names from a list of 7,000 government-approved names.

Verdict: True

So as it turns out, many countries have specific laws as to what you can and can't name your kids. Some are pretty obvious, such as no slurs or generally offensive names, but the laws get a lot more interesting as you dive in a little deeper. Denmark, as it turns out, is just particularly strict, while many countries vary pretty wildly. 

Let's start with the initial subject of this Snapple "real fact" - Denmark. Denmark does indeed have a list of approximately 7,000 government-approved names. One can apply for special permission through their local church, then the government reviews it. They are so strict that they actually reject 15-20% of submitted names. A few banned names: Anus, Pluto, and Monkey. 

According to the earlier linked Mental Floss article, here are a few rules of note:

  • Names must indicate gender 
  • Creative spellings of approved names are largely not allowed
  • Last names can't be used as first names and vice versa
  • Part of the rationale is to protect "rare Danish last names" 
Image source

Image source

 

In 1982, Sweden enacted the "Naming Law," which was originally designed "to prevent non-noble families from giving their children noble names," but it has since evolved. First names can't be offensive or "cause discomfort" for the individual bearing it, you can only change your name once, and you must keep at least one of the original names you were given if you do change your name. A few banned names: Metallica, Superman, Veranda, Ikea, and Elvis. Interestingly enough, they specifically allow "Goole" as a middle name, and Lego is an approved name. 

The US has its own federal naming laws, but it also varies wildly from state to state. Some states ban obscenities, some states (such as Kentucky) have no name laws at all, and in some cases, courts interpret the right to name a child whatever the parents' want as a matter of Free Speech (1st amendment clause) and Due Process (14th amendment clause). California actually doesn't allow for diacritical marks (ex. José, Noël), and some states limit the number of letters a name can have for record-keeping purposes. 

To close it out, here's an article from Business Insider that lists some interesting banned names by country! Enjoy, and if you live in Germany, do not name your kid "Stompie." 

 

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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"!

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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...

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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 #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"!

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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.

http://nationalviral.com/trendsimages/honey-nut-cheerios-will-no-longer-have-a-bee-on-the-cereal-box.jpeg

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.   

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/10/Winniethepooh.png

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."

sneeze 2.jpg

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. 

popesneeze_0.jpg

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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Benevolent Cabbagepatch Image Source

Pope Sneeze Image 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!

 

 

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