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.

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Snap Judgment #29: Trailer Misnomer

SNAPPLE FACT #1455: Movie trailers used to come on at the end of movies, but no one stuck around to watch them

Verdict: True

So this one is pretty straight-forward, but I still found it fun to look through. First off, I don't know about the rest of you, but I never really thought about the etymology of "movie trailer." The definition is in the name - the sneak peak/ad/teaser/etc. is supposed to be at the tail-end of the movie. As they quickly discovered, this was very ineffective. The practice did not last long. I've actually had trouble finding when it phased out, but I imagine it's hard to pinpoint that sort of information as it probably wasn't a simultaneous, nation-wide (or international) decision. So now that that interesting little factoid is explored and easily proven, I wanted to go into some fun history/historical factoids about movie trailers, as this turned out to be way more interesting. 

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My next stop in researching trailers was locating big "firsts" and/or trends over time. I stumbled across this very clever and simple interactive presentation on the history of movie trailers. This is worth checking out to start getting your bearings on larger trends as it's SUPER broad and stripped down. According to Filmmakeriq (as well as wikipedia, the above presentation, and a few other sources, so I'd say there's a near-consensus on this), the first trailer was in 1913 and was the brainchild of Nils Grunland, advertising manager of Marcus Loew theaters. He produced a short promotional film showcasing actual rehearsal footage from the Broadway play, Pleasure Seekers. Yup, the first trailer wasn't actually for a movie. 

So at this point I was neck deep in all sorts of history about movie trailers and a bit overwhelmed. I had about 3 different sections going and I felt the flow wasn't good and the research needed more shoring up, so I decided to strip a bunch of it and end on this fun note, as I believe I want to revisit this topic for a patreon bonus or something. What aspect of movie trailers so iconic, so memorable, that everyone knows the reference and would want to know more? Why, that's easy. "In a world..."

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"In a world..." is so iconic, a movie about a female vocal-talent called In a World... went to Sundance (and other festivals) and won awards. The title literally references the famous opening catchphrase and iconic voice of Don LaFontaine (1940-2008). Don "Thunder Throat" LaFontaine, AKA Don "Voice of God" LaFontaine, claimed to be the creator of the famed catchphrase, though many others used it as well. According to the New York Times:

In a 33-year career Mr. LaFontaine did voice-overs for more than 5,000 movie trailers, 350,000 commercials and thousands of television promos, including dozens of “Next week on ‘E.R.’ “ spots.

At this point, the infamous "in a world" line is almost exclusively the subject of parodies, as is the distinct tenor and style of his deliveries, but there's no doubt that he had massive impact on the film industry and popular culture. 

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Snap Judgment #26: This Radiation is Bananas


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Verdict: False

Many of you must have heard some form of bananas being radioactive. This is in fact true. Bananas contain a radioactive element called potassium-40, which is not as scary as it sounds. The 40 attached to the name is because it is an isotope. By nature, an atom of any element must have an exact number of protons to be that element. However, the element can have a varying number of neutrons, changing its mass, hence the number at the end of the name (19 protons + 21 neutrons = 40). This can cause instability, and the atom needs to sweat off that excess energy either by releasing an electron, neutron, or proton (this case changes the element to a different one). This is what most know as radiation. So, is this case of radiation dangerous? Absolutely not.  Take a look at yourself. Yes, you. You’re “radioactive” because the human body contains potassium, and the odds are stacked in favor of some of that potassium being potassium-40, so you can bet you have some excess electrons or neutrons or protons pew-pewing around in and out of you.

So, bananas. Turns out it’s just funny because they’re bananas. So much so that in the mid- nineties, an unofficial “Banana Equivalent Dose (BED)” measurement system for radiation emerged. Let’s stick with a better metric, though. Here is a chart from the XKCD guy, listing radiation does in Sieverts. I’ll include a link to the original image since it’s easier to read and very much worth the read.

Goddamn this guy sources well. Anyways, here we see a banana is equivalent to exposure of 0.1 microsieverts. A chest x-ray is 20 microsieverts. Let’s do the math. 20/0.1 = 200




Snap Judgment #23: Happy birthday, you're not special!

#74: You share your birthday with at least 9 million other people in the world.

Verdict: False on a technicality

Let's open with why it says "False on a technicality." Really...that means false, but I'm giving them just a few points (JUST a few) for making a simple mistake. According to ThoughtCo, the odds of you sharing your birthday with anyone should be approximately 1/365 in any population (0.274%). This assumes ~7 billion people at time of article (though it's more accurately around 7.6 billion). Since we now know you share it with .274% of the population, we do the math (.274% of ~7billion): you share your birthday with over 19 million people around the world (19,178,082). So this means that yes, technically Snapple was right saying you shared with over 9 million people (even if it was understated), right? WRONG. Leap Year, yo! 

If you are born on February 29th, you should share your birthday with 1/1461 of the population (0.068%). That means you share your birthday with 4,791,239 people, making Snapple officially wrong. Now this was a fun but short math adventure accented with pedantry and literal interpretations, so I wanted to add a little something extra to the topic. I went ahead and researched some of the most and least popular birthdays. 

Fun Fact: September is the most popular birthday with Winter being the least popular as a whole (Dec-Feb).

Researchers at Harvard University examined births between 1973 and 1999, and found that the most common birth date for those years was Sept. 16 (2006 report), but more recently, Matt Stiles at The Daily Viz created a visualization based on data FiveThirtyEight compiled on births from 1994 to 2014, updating that to Sept. 9th. The data is from the National Center for Health Statistics and the Social Security Administration.

So there you have it. A short one, but we love finding ones where we get to be SUPER petty about why they are wrong, so we couldn't resist. Ok, not "we," me. 


Snap Judgment #22: Polar Assassins

#726: A polar bear cannot be seen by an infrared camera, due to its transparent fur

Verdict: False (technically)

So this one is fun because 1. it's not that crazy when broken down, 2. the images are kind of funny, and 3. it's just overall neat-o. According to Now I Know, scientists were attempting to get a headcount on the number of polar bears in the Arctic, especially since they were hunted up through most of the 20th century. While their natural camouflage can make it tricky, obviously there are a number of devices we can and do use to capture images.

Turns out, due to the many layers of fur and fat trapping body heat very efficiently and "well below skin level," heat-detecting devices such as infrared are rendered all but completely useless. This is why I rated it this "Real Fact" as "false." The translucent nature of their fur (which is accurate) is not the reason they do not show up very well in infrared, but rather it's because the outer layers of their skin are about the same temperature as the air around them. Their face and breath can be reasonably detected, but according to the article, "that isn't enough to go on." Ultimately they've had to settle for tranquilizing and tagging each one individually (can't pay me enough to do that). Side note: Now I Know comes in newsletter form. I've been getting it for probably 5+ years now. Dan does great work so you should definitely consider signing up for it!

A few more tidbits about their ability to stay warm (in -40°C no less). They keep their internal body temperature at around 37°C with their distinct fur coat. It is made up of two main layers: a short and dense "underfur" beneath the skin and an outer layer made of translucent, long, coarse hairs. The translucent hair scatters light which is why it appears white to us. 

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Snap Judgment #20: Moogenetic North

#980: When Grazing or Resting, cows tend to align their bodies with the magnetic north and south poles.


Verdict: Likely

So this was based on a study that originally aimed to prove humans have internal compasses for setting up encampments, since naked mole rats tend to sleep in the southern end of their tiny underground mole homes. Using Google Earth, the researches viewed various tent encampments and checked how they were aligned. I think this may be a flawed study since many campers have actual campers and could be aligning their tents on much less of a hunch than body magnets. Apparently the researchers lost interest in the human subjects and instead ADD’d their way over to a few cow pastures and noticed something interesting: the cows showed a tendency to align themselves along north/south.

The study shifted to cows, resulting in observation (via Google Earth again) of over 8,500 cows in nearly 300 pastures. The trend was starting to be clear. The researches also shifted to another large mammal, the dear, and found the same tendencies in the animals. Many other animals use the earth’s magnetism for navigational purposes, but these are mainly of the flying variety (birds, bats, some insects). The researchers have not found a clear reason yet as to why cows and deer would have this ability for grazing and resting.


Now, here is my theory: warmth. As many people have heard, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Many others also know that getting the sun in your eyes while driving sucks. I think that, magnetism or not, the simple reason for this alignment is a) to avoid getting the sun directly in their eyes and b) to increase the surface area of their bodies that catches the warmth of the sun. This is based off of no research, but if you know any cow researchers, please send them my way.



Snap Judgment #16: The Black Note

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

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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. 

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

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

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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!

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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. 

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Snap Judgment #14: Will Headbang for Food

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

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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.

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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. 


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). 



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. 


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….


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. 


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 


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Snap Judgment #8: Ye Olde Spam

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

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.

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 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?"  


Snap Judgment #7: Incessant Bloodhound Gang

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


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. 


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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Cool technical piece by CIA on usefulness of scent in investigations

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



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. 



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! 


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Snap Judgment #5: Freaky-Deaky Jelly-Fishy

 #18: A Jellyfish is 95% water


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.


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.


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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.

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.

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

Snap Judgment #2: Slippery Myths



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. 


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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