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  #1  
Old 06 February 2014, 03:54 PM
Steve Steve is offline
 
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Default True things that sound false

When you get a kidney transplant, they usually just leave your original kidneys in your body and put the 3rd kidney in your pelvis.

Mammoths were alive when the Great Pyramid was being built.

Humans share 50% of their DNA with... bananas.

http://kottke.org/14/02/true-facts-that-sound-false

The Reddit threads have others as well as some citations. I didn't spot any in either thread that I knew was false, but if anyone knows more than I do, please debunk away.
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  #2  
Old 06 February 2014, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
John Tyler, who became president in 1841, has 2 living grandchildren.
This one will become false if we wait a bit... assuming it's still true; their source is dated 2012. (Apparently they were born in 1924 and 1928. Given that Tyler himself was born in 1790 that's still pretty impressive).
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  #3  
Old 06 February 2014, 04:22 PM
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A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
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I will quibble with this one:
Quote:
If an atom was the size of our solar system, a neutrino would be the size of a golfball, to scale.
An atom has size because it involves forces confining the particles in relation to each other (there is more to it, but that's good enough for now) but being unable to confine them to a superposition on each other for various reasons. The simple particles - neutrinos, quarks, electrons, etc. - do not definitively have a known size. We have tests that show they must be less than some awfully small size, but that is a limitation on the technology. It is believed, I am pretty sure, that the simple particles - those not composed of other particles, as far as is known - are literally infinitesimally small.
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  #4  
Old 06 February 2014, 04:27 PM
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The bat bomb one is true, and the mammoth one is true, if the relevant info on Wikipedia is true.
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  #5  
Old 06 February 2014, 04:37 PM
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Richard W Richard W is offline
 
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ATNM, they may be using "cross section" as a measure of size, which is a concept used in particle physics to measure (essentially) how likely things are to hit each other (well, interact with each other to be slightly more precise). It's obviously not the same as the physical cross-section that we're used to in macroscopic objects but it's kind of analagous so it wouldn't necessarily be misleading in a comparison.

I don't know whether the comparison is true based on that assumption - I might be able to check later - but neutrinos are pretty unlikely to hit things, so it's not obviously wrong either.
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  #6  
Old 06 February 2014, 06:18 PM
Elkhound Elkhound is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
This one will become false if we wait a bit... assuming it's still true; their source is dated 2012. (Apparently they were born in 1924 and 1928. Given that Tyler himself was born in 1790 that's still pretty impressive).
Tyler remarried late in life and fathered children when he was himself a grandfather; so did at least one of the children.
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  #7  
Old 06 February 2014, 06:21 PM
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Emphasis mine:
Quote:
The United States in World War 2 created a bomb that used bats. The bats would be carrying small incendiary charges and would be released from the bomb in mid air, causing them to fly and scatter to different buildings in the area. The charges would then detonate and set all the buildings on fire. It was tested and proven to be very effective.
Not exactly:
Quote:
Unfortunately, real tests did not go as planned. There were all kinds of things that needed to be fine-tuned. For example, at one point, a few of the loaded incendiary bats were accidentally released, whereupon a hangar and general's car were burned (as you can see in the photo below).

Eventually the Marine Corps took over the program and conducted tests beginning in December 1943. After 30 demonstrations and $2 million spent, the project was canceled.
Also, from Air Force Magazine dated October 1990:
Quote:
On May 21, 1943, five drops with bats outfitted with dummy bombs were made from a B-25 flying at 5,000 feet. The tests were not successful; most of the bats, not fully recovered from hibernation, did not fly and died on impact.
{ snip }
in August 1943, the Army passed the project to the Navy, which renamed it Project X-Ray.
{ snip }
Full-scale bomber-bat tests were planned for August 1944. However, when Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King, Chief of Naval Operations, found that the bats would not be combat-ready until mid-1945, he abruptly canceled the operation. By that time, Project X-Ray had cost an estimated $2 million.
From the related Reddit thread:
Quote:
This was actually APPROVED by the government for development and production, and then cancelled because of the atomic bomb.
It definitely wasn't approved for production because the program was canceled when the concept was still being tested. Also, I can't find any evidence whatsoever that the cancellation was related to the atomic bomb. For example, I assume Admiral King would not have been informed about the atomic bomb.

Brian

Last edited by BrianB; 06 February 2014 at 06:42 PM. Reason: Forgot "was".
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  #8  
Old 06 February 2014, 07:12 PM
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Read This! To late to edit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianB View Post
For example, I assume Admiral King would not have been informed about the atomic bomb.
I was mistaken. It looks like he was informed:
Quote:
The President in giving his approval for these [atomic] attacks appeared to believe that many thousands of American troops would be killed in invading Japan, and in this he was entirely correct; but King felt, as he had pointed out many times, that the dilemma was an unnecessary one, for had we been willing to wait, the effective naval blockade would, in the course of time, have starved the Japanese into submission through lack of oil, rice, medicines, and other essential materials.
Still, that doesn't convince me that his decision to cancel Project X-Ray was related to the bomb. He could have made his decision based purely on costs.

Brian
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  #9  
Old 06 February 2014, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianB View Post
It was effective, just not accurate.
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  #10  
Old 06 February 2014, 09:33 PM
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A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
ATNM, they may be using "cross section" as a measure of size, which is a concept used in particle physics to measure (essentially) how likely things are to hit each other (well, interact with each other to be slightly more precise). It's obviously not the same as the physical cross-section that we're used to in macroscopic objects but it's kind of analagous so it wouldn't necessarily be misleading in a comparison.

I don't know whether the comparison is true based on that assumption - I might be able to check later - but neutrinos are pretty unlikely to hit things, so it's not obviously wrong either.
You may be right, but that then seems rather arbitrary in application, IMHO. It seems to exclude gravitational interaction, for instance, but of course the reaction cross-section for gravitation is the entire universe (with time limitations, and a definite attenuation of effect with distance). Generally size would be a matter of the region from which other similar items are excluded by the object's presence. Generally nuclei will not go through other nuclei; OTOH, there is some give for atoms to pass each other within the range of the electron shells - they are kind of squishy in that regard. The weak interaction - the only force besides gravity recognized by neutrinos - is not generally relevant to size in any meaningful way. But I am open to correction on this.
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  #11  
Old 06 February 2014, 11:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
When you get a kidney transplant, they usually just leave your original kidneys in your body and put the 3rd kidney in your pelvis.
Yep, an example here. (Warning: Pathology pictures)

Some more examples:
1
2
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  #12  
Old 06 February 2014, 11:22 PM
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We share about 50% of our genes with the banana plant, which is not the same as sharing 50% of our DNA with banana. And not really surprising when you consider: You can eat a banana and use the same stuff it does in much of the same ways. As an alien life form says in an Isaac Asimov short story, "Proteins are proteins."
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  #13  
Old 06 February 2014, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
But I am open to correction on this.
I guess it's a bit of a quibble about using the term "size" that goes way back. But whenever we talk about the size of an object, whether it's a galaxy, an elephant, an atom, or a neutrino, we have to define exactly what it means. The definition Richard gives is as good as any and, since Rutherford, I think the most common for these objects. And, actually, since each of the atoms of the elephant don't have a size in the way that we think of size, neither does the elephant itself - no matter how you define that size.
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  #14  
Old 06 February 2014, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beejtronic View Post
Yep, an example here. (Warning: Pathology pictures)
The transplant being labeled as a "pre-owned kidney" is the most hilarious thing I've read in a while.
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  #15  
Old 07 February 2014, 12:00 AM
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Tootsie Plunkette Tootsie Plunkette is offline
 
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Read This!

Quote:
John Tyler, who became president in 1841, has 2 living grandchildren.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
This one will become false if we wait a bit... assuming it's still true; their source is dated 2012. (Apparently they were born in 1924 and 1928. Given that Tyler himself was born in 1790 that's still pretty impressive).
I'm sure this page will be updated when it's no longer true.
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  #16  
Old 07 February 2014, 01:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elkhound View Post
Tyler remarried late in life and fathered children when he was himself a grandfather; so did at least one of the children.
From what I understand, it wasn’t very uncommon for older folks of that era (say post Civil War) to marry young wives. That “tradition” if you can call it that, could have carried on in the early 1900’s, making it unusual by todays standards, but not when you consider that Tyler had his children very late in life making the generation gap not so severe.
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  #17  
Old 07 February 2014, 02:59 PM
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Glasses

Some of his children. He had quite a passel of them.

Seaboe
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  #18  
Old 07 February 2014, 03:43 PM
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This was in my course recently. Many do not see it as true:

Quote:
Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what's behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, "Do you want to pick door No. 2?" Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?
And, of course the true answer is to switch.

I realised it right away, but even now on the course (problem was introduced 3.5 weeks ago) people argue that it is not true.
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  #19  
Old 07 February 2014, 03:53 PM
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They did that one on Mythbusters and their results agree with you.

ETA: Oh, yes and their main experiment was to test whether people would change their selection or stick with their first instinct. They found that most people will stick with their first choice.

I've never heard of this problem before the Mythbusters episode, and until reading a few posts here I didn't get why changing was a good idea. It suddenly hit me why and I feel dumb for not having seen it all along because it's pretty obvious.

Last edited by Sylvanz; 07 February 2014 at 04:10 PM.
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  #20  
Old 07 February 2014, 03:54 PM
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I'm not sure which thought problem causes more arguments, that one or the airplane on the conveyor belt one. Probably the Monty Hall one though.
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