Tuesday, July 1, 2008

History is More or Less Debunked/Rebunked

Dear Friends,

  The July Hard Taco song is called, "How to Love Your Process." This song will burn into you mind like a scalding vial of folic acid!

Debunking and Rebunking Popular Myths
Referring to something as a "popular myth" would seem to indicate that the veracity of the statement being made is in question. In point of fact, true statements sometimes pretend to be myths because they think it will make them more popular. Who would want to sit at a lunch table with a bunch of Unpopular Truths?

If I haven't already lost you, let's take a superficial look at some of these popular myths.

"Global warming is causing water levels to rise."
Verdict: FALSE
This is sheer balderdash. Water levels are rising, but it has nothing to do with polar ice caps melting. See below.

"Lemmings mindlessly swarm off cliffs as a form of population control."
Verdict: TRUE
Sadly, water levels are rising because the ocean floor is gradually being filled with the carcasses of lemmings.

"Water drains backwards in the southern hemisphere."
Verdict: TRUE
Here's a caveat: Rotini was developed (in Italy) to have a clockwise twist, so the uneaten portions could be flushed down the toilet. Unfortunately, pasta-makers in the southern hemisphere have not yet perfected a flushable counter-rotini. As a result, Australians will not be excused from the table until they eat what they put on their plates.

"No two snowflakes are identical."
Verdict: False
This is pure poppycock and hornswaggle. This myth has been perpetuated for years because no one has ever taken the time to examine snowflakes while they are still in flight. As it happens, snowflakes are exactly the same shape until they land, at which point they are deformed into unique configurations depending upon the angle of impact.

"Eskimos have two hundred words for snow."
Verdict: FALSE
This is a bona fide mound of malarkey. There is only one Inuit word for snow. However, if you punch an Inuit in the mouth while he is saying it, the word will sound different depending upon the angle of impact.

"One human year equals seven dog years."
Verdict: TRUE
Since seven dog generations occur in one human generation, dogs are evolving seven times faster than us. This explains their acutely developed sense of smell. It does not, however, explain their inability to operate a meat thermometer.

"It takes seven years to digest gum."
Verdict: TRUE
Although a dog can digest gum in one year.

"Dog meat is consumed in Korea."
Verdict: TRUE
Korean gum-enthusiasts used to believe that a man could hasten his own digestion of gum by feeding it to a dog, and then eating the dog.  By time this was disproved in clinical trials, the Korean Department of Health had already circulated pamphlets featuring a food pyramid that was founded on a base of dog meat products.

"The Great Wall of China is the only manmade structure visible from space."
Verdict: TRUE
If you heard somebody say, "I spent all afternoon staring at the wall," that person was probably an astronaut. The U.S. Space Program has really faltered in recent years, because there is absolutely nothing to do up there but look at the Great Wall of China all day. Talk about boring!

"You can tell the temperature by listening to the chirping of crickets."
Verdict: TRUE
Below 37 degrees Fahrenheit, crickets all stop chirping and die. If you count the number of times you hear crickets chirping in 15 seconds and multiply by six, and the number you get is zero, you should wear a scarf.

"Sucking on a penny will help you pass a breathalyzer test."
Verdict: TRUE
If you're drunk enough for this to seem like a reasonable course of action, you are probably not going to be able to suck on a penny without violently lodging it in your windpipe. The upside of this eventuality is that you will not be able to exhale at all, so the breathalyzer won't register an incriminating value.

"You can't fold a piece of paper in half more than seven times."
Verdict: UNKNOWN
No one has ever actually tried to do this. What possible purpose could be served by a piece of paper that was folded so many times? Honestly, the exercise would be a silly waste of time. It's better to leave this one unsolved.

"Swimming within an hour after eating causes cramps and may lead to drowning."
Verdict: TRUE

Please note that the Olympic Trials are scheduled to take place immediately before lunch. If, for any reason, they are delayed until after lunch, the team event will be renamed "synchronized aspirating of pool water/floating face down."
"You cannot sneeze with your eyes open."
Verdict: FALSE
…but making a splash as a closing salutation.

You cannot sneeze with your eyes open,