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List of Common Misconceptions (wikipedia.org)
52 points by Cactus2018 on May 22, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 15 comments

I found this one interesting:

> There was no widespread outbreak of panic across the United States in response to Orson Welles's 1938 radio adaptation of H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds. Only a very small share of the radio audience was even listening to it, and isolated reports of scattered incidents and increased call volume to emergency services were played up the next day by newspapers, eager to discredit radio as a competitor for advertising. Both Welles and CBS, which had initially reacted apologetically, later came to realize that the myth benefited them and actively embraced it in later years.

I also had no idea this was something that needed to be stated in order to correct a common misconception:

> Infants can and do feel pain.

> This is a list of common misconceptions. Each entry is formatted as a correction; the misconceptions themselves are implied rather than stated.

This "misconception" -- or rather, its labeling as such -- annoys me to no end:

>Shaving does not cause terminal hair to grow back thicker (more dense) or darker. This belief is due to hair that has never been cut having a tapered end, whereas after cutting the edge is blunt and therefore thicker than the tapered ends; the cut hair appears to be thicker and feels coarser due to the sharper, unworn edges. The shorter hairs being less flexible than longer hairs also contributes to this effect.

So ... shaving an area of hair for the first time doesn't make it come back thicker, darker, and fuller.

It just looks like it's coming back thicker, darker, and fuller.

When the thing that everyone cares about in this context is it looking like it's thicker, darker, and fuller.

Really stretches the definition of "misconception" to the breaking point. I mean, when you make the exact same predictions over observables that someone without the "misconception" would make ...

You haven't considered the outcome of not shaving, which is also that thick dark hairs grow, but you also have your wispy ends from before, so the overall result is thick, dark and long...

No, the reason the believe persists is because of all the people who have wispy unshaven hair, who think they're improving things by shaving it, but then who have more visible hair than they had before but now have to keep shaving it. This misconception leads you to do exactly the right thing.

I’ve only ever heard “If you shave it, it grows back thicker” in the context of advising someone who wants the hair to be less visible, not more visible. It’s usually given as an argument for why women should pluck or wax rather than shave.

>I’ve only ever heard “If you shave it, it grows back thicker” in the context of advising someone who wants the hair to be less visible, not more visible.

As did I -- where did you get the other view?

I've heard it given as an argument -- like in the popular Seinfeld episode -- that it will be more visible after you first shave and so you have to keep shaving.

It's hilarious that apparantly many people (in the US) think “Edelweiss“ is the national anthem of Austria. In fact, “the sound of music“ is virtually unknown here. The German wikipedia mentions that Ronald Reagan held this misconception when visiting Austria, confusing everybody including the Austrian president by quoting lyrics from the song

"the sound of music" seems fairly well known in the UK too. At least as far as I remember, all references to it I've seen have been in UK media. (I'm German)

I think it was huge everywhere. The movie is #6 on the list of biggest grossing movies of all time, adjusted for inflation. For 6 years it held the record as the highest grossing movie ever.



In a similar vein, there is the list of famous misquotations on Wikiquote:


This should be a never-ending list but hard to moderate with current overflow of misinformation. Atleast wikipedia is still one of the last few you can trust because it doesn't depend on ad revenue and clickbaits.

I feel like this article pops up on HN every few months, and I enjoy going back through it. It surprises me each time how many of these misconceptions I grew up with, and how important it is to keep learning.

The misconception about the biological basis of war is an interesting one. I'm not sure that one is exactly settled after reading the criticism section.


It is not true that lift force is generated by the air taking the same time to travel above and below an aircraft's wing.

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