Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Surprisingly Common Myths Debunked

Myth #1: Jumping out of a plane without a parachute means almost certain death.

This is utter nonsense, likely propagated by skydiving companies, parachute manufacturers, and pilots.  It's perfectly safe to jump out of a plane without a parachute.  As any physicist can tell you, you can only accelerate so much, regardless of the height from which you leap, until you reach "terminal velocity."  Note the pejorative use of the world "terminal" to describe a perfectly safe landing speed.

Proof that Myth #1 is a lie:

College student enjoying a perfectly safe morning jump.  Note that the Red Bull is more dangerous to him than the skydive.

Myth #2: Alligators are dangerous to people.

Pure balderdash.  Alligators love people, and the number of fatalities blamed on alligators is very small--no more than a few a decade, on average.  Even that number is misleading, because most deaths attributed to alligators involve (1) confusion between alligators and crocodiles, and (2) cases where the alligator is acting in self-defense after exhausting all attempts at peaceful resolution.

Why do people believe this lie?  Tourism bureaus in California and Arizona, jealous of Florida's tourism industry, have been spending hundreds of millions to spread this misinformation on a worldwide basis.

Proof that Myth #2 is a lie:

Friendly Florida alligator smiles and poses for a picture.
Myth #3: The Moon is a giant celestial body, 1/6th the size of the Earth, and has been around for billions of years.

This one is a little surprising, as twenty-seven astronauts and a number of probes have been to the Moon.  The Moon is, in fact, only a couple of meters in diameter.  Besides the reams of evidence to this effect gleaned from our space activities, it should be obvious to any observer, as mankind has demonstrated no capacity to leave low-Earth orbit.  Since we've been to the Moon and we can't leave LEO, it follows that the Moon is in LEO.  A giant, planet-like body couldn't be that close to the Earth, Q.E.D. the Moon is very small.

Proof that Myth #3 is a lie:

Men constructing the Moon in 1910.
The Apollo 11 astronauts posing with the Moon.


the innominate one said...

The moon is supposedly 1/6th the size (=volume) of the earth, or the moon is 1/6th the mass of the earth?

Pham Nuwen said...

Fools. The moon was blasted out of orbit years ago. I'm sure there was a post about it once or twice.

Pro Libertate said...


Does it matter? Wrong is wrong.


That was the original Moon. This one is a copy. Come, man, how difficult is it to duplicate something two meters in diameter? Especially a something that disappears monthly, anyway?

Bernie said...

You may very well be correct, Mr. Libertate, but be cautious when proclaiming your beliefs about the moon in public. One never knows if Buzz Aldrin is lurking about.

Pro Libertate said...

Look, I never said he didn't get there, nor did I say he lied about anything. My chin is save. It's not his fault those camera lenses made the Moon look so big while he and Neil were standing on it.

the innominate one said...

That's no moon...

Pro Libertate said...

If it's a space station, what operates it? Hamsters? I find it hard to get scared of a two-meter space station full of hamsters.

Unless it can land on the Earth, that is.