0843: "Misconceptions"

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0843: "Misconceptions"

Postby chridd » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:06 am UTC

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"Grandpa, what was it like in the Before time?" "It was hell. People went around saying glass was a slow-flowing liquid. You folks these days don't know how good you have it."

It seems likely that article would get vandalized a lot that day.

Edit: Really? No one's posted a thread for this yet?
Last edited by chridd on Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:40 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby Paladin65536 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:15 am UTC

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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:18 am UTC

chridd wrote:Edit: Really? No one's posted a thread for this yet?
We're all too busy reading the page. I'm only half-joking.

Most of it is stuff I already knew thanks to The Dictionary of Misinformation (no idea why it's called that, since it's more like an encyclopedia than a dictionary). The real eye-openers were lines like this:
It is a common misconception that seasons are caused by the Earth being closer to the Sun in the summer than in the winter.
What.
cephalopod9 wrote:Only on Xkcd can you start a topic involving Hitler and people spend the better part of half a dozen pages arguing about the quality of Operating Systems.

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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby glasnt » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:20 am UTC

Paladin65536 wrote:For your perusing pleasure.


The article is already locked down, with edits made 'pending review'.

For now, refer to this, people viewing this forum:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?tit ... =405392708
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby Mazuku » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:22 am UTC

In my day when we wanted to know something, we would drag out the old reference books or ask someone smart, now we got this new-fangled technology... its way quicker with the new-fangled technology.

As for the glass as a slow-moving liquid, it just seemed wrong, if it was a liquid, shouldn't the glass conform to a new shape if you put enough pressure on it instead of breaking?
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby nnevvinn » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:36 am UTC

Those tickled by this comic may be interested in lesswrong.com.
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby creaothceann » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:41 am UTC

nnevvinn wrote:Those tickled by this comic may be interested in lesswrong.com.

... and/or HPMoR.
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby RebeccaRGB » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:44 am UTC

OK, Google's giving me nothing. What is significant about the first Tuesday in February?
Stephen Hawking: Great. The entire universe was destroyed.
Fry: Destroyed? Then where are we now?
Al Gore: I don't know. But I can darn well tell you where we're not—the universe!
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby yeyui » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:54 am UTC

First Tuesday in Febuary: The earliest day for primaries in the 2012 election. Thats all I could find. My guess is that is a a date far enough in the future that we have time to make this a reality beginning this year. I say we do this in all grade 6+. Set aside this day in your lesson planning to focus on common misconceptions. You can focus on those relevant to your subject and build a meaningful lesson out of it, or just go through the whole list. I suggest using pre-test to point out to the kids exactly how much wrong ideas they have. It can also be a great lesson on how to find valid information on the internet. You can have them compare the number of places that the incorrect information is repeated as fact online compared to the number of places that the misconception is corrected.


Fellow teachers: Lets make this happen!
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:57 am UTC

Was reading the Wikipedia page thanks to this.

ARGH! DAMN YOU ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER-MORONS! GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER DIDN'T INVENT PEANUT BUTTER YOU LIARS!
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:57 am UTC

yeyui wrote:First Tuesday in Febuary: The earliest day for primaries in the 2012 election. Thats all I could find. My guess is that is a a date far enough in the future that we have time to make this a reality beginning this year. I say we do this in all grade 6+. Set aside this day in your lesson planning to focus on common misconceptions. You can focus on those relevant to your subject and build a meaningful lesson out of it, or just go through the whole list. I suggest using pre-test to point out to the kids exactly how much wrong ideas they have. It can also be a great lesson on how to find valid information on the internet. You can have them compare the number of places that the incorrect information is repeated as fact online compared to the number of places that the misconception is corrected.


Fellow teachers: Lets make this happen!

Let's not bring up US politics here. I'm going abroad for a semester and will be glad to be away for a while. Besides, I likely won't be voting for one of the major parties, so I really don't care about primaries.
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby StClair » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:05 am UTC

A list of common misconceptions. Taken from a site that can be freely edited by anyone.

I SEE NO WAY THIS COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG.
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:07 am UTC

creaothceann wrote:
nnevvinn wrote:Those tickled by this comic may be interested in lesswrong.com.

... and/or HPMoR.

... and/or the BBC panel show QI, which covers more material than Wikipedia's entry and even the aforementioned Dictionary.
cephalopod9 wrote:Only on Xkcd can you start a topic involving Hitler and people spend the better part of half a dozen pages arguing about the quality of Operating Systems.

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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby prosfilaes » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:14 am UTC

Mazuku wrote:As for the glass as a slow-moving liquid, it just seemed wrong, if it was a liquid, shouldn't the glass conform to a new shape if you put enough pressure on it instead of breaking?


I don't see why; if you put enough pressure on water--like someone doing a cannonball into the pool--it will break into many pieces. The test would be if an object put enough pressure on it to break the surface tension but not enough to break the glass, would the object sink into the glass.
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby tennisplaya » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:24 am UTC

I'm not so sure the case is closed on the water-glass stuff. My chemistry professor was telling me a couple months ago about some research he did on glass, and that on the microscopic scale it's indistinguishable from a liquid. It might be a difficult substance to really classify as "solid" or "liquid." He seemed to be in the liquid camp, in fact. I know that it's not like the Gospel or something, but I'm not so readily taking the word of a Wikipedia article...
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Re: 0843: "Misconceptions"

Postby GenericPseudonym » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:35 am UTC

I feel special. I read this page befare the Almighty Randall did, in his infinite wisdom, pass down unto us this wikipedia page.

ALSO: Is it not common practice to have a 4-digit number in the title? You had ought to add a 0 to the beginning.
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby from canada » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:47 am UTC

so today randal just decided to skip coming up with a joke entirely?

"Here go read this wikipedia page, cause you all now how much of a fucking boner it gives me!"


genius

edit: oh and how much of pretenious prick do you have to be to reference a ficticious event happening in the future so people have enough time to actual do it in real life
Last edited by from canada on Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:54 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby Goplat » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:48 am UTC

nnevvinn wrote:Those tickled by this comic may be interested in lesswrong.com.


This post had objectionable content.

Comment removed after user complaint. Any issues, PM me or, rather, please don't. I'm grouchy between the hours of 2pm-1.30pm, and my timezone changes frequently. ~~Felstaff
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby LtNOWIS » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:00 am UTC

I was rather surprised Wikipedia would have such an article; it seems way too indiscriminate to meet their standards. But apparently nobody has tried to delete it since way back in 2006. A positive and useful example of ignore all rulesin action, I guess.

CorruptUser wrote:Was reading the Wikipedia page thanks to this.

ARGH! DAMN YOU ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER-MORONS! GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER DIDN'T INVENT PEANUT BUTTER YOU LIARS!

I learned so many wrong things in school that I'm only now learning were false. The actual truth about vomitoriums I only learned last month, on Wikipedia. Even in high school, my IB history teacher saw fit to give us this factually incorrect essay.
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby pbnjstowell » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:21 am UTC

So. Awesome. This is my type of reading material.

I'm really bummed about the peanut butter thing. I remember learning that in 1st grade.
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby Bruce Springsteen » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:24 am UTC

Wait. The one party Randy attended had a guest saying things that were misconceptions? I just don't get what parties have to do with misconception.

Besides the fact that Randall's conception ruined the Munroes' party. EDIT: ZING!
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby BlueNight » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:31 am UTC

Randall, I have to thank you for two things I learned today.

First, I learned that despite my scoutmaster's insistence, the head loses no more heat than any other body surface. That just means it neads clothes (hats or hoods) during colder weather like the rest of the body.

Second, I learned that humans have invented a microscope that can "see" things so small, you have to use a Scanning Electron Microscope to see the tip.
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Re: 0843: "Misconceptions"

Postby chridd » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:41 am UTC

GenericPseudonym wrote:ALSO: Is it not common practice to have a 4-digit number in the title? You had ought to add a 0 to the beginning.
Fixed.
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Re: 0843: "Misconceptions"

Postby DearAntarctica » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:49 am UTC

@LtNOWIS, this immortalizes it.

Hasn't cracked the top 20... damn lottery.
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Re: 0843: "Misconceptions"

Postby overslacked » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:58 am UTC

At the risk of being a heretic, I was actually pretty disappointed to learn that glass wasn't a liquid.
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby Humanist Geek » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:04 am UTC

When I saw "Religion" in the table of contents of the article, I smiled and joked to myself that religious beliefs — specifically, belief in God — are misconceptions.

I am particularly surprised and saddened by the findings of this poll1 and other fails mentioned in the article, like the thing about seasons. I mean, fan deaths? WTF? *loud laughter.*

But the article doesn't cover all of the western superstitions (ex: astrology, homeopathy, Creationism), nor does it cover the superstitions of other cultures. For example, the Japanese equivalent of zodiac signs is.... blood type. Yep. Many believe that personality, compatibility of couples, etc. are all determined by blood type. So if you're in Japan, and your date asks about your blood type, he/she/xe might not be thinking about blood donations and transfusions.

The article doesn't even cover the idea of luck.

I must say that I did learn some facts reading the article including, but not limited to, Napoleon's true height, knowledge of Earth's spherical nature dating back to Plato and Aristotle, the origin of Danish Austrian pastries, etc. Plus, I now have a stronger counterargument to claims about shaving causing hair growth besides biases and correlation vs causation. Oh, and the strip about airfoils helped steer me towards the truth about that matter.

1. http://www.gallup.com/poll/3742/new-poll-gauges-americans-general-knowledge-levels.aspx
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Re: 0843: "Misconceptions"

Postby Dinoguy1000 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:06 am UTC

I have no idea where I originally read this, but I've read that in the face of eternity, all substances are liquid. Not that this matters on human timescales, nor does it have any real bearing on the current discussion...
How much wood could a woodchuck chuck?

How about a wouldchuck?
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby Humanist Geek » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:09 am UTC

BlueNight wrote:First, I learned that despite my scoutmaster's insistence, the head loses no more heat than any other body surface. That just means it neads clothes (hats or hoods) during colder weather like the rest of the body.


Yeah, the idea that a naked guy with a beanie will loose less heat than a person wearing artic gear sans hat is just plain ridiculous.

Dinoguy1000 wrote:I have no idea where I originally read this, but I've read that in the face of eternity, all substances are liquid. Not that this matters on human timescales, nor does it have any real bearing on the current discussion...

What does that even mean? And if that means what I think it means, who would reasonably predict that the all the helium, the lead, the mountains, the planets, the asteroids, etc. in the universe would ultimately become liquids?
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby Robstickle » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:30 am UTC

Steve the Pocket wrote:
It is a common misconception that seasons are caused by the Earth being closer to the Sun in the summer than in the winter.
What.


I'm sure you already knew this but it's because the different hemispheres are close to the sun at different times. For example right now the northern hemisphere is leaning away from the sun so it's winter here while the south is leaning towards so it's summer there.

Anyways I never knew that people thought eggs were easier to balance on the first day of spring. Shouldn't that fall under superstitious nonsense as opposed to being a misconception?

Lots of interesting things, I never knew that
The Immaculate Conception is not synonymous with the Virgin birth of Jesus, nor is it about a supposed belief in the virgin birth of Mary, his mother. The Immaculate Conception is the Roman Catholic belief that Mary was not subject to original sin from the first moment of her existence, when she was conceived. The concept of the virgin birth is the belief that Mary gave birth to Jesus while remaining a virgin.[156]


I'm slightly disappointed with myself for picking out a religious thing but that's just so surprising I had to.
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby Tengfred » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:45 am UTC

Goplat wrote:
nnevvinn wrote:Those tickled by this comic may be interested in lesswrong.com.


Considering the guy who runs this site is a well-known con artist who's probably just out to part more fools from their money with his phony "charity", I'd take anything posted there with a big grain of salt.

Reminds me of http://xkcd.com/250/
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Re: 0843: "Misconceptions"

Postby FourTael » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:15 am UTC

Funny. I have a list of ten such things. Here are the even numbers of the list (less offensive than the others to some people) (edit: Also mostly easier to explain):

2. Karma means "Do good things and good things happen."
Do good things in this life, and you will reincarnate into a higher position in the next life. Also, karma means, IIRC, work.
4. If not for the Catholic church, we wouldn't've had the Dark Ages
Caused by the Fall of Rome, the church preserved mathematics and literature. Moreover, it was a binding force amongst people in the Dark Ages.
6. Politicians are corrupt. Always. (edit: Heck, even mostly!)
I'm seriously sick of explaining this one. Spotlight fallacy, people.
8. Suicide rates climb around the holidays
They actually drop.
10. Science disproves religion
Haha, no. Again, sick of explaining this one.
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Re: 0843: "Misconceptions"

Postby kharnor » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:22 am UTC

I think these two pages would be much more valuable than the one in the comic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases

Oh to live in a universe where these are taught.
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Re: 0843: "Misconceptions"

Postby Technical Ben » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:37 am UTC

I also got the "glass is a liquid" one when I was a kid. But only cos the [rubbish] encyclopaedia I was using at the time said it was one! :shock: :x
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Re: 0843: "Misconceptions"

Postby Lukeonia1 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:35 am UTC

Some Wikipedia editor wrote:In Korea, it is commonly believed that sleeping in a closed room with an electric fan running can be fatal in the summer. According to the Korean government, "In some cases, a fan turned on too long can cause death from suffocation, hypothermia, or fire from overheating."


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_death

If I had read that article on April 1st I'd have sworn up and down that it was fake. That's just bizarre!

I wonder, what strange things do Americans believe that Koreans find ridiculous? (Besides religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin, that is...)
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby ManaUser » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:42 am UTC

LtNOWIS wrote:I was rather surprised Wikipedia would have such an article; it seems way too indiscriminate to meet their standards. But apparently nobody has tried to delete it since way back in 2006. A positive and useful example of ignore all rulesin action, I guess.

I don't know if this is an official rule, but "list of" articles seem to be kind of a special case. I guess they think of these more like a specialized index rather than an article that stands on its own.
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby Hitaro0 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:02 am UTC

Robstickle wrote:
Steve the Pocket wrote:
It is a common misconception that seasons are caused by the Earth being closer to the Sun in the summer than in the winter.
What.

I'm sure you already knew this but it's because the different hemispheres are close to the sun at different times. For example right now the northern hemisphere is leaning away from the sun so it's winter here while the south is leaning towards so it's summer there.

Just to be clear, Seasons have nothing to do with distance from the sun, it's related to the amount of direct sunlight/length of daytime the area has, caused by the inclination of the planet.
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Re: 843: "Misconceptions"

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:07 am UTC

Steve the Pocket wrote:Most of it is stuff I already knew thanks to The Dictionary of Misinformation (no idea why it's called that, since it's more like an encyclopedia than a dictionary). The real eye-openers were lines like this:
It is a common misconception that seasons are caused by the Earth being closer to the Sun in the summer than in the winter.
What.

There are a large number of people who think that seasons are caused by the relevant hemisphere literally being physically closer to the sun, instead of simply being tilted more or less normal to its rays. Presumably these people can have no comprehension of the tropics or of the Goldilocks Zone.

StClair wrote:A list of common misconceptions. Taken from a site that can be freely edited by anyone.

I SEE NO WAY THIS COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG.

It is surprisingly well-researched, though. When you think about it, if you have a good standard for citations, this is the ideal medium for such a list.

Steve the Pocket wrote:... and/or the BBC panel show QI, which covers more material than Wikipedia's entry and even the aforementioned Dictionary.

QI gets more wrong than it gets right, it seems. At the very least, a lot of what it says is spurious. Specifically, I remember it repeating the misconception that Aristotle miscounted the legs of a fly.

LtNOWIS wrote:The actual truth about vomitoriums I only learned last month, on Wikipedia.

People think Romans actually vomited in vomitoriums? :?

BlueNight wrote:First, I learned that despite my scoutmaster's insistence, the head loses no more heat than any other body surface. That just means it neads clothes (hats or hoods) during colder weather like the rest of the body.

Yeah, I remember hearing a variety of absurd ideas of the head losing anywhere from 40-80% of the body's heat. Of course, nobody really believed it, but they would repeat it anyway.
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Re: 0843: "Misconceptions"

Postby engr » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:08 am UTC

Glass is an amorphous solid. You'd have to heat it to glass transition temperature (which is what glassblowers do) for it to truly become a viscous liquid.
You can argue that it is a highly viscous fluid even below Tg, I'm not a big fan of that viewpoint.
Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions. Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Re: 0843: "Misconceptions"

Postby Agent4286 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:25 am UTC

What i find hilarious is that Mr. munroe is actually guilty of the misconception crime,

The whole joke in Comic 282 "organic Fuel" is based on a misconception in the first twenty on the list of misconceptions page on wiki!
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Re: 0843: "Misconceptions"

Postby Arancaytar » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:58 am UTC

One missing under Under Law:

  • Contrary to the beliefs of many teachers, middle school students are not required by law to read this article on the first Tuesday in February. Unfortunately.

Edit:

I went into this article believing I already knew basically all of these, but I still learned something:

Different tastes can be detected on all parts of the tongue by taste buds,[55] with slightly increased sensitivities in different locations depending on the person, contrary to the popular belief that specific tastes only correspond to specific mapped sites on the tongue.[56] The original tongue map was based on a mistranslation by a Harvard psychologist of a discredited German paper[57] that was written in 1901.


In retrospect, this kind of weird phrenology-like claim should have made me suspicious a long time ago (particularly since I couldn't notice it on my own tongue), but I still thought it was true all this time.
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