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  • Urban Myths

    Myths which spread like wildfire, possibly for several generations, all the while having no basis in fact.

    Here's a couple to kick-start the thread.

    Placing grass clippings around the trunk os a tree as fertiliser. Trees absorb through the roots, not the trunk, and the practice may instead cause rot. Yet, people see others do it, so think it's what should be done ...the result? Myth.


    Wind gives the skin "wind burn". It can't. No such thing.

  • #2
    Plucking out/waxing/shaving hair will make it grow back thicker and faster. Ironically the reverse is actually more true (for plucking/waxing) as in the process of tearing the hair out of the follicle you are more likely to create dormancy in the papilla (the root bulb like thing at the very base of the hair).

    In the words of the wonderfully witty Descartes

    “Common sense is the most widely shared commodity in the world, for every man is convinced that he is well supplied with it.”

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    • #3
      You're right about plucking/waxing, but I think that shaving does cause regrowth of hair that isn't as fine as it was. No idea about speed though.

      Originally posted by robusto View Post
      Wind gives the skin "wind burn". It can't. No such thing.
      Partly true - even if it isn't the source, the effect can be the same.

      Discovery Health "How Windburn Works"

      For my contribution, the idea that unplugging appliances or switching off those at the socket outlet saves power (bonus points for those that believe that switching off empty socket-outlets saves power). Even with 4 years' worth of formal qualifications I still can't convince my Mum that it's a waste of time and effort and annoying as hell.

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      • #4
        I think the appliance thing has two roots - one is the fear with which the older people were taught to respond to electricity - as part of the cautionary wisdom, making sure to turn things off was seen as necessary. And in a house with kids, it isn't a bad idea - if they pull out the cord the socket is dead if they decide to go probing.

        The other source of the issue is the electronics gear that runs Standby circuits - when power bills skyrocket it is an easy step to seeing the little light as an expensive option and the switch-off behaviour carries over to toasters and the like.

        I wonder how long a standby circuit has to run these days to compensate for the decreased life span of expensive equipment from the constant on/off cycles?

        I'm not sure if it is urban myth or not but I wonder how many people actually think punching the pedestrian crossing button 100 times will make the light change faster? The motorised version are the 'cfreepers' at the lights - do they REALLY think moving forward 15cms will help make the lights change for them?

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        • #5
          Poker machines pay out more according to how much money you've loaded into them (a hangover from the days of illegal pokies)

          (My eyesight is very bad, so forgive typos here) Masturbation makes you blind

          The liver is a repository of toxins and wastes and must be "cleansed"

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          • #6
            [QUOTE=I'm not sure if it is urban myth or not but I wonder how many people actually think punching the pedestrian crossing button 100 times will make the light change faster? The motorised version are the 'cfreepers' at the lights - do they REALLY think moving forward 15cms will help make the lights change for them?[/QUOTE]

            That reminds me of someone I know. She thinks that the house will warm up faster if she cranks the furnace thermostat way up past the comfort zone. She does the same thing with the heater or air conditioner on the car. I can see where that approach works on a car with the old style heater and air conditioner controls that don't have an actual temperature setting. But with the digital controls, it makes no difference.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Dragunov21 View Post
              but I think that shaving does cause regrowth of hair that isn't as fine as it was. No idea about speed though.
              As a qualified hairdresser that practised the craft for 7 years I can assure you that it is not true. Hair once formed is simply a very hard form of keratin, which is a protein based dead cell. Cutting a strand of hair is not like cutting a tree branch or chopping a weed where you are cutting something that is still actively alive; it has no impact whatsoever on the hair itself, nor does it magically send a message to the body to in some way respond or compensate. As shaving is just another form of cutting, the myth that it somehow changes the way the hair regrows is completely false.

              One possible reason that people have held this belief for so long is likely due to the nature of the cut made on the hair itself. When someone cuts or shaves a piece of hair, they make an aggressive horizontal slice through the centre of the hair (think of how you slice a cucumber); however when hair is left to its natural devices, over time the end of the hair burrs and splits and so the end becomes tapered. This has the effect of making the hair feel softer on the end, conversely, when hair is freshly cut it can feel much rougher/sharper on the end.

              Myth busted :P

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              • #8
                Originally posted by joes View Post
                That reminds me of someone I know. She thinks that the house will warm up faster if she cranks the furnace thermostat way up past the comfort zone. She does the same thing with the heater or air conditioner on the car. I can see where that approach works on a car with the old style heater and air conditioner controls that don't have an actual temperature setting. But with the digital controls, it makes no difference.
                If you have a poorly tuned PID, doing this turn on the element faster/for longer and thus get you to temperature faster.

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                • #9
                  @Caneurysm - Off topic a bit I know, but over the years I've had a number of women tell me they wished they'd never started shaving their legs because once they did it was more visible and thicker. Is that just a product of the slice effect you talk about? One gf was in her early 30's when she first started (she moved to the smoke and felt she needed to 'clean up' for her executive job) and said nobody ever noticed she didn't do her legs until she started shaving.

                  Admittedly it's only hearsay, but there's been 4 or 5 over the years say the same thing.
                  [/off topic]

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                  • #10
                    I must admit, when I get in a car on a hot day, the aircon goes on low till it starts to give cooler air, then it goes maximum cold and 4 on the fan. It may not be so but it sure FEELS like the car cools faster...
                    That reminds me of someone I know. She thinks that the house will warm up faster if she cranks the furnace thermostat way up past the comfort zone.
                    Maybe she thinks the thermostat makes the flame bigger if it is cranked up?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Journeyman View Post
                      I'm not sure if it is urban myth or not but I wonder how many people actually think punching the pedestrian crossing button 100 times will make the light change faster? The motorised version are the 'cfreepers' at the lights - do they REALLY think moving forward 15cms will help make the lights change for them?
                      The pedestrian crossing thing irritates me, probably because I'm a qulified Electronic Engineer

                      Actually, depending on where you are in the intersection moving may help, sometimes the induction pads don't trigger properly, that said though, most of the edgers are already past the pad...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hildy View Post
                        If you have a poorly tuned PID, doing this turn on the element faster/for longer and thus get you to temperature faster.
                        Thermostat, dude.

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                        • #13
                          "digital controls".

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                          • #14
                            Speaking as a qualified HVAC tech, digital would typically refer to binary or on/off control, as distinct from analogue 0-100% signals (rather than digital/analogue being used to denote the technology used to provide control). The majority of domestic digital temp controllers do not employ PID control.

                            If you want to argue it further, PM me.

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                            • #15
                              Urban Myths

                              Originally posted by jbrewster View Post
                              The pedestrian crossing thing irritates me, probably because I'm a qulified Electronic Engineer

                              Actually, depending on where you are in the intersection moving may help, sometimes the induction pads don't trigger properly, that said though, most of the edgers are already past the pad...
                              And often the buggers are so poorly calibrated they don't work at all for motorcycles. So if you see a biker rolling back and forward on the spot, swearing into his helmet, now you know why!

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