Sunday, January 29, 2006

True or False? Part One

I love the show "Mythbusters." It's a great program on the Discovery Channel that attempts to either debunk a common myth or prove that the myth is in fact truth. They answer if it's possible to use an umbrella as a parachute or if dropping a penny from the Empire State Building could in fact kill a pedestrian down below. If you haven't seen the show, you need to - as the two hosts enjoy blowing things up.

I decided to do my own little mythbusters posts about things we all have heard and are common, everyday beliefs. Here are just a few interesting scientific "mysteries" that seem to have questionable explanations. True or False...

Yawning is "contagious."
We've all expereinced such a phenomonon. Someone near you yawns, and soon you yourself are yawning right along. You can easily set a chain reaction of yawns in any room. Why we yawn is actually still a mystery. The thought that we yawn in order to rid our bodies of extra carbon dioxide to get more oxygen into our lungs was shown to be incorrect by Dr. Provine's research in 1987.

Recent studies have shown that between 40-60% of the population finds yawning contagious. Why is that? Scientists believe it might be a remnant of an important social instinct from early man. They believe it was a way for a group to feel cohesive...or perhaps to signal to the group that it was time to sleep.

Although there are still questions to be answered, it's safe to say that this one is TRUE. Yawning, for some reason, seems to be "contagious." Even chimps have exhibited this behavior. I think researches should also investigate the contagiousness of farting.

* * * *

The five second rule works.
Many of us live by the "five second rule" when it comes to accidentally dropping food on the floor. You drop your buttered roll onto the floor, and if you pick it up within 5 seconds, it's pretty much germ-free and you can eat it without fear. Perhaps you are one of those that extends the five seconds to 10 seconds with particular favorites or treats. You drop a piece of chocolate, many of us will eat that thing a week later off the kitchen floor. In college, it was common knowledge the 10 second rule was the drunk version of the 5 second rule.
So is the five second rule true?

Unfortunately, several studies have shown that when both dry and wet foods are dropped onto a floor contaminated with bacteria (such as E.coli), the food becomes contaminated instantly. Even if picked up less than 2 seconds, that piece of food has germs sticking to it.
The good news is that most household floors are generally clean.

Sorry folks, unless you want to have the runs by dinner time, lose the five second rule - because this belief is FALSE.
* * * *

Men think about sex every 7 seconds.
I've heard this scientific statistic quoted by television shows and magazines for years. The logic here is that since men are genetically and instinctively made for mass pro-creation, men must think about sex often. There was some sort of scientific investigation, and the results were startling. Men think about sex every 7 seconds. That's over 12,000 sexual thoughts per 24 hour period!

How on earth would you even measure such a thing...have a participant sit there in an empty room and write little tick marks every time he thought about sex? Impossible. The most recent widespread poll was taken by ABC Primetime in 2004. They found that around 70% of men think about sex every day, women were HALF that. 43% of men think about sex several times a day, women were at 13%.

I'm sure there are men that think of sex a whole lot every day, but over 12,000? I doubt it. Maybe Charlie Sheen does, however.

So this statistic about the male libido is FALSE.

True or False, to be continued...


siren said...

All this time, I thought it was my cooking that was giving everyone the runs, when all along it was the things they were eating off of the floor. Boy, do I feel relieved :)

Tasa said...

I love mythbusters =) They did an episode on contagious yawning and the 5 second rule... I can't remember but I think they couldn't prove the yawning one because people wouldn't start yawning, or something (I didn't see the whole thing)
Buster is the best character on the show ^_^
oh! and my site is back up, still some problems though

Jim said...

Did you see this week's Mythbusters, setting fire to boats using mirrors, I can hardly wait til summer!

Yawning girl probably just cost her daddy an ambassadorship. [I thought it was laughter that's contagious????]

The five-second rule is irrelevant in any household with a dog.

I do think about Charlie Sheen every seven seconds, or 12,342 times a day, 4,504,830 times a year. That's probably why I yawn so much and drop things.

kim said...

Jim - I just watched the Archimedes death ray one and it was AWESOME.

As for yawning - true. If I look at my dog and yawn, she yawns too.

:P fuzzbox said...

I had thought of a witty response but after 7 seconds of thought my mind wandered to sex and I can't remember what it was.

Jamie Dawn said...

My son has Mythbusters set on our DVR. I like to sit & watch it with him sometimes. Jamie & Adam are like big kids. What a cool job they have!!!

These true/false things are cool. I look forward to the next installment. I just yawned... did you?

the weirdgirl said...

I will still pick chocolate off the floor to eat it... right after I think about sex, oh and then yawn (fart) at my husband to tell him he should go to bed.

David Amulet said...

I have only seen Mythbusters a few times, and one of them was yawning. They were unable to prove the "contagious yawn" hypothesis.

My problem with Mythbusters is that they (necessarily) make assumptions that make a test possible but remove the experiment from reality -- in some cases too far to make the results fully applicable.

(In the time it has taken me to type this message, I have thought about sex twice.)

-- david

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

I LOVE The Mythbusters! And I do so think yawning is contagious!!!

You ever see that show "Dirty Jobs"? It has nothing to do with Mythbusters but it's pretty interesting too (albeit gross sometimes!)

Laurie said...

Whenever I see someone yawn, I do the same. Love that picture of the Bush twin - she feels like the rest of us do when dear old dad's around, apparently! ;-)

KC said...

What about stretching after a good yawn? Is stretching contagious also?

Sex. OK. There... I've thought about it for the first time today. Maybe I'll think about it again later. Maybe not.

Nan said...

At our house we actually do communicate by farting.
Great to see that you are still going strong - as for me - I am back!!

We don't have a Tv so I haven't seen mythbusters :( darn.

Laura:) said...

Man, I don't know. I always thought it was normal to think about sex. Not maybe the actual act but things surrounding it. Like my coworkers ALL guys, always implying things about sex. The internet, from blogs about thinking about sex to "do you have a significant other". TV with talk about Angelina and Brad or Charlie Sheen. I don't know, I probably think about sex every 4 seconds.

The Phoenix said...

Mythbusters is lots of fun to watch, but some of their methods are questionable. To me, as long as they are blowing stuff up, it's all good.

"Dirty Jobs" is also a great show. It makes you appreciate the job you have...because cleaning bird crap off of statues isn't that fun afterall.

Nice to hear from you Nan, it's been a very long time.

I think bloggers think about quitting blogging once every 30 minutes. I wonder if there's a study we can do to prove/disprove that.

angel, jr. said...

That sucks that you disproved the five second rule. There goes most of my backyard barbeque parties.

AnonymousCoworker said...

I love Mythbusters!

Kid Jacque said...

I think I yawned 8 times while reading the post.


I love mythbusters!! I think I have seen most every episode. Oh and dirty jobs! It makes me appreciate my crappy cube job.

BrianAlt said...

Mythbusters is great!

I loved the one when they were throwing the manequin out of a window while holding a plank, because the plank supposedly once allowed someone to fly.

Another good one, can a ceiling fan decapitate a man? They went so far as to use a lawnmower for a fan, motor and blades! It did some severe damage to the dummies head, but it couldn't cut it off.


The Phoenix said...

I suspect that dropping a potato chip on the lawn is long as you don't have dogs that go poop and pee on your lawn.

One interesting mythbusters episode debunked the myth about the dangers of being on a cell phone at a gas station. No explosion at it's ok to talk on a cell while getting gas.

However, the real danger is static electricity and getting gas. I always make sure to ground myself by touching the car before pumping gas.
That's helpful information!

Grafs said...

I thought it was the 30-second rule :)

Etchen said...

Great post! I am so addicted to this show!

ozymandiaz said...

You are right on track for the first two but the third myth has a serious misconception in it. The idea that to think of sex every seven seconds equals 12,000+ thoughts a day is just ludicrous. The truth is it could be just one thought. I mean, think about it like this, were does a man’s blood go when he thinks about sex? Hmmm? Exactly. It’s not like blood deprivation in the brain promotes a lot of mental activity. And it is not every seven seconds, per se, it is one seventh of the time. You know seven is a divine number.
So it breaks down like this: The male brain is engaged in some type of sexual thought process for one seventh of the day (on an average) which equals about 3.4 hours a day.

The Phoenix said...

I think as long as we acknowledge the truth...which is most men think about sex quite a bit, more often than women on average...then we're on the right track.

To quantify it by how many thoughts per minute or whatever is pretty crazy.

Sherri said...

Oh, very weird! We were just talking about all of this in the production managers meeting on Friday. Perhaps you and Jim seen the same episode?

delmer said...

There is certainly that period just after ejaculation (the refractory period) in which a man stereotypically does not think about sex for about 20 minutes (typically).

It is during this time he's thinking:

- I hope she doesn't want to cuddle
- Where's the remote
- How can I get out of here

We can't help it. It's the way we're wired. In caveman days maybe we used this time to hunt and gather. Today we just sort of snore and drool.

Jim said...

so the only way to keep from thinking about sex all the time is to engage in it every 20 minutes, so I can cut back a little -- that will leave me with more time to blog and eat oysters.

mythbusters, American chopper, dirty job, and the rest are purposely not scientific or educational -- they were added to make the Discovery Channel less like PBS -- they are meant to be entertainment, just like the Psychic Friends Network.

the scary thing is to remember what The Learning Channel (part of Discovery) did to Trading Spaces -- are we going to have Mythbusters: Home Edition, Mythbusters: The Wonder Years, Dustbusters: Housewives on Meth.

The Phoenix said...

Sherri, have the most prodcutive production meetings ever.

Delmer, Usually - the first thought during my refractory period is "I need a towel."

Jim, How about a crossover show - Trading Spaces: Mythbusters edition. The mythbusters team goes to a designer's house, and blows all his/her crap up.

Ben Heller said...

I'm wondering whether they used a room full of Michael Douglas's for that 7 second experiment.

He's regularly wooden.

Big Pissy said...

The yawning thing~ doesn't surprise me at all....

Eve said...

That is my ALL TIME FAVORITE SHOW. Ummm, Phoenix. I would say that bloggers think about quitting more OFTEN than every 30 minutes... ;)

Sweetie, by the way, are you sure you are in sales?? Statistician on our hands... ;)

Shamus O'Drunkahan said...

Thank god farts are not contagious.

Fated said...

haha oh man, this is a great post. I look forward to part two :)

The Phoenix said...

Michael Douglas makes me nauseous...then I see him Catherine Zeta Jones, and I really wanna hurl.

NWG, yeah - I'm in sales. The thing is, by nature I'm really anti-math, anti-statistics. Even before sales, I was an English teacher. But my first foray into sales was commercial finance - so I was forced to become a numbers person. I am forever scarred.

Shamus, I do think farts are contagious. Especially within a group of goofy guys.

Pixie said...

Question Pheonix: When men see a hott movie star on tv do they think about sex then or do they just appreciate how hot she ( Or he) looks?

The Phoenix said...

A man's answer:

What's the difference?

(I hope that helps answer your question)

Sar said...

This is my favorite post of yours today, Phoenix. I love the spin of humor you give it, and the pictures! Mythbusters are awesome.

Dirk the Feeble said...

This is actually a good post, but you should know that you can't test The 5 Second Rule because it defies the laws of nature. It has magical properties and therefore no test accurately reflects it's abilities.

The Phoenix said...

True, you can't test for magic exists beyond the laws of science.

PDD said...

I don't need a test to tell me I think about sex over 12000 times a day, and I am a female. True.

Pixie said...

I would of thought there was a difference? I mean when I see Brad pitt on TV I dont think about screwing him.....I just appreciate the beauty heh ;)

Anhoni Patel said...

Phoenix this is awesome. I actually yawned while reading the first point on the conatagiousness of yawning.
Damn, there goes my ten second rule.

Jim said...

OFF TOPIC -- how's Snoopy?

The Phoenix said...

Snoopy decided to rip out his stiches the day after his surgery.

So I brought him back to the vet. He's wearing the lampshade so he doesn't bite his incision, and I bought this parka to prevent him from scratching.

Here's the weird thing: the vet (who's a close family friend) said he found something strange inside the cyst. It was a tiny fragment of a bone stuck in the middle of this golfball sized cyst. He couldn't figure out how it got there. He said, from the nature of the bone and placement, it's almost as if he was struck by a sharp bone.

Snoopy was neglected and abused early in life, but I rescued it would make sense to me.

The little beagle is going to be just fine. Thanks for asking.

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