World's most contagious falsehoods

Ten science mythconceptions | Day 94

When was the last time you saw an infographic?1 Even though the use of graphics for presenting data can be dated back many centuries, these days their use has exploded, in part thanks to ubiquitous technology.

I like to think of London-based information designer David McCandless as one of the pillars of modern infographic excellence. If you’ve never heard of him, the website Information is Beautiful is well worth a browse. McCandless explains the appeal of this approach to data:

I’m interested in how designed information can help us understand the world, cut through BS and reveal the hidden connections, patterns and stories underneath. Or, failing that, it can just look cool!

I particularly like the science- and health-themed ones, which often incorporate an enormous amount of research. For example, you can quickly learn about the scientific evidence base for all the most popular health supplements – discovering at a glance what’s promising, what’s most likely to be bunk, and what’s worth keeping an eye on. Brilliant work.

One of the latest graphics that also touches on science, covers 52 of the most common myths and misconceptions – or mythconceptions. They range from law to history to sport, but there are also a few on science, nature, and the body. Below is my pick of ten – do you think any of these are true?

Black holes are actual holes in space

Sharks don’t get cancer

We evolved from chimps

It takes seven years to digest a swallowed piece of gum

A penny dropped from a high-rise can kill

Alcohol kills brain cells

Caffeine dehydrates you

Humans have five senses

Parts of the tongue are allocated to different flavours

Too much sugar causes hyperactivity

To see the full poster and read explanations for each, head over to Information is Beautiful.

Show 1 footnote

  1. If you read my yesterday’s story, there’s your answer.

3 thoughts on “Ten science mythconceptions | Day 94”

  1. Pingback: It's Day 366+

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