Misconceptions

Massive Use Of Wind Turbines Could Increase Temperatures

As our fossil fuels run out rapidly and changing conditions damage our planet, we turn to renewable resources for solutions to the ever-looming energy crisis. Wind power has always been lauded as one of the best alternatives, but some studies suggest that wind turbines on a massive scale could significantly raise global temperatures.

The Golden Age Of Cinema Wasn’t When You Probably Think It Was

The Golden Age of Cinema is a blanket term referring to the (supposedly) greatest era in movie-making history. It’s a time when men were real men who invariably wore hats, and when women were femme fatales and glamorous damsels. It was the 1930s to the beginning of the 1950s, but taking a look at the numbers shows that it’s not all it was cracked up to be. It was only when the studios’ stranglehold on the industry broke that we got some of the most creative movies out there, and the so-called Golden Age should be referring to the 1960s and 1970s.

The Moon’s Near Side Is Darker Than The ‘Dark Side’ Of The Moon

Most of us are aware that we Earthlings see only one side of the Moon. Until the Soviet’s Luna 3 snapped a handful of pictures of it in 1959, no one had ever laid eyes on half the lunar surface. This is because the Moon rotates at the same speed it orbits the Earth (every 27.3 days) and keeps the same side facing us. But because the Moon orbits the Sun along with the Earth, the far side is not any darker—or lighter—than the side we’re familiar with. However, Luna 3 and subsequent Apollo missions revealed that that the far side does not have the coffee-colored maria or lunar seas that cover much of the near side.

The Grammatically Incorrect Origins Of ‘OK’

We say it all the time, but until Allen Walker Read, we had no idea where “OK” came from. There were plenty of claims, from a French village known for its rum all the way to army biscuits and German ranks and titles. But Read determined that it was from a rather unlikely source, first used in the Boston Morning Post to mean “Oll Korrect,” combining two fads of the day: initials and misspellings.

Spanking In Schools Has Lasted Longer Than You Might Think

Ohio only stopped corporal punishment in schools in 2009, and it only stopped in New Mexico in 2011. A few years later, it’s still legal in 19 states thanks to a ruling in a 1977 Florida court case that stated schools have every right to hit their students under the Constitution. When students took their school to court, saying paddling and spanking violated their Eighth Amendment rights of freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, the courts said the amendment was designed to protect convicts, not students.

The Shady And Ironic Origins Of Monopoly

According to the official story, Monopoly was created by an unemployed, down-on-his-luck Charles Darrow. Darrow might have created the game as we know it today, but all he really did was do some polishing up and dumbing down of a game that had been invented 30 years before. Elizabeth Magie had spent years creating The Landlord’s Game, patenting it in 1903. Parker Brothers bought her patent for a flat $500; she accepted thinking that they were going to be publishing her game. When a very different version came out, it was attributed to someone else entirely and missing a key component—her set of anti-monopolist rules.

Pets Can Simulate Our Brains Just Like Our Own Children Can

Many have wondered whether we can form close relationships with our pets that mirror relationships formed with human children. A look at the brain activity of women who looked at both pictures of their dogs and pictures of their human children (compared to scans done while they looked at pictures of unrelated dogs and children) suggest that both our furry children and our human ones trigger extraordinarily similar responses in the brain, especially in centers dedicated to emotion and emotional behavior, reward, and the most basic elements of our personalities.

The Prisoners’ Dilemma Tested On Real Prisoners

The prisoner’s dilemma presents two people who can’t communicate with a complicated test of how well people can work together and how much faith a person has in the idea that another will make a choice that will be mutually beneficial. It was only recently that University of Hamburg researchers put the scenario to the test with actual prisoners, pitting them against a group of students to see who was more likely to choose the route that would be mutually beneficial to both. In the end, the prisoners were about twice as likely to go the good route as the students were.

Why Greenland Is Even Smaller Than You Might Think

Greenland is massive. Just look on any old public school map or visit Google maps, and you’ll be able to see how big it is. An enormous expanse of white, it comfortably dwarfs the whole of Europe and is nearly the same size as Canada. Some country, huh?

Of course, Greenland really isn’t that big. At around 2 million square kilometers (770,000 mi2), it’s less than a quarter of the size of Canada. The map we most commonly see is a Mercator projection, a Renaissance-era way of making a map that can easily be used by navigators. But even if we know Greenland is smaller than Canada, it can still shock us to see how small it really is. A new online map called the True Size Map allows users to drag and drop Greenland (or any other country) onto any landmass on Earth. The results will change the way you view maps forever.

When The NRA Pushed For More Gun Control

When the NRA was founded, it was with the goals of teaching marksmanship, preparing citizens for the defense of their home and country, and gun control. While the NRA still does those things today, they’re much more involved in the political side of things. What changed? Increasing gun violence in the 1960s allowed a man named Harlon Carter to take control of the NRA in 1977, catering to the faction of the organization that believed guns needed to stay in the hands of the people. Carter himself had, at 17, been convicted of the shooting death of a 15-year-old.