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Common Misconceptions

Wikipedia's List of Common MIsconceptions is a good read for everyone. I know most of them, and some are "common sense" if you have a little knowledge and time to think about the concept (like the idea of a black hole having no more sucking power than the star that was there before it - we measure "gravity" from the center of mass, after all).

And then there's the really stupid ones like this:

Humans have more than five senses. Although definitions vary, the actual number ranges from 9 to more than 20. In addition to sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing, which were the senses identified by Aristotle, humans can sense balance and acceleration (equilibrioception), pain (nociception), body position (proprioception or kinesthetic sense), and temperature (thermoception). Other senses sometimes identified are the sense of time, itching, pressure, hunger, thirst, need to urinate, and need to defecate.

Who doesn't know that? I think we all do, but we get caught up in saying "five senses" because that's what we're taught in kindergarten or something.

Also, I knew the cooking ones, and it's disappointing how many times chefs/hosts on cooking shows on TV will talk about searing in the juices or burning off the alcohol.

3 Responses to "Common Misconceptions"

  1. xkcd is pretty good about hitting it right on the head.

  2. I guess it depends on how you define "senses," and no I am not trying to sound like Bill Clinton. It seems to me that the "5 senses" are different from sensing that one must eliminate or evacuate, or having a "sense of time."

    Also, it seems to me that many of the examples listed are derivations of the sense of touch.

  3. Pressure, for example, is different than your sense of touch, which can tell if something is wet, soft, rough, jagged, bumpy, etc.