The think tank: Little we know


Few days ago, I dowloaded an App called Tricky Questions, in which you have to answer correctly up to 100 puzzles that require that you think out of box, sometimes logically, and quite often, unconventionally. Now, with only 30 questions to go, I can actually say that if this game teaches you something is that we are full of assumptions and that, sometimes, our brains just go through life in “autopilot” mode, without us questioning our way of thinking and reasoning. 

At the same time, being a student requires that you are critical, and that you inform yourself properly. Myths are born quickly, and die slowly. Misconceptions and misinformation are two of the biggest problems we face nowadays, and they can definitely make you look at some topics from a perspective based on pure conjectures and with inexisting scientific basis.

I understand that most people are quite strong in their beliefs, and once you think something is one way, it is hard to prove a person otherwise. But all of these ideas led me to do some research about those widespread (but wrong) ideas, beliefs and facts. Hopefully, you’ll find this interesting, suprising and even eye-opening.

We only use 10% of our brains

This myth started in the 1800s, when scientist William James wrote his thoughts on how humans only use a small percentage of their brain capabilities. Truth is, most of the brain cortex works at full capacity even when we are sleeping. The fact that some people chooses not to exploit the power of their own minds, is another story…

Pigeons Blow Up If You Feed Them Uncooked Rice

Not really. There has never ever been documented any bird explosion caused by rice consumption. This is probably a myth created by couples who wanted to avoid spending the first hours of their life as wife and husband cleaning up rice grains out of their clothes and hair…

The Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure visible from Space

Ironically enough, the Great Wall is actually not so easy to see from a close orbit of 180 miles — not because it is not large enough, but because its colors are too similar to its surroundings. In addition to this, astronauts’ descriptions and photographs have shown that some airports and highways can be seen from orbit as well.

Thomas Edison was the inventor of the lightbulb

Calling Thomas Edison the “inventor” of the lightbulb is incorrect. He did not create it per se, although we can attribute to him developing it in a commercially successful manner. In 1809, Englishman Humphry Davy created an arc lamp. A decade later, Warren de la Rue built the first sealed lightbulb and in 1840, William Robert Grove lit an entire room of lamps. Eight scientists and three patents later, Edison expanded on previous ideas and created a longer-lasting, cheaper product.

Stress is always bad for you

Most people think that zero stress equals health and happiness. But the fact is that some stress can keep us focused and efficient. The problem is that most people do not know how to manage it; and then it is when it becomes hurtful for our mental and physical health.

«Quotidian serendipity» is a column about everything and nothing. Columnist Aneley Lampugnani writes about whatever is on her mind.


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