I'm amazed by people who can sleep eight hours a night. If I sleep that much I feel like I got hit by a truck the next day. I prefer six to seven hours of sleep per night. I guess I'm lucky because scientists recently discovered that eight hours a night is too much.


Add the "eight hours of sleep" myth to the eight 8-ounce glasses of water you were supposed to drink per day, the food you weren't supposed to eat before swimming, and the huge amounts of bread you were supposed to eat for a healthy diet.

Seriously, is there ANYTHING I learned when I was a kid that is true?

I'm reasonably sure that if I make a funny face, it will not get stuck in that position. If I go outside without a jacket, I won't catch a cold no matter how much the words cold and cold sound alike. And all of my friends who smoked cigarettes ended up taller than me.

What baloney did you learn as a kid?

Rank Up Rank Down Votes:  +17
  • Print
  • Share


Sort By:
-3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 11, 2008
That if my sperm count was less than 150,000,000 I could no provide my wife with kids. Earlier I was told that a virgin swimming in an Olympic pool with a single spermatozoa of mine was sure to get pregnant. Her even walking by the pool was iffy.
Jun 11, 2008
It's interesting that the story has links to other stories, all of which talk about how sleep deprivation (that is, getting less than about 8 hours) is bad for you. And as many others have said, there are lots of flaws in the study. My guess is that the people who sleep less are working for that extra hour, and thus earning enough to pay for a healthier lifestyle or better health care, or they're exercising.

Eating before swimming can give you a cramp, you just have to eat a lot (because blood that would normally be helping your limbs do their moving thing is going to the digestive organs). Have you ever gone swimming right after thanksgiving dinner?

Drinking 8 glasses of water per day can be good for dental health, in addition to being a good prevention of dehydration (mineral loss from over drinking can be an issue, but is rare compared to dehydration symptoms), because it rinses your mouth repeatedly. Also, drinking water occupies your mouth in a way that isn't junk food.

Going out in the cold can cause a cold (as explained in another comment) due to a weakened immune system.

Your friends who smoked did it because they were going to end up being seven feet tall otherwise, and they hated basketball. Alternatively, the "stunts your growth" was referring to long term, because by smoking you die sooner, so you do less growing (not height, but regeneration of cells and the like).
Jun 11, 2008
I was always taught that my life was a just a path towards some mythical goal. Like the whole purpose of my childhood was preparation. That middle school was just preparation for high school, which prepared me for college, which trained me for a job that I could rise to the top in. Eventually I would reach the summit and be happy and rich. As you start growing up you realize you need to stop always looking forward, and balance your life between goals, and enjoying the present.

It might be necessary to teach kids this thought process to motivate them, but it's a habit thats hard to break, even as an adult.

Jun 11, 2008
I was told that if I did not eat bread with meat that I would get worms.
Jun 11, 2008
<i>What baloney did you learn as a kid?</i>

Don't believe everything that you read.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 11, 2008
How about, "sugar is bad for you, you should use saccharine or aspartame instead."
Jun 11, 2008
This reminds me of the old Woody Allen movie, "Sleeper," when Woody is revived from cryogenic freezing in the distant future after being frozen following a botched hernia operation. One doctor of the later time is querying the other on what Woody's character did in "old" New York. The second doctor says, "He ran a thing called a 'health food store'." The first doctor says, "Health food store? What's that?" The second doctor replies, "The people of that era believed that it was healthy to eat things like whole grains and vitamins." The first doctor says, "What? Did they have no Big Macs? Did they have no Hot Fudge Sundaes?" Each generation seems to find a way to say that what the fomer generation did in all things was wrong. Which then gets contradicted by the next following generation.

It's interesting that you present that study about eight hours being too much sleep today. Just yesterday on Dr. Dean Edell's show, he reported on a Stanford study that said athletes can significantly improve their performance if they increase the amount of sleep they get to ten hours a night. So, you get better athletic performance but you'll be sicker???

Dr. Edell has also weighed in on the eight glasses of water thing. He said that scientists tried to find out where that idea had come from, and couldn't. There is no research that can be found that says anything about it. It seems it's an urban myth that is generally accepted as true. It was probably started by some layman who thought it was a good idea and presented it as fact, and it caught on and was believed. As the Red Queen in "Alice in Wonderland" said, "Sometimes I can believe six impossible things before breakfast." She'd fit right in with our current society.

Dr. Edell also says that you shouldn't take any study by itself to be fact. There are too many things that can affect a single study, and that future studies may well contradict the first after they've been examined and redone. Science requires repeatable results to the same experiment (or study) before conclusions can be drawn - but the news media has no such requirement, so they hype every new study as both earth-shattering and absolutely true. Caveat Emptor.

Just remember, as Dr. Michael Crichton says, there is no such thing as consensus in science. There is no consensus that E=MC squared. There is no consensus that the sun rises in the east. These things are facts. Whenever you hear that some group of scientists has reached consensus on an issue, you can be pretty sure that something other than science (read, "politics" and "grant money") is involved.

Anthropogenic global warming is only the latest example of consensus. And that consensus is slated to cost the world $45 trillion (yes, with a "T"), by latest estimates, to "fight." Remember, the total US budget is around $3 trillion. This is really nothing to do with science, but a lot to do with money and power. Not to mention that the earth hasn't increased temperature in the last ten years, and preliminary figures indicate that 2007 was a cooler year than 2006. But you won't hear that leading the nightly news. Political correctness dictates that AGW is real, so to the mainstream media, it is.

So keep your hands on your wallets, folks, because a wave of taxation and laws are coming that are going to make Stalinist Russia look like the early days of free-wheeling, lassez-faire capitalistic Hong Kong. God help us all.
Jun 11, 2008
Your face will freeze like that.
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 11, 2008
1) If you sit too close to the TV, you'll get square eyes
2) If you swallow gum, it can tie your bones together
3) It's illegal to get a perm if you're under 14 (I was an 80s child, and my mother found lying easier and quicker than reasoning with me. I believe that those two facts are unrelated!)
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 11, 2008
One of the worst things I learned as a kid was to believe every "scientific" study that comes out, and follow it until the next "scientific" study comes out that contradicts it.

Seriously, I feel my best when I get 8 hours of sleep, and I feel horrible if I don't get about 64 ounces of water per day. I like to feel my best, so I'm going to sleep and drink as much and as often as it suits me!

Too often, I have a lot to do during a week and I only get 6.5 hours of sleep per night, and by Friday night I am a corpse! We're all different, we all have different lifestyles and activity levels, and some of just need more time to recover than others.
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 11, 2008

Jun 11, 2008
Let's just say I'm not blind.
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 11, 2008
That I would someday need to calculate the height of a flagpole using its own shadow.
That if I stepped on a crack, I'd break my mother's back. (They were wrong - it was actually her leg that broke.)
That strippers hated their jobs and were really sad inside.
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 11, 2008
Theory of marriage.

I've been told many things about my perfect match: someone just like, someone who is my opposite, someone who accepts my faults etc.

I had previously concluded that a perfect marriage was two people who had identical tolerance for cleanliness: if you like clean and he doesn't care, then he's being nagged and you're always disgusted. I wonder if having identical sleep needs helps too.
Jun 11, 2008
Paul Graham wrote an essay recently on lies parents tell their kids:
Jun 11, 2008
My God, there are so many things wrong with that study that it's amazing. Too bad so many people will just take your word for it.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 11, 2008
One thing I learned that is still true is "Eat your vegetables, they're good for you!"
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 11, 2008
In Hungary kids are often told the more carrots they eat, the better they would be able to whistle.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 11, 2008
I haven't been overly exposed to !$%*!$%* from my parents, but there are lots of other sources. I think my favorite is the picture and warning on cigarettes (at one time) that claims cigarettes cause !$%*!$%* dysfunction!
I never bothered to check if there is any truth to it, as I don't smoke, but damn if that ain't some good anti-marketing!

Teenage mentality to smoking:
Smoking will kill you => I am cool cause i smoke!
Smoking causes !$%*!$%* dysfunction => Oh !$%* I'm quitting NOW!

And the sleep study is backwards....people who are very sick have strange sleeping habits...so the people who slept the most or the least are the ones who died, because they were the most sick, not because they slept too much or too little.

I agree with RavenBlack's quote below:

I'm pretty sure the causation will be the other way around - you sleep lots because you're doing something else unhealthy, you're not unhealthy because you sleep lots.

Also, being cold actually does help in getting a cold, albeit not directly. Your immune system is less effective when you're cold. This is why pneumonia particularly has a link to being cold and wet, even though pneumonia hardly sounds at all like cold or wet.
Jun 11, 2008
Anyone can be President

Get the new Dilbert app!
Old Dilbert Blog