Historical Events  Science
Historical Events  Science
Scott's Porage

Rabbits know the score

MMDE: The idea carrots improve eyesight is from science

Current: The idea carrots improve eyesight is a cover story from World War 2

Every parent tells their kids to eat their carrots so they will see better, and point out how well rabbits can see in the dark as evidence. Where did this idea come from? Was it from science, or is there a wild story behind it which was entirely manufactured for a very important reason?

It turns out it is the latter, although science says the vitamins will help, as would the same amount from any vegetable.

So what's this crazy backstory then? It turns out during the early years of World War 2, the British were the first to deploy radar, which suddenly made their ground artillery and air force a heck of a lot more accurate when detecting enemy planes. The needed to keep the reason quiet, or the enemy would figure out where the radar stations were, and attack them. So, knowing they couldn't hide this sudden increase in accuracy, they put the story out that the pilots were all eating lots of carrots to improve their eyesight - and it worked! Even the German pilots began eating more...

Historical Events  Science
10,000 steps

Where did the 10,000 steps per day number come from?

MMDE: Science

Current: A marketing gimmick

Everyone wants to keep fit, and when the idea that walking 10,000 steps per day is all you need came out, it seemed within most people's grasp. The proliferation of step counting gadgets, such as the Fit Bit etc, suggest an automatic, simpler way to keep in shape is available to everyone.

The figure has a nice, rounded, confident ring to it which most people think came from a set of scientific tests.

So it comes as a big surprise when they hear the truth, which in fact reveals it's just one huge marketing gimmick. It's even been reported that the figure is built on bad science and served no other purpose than to build an "entire industry" of personal fitness devices.

Historical Events  Science
Plague Pandemic

When was the last major plague outbreak?

MMDE: The Black Death in the 1300's

Current: China 1855

Many people are familiar with the "Black Death".

This is the term for the plague outbreak in the 1300's which hit Europe and Asia, and is said to have killed around a third of the population.

However, many people are also surprised to hear this was the second of three major world plague outbreaks and it is being pointed to as one of those Mandela Effects where something expected to be much wider known "suddenly" appears in history.

The first was the Byzantine Empire in 541. The second was the worst by far, but the third was deadly too since it killed 12 million people in India and China.

The other shock is that the third outbreak was only considered contained in 1960.

Historical Events  Science
Engine

Who invented CVT transmission?

MMDE: Leonardo Da Vinci did not invent CVT transmission

Current: Leonardo Da Vinci invented CVT transmission

The CVT - Continuously Variable Transmission - design, also known as a shiftless transmission, is an ingenious gearbox system often applied in advanced engineering situations such as car gearboxes, gas and oil field drills and various other forms of plant and machinery. In other words, a modern phenomenon.

Many people are surprised to hear where it's design first originated: Leonardo Da Vinci.

They are fundamentally different to regular gears because they are designed around a cone pulley system, making the gearing a smooth transition across all torques rather than the set of fixed ones in traditional designs.

Historical Events  Science
The Chicago Cholera Epidemic

The Chicago Cholera Epidemic of 1885

MMDE: The 1885 Chicago Cholera Epidemic was devastating

Current: The 1885 Chicago Cholera Epidemic didn't happen

Hear about the Chicago Cholera Epidemic of 1885? Most who have heard of it recall it being reported as catastrophic, killing thousands and decimating life there for years.

Except ... it's now being reported as a myth. There actually was a disaster at the time, a huge storm, but it was apparently somehow then connected with a fictitious cholera outbreak, that just co-incidentally meant the public works committee could then commission, for the good of the people, after this devastation. Not only that, but these works only really began in the 1950's, which is when the story of the cholera outbreak began.

Historical Events  Science
Leonardo Da Vinci

Not the contact lenses we know today

MMDE: Leonardo Da Vinci did not invent contact lenses

Current: Leonardo Da Vinci invented contact lenses

The idea of contact lenses seems like a modern medical advancement.

As it happens, in 1508 none other than Leonardo Da Vinci described the concept in great detail in his "Codex of the eye, Manual D".

They weren't the small modern eye lenses we know today, but the description proves he was perfectly well aware of the properties of light refraction, and the mechanism required to tune it for vision using a contact substance, his case water.

He wasn't doing this to correct faulty vision, but to enhance what the eye could already see, much in the same way a telescope does.

Historical Events  Science
London Bridge

What made the dodos extinct?

MMDE: Humans ate them

Current: Humans introduced animals which ate their eggs and food

The poor dodo lived for many thousands of years on its island paradise of Mauritius, where it had no natural predators. This meant being flightless was not a problem, but unfortunately this was it's downfall, because within 100 years of humans settling, it was extinct. The widely agreed date for this extinction is 1681.

The popular idea is that humans ate them, and this myth is so widespread it comes as quite a surprise to many to find out it's meat was terrible to eat, and this wasn't the cause of their extinction. In fact it was down to the pigs, rats and even monkeys which humans introduced to the island which then went and ate the eggs, and competed for food, of the birds.