Historical Events  Science
Historical Events  Science
Food pyramid poster

Alternate:
The US Food Pyramid poster was in classrooms from the 1970s onward

Current:
The US Food Pyramid poster was in classrooms from 1992 onward

On the classroom wall

Most Americans are familiar with the Food Pyramid, a graphic showing the optimal number of servings for various food types which appeared in most schools for decades.

The image is actually a standard, and was introduced in 1992 by the US Dept of Agriculture, USDA, and titled the "Food Guide Pyramid".

This comes as quite a surprise to many people who were at school way before that date, but still remember it exactly as seen today.

Historical Events  Science
Ostrich head in sand

Alternate:
Ostriches bury their heads in the sand

Current:
Ostriches don't bury their heads in the sand

Nothing to see here

Are ostriches getting a bad rap?

The general consensus is that when they get scared, they react by sticking their heads in the sand. This idea is very widespread, particularly in cartoons which people see when they are children, and hence get this image reinforced many times whilst they are young.

A moments thought would show this is unlikely, if for no other reason than it would prove an evolutionary disadvantage since predators would quickly latch onto this behaviour and wipe out the entire species.

Sometimes from a distance it might appear an ostrich has it's head in the sand, but it is only reaching down to feed.

Ostriches are not only fast runners, but can actually hold their own in a fight, so the idea they can't handle themselves when stressed is a little wide of the mark.

Historical Events  Science
Covid-19

Alternate:
TV showed panic and people dropping in the streets in Wuhan

Current:
TV did not show panic and people dropping in the streets in Wuhan

Covid-19: TV showed Wuhan mass panic?

2020 was the year of the global lockdowns due to the Covid 19 pandemic, with the sign of everyone wearing a face mask becoming the new normal.

When the outbreak was first reported, it was shown to be from Wuhan with reports of it suspected to have originated in a bat. However, there are also reports that the TV at the time showed much more, with mass panic and people falling in the streets as the army moved in to control the chaos. Whilst there are some reports from this time online, none of the kind people remember seeing are available now. Certainly, as Covid spread throughout the world, its effects, whilst serious, were nothing like as dramatic anywhere else.

Is this a 2020 Mandela Effect, or is something else going on such as censorship after the event?

Historical Events  Science
Nazi video call

Alternate:
AT&T made the first public video call in the 1970's

Current:
The Nazis made the first public video call in 1936

Who made the first public video call?

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a massive boost in the use of video conferencing technology.

This is because the social distancing rules mean most people are advised to work from home. Video conferencing helps with this tremendously, and like every technology, it has a history.

The idea itself first emerged in the 1870's, and was in the realm of science fiction. There was even a recognisable term for it: videotelephony. Various research projects made some progress alongside the invention of the television, but most involved just two transmitters and receivers, so weren't switchable in the way the term "public" meant. The first actual public one which could be described this way, because each party could connect to any of several different parties on the same network, was actually created in 1936 and known as the Gegensehn-Fernsprechanlagen system, It connected the cities of Berlin and Leipzig, and the governing party of the day was indeed the Nazi party.

Historical Events  Science
Defibrillator

Alternate:
Defibrillators can revive flatlined patients

Current:
Defibrillators can't revive flatlined patients

Defibrillators on flatlined patients?

We've all seen the scenes in movies and TV shows where a patient is lying still, and a monitor beside them makes a constant tone as the activity line remains flat. Then a doctor or nurse calls "Clear!" and the electric pads are applied, only for the patient to stir back to life as the monitor shows the line has peaks again.

The problem? Medical experts will confirm this doesn't happen. The electric shock is to stabilise a heart which isn't beating correctly, not to revive one which has stopped. This myth is so widespread in the media because it contains so much drama. There's nothing better to move a story along, or give one a happy ending, than a character being brought back to life. Unfortunately, that's just not how it is in this case.

Historical Events  Science
Ben Franklin's kite experiment

Alternate:
Ben Franklin was struck by lightning

Current:
Ben Franklin was not struck by lightning

Was Ben Franklin struck by lighting during his kite experiment?

Ben Franklin is famous for many things, not least of which beimg so many people remembering him being President when he wasn't, but that's for another day. 

He was one of the 8 founding fathers of the United States and helped draft the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps he's equally as well-known for his kite experiments, because this is taught in school so children get an impression of him flying a kite in a thunderstorm at an early age. This is likely to stick with them because it's so dramatic. However, there's a part of this story which seems to be ingrained in most people's minds which just isn't true, and that's the idea that he was struck by lightning during a storm.

It's easy to see how the dramatic idea that he was struck by lightning is given, especially because the famous painting of the experiment almost gives that impression. However, it's simply not the case as a little thought and research would uncover. Had he in fact been struck by lightning, he would likely been injured or killed since he was holding the line carrying the electricity. This is not the case when people are struck by it in open fields etc, and survive the brief bolt.

Historical Events  Science
Lemmings

Alternate:
Yes

Current:
No

Do lemmings deliberately kill themselves?

Picture the idea of lemmings "killing themselves" and there's always one thing that's present but never thought about. That is, they are always jumping off a cliff into water.

The popular misconception of them deliberately killing themselves ignores this fact, and focuses on the cliff. This is the key to their behaviour, where it turns out they are not committing suicide at all. In fact, they are migrating, which also explains why you always hear of large groups doing this at once, rather than individual ones at different times.

The herd is aware it has outgrown it's current location, in terms of resources and habitat, so instinct kicks in and collectively they know it's time to move on. They have been living near rivers and streams, so are used to crossing by swimming and always, until now, got to the other side safely, if a little tired. Unfortunately, all this combines to them thinking they just need to keep swimming to migrate, but don't realise how different the ocean is, but do know it's the one place they haven't been before.