Most sayings are bullshit: They say Rome wasn't built in a day, but our SimCity game says otherwise. They say a dog's bark is worse than its bite, but that's only on the off-chance that it's a toothless dog with, like, a really high-pitched, annoying bark. They say a rolling stone gathers no moss, so why does Keith Richards look like an Ent? Nobody really has faith that every idiom is some sort of scientifically validated truth. But maybe we should ...
5"Wear A Sweater Or You'll Catch A Cold"
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Your mom said: "Put on a sweater before you go outside, or you'll catch a cold!"
You'd sigh, bundle yourself up in your new Christmas sweater -- the embarrassing one with all the prancing elves -- then step outside and immediately get pelted with a barrage of well-deserved, icy snowballs.
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"But you bought me this, Nana!"
All because of an old wives' tale. "Colds are viral," you screamed at your mother, "they have nothing to do with temperature!"
Then you got a timeout for telling your mom to "suck the science" again.
It turns out that the age-old myth that you can catch a cold by being cold has some truth to it; just don't tell your mother or she'll never let you hear the end of it.
Scientists conducted an experiment in which they tortured their victims by having them sit with their feet in ice-cold water for 20 minutes. After checking back a week later, they found that 29 percent of those subjects had come down with a cold.
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Along with an all-encompassing hatred of scientists.
This might not sound significant, until you compare it with the control group: an equal number of study participants who were not forced to freeze their feet, and presumably just sat in the lobby reading a People magazine from 1989 until the time came to collect their fee. Of these, only 9 percent got sick. That's what scientists officially call "statistically fucking significant."
It turns out you and your mom were both sort of right: Colds are viral, but research shows that cold temperatures can substantially worsen any largely dormant viruses you might already have, to the point that it becomes noticeable and you're considered "sick."
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See, you technically were sick all those times you called into work so you could binge-watch Netflix.
Right now, you're actually a lot sicker than you realize, but your immune system is doing a damn good job arresting the various viruses, and you're doing a really shitty job giving it credit. Among those who reported developing a cold in the days after the ice experiment, it's likely that most of them already harbored the cold virus, but their white blood cells were keeping that all in check -- until they worsened the situation by dunking their feet in a glacier.
Freezing temperatures constrict the blood vessels, cool the blood, and prevent the immune system from doing its job properly. As a result, the inhibited immune response allows the cold virus to get just enough of an upper hand to produce symptoms. The correct path of action is clear: Put on the sweater first, then tell your mother to suck the science.
4"Haters Gonna Hate"
"Haters gonna hate" probably originated from 3LW's song "Playas Gon' Play," but it quickly went culturally viral. Soon after, our society immortalized the saying the best way we know how -- by pasting it alongside pictures of cats on the Internet. These days, it's often used as shorthand for dismissing Internet trolls, by insisting that they would have hated you no matter what you did.
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So it should be "fly into a spastic, frothing, death-threatening rage,"
but "hate" is a lot easier to type.
In a survey of Internet users, researchers asked a bunch of questions to discern the motivations of those who commented on the Internet (presumably beyond "I really want attention.") Then they further surveyed them to determine how closely their personalities aligned with what psychologists refer to as the "dark tetrad" -- Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy, and sadism -- aka the four horsemen of the asspocalypse.
E.E. Buckels et al via slate.com
The study didn't measure the use of caps lock, presumably because they couldn't create a big enough chart.
The minority of responders who admitted to being trolls also racked up off-the-charts scores in all of the "human piece of shit" categories. In fact, psychologists have recently specified a new official personality category for these people. They call it "negative dispositional attitude." But we've known about it for a long time -- we call them "haters," and we recognize them from the fact that they're gonna hate.
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Great: another special interest group.
In another survey, researchers asked people for their opinions on a bunch of different, unrelated topics, ranging from architecture to politics. They found that the participants with NDAs had opinions about any given topic that were dictated less by a reasoned analysis of the facts at hand and more by a general tendency to focus on only the negative aspects of everything.
Science has also determined that players are indeed going to play, though the likelihood of ballers to continue balling has yet to be conclusively determined.