Humorous Science Mis-statements
The following are examples of the ways students and adults misconceive of science.
One horsepower is the amount of energy it takes to drag a horse 500 feet in one second.
Water freezes at 32 degrees and boils at 212 degrees. There are 180 degrees between freezing and boiling because there are 180 degrees between north and south.
Many dead animals in the past changed to fossils while others preferred to be oil.
Vacuums are nothings. We only mention them to let them know we know they're there.
Momentum: What you give a person when they are going away.
GRAVITATION and ASTRONOMY
The law of gravity says no fair jumping up without coming back down.
Vacuum: A large, empty space where the pope lives.
When people run around and around in circles we say they are crazy. When planets do it we say they are orbiting.
While the earth seems to be knowingly keeping its distance from the sun, it is really only centrificating.
South America has cold summers and hot winters, but somehow they still manage.
Most books now say our sun is a star. But it still knows how to change back into a sun in the daytime.
There is a tremendous weight pushing down on the center of the Earth because of so much population stomping around up there these days.
Some people can tell what time it is by looking at the sun. But I have never been able to make out the numbers.
The tides are a fight between the Earth and moon. All water tends towards the moon, because there is no water in the moon, and nature abhors a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight.
Planet: A body of Earth surrounded by sky.
Magnet: Something you find crawling all over a dead cat.
Someday we may discover how to make magnets that can point in any direction.
You can listen to thunder after lightning and tell how close you came to getting hit. If you don't hear it, you got hit, so never mind.
Rainbows are just to look at, not to really understand.
Talc is found on rocks and on babies.
When they broke open molecules, they found they were only stuffed with atoms. But when they broke open atoms, they found them stuffed with explosions.
Some oxygen molecules help fires burn while others help make water, so sometimes it's brother against brother.
In looking at a drop of water under a microscope, we find there are twice as many H's as O's.
Clouds are high flying fogs.
I am not sure how clouds get formed. But the clouds know how to do it, and that is the important thing.
Clouds just keep circling the earth around and around and around. There is not much else to do.
Water vapor gets together in a cloud. When it is big enough to be called a drop, it does.
H2O is hot water, and CO2 is cold water.
To collect fumes of sulphur, hold a deacon over a flame in a test tube.
When you smell an oderless gas, it is probably carbon monoxide.
Water is composed of two gins, Oxygin and Hydrogin. Oxygin is pure gin. Hydrogin is gin and water.
Three kinds of blood vessels are arteries, vanes and caterpillars.
Blood flows down one leg and up the other.
Respiration is composed of two acts, first inspiration, and then expectoration.
Artifical insemination is when the farmer does it to the cow instead of the bull.
Dew is formed on leaves when the sun shines down on them and makes them perspire.
A super saturated solution is one that holds more than it can hold.
Mushrooms always grow in damp places and so they look like umbrellas.
The pistol of a flower is its only protections agenst insects.
The skeleton is what is left after the insides have been taken out and the outsides have ben taken off. The purpose of the skeleton is something to hitch meat to.
A permanent set of teeth consists of eight canines, eight cuspids, two molars, and eight cuspidors.
A fossil is an extinct animal. The older it is, the more extinct it is.
Germinate: To become a naturalized German.
Liter: A nest of young puppies.
Rhubarb: A kind of celery gone bloodshot.
The following are questions that people actually asked Park Rangers:
Grand Canyon National Park
Was this man-made?
Do you light it up at night?
I bought tickets for the elevator to the bottom--where is it?
Is the mule train air conditioned?
So where are the faces of the presidents?
Mesa Verde National Park
Did people build this, or did Indians?
Why did they build the ruins so close to the road?
Do you know of any undiscovered ruins?
Why did the Indians decide to live in Colorado?
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
How much of the cave is underground?
So what's in the unexplored part of the cave?
Does it ever rain in here?
How many Ping-Pong balls would it take to fill this up?
So what is this -- just a hole in the ground?