From Too Good to Be True: The Colossal Book of Urban Legends, by Jan Harold Brunvand
A final exam had just one question: "Write the best possible final exam question for this course, then answer it."
One student immediately wrote, "The best possible final exam question for this course is 'Write the best possible final exam question for this course, then answer it.'"
The student also could have simply written "the best possible final exam question for this course, then answer it."
[via Futility Closet]
Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock Read the rest
Paul Dawson, a professor of Food Science at Clemson University, investigated the history of the "Five Second Rule" and ran experiments to see how much bacteria actually transfers from the floor onto dropped food. Read the rest
"Hearsay: Artists Reveal Urban Legends" is a new group exhibition at California State University, Fullerton's Begovich Gallery where artists were asked to create pieces about modern day myths that resonate with them in some personal way. More than three dozen artists participated including Boing Boing favorites like Ransom & Mitchell, Jeffrey Vallance, Robert Williams, and Victoria Reynolds. Above, Chris Farling's "Sewer Gator." Below, Lew Delport's "The Goatman" and Ransom & Mitchell's "Teke Teke." (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!) Read the rest
A well-established myth debunked. [via MeFi] Read the rest
The Skinner Box, as applied to human infants, was not what you think it was. Psychologist B.F. Skinner did not raise his daughter inside a box without human contact. Nor did she later grow up to be crazy and commit suicide because of said lack of contact. In fact, just a few years ago, Deborah Skinner Buzan wrote a column for The Guardian debunking those powerful urban legends herself.
Instead, what Skinner did was build his daughter the sort of crib that you might expect a scientist raised in the era of mid-20th-century Popular Science-style scientific futurism and convenience to build. He called it the "Air-Crib" and it was designed to maintain a perfectly comfortable temperature, provide baby Deborah with built-in toys to keep her entertained, be simple to clean, and make it easier to stick to the "cry it out" and heavily regimented feeding/sleeping schedules that were, at the time, standard parenting advice. Read the rest
Jonathan Kaulay collects ten of the best. [via Alan White]
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In 2005, an unopened copy of the self-deleting game surfaced on Ebay where it was promptly bought for $733,000 by a man from Japan named Yamamoto Ryuichi. Ryichi had planned to document his play through of the game on YouTube. The only video Ryuchi posted was of him staring at his computer screen and crying.