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1. We only use 10% of our brain

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Thanks to another Knowable writer, Robyn, for writing the segment on brains!

You've probably heard it mentioned in T.V. shows or movies; "Humans only use X percent of the brain." The percentage fluctuates from 10-50%, but still it seems Hollywood and beyond are convinced there is a bunch of grey matter in our noggin that goes unused.

Well, surprise, surprise, movies like 'Limitless' starring Bradley Cooper have got it really wrong.

As humans, one of our biggest downfalls is being able to accept our own limitations. It has been suggested that the reason this myth has been perpetuated so widely is that people like to believe the reason for their own shortcomings is out of their control.

"If only I could use the full potential of my brain", they would say, "then I could finally write that Oscar winning screenplay that's probably just trapped in my untapped brain matter!"

So, how much of the brain do we use then?

Turns out, all of it.

Yes, every single bit of it. Not only that, but we use most of it pretty much at all times. Imaging shows that even though all parts of the brain are not continuously firing at the same time, they are still continuously active.

This requires a ton of energy. The brain makes up about 3% of your body weight, but uses a whopping 20% of all energy produced by your body. But you need it. Your brain regulates and maintains the function of your body.

So, don't get angry with your brain if you feel your not working to your full potential. Your brain is doing the best it can!

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2. Turkey makes you tired

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Turkey fatigue is a thing! It's the tryptophan! I'm going into a tryptophan coma!

How many of you have heard these things at their last Thanksgiving?

It's true many people DO have a difficult time staying awake after consuming turkey. But most people wrongly blame the amino acid "tryptophan" for their weary eyes.

First of all, what the heck is tryptophan?

"Tryptophan is an amino acid that the body uses in the processes of making vitamin B3 and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep. It can't be produced by our bodies, so we need to get it through our diet. From which foods, exactly? Turkey, of course, but also other meats, chocolate, bananas, mangoes, dairy products, eggs, chickpeas, peanuts, and a slew of other foods. Some of these foods, like cheddar cheese, have more tryptophan per gram than turkey. Tryptophan doesn't have much of an impact unless it's taken on an empty stomach and in an amount larger than what we're getting from our drumsticks."

But think about it... usually when you eat turkey, you're eating it at a large family gathering, alongside a bunch of other food and booze. Big meals (especially ones with a lot of fats) take a lot of effort for your stomach to digest, and usually leave you feeling lethargic.

There you have it! You can stop blaming tryptophan for all your problems.

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3. Einstein failed elementary school math

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Legend has it that Einstein failed grade three math. This has been a thread of hope handed off to countless slow learners over time. If Einstein could do it, you can too! Well, you may want to think about choosing some other words of comfort. Words that aren't a TOTAL LIE!

Young Albert Einstein was gifted in mathematics, algebra and physics, and his academic records, recently acquired from Swiss archives, show this. The papers also confirmed that he was a child prodigy, conversant in college physics before he turned 11, and a "brilliant" violin player.

BUT (yes, we have a but)...

his inability to master French may have been the source of his failing college entrance exams. So, yeah, Einstein wasn't totally amazing at everything, but he was certainly good at the thing he went on to make history in.

There is another factor that may have played a role in creating the "bad student" myth about Einstein. When Einstein's records were released to the world, those who saw them may have been mislead by the grading school system in Aargau, Switzerland, which is the reverse of many other countries (including all of North America).

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4. We only have 5 senses

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We all learned the five senses in school: taste, touch, sight, smell, and hearing. But many scientists insist that there are far more than that. Based on the definition of what a "sense" is Any system that consists of a group of sensory cell types that respond to a specific physical phenomenon and that corresponds to a particular group of regions within the brain where the signals are received and interpreted scientists have come up with dozens more senses (some believe we have up to 22!). Here are some of the most commonly agreed upon senses:

Pressure
Itch
Temperature
Pain
Thirst
Hunger
Direction
Time
Muscle tension
Proprioception (the ability to tell where your body parts are, relative to other body parts)
Equilibrioception (the ability to keep your balance and sense body movement in terms of acceleration and directional changes)
Stretch Receptors (These are found in such places as the lungs, bladder, stomach, blood vessels, and the gastrointestinal tract.)
Chemoreceptors (These trigger an area of the medulla in the brain that is involved in detecting blood born hormones and drugs. It also is involved in the vomiting reflex.)

Can you think of any more?

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5. Don't touch baby birds

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The old belief is that if you touch a baby bird that has fallen out of the nest, the mama bird will smell "human" on their baby and will abandon their baby bird. Effectively, you've just made a bad situation a whole lot worse, as an abandoned baby bird will definitely die.

Well... that's not exactly the truth. Most birds have a pretty bad sense of small, so if you handle their babies, they probably won't even know.

Even in the case that they could smell a human, and had the cognitive capability to associate that smell with danger, they wouldn't just up and leave their babies at the threat of danger. If anything, they would stick around longer to ensure their safety.

There are two types of baby birds you're likely to encounter on the ground: nestlings and fledglings.

If you find a fledgling a baby bird with a bit of feathers leave it be. These little tykes are actually on a 'trail period' outside the nest, while their parents keep guard over them. Like dipping your toes in the water before they dive in.

If you find a nestling a featherless or fuzzy baby bird it could probably use a helping hand. Feel free to very gently place them back into the nest.

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6. You can't wake up a sleepwalker

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Many people say that waking up a sleepwalker will send them into shock or cause a heart attack. The truth? It's pretty much harmless.

However, while you can wake them up, it's best to refrain, and here's why:

Though there has never been a reported case of waking a sleepover causing the sleeper harm, the waker can get hurt very easily. Sleepwalking usually occurs during a very deep stage of sleep called Stage 3 non-rapid eye movement sleep.

While waking during this stage is difficult (kind of like coming up from the bottom of the ocean when the undertow is strong), it can be donebut doing so can leave someone feeling extremely foggy (called sleep inertia) for up to 30 minutes.

What are people's reactions when they come out of this state? Usually confusion mixed with agitation, which is the perfect cocktail for someone to lash out at you physically, because they may not recognize you.

Instead of trying to wake a sleepwalker, the Sleep Disorders Center at NYU recommends gently leading them by the arm to guide them back to bed.

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Image by Anemone123 from Pixabay

Life is hard. It's a miracle to make it through with some semblance of sanity. We are all plagued by grief and trauma. More and more people of all backgrounds are opening up about personal trauma and its origins. Finally! For far too long we've been too silent on this topic. And with so many people unable to afford mental health care, the outcomes can be damaging.

All of our childhoods have ups and downs and memories that can play out like nightmares. We carry that, or it follows us and the first step in recovery is talking about it. So who feels strong enough to speak?

Redditor u/nthn_thms wanted to see who was willing to share about things they'd probably rather forget, by asking:

What's the most traumatizing thing you experienced as a child?
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Image by klimkin from Pixabay

Being single can be fun. In fact, in this time of COVID, being single can save lives. But the heart is a fickle creature.

And being alone can really suck in times of turmoil. None of us are perfect and it feels like that's all anyone is looking for... perfect.

Now that doesn't mean that all of us are making it difficult to partner up. Sure, some people are too picky and mean-spirited, but some of the rest of us are crazy and too much to handle. So one has to be sure.

The truth is, being single is confusing, no matter how much we try to match. So let's try to understand...

Redditor u/Mcxyn wanted to discuss some truths about love and our own issues, by asking:

Why are you single?
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Tiard Schulz/Unsplash

Whether you're an at home parent, a college student just leaving the nest, or a Food Network junkie, there are a few basic tips that everyone should know.

Chef's gave us some of their top tips for amateurs and beginner at home cooks that will really make a difference. They are trained professionals with years of experience in the kitchen, so they definitely know what we're all missing.

If you're looking to improve some of your cooking skills and techniques, but you're still learning how to boil water correctly, this list is for you.

Redditor BigBadWolf44 wanted in on the secrets and asked:

"Chefs of Reddit, what's one rule of cooking amateurs need to know?"

Let's learn from the masters!


What a common mistake!

"A lot of the time when people add salt to a dish because they think it tastes flat, what it really needs is an acid like lemon juice or vinegar."

- Vexvertigo

"Instructions unclear I drugged my dinner party guests and now they're high on acid."

- itsyoboi_human

"Yes! Or tomatoes. They're pretty acidic too and go with so many things. Our dinners are so much better once the garden tomatoes are ripe. Or if a dish is too acidic, oil/butter or a little sugar can help add balance to it."

- darkhorse85

"Like tomato and eggs. Every Chinese mom makes those slightly differently and I haven't had a tomato egg dish I didn't like yet."

- random314

"There's a book called 'Salt Fat Acid Heat' that comes highly recommended to amateur cooks."

- Osolemia

"Reading even just the first chapter about salt made a lot of food I cooked immediately better, because I finally understood salt wasn't just that thing that sat on the dinner table that you applied after the meal was cooked."

- VaultBoy42

"Salt is important for sweets. A batch of cookies without that little hint of salt doesn't taste quite right."

- Osolemia

Unfortunately, this tip might not be accessible to everyone. Many people who contracted COVID can no longer use their sense of smell the way they used to.

"Have a friend that lost his smell from COVID, and now he only recognizes if food is salty, sweet, sour or bitter."

- AlphaLaufert99

"Just wait until he gets his sense of smell back and a ton of foods smell like ammonia or literal garbage now. Yeah, that's fun... It's been 7 months for f*cks sake just let me enjoy peanut butter again!!!!!!!!!"

- MirzaAbdullahKhan

You can't take back what you've already put in.

"You can always add, but you cannot take away."

- El_Duende666

"I find people's problems usually are they're too scared to add rather than they add too much."

- FreeReflection25

"I see you also grew up white in the mid-west."

- Snatch_Pastry

Safety first!

"Not really a cooking tip, but a law of the kitchen: A falling knife has no handle."

- wooddog

"I'm always so proud of my reflexes for not kicking in when I fumble a knife."

"If I drop anything else, my stupid hands are all over themselves trying to catch it (and often failing). But with a knife the hardwired automatic reaction is jump back immediately. Fingers out of the way, feet out of the way, everything out of the way. Good lookin out, cerebellum!"

- sonyka

"Speaking of KICKING in. On first full time cooking job I had a knife spin and fall off the counter. My (stupid) reflex was to put my foot under it like a damn hacky sack to keep it from hitting the ground. Went through the shoe, somehow between my toes, into the sole somehow without cutting me. Lessons learned: (1) let it fall; (2) never set a knife down close to the edge or with the handle sticking out; (3) hacky sack is not nearly as cool as it could be."

- AdjNounNumbers

"Similarly, NEVER put out a grease or oil fire with water. Smother with a lid or dump baking soda in there (do not use flour, as it can combust in the air making things worse)."

- Metallic_Substance

How else will you know it tastes good?

"Taste the food."

- OAKRAIDER64

"Also don't be afraid to poke and prod at it. I feel like people think the process is sacred and you can't shape/flip/feel/touch things while you cook them. The more you are hands on, the more control you have."

"No, this does not include situations where you are trying to sear something. Ever try flipping a chicken thigh early? That's how you rip a chunk out of it and leave it glued to the pan until it's burnt."

- Kryzm

Here's one just for laughs.

"When you grab a pair of tongs, click them a few times to make sure they are tongs."

- Kolshdaddy

"People really overlook this one. You've gotta tong the tongs a minimum of 3 times to make sure they tong, or else it can ruin the whole dish."

- BigTimeBobbyB

If you're looking to get into cooking or to improve you technique, pay attention to these few tips.

Salt generously, add an acid to brighten things up, and don't forget to taste your food!

If all else fails, you can always order take out.

Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

Victoria_Borodinova/Pixaba

As part of the learning process, children often do embarrassing things before they learn a little more about the world and all the different implications therein. While the inappropriate moment is usually minor and ends in laugher some instances are truly mortifying.

One such instance involved a little sister who was around 6 at the time. It was the 90s and at the height of the youth-focused PSAs (think the frying egg representing your brain). One type was a safety PSA about stranger danger. The speaker would remind the children that if a stranger tried to take you anywhere to yell “Stop, you're not my mommy/daddy" to raise the alarm.

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