Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mythbusters - Today's Myth Debunkers

Mythbusters takes myths, tall tales and urban legends and gives them the scientific treatment to determine their validity. Myths are proved true, probable, possible, improbable or busted. Often after the real-world practical tests have proved or debunked a Myth, the team will take the experiment to the extreme, many times using more modern technology than the myth could have used or upping the black powder for impressive explosions.

See all their activities here: http://www.youtube.com/user/MythbustersInAction

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mikey Lives! The Pop Rocks And Coke Myth

Remember Mikey, the little kid from the 1971 Life Cereal commercials who liked to hate everything? Well, according to various sources, Mikey liked to eat a lot as a child, too much, according to some. Mikey liked sweets. One day, Mikey was sipping a Coke and eating Pop Rocks. The chemical reaction resulted in a gas explosion, killing Mikey instantly.

The Facts

Sorry, the rumor is false and the actor John Gilchrest, who played Mikey, is alive.
But could it happen? Try eating pop rocks and drinking Coke. If you explode, then it's probably true.
Pop Rocks is a carbonated candy with ingredients including sugar, lactose (milk sugar), corn syrup, and flavoring. It differs from typical hard candy in that it creates a fizzy reaction when it dissolves in the mouth. In other words there is nothing explosive about this very strange candy.
The candy is made by mixing its ingredients and heating them until they melt, then exposing the mixture to pressurized carbon dioxide gas (about 600 pounds per square inch) and allowing it to cool. The process causes tiny high pressure bubbles to be trapped inside the candy. When placed in the mouth, coming into contact with saliva the candy breaks and dissolves, releasing the carbon dioxide from the tiny atmosphere bubbles, resulting in a popping and sizzling sound and leaving a slight tingling sensation.
In the mid 1970's, rumors persisted that eating Pop Rocks and drinking cola would cause a person's stomach to explode. The company spent large sums sending out flyers to debunk the rumor. This is, in part, caused by the false assumption that pop rocks contain an acid/base mixture (such as baking soda and vinegar) which produces large volumes of gas when mixed through chewing and saliva.
Because of the unique nature of the legend, and the duration of its perpetuation, the story has appeared in many other forms of media and fiction. The U.S. TV series MythBusters examined the rumor by mixing Pop Rocks and cola inside a pig's stomach, and concluded that an explosion was impossible without eating pounds of the material. Chances are you would get too sick before the Pop Rocks reached critical mass.

The "Death" of Mikey from Mikey, an Investigation:
Mikey's death should have been easy enough to disprove. If Mikey was really still alive, all he had to do was make a public appearance, and we would have been convinced. But Mikey was nowhere to be found. Just before he disappeared, the actor who portrayed Mikey (John Gilchrist) had appeared in hundreds of commercials, pitching everything from Pepto Bismol to Skippy peanut butter. But after 1971, Mikey was noticeably absent from TV, save repeats of his famous Life commercials. One burning question burned on our minds: why would a young boy with such a promising career suddenly decide to quit?
During the last few years, rumors began circulating that Mikey, now in his early 30s, is very much alive and working at a radio station in New York. But the story can neither be confirmed nor denied. Ronald Bottrell, Quaker Oats's senior manager of corporate communications, would only say that, "We had to conceal him so that people would still think he was this chubby-cheeked, freckle-faced kid."
It would seem then that Mikey isn't only dead, but his death is part of a massive government cover-up. Do they really expect us to believe that Mikey is living a life of solitude? The Mikey we knew and loved — if he were still alive — would more likely be eating bowl after bowl of his favorite cereal, Life.
But perhaps the most conclusive proof of Mikey's death occurred in January of 1999, when Quaker Oats reprised the Mikey ad campaign well over a quarter-century after its debut, this time with an all-adult cast. The commercials featured a "grown-up" Mikey who, we were expected to believe, provided definitive proof that the beloved national icon was alive and well and still enjoying cereal. But none of us were taken in by the scam. The haggard old actor portraying Mikey looked nothing like the precocious child we remember so fondly.

Where were the chubby cheeks?

Where was the red turtle-neck sweater?

That wasn't Mikey! Mikey is dead!

Eventually, the truth came out. After a Watergate-like investigation, it was revealed that the "new" Mikey is, in fact, New York-based actor Jimmy Starace. In an Associated Press story, Quaker Oats reported that the original Mikey asked to remain anonymous in publicity associated with the updated campaign. Mikey (a.k.a. John Gilchrist, a.k.a. the Dead Boy) told reporters that he was still under contract to Quaker and "couldn't say much." Although Gilchrist insisted that he was the real Mikey, he declined to be photographed.

Thank you UrbanMyths for clearing that up)

healthy eating

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

History of Hansel and Gretal

Hansel and Gretel was first collected and recorded by the Grimm brothers in the early part of the nineteenth century. The tale is similar to many children and ogre tales that have been known throughout Europe for many centuries. The version the Grimms collected came from storyteller Dortchen Wild in the town of Cassel. Wild later became Wilhelm Grimm's wife.

Many scholars attribute the story's success to the children's opera written by Humperdinck in 1893. The opera is a lighter version of the tale since it completely omits the children's abandonment in the wood by their parents. However, the opera was a tremendous success from its first production in Munich. It is still produced on occasion a hundred years later and several recordings of performances are available for listening and viewing.

The earlier literary tales which bear the closest resemblance to Hansel and Gretel are of French origin. First, Charles Perrault's "Le petit Poucet" (1697) closely resembles Hansel and Gretel in its first half since the parents abandon the children in the woods. A year later, Madame d'Aulnoy's "Finette Cendron" appeared in her Les Contes nouveaux, ou les fetes a la Mode. Her story tells of three princesses who are abandoned by their parents in the woods and find their way to a giant's house. Finetta, the heroine, leaves trails of items to find her way out of the forest, but is foiled on her third attempt when pigeons eat the peas she drops along her path. Later, she burns the giant in his giant oven....

Curious to learn more?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White (in German Schneewittchen) is a fairy tale known from many countries in Europe, the best known version being the German one collected by the Brothers Grimm. The German version features elements such as the magic mirror and the seven dwarfs, who were first given individual names in the 1912 Broadway play Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and then given different names in Disney's 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The story of Snow White and the dwarfs should not be confused with the story of Snow White and Rose Red (in German SchneeweiƟchen und Rosenrot), another fairy tale that was also collected by the Brothers Grimm. (Wikipedia)

But where did the story come from?

Literature on many subjects.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Story Tale Original Fiction by Stephen


Are you sitting comfortably, children? Good, then I’ll begin.

Once upon a time there was a rich gentleman at a Court somewhere in Europe, who was married to a beautiful lady. She bore him a daughter, but while the daughter was still quite a little girl a fever took her mother, and her father was left to bring up his daughter alone. He was worried about doing this, and felt she should have a mother; so a couple of years later he married again, to a rich and fashionable widow, the Grafin Eisenmieder, who had two daughters of her own.

Now this second wife wasn’t altogether a wicked woman, but she spoiled her daughters terribly and let them have their own way in everything. When they found out that their new stepfather already had a little girl of his own, they didn’t like the idea one bit, and complained to their mother. She listened, said "Of course, my darlings!" and went to tell her husband that there was no way she was going to let his first wife’s brat be brought up with her own children. So the rich gentleman went to his own daughter and sadly told her that she would have to go away. She wept and begged him to let her stay in the house, and eventually by means of compromise it was decided that if she became a servant she wouldn’t have to leave. So Cinderella, which was her name, went down the back stairs into the kitchen and—

You at the back there, shut your noise. Who’s telling this story?

All right, I admit it, you’ve probably heard something like it before, but you haven’t heard this story. Jakob Grimm was a fine fellow in his way, but he should have stuck to proto-Indo-European phonology. He did have a stab at telling this story, but he felt it wasn’t proper to explain what really happened, and so he changed a few things round to make it decent for little folk. Whoever heard of a glass slipper? How could you possibly walk in glass slippers? For one thing, you’d slip and fall over, and for another you’d break them as soon as you tried to come down stairs. No, there never was a glass slipper, and if you shut up and let me get on with the story you’ll find out what it really was that Cinderella left behind at the Ball. All right?

Ahem. As I was saying:

Well, Cinderella went down the back stairs to the kitchen and sat down on a stool, and there she cried. Nobody came to visit her, though, except for an old tabby cat and some insolent mice who proved the cat wasn’t doing much good, so in the end she dried her eyes and went to work sweeping out the flagstones and cleaning the pots. She gradually got to know the people who worked below-stairs, and most of them were very sorry for her: they remembered the Old Mistress, and they didn’t care for her replacement, who was demanding and let her foolish daughters order them about in the most arbitrary way. She made friends in particular with an old cobbler who lived down the road, and who came to the house regularly to deliver shoes for the three ladies upstairs who never seemed to have enough. He had been a friend of her parents, once, before her father married again and her stepmother said it wouldn’t do for him to keep company with the working classes; and he and his wife, who had left him some years before, had been Cinderella’s godparents. He used to tell her that her godmother had promised to look out for her, and that one day she would come back and bring Cinderella back to the life she should have. That didn’t seem very hopeful to Cinderella, but it was something to dream about when she was dozing by the fire at the end of a hard day’s work.

Meanwhile, what was going on upstairs?

 Looking for more?

Monday, August 23, 2010

More than stories

Believe it or not most of our fairytales and folklore come from real life happenings that as time told them over and over again the truth became lost and the story was all the lived on. This is not true for all stories and fables. Here I wish to share with you the truth of the stories, help you see where they came from, how they originated, what truths lie with in or if they truly are tall tales.