There are a lot of things we take for granted, things we believe are a certain way and have accepted as true. Many of these things are a part of everyday life, and we would likely be lost without them. It turns out, however, that with many of these things we are either not getting the full picture, or we are being deliberately deceived. Below are ten ways the world is lying to you.
10. Live Television
When you are told that something is live television, it’s not technically true. To avoid anything objectionable ending up on a live broadcast, TV networks use a 5-7 second delay. At the network’s control booth, they have two broadcasts up — the live one, and the delayed one they are sending out to people’s cable boxes. If they see something wrong they can cut the feed to something else, or black it out before the delayed feed reaches audiences.
Of course this doesn’t always work perfectly; Fox News once failed to censor something quick enough, and accidentally showed a suicide on the air. However, sometimes the delay and censors aren’t actually at work, even when they should be. This is presumably because the network thinks that the broadcast is safe enough that there won’t be any possible problems.
9. Oil Changes
We’ve all heard that we should change our oil every 3,000 miles, and many of us still believe it. There used to be some truth to this, but cars these days really don’t need the oil changed that often. Experts suggest a better guideline, if you are looking for an average, would be about 7,500 miles. However, some mechanics caution against using any hard and fast rule at all, and instead suggest you check your particular car’s manual to see how long it should go, and also factor in the kind of driving you do. If you put your car through very stressful driving, you should probably change the oil sooner rather than later.
Now, you might say that it shouldn’t hurt if you change it extra, right? Well, the thing is that not only is there an environmental impact to throwing out oil unnecessarily, but if you are changing your oil more than you need to, you are basically wasting money.
8. Hard Drives
Have you ever bought a computer or hard drive and, after getting it all set up, what’s inside seems to be significantly less than what you were told? Don’t worry — your new machine isn’t defective, you’re just being deceived.
If it isn’t an external hard drive, some space will be taken up by your computer’s operating system, and if it is external, some of this space is occupied by software that was already installed before you bought it. However, this does not nearly account for all of the promised space that you are now missing, so what gives? The thing is, hard drive manufacturers are incredibly shady, and while what they are doing isn’t exactly illegal, it’s pretty unethical. When putting the information on the box, they use a base 10 numbering system to make it seem bigger, but your computer actually counts it using base 2. For a small amount of data, the difference doesn’t add up much, but when you start going for the really large amounts of storage you can easily lose tens of gigabytes of storage space. Recent updates to Macs have solved this problem, deciding to use the same numbering system as the hard drive manufacturers to avoid confusion.
Even those who don’t cook are probably used to the phrase “preheat your oven to 350 degrees.” This temperature is seen in an incredible amount of cookbooks and recipes, and most people have simply accepted it as the gospel truth. The thing is, when ovens first gained a more accurate thermostat, the temperature in the range of 350 degrees was considered good for most things, but was often simply used for this reason alone, and never tested on specific recipes.
But your oven doesn’t stay at 350 degrees anyway, so it doesn’t really matter. When you preheat your oven it usually starts by going well above the temperature you requested and then goes back down, but it doesn’t just reach 350 and stay there because ovens don’t like doing what they’re told. Instead, the temperature fluctuates as it cooks and hopefully manages an average of the temperature you are hoping for; that is if your oven controls are properly calibrated in the first place.
6. Radar Guns
Police radar guns work much like a boomerang, in that something is thrown at your car and then comes back to the police officer. That something is a radio wave, and the gun can tell the officer how large a citation to write out for you based on how quickly it reaches the gun again. Radar guns can be inaccurate though, because they work best in a straight line, and a cop can only get an angle so good without parking his car directly in front of traffic.
Unfortunately for those of you wishing to challenge a speeding ticket, these inaccuracies usually result in the cop ending up with a slower speed rather than a faster one, and they also can bring up how fast they personally thought you were going when you try to challenge it in court, using their professional assessment as evidence. However, sometimes people do get off scot-free. One teen in the UK was convicted of going 126 MPH, but ended up with all charges completely thrown out because the prosecution did not have any experts who could testify in regards to the calibration of the radar gun.
5. Radio Shows
One of the most common fixtures of radio shows is people calling in to voice their opinions. This entertains us, and allows for audience interaction. However, it turns out many of these callers aren’t local people with something to say, but rather paid actors. There is even a service called Premiere On Call, which hires voice actors solely for the purpose of calling into radio shows. While POC is owned by Premier Radio Networks, which plays host to such bombastic personalities as Rush Limbaugh, Limbaugh himself has denied ever using anything but real callers on his show.
Now, we aren’t saying that all radio callers are actors — it wouldn’t make sense for a radio station to pay for every single call you hear, especially the more mundane ones. However, at least in the US, prank calls are no longer real. A law was passed saying that you can’t put someone on the radio without their consent, which means the person is going to know well beforehand that they are being recorded, ruining the prank. Radio stations that still want to run prank calls for the entertainment value have now been forced to start paying for faked prank calls.
Most of us probably have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. We don’t really like it or the way they do things, but everybody uses it to stay in touch, especially over long distances. Facebook has become a ubiquitous part of our lives, and seems to be an unstoppable juggernaut at this point.
As is the case with a lot of empires, it has become a bloated leviathan that believes it can get away with anything. The latest abuse of users by Facebook is through fake “likes” that can put any of us in a compromising situation. Have you ever been on Facebook when it tells you that someone you know likes a page you can’t possibly imagine them liking? Well, it turns out that a lot of people never “liked” the page in question at all. Not only that, but simply by sending a message to a page, likes can be generated that you had no intention of creating, and Facebook will tell your friends that you like a page and put “related content” underneath that you would never support in people’s newsfeeds. Perhaps it is unsurprising then, that Facebook is constantly under fire from advertisers for click fraud, which has led to multiple lawsuits.
3. Sick Notes
It’s a pretty good bet that if you have a job, there has been a point where you needed to take a few sick days. Of course your employer wants to get as much work out of you as possible and doesn’t trust you either, so they demand proof of your illness. While this demand is annoying, it seems somewhat reasonable and there really isn’t anything you can do about it.
Except for the part where your employer’s sick leave policy may be against the law. You see, many employers will demand that their employees provide them with a note and ask for some details of the ailment. While this may seem like a fairly innocuous request, it turns out that courts have actually ruled employers are not allowed to demand details of the diagnosis. However, this doesn’t get you off the hook if you are trying to skip out of work. What your employers can ask for is a note, signed by your doctor, that states when you can come back to work and certifies that you needed the time off for medical reasons.
2. Lather, Rinse, Repeat
There may not be that many people who see those instructions printed on a bottle of shampoo and actually follow them. In fact, most of us probably believe that these instructions are simply a marketing gimmick. However, it turns out in this case that the lie is the opposite of what you might think. You see, back in the day there actually was a reason for these instructions — people didn’t wash nearly as much as they do now, so their hair got really nasty and they needed to shampoo twice to get all the oils out.
Today, with people showering much more than they used to, some companies have removed the repeat entirely, or made it sound more optional, with only a few companies still leaving this archaic term in place. Even saying these companies are simply trying to trick you out of your money is likely inaccurate, because it depends on how much you wash. Experts say that if you don’t shower regularly then it might still be a good idea to give yourself two shampoos. In this case, it’s the people who think it’s just a marketing ploy who have it wrong.
1. Flight Mode
If you have ever been on a plane, you’ve had the usual flight attendant presentation, including the part where they make sure that everyone turns off their electronic devices. However, there is really very little evidence supporting their concerns. The Mythbusters tested this theory out, and couldn’t find evidence of cell phone signals being any real danger to a plane’s operation.
Now, this is not to say that cell phones do nothing whatsoever, but evidence has shown that any interference is no more than a minor nuisance. And there have been no recorded cases of cell phone interference bringing down a plane, or even being part of the cause of an accident. And it seems that the FAA is finally beginning to make things right, recently convening to come up with new, more relaxed rules, in response to passenger demand to yak with friends and play Candy Crush at 38,000 feet.