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I am 16 and a sophomore in high school. I believed from the time I knew what an atomic bomb was to today (August 19th 2008) that when things in close proximity to the blast are vaporized, that they just disappear. I was informed by my chemistry class and teacher that they do not, in fact, "turn into air" rather they are converted into extremely small particles that are lighter than air. Silly me.
We were taught about AIDS before we were taught about viruses. We learned about viruses in middle school. But, of course, even in middle school, they had to teach us about AIDS first. Pretty much, all we knew about AIDS was that it had something to do with RNA and Helper T-cells, since those were the words they kept using. So up until high school, I always associated RNA as a diseased DNA.
So they described the process of how the AIDS virus spreads: the virus attaches onto a white blood cell and injects some of itself into the cell. The little viruses multiply and become more viruses until the cell is so stuffed with viruses that it explodes with lots of little AIDS viruses.
Very smart of them to teach us about AIDS before teaching us about viruses IN GENERAL.
See, the way AIDS infects the body is THE SAME WAY ALL VIRUSES INFECT THE BODY. But I didn't know that. So for years, I thought that all viruses that spread like that (which would be all viruses) were AIDS!
i used to think that fire crackers were made from crackers that you eat....i was very confused and curious for a long time.
I thought the chemicals in chemistry sets couldn't really blow up in real life I thought it was only on the cartoons, so I was wondering why when I asked my mom for a chemistry set when I was eight my mom had said "ARE YOU KIDDING YOU'D BLOW US ALL UP IN HERE"
When I was a kid there was regular and unleaded gasoline. The only difference, in my mind was that the regular (by default the "leaded" gas) was heavier.
I had heard that coal can be made into diamonds. I thought this was because there was a diamond inside every piece of coal.
So I did the only logical thing: rinse off a charcoal briquette in the sink until it became a diamond.
I never stopped to think that, if diamonds were this easy to obtain, why we had a whole bag of potential diamonds in our backyard and yet we weren't millionaires. I thought I had made some sort of fantastic, nobel prize-winning discovery.
When I learned about acid rain in school, I thought that it would burn and dissolve everything in its path. I had nightmares about acid rain dissolving my house and burning me to death.
My friends and I actually believed that once you buried fake gold, you could dig it up a day later and it was real. We tried to sell a bunch we dug up to pasisng cars in front of our friend's house.
the other month I mentioned to a friend that I spray on 3 different deoderent and 2 different perfumes every morning. He looked at me in shock and said 'you can't do that! the chemicals in them will mix together and cause an explosion or form a poison. you could die!' I spent the rest of the day waiting for something to happen to me, I was scared that at any moment I could explode. For weeks after I wore only one deoderent, until finally someone told me that it wasn't true.
when i was young my sister made me believe that vinegar would burn me badly if i got it on my skin because it was acid
My 8 and 5 year old were having a bath one evening and it smelt strongly of vinegar. Confused I asked them what they had put in it. Turns out they had found a recipe for invisible ink in a science experiment book and believed that if they mixed the ingredients into their bath they too would turn invisible!
Used to think that a pile of oily rags could catch on fire by themselves. (Sponteanous combustion)
My son's little friend would not believe that ice cubes were simply frozen water. He was sure there was some secret formula.
Once I watched Saved By The Bell on tv and Screech and Kelly were lab partners. (keep in mind, I was about five when this was on.) Well, Screech poured some liquid into a test tube and the mixture began to fizz over and eventually explode all over them. Due to this, I believed that mixing any two liquids would cause an explosion. Therefore, I was terrified to pee in the toilet so I peed in a bin liner for about a week until my sister discovered it in my closet. I was also convinced I would die when my mum mixed the Kool- Aid with water to thin it.
When I learned that oil came from dinosaurs I thought that the dinosaurs were still alive underground and oil drills were drilling down to them, into their bodies and sucking the oil out of the poor beasties.
I used to believe that American water was chemically different to our water; because while water in Britain boils at 100 degrees and freezes at 0 degrees, in America it boils at 212 degrees and freezes at 32 degrees.
Early in my becoming acquainted with science, I thought the density of all elements would be proportional to their atomic weights, regardless of whether they were solids, liquids, or gases. I "figured out" some amazing things based on that. For one thing I wanted to do a demonstration that I never got to do because of the difficulty of obtaining the heavy gas xenon. I thought that if only I could get some xenon and fill a beaker with it, I could do an amazing demonstration. For one thing I thought the xenon would be so heavy that it would stay in the beaker without dispersing into the atmosphere for quite some time. Then I thought I'd place a piece of iron on top of the xenon in the beaker and see the iron float on the xenon. Since xenon has a considerably higher atomic weight than iron, I assumed that even gasseous xenon would be denser than solid iron, resulting in that floating of the iron that I expected. When I later learned about the behaviour of gasses, I realized that gasseous xenon, for all its large atomic weight is much less dense than most any solid, including iron, so likely no solid would float on it. And even a heavy gas would disperse into the atmosphere quickly, so the xenon wouldn't likely stay in the beaker long enough for me to even try the demonstration.
Another amazing "fact" I deduced on the same basis came after I first heard of osteoporosis, and how it is a disease causing loss of bone density. I knew that bones have a lot of calcium, an element of considerably larger atomic weight than nitrogen and oxygen that make up most of the atmosphere. But human flesh, I learned, is composed primarily of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. Since hydrogen and carbon have lower atomic weights than the latter two that also make up air (99% or air, anyway), I deduced that human flesh must be lighter than air, so that our heavier bones were what holds us down. So I thought that the main risk of osteoporosis sufferers was that their bones could become so depleted of calcium that their bodies' overall density would be less than that of air, and they could go floating away to the top of the atmosphere!
A friend of my brother (alas, younger than myself) had us believe that his cool steel marbles had been produced in the most bizarre way: supposedly, the maid working at his home created them by ironing once and again over a special piece of cloth, which produced tiny marbles that grew in size as she kept ironing.
After I found out that sugar was made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, I thought that I could make sugar by blowing into water. Why? Because the carbon from the CO2 you exhale would combine with the H and O in H2O and result in sugar. Not just any carbohydrate- but sucrose table sugar, the brown one.
When I was a child, I used to think that matter could be created and destroyed.