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A weekly show where we debunk common misconceptions. This week, Elliott discusses some misconceptions about technology.

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Elliott Morgan:

Hi, I'm Elliott, and this is Mental Floss on YouTube. Today I'm gonna talk to you about some misconceptions about technology, so buckle up. Or, uh, sign in... or log on. I don't know.

[Mental Floss YouTube Intro plays]


Elliott Morgan:
Misconception #1: Macs do not get viruses.
So, um, apparently, they do. Dang it! This misconception probably came from one of Apple's marketing strategies. In the early 2000s, Apple's "Why You'll Love a Mac" website claimed a mac isn't susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers, but they stopped marketing its computers that way in 2012, which probably had something to do with a couple of Trojan-horse programs that had been affecting Mac users. These are like viruses but fall into their own category because the computer user must download the program, which is pretending to be something else, hence the name, "Trojan horse." You get it? You get it.

Misconception #2: It's dangerous to use your cell phone at a gas station.
Some people believe that using your cell phone while filling your car with gas may cause fires. Plus, gas stations usually have signs posted warning against cell phone use, but according to the Federal Communications Commission, "There is no documented incident where the use of a wireless phone was found to cause a fire or explosion at a gas station." Scientists also have found no danger of this happening in their research. Still, the FCC notes that you should obey the signs at gas stations and read your cell phone's manual......cell phones have manuals?!?

Misconception #3: Emptying your computers trash means it's gone for good. Actually you should always back up your files and be careful what you delete because this doesn't always work. But if your computer has a magnetic hard drive, the file that appears to be gone forever may just be sitting on the hard drive waiting to be overwritten. Basically erasing files takes a long time so these magnetic hard drives keep them around until they can be overwritten by another file. And there's no way to know when this will happen though so take your computer in to a shop immediately if you need a file back. Go now! Go! You gotta go. They close at 7.

Misconception #4: Cell phones cause cancer. We just don't know yet. Comforting, right? According to "studies thus far have not shown a consistent link between cell phone use and cancers of the brain, nerves, or other tissues of the head or neck." Many people believe that there's a connection between cell phone use and brain tumors, but one study examined over 42,000 cell phone users over the course of 20 years and found no connection to brain tumors. 

Misconception #5: Nobody uses Yahoo. Actually Yahoo is currently the fourth most used website. In the world! Google is first followed by Facebook, YouTube, and Yahoo. Of course no one uses Bing and that's a fact. Just kidding. Spiderman does. It's AOL nobody uses. Just kidding my parents do. 

Misconception #6: Video games cause violence. There have been many studies about video games and violence, but as I'm sure you can probably guess it's pretty impossible to say that is an issue causation rather than correlation. Some studies have found that students who play a game like Mortal Kombat as opposed to a non-violent game are more aggressive right after playing. But there's no way to conclusively translate that data in to real life violent situations. However, there's an episode of Healthcare Triage all about this very topic so click here if you'd like to learn more.

Misconception #7: Apple invented the tablet. Mmm, no. While there were earlier prototypes and attempts, the GRiDPad is generally considered the very first tablet. It was released by GRiD Systems all the way back in 1989. I was two years old then. And it was actually quite successful though mostly intended for use by businesses because it cost around $3,000.

Misconception #8: The "Web" and the "Internet" are totally the same thing. The Internet is the network of hardware and software that connects all of us. Things like transferring files to another computer and sending emails require the Internet. It was invented in 1969 making it older than the Web. The World Wide Web however was developed in 1990. This is what you find on your web browser like Safari or Chrome to look at web pages like Mental Floss. Hi, how are you? The Internet is what makes the Web possible basically.

Misconception #9: Most Internet users live in the US or Europe. China has the most Internet users compared to any country in the world. Because of course they do. Also in the top 20, India, Japan, Brazil, Russia, Nigeria, South Korea, Egypt, and Vietnam.

Misconception #10: Men are way more likely to play video games. Actually, 45% of game players are female and 31% of the game playing population are adult women. And 100% of them are tired of being referred to as "girl gamers".


Thank you for watching Misconceptions on Mental Floss on YouTube that is made with the help of all these super nice people. And if you have a topic for an upcoming episode of Misconceptions that you would like to see, leave it in the comments and I will see you next week. It's gonna be great. Really. I'm not gonna tell you what it's about...because I don't know yet.