Some Popular Fallacies.
A very common error is to suppose that birds sleep with the head beneath the wing. No bird ever sleeps so ; the head is turned round and laid upon the back, where it is often concealed by feathers.—That dogs are kept in health by the addition of brimstone to their drinking water. Seeing that stone brimstone is utterly insoluble in water, I fail to perceive what use it can possibly be to the dog.—That cows are fond of buttercups. Cows, as well as ho a s, in grazing carefully' avoid these plants, which, like all the Banunculacecc, are harsh, astringent, and somewhat poisonous. —That washing the face in morning dew improves the complexion. Dew is distilled water ; but, being merely very pure water, it cannot exercise any special influence on the skin. lam unwilling, however, to dispel this pleasing illusion, and therefore say : “ By all means, young ladies, wash your faces in morning dew, in fall belief of its efficacy. To do so you must rise early and breathe the pure morning air ; this will benefit your health, and no doubt_ your complexion at the same time. ” This is evidently the lesson intended to be inculcated. —That a fire is extinguished by the sun shining on it. The effect in this case is apparent, not real. A fairly good fire looks little better than a heap of white ashes under the powerful light of the sun’s rays, —That there is economy in putting firebricks or clay-balls into a fire. Considering that whatever heat they give out is derived from the fire itself, and that being themselves utterly incombustible they contribute nothing to the heat of the fire, there can bo no economy in their use. Our method of using fuel is, however, terribly wasteful; a very large percentage of combustible matter, as well as heat, goes up the flue and is wasted.—That pipes are burst by a sudden thaw. The thaw merely finds out the bursting that has already been effected by the frost. It is the expansion of water when passing into the icy state that bursts water - pipes, of whatever material.—That the bones are brittle in frosty weather. No doubt more bones are broken in winter than in summer, but this is due to the slippery state of _ the roads at that season, not to speak of accidents on the ice, and not to any abnormal condition of our bones. That ** thunderbolts aro tangible realities that can be handled and preserved as curiosities. The only thunderbolt is the flash of lightning, often, no doubt, very destructive, but never accompanied by any solid. The only solid bodies that ever fall on the earth from the sky are aerolites or bolides, bodies coming from outer space, and having nothing to do with thunderstorms.—That mirrors attract lightning and should be covered or turned to the wall during a thunderstorm. This is a pure illusion, arising from the fact that mirrors reflect the lightning flash and thus add to the terror and apparent danger he storm. —A. E. Spencer in ‘ Public Opinion.’
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Some Popular Fallacies., Evening Star, Issue 8026, 1 October 1889
Some Popular Fallacies. Evening Star, Issue 8026, 1 October 1889
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