What about an 'Urban Myths for Consumers' Wiki?

This is not strictly asking for a test, more like research and maybe some limited tests:

What I have in mind is looking at commonly held conceptions or misconception. It could be about anything to do with consumerism.

The information may have already been brought out, and covered by Choice, but what I am thinking about it bringing all these gems of information together into one easily searchable Wiki.

For example

  1. does sunscreen last 4 hours in normal use?
  2. do glass cutting boards blunt knives?
  3. are smart meters used by electricity retailers bad for your health?
  4. solar panels work best when the sun shines
  5. induction cook tops are more efficient that gas or other electric
  6. cars that can use high octane fuel should because it is more economical.

I’m sure that people can add lots and lots more topics that could be addressed. The answers need to provide a true/false/maybe answer supported by brief factual information, perhaps with references to tests that have been conducted.


Great idea @meltam. I’ll see if it is something we can co-ordinate here on the forum


Could we not do this via Facebook Group Brendan? I belong to several special interest groups on FB where all sorts of topics and questions are raised and answered on a daily basis.


Hi @paul_of_the_forest, we will consider it :thumbsup: I know some other forum users are not too keen on Facebook due to privacy, but we could also have more than one group if needed.

We’ve found though that our forum is good for ranking, so that could be a benefit of holding it here. That way if people google the myth, hopefully they can find advice from the CHOICE Community.


Facebook is not a good venue for dispelling false rumours. It is often responsible for their spread. Snopes ia good website for exploding urban myths. If you search for “sunscreen” you’ll find that Facebook played a major part in the spread of one particular false rumour about sunscreens.


I know a number of people of a certain political persuasion who refuse to recognise Snopes as being as good as it gets for trying to be honest. When they get it wrong they correct it on the record. Some people will not believe anything they are adverse to and do not want to believe no matter how much evidence is put in front of them.

The plus of Choice using Facebook is that their posts could get massive circulation; the minus is it would invite trolls having their own agendas be it discrediting real news or just causing reactions.

A happy medium could be for Choice to add the Urban Myths for Consumers Wiki to the community where they can moderate and manage ‘contributions’ and just put links on Facebook. I find Facebook problematic in many ways but it is, it is popular, and companies have been inclined to use it for better or worse.


Snopes is a microcosm of scientific method as, although they do no original scientific research, they apply similar rules to their analysis of published data. As I see it Snopes denial and anti-science attitude and thinking are two manifestations of the same thing.

Promulgation and acceptance of legends may draw on one or more of several factors. You mention those who simply cannot see contrary evidence and those with other agendas. I would add to that two more; fun, the feeling that it’s all a bit of fluff, that we can give it a pass because it is astounding or amusing. Fourthly, people are lazy and would rather accept than take the trouble to verify. Many legends draw on all four components for their spread.

Here is my nomination for Legend #1. You can tell truth from falsehood on the internet using the ‘sniff test’. That is: common sense prevails, if it looks believable it probably is and if looks impossible then it probably is that. Trust me it is so.


Are you suggesting everything (eg) some Americans think about Obama and liberals is true because to them it looks believable? The context of a legend can be wide and far (fetched).


Wasn’t it Abraham Lincoln who was quoted saying not to believe everything you read on the Internet? though I’ve seen some claim Winston Churchill said it, still others attribute it to Einstein … can’t even get that consistent :wink:


I don’t know all that some Americans think about Obama and liberals so I can’t answer you directly. But some of it (for example the Birther conspiracy) isn’t true. But many believe it all the same.

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I’m not in favour of it being FB only, since I refuse to be part of Zuckerberg’s product range, and wont see it there.

I’m jumping in early with a couple of answers :nerd_face:

Is this really the subject of a myth?

After almost 27 years of using them, and about 6 years of detailed logging and analysis, I can confidently say that it is true. However, they work even better when there are a few bright clouds in the sky in the near-sun direction.

Induction certainly is significantly more efficient than gas for boiling water, but an electric jug is better, and an immersion heater best of all (for my particular test). I’ve written up the results for anyone interested, but here is the summary: :slight_smile:

Induction cooktop with kettle +375ml water
Gas burner with same kettle +375ml water
Ceramic electric jug + 375ml water
Microwave oven with 375ml water in a large mug
Immersion heater in same large mug with 375ml water
Water temp = 12C

Immersion heater …118sec____ 48.3Wh … @1473W
Electric jug …115sec____ 51.6Wh …@ 1615W
Induction cooktop …101sec____ 63Wh … @2246W
Microwave oven …171sec____ 89.5Wh … @1884W
Gas burner …167sec____ ~270Wh … @~5700W


Point made :slight_smile: + characters

Great start thank you.

And yes, there is a truly amazing range of ‘facts’ out there that people cling to without checking.

In the case of the solar panels, several installers have felt the need to mention that one to me, apparently because it is such a widely held belief.

I wonder if the solar panels one related to their performance degrading while they are too hot? I’ve tinkered with my own panels, and apart from keeping them clean, a mist of water on them in the heat of summer actually increases their output (or rather, stops their output being heat degraded)


All panels are rated for their output vs temperature coefficient, as the ratings are done at a cell temperature of 25C (and 1000W/m^2, 1.5 atmospheres), supposedly typical conditions for mid northern US latitudes. As the cell temp rises, the current also rises, but voltage decreases, leading to an overall reduction in output. This is significant in summer, where I’ve measured panel temps of 65C, but in winter when the air temp might be only 5C and the cell temp under 25C, output can be above the panel rating.
Spraying panels with water on a hot day certainly can increase output back closer to rated output, but to do that every hot day would waste a huge amount of water.


Making sure there is free airflow around the panels is about the best thing you can do. Fan forcing may help a little.
Moving to a cold climate region is another option :wink:

I once tried painting a small section of the back of a panel with matt black paint, which radiates heat well, but it ran at the same temperature as the rest of the backing, which is white on most panels.


You would have to cover the entire backs of each panel [1] with heat sinks, an extremely expensive exercise, for maybe 5-10% more output in hot weather. Is that worth hundreds or thousands of dollars? Much easier to add another panel or 2, assuming you stay within your inverter’s input limit for voltage and current.

[1] having one hot cell restricts the current flow in the whole string of cells, which will restrict the current flow in the whole string of panels, so all cells need to be at close to the same temperature for any benefit to be gained. Much the same as shading part of one panel wipes out the whole string of panels’ output.

Re heatsinking of LED streetlights, a passive heatsink on a 80C LED in say 15C ambient, will be a lot more effective than one on a 65C PV panel in 40C ambient.

…we are drifting a bit off topic here!


Moved my Solar panel posts to a PM to declutter the thread as @gordon rightly pointed out.


I’m strongly against moving anything here to FB. I believe Choice has created something special here. FB is a whole different kind of ‘special’ …