Science

25 important things we notice but never ask why or how

As we go about our daily lives, we hardly ever stop and think about the many unique everyday things we experience or encounter. Most of these have logical and scientific explanations behind them, as well as some amazing backstories that we are not aware of. Let’s check out the reasons behind 25 of these amazing things that we often encounter or experience, without knowing exactly why and what they mean.

1 Why do we have such vivid dreams and forget them so quickly when we wake up?

We may all be living exciting lives in our dreams, but when our eyes open, most of us find it difficult to remember details, except for some fuzzy and unclear images that we fail to explain. Scientists have some insight into this through years of research, but not entirely. They believe that when we dream, our brain’s hippocampus secretes short-term memories (of less important things) and long-term memories. Hence, we are good at forgetting the unnecessary things. We only remember the things that caught our attention – and the activity in our brains increases. This explains why we often remember strange, beautiful, or frightening dreams rather than unimpressive dreams.

When we wake up, the memory of dreams fades into the short-term memory department. Other studies suggest that people forget dreams because levels of acetylcholine and norepinephrine (a memory enhancer) change during sleep. Another study showed that people with higher recall ability had higher white matter density in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and increased blood flow in the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) and mPFC regions of their brains. Hopefully, in the future, we will know exactly why dreams die in the morning and what we can do to save them!

2 Why do we always see ships painted red at the bottom?

If you see a ship being launched from a shipyard or pictures of shipwrecks, you will notice how all the ships are painted red at the bottom. During the early years of shipping, shipbuilders used copper plating as a biocide or pesticide to protect the ship from wood-eating worms, seaweeds, barnacles, and other microorganisms. It was this copper plating that made the bottom of the ship red.

In modern times, this is no longer needed as biocides can be mixed with any color. But to keep up with nautical traditions, ships are still painted red. Another reason for the red color of the ship is obvious. They stand out in emergencies and can be easily spotted by helicopters and other ships. The color red also helps assess the ship’s tonnage. The heavier the load, the deeper the red color in the water.

3 We’ve all seen little bumps in the road. what are they called

Roads can warn us of danger. The little bumps we see on the roads while driving are called “rumble bars,” also known as “sleep lines” or “alert bars.” This is a road safety feature that alerts a distracted driver of potential danger every time they stray from the correct driving lane. When the wheels of our car move over these strips, they cause a tangible vibration and roar that is transmitted through the wheels to the car. This sound conveys to the driver that he has deviated from the correct travel lanes. They are installed in the center, on the edge of a two-lane road, or on the shoulders of a highway.

These bumps are coated with an anti-reflective coating to increase pavement edge visibility at night and during severe weather conditions. They reduce fatal lane departure incidents by 50%, according to the data. Many lives are saved each year due to rumble strips. Talk about a sweet safety sound!

4 Why is there a small hole at the bottom of the lock?

We’ve all seen a little hole at the base of our locks but we rarely think about it. Locks are usually intended for outdoor purposes and are designed to handle severe weather. If water ever gets inside the lock, the hole acts as a drain hole allowing excess water to drain out and preventing the lock’s internal mechanisms from rusting. By draining water instantly, the hole also prevents water from freezing inside the lock which could permanently damage it.

There is another emergency purpose that piercings serve. If the lock gets jammed and the key doesn’t turn properly to open it, you can always spray the hole with a synthetic lock lubricant that can help open it.

5 Why do we carve faces on pumpkins for Halloween?

To find out why pumpkins are carved with scary faces, we must know the story behind Jack-o-lantern. The origin of this story comes from the Irish legend about Stingy Jack, who tricked the Devil for financial gain. But when he died, he was not allowed to enter heaven or hell and was condemned to wander the earth forever.

In Ireland, people have always carved spooky faces on turnips and potatoes to ward off the jack spirit. When the Irish immigrated to the United States, they brought this folklore with them. Huge, home-grown pumpkins (which didn’t sell well at the market) served well for carving, and so the tradition started again.

6 Why do we clink glasses or say cheers while drinking?

The practice of cranking glasses with a cheer while drinking is an ancient tradition that can be traced back to the Middle Ages. It is said that during the Middle Ages, people would bake their cups loudly and cheer abundantly to ward off demons or evil spirits that were hovering nearby. It was also said that the sound of the clatter of the glasses resembled the sound of church bells, which doubled the purpose of chasing away demons.

Another rationale behind this was to avoid poisoning, which was very common at the time. The cups were full, and the loud, hard sound against one another made the drinks from one cup over the other and happily pass into other cups, calling out the would-be murderer, if any. Then there is also the theory of trying to achieve a holistic experience with all five senses. Smell, taste, sight and sensation were already there. Only hearing was missing. Hence the cups clasping together and saying “Cheers!”

The exclamation “Cheers!” From the French term “chiere”, which originally meant “face” or “head”. Later in the eighteenth century, it became “delight”. And so, today, when we say “Cheers!” It is a way to express happiness, good wishes and support.

7 Why do we complain about the sound of our nails scratching the chalkboard?

This is a phenomenon whose exact cause is still unknown, although there are some possible theories. A physicist won a Nobel Prize for his research on this question. He recorded the sound of a three-prong garden tool on the board and then proceeded to find out which part of the sound we dislike the most. Surprisingly, it was the lack of removal of high frequencies that made the sound bearable. It was the middle frequencies that did the trick, the same frequency in the primate warning call. This led him to believe that human ears recognize this sound as a warning call, hence the aversion. But since then, more research has been done on this topic.

The human ear canal amplifies certain frequencies, especially between 2000-4000 Hz. These sounds likely trigger a distress signal from the amygdala, which processes our negative emotions, to the auditory cortex, which processes sound. The more unpleasant the sound, the greater the activity between these two regions of the brain.

8 Why do women’s bikes have a downshift bar, unlike men’s bikes which have a horizontal bar under the seat?

The horizontal bar on men’s bikes adds a great deal of power to the bike. But for women, it has proven problematic. In the past, women used to wear dresses and had to raise their legs slightly when they had to cross the straight bar. This unwanted revelation was pretty scandalous at the time.

Therefore, bicycle manufacturers began making bicycles with a tilt bar so that women could easily get on and off the bike without having to put their legs up too high. Although this completely weakened the framework in those days, the advantages of protecting one’s honor outweighed the disadvantages of a weak framework.

This tradition continues to this day, and because of better and stronger manufacturing materials, luckily you don’t have to worry about the strength of a bike frame.

9 Why is it good to stress your heart through exercise but unhealthy to stress it through stress, caffeine, nicotine, etc.?

Stressing your heart through exercise and stress does opposite things to your heart. Think of your heart as if you were a balloon. When you exercise regularly, it causes a natural dilation of blood vessels allowing for an increased heart rate to supply more oxygen to the circulatory system. Every time you exercise, you also stimulate the adaptation of your lungs, blood, and muscles. As a result, your heart has to expand a bit to blast the same amount.

But on the other hand, caffeine and nicotine cause blood vessels to constrict along with an increase in heart rate, which puts more stress on your heart because it has to work harder to achieve the same level of blood oxygenation. It also has the opposite effect and damages other structures, requiring more effort to stretch and blow up the balloon. This is why people with weak hearts tire more easily and experience shortness of breath.

10 Why do we have an extra lace hole in our sneakers?

Do you know why your sneakers or sneakers have an extra lace hole near the ankles? You’ve probably seen it but never used it. But that extra hole serves a specific purpose. Runners use this to keep their shoes tight. By keeping it taut, your heels don’t rub against the inside of your shoes, which prevents painful blisters.

This is also called a “heel lock”, “lace lock”, or “racer loop”, and provides additional support to the heel and ankle of the person wearing it. You can use this extra hole very easily to tie your shoes. Use this hole to create loops on each side, pull down and then pull up and tie tight.

11 How do ships anchor in really deep waters? Do they need 10k feet of chains if they are anchored in oceans 10k feet deep?

The answer to that is that they don’t. It is not possible to moor in the deep sea because of the depth. The main force holding the moored ship in place is the weight of the chain on the sea floor. All anchors must rest on the sea floor. The wind may push the ship, but the chain will always stay in place. How deep the anchor goes depends on the depth of the sea combined with the length of the chain.

As a general rule, you usually need a string that is 5-7 times the depth of the water. So in water 20 feet deep, the ship needs at least 100 feet of chain. Therefore, it is not possible to anchor in the deep sea because it is practically impossible to carry such a large chain.

But there are other ways to anchor ships in the deep sea. Ships usually use a sea or storm anchor to keep the boat at a specific location on the ocean. They are used during bad weather when it would be unsafe for the crew to steer the boat. A sea anchor, in the shape of an umbrella, is deployed from the bow, while a storm cone is deployed from the stern. These prevent the vessels from taking in the waves from the side.

12 Why don’t you electrocute birds with electric wires?

Hundreds of birds chattering on electric wires is a familiar sight to all of us. But why don’t these birds get electrocuted? This is because the bird’s body, which is made up of cells and tissues, is not a good conductor of electricity. Their bodies are small and spherical and they cannot store much electrical charge. So, although a bird when on a wire has its foot constantly charged and discharged, it is too small to cause any trouble. The nature of electricity is to flow through media with the least possible resistance. So, when it comes to birds on the wires, the electricity ignores the birds and continues to flow through the wire.

But by the same logic, if a bird touches something solid, or grounded metal, it can give off electricity a path to the ground and get shocked. Therefore, our feathered friends try to avoid the wooden pole and focus on resting on the wire instead. It is safer.

13 Why do we have the sponsorship system? Why should someone who should (or shouldn’t) be in prison have a way to buy their freedom?

Bail is an essential part of the justice system, even if it feels wrong by reasoning. The fundamental freedom or human right afforded to all human beings, whether guilty or not, is the presumption of innocence. Or, in legal terms, they are “innocent until proven guilty.” The main role of the justice system is not to incarcerate as many people as possible, but rather to protect the innocent and keep the public safe. Therefore, when accusing a person, it is not correct to assume that he is guilty and keep him in prison for a long time without conviction or trial proving him guilty.

But releasing a person without any kind of organization is much more dangerous. Hence, we have the sponsorship system. Bail is not freedom. Rather, it is the conditional release of a person on the basis that he will appear in court before he is convicted or his innocence is proven. Bail also reduces state expenses, at the same time keeping him in court custody awaiting trial. But this is a complex procedure that has its pros and cons. However, if we are not followed, we can get trapped in a potentially dangerous society where everyone lives in fear.

14 Why do prices go up and never go down? For example, food prices, living expenses, etc.

This is due to inflation. In an economy that is growing, the prices of things go up, and so does your earnings. Imagine if you wanted more money from your boss. Your manager has to generate this money by asking customers for more money. This is a sign of good economics. This is why at the end of the day, all prices go up.

What if the opposite happened? If we know that the price of a product, for example, a car, will decrease next year, then everyone will wait and will not buy cars until next year. This would cause the economy to contract. Deflation is worse than inflation and causes depression. Therefore, inflation in controlled and moderate amounts is always a good thing. In simple words, prices tend to rise due to economic growth, and increased economic growth usually leads to a small amount of inflation.

15 How do trains not slip when it rains or when going up?

The most important thing here is the law of friction. For trains, the wheels and tracks are made of steel, so there isn’t a lot of friction (in fact less than in road cars). So, what helps trains run faster? Train cars are very heavy, which automatically creates a force between the wheels and the rail. This is also the main reason why the wheels do not slip and travel quickly on flat tracks.

Most trains are also equipped with a wheel slip probe to help control slip, and a sander that applies sand to the track to prevent slip. But once the train is uphill, the weight is distributed, and there is very little friction to grip the track. Therefore, most trains cannot climb steep gradients.

Mechanisms such as simple rail sticking, trestle rails, and cable slopes help trains to climb, although the rule of thumb is always to avoid steep gradients. High-speed rail has stronger brands and more wheels that allow a gradient of 2.5% to 4%. But for freight trains, the gradients should be nice, preferably less than 1.5%.

Trains usually have a maximum ramp that allows them to climb. This prevents them from “slipping and sliding” as they increase their speed. Saluda Grade in North Carolina is the steepest in the United States, with a maximum gradient of 4.7%.

16 Are the age of the donated organs according to the age of the donor, or are they adapted to the age of the new body?

There is a lot of data available on the effect of donor age on transplant outcomes. But the research is underutilized and not sufficient. If the donor is older, there will be negative effects on the patient’s outcome. But the rate of aging varies across organs and is more complex than it seems. There is a reason why the health of the organ is more important than the health of the donor when it comes to living organ donation. Normally, the liver will regenerate and regenerate, but kidney transplants will not. This research is complex, multifactorial, and still in the early stages of research.

17 Why does your body feel physically ill after experiencing emotional trauma?

Traumatic mental or emotional experiences often lead us to feel physically ill, including tiredness, exhaustion, nausea, vomiting, etc., mainly because they release stress-inducing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. When we feel trauma or danger, primitive parts of our nervous system, such as the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the “fight or flight” response, and the parasympathetic nervous system, which causes us to shut down and conserve energy, both cause physical illness. It increases heart rate and blood pressure, depresses the digestive system, and affects the immune system. It also controls digestion and heart rate.

This explains why trauma often causes constipation or fainting. But experts concluded that the relationship between psychological trauma and physical discomfort is not linear. Some may be fine, others struggle. The trauma itself does not lead to the health condition, but how our bodies react to it. This is an evolutionary response and not necessarily a bad thing.

18 Why does hearing yourself speak with a few seconds of delay completely break your mind?

We need to hear ourselves speak. Any delay in auditory feedback disturbs the mechanisms in our brains and causes tension, making it difficult to speak. Have you noticed that due to network issues, we hear ourselves after a delay on the phone, and have trouble speaking and understanding clearly?

A complex mechanism that enables our ears to convert the mechanical vibrations of sound into electrical energy, allowing our brain to properly process and interpret these signals. For a person with a normal sense of hearing, the path from sound creation (speaking) to reception, processing, and interpretation (hearing) is critical. Any delay in this process can completely overwhelm and disable the brain.

This same phenomenon, called “delayed auditory feedback,” is used in the treatment of people who stutter.

19 Why do we feel the warmth of the sun when it is 93 million miles away, yet when a cloud passes over it, its warmth immediately decreases?

The sun’s heat reaches us in about eight minutes and 20 seconds. It travels through the void of space through a phenomenon called “radiation”. Radiation is the kind of heat we feel when we keep our hands over the stove, and heat travels through electromagnetic waves without the use of particles. In the same way, the thermal energy of the Sun spreads throughout the Earth through convection and conduction, heating solid bodies, earth, water, etc. This energy warms our bodies. But why don’t you reach us through the cloud cover? Why do we immediately feel less warm?

This is due to thermal insulation. Insulation creates a kind of barrier between the hot and the cold to prevent the transfer of thermal energy. Clouds act as insulators and block heat energy from the sun. Therefore, we feel less warm once it gets cloudy. But cloud cover also traps heat in the atmosphere, keeping us warm, and this property of clouds is essential to maintaining the Earth’s optimum temperature.

20 How do newborns breathe air immediately as soon as they leave the house, when they did not do so before, for nine months?

Lungs begin to develop in babies very early in pregnancy, but it will not develop until after 24-36 weeks that the lungs are the small sacs that fill with oxygen. These help babies breathe on their own once they are out of the womb. It is interesting to know that the lungs are the only organ in the body that remains complete even after birth. Prior to this, the umbilical cord, which connects to the placenta, supplies oxygen to the baby, which breathes with the help of the mother’s placenta and umbilical cord. Therefore, the lungs are not exercised before birth, unlike other organs that are usually in a state of activity while the baby is still in the womb.

Once a baby is born, a sudden change in environment—which includes temperature changes, lack of amniotic fluid, and exposure to air—provokes the baby for its first breath, usually within 10 seconds. By this time, the lungs are usually fully developed. Therefore, although the first breath is usually an inhalation, babies continue to breathe in air quite easily once they are out of the womb. The lungs inflate and begin to function on their own, moving oxygen into the bloodstream (inhalation) and removing carbon dioxide via exhalation (exhalation).

21 We often hear the word “gas lighting,” but what exactly does it mean?

The expression “gaslighting” comes from the 1938 play Gas Light, which was made into a movie called Gaslight in 1944. Here, a husband tricks his wife into convincing her that she is mentally unstable to steal from her. The term gaslighting is defined as a type of manipulation whereby it causes someone to question their reality. According to psychologists, gaslighting is always a serious problem because not believing in your reality always leads to severe effects. Gassing can happen in all types of relationships, whether it’s an abusive spouse, manipulative parents, children, co-workers, or scheming bosses. The gaslighted victim has no clear control over the truth and thus ends up making wrong decisions. In cases of gassing where the manipulator is nearby, the victim chooses to believe the person, and the gassinger ends up using that trust for the gassing.

Gaslighting can be intentional with malicious intent, as well as unintentional. For example, a parent who is highly critical of every decision a child makes may lead the child to believe that they are never right. Hence, this may make the child unable to make valid and independent decisions, believing that they will not be approved by the parent (the parent in this case).

Various methods of illuminating the victim may include blocking or confronting the victim’s version, blocking or diverting the victim’s thinking, minimizing the victim’s feelings, and forgetting or denial by the manipulator.

22 Why do we only get two sets of teeth in our lifetime?

Humans are diviodonts, which means we only grow two sets of teeth in our lifetime. The first group of 20 teeth is the deciduous group, which includes deciduous teeth, deciduous teeth, and deciduous teeth. These support the shape of our jaws as we grow and adapt to the size of our faces as we get older. As the deciduous teeth fall out, the new, permanent, and last set of teeth begins to grow in. But what about the third group? Can we get more? The answer is likely no.

This is because our DNA only contains instructions for two sets of teeth and not anymore, due to both sets growing when they are supposed to and then stopping after we have successfully grown 32 permanent teeth. For us to evolve and have more than two populations, it is imperative that we develop challenges that directly affect the survival of our offspring. But that doesn’t happen because we keep making our foods soft. Often there is no need for even a third molar. Therefore, from an evolutionary point of view, we do not even need a third group, and therefore they do not evolve.

23 Do oxygen levels drop much in the winter when trees shed their leaves?

The short answer is yes. Oxygen levels drop, and carbon dioxide levels increase during the northern hemisphere winter when most trees drop their leaves. But this decrease is small, which means that no matter what, the amount of oxygen in our atmosphere is more or less constant at any time of the year. By volume, 21% of the air we breathe is O2, and almost all of that oxygen comes from photosynthesis.

But it’s not just trees that produce oxygen. About half or more of the oxygen in our atmosphere comes from the oceans by microscopic algae-like organisms called phytoplankton. A marine cyanobacteria called Prochlorococcus could be the richest photosynthetic producer on Earth. Scientists found that O2 levels drop by about 24 parts per million by volume during the Northern Hemisphere winter. Our atmosphere is made up of about 210,000 parts per million (ppm) of oxygen, which later means that this decrease is only about 0.01%. So, you don’t have to worry yet. Even though there’s a little less oxygen, there’s still a lot you can breathe easier with.

24 Why are our faces more prone to blackheads and pimples than the rest of our bodies?

The frequency of appearance of blackheads and pimples depends on the sensitivity of the sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands are small glands found near the surface of our skins, connected to hair follicles. These glands produce sebum, an oily substance that moisturizes and protects the skin. Acne or pimples are caused by excessive sebum production. When our glands overproduce sebum, it clogs our pores and causes C. bacteria to grow. This, in turn, generates inflammation in our skin that leads to acne, blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, etc.

So why, so often on our faces? In humans, although sebaceous glands are found all over the body, they are present in large numbers, especially on the face and scalp. Our faces, in particular, may contain 900 sebaceous glands per square centimeter of skin. So, it stands to reason that our faces are more prone to pimples, blackheads, acne, etc. than the rest of our bodies.

25 Why do wine bottles have a large indentation at the base?

All wine bottles have a conical indentation at the bottom. This is called a “punt”. In the days when all bottles were made by hand, an indentation was given to push the seam up and ensure the bottle could stand upright and check that there was no sharp point of glass at the bottom. The punctuation also added to the structural strength of the wine bottles. Today, the bottles are much stronger and machine-made, but flasks are still added according to tradition.

Wine enthusiasts and researchers have also discovered other purposes for having this punt. It makes the job of pouring a glass of wine with one hand easier while resting your thumb in the bottle’s crevice. An indentation at the bottom is also known to collect sediment as the wine ages inside the bottle. But the indentation has absolutely no effect on the quality of the wine. At best, it can fool buyers into thinking a larger bottle holds more wine, when in fact it could be the opposite.

Smith

Tricare west is a global news publication that tells the stories you want to know.

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