In life, our goal is to gain as much knowledge as possible and to be better at every available opportunity. Not only does it make us look smart, but also makes us respectable. Our friends and family members also find it helpful since they know that we will have a solution to every problem they have. When you are at your next social gathering and topics for conversations are running dry, here’s some interesting facts that will help you out. These completely random bits of trivia are not only interesting, but will also make you look more intelligent.
1. Water is capable of freezing and boiling at the same time.
Thanks to its “triple point”, by controlling the temperature and pressure just right, a substance can exist in all three states at the same time. In an experiment, a flask of cyclohexane was put under a vacuum and the pressure inside the flask was lowered. As the pressure becomes significantly low, the cyclohexane on top begins to freeze while the cyclohexane below boils; simultaneously flipping between solid and liquid state. According to Dr. Martyn Poliakoff, a research professor of chemistry at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, this happens because liquid cyclohexane is boiled by the vacuum, while it freezes due to evaporative cooling, which takes place at the same time. (source)
2. Due to a genetic disorder called “adermatoglyphia”, people can be born without fingerprints.
In an era where we unlock our phones using our fingerprints, it is hard to imagine not having them. adermatoglyphia is an extremely rare genetic disorder that can cause a person to be born without fingerprints. It is in fact so rare, that only four known extended families worldwide are affected by this. The condition came to light in 2007, when a Swiss woman contacted dermatologist Peter Itin with an issue. The woman was having trouble entering the United States because she has no fingerprints. In the US, the law states that every non-resident that enters the country has to be fingerprinted.
When Itin and other researchers looked into the woman’s case, they discovered that she wasn’t the only one with adermatoglyphia. In fact, 16 other members of her family had adermatoglyphia, and after a careful study, researchers discovered that the condition was all due to a single gene mutation. While people born with adermatoglyphia have no fingerprints, they are perfectly normal and have no other issues. (source)
3. There is a lake in Australia that is naturally pink in color. Lake Hillier gets its pink color due to the presence of the Dunaliella salina microalgae.
Spanning about 600 meters (2,000 feet) in length by about 250 meters (820 feet) in width, Lake Hillier is a pink-colored lake on Middle Island in Western Australia. Since its discovery in 1802, scientists, as well as the public, have given the lake plenty of attention. For decades, scientists tried to understand exactly what gave the lake its pinkish color. In 2016, scientists made a breakthrough when they discovered that the presence of ‘extremophile’ microbes contribute to the lake’s unusual color. The pink color of the water is a permanent characteristic and even when the water is transferred to a container, it does not change its color. The lake is also 10 times saltier than the ocean but despite its salinity, it is completely safe to swim in it. (source)
4. The reason why advertisements of watches and clocks show the time 10:10 is because the position allows the manufacturer’s logo to be clearly visible.
Have you ever noticed that the default time in advertisements of watches or clocks have the time 10:10? While there are many theories circulating the internet, the real reason is because the position does not overlap the manufacturer’s logo. There are also many visual advantages of setting the time at 10:10. For instance, it provides a unique styling and the symmetrical arrangement of the hands makes the item look more pleasant, since our brains are wired to appreciate anything with proper symmetry. As time went on, 10:10 became an industry standard. According to The NY Times, the “V” looks like a smile or as in “victory”. Timex used to use the time 8:20 in their advertisements but decided to change since many people saw it as a “frown” face. (source)
5. Mosquito repellants don’t actually repel anything. They simply hide you by blocking the mosquito’s sense of smell.
Summer calls for a rise in bugs and mosquitoes. The pesky critters are hard to evade, so we seek shelter from them by using repellants. But, did you know that the mosquito repellants don’t actually repel anything? Mosquitos rely mainly on their sense of smell. They are attracted to human beings or animals by sensing carbon dioxide emissions as well as the smell of sweat. This is why some people are more attractive to mosquitos than others. When we use mosquito repellants, thediethyltoluamide (DEET for short), evaporates on the skin and blocks a mosquito’s sense of smell; thereby preventing it from finding its target. (source)
6. The revolving door was invented by Theophilus Van Kannel, who disliked the social convention of holding doors for others.
It is considered a common courtesy to hold the doors for others behind you. Theophilus Van Kannel, however, disliked this idea so much that he went on to invent a new type of door where no one has to hold the doors for others. The Philadelphian resident patented the idea for the revolving door on August 7, 1888, and the world’s first revolving doors were installed at Rector’s, a restaurant in Times Square, in 1899. According to scientists, although Theophilus Van Kannel invented the door out of dislike for the social convention of holding doors for others, his invention actually makes buildings energy efficient.
Studies show that revolving doors can save up to 30% in energy costs every year. When a swinging door is opened, the cold air rushes out while the hot air rushes in. This causes the cooling systems inside the building to work more to cool down the building. With revolving doors however, less air rushes out and thus helps regulate the temperature inside the building. The type of door also reduces street noise and keeps out fumes from passing motorists. (source)
7. Friends are more similar genetically than strangers.
Studies show that we have more in common with our friends than we think. According to a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, unrelated friends have 1% of genes which match. This is likely because we are naturally inclined to gravitate towards people that we have something in common with. Researchers from Stanford, Duke and the University of Wisconsin studied more than 5,000 participants and when their genetic comparisons were tested, it was discovered that friends were more genetically similar than just strangers. According to author Benjamin Domingue, an assistant professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, this could be due to the fact that bonds are based on shared characteristics. (source)
8. Water bottles have expiration dates on them, which is actually intended for the bottles and not the water.
Despite the belief that packaged bottle water has a long shelf life, they do in fact expire. As it turns out, the expiration date on the bottle is not for the water, but rather the bottle that contains the water. Most bottles are made using polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for retail bottles and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) for water cooler jugs. After a certain point in its life, the plastic can start leaching into the liquid, which not only affects its taste, but could also be hazardous. This is one of the main reasons why most packaged bottles come with expiration dates. (source)
9. A cumulus cloud weighs about as much as 100 elephants.
Despite their light and fluffy appearance, clouds are actually pretty heavy. Researchers have calculated that the average cumulus cloud that we see on a sunny day to weigh an incredible 500,000 kg or 1.1 million pounds. Clouds are made up of a lot of tiny water droplets and depending on the density of a cloud, their weight could change. According to MentalFloss, if a cumulus cloud contains 500,000,000 grams of water, or 1.1 million pounds, that cloud weighs about as much as 100 elephants. Although the clouds weigh millions of pounds, the reason why they float is because the weight isn’t concentrated, rather distributed among trillions of really tiny water droplets. (source)
10. Wearing sunglasses actually makes us look more attractive to others.
Sunglasses not only protect our eyes from ultraviolet radiation but studies show that they make us look more attractive to others, too. According to a research on facial attractiveness, wearing sunglasses hides any facial asymmetry. Science has linked facial symmetry with how attractive we perceive someone to be and when looking at someone, our brains point out the asymmetry instantaneously. Sunglasses cover those up, making us look symmetrical and more attractive. (source)