90% of People Don’t Know What These Actually Do

Good morning! I’m so happy we’re gonna spend the day together. You see, I stayed up reading about all those common things that you and I never realized actually had purposes.

My head’s brimming with all this knowledge! I need to unload it on someone. And you’re the perfect volunteer!

First things first, food. Gotta have a hearty breakfast. I’ll make you some eggs. But before I cook them, look at this. See that little white string? There are a few common misconceptions about what it is.

But no, it’s not part of a baby chick or anything yucky. Even though it looks kinda unnatural, you actually want to see it in your eggs. It’s called a chalaza. There are two of them in each egg, and they’re like the ropes that hold up a hammock. And this “hammock” is an egg yolk. The strings keep it from splatting against the shell.

If you still don’t like the look of it, don’t worry — these strings usually vanish after cooking. Plus, they’re a sign of freshness. If you don’t see a trusty chalaza, you might have left your eggs sitting in the fridge for a few too many days. So how do you like them? Scrambled or sunny side up?

Before you clear your plate, you need to add a piece of fruit to that breakfast. Want an apple? By the way, do you know where apples come from? I mean, all the apples you’ve ever eaten? Apple trees, right? And what seeds do those apple trees grow from? Apple seeds, right?

Nope! Almost all apple trees don’t grow from seeds! That’s because seedlings turn out genetically different from their parent trees. Seeds from a Golden Delicious don’t grow a Golden Delicious tree. All apples you’ve ever eaten were likely grown on grafted trees. That’s when farmers attach apple branches to the cut trunk of another tree. Any other tree. Yeah, a peach tree or even an avocado tree. Frankenstein trees!

Before we start our day, let’s check the weather. Turn on the TV. Oh, wait — have you ever looked closely at your couch? See those buttons?

Once upon a time, furniture was filled with horsehair and straw. Those sorts of fillings moved around a lot. Couches could get really lumpy and bumpy. So those deep buttons were used to lock them in place. We use much more comfortable fillings than straw now, but we still keep the look for fashion.

Okay, go on. You can turn the TV on now. Uh oh. There’s a 60% chance of rain. Looks like we’ll need to bring umbrellas. But do you know what this forecast actually means? I’ve always thought it means that there’s… you know, a 60% chance of rain. But this number actually means that 60% of the forecasted area might get rain!

How about a quick snack for the road? Oreos, yum! Look at the design on the top of the cookie. In the center, there’s a circle topped with a double-armed cross. It’s the Nabisco logo, which is a European symbol of quality.

Grab a coat, too — just in case. Have you ever noticed these letters printed on the zipper of your coat? Or any clothes zippers, for that matter. Go on and check right now. I bet I can guess what letters you’ll find there. If I’m right, you owe me a soda. Does it say YKK? I had a 50% chance of getting that right because about half of all zippers in the world are made by one manufacturer called the YKK group.

So, do you owe me a soda or what? Let’s head out. I have some errands to run. You don’t mind tagging along, do you? First stop, I need to pop into the bank to drop off a check. Not all lines printed on checks are as simple as meets the eye.

To make them harder to replicate, a lot of them have tiny writing. It’s so small it just looks like regular black lines showing you where to sign. Usually, the writing is phrases like “Original Document” or “Authorized Signature.” Only superheroes with microscopic vision would know, though.

On some US pennies, you can spot several letters under Lincoln’s shoulder: VDB. What do they mean? They’re the initials of Victor David Brenner. That’s the man who designed the very first penny with the exact same portrait of Lincoln that’s still in use today.

Next, I need a few things from the supermarket. Can you grab a cart? Did you know these metal loops on the carts actually have a use? They’re designed to hold your grocery bags if you have too many to fit inside the cart or if you need fragile items to stay upright.

Do you need anything? Here’s my shopping list. One: bubble bath. What? It’s an essential! You know, I’m not kidding. It actually does have practical use.

And it’s not to make a bubble beard while you’re bored in the bathtub. A bubble bath was invented so that the foam would sit on the surface of the water and insulate it, keeping the water warmer for longer. I like long baths, so it’s very important to me.

Next item: a new toothbrush. Mine’s old and needs replacing. The blue indicator bristles are pretty much gone. Oh, did you not know that’s what they’re for? Yeah, the row of blue bristles on most toothbrushes acts like a timer. Each time you brush your teeth, they get thinner and thinner, and, eventually, the blue color gets all worn away. That’s when you know you need a refresher. Just to be safe, I’ll get you a new brush too.

Alright, I got everything I need — let’s head home. Uh oh, it’s started raining. Good thing we grabbed these umbrellas. It seems like no one really knows what the metal point at the top of an umbrella is for.

See, now that we’re out of the rain, there are water drops all over the fabric. When we fold our umbrellas up and put them in the car, they’ll soak everything they touch. But not if we tap the metal tip on the ground and shake all the water off. Convenient, right?

Into the car we get! That line of black dots around the windshield always bugged me, but I’ve finally found out what it’s for. It’s called a “frit.” It shields the glue that bonds the windshield to the car from ultraviolet light. The dots, though… they just make it look nice.

Let’s turn on the radio and listen to some tunes. You probably see that symbol on the radio’s power button pretty much every day. It’s also on computers, microwaves, game consoles, and so many other things. But I never thought about what it means. It dates way back before most of the technology that uses it. Turns out it’s actually binary code that says “standby power state.” Huh, cool.

Well, those errands made me work up an appetite. Here’s a deal — I’ll do the dishes while you cook some spaghetti for dinner. Everyone always says it’s impossible to measure out the right amount of spaghetti. It’s so hard to figure out what one portion looks like.

But none of us should struggle with it because there’s a tool for this exact purpose right under our noses. In the middle of your spaghetti serving ladle, there’s a hole perfectly sized to measure out one serving. No more leftovers from now on!

Everyone always uses the tops of plates and bowls. But as I’m washing them, it reminds me of all the clever uses for the bottom sides. For example, the rough rim under plates can sharpen knives. Watch this. All of your knives are super dull and can barely cut these tomatoes. Now, if I take them and run them along the bottom of this plate a few times — voilà! Fresh as new. They slice the tomatoes like butter.

And this groove, here, in the bottom of your mug — it has a purpose, too. The one you’ll probably be very thankful for even if you don’t know about it yet. This groove is specifically designed for mugs you put in the dishwasher upside-down. Without it, a puddle of water would pool inside the rim and spill all over your feet when you take the mug out. Trust me; this little gap is your best friend.

Oh, before you use that frying pan — have you salted the oil? Yup, you shouldn’t only salt your pasta water but also the frying oil. A pinch of flour will also work. Both absorb the moisture from the food you put in and stop the boiling oil from splattering.

But do watch out because the salt might lower the temperature at which the oil starts to smoke. It probably won’t be an issue unless you’re boiling big vats of stuff, though. That’s enough new information for one day, right? Let’s finish this great day with a big spaghetti dinner!