Uncommon Common Sense
Rarely Known Commonly Known Facts
I was shocked recently while having a conversation with a friend to find out that they did not know that you should never drink or cook with hot water out of the tap. So I have become inspired to write this little article made up of random bits of information that you may or may not know.
While there are certain obvious facts such as corn, macaroni and cheese, bell peppers and potatoes are not vegetables, did you know that a serving of cantaloupe can be used as a replacement for a yellow vegetable?
Fruits are technically separate categories from melons and berries. By the way, a banana, which has about the same amount of calories as an apple, but is about as nutritional as a glass of milk or a serving of broccoli, is a berry and they don’t grow on trees. Technically, they grow on a gigantic leaf stalk.
It is basic information that anyone can learn from taking a chemistry class that cut onions release sulfur dioxide, a chemical which can also be produced by burning pieces of sulfur, which combines with water to make sulfuric acid, which is why the common cook’s trick of turning on the water when you’re cutting up onions is so effective in decreasing the burning in your eyes. Basically think of it this way: it’s better to have a little sulfuric acid go down the drain than have the fluid lubricating your eyes turn into sulfuric acid.
Now, I will admit that a lot of important information over the years has been passed specifically through the male line or the female line, and as gender roles have begun to break down, and everyone is having to work more, instead of passing the information down through both lines, much of it isn’t being passed down to anyone.
For instance, you should never overload your washing machine. It should be lightly loaded till two thirds full. If you overload the washing machine, your clothes will not get clean and you risk breaking the machine, specifically the barrel coupler, which used to always be made out of stainless steel, but are frequently made out of plastic these days. Note that if you do have this problem, it is your fault, not the machine’s and, while the repair will cost you somewhere between $60 and $120, it is still cheaper than buying a new machine.
While we’re on the subject of washing clothes, all soaps and detergents are made out of oil. All of them, whether it is a biodegradable castile soap, or a non-biodegradable detergent. However, not all are created equally. There are two types of surfactants—long chain and short chain surfactants. Surfactant is a fancy name for soap, and to get your clothes clean you need both kinds. Long chain surfactants bind oil to water, and short chain surfactants bind dirt to water and foam more.
Tide is a short chain surfactant, so it will get basic dirt out of clothes, but it will not get oil out of clothes. It is also the detergent most likely to cause allergic reactions. Dawn, on the other hand, which is biodegradable, is a long chain surfactant and will even get crude oil out of your way. That is why it is used by wildlife conservationists when cleaning up oil spills, to save wildlife. If you put more than about a drop of Dawn in your washing machine, however, you will get a fountain of foam pouring out and across the floor.
If your battery terminals on your car become corroded, it can damage your electrical connection and make it impossible to crank your car, but you can dissolve the corrosion with a little baking soda in water. People used to put a penny between the terminals on the battery to prevent corrosion, but with many modern batteries that is no longer possible.
The most common repair for VCRs was the removal of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They actually used to sell a device to prevent this. For some reason, putting your sandwich in the VCR made sense to or was very funny to small children and toddlers.
Computers do not have, and have never had, a drink holder, but one of the most common tech support calls used to be, and still is occasionally, “My drink holder broke off,” always, of course, referring to the CD-ROM tray. This, of course, goes along with those special cases, like when the tech was making a house call for a person who had repeatedly and continually had a problem with their computer. He asked for the boot disk, and the person picked it up with a magnet and handed it to him; or the other case where they had all their floppies stuck to the refrigerator with magnets. On one occasion, I heard of a person who had a computer that would not work at home but always worked when brought in, so when the tech went to their home to see what was different, he found that they had the tower complete covered in magnets and, for some reason, their electronic device would not work. To understand why this was a bad idea, take either a basic electronics or physics class.
Magnets on the screen of a tube television. The screen of a tube television is very similar to a fluorescent light bulb. The back of a tube television contains an electron gun surrounded by weak electromagnets. It will make pretty colors with a magnet on the screen while the television is turned on. It will also mess up the calibration of your electron gun. The television I watch now was once owned by a man who let his toddler play with magnets on the screen and, despite having had the electron gun degaussed, there is still a purple blotch about the size of a grapefruit that floats around on my screen. Sometimes it’s green.
Despite common belief, the majority of Americans do not own computers to this day. It has recently reached about 50%, and of those 50% at least one third are functionally computer-illiterate.
Salvador Dali never even heard of Photoshop. He died before it was even thought of. In fact, he died before the idea of using graphics on a computer was even conceived. Yet, when I and my friends went to the Dali exhibit at the museum, one of our party over heard someone else saying, “Man this guy really liked Photoshop.” Let me assure you that, if anything, Photoshop liked Dali.
Years ago, I had friends who insisted that you could live just fine eating nothing but meat, that one did not need vegetables. Besides, they ate bread, cheese and potatoes as well. They were all younger than I. They are all dead.
While it is a known fact that vegetarians, historically, live an average life-span of eleven years longer than meat-eaters, except in America, this requires them to eat a balanced diet. The chief example of this is Hindus, and you will note that they are not vegans. Hindus consume milk, cheese, vast amounts of yogurt, eggs, rice and lentils, and some occasionally eat chicken. This diet is fine so long as you do not have any kind of systemic health problems, especially thyroid problems which may require one to avoid soy, eat meat, and consume only cooked vegetables. Man is, by nature, an omnivore and does best when consuming a primarily vegetable diet with approximately a quarter pound of red meat per week. Red meat, despite popular myth, is not high in protein, but it is high in vitamin B12 and fat.
Asparagus is a green vegetable which has a tendency to aggravate arthritis. I know because I had rheumatoid arthritis when I was younger.
Companies get away with mislabeling and down-right lying about products regularly by utilizing a loophole in the law called The Industry Standard, which says that anything may be defined by the industry standard. So, with one quick and simple violation of the anti-trust laws, we have gotten such beautiful modifications of definitions as: redefining electrum as white gold, despite the fact that white gold is platinum and gold alloyed, and electrum is silver and gold alloyed. This same principal has been used on your food, clothing, cars, etc.
Here we come into the dead hand effect. Everyone used to be told that it was bad for your eyesight to sit too close to the television, but the real reason that you were not supposed to sit too close to a television is that when televisions were entirely tubes, there was one particular tube that produced a large number of X-rays. This problem went away with the advent of solid state televisions in the late 1970s, which preceded the modern integrated circuit. However, it is still bad for your eyesight to watch television in the dark.
Feeding children formula instead of breast feeding them leads to food allergies and other health problems. Rice formula, of course, has very little protein, and soy formula not only causes a host of health problems and neurological impairment, but also happens to be a form of protein that cannot be digested by babies. In fact, it is one of the last types of proteins that a person develops the ability to digest.
A .22 Magnum Teflon coated long round will go through bullet-proof glass, as will a .357 Magnum, but none of the calibers in between will. Note, this is not necessarily the case on some of the newer, thicker bullet-proof glasses, some of which will stop even those, and some of which will fail to stop damned near anything.
I could continue almost indefinitely with random facts, like despite the fact that for many years they told people not to eat hard cheeses if they were at risk of colon cancer, and not to eat cheeses if you had sinus problems, scientific studies have shown quite some time ago that neither of these medical suggestions is valid and, in fact, Vitamin K2 found in aged hard cheeses decreases your chance of dying of cancer, while eating lots of green leafy vegetables and yellow vegetables greatly decreases your chance of ever getting cancer.
Finally, as to why you don’t drink the water out of the hot tap: Originally the reason was that people used lead pipes and the lead would leach into the hot water to a much greater extent than into cold water. Even copper pipes had lead solder, which meant that you were getting copper (which in large doses is toxic) as well as lead. The modern PVC pipes which are now being used outgas into the water.
PS: Diamond is no longer the hardest substance known. There are several man-made substances which are actually harder.
Copyright © 2012 Julian Thomas Reid III