10 Obscure facts that will make you say, “Wow!”

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obscure facts, woman with brown hair and glasses looking surprised

Have you ever had a “Wow!” moment when you learn something new about something you’ve encountered many times in life but just didn’t understand the significance of it? I recently had such a moment and decided to turn it into a whole post here on the Hot Mess Press. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know 10 obscure facts about everyday things that may surprise you!

Obscure facts about little black arrows on your measuring tape

yellow measuring tape in neon green case

If you happen to own a construction-style, retractable measuring tape, you might notice a series of little black arrows spaced alongside the numbers. They have a purpose! You’ll notice that the arrows appear every 16 inches. That is the typical spacing of studs in a wall! You can use your measuring tape to locate studs running across a wall — once you locate the first one, you can easily find the rest by following the little black arrows on your measuring tape!

Why has the blob of toothpaste on your toothbrush made our obscure facts list?

obscure facts, bright blue toothpaste on blue and white toothbrush

Have you always logically assumed that once you squeeze toothpaste onto your toothbrush, it is still called toothpaste? Well, it is, and it isn’t. As it turns out, the little wavy blob of toothpaste is technically known as a “nurdle” once it’s out of the tube and sitting atop your toothbrush. Who knew?

There are holes in pen caps for a reason

black cap lying next to black felt-tip pen

Since learning number three on our list of obscure facts, I’ve become obsessed with checking the caps on the all the ink pens in my house. The next time you have a pen with a removable cap on it, look to see if it has a tiny hole in the tip. The tiny hole in the cap on your pen is actually a safety feature! Its purpose is to prevent choking if someone accidentally swallows the cap! Since there is a hole in it, it will not completely block the airway.

Watermelons and bananas are berries

variety of fresh fruit

We typically believe that any fruit with the word “berry” in its name is a berry, right? Well, we’re wrong. What if I were to tell you that strawberries, blackberries (SUPER good for your health!) and raspberries are not scientifically categorized as berries at all? Furthermore, scientifically,  watermelons and bananas are berries!

The scientific definition of berry  is something that comes from a single-ovary flower, has two (or more) seeds and three layers. It has to have an outer layer (like watermelons and bananas) an inner, fleshy layer (like watermelons and bananas) and seeds contained on the inside of the fruit (like watermelons and bananas). So, if strawberries, blackberries and raspberries are not berries, what are they? They are aggregates!

Obscure facts about how much ants weigh

obscure facts, magnified view of ant head

Aside from those who enjoy raising “ant farms,” most people find these insects pesky and annoying. What you may not know is how abundant they are throughout the earth. If we were to add up the total amount of weight equal to all the ants on earth, it would be a similar weight to the total amount of human body weight!

Your body is busier than you think

graphic of virus cells and antibodies

Even if you’re resting and feel like your body is still and peaceful, it’s not. There’s so much going on internally, it would blow your mind. For instance, do you know that approximately every five seconds, 500,000 chemical reactions take place in each cell of your body. Your body has approximately 30 to 40 trillion cells. Do the math — wow! That’s a LOT of chemical busyness!

Nautical stripes on sailors’ shirts were designed to save their lives

blue and white striped shirt

In the 1900s, fashion icon CoCo Chanel caught sight of the vibrant stripes on the shirts of French sailors when she was traveling abroad. She incorporated the style into one of her famous clothing collections in 1917. What became a popular fashion trend was actually an intentional design meant to keep French sailors safe at sea. The original uniform contained 21 stripes (representative of Napoleon’s victories). The purpose of the stripes was to make sailors more visible to rescuers in the water if they were fallen overboard!

Yellow and red cards that soccer referees have a history

shoulders down view of soccer ref in yellow shirt, black shorts with yellow and red flag

If you’ve ever been to a soccer game, you’ve likely witnessed a referee waving a yellow or red card to discipline a player. Yellow cards give a warning while red cards let a player know the ref is kicking him or her out of the game. This card-colored system was invented in 1966. Two countries, Argentina and England were facing off, but the referee that day was German. The players struggled to understand his verbal warnings and instructions.

The situation prompted a World Cup referee to invent the color-coded system. It became a non-verbal, universal standard form of communication so that players could immediately understand a ref’s message, even if they had a language barrier!

Brass door knobs clean themselves

obscure facts, brass door handle

It’s common for door knobs on public restrooms to be made of brass. There’s a reason for this! A scientific process known as “oligodynamic effect” makes brass particularly resistant to microorganisms such as viruses or mold. That’s not to say that you should never clean your door knob if it’s made of brass. However, it’s a fact that brass door knobs typically disinfect themselves within eight hours of someone touching them!

Chicago didn’t get its nickname because of wind

aerial view of Chicago buildings

This #10 in our obscure facts list, and it definitely made me say, “Wow!” because I have gone my entire life believing that Chicago, Illinois is a windy place because it’s called “The Windy City.” Little did I know that wind (as in, ‘moving air’) has nothing to do with the city’s nickname.

Journalists in the 19th century actually coined the phrase “windy city” to refer to Chicago. It was their way of saving that Chicagoans were “full of hot air,” a bunch of “windbags” who use their mouths a lot but don’t say anything worthwhile. Yikes! That’s a bit harsh, don’t you think? My apologies to our Chicago readers! I assure you that we here at the Hot Mess Press are interested in what you have to say! In fact, if you have some more obscure facts to share, leave a comment under this post on our Facebook page!




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