When you're naturally curious,
every day is a school day.
But I'll bet you didn't realize
just how much there is to learn
about the seemingly mundane items
we see and use on a daily.
From deceptive store displays
to the secret messages hidden in fast food,
let's take a look at yet another batch
of "Amazing Secrets Hidden In Everyday Things."
"Throwing in the Towel."
Unfortunately for your wallet,
shopping is very much a part of everyday life,
and when it comes to tempting their customers,
retailers know that appearance is king.
Bed Bath and Beyond is famous around the world
for their impeccable ceiling-high towel displays,
but have you ever wondered how exactly
they keep them looking so perfect?
While it may look like these towels
are stacked too high heaven,
each stack is just one towel
carefully sheathed over foam rolls
in a way to make it appear as though it's lots of towels
folded on top of one another.
The real towel stacks are wisely kept
within the average shopper's reach,
so most are none the wiser.
Pretty ironic that Bed Bath Beyond
personal hygiene section
would be harboring dirty little secrets like that.
With the soft dough, tangy tomato sauce,
and that oh-so-glorious gooey cheese,
you'd be hard-pressed to find someone
that doesn't love a good slice of 'za,
but I'll bet you never realized just how much thought
goes into your standard takeout pizza in a box.
While the pizza itself
is what catches your eye upon opening the box,
there's something else
that I'll bet you've never paid much mind to,
specifically, this mysterious little piece of plastic.
While it might look like the perfect spot
for a tiny pizza party,
this little table is called a pizza saver.
Its job is essentially to provide
structural support to pizza boxes
when other things are stacked on top during transit.
While you might be wondering why an already flat pizza
would need any kind of crush protection,
the pizza saver plays a crucial role
in preventing the top of the box
from drooping down onto the pizza.
Pizzerias that don't use pizza savers
are at risk of causing any delicious cheese
and toppings to stick to the lid,
turning any sized pizza party into a pizza pity party.
As nifty as this little table's true purpose is,
I'd still love to attend a tiny pizza party.
What a tasteful pepperoni carpet this place has.
"CAPTCHA If You Can."
Thanks to the wonderful world of spammers,
daily internet users are sure to find themselves
convincing websites that they are, in fact, not a robot.
This is RECAPTCHA, an online system that enables websites
to differentiate between genuine human users and spam bots.
On average, humans solve roughly 60 million
online CAPTCHAs every single day,
and you might have noticed
that the questions asked by the picture puzzles
seem just a little bit dumb.
Select all squares with traffic lights,
all images with a bus, crosswalks, and taxis.
The list goes on.
While these tasks might seem random and pointless,
few people realize that the answers we're giving
to these irritating CAPTCHAs
have been steadily moving us closer
to a reality dominated by self-driving cars.
When you identify road hazards and signs in CAPTCHAS,
Google uses this precise information
to help its smart car technology
identify where pedestrian signs, crosswalks,
and cyclists are.
So, when you're sitting with your future grandkids
in your self-driving car,
you can tell them all about
how you've been personally responsible
for the magic of truly smart cars.
In the United States, around 26 million students
ride the school bus to and from school every day.
Chances are you've ridden one yourself,
but have you ever stopped to consider
the design of what's ferrying you to class?
Ever noticed these horizontal steel bars
that jut out the side of American school buses?
These are called rub rails,
and serve to provide structural
and protection support to the bus.
If something were to swipe up against the side of the bus,
the rub rails provide additional reinforcement
against the obstruction,
reducing the chance of damage being done
to the main body of the bus,
keeping the kids inside safe from metal walls
that could otherwise crumple inward.
Pretty neat, huh?
If, like me, you always just assume
those black lines were a stylistic choice,
let me know in the comments.
"Spinning For Air."
They say when one door closes, another opens,
but revolving doors are another kettle of fish,
and, surprisingly, they're full of hidden functions.
While they might seem snazzy,
revolving doors work to save energy
and reduce carbon emissions
by preventing something called the stack effect.
The stack effect occurs in tall buildings
when the outdoor temperature
is significantly different compared to the inside.
During the winter, when a regular swing door opens
at the bottom of a building,
cold, dense air from outside will enter the building
and push its way upward,
forcing the warmer, less dense air out of any openings
at the top of the building.
In summer, cold air-conditioned air
sinks to the bottom of the building
and rushes out when the swing doors open.
Revolving doors are designed in such a way
that there's never a direct opening to the street,
meaning, that the air on the inside
is mostly sealed from the outside,
even when the door is spinning.
These spinning doors exchange eight times less air
compared to swing doors,
and thanks to this tighter control
of the temperature of the air within the building entrance,
buildings that exclusively use revolving doors
can reduce their annual energy consumption
by as much as 74%.
So, the next time you treat yourself
to a fun ride through a revolving door,
you can give yourself an extra pat on the back
for doing your bit to save the planet.
"In-N-Out of Faith."
Some might compare an especially delicious fast-food meal
to a religious experience,
but little do they realize how literal this can be.
We don't often pay much attention
to what our burgers, fries,
and sodas are packaged up in,
but turns out the guys at In-N-Out Burger
have been hiding something sacred right under our noses.
These mysterious markings can be found in hidden
on the underside of cups, the bottoms of boxes,
and near the seams of wrappers.
But what are they?
You may have already realized
that these markers are pointers to Bible passages,
but you probably don't know why exactly they're there.
In-N-Out Burger was founded
by Harry and Esther Snyder in 1948,
and unlike many other fast food joints,
remains privately owned,
an un-franchised, family business to this day.
The Snyders have always been a religious family
and seeing as they own In-N-Out outright,
they can put just about whatever they want on the packaging.
The Bible verses have been present
on the burger joint's packaging since at least 1987,
and mostly indicate passages that promote faith in God.
So maybe fast food isn't as sinful as we thought.
At least, not the kind from In-N-Out.
"Chairing is Caring."
There aren't many better ways
to catch up with a group of pals
then over a cold one at the bar.
While balancing on a bar stool isn't always the easiest,
the most comfortable thing to do,
I bet you never realized
that you're sitting on a gold mine.
A gold mine of secrets that is.
You may have spotted that some bar stools
come with a small round hole in the middle of the seat.
While it might look like it's perfectly placed
for you to silently break the wind in public,
there's a lot more to it.
One of the reasons for this tush hole
is down to air pressure,
and I don't mean backside air.
If no hole was present,
the chairs are more likely to get stuck when stacked
because of air vacuums
that form within the gap between two chairs.
It can also, more obviously, act as a convenient hole
to hook your finger into
for a better grip when moving them around.
Thanks to the bar stool's handy hole,
the only balancing act you'll need to do
is when you find yourself sitting on one.
It's easy for pedestrians to go about their daily routine
without paying much attention
to the sidewalks, they're using,
but some features are essential
to certain folks getting around.
If you've ever noticed raised patterns
like these on the ground,
they aren't there for a fun change in pace.
That's what's known as tactile paving
and it's designed to guide people with visual impairments
through busy areas like city sidewalks
and public transport stations.
There are two main types of tactile paving.
Directional blocks and warning blocks.
Directional blocks like these serve to guide
those with visual impairments towards important landmarks
such as train station platforms and accessible exits.
Warning blocks often work
in conjunction with directional blocks
and can indicate a change in direction
or significant landmarks such as platform edges
And this isn't the only secret message
hidden in our sidewalks.
Love it or hate it,
graffiti has become a part of everyday life.
City dwellers, in particular,
are so used to seeing these urban hieroglyphics on the daily
that they've become synonymous with city life.
But did you know that some of it
is meant to be there?
Certain spray-painted messages
may mean nothing to the untrained eye,
but they're essential for warning street engineers
and construction workers about the different types
of underground hazards in the area.
These markings are color-coded,
and common colors include: red,
which indicates electric power lines;
yellow for gas and oil lines;
green for sewers and drain lines;
and orange, which covers communication wires.
This one in particular refers to a communication wire
that's running under the ground,
with the line and arrow indicating
the wires offset a little further
over from the line's position.
This offset usually happens if there's something obstructing
the ability to mark the actual position,
like a building or a busy road.
So, the next time you're wandering up the boulevard,
you'll know that the pavement itself
is determined to make sure that everyone,
both workers and civilians,
are walking on an easy street.
With almost 2,000 stores across the U.S.A.,
it's likely that the average American visits
or sees a Target branch pretty much every day.
You're likely to recognize
the brand's iconic bright red bullseye logo,
but have you ever been to a Target
and noticed those big red spheres
sitting right out front of the store?
You might have assumed they're just decorations
to add to the overall brand aesthetic,
but those gigantic pimples
serve a very important purpose.
and are there to act as a barrier between cars
and the storefront,
keeping customers safe in the event a vehicle loses control.
While the bollards you're probably familiar with
look more like this,
Target took the opportunity to make theirs hit the mark
when it came to brand recognition.
While your parents might have told you
that too much fast food isn't good for you,
you can never fill up on too many fast food secrets.
While the question of exactly which fast food chain
serves the best chicken nuggets is a tough one,
it's no secret that Chick-fil-A is up there.
But the real secret lies
not with Chick-fil-A's chicken nuggets,
but the box they come in.
In November 2018, one... (clearing throat)
A Genius Twitter user seemingly solved
a big Chick-fil-A mystery.
According to them, the hole in the back
of the humble nugget box exists
so you can perch the top atop your drink
and have a place to thread your straw through.
Now, I'm always the first in line for a fast food hack,
but this doesn't seem quite right,
and that's because it isn't.
The hole in this instance is a removable tab
and its purpose is far more than a simple straw hole.
There are, in fact, three tabs
on the backs of the boxes Chick-fil-A use
to serve their chicken pieces.
But they're not there for straws.
According to the company,
the three punchable tabs are there
to indicate what's in the box.
Nuggets, strips, or others.
Either way, the straw trick is still pretty cool
and it's safe to say that Chick-fil-A
is Chick-Full O' secrets.
"A Cut Above."
Kitchen scissors are a deceptively handy tool.
While most people just use them
for chopping herbs or opening packets,
they have quite a few lesser-known uses.
You might have noticed
that one of the more obvious differences
between regular scissors and the kitchen variety
is the serrated gap often found
between the handles of kitchen scissors.
But you may not have realized
what the actual purpose of those metal teeth is.
Tight jar lids and bottle tops can be a real menace,
especially from my delicate palms,
but those serrated edges can act as a grip
for any stubborn lids.
They can even pop off a bottle cap,
though many scissors come with more effective,
dedicated tools for this purpose built-in.
But, that's not all.
The little serrated teeth
can also serve as a cracker for nuts and shells,
and in some scissor varieties, as an herb stripper.
They truly are a cut above the rest.
While you may walk around wearing Vans sneakers for fashion,
they gained popularity in the late sixties
as practical, affordable shoes.
As skateboarding gained popularity in the seventies,
Vans developed its signature design,
and thanks to their grippy, durable, weighted soles,
they proved ideal for skaters,
given that grip tape was only just beginning
to be used on boards.
But there's a pretty red trick you can perform with Vans,
no skateboards are required.
That's right, just like a cat always lands on its feet,
a pair of Vans will almost always land on its soles.
It doesn't work 100% of the time,
but the thick sole's disproportionate weight
will often orientate the shoe correctly
as it hits the ground.
Heck, I had a pair of vans that lasted me nearly a decade,
so it looks like they might have nine lives too.
Crispy, crunchy, and oh-so-addictive,
potato chips reign supreme in the salty snack world.
But some chip consumers may have noticed
that now and again
while digging in their favorite bag,
they'll pull out one of these.
But what is exactly up with these green chips?
Is it mold?
And, more importantly, are they safe to eat?
When potato chips turn out green,
it's because they were made from taters
that have been exposed to too much light in the storage
and have become laced with a toxin called solanine.
Solanine can cause some pretty nasty side effects
when ingested in large amounts,
including vomiting, headaches, diarrhea,
and even paralysis of the central nervous system.
But, before you swear off chips for life,
it's worth noting that you'd have to consume
several pounds of solanine-laced chips
to reach a dangerous level of toxicity.
So, when you find a green potato chip somewhere in your bag,
it's okay, just know it probably spent
a little too long in the sun.
In our modern world, there's no getting away from computers.
It's not much of a secret
that modern keyboards were based on typewriters,
but some key changes have been made
to keep up with the evolving ways we use computers.
You might have wondered why countless keyboards
have two sets of control, alt, and shift keys.
What's the point in having two sets of keys
that do the same thing?
The purpose of these duplicate keys is, quite simply,
to help the typist access the same function
with whichever hand is most convenient.
However, some countries' keyboards have an Alt Gr button,
short for alt graph,
which allows the user to type foreign letters and characters
by tapping the keys the keyboard is assigned
for the purpose.
Though, I'm still going to continue to believe
that the Alt Gr key is just the alt key you press
when you're angry.
"Get a Grip."
Spend more than a few minutes soaking in the bathtub
or tearing it up in the swimming pool,
and you'll notice that your fingers have undergone
a pretty dramatic transformation.
But what exactly is up with water-shriveled fingers?
This question has plagued scientists for quite some time
and, even now, they can't be 100% sure,
but there's one theory in particular that stands out.
Some scientists have suggested
that the wrinkles on our wet fingers and toes
may act like rain treads on tires or the soles of shoes,
which makes it easier to grip objects with wet skin.
The theory goes that our wrinkled digits and soles
could have given our ancient ancestors
a key advantage when it came to gripping damp branches
or exploring over wet, slippery rocks.
I guess the main benefit these days
is being able to grip onto our precious phones
on rainy days.
"King Of Broken Hearts."
Depending on what game you're playing,
kings are usually amongst the most important playing cards.
But if you look a little closer at the king of hearts,
you might notice something that just might break your heart.
Horrifyingly enough, the king of hearts is often depicted
as sticking a sword into his noggin.
While this is often attributed
to a story about King Charles VII of France going mad
and committing a similar deed,
that rumor is a load of baloney.
While the real Charles did become very ill
and paranoid towards the end of his life,
his ultimate end came when an abscess in his mouth
caused so much swelling,
he was unable to swallow anything,
leading him to starve to death in 1461.
A pretty horrendous end indeed,
but, sorry, Charlie boy, this isn't about you.
There's a lot of debate over the source of inspiration
for the King of Hearts card,
but one plausible story is more widely accepted than others.
While the king of hearts
is most likely based on a French ruler,
it's one that sat on the throne
more than 600 years before Charles VII.
Charlemagne was the ruler of Francia,
part of which later became France,
and he was later the first Holy Roman Emperor of Europe
in the ninth century.
The main theory goes that the early king of hearts played cards
depicted Charlemagne, the great conqueror,
holding his weapon aloft,
but this was set to change.
The card ended up going through variations in its design,
as artists copied one another imperfectly over time.
Beginning with a battle ax being held over the king's head,
it's likely that those copying the pictures
misinterpreted the weapon close behind the king's head
as a sword that looks like it's embedded inside his head.
To this day, misinformation spread around the internet
about the card king's head,
have led to some pretty hilarious modern updates
to the king of heart's card.
Sorry, Iron Man, R.I.P.
While popping a couple of slices in the toaster
is a part of many people's daily routines,
a surprising number fail to realize
that their favorite kitchen appliance
is hiding a secret in plain sight.
At the base of some toasters,
you'll find a hidden compartment
that plays a very crucial role,
and if you didn't know about this,
you might be in for a bit of a messy shock.
This is a crumb tray,
which conveniently catches any crumbly rubble
as you insert and remove the bread from the toaster.
You're supposed to empty the crumb tray
after every two to three uses of your toaster,
according to manufacturers,
so expect a debris horror show
if you're only opening yours for the first time.
Oh, crumbs, indeed.
One of the best things about a trip to McDonald's
is the sauce station.
Despite the ample supply of sauce,
sachet and pump-activated alike,
regular customers have no doubt
come up against the question of where to put it.
While squeezing it out onto a little cup is a good option,
there's an even more convenient choice
if you've got some fries.
You can bend the back of your fry box
to form a nice little platform for your ketchup.
But before you go thinking
that McDonald's did this on purpose,
I'm afraid it's not that simple.
In reality, the higher flap of the box is purpose-built
to help Mickey D's crew members
easily scoop fries into the package,
using the flap as a funnel.
Still, that doesn't mean the fry flap can't double
as prime dipping real estate anyhow.
While the old saying suggests the proof is in the pudding,
this next saucy surprise proves that the real secrets
are in the sauce packets themselves.
Eagle-eyed condiment lovers have realized
that there are some mysterious numbers
marked on the single-serve ketchup packets
available in some restaurants.
Some condiment-conspiracists theorized
that the numbers equate to each packet's level of sweetness,
suggesting that the lower number
indicates the packet has a sweeter taste,
and the higher numbers signal a sourer taste,
meaning you can secretly tailor your dipping experience.
While this might sound like a mind-blowing fact,
it's a squeezed-out serving of pure fiction.
The real reason behind the elusive numbers
has been confirmed
by the number one condiment king, Heinz.
The sauce-laden company has stated that the numbers refer
to the different filling lines, the sachets were filled at
during the manufacturing process in factories.
So, as fun as sweet and sour variations sound,
it all comes down to the layout of a factory.
Which is, honestly, pretty dull.
But I hate to be a bore,
Do you know any more amazing everyday secrets?
Let me know in the comments below
and you might just see it show up
in the next part of the series,
with a shout-out of course,
Thanks for reading.
About the Creator
Kari is a talented article writer and recent high school graduate from Nigeria. With a passion for storytelling and a knack for capturing the reader's attention, Charles is quickly making a name for himself in the world of writing.
Very well written. Keep up the good work!
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab