5 Insane Answers For Questions You Didn't Know You Had
Have you ever had a question enter your brain that consumed you until you figured out the answer? Not complex things like "How does time operate on the event horizon of a black hole?" I'm talking about small things, like "Why doesn't saran wrap cling to things anymore?" or "What does human meat taste like?" or "Can insects get fat?"
My brain is basically Pokemon for inconsequential questions about life. Questions big, small, really small, and so small that they probably weren't worth looking up to begin with. Strangely, I often find that those questions yield interesting answers nonetheless. For instance ...
Why Don't Fictional Characters Say Goodbye When They Hang Up A Phone?
A huge majority of movie and TV characters are presumptuous jerks whose arrogance is so potent that they assume they know exactly when a phone call has ended. They don't give the slightest of shits about confirming that a conversation is over. They just hang up without saying goodbye, probably in a pathetic attempt to reclaim some kind of upper hand against everyone they speak to. Here's a whole montage about it:
That's nearly three minutes of characters leaving people on the other line wondering if the person they were talking to was silently murdered. If someone was persistent or insane enough, that video could have been 200 hours long without ever using the same scene twice. This trope so consistently shows up in movies and TV shows that there has to be a legitimate reason for it, because right now, the only reasoning I have is that screenwriters are secretly telling us the characters we're supposed to empathize with are actually inconsiderate dicks. Since that can't possibly be right, why do so many characters refuse to say goodbye?
The answer can be summed up in a single word: efficiency.
A lot of screenwriters so strictly adhere to the idea that every word in the script must push the story and character development ahead that even little things like saying goodbye at the end of a phone call get sacrificed in the name of keeping the story moving ahead as smoothly as possible. "Every word in your script should mean something and move the story along," said one screenwriter, adding that leaving in little conversational buffers like "goodbye" can make a script sound "amateurish." To me it seems more amateurish to leave a small hole in the script that lets audiences think that the main character is a rude shitheel. The tradeoff doesn't seem worth it, especially when the thing being sacrificed isn't gonna stop the narrative momentum dead in its tracks.
I understand the reasoning, but why bother cutting that single, specific word? To move on to the next thing 0.7 seconds faster? I mean, even after "goodbye" is cut from the script, we still end up seeing the 1.3-second shot of them physically hanging up the phone. They didn't say goodbye, but at least I know they have basic cognitive functions and motor skills. I am now very confident they have what it takes to defeat the alien invaders.
What Happens To The Change We Toss In Fountains And Wishing Wells?
Years ago, I theorized that the only thing keeping us from stealing the coins in wishing wells and in public fountains was our collective agreement that we shouldn't. If you take it, then someone's wish -- maybe that asshole Rick from accounting drops dead in front of his family -- won't come true. Though it seems like if it was ever going to come true, it would've happened the second the coin broke the surface of the water. Why the delay on the wish, fountain? Are you so overloaded with wishes that you can't get to them all? Do you need an assistant? No, fountain, I think you're just full of shit, and that anyone can take that money whenever they want, because who cares? It's just sitting there getting rusty. It's not like it's going anywhere or doing anything worthwhile.
Only it does. Sometimes.
The coins you drop into fountains when you attempt to wish your gonorrhea away end up going to one of three places. The first is right back into itself. Sometimes those coins will be used to pay workers for fountain maintenance. They are the heroes who have to skim cigarette butts and the phlegm of a thousand jerks out of those things every so often to make them sanitary enough so that the idiot child of an oblivious parent won't die of dysentery when they gulp down pigeon toilet water. Money well-spent, I say, even though their cleaning of that little pool weakens the gene pool.
Charity is another common destination. Sometimes the people who pay to have fountains installed aren't the kind of people who think Ebenezer Scrooge gets a bad rap. The fountain at the Mall of America in Minnesota divvies up the $24,000 that's dropped into it every year among multiple charities. Every coin tossed into a fountain in Rome funds a nearby grocery store for the disadvantaged. Places may not put up a sign that says their money is going to a worthwhile charity for people who've lost their testicles in fireworks accidents, but sometimes, every wish you make ensures that a guy who thought it be funny to teabag a bottle rocket can get a realistic replacement left nut.
The third one confirms my original hypothesis: A lot of people just end up taking the money. The Atlantic did a piece on it last year, and found that a lot of fountains in New York City are picked clean of their coins by average citizens and homeless people alike. You might think that Kansas City doesn't even bother collecting the coins from their fountains, since they have more fountains than any other city on Earth, but it's actually because most of them are picked clean before municipal workers even get there. The fountains of Kansas City are an elaborate version of the "Take a penny, leave a penny" dishes by the registers of a 7-Eleven, just if they were big enough for homeless people to bathe in.
If Penicillin Grows On Moldy Bread, Does That Mean It's Safe To Eat Moldy Bread?
Mold is mold, and it shouldn't be eaten, right? But penicillin is mold, and penicillin gave us antibiotics, which are good. Therefore, maybe I can use that green fuzzy slice of white bread for my PB&J so I don't have to go store, right? It sounds gross, but there's a logic at play which negates my instinct to flatly reject a hypothetical offer to eat bread so sickly that if it were a person, I would demand they be quarantined on a desolate island in the middle of the Pacific with no hope that they'll ever see their family again.
So maybe like Gorgonzola and blue cheese, bread mold isn't that bad to eat? Maybe we just avoid it to be on the safe side?
It's a bit more complicated than that. There are a lot of different kinds of mold that form on bread. There's one which, if ingested, can give you a ton of mouth sores and respiratory problems. Penicillin mold is usually a blue-green color. Eating it might give you an upset stomach. Sniffing it might mess up your lungs a little. But it's not the worst thing in the world. That still doesn't mean you should eat it, though. If you're one of the 10 percent of people who are allergic to penicillin, eating moldy bread could send you into anaphylactic shock. Thankfully, 94 percent of people who think they're allergic to penicillin are full of shit.
And that cute little technique you use whereby you rip off the small piece of moldy bread and eat the rest? That turns out to be as dumb as it is lazy. Mold grows deep roots. Ripping off the one little spot leaves behind the imperceptible roots and/or spores that have burrowed into the soft bread. Harder foods like carrots can have their moldy bits cut away and the rest eaten, since it's more difficult for mold to grow deeper than the surface. You have cut out a meteor impact-sized crater in the bread to effectively remove the mold and all of its roots. At that point, all you're eating is crust, like you're some kind of animal. Have some dignity. This isn't the Great Depression. Just buy more bread. What are you doing?
Do Cats And Dogs Know It's Their Own Tail When They Chase It?
Dogs and cats: They're adorable, right? We let them into our homes, let them bond with our children, and make them part of our family. And then, without a moment's notice, they attack their own tails with the fury of a thousand MMA fighters. And then they go back to using their tails to express emotions and shit. So what's the deal? Are cats and dogs really dumb enough to think their own asses are their mortal enemies?
Both animals are at least somewhat aware that their tails are attached to their bodies, so they're not attacking them because they think it's a threat or a potential meal. From there, the reasons for the unrelenting attacks diverge. If a dog is doing it, it's most likely because they're bored. They may have adapted to being our best buds and will spend a lazy Saturday afternoon watching TV by our side, but their instinct is to be free-roaming creatures that let no man tell them what they can't chase. Their obsessive chasing of their own tails is the dog equivalent of a person talking to themselves when they're home alone. It's an outlet for their stir-craziness. So take them to the dog park before they rip their own tail off.
On the other hand, cats use tail-chasing to prove that they are in fact psychos. They're natural-born hunters. Chasing their tails is a way for them to stay sharp. They have to be ready in case they meet a small beast that needs to be pounced upon and tortured for an hour. There's not that much difference between a cat swiping at its own tail and the head of an evil ninja clan killing five of his own followers during his morning training regimen.
So the next time you see a dog chasing its own tail, maybe toss it a tennis ball or take it for a walk. The next time you see a cat chasing its own tail, hire it for a contract killing.
Why Does "Freshly Squeezed" Bottled Orange Juice Taste Absolutely Nothing Like Actual Freshly Squeezed Juice?
I understand that there's going to be a difference in flavor between a bottle of orange juice that claims it's freshly squeezed and juice after it's been squeezed by my own hands. But "freshly squeezed" -- or just the fact that a bottle of orange juice even considers itself orange juice at all -- has to be a lie. The gap between the flavors is so wide that they might as well be two different beverages, like how Budweiser is called a beer when it's actually carbonated dishwater.
I drank bottled orange juice for years, thinking that wringing half an orange into my mouth would be the same experience, only much more seductive to anyone who's watching. Then I finally squeezed my own juice one morning, and my tongue exploded. It didn't have the same sting of bottled juice. It was smooth and silky, as if the tree it was picked from had been played nothing but Barry White and Sade. It was sweeter, but not sickeningly so, like when you pour the perfect measurement of sugar into a coffee. It actually smelled like an orange, and not a citrus-scented air freshener mixed with the ass it's trying to mask.
There's a big reason for this, beyond the logical understanding that something bottled isn't going to taste as good as something fresh. Bottled orange juice gets its not-quite-orange flavor from orange "favor packs," as a part of a pasteurizing process that renders actual freshly squeezed OJ flavorless. Oxygen is removed to prevent spoiling when the fresh-squeezed juice is stored in large vats for up to a year before it hits store shelves. Removing oxygen removes flavor, so every major brand replaces the flavor with the so-called "flavor packs" made up of orange essences and oils to recreate the flavor it lost. The people who make flavor packs are the exact same people who formulate perfume scents for brands like Calvin Klein and Dior. So every time you drink bottled orange juice, you're drinking the labor of people who get paid to make us all smell fuckable to each other.
The final product is actual orange juice that has its flavor beaten out of it by The Man, and is now a pathetic shell of its former self and needs mysterious performance enhancers just to feel normal again.
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