Demystifying World: 70 Reasons Why Things Are the Way They Are

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51 Zigzag Roads and Drowsy Drivers

Zigzag Roads and Drowsy Drivers

The reason why very long and straight roads in the U.S. have random curves or zigzags is to counter the optical illusion of a never-ending road that could cause drowsy drivers to fall asleep at the wheel.


52. The reason why men should always leave the bottom button open on a suit jacket is that it is the established fashion convention that dates back to King Edward VII’s fashion preferences, who was too fat to button his waistcoat.


53. The reason why human eyes have a blind spot is that the optic nerve that carries visual information from the retina to the brain creates a hole in the visual field.


54. One of the reasons why your bank freezes your credit card if you’re buying gas is that gas stations are a high-risk location for fraudulent transactions. If thieves can successfully fill up at a gas station with your credit, they know they can make a bigger purchase immediately elsewhere.


55. The reason why hard-boiled eggs smell is because of a reaction between traces of iron in the yolk and sulfur in the white.


56 Radio Signals and Tropospheric Ducting

Radio Signals and Tropospheric Ducting

The reason why you can occasionally receive radio stations from cities far outside their normal broadcast range is because of a weather phenomenon called tropospheric ducting, which allows the radio waves to travel farther by bending them along a layer of the atmosphere.


57. The reason why dogs and cats are unable to ingest chocolate is that it contains theobromine, which their bodies cannot break down as efficiently as humans, and it can be toxic to their health.


58. The reason why spiders don’t get tangled in their own webs is that they can distinguish between the sticky and non-sticky threads they spin and use their leg movements to avoid the sticky silk.


59. The original reason why umbrella handles are curved is that it made it easier for servants to hold the umbrella at an angle to shield their employer.


60. The reason why Mickey Mouse was drawn with white gloves is that Walt Disney wanted his hands to be more visible and expressive, and the white gloves made them stand out against his black body. He also thought mouse nails were too violent for children to see.


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61 Shop clustering profitability

Shop clustering profitability

The reason why shops, pharmacies, etc. are always close to each other is due to Hotelling’s Law, which suggests that clustering is the most profitable solution for businesses because it maximizes market share. If the shops separated themselves more sparsely, that would allow one shop to capture more than 50% of the local market.


62. The reason why pandas eat bamboo instead of meat is because of the deactivation of an umami taste receptor gene, which makes them unable to taste the savory flavor of meat.


63. In 1916, William H. Coltharp shipped 80,000 bricks through the USPS, which was the largest shipment ever made through mail, and this is the reason why customers can now only ship up to 200 pounds of goods per day.


64. The reason why women’s buttons are on the left while men’s are on the right is due to historical gender roles, where men dressed themselves while women were dressed by servants.


65. The reason why US Senators are elected by public vote was due to a large brawl in the Indiana Assembly in 1887, where over 600 Republican lawmakers dragged Democrats outside and threatened to kill them during a riot that lasted over 4 hours.


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66 Mirror image familiarity

Mirror image familiarity

The reason why people think they look better when looking at themselves in the mirror versus in pictures is that mirrors reflect a flipped image of what cameras capture, and people are more accustomed to looking at themselves in mirrors.


67. The reason why we bury our dead 6 feet deep dates back to the Bubonic Plague, when corpses were buried that deep to prevent the spread of disease.


68. The reason why mosquito bites itch is due to an allergic reaction to their saliva, which is used as an anticoagulant to allow for quicker blood sucking, not because of the welt left behind.


69. The reason why early remote controls were called ‘clickers’ is that they actually made a clicking sound, as most models made from 1956 through the late 1970s worked via sound waves and microphones, not IR beams.


70. The reason why the Declaration of Independence is so faded isn’t solely due to its age, but because in the 1800s, it was placed in front of a large window in the US Patent Office for 35 years, causing the ink to fade.


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