“Google it!” is what we would say if we need to find an answer for something. For everything from relationship advice to recipes, Google is our go-to solution for almost everything. But there are times when we would wonder why some everyday things are how they are, but wipe it out of our minds to “focus on more important things.” Sometimes finding an answer on Google means surfing endlessly through web pages that eventually lead us elsewhere making a virtual maze of a kind. This article answers those questions in one place through ten interesting facts that you’re too lazy to Google.
1. Why does freshly cut grass have that distinct smell?
Although the smell of freshly cut grass is very good, the reason behind the smell is not something one would like to hear. To put in one word, the smell is trauma. When the grass is cut, organic compounds called green leaf volatiles (GLV) are released in a much higher amount than usual from the plants.
These compounds help in closing the wound in the plant at the place where the grass has been cut along with playing a role in preventing fungal growth. Some of the compounds aid in the formation of new cells while others act as distress signals.
For humans, the GLVs are pleasing to the nose. The group of eight, related, oxygenated hydrocarbons along with alcohols and aldehydes cause the “green odor” that we smell after the grass is freshly cut.
However, this “green odor” comes at a cost as the GLVs form “bad” ozone that is detrimental to the environment and is the main component of photochemical smog in the atmosphere. (source)
2. Why does it seem like we look better in the mirror than we do in a photograph?
The photographs we see are actually flipped, mirror images of ourselves. We are used to seeing ourselves in the mirror, and so our snapshots don’t seem to look right. This has a lot do with the fact that most human faces are not symmetrical – one eye or ear might be slightly bigger than the other, or we may have a mark or mole on our faces.
Some people part their hair on one side which is what they prefer, but the photographs show it flipped making the image look odd.
When you see a photograph, you expect a certain image of you that stems from the memory of your face in the mirror. You don’t see what you expect which leads to disappointment, and you don’t like how you look in the photograph.
On the other hand, your family and friends might end up liking the photograph of you and find nothing wrong with it because that is how you appear to them every day. It all boils down to expectations. (source)
3. Why do most water bottles have a “flat” bottom and most soda or soft drink bottles have a “five-pointed” bottom?
When the soda or soft drink bottles were engineered, two major things were kept in mind. The design of the bottles was not made so for looks. One reason is the bottle must be able to withstand the change in volume that occurs when the chilled liquid increases in temperature and shouldn’t topple.
The second reason is it should be able to resist the process where the bottles are pressurized to fill the gas as the drinks are carbonated.
A “five-pointed” corrugation in most of the soda bottles makes them stronger. When you try to crush the top of a soda or soft drink bottle, it is easier to do so than to try and crush its bottom, as the latter has stronger resistance to force.
The bottles become narrower towards the top to improve stability. In case of water bottles and juice bottles, since they are not pressurized, they don’t have as many bumps as the soda bottles. However, even water bottles have small indents on the bottom to improve stability. (source)
4. Why does standing in one place make your legs sorer than walking?
Walking doesn’t make our leg muscles as sore as it would when we are just standing. There are many reasons behind that. When we stand, the calf muscles in our legs are under great pressure as they take all the weight.
This tires the legs out as opposed to when we are walking when other muscles in the thighs, buttocks, core, and arms share the burden with the calves. Standing also tires the feet. Also, our legs do not get a break, as none of them are off ground for even a second when we are standing, but when we walk, the legs get a quick break alternatively.
Standing still can hinder the heart from pumping blood efficiently. This is one reason why our feet swell after long periods of standing. While walking, the muscles contract which helps the heart to pump blood. These were the physiological aspects.
There is a mental aspect too. While standing, as we are stagnant in one place as opposed to walking when the sights around keep changing, we tend to get bored and focus more on the pain and tiredness in our legs. Walking is also known to release endorphins, the feel-good neurotransmitter. (source)
5. Why is the foam of a shampoo always white irrespective of the shampoo’s color?
To understand this better, let’s use an analogy. When a balloon is deflated, it is opaque with its color very much visible. As we go on inflating the balloon, it becomes lighter in color. If we continue to inflate the balloon without bursting it, there will come a point when it will become almost white.
The same is the case with the bubbles that form in the form of a shampoo. The pigments in the shampoo become so thin when mixed with water that the visible light gets scattered. The light rays get reflected in several directions after striking a surface (bubbles in this case) much like how the sky appears white or grey at times.
Also, the dye that is used in coloring shampoo is highly diluted, which means that when further diluted with water, the color becomes much lighter.
The scattering of light in the case of the foam happens as the light has to pass through several bubbles, which means several surfaces. The light spreads in multiple directions making it almost impossible for the human eye to detect colors. The same thing happens with soap bars, body washes, hand washes, etc. (1, 2)