There are literally thousands of things that we see or happen to us daily that we don’t care to question the reason behind them. The funny part is most of the reasons behind such things are pretty simple and straightforward but we never pay enough attention or think critically about them. Knowing about a thousand things at once would be a bit overwhelming but we can always start small and surprise ourselves in small doses. So here are 10 interesting facts that you have been too lazy to Google!
1. Why are planes usually painted white?
The reasons why most aircraft are painted white are that it saves a lot of money, it keeps the plane cooler, and it becomes easier for the maintenance crew to spot damages.
We know that almost all planes are painted white, but there are some exceptions where some planes are painted in other colors such as black or gray, but they fall into a very rare minority. So, why white?
The first reason is that the white color is lighter in weight than any other color. Painting the plane with other colors adds weight to the plane of about eight to ten passengers, and it further increases the amount of fuel the plane burns. White paint, being lighter, does not increase the weight that much and so the fuel consumption is lessened.
Painting the planes is an expensive job. It requires around $50,000 to $200,000 for one paint job. And painting the plane just for one single time is not enough. The color of the paint fades, and it requires re-painting. White paint does not dull out as easily as other colors so the plane needs to be repainted less frequently, and that saves money.
You might know that the color white reflects the sunlight and does not absorb heat. This helps in reducing the energy required to keep the plane comfortable.
2. Why does shampoo always turn white when you rub it in?
Different shampoos have different colors before use, but the reason why they become white after rubbing it in is that the liquid becomes thin, loses its color pigment, and expands into the shape of bubbles. The light falling on the bubbles gets fractured and the bubbles reflect white light effectively, making them appear to be transparent.
We can understand this by a simple example of a balloon. Have you ever noticed that the color of every balloon is much richer or darker before blowing it up? Now, as soon as you start filling the air in the balloon, its color starts to fade or starts becoming pale.
If you could keep on blowing the balloon to infinity without breaking it, the balloon will completely lose its color. The reason for that is because it loses the pigment which reflects the light. So, the thinner the material gets, the less of its pigment is retained which is needed to reflect the light.
Exactly the sample happens when rubbing in shampoo. The liquid gets so thin that it completely loses its pigment and takes the form of bubbles. The bubbles are the thinnest form of the colored liquid and therefore tye shampoo loses the ability to reflect white light, which makes the bubbles appear to be transparent. (source)
3. Why are chip-based credit cards are more secure than those with magnetic stripes?
Chip credit cards are much safer than magnetic strip credit cards because the chip itself is extremely difficult to counterfeit, and traditional magnetic strip credit cards are easier for criminals to skim and exploit the data.
The chip credit cards are much safer to use. They act as a tiny computer and produce a unique code every single time they are used. With every other transaction, a unique combination of numbers is sent to the financial institution for the verification of the bank account.
Since a unique code is produced with every new transaction, the hackers can’t hack out the data. On top of that, the user’s signature or pin is also used.
So, even if you lost your card, the finder cannot use it for physical transactions because it requires a pin, but the card can certainly be used for online payments. To prevent that from happening, the customer needs to report a stolen or missing card as soon as possible. (source)
4. Why don’t birds get electrocuted on power lines?
Birds sit on a wire without being electrocuted because their feet are at the same electrical potential, and electricity does not have any motivation to travel through the bird’s body.
Electricity is just the flow of electrons in a loop. All the electrical appliances receive electricity pulled from the ground by the power station, and then it runs through the appliances and eventually goes back to the ground. This is the basic structure of the loop which is required for electricity to function. The electrons run through this loop, but what makes them move is the potential difference.
Birds sit on only one wire and their legs are at the same potential difference, therefore, no loop is created for the electrons to flow from the bird’s body.
However, if birds touch the pole and a wire at the same time, or even touch two wires at the same time, they are sure to be electrocuted.
According to this theory, even humans won’t be electrocuted if they would catch the same wire with both of their hands and no part of the body touching the ground or any other conductor of electricity. (1, 2)
5. Why do raindrops fall in different sizes?
Raindrops are of various sizes not because they collide with each other, but because they burst into multiple droplets on the way down. Many large drops break into tiny droplets of different sizes because of the air pressure they face while traveling downwards.
We are generally not very observant of the size of the droplets of the rain, but if you do observe, they are not of a standard size. There was a misconception around the reason why raindrops are of different sizes, but it has been cleared by the latest research by a team of French scientists. Two of them are Emmanuel Villermaux and Benjamin Bossa.
They found out that raindrops when making their way to the earth burst into tiny bits of droplets, but there is more complexity to that.
The primary drop first is flattened out like a pancake, then it takes the shape of an upturned grocery bag, and then the bag gets bigger and bigger and bursts into tiny droplets that fall on the surface. It looks like a long process, but it happens just within 60 milliseconds and was captured with the help of a high-resolution camera.
This theory is contrary to the old one which says that raindrops take their shapes inside the cloud because they are closely packed in the cloud and collide with each other. The same process of coalescing was said to be carried out until the raindrops fell to the ground. (1, 2)