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FASCINATING FACTS OF THE DAY: 10 More Facts That Should Be Common Knowledge, But Aren’t

 

The thing about knowledge is no matter how much we find out there are still things that we don’t know about. Sometimes those things could be critical to our survival and without knowing them we might run into serious trouble. On the other hand, there are some things that are not really that important but we ought to know just because they contribute to our general knowledge and understanding of the world. Regardless of their importance, interesting new facts are always fun to learn. Here are some facts that should be common knowledge but sadly are often not.

1. Water towers are for water pressure, not just to store water in for an emergency.

Image source: watertowersofireland.com, wikimedia

Water towers rely on the hydrostatic pressure that occurs because of their height from the ground. In these towers, gravity provides the force necessary to provide water for domestic and industrial water distribution systems. Water towers usually operate in conjunction with underground or surface service reservoirs which store fully treated, potable water close to the area of distribution. Water towers, however, cannot supply water if unattended for a long time. The pressure decreases with the decrease in the amount of water and typically towers need power for refilling. There are also other types of water towers that only store raw, non-portable water meant for fire protection or industrial use, but not for general public use. (source)

2. Drowning looks different than how you might think it does. It is often very quiet and difficult to spot unless you know what you are looking for. 

Thanks to movies and TV shows we usually think a drowning person would shout for help and we would be able to see them thrashing their arms, splashing a lot of water. The reality is less dramatic than that. When a person is drowning, the first sign is their head is low in the water, tilted backward and the mouth open at water level trying hard to breathe. This makes it impossible for them to cry for help. Another sign is their body is positioned vertically, their legs unmoving, and their arms moving as if they are trying to climb an invisible ladder. They would also be trying to move in a particular direction but without progress such a, trying to roll over on their back. Hyperventilating or gasping are other more obvious signs. It is absolutely important to remember that drowning people can only struggle in the water for twenty to sixty seconds before they submerge. Because of that short timeframe, the rescue needs to happen as quickly as possible. (source)

3. It is rarely necessary to wait twenty-four hours before filing a missing person report. 

Image source: patrishka.wordpresscnc3

Contrary to popular belief most authorities use common sense rather than waiting some prescribed length of time to file a missing person report. In most countries and states if the individual is a dependent, a child, an elderly person, or is physically or mentally vulnerable, you can call the police immediately. You can also call immediately if the individual has disappeared under suspicious circumstances. (1, 2)

4. “Factoid” doesn’t simply mean a small or short fact, but “an item of unreliable information that is reported and repeated so often that it becomes accepted as fact.”

Image source: en.oxforddictionaries.com

The term “factoid” was first coined in 1973 by American writer, Norman Mailer, to mean a small piece of information that is accepted as a fact even though it isn’t just because it appears in a magazine or newspaper. Since Mailer’s first mention of the term in his biography of Marilyn Monroe. The meaning of the term has since undergone many changes. During the 1980s and 1990s, the term was popularized by CNN Headline News TV channel to mean “a trivial but interesting fact.” To avoid all this growing confusion, another writer, William Safire, proposed the term “factlet” to mean “a brief interesting fact as well as a little bit of arcana.”(source)

5. Antibiotics do not cure viral infections such as common cold. Asking your doctor for an antibiotic prescription for a runny nose will not solve anything and would increase antibiotic resistance. 

Image sources: mensfitness.com,  Science Photo/Library Getty Images

When it comes to the usual viral infections such as common cold, flu, most sore throats, and 90% of bronchitis cases, the best treatment is rest, fluids, and over-the-counter products. Taking antibiotics for viral infections will not help in any way and might cause harmful and unwanted side effects. Over 47 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions are given by doctors in the emergency rooms and clinics each year in the United States alone. This overuse and incorrect prescription of antibiotics have raised serious concerns since it leads to increased resistance in bacterias to the drugs. Treatment becomes difficult and sometimes impossible when bacteria become resistant.  This is why indiscriminately taking antibiotics is a very bad idea.(source)

6. Never, ever, use a barbecue to keep yourself warm in enclosed areas. Even if it’s extinguished it gives off carbon monoxide for hours which can kill you. 

Image source: tomsmeland.com

When we breathe, our hemoglobin forms a bond with the oxygen in the air and takes it to the cells where the oxygen molecule is exchanged for carbon dioxide. This process occurs when the blood reaches the lungs and the carbon dioxide is exchanged for oxygen. Carbon monoxide, unlike oxygen, is capable of forming a much stronger bond with hemoglobin. As a result, when you breathe in carbon monoxide, the hemoglobin prefers to bond with it preventing your body from getting oxygen. Symptoms of poisoning include headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, and loss of consciousness.

Even though there is no fire left and the barbecue, or when using any other carbon-based fuels, never stay close to it in areas without proper ventilation, or use them in tents for heating. Carbon monoxide is hard to detect as it is colorless, odorless, tasteless and initially non-irritating. The treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning is giving 100% oxygen, preferably in a hyperbolic manner such as in a high-pressure oxygen chamber. (1, 2)

7. Exercising your abs doesn’t “give” you abs. You already have abs which are revealed when your body fat decreases as you exercise. 

Image source: forgottensecretsforabs.com

Your body is made up of muscles, including the abs and biceps. The muscles support your body and help you move by contracting and relaxing. Even if you spend time and energy on doing crunches, sit-ups, or any other ab exercises, you are not going to get a “six pack”. Those exercises might help to strengthen those muscles and give them more definition, but it’s primarily by doing cardio exercises and getting rid the body fat that is now hiding your abs that will help you get that “six pack”. (source)

8. Greenland has more ice than Iceland. Iceland has more greenery than Greenland. 

Image Source: npr, flickr

Ice covers over 80 percent of Greenland while only 11 percent of Iceland is ice-covered. The countries were given their seemingly opposite names because of how the first settlers saw the lands. The name “Iceland” was given by Hrafna-Flóki Vilgerðarson, a Norwegian Viking, who sailed with his family and livestock to settle there. The settlement failed because of harsh winter. Before leaving, Hrafna-Flóki hiked up to the mountains and saw that they were all packed with ice, hence he named it Ísland, which is “Iceland” in Norwegian.

Later, as the new population settled in Iceland and formed a democracy, a Viking named Erik the Red was banished from there for killing three people. He left Iceland and found a new island which he called “Greenland” in order to attract more people to come and settle there. Though the temperatures in Greenland are very low now, ice core and mollusk shell data suggest that southern Greenland was much warmer between 800 and 1300 A.D. By the 14th century, however, maximum temperatures had radically dropped making it a much icier country. (1, 2)

9. It is dangerous to clean with bleach and ammonia at the same time or store them in close proximity. They react to release chloramine vapors which are toxic.

Image Source: walmart

The reaction between bleach and ammonia is a dangerous thing and must be avoided. The bleach decomposes and forms hydrochloric acid (HCl) which in turn reacts with ammonia to form toxic chloramine fumes (NH2Cl). If the mixture contains excessive amounts of ammonia, a liquid known as hydrazine (N2H4) is formed. Hydrazine is both toxic and explosive. Though an impure form does not explode, it still can be toxic and tends to boil and sputter. If you do accidentally mix these two chemicals it’s important to move away to a ventilated area to get fresh air. Also, make sure to ventilate the area before trying to dispose of the chemicals. Do not hesitate to call for assistance if you find yourself overwhelmed or badly affected by the fumes. (source)

10. Being cold doesn’t give you the common cold.

Image source: livestrong.com

The common cold is a viral infection and is not caused by cold weather. The viruses, however, that cause the common cold, namely rhinovirus and 200 other viruses, like cold weather. The ideal temperatures for rhinoviruses, the most common cause of colds, to reproduce themselves is just below our body’s normal temperature of 98.6 0F. They can only live in our nose because of its cooler temperature compared to the rest of our body. This is why rhinoviruses cannot cause serious lung infections. If you want to avoid having cold you should cover your nose when out in cold weathers. (source)

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