General Question

jlelandg's avatar

Teach me something obscure yet somewhat useful that you know?

Asked by jlelandg (3536points) June 25th, 2011

I want to learn something new, and am asking you for help. Hopefully this can be a chance for folk to share some interesting knowledge. I’ll try to chime in when I wake up in the morning.

For a little more guidance, I welcome academic or applied knowledge. Conspiracy or overly religious is not really welcome.

For example, a religious fact like: Jesus had 4 brothers named X, X, X, and X is okay, but something about how you can see Jesus if you look at your mom’s bathroom picture is not.

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68 Answers

trickface's avatar

Chocolate was smoked before it was eaten.

krrazypassions's avatar

Science can explain everything-
there may be things of miraculous or mysterious nature (supernatural etc.) They are the creations of our mind ( some things are imagined so strongly that we think it is real- while some things seemingly impossible can be made to happen for real by our mind because it is very powerful )

Mind is very very powerful. Most of the time we don’t tap its power.

Science also comes from our mind after all.

gailcalled's avatar

I was always taught to use “I hope,” instead of “hopefully,” when I meant “I hope,” and not “full of hope.”

I had hoped that more people would differentiate but I am no longer hopeful. I did, however, look hopefully at the chocolate cake sitting on my counter.

If you plant one seed of lemon balm outside this season, by next spring you can carpet your entire property and in ten years your county.

My cat, and the others whom I have listened to, meow either in G# or A.

JLeslie's avatar

At 5% compound interest your money doubles in just under 15 years.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Human embryos develop tails. More often than not, they are dissolved during development, but not in all cases.

Thammuz's avatar

A couple of drops of olive oil in your water prevents pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Blondesjon's avatar

When you see that the leaves on the trees are beginning to curl upwards to create a sort of cup, it means it’s going to rain.

Imitation vanilla from the dollar store works damn near as well as any actual insect repellent.

Closing your eyes and yawning while your cat is watching will help the two of you develop a stronger bond. It shows the cat you trust it enough to take your eyes off of it for a second. By the same token, when your cat yawns and seems bored and disinterested with you they are really just showing you the same consideration.

poisonedantidote's avatar

If you are sitting in the woods and the birds stop singing, you are not alone.

Thammuz's avatar

I don’t know how useful this one might be, but it’s not very known AFAIK:

Boxing gloves actually make it easier to kill someone, because allow you to punch them repeatedly in the head without injuring your hands.

Kneaded eraser is a very cheap and efficient way of attaching two non-porose surfaces to eachother temporarily without damaging either one. (I use it to keep my lan switch attached to my desktop)

You can make money by buying special pre-order editions of videogames and reselling them on ebay after the preorder ends.

Target actually sells some sex toys at significantly lower prices than actual sex shops, under the pretense of them being “ironic/funny gifts”. (Bondage tape: 10 euros, as opposed to 20 euros in actual sex shops)

Mariah's avatar

If your body hurts all over for no reason, you might want to get yourself to an ER and insist they do a blood culture (more than just somewhat useful if you’re in that situation).

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Extended eye contact triggers a fight or flight response in humans upon first meeting.

Human females are the only mammals which do not display physical signs of sexual receptivity.

mattbrowne's avatar

Playing the lottery undermines our commitment, perseverance and dedication to our long-term goals.

Reason: Why really pursue Plan A when there’s still Plan B (winning the lottery)?

ragingloli's avatar

You can give inverse kinematics to splines in Cinema4d with either the Spline IK or the Point IK function.

flutherother's avatar

Aspirin comes from willow plants. Hippocrates left historical records of pain relief treatments, including the use of powder made from the bark and leaves of the willow tree to help heal headaches, pains and fevers.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Ironing clothes on the reverse won’t leave shiny spots.

Photosopher's avatar

When strolling through the forest with friends, upon encountering a hungry bear, you don’t have to be faster than the bear. You just have to be faster than your slowest friend.

gondwanalon's avatar

The Book of Mormon (BOM) is fiction. The story never happened. Yet millions of people around the world believe the BOM is fact. Here is just one of many BOM problems that have yet to be answered by my Mormon friends:

The BOM says that the 10 lost tribes of the Hebrews traveled to America to live where no man has lived before. The problem is that American Indians are not descendants from Jews (or Laminites). Genetic authorities from the Smithsonian Institution, medical centers, scientific research centers, and universities around the world agree that American Indians originated from North Eastern Asia and are not of Jewish origin. (mDNA, and hereditary traits).

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

The Scientific Method is rapidly becoming obsolete. The children born today will learn about the universe in a completely different manner than what we currently claim to be the absolute best method. Science, as we know it today, will be looked upon as an antiquated religion in the not so distant future.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

When searching out a ripe honeydew melon or nectarine, don’t thump or squeeze. Instead, rub the skin and feel for a sticky rather than smooth finish.

flutherother's avatar

The world is running out of oil.

FluffyChicken's avatar

Eucalyptus oil makes a great tick repellant.

Your babies will have a lower IQ if you eat licorice while pregnant.

Not very useful, but; The left side of the body is considered the feminine side in several cultures.

MissAnthrope's avatar

When a cat twitches its tail, it is due to indecisiveness. (it is torn between two or more different stimuli)

FluffyChicken's avatar

@MissAnthrope But if the cat is actively wagging her tail or swishing it rapidly from side to side she’s warning you that you should back away immediately. Claws are about to come out.

phaedryx's avatar

fingernail polish remover can remove permanent marker writing from a marker board

thorninmud's avatar

You can usually stop a sneeze by doing one of the following:

1) Roll your eyeballs as far upward as you can and hold them there until the urge to sneeze goes away.

2) reach with the tip of your tongue as far backwards toward your throat as you can, and hold it there ‘til the urge passes.

Doing both of those simultaneously works especially well, but people are liable to think you’re having a seizure.

BeckyKytty's avatar

Coca Cola was originally made with Cocaine
My Mom used to buy “Coke Syrup” from the Pharmacy for me when I was real sick as a kid. I’m sure I felt no pain after that!

BeckyKytty's avatar

For Hiccups, this has worked 100% of the time for me.

A dash of Agnostic Bitters (used to mix drinks) on a wedge of lime.

BeckyKytty's avatar

Fetus’s all start out as female in the womb.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Lavender essential oil will get rid of ringworm.

downtide's avatar

You can clean tea stains or coffee stains from mugs and teapots using the same sort of steriliser fluid that is used for babies’ milk bottles.

elaina28's avatar

A simple mixture of water and baking powder will clear up acne and clean out you skin better than many acne cleansers.

lillycoyote's avatar

Category: Household hints

A halfway decent pair of bypass pruners are great for opening that horrible, sometimes nearly impenetrable, and incredibly frustrating, plastic packaging that so many things come in now. They give you nearly the same control as a pair of scissor but are more powerful and the risk of injuring yourself is very low compared to using a knife.

Category: Arctic survival skills

Polar bear livers have a high level of Vitamin A in them, high enough to kill the average human if you eat one. So … if you’re stranded in the arctic and are forced to kill a polar bear for food in order to survive, don’t eat the liver, it would be counterproductive.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Who you are, in totality (genotype, phenotype, personality, whims, etc.).. genetically-speaking, in the grand gene lottery, there was a 1 in 8 billion chance that you’d be exactly who you are.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Cattails (plants in the genus typha) produce more food per acre than any grain, sometimes several times as much. It is present on every continent, and can be found in most swamps. They have edible parts all year. Their leaves also make pretty good cordage, such as the beefy rope I made out of a few yesterday.

Fully mature oak trees can drop up to 29,000 acorns per year. Acorns are edible after leaching out the tannins, the amounts of which vary by species. They contain a very ideal combination of starch, protein, fat, and nutrients, so it’s no surprise that indigenous peoples in many places of the world have eaten them as basically a staple.

phaedryx's avatar

@gondwanalon I was going to correct you on your tidbit about the Book of Mormon, but thought I’d google it a little first. I was surprised that you’ve stated this before and someone already corrected you on it.

Anyways, to reiterate:
1. The Book of Mormon is not about the 10 lost tribes
2. The primary group of people the Book of Mormon talks about encounter at least two other groups who were already in the Americas
3. The Book of Mormon itself doesn’t say the Native Americans are descended from the people it is about, although some people have speculated about that
4. The Book of Mormon claims many groups of people came to the Americas
5. The Book of Mormon ends with a war with heavy casualties on both sides; one side being wiped out completely.

cheebdragon's avatar

Rubbing alcohol will remove permanent marker from most surfaces.

George Washington wasn’t really the first president.

krrazypassions's avatar

There is a supermassive blackhole at the center of every galaxy in our universe.

woodcutter's avatar

You can shoot WD 40 into an air cleaner of a car’s engine to help it start abruptly before the battery goes dead trying.

woodcutter's avatar

You can fill a dug post hole ½ with water, insert post, then add concrete, poke the mixture to quickly mix the 2 and leave it. make sure post is where you want it before moving on.

woodcutter's avatar

If you are out in the middle of nowhere with a open wound you can use your own urine to clean the wound, only if you have nothing else handy but it is a shame to waste good urine.

woodcutter's avatar

If you are away from any logistical help, you can tie a knot in a boot lace and pull it through a gun barrel to clean it.the barrel… if it’s chrome lined again with the urine as a cleaning solvent except if the gun is an M-16 then nothing will help

woodcutter's avatar

If you want to clean ear wax out of ear plugs, put them inside pants pockets when you do the laundry. Most of the schmoots should be gone.

woodcutter's avatar

Mix white vinegar 50/50 with water that’s chilled and apply it to sunburns to reduce the stinging/ burning/ peeling and convert to a tan faster. we all want to try to never burn but it happens Only downside to it you smell kind of salady.

woodcutter's avatar

You can make a solution with old motor oil and kerosene,60/40 oil heavy, put in a pump sprayer and coat the underside of your car to hold off salt corrosion in the winter. It will be a little messy at first but it works. Don’t do this on the ground, do it on asphalt driveway so we don’t spoil the environment some.

woodcutter's avatar

Put spray paint cans in hot water in a bowl for a few minutes first to get the spray to come out more uniform and get more paint out of the can.

JessicaRTBH's avatar

If you use your hand to help with this little trick (forget what that’s called) I can teach you a silly way to know 5 types of native Alaskan salmon. (this may not be useful) start with
your thumb and go towards your pinkie finger
Chum – rhymes with thumb
Sockeye – because you could poke somebody’s eye out with your pointer finger
King – probably your longest finger
Silver – you could wear a silver ring on your ring finger
Pink – for your pinkie of course
Learned this on a whale watching trip and never forgot it.

krrazypassions's avatar

If you are cutting the branch you are sitting on while facing the trunk of the tree, you will have a nasty fall

gondwanalon's avatar

@phaedryx Sir, the second paragraph of the introduction of the current modern day BOM states:

“The book was written by many ancient profits by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principle ancestors of the American Indians.”

Read the last sentence of the above quote from the BOM. Excuse me but modern science simply does NOT support this fundamental BOM claim.

As I stated earlier, I have several more questions about the BOM that I would very much like answered but no one can answer them. My good Mormon friends can’t and I made two trips to their church to chat with missionaries to no avail.

lillycoyote's avatar

@MissAnthrope So, if there are over 6 billion people alive on earth today, and the population continues to grow at it’s current rate, what are that chances that exactly who I am will be exactly who someone else is at some point future? ;-D

Thammuz's avatar

@gondwanalon If we want to be fair, the “it is fiction” thing is not exactly limited to the Book of Mormon. The Bible, the Koran and pretty much any holy text you can suggest is very likely to be contradicting reality and possibly itself at some point.

krrazypassions's avatar

Calorie restriction without malnutrition slows down the aging (US english) /ageing (British English) process

_zen_'s avatar

Many words in British English have an extra “e” as compared to American English. Also an extra “o” now and then, like colour and endeavour. Canadians typically spell like the British, but in most other ways probably resemble Americans more.

krrazypassions's avatar

I think British English must have come before American English and therefore its more appropriate to say American English omits the ‘e’ found in many words of British English. Also a ‘u’ now and then as in colour/color

krrazypassions's avatar

Americans, South Africans, Australians are basically Europeans.

gondwanalon's avatar

@Thammuz It was the BOM that opened my eyes and to question everything that I ever believed in or thought was true in religion and politics. In this way the BOM has been very helpful to me. For some reason, once people believe or have faith in a religion their brains can’t see the real truth about it. And this is so sad. Why is this I wonder?

Perhaps at one point in our human evolution this blind follow the leader way of life may have been advantageous for survival. It doesn’t seem to work well in today’s world. Look at the Branch Davidians, Heaven Gate, Jim Jones massacre and all the religious suicide bombers.

I know nothing about the Koran (Qur’an) but at least the Holy Bible was compose by many people and is based on some verifiable history. The BOM was knocked out in a very short time by a couple of guys in the early 1800’s.

InTheZone's avatar

@gondwanalon Apparently you have been over these same points numerous times, and nobody here seems to care. Maybe it’s time to give it up.

A very helpful remedy for chronic indegestion is aniseed, or anise. The digestive power of aniseed has been used since ancient times. In many cultures, a teaspoon of plain/roasted aniseed is chewed after meals in order to aid digestion and to leave a lingering sweet smell in the mouth. One can also make a light herbal tea out of aniseed. But only the green variety, also called European anise or sweet anise, should be used.

_zen_'s avatar

@krrazypassions Reminds me of Jimmy Carr saying to an american audience that they might have to get used to his (British) accent. Then he adds: technically, I don’t have an accent – I speak Englis the way it’s supposed to be spoken. (i paraphrased – youtube it if you like)

trickface's avatar

@zen Jimmy Carr! saying it like it is! :)

krrazypassions's avatar

@zen Yeah- its absolutely true! That’s the original English! (and no I’m not British, only a just(synonymous with fair) person)

incendiary_dan's avatar

The original English was the one the Canterbury tales was written in.

Okay, even that technically isn’t true, but it’s a lot more original than the contemporary British dialect.

phaedryx's avatar


I assume your issue is with this part: ”...they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.”

First of all, I guess it depends whether you consider the introduction (which was added to the beginning in 1981, if I remember correctly) to be a separate commentary/summary of the Book of Mormon, or actually part of the Book of Mormon.

For the sake of argument, let’s say that it should be considered part of the Book of Mormon. Now let’s consider what the word “principal” means. Looking at a couple of dictionaries it could mean “most important”. So I read it as “they are the most important ancestors of the American Indians,” meaning that their accounts, stories, etc. are the most important of the ancestors of the Native Americans.

Interestingly enough, there were mormon historians, scholars, etc. who argued, since it was added, that that part of the introduction was incorrect/misleading and it was changed in 2006 to read ”... they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.”

Again, the Book of Mormon is mainly about a group of people who came to the Americas, split in to two groups who fought with each other off and on, until, in the end, they had a major war where one side was wiped out completely, and the other side was greatly reduced in number. The survivors were probably absorbed into one of the other groups. Fast forward 1400+ years and the Smithsonian doesn’t find some genetic code, to which I shrug my shoulders and agree that I wouldn’t expect them to.

Hmm, this is getting long and I didn’t mean to get so off-topic (off-question?). @gondwanalon, send me a PM if you want to continue this discussion.

/me let’s people get back to their regularly scheduled question

cheebdragon's avatar

People on fluther will argue about anything and everything. The trick is to argue collectively.

gondwanalon's avatar

@phaedryx whisper-whisper—->Of couse I don’t want to bore people with this topic. I’ll send you private messages.

krrazypassions's avatar

There is no reality independent of the choice of measurement. Quantum magic trick shows reality is what you make it

cheebdragon's avatar

You can do some seriously fucked up things in the name of science…
such as getting sheep high on meth before using a taser on them. Seriously…WTF?!?! I’m pretty sure they could have just paid a few tweakers to do this, so why involve sheep at all?

thorninmud's avatar

Here’s how to shoot a rubber band so that it travels much faster and farther:

Lightly stretch the rubber band between the thumb and index finger of your left hand; it should contact those fingers at their nails. Hold the band so that you’re looking at this loop from the side.

Now, reach up with the tip of your right index finger, coming up from below the loop, and place it on the strand of the loop farthest from you, at a point midway between the left thumb and index and on the inside of the loop.

Begin stretching the band by moving the left thumb toward you and the right index away from you. As the band stretches, allow your left index to pivot around until it’s in line between your left thumb and right index, then just drop it away from the band entirely.

The stretched band is now pointing away from you, (and here’s the important part) with one side of the loop at a much higher tension than the other side. Send it flying, and you’ll see that it zips through the air with a satisfying hiss!, at about twice the normal speed. Shoot one the conventional way and marvel at the difference.

Enjoy the new swagger in your step.

Schroedes13's avatar

Adolf Hitler’s birth name was actually Alois Schicklgruber. Guess he didn’t think it was Prussian enough! Heil Schicklgruber! lol

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