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Jeruba's avatar

"Wow, I simply never knew that before"--and now the world looks a little different. What was it?

Asked by Jeruba (51895points) July 1st, 2020

A brand new piece of information has the power to change our view of things. It sheds light, it shifts perspective, it alters relationships, it broadens horizons.

What has been such an instance for you? And what was its effect? It could be something trivial and fun or something mighty and life-altering, or anything in between.

I’m talking here about information and not attitude or opinion. For the sake of the question, let’s define information as an independently verifiable statement in the form of a fact. This is a question about the experience of gaining new knowledge and not about epistemology.

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25 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

OK, here is a very trivial one. I really like toast, but I never knew, until a few years ago, that the number setting for “doneness” was just minutes of toasty time. I always had thought it was arbitrary and that frustrated me. Knowing that it is a specific timer setting has allowed me to relax, and do other things within that time frame without being antsy.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

A colleague recommended the addition of Fe2O3 to a glaze I formulated.
I had wanted to change a few things and he knew what to do.
It was great information as it altered the way it looked, felt, and fired to a significant degree.
It also increased my income.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t know if the world looks different, but learning I can add vinegar to milk in lieu of buttermilk for recipes was a big thing for me. I never used up all of the buttermilk when I bought it for recipes, and now I don’t even bother to buy it, I can make a substitute with what I already have at home. I learned about it when I was in my early 40’s.

I learned some Republicans think Black Lives Matter is a Marxist organization and the leaders had Marxist training.

canidmajor's avatar

@JLeslie Does that vinegar thing really work??? (I don’t doubt you, I am just surprised and delighted!) I think I remember hearing about it, but I have never tried it.

Jeruba's avatar

@canidmajor, Yes, it does. I’ve been making a recipe for decades that calls for sour milk. The note on my recipe says this:

Sour milk: Use whole milk. You can leave it out for several days to go sour and curdle, or you can just add 1⅓ tablespoons of white vinegar to it and it will curdle in a few minutes (which is what I do).

My mother used to leave a cup of milk out on the counter for three days for this purpose, but I seldom plan meals that far ahead.

If the world looks different (as asked), I really want to know how it’s different.

Brian1946's avatar


“Sour milk: Use whole milk. You can leave it out for several days to go sour and curdle, or you can just add 1⅓ tablespoons of white vinegar to it and it will curdle in a few minutes (which is what I do).”

What quantity of milk? One cup?

canidmajor's avatar

Thanks for the recipe!

The tiny difference in how the world looks for me is the delight in the good sense of the toaster designers that I had never credited them with, and the lessening of frustration, however small, for me. I am not good at waiting if I don’t have a time frame, I am a bit of a toddler at heart.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I worked on some infrastructure projects and realized that there is very little keeping our society safe and whole.

Jeruba's avatar

@Brian1946, yes, sorry, one cup.

janbb's avatar

I put in a few drops of lemon juice if I need sour milk for a recipe. I don’t think knowing i can use vinegar really changes my world.

Let’s see. Learning that Truman Capote was the model for Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird and that he and Harper Lee were childhood friends added a sense of delight to my world.

JLeslie's avatar

@canidmajor Yes, I use just under one cup 2% usually, I guess that might be scant one cup? Then add a very full tablespoon white vinegar to bring it to the cup mark. Stir, let it sit a few minutes. Then I add it to the batter. I see @Jeruba uses 1.5 tablespoons, which would be a little more than I use, but it’s marginal, I’m a little imprecise when I do it.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@JLeslie I have tried that in corn bread but there is just no substitute for real buttermilk. I think a lot of “buttermilk” you get at the grocer was prepared with vinegar.

Jeruba's avatar

One and one-third is 1.33, not 1.5. But I do approximate. (1⅓ tablespoons = 4 teaspoons.)

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

That formula that converts Celsius to Fahrenheit breaks down at -40. -40 Celsius equals -40 Fahrenheit

janbb's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 I just learned that too and it doesn’t make sense to me.

janbb's avatar

I just read that the word “lox” for salmon has been the same in several languages for thousands of years. It is one of the ways they have traced the common roots of many Indo-European languages. I love finding out these little clues that show how big breakthroughs are made.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

For the past ten years or so, I’ve lived in England for about five months each year. It wasn’t until Brexit came up that I learned about the underlying bigotry that festers there. It isn’t pretty.

Despite the assessments of experts, the information was spread too late. I’m not sure if even the highest positions of power had any clue how the split could play out, much less what the impact could be.

There were enough people of an elder generation who believed in the UK prior to joining the EU, enough of the middle-aged generation who decided to support their parents’ beliefs, and a few of the latest generation who voted based upon a parent’s stance.

For those that live in the EU and the UK, how this all plays out does not look promising for many. It will impact in ways that were never considered. In some ways, it already has.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba I read it wrong. No glasses on. Thanks for the correction for anyone reading the thread.

kritiper's avatar

When I truly saw the lie that was Theism.

ucme's avatar

Charlotte Bronte invented the terms “self doubt” “wild west” & “spring clean”

ucme's avatar

Alexander Graham Bell was given “Graham” as a present from his parents on his 11th birthday.
He frequently complained as to why he didn’t have a middle name & his brothers did.

LostInParadise's avatar

I remember being struck by the idea that animals are conglomerates of cells. Each animal is a community of cells and, I later learned, of various bacteria that can be harmful or beneficial. At one level, an individual animal is a kind of mini-ecosystem. This leads to the concept of emergence, the general idea that the components of larger entities can be responsible for a higher level of activity that does not follow easily from the activity of individual components. Chemicals form cells; cells form organs; organs form individuals; individuals form species; species form ecosystems. At each stage a new level of activity is created that obeys laws that do not follow immediately from the laws governing the lower levels.

If a religious person asks if I believe that we are part of something larger, I readily agree, We are in the middle of a cascade of elements forming parts of ever larger entities.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I learned that I should check the ground to tell if it is starting to rain.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie: I discovered, this year, that when you’re shopping for buttermilk, it’s so worth it to buy the better quality buttermilk (local buttermilk, even if it’s at the regular supermarket). I made Irish soda bread using a better quality buttermilk (which is costs about 40% more than regular buttermilk) and it made a huge difference in the taste and texture of the bread.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 Interesting.

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