“My grandfather told us to NOT remove this when renovating.”
“An opening in the bottom floor of an 1850s home”
Answer: This is just a way to access the crawlspace, there’s usually plumbing, wiring, and potentially ductwork that periodically may need maintenance.
“What is this phenomenon? Why is the pond so clear and blue?”
Answer: This is the Blue Water Lagoon near Ywan Ngan in Shan State, Myanmar.
“What is the purpose of these floors? They have no windows and only this cylindrical thing in them.”
Answer: Those are the floors that make the building higher. The higher the building, the more it will be sold for.
“Found in a Westin in New England — every room had a second door number near the floor. Why?”
Answer: This is for fire safety. In case of a fire, the hotel will provide the fire service with the guest list, and check it off against this during the evacuation. In the event of a missing guest, the fire service will know which room they should be in. Depending on the severity of the fire, visibility can be extremely poor at the height of the normal numbers.
“What are these circular metal things on these stairs? I just hit my knee on one and it hurts.”
Answer: Those are called “skatestoppers.” They are made to prevent people from grinding on the edges with their skateboards.
“What are these perfect sets of beach holes? Flip flop for scale.”
“Why do people put an orange on a stick in the grass? This is in the Netherlands.”
“What are these colorful patches of liquid? Picture taken from my flight over the US.”
“Weird sealed pouch inside a baggie filled with some sort of gel and some metal oval with raised lines on it.”
Answer: This is a reusable handwarmer. You can ’pop’ the metal and the gel will begin to crystallize, creating heat, then simmer it in hot water to reset.
“What is this tube full of balls in the wall in a home built in the mid ’90s?”
Answer: This is a termite indicator. Termites eat the wood fibers until the match stick drops, releasing the balls. When you don’t see the bright green one, you know you have termites.
“Saw this in a forest in Germany.”
Answer: This is a root cellar used to preserve food.
“My dad bought these at a garage sale. They’re solid brass and open on the inside. Any ideas?”
“These are all over one of the walls at my local train station in London. Anybody know what they could be?”
Answer: Those are made by coins. If you put a coin on a brick and twist it, it will eventually make perfect circles like that.
“Ikea coffee mug, what is the thing at the bottom?”
Answer: This is a draining gate. If the mug is upside down in the dishwasher, the water may accumulate on its bottom. This gate helps to transport the water away.
“What’s this elastic band under my shoe’s Velcro strap?”
Answer: It’s for when you don’t strap your shoe. You can fold the Velcro strap in, let it just hang open, and show off the Nike brand logo.
“Just moved to new apartment, found this in the living room. What is this?”
Answer: This is an antique Turkish-style brazier. It’s a copper, brass, metal, or baked clay vessel used for burning coal (charcoal), for heating closed spaces or for cooking purposes.
Bonus: what do you think this could be?
Reddit users think it might be a candle cover, a cheese dome, or a wall mounted candle holder. What are your thoughts?