So, you tap a button and something happens — that’s how the world works, right? Well, not exactly. The world is actually filled with buttons that are only there to seem like they do something, while in fact being useless. And not only buttons — there are all kinds of things that are there for no apparent reason.
If you live on, say, 15th floor and you’re in a hurry to get home because your bladder is about to burst, for example, you’ll probably feel fine running up the stairs. But if you decide to wait for the elevator instead, you’ll smash that door close button until the doors finally close.
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Pedestrian crossing buttons 0:22
Elevator door close buttons 2:19
Thermostat control in hotels and offices 3:53
Progress bars 5:40
Calorie counters on treadmills 6:40
Graceful failures 7:32
#placebo #strangefacts #brightside
– Transport authorities sometimes switch off the functionality of these traffic buttons on purpose. In New York, for example, there are 1,000 of them, but currently only 100 actually work when you press them.
– Such buttons have an important psychological effect: doing something feels better than not doing anything. When you press the button at a crossing, you feel more assured that the light will eventually switch to green.
– Not to disrupt the work of the whole network, many of the traffic control switches were turned into placebo buttons.
– The elevator doors will stay open for no less than the time appointed to them, no matter how much or how long you mash that button.
– So unless you’re an emergency service worker or just happen to know the override code, you won’t be able to make the doors close faster.
– If you live outside the US, though, your chances of getting a working close button are much higher. In many countries, there are no such strict regulations, so you can easily find an elevator where, if you press the door close button, the doors will actually shut immediately.
– Most office buildings have a central heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC for short). And the thing about this central system is that you can’t actually affect it from anywhere outside the control center.
– In fact, there are two general types of office thermostats: one that is total placebo and one that is only partially so.
– The partial placebo thermostat has a little bit of sway: it can change a couple degrees in both directions, but no more than that.
– Whenever you download a file from the Internet or install a new app on your device, you see a bar that informs you of how much time you have left to wait. Ever seen it stuck at 99% for, like, forever, though? Yeah, it’s exactly what it seems: the progress bar is always wildly inaccurate.
– When you run, you burn calories for sure, but the precise amount depends on various factors, such as your weight, overall fitness, and body fat percentage.
– This counter is, once again, only there to assure you that you’re doing everything right. The downside of this is that even if you’re not doing it right, the treadmill won’t let you know.
– When a call attempt failed, the system didn’t tell the caller about it, but simply switched to another recipient instead. So when somebody took the phone on the other end of the line, you apologized for dialing a wrong number and tried again. This way, you didn’t feel the frustration of having a failed call.
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