The “Why” of IT (Aug, 1929)

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The “Why” of IT

Do you know the real reason why the toreador’s red mantle angers the bull, or why the cross-wise seats are placed in the center of a street car? On these pages you will find the real scientific purpose for some of the simple things about which the average person has misconceived ideas.

Of course, you hare noticed the white crosses painted on the windows of buildings under construction, but do you know why they are put there? They are not daubed there accidentally by a whimsical painter. The scientific answer to this and other questions appears on this page.

Worry not about your red necktie as you cross a field containing several vicious-looking bulls. Recent tests prove that it is not color but motion which infuriates the bull. As a matter of scientific fact, bulls are far more susceptible to white as a color than red, but any erratically moving object, such as the toreador’s flaming mantle, sends their temper skywards. Red is a popular color for the toreador because its brilliance adds to the spectacle of the bull fight.

Dragging chains ground electric sparks and prevent explosions. Why is the fire truck at the right painted red? Attention value—traffic clears out of the way.

The average person prefers to sit cross-wise in the street car, and even a lazy man will walk to the center seats for this purpose. Simply a matter of keeping the car exits clear!

A moving truck cannot run out 1 from under a man jumping into the air from it. Velocity of the truck is imparted to the jumper.

What is the purpose of the white crosses of paint slashed across the windows of buildings under construction? Are they a sort of trade mark, union label, or just a contractor’s custom? The real answer is—safety. The crosses prevent workmen from pushing planking through the windows or even walking bodily through the transparent glass. The paint, by its surface tension, also helps to prevent the glass from shattering under the vibration of hammer blows on the frame of the building.

Smoke rising straight into the air is a sign of fair weather. Smoke rises because the atmospheric pressure is great enough to lift it up; high pressure precedes fair weather.

  1. whoozle whaazle says: April 14, 20119:46 am

    Interesting information about why the cross seats are located in the middle of the car (tram? bus?).

    The ones in Calgary are like that as well. I originally thought that the cross seats were there because of the back exit so that there is more room for people to get off…and of course cross seats are the only types of seats over the wheel wells.

  2. Toronto says: April 14, 201110:00 am

    That’s not the whole story. The real reason is that the fewer seats you have, the more people you can cram on. Remove 2 sets of forward 2-seat benches (4 people) and replace them with one sideways 2-seater and 4 people standing, and you get a net gain of 2 fares. Do that over 100 cars and you save running two cars.

    Some Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) streetcars are being renovated with more “singles”) forward facing, and really the most preferred seats) for that reason. The area near the back door has no seats at all, just a “bum ledge.”

    I personally detest the sideways seats on all forms of transit (except perhaps Hercules aircraft) due to the jolting your spine gets during rapid acceleration/deceleration.

  3. GaryM says: April 14, 201110:32 am

    Some Boston subway cars have no seats at all.

  4. Toronto says: April 14, 201110:59 am

    Gary: I’ve riden the “T” and never have had a seat!

    Our new cars (TTC) will have fewer seats than the current generation (which had fewer than the previous ones.) They’ll also be open from car to car, so you can move between them, and they’re staggering the poles to make the cars more wheelchair accessible. I just hope they’re not setting up a horrible “wheelchair rolling through entire length of train at high speed after sudden stop” incident.

    (But if they do, I hope they get it on camera.)

  5. Charlene says: April 14, 20112:03 pm

    Anyone who has ever ridden the C-Train in rush hour knows how important those extra two spaces are – it’s the difference between “can of sardines” and “Tokyo subway”.

  6. whoozle whaazle says: April 14, 20112:44 pm

    @ Toronto

    And having to face people that you don’t want to look at…

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