It’s been said that far too many of us, especially today, live in our own bubbles. If you only limit your experience to one media source, one kind of cuisine, or one genre of movie, then you’re missing out on so much. It also skews your understanding of anything outside your bubble and makes you think maybe those things are less prominent or less popular than they really are. Sometimes you can be convinced something is very rare and obscure when the exact opposite is true.
10. Bioluminescence May Be The Most Common Kind of Communication on Earth.
As humans, we tend to be a little biased towards our own species when it comes to something like communication. We’re the only species that has language, after all, clearly, we’re masters of communication. But language and communication are not the exact same thing.
As much as speech or the written word may seem like the most common form of communication in the world, there’s compelling evidence that it’s not the case. Thanks to the deepest, darkest depths of the ocean and all the life that exists down where the sun never reaches, there is a more commonly used tool to communicate – bioluminescence. While it seems weird and obscure to us on the surface, that’s just because it exists in a world we don’t spend a lot of time in.
Research has shown that “76% of creatures in the water column and 45% of those living on the bottom” have found a way to make their light shine in a way that communicates meaning to others.
Light signals generated by creatures that have never even seen the sun can be used to hunt prey and let others know about prey. Some fish will even produce light on the spectrum that is invisible to their prey fish so they can hunt while literally keeping their dinner in the dark.
Luminescence can also identify potential mates, warn off predators, and most anything that non-light displays might do for creatures that live where natural light is available. Numbers are always a little bit sketchy when you’re dealing with things that live so far removed from us but it’s been deemed potentially the most common form of communication in the world.
9. Sweethearting Is One of the Most Common Kinds of Retail Theft
Retail theft losses were $112 billion in 2022. That’s a lot of loot missing from Walmart shelves. But retail losses do come in more forms than just someone smuggling Goldfish crackers out of the self-checkout. Shoplifting accounts for a lot of retail theft, but almost equally popular is sweethearting.
In 2018, the National Retail Federation determined that employee theft was responsible for 33.2% of retail losses annually. A sizeable chunk of that is what’s called sweethearting. So the employee doesn’t actually steal the item from work. Instead, a friend or family member comes in to buy it and the employee either discounts it without permission or gives it to their friend for free.
According to a survey on the practice, 67% of employees admitted to doing it in the two months before the survey and the cost has been estimated to reach as high as $80 million.
8. Walking is the Most Common Leisure Activity
Do you like to go for walks? There’s a sort of reputation that walking, one of the most simple and mundane things a person can do, is the realm of old and boring people. There’s a stereotype about senior citizen mall walkers, for instance. And many seniors indeed enjoy walking malls for the ease, amenities, and safety of doing so. But walking is a lot more popular than all that.
Walking is literally the most common physical activity for adults in America. In some ways, it’s so obvious that it seems easy to overlook. If you think about your favorite physical activities, you might be inclined to overlook walking as, for many it’s as commonplace as breathing or blinking, but that’s kinda the point. People who do nothing else are still walking.
While transportation makes up 29% of the purpose behind walking, 50% of people reported doing it as a leisure activity in 2010. The CDC stats claimed it as high as 65% for women and 62% for men by 2015.
7. The $100 Bill is the Most Common Form of US Currency
If you still use cash to go shopping, you know that a lot of stores won’t accept one hundred dollar bills. This has been an issue for years and one reason is that hundred-dollar bills are popular with counterfeiters so stores don’t want the risk.
For most people, this isn’t a problem because, when you do have cash, how often are you carrying hundreds? Well, statistically, they’re the bills you should carry because they’re the most common form of currency in the US.
In 2017, the $100 bill surpassed the $1 bill as the most widely circulated note. If you’re not seeing a correlation in your wallet, fear not. The second half of this fact is that most of the $100 bills are circulating outside of America. American hundreds are huge in other countries, especially for use in black market deals and other criminal enterprises. They’re small, super light, easy to transport, and easy to hide while also being high value. They’re perfect for all your legitimate and illegitimate cash needs.
6. The Most Common Form of Entertainment for School Shooters is Written
School shootings have been a nightmare in the United States for far too long. Each time one occurs the potential reasons and solutions will be discussed by pundits and talking heads and surely most of us would agree nothing effective ever gets done.
In researching the people who commit these horrible crimes there is a firm belief in the public at large, thanks to media reporting and statements made by those same talking heads that certain media is to blame. In particular, video games often take the rap. Music and movies also have been getting the blame since Columbine in 1999.
According to the FBI, about 27% of shooters exhibit interest in violent movies which is remarkably low. A more common interest? Writing. The largest group, 37%, showed interest in violence through their own writing including poetry and essays. So if you were looking for warning signs, you’d do well to worry less about Call of Duty and horror movies and more about journals and short stories.
5. Faro Was the Most Common Kind of Gambling in the Old West
If you’re a fan of Wild West movies and shows, then you’ve probably sat through more than your fair share of poker scenes. Even video games like Red Dead Redemption have poker as part of the storyline. Kenny Rogers famously gave us the song and movie combo of The Gambler. As such, the poker/Western thing has been linked in pop culture for decades now.
Ironically, poker was not all that popular in the Old West. The most popular game of the time was called faro, and in the modern world, it’s all but extinct. Faro was in every single gambling house and no other game, including poker and craps, has managed to match the popularity it once had.
According to the good folks at Bicycle cards, the game dates back to the court of Louis XIV. By the time of the Civil War, there were 150 gambling houses in Washington DC and Faro was the big draw at every single one.
The game involves a banker against whom all other players play. Players bet on a card from ace up to king. The banker is then dealt a card and all players, as a whole, are dealt a card. If you bet on the banker card, you just lost. If you bet on the player card, you won. There’s a little more to it than that but, in a nutshell, that’s how it worked. It was fast, easy, and everyone loved it.
4. An Herb Called Laser Was One of the Most Valuable and Common in Ancient Rome
Back before lasers meant “pew pew” they were an herb in ancient Rome. It may not even be a living thing anymore as it seems to have been harvested to extinction. But once upon a time, laser was everywhere and in everything.
Also called silphium, the plant was a wild crop that grew near modern-day Libya. For years it was the region’s biggest export and made the city that harvested it one of the wealthiest in the Mediterranean.
Caesar kept 1,500 pounds of resin from the plant in Rome’s treasury and it was worth its weight in silver. It was apparently used as medicine, as a seasoning for food, for perfume, and basically anything you could think of doing with a plant. And because of that widespread use with no consideration for sustainability, it was harvested right into extinction.
3. Plasma is the Most Common Form of Matter
If you’re of a certain age, you were taught that matter comes in three forms; solid, liquid, and gas. Later, science classes taught that there’s a fourth form called plasma. So, there are four kinds of matter. Unless you took more advanced science, then there’s degenerate matter, Bose-Einstein condensate, and quark-gluon plasma. But that’s it—seven kinds of matter. Okay, there may be closer to 30, but never mind those. Let’s stick with the top four.
If you have to decide which state of matter is most common, you might want to guess liquid. Lots of water on earth, right? But there’s also lots of solid and probably lots of gas it’s just hard to see. Lucky for you we’re not making you guess. The most common form of matter is plasma. You rarely see it sitting on the lawn, but there’s a lot of it out there. In fact, 99% of matter is believed to be plasma.
Plasma is very similar to a gas, but it’s so hot that it strips away the bulk of the electrons and the rest is an ionized gas. It’s the stuff of stars and nebulas and all that bright, shiny space stuff we love in Star Trek and Star Wars. If you can see it in space, it’s probably plasma. Also, if you can’t see, it’s still probably plasma.
2. Opus Number One Is the Most Common Hold Music
Have you ever heard that crazy, synthy hold music on the phone that has a soft percussive beat in the background? If you’ve ever been on hold, you absolutely have because that’s one of the most-heard pieces of music in the world. That hold music, the most common hold music in the world, is used by over 65 million Cisco corporate phones around the world.
The music, called Opus No. 1, was written by a 16-year-old named Tim Carleton in his parent’s garage back in 1989. Some years later a friend of his was working at Cisco and remembered the track. He called Carleton up and asked if he’d be cool with letting the company use it as their hold music, and he was. Odds are he had no idea it would spread across the world and still be used decades later, but here we are.
1. Lysol Was Once the Most Common Form of Suicide in Australia
Suicide is a very serious issue and if you’re dealing with depression or other issues that make you want to self-harm then we absolutely encourage you to find someone you can trust to talk to and get help.
Historically, there have been many ways people have gone about taking their own lives, and in the current world firearms are still the most popular method. About 52% of people use a gun to take their own life. But, as we said, methods have changed over time.
In Australia back in 1911, Lysol inexplicably became the most common choice for people looking to take their own lives. It was cheap, easy to obtain, and extremely toxic, all of which made it a simple option for anyone who wanted to follow through on the act.