77 Pieces Of “Basic Knowledge” That Many People Don’t Seem To Know

Though it’s literally impossible to know everything there is to know in the universe, there are some fundamental things about being a human being in the modern world that everyone should strive to know. Core skills like cooking and cleaning allow you to be self-sufficient. Meanwhile, knowing how antibiotics work, why cat bites can be dangerous, and what chemicals to never ever mix together can actually end up saving your life.

Reddit users had a very informative discussion on r/NoStupidQuestions in a thread that went viral. They shared the pieces of ‘basic’ knowledge that everyone should know, but that a scary number of people may be oblivious about. Check out what they feel is vital to know in the 21st century as you keep scrolling.

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Bored Panda got in touch with Glenn Geher, Ph.D., who was kind enough to shed some light on the evolutionary reasons why people might get embarrassed about not knowing something that others do. He also shared his thoughts on how to fill those knowledge gaps and whether it’s easier to survive in the modern world than in the far past. Geher is a professor of psychology at the State University of New York at New Paltz and a published author, and you’ll find our full interview with him as you read on.


Salt will clean blood out of any fabric, even the whitest clothes or bedsheets.

Just put a little heap of salt over the bloodied fabric. If the blood is dry, wet it with a few drops of cold water then put the pile of salt. Leave it for an hour or so, wipe the bloody salt off, then wash with soap.

Edited to add that the water should be cold – see comments below about hot water setting the stain

Edit 2 for people who menstruate:
An early or particularly heavy visitor can lead to embarrassing situations sometimes, especially if (like me) you have woken up on a Japanese flag while sleeping over at someone else’s house or at camp. Regular old table salt is something you can find basically anywhere you go, at any time of day or night, without arousing too many questions. You can pour a heap of salt on your stains (and put a few drops of cold water if the stain is already a bit dry), and it should be soaked up before too long. It will take the blood out of mattresses, sheets, and pajamas/underwear.

Image credits: shellie_badger


Rags soaked with paint thinner, varnish, oil-based paint, polyurethane, and/or other volatile oils can actually spontaneously combust without any outside ignition source. The oils slowly release heat as they oxidize, and for example in a pile at the bottom of a garbage can, that heat can build enough to start smoldering and eventually ignite. I didn’t know about this until a year or two ago, so don’t feel dumb if you didn’t know either.

Image credits: lunchboxdeluxe


DO NO try to put out a grease fire with water.

Image credits: MaybeAWalrus

Bored Panda wanted to get Professor Geher’s thoughts on the evolutionary perspective behind embarrassment at one’s knowledge gaps. 

“In so many ways part of the human social experience pertains to seeking some sort of status within a group,” he said.

“If you’re the one who does not know what others see as ‘common knowledge,’ this fact might not bear well for your social standing as you might not come off as that smart,” Dr. Geher told us via email.

“For this reason, people are often hesitant to admit that they don’t know something that everyone else seems to know.”


Different antibiotics work on different bacteria. You can’t take random antibiotics you’ve stocked up on at home and assume they will work for an infection.

Doctors make an educated guess on what antibiotic to give for an infection. This is based on the probability of the infection being caused by a specific bacteria; this knowledge comes from research on what organisms most frequently cause certain infections in certain individuals.

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Clean the dryer vent. Change furnace filter regularly

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Babies below 6 months shouldn’t drink water, it can be fatal.

Edit: To clarify, water isn’t just fatal. “But children under a year old don’t need water like adults do. It can actually be dangerous for them. Babies get all their hydration from breast milk or formula.” Adding additional water can lead to water intoxication as children under 6 months have underdeveloped kidneys. If they have a mouthful of water of will they die? Most likely no, however everything I’ve read said not to give them plain water on top of their diet.

Image credits: -DBZ-

We were also curious whether it’s actually easier to survive in the 21st century compared to life a long time ago,, especially in developed countries. According to Dr. Geher, from the State University of New York at New Paltz, it’s not as clear-cut as someone might think.

“In some ways, living is easier these days relative to our ancestral, nomadic past. For instance, searching for food nowadays often involves opening one’s refrigerator as opposed to going out for a 6-hour hunt,” he explained to Bored Panda.

“That said, many features of the modern world are sorely mismatched from ancestral conditions and for this reason, the modern ‘conveniences’ often come back to harm us. So we might be able to eat lots of cheap processed foods easily and cheaply, but this fact may come back to haunt us later in life in the form of a number of health problems such as Type-II diabetes.”


It’s “should’ve” “could’ve” “would’ve”, not “should of”, “could of”, or “would of”

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That you are not your mind and you can choose to agree or not with any thoughts you have. Most people act like a robot and think they have to do everything their mind says.

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If your house suddenly smells fishy & you’re not cooking fish, check your electrical outlets, particularly any multi-plug extension cables.

Burnt out sockets & plugs give off a fishy smell, so you might save yourself from an electrical fire.

Image credits: Grouchy-Reflection97

The professor had some suggestions on how someone might go about filling in their knowledge gaps in the 21st century. “Learning about our evolved psychology and evolutionary past is often a good start. Understanding that humans evolved to live in small groups of familiar others under nomadic conditions can help us go a long way toward understanding the broader human experience,” Professor Geher said.

“I often say that to succeed in the modern day, it is often best to try to simulate ancestral conditions as much as possible. So, for instance, if you live in a large city of hundreds of thousands of people, it would be wise to form some smaller social groups that better resemble the small nomadic groups that characterized human social organization for the lion’s share of human evolutionary history.”


That England and the UK are not the same thing. That’s like thinking that California and the US are the same thing.

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IF you have a nosebleed, tilt your head FORWARD not back. tilting it back makes the blood go down your throat and you can feel nausated or start to vomit because of it.

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yellow teeth do not have to be a sign of bad hygiene!

Genes as well as your diet, dark consumable items, excessive fluoride, and also the quality of consumable items in your environment + a lot more aspects can turn your teeth yellowish over time.

Image credits: Shakira_120

It’s completely natural to have some knowledge gaps, even when it comes to ‘basic’ knowledge. Some people specialize in certain areas and can be completely ignorant in others. Meanwhile, other individuals might simply lack the education—or the time, money, and opportunities to plug those gaps. 

Whatever the case, many people tend to create the illusion that they’re very knowledgeable. However, if something happens where they’re forced to admit to others and themselves that they may not be as smart as they thought they were, the person might get incredibly embarrassed.

After all, it’s not a great feeling to realize that you were ignorant about something that seemingly ‘everyone’ around you already knew. What’s important to understand here is that you’re not alone in this. Sooner or later, everyone’s faced with facts they either didn’t know or had misinterpreted.


Vaccines do not cause autism

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Sinus headaches without green snot are migraines. Had to educate my GP doctor on this when he kept trying to push antibiotics for my weather headaches. Neurologist confirmed that they are indeed barometric pressure migraines.

Image credits: Ardea_herodias_2022


If it has a tail, it’s a monkey.

If it doesn’t have a tail, it’s an ape.

The best way to deal with embarrassing yourself in public, whether due to your lack of knowledge or anything else, is to embrace those somewhat uncomfortable feelings. As we’ve covered on Bored Panda before, the healthy way to react is to show mild embarrassment because it makes you seem more down to earth. Meanwhile pretending you didn’t make a mistake or getting angry about the whole situation is unhealthy and can turn your embarrassment about your (lack of) knowledge into deep-rooted shame.

The best way to deal with serious knowledge gaps is to carve out even a little bit of time every day to learn more about the topic. If it’s something that affects your career, schoolwork, or daily life, it only makes sense to make it a priority. However, it can be hard to do this if you’re working full time, have a family to take care of, and have a bunch of other responsibilities.


1 mile = 1.6 km,
1 kg = 2.2 pounds

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OCD rarely has anything to do with being clean, tidy or orderly. 

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Don’t mix bleach and ammonia, it makes chlorine gas! I work in a cleaning/sanitization job and we have ammonia-based cleaners and bleach, the amount of times I’ve seen co-workers mixing them together thinking they’re making a stronger sanitizer is ridiculous.

Image credits: HappyLittleDelusion_

That’s why it’s important to focus on the idea that spending even just a little bit of time on something is better than none. Even 15 minutes of reading up on a subject you know nothing about is miles better than putting it off ‘until next week’ when you hope to have several free hours or feel more motivated.

Verywell Mind notes that it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. So incremental effort pays off, so long as you stay consistent. And though it really does help if you have the money for a proper education, it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn new things even if you’re struggling financially. 

There are countless free resources available on the internet. In the meantime, if you have a public library in your local area, then you’ve got access to countless books, teaching materials, and videos as well. There are also free online courses you can sign up to that can help you raise your confidence and improve your knowledge. 


If you own a garbage disposal you have to actually run it at least a few times a week or it will rust and stop working.

youvegotnail replied:
Also, use the handbrake on your car periodically. Same concept.

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just how easy computer hacking can be, and how stupid the entry vector is for a lot of the big corporate hacks. More often than not it’s either an offensively bad password, or someone falling for a scam email. – good passphrases are easy to remember and enough characters it makes things harder for an attacker. – Take quizzes like [this](https://phishingquiz.withgoogle.com/) to see how well you can spot a scam email, and learn what to look for. – Always view emails featuring links or attachments with suspicion. – Most importantly, don’t trust links from random internet people.

Image credits: IceFire909


You aren’t immune to propaganda. If you get all of your news from one source/ one bias/ find sources that just confirm your own ideas, you probably have been subject and believe in propaganda.

It’s easier to fool people, than to convince them they’ve been fooled.

Everyone sees the sensationalized moment, but not the quiet redaction or the outcome leading to a wrong idea of what happened.

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I was at lunch at work one day and said that I was amazed at the number of people in a recent poll who didn’t know how long it took the Earth to rotate around the Sun. I was met with a sea of complete bank looks. It’s a year, people, a year!

Image credits: Anne314


I was alarmed at the amount of people who didn’t know how to do laundry when I got to college


The difference between “less” and “fewer.”


How to chew with your mouth closed, how to apply deodorant


A cat bite that pierces the skin is a serious event (because of the type of bacteria present) and needs prompt medical attention.

If you get water in your lungs for whatever reason, seek medical advice as it can dissolve the surfactant on your alveoli and cause what’s known as “second drowning” up to a day or so later.

Don’t hyperventilate before diving underwater (to increase your time underwater) because it can cause “shallow water blackout” when the partial pressure of oxygen drops below the threshold for consciousness before the CO2 concentration gets above the threshold that makes you feel the need to breathe.

Image credits: briankanderson


When you turn you should land in the lane you started from, not change lanes during the turn. If you turn right from the rightmost lane, land in the rightmost lane and then change lanes after the turn is complete with a blinker. 4 way stops could move quicker if we could trust each other enough to take turns at the same time.

Edit: not talking about laws or rules talking about the proper way to drive most of the time for courtesy and safety sake. I don’t care about your local legislation


A lot of people don’t seem to know the dangers of carbon monoxide. Entire family’s have died in their sleep after moving coal burning BBQs etc inside when it’s extremely cold. I myself have seen many times people using petrol powered tools in an enclosed space and get told I worry too much when I’ve spoken up.

Image credits: FerretWeekly9178


Towels will last longer and be more absorbant if yiu don’t use fabric softener on them


Without navigation apps, many people are not familiar enough with their city or local landmarks to find their way home if lost or give directions to someone.

Image credits: Specialist_Heron_986


If something is on fire in your oven, do not try to take it out. Just leave it there until it runs out of oxygen.

Image credits: swcollings


There is no minimum time. You don’t have to wait to file a missing persons report. You know your person better than the police, even if they tell you to wait, file one anyway. 

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Tax brackets

“If I get a raise I will earn less net because I will be in a higher tax bracket”


Getting periodontitis (gum disease) can be a precursor to getting heart disease (I think still the biggest killer in the US)

Image credits: Cmmander_WooHoo


The vagina doesnt become loose after sex with multiple partners. Sex education is hurting and the amount of men who believe this is so weird.
I’m from the middle east, a place that is known for its misconceptions about women and even we understand that.

Image credits: LuvValKilmer1231


That winter tires are more about how they handle freezing temperature than they are for snow/ice. And all seasons are not winter tires. (Canada).

Image credits: Kentbrockman2


How to be courteous to others


That climate change is a real phenomenon caused by human activity


Hear me out on this one…. Childbirth is extremely dangerous!!!! My wife gave birth about two months ago to her first my third…. The amount of people we have met that had babies and didn’t know s**t about it other than how to conceive. I have heard so much about informed consent and so on….. It is not hard for people to read a little bit before they go into labor and have complications. It is f*****g stupid how many people do not know a damn thing about child birth.

We reproduce! This is basic f*****g knowledge people!


Condoms aren’t 100% effective.


Your politicians do not represent you. They do not care about you or your issues. They care about themselves. They want power for themselves, not so they can help you.


Chronic sleep deprivation is WAY worse than most people realize, and effects way more than just your mood/energy level. Especially when it comes to learning/retention.. all the adderall and redbull in the world cannot make up for lack of sleep.


I work in a casino that deals with a lot of 50 cent pieces and so many Americans have no clue what the heck they are. One guy even asked me whose face was on this token he had. Sir that’s JFK and that’s a 50 cent piece. It’s money. Currency. I’d be confident in saying over half the people that encounter a half dollar at my work have no clue wtf it is


The single beep coming from your smoke/CO detector doesn’t mean you’re about to die. It means the detector is about to die.


How to find where files are stored on their computer.


An erection lasting over 4-5 hours could be the last erection you ever have unless you get promp medical attention. (which consists of a sharp needle to the d**k to drain the blood).


That clean trimmed nails and properly washed hands are cleaner than gloves when it comes to food prep.


Being able to change your mind shows strength not weakness.

95% of comments on the political internet are meaningless declarations of ideological affiliation.

No one knows your experience better than you do.

If you can’t simply explain something, you don’t understand it. That’s OK! No one can understand everything.

Children owe their parents NOTHING


Water is not a lubricant.


kitchen knives do not go in the dishwasher

the cutting edge on a knife is pretty much down to what is going on at a microscopic level. dish detergent has a bit of grit in it. without a better way to put it, it “sandblasts” the food off of your plate. that grit destroys the edge on a knife.

also, the temperature in the dishwasher can alter the heat treat on some metals. i dunno how much the average user would notice this though.


If you’re in a mosh pit and someone falls, you stop and help them up, then continue.


That staying on the path in Yellowstone doesn’t render you safe from animal attack. You also need to exert situational awareness.


I am always amazed when a grown adult first notices that you can see the moon during the day.

Image credits: choochacabra92


In urban areas, speeding and racing to the next light will not save you any measurable amount of time. With traffic and signals it is literally impossible to change your arrival time beyond a minute or two.


In the United States, going into a higher tax bracket never leaves you with less money (absent weird edge cases of being eligible for some deductions and then not or s**t like that. But not the tax brackets themselves). The first chunk of money you make is taxed at one tax bracket. The next chunk of money is taxed at the next. But it doesn’t make the first chunk of money be taxed higher.

So, if you make $182,100, you are in the 24% tax bracket. And if you make $182,101, you are in the 32% tax bracket.

But only one dollar of your money is in the 32% tax bracket


Schizophrenia has nothing to do with multiple personalities.


You can try to be as “green” as you want, companies are responsible for the highest amount of damage when it comes to the environment and you can do almost nothing against it.


The difference between science and pseudoscience


Brushing daily and flossing will save you ALOT of money and stress.


The moon is not a star. The sun is though…


College degrees are becoming less and less helpful, because students are doing the bare minimum to get through. The value isn’t in the piece of paper, but the accumulation of knowledge expected from it. I see tons of kids with pieces of paper, but they don’t understand anything about their own major or the world around them. Use college as an opportunity to learn and grow. Join clubs. Talk to professors. Take internships. Learn how to apply what you’re learning, and you’ll go far.


I think a lot of people don’t realize that you are indeed responsible for paying your own income taxes. Most people never have to worry about it because usually employers take care of it automatically but you see it all the time when people have a bunch of income that isn’t taxed automatically, things like investments or independent contractor work. And then they smacked by a bill from Uncle Sam and they’re screwed.


Many people don’t know how to independently determine right from wrong.

People who believe morality comes from religion usually fall into this category.

Edit: All you “golden rulers” fall into this category too.

To assume everyone else is exactly equal to you is reductive. What you want isn’t the same as what should happen.

If a mother does not have enough food to keep both her and her child alive, is it morally correct to kill the child? Under the golden rule, no. This kills both people.

Edit 2: The purpose of all human effort is to make life more comfortable for ourselves and our progeny. I believe this to be the basis of morality.

The subjectivity of morality comes from who you choose to include in your group, whether that’s all of humanity or just yourself. The more intelligent you are, the easier it is to include more people within your group.


That almost all advice given on any topic is dependent on predicted circumstances and assumptions that are unspoken, so if you ever actually want to ask for advice, you need to give a lot of detail first


How statistics work.

Tons of people out there saying that because their uncle lived to be 99 years of age despite eight decades of heavy smoking is proof that smoking isn’t dangerous.


Woman have 3 holes down there. I had to explain to my friend why she could wee with a tampon in…


Flushable wet wipes are absolutely not flushable


People on my neighborhood app were asking what that siren was during a storm………. Jesus christ ppl how have you gotten this far in life?


Blackrock, Vanguard and State street Basically own the world, and they all own each other.


How to live within your means


Native Americans are still here, and we don’t live in a teepee.


That shopping carts ? should left in the cart return, not the middle of the parking lot.


No means no. It doesn’t matter who is saying it. If you ever ask or suggest something that requires the cooperation or permission of another person and they say no, you MUST respect that.


How to use a roundabout while driving


the differences between a continent, a country, a province/state and a city


The fact that two or more things can be true at the same time.


That people are different and what is obvious to one might not be obvious to another.
Source: boredpanda.com

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