The Reason Why Your Car Window Is Edged With Tiny Black Dots

iStock.com/Kameleon007
iStock.com/Kameleon007

If you spend a lot of time staring straight ahead while stuck in traffic, you may have wondered what those tiny black dots circling the edges of your car’s windshield are. Or maybe you've never even noticed them. They’re easy to miss, but according to Jalopnik, they serve a few important functions.

That black strip that wraps around the window is called a frit or a frit band, and it’s essentially ceramic paint that has been baked into the glass in a way that makes it impossible to scrape off. It’s there to protect the urethane sealant holding your windshield in place from ultraviolet rays, which, under less secure circumstances, could cause the glass to pop out.

“The frit band also acts to provide a rougher surface for that adhesive to stick to, and it’s a visual barrier, preventing people from seeing that nasty glue from outside,” David Tracy wrote for Jalopnik. The frit has been commonplace since the 1950s and ‘60s, when car manufacturers started swapping out metal trim for adhesives.

Ok, so that explains the solid black strip, but what about those dots?

The reason the dots get smaller as they move inwards is because it creates a gradient pattern that’s more aesthetically pleasing and less obvious—and distracting—to both drivers and passengers.

The dots aren’t there just to look pretty, though. Much of the design has to do with the way windshields are made: When the glass is bent in an oven, the frit heats up faster than the rest of the windshield because it’s black. To reduce optical distortion as a result of this thermal disparity, a dot gradient is used to even out the temperature.

You can also thank a second set of dots on your windshield—right behind the rearview mirror—for helping to keep the sun out of your eyes as you drive.

Now that you're an expert on frit bands, check out our guide to the meanings behind 15 different symbols on your car's dashboard. Never again will you miss another tire pressure warning.

[h/t Jalopnik]

This Cool T-Shirt Shows Every Object Brought on the Apollo 11 Mission

Fringe Focus
Fringe Focus

NASA launched the Apollo 11 mission on July 16, 1969, ending the space race and beginning a new era of international space exploration. Just in time for the mission's 50th anniversary this year, Fringe Focus is selling a t-shirt that displays every item the Apollo 11 astronauts brought with them to the Moon.

The design, by artist Rob Loukotka, features some of the iconic objects from the mission, such as a space suit and helmet, as well as the cargo that never made it to primetime. Detailed illustrations of freeze-dried meals, toiletries, and maintenance kits are included on the shirt. The artist looked at 200 objects and chose to represent some similar items with one drawing, ending up with 69 pictures in total.

The unisex shirt is made from lightweight cotton, and comes in seven sizes ranging from small to 4XL. It's available in black heather or heather midnight navy for $29.

If you really like the design, the artwork is available in other forms. The same illustration has also been made into poster with captions indicating which pictures represent multiple items of a similar nature.

The Reason Sneakers Have an Extra Set of Holes

iStock/PredragImages
iStock/PredragImages

If you examine your favorite items of clothing closely enough, you may start to ask questions like: Why are shirt buttons on different sides for men and women? (Because, historically, women didn't dress themselves.) Or why do my jeans have a tiny pocket? (To hold your pocket watch, of course.) Both of the clothing quirks mentioned above are relics of a different time, but if you look at your sneakers, you'll find a commonly-ignored detail that can be useful to your daily life.

Most sneakers have an extra set of holes above the laces that are often left empty. The holes may not line up exactly with the rest of the laces, indicating that they're there to serve a special purpose. For many situations, ignoring this pair of holes is totally fine, but if you're tying up your shoes before a rigorous run or hike, you should take advantage of them.

The video below from the company Illumiseen illustrates how to create a heel lock with these extra holes. Start by taking one lace and poking it through the hole directly above it to create a loop, and then do the same with the lace on the other side. Next, take the ends of both laces and pull them through the opposite loops. Tighten the laces by pulling them downwards rather than up. After creating the heel lock, secure it with a regular bow tie.

What this method does is tighten the opening of your shoe around your ankle, thus preventing your heel from sliding against the back of it as you run. It also stops your toe from banging against the front of your shoe. The heel lock is especially handy for long runs, walks, and other activities that often end with heel blisters and bruised toes. Even if you aren't slipping on your shoes for exercise, lacing up those extra holes can make a loose-fitting sneaker feel more comfortable.

Of course, the trick only works as long as your laces stayed tied—which even the most expertly-tied knot can't guarantee. Here's some of the science behind why your shoes often untie themselves.

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