The internet isn’t always people yelling at each other. Sometimes, people come together to solve problems, whether they found a septic tank in their backyard and need help identifying it or if they find a microchip in their food.
Either way, someone has an answer, and since ChatGPT can’t tell you what an image is just yet, the best place to go for them is still Reddit’s popular “What Is This Thing?” sub.
Maybe I’m lucky but the coolest thing I’ve ever found was an onion ring in my fries and I didn’t need help identifying it, but I digress. Here are some of the most interesting r/whatisthisthing posts from this week.
1. “Solid metal removable spike in a New York hotel bathroom.”
Answered by KT_mama:
A vase for a single flower. I’m guessing the hotel used to change them out daily based on the water damage.
Answered by Cautious_Maize_4389:
Pumice stone for your stone-washed jeans. Probably wasn’t supposed to go home with you
Answered by u/jackrats:
Those are the studs from your walls…redistributed by your termites.
Answered by u/Ryan-Rides-Firetruck:
This has been solved, but I want to CLEARLY inform you that your termite problem has reached far beyond what you may think you are in for when you call this exterminator.
Answered by u/Lokicattt:
I do this work full time.. when he says be careful, yes.
There’s a likelihood that it being this long that you noticed that your window headers/joists and some other majorly structural portions of your house are ruined. Termites target thicker easier to chew wood which is also coincidentally usually the wood used for headers/sill plates/joists and other major structural things. If it took this long to see…you probably shouldn’t be walking on the floor above that.
Keep in mind for every bit you see, there’s 20-30x as much damage that goes unseen.
Answered by u/thegreatmctator:
Short-spined sea scorpion.
Posted by a Redditor:
How heavy was the storm and how close are you to the ocean? Because for a fish to end up in your yard is very strange.
Answered by u/Spookqlyyy:
I believe it’s possible a bird may have dropped it, I live above cliffs.
Answered by u/axel_thatcher:
It looks like what you have there is a WWII era 81mm mortar.
There is no fuse in the nose of it, and by all accounts it should be inert. However! If you look down the hole that should be in the nose and it’s filled with a plastic-y, somewhat smelly brownish material, IT COULD STILL BE LIVE.
On the other hand, if it’s simply hollow or filled with metal, congratulations! It’s inert and makes an excellent paperweight or bookend.
Answered by u/Sushipepz:
Thanks. I just looked in and it’s hollow.
6. Nuclear shelter? Suicide booth? What is it actually?
Answer: Looks like JCDecaux public bathroom (toilet) … The cabin should rotate and while it closes on one side the other side will reveal the bathroom.
I work for JCDecaux, the toilet will automatically clean themselves when the door closes and detects that nobody is inside.
7. Weird little “room” in the peak of my old barn. No way to access it, it’s only a few feet across.
Answer: Probably just set up as a nesting area for barn owls. Barn owls are not destructive, and they eat rodents.
8. Husband’s truck exploded, this came out
Answer: It’s the inside bits, the catalyst, of a catalytic converter.
9. Mystery ceramic or porcelain piece found on beach in Cancale, France
Answer: When you hold it up to a bright light, is it translucent? Porcelain will be translucent, while other types of ceramic earthenware will not be.
When you run your fingers or a nail over the blue detailing, does it feel noticeably raised or like you could scratch it (as opposed to a relatively smooth surface)? If so, it is likely blue transferware, a later style which developed to more efficiently replace hand painting by transferring a design onto the piece. If instead, it’s smooth and not translucent, then it likely is faience ware (Delftware).
Based on the image, color, and size, I would say it’s more likely to be transferware than Delftware.
Additionally, even if it was Delftware, that doesn’t necessarily indicate Dutch origin, as similar styles of delftware were also produced in England and other places (known as English delftware).
10. Washed up on a beach in Florida.
Answer: It is a wave-powered desalinator that is owned by Oneka Technologies, a firm in Quebec. It takes seawater and turns it into freshwater. It is powered by the motion of the waves.
11. What are these dollar signs on my level for?
Answer: That is an electrician level. An S with a line through it is the electricians symbol for switch.
12. Nazi key??? So I found this key in with a bunch of things I was given decades ago when my grandfather died. Anyone ever seen a key like this before? it’s about 2cm long an I have no clue where it came from
Answer: It looks like a jewelry piece by Charles Horner. These were made circa 1910. It was a symbol of good luck.
This was before the swastika was known for a symbol of Nazism. (They adopted it around 1920.)
13. Metal (copper?) inlay on hotel room shelf?
Answer: I design Residence Inns. It’s for dropping your keys off when you walk in the front door (more durable than just wood, wears better over time, and adds a design element). At least that’s the brands intent.
14. Thin slabs of ivory with days of the week on the top found in my closet.
Answer: Product Description: “…Fabulous antique early Victorian chatelaine aide memoir from mid 1800s. Made of sheets of bone, it would have hung on a lady’s chatelaine chain or been kept securely in her pocket and she would have used it to make note and appointments for the week to come. It has 6 pages for the days Monday to Saturday, of course a lady would never have made appointments on a Sunday!…”
15. Plaque with numbers inscribed on it. Found on the sidewalk outside a building at my university.
Answer: It’s a magic square. Each row, column, and diagonal sums to the same number (34 here)
16. What Is The Point Of Such A Device?
Answer: USB charging condom. This way you can plug your phone into a random USB port and be sure that no data is exchanged. Only the power pins are passed through to the phone. Also called a sync stop.
17. Grandmother Received This From Her Friend After His Death. Nobody At The Senior’s Center She Lives At Knows What It Is. What Is This Thing?
Answer: Opium pipe
18. This Belonged To My Great Grandfather. What Is This Thing?
Answer: If it’s legit, that’s a really old Gibson, from between 1903 and 1933. It’s going to be worth more than you think, so be really careful with it. Seriously.
19. Went Exploring In White Sands, New Mexico And Found An… Object. What Is This Thing?
Answer: Looks like it could be titanium – titanium spheres of similar size are a relatively commonly found space debris
20. My Girlfriend Found These In Her Dinner? Are They Seeds?
Answer: Pretty good picture of insect eggs.
21. Researching Plantation Houses In The 1700s. What Is The Thing Hanging From The Ceiling In This Dining Room?
Answer: Very early ceiling fan. The rope at the top would be pulled to create the back and forth motion to fan the air and keep flies away from the table during a meal.
22. My Sister Found This When Cleaning Out A Fish. This Was In The Mouth And There Was A Smaller One In The Stomach. Anyone Know What It Is?
Answer: Tongue eating parasite (cymothoa exigua). Truly harrowing. Eats the fish’s tongue and then takes the place of the fish’s tongue.
23. Saw On My Flight To Cali. What Is This Thing?
Answer: Specifically, this looks like Concentrated Thermal Solar. It uses mirrors to reflect the light to a central tower which is barely visible in your picture due to the glare coming off of it. The light is then converted to heat where it drives a steam turbine, or some other heat engine.
24. I Found This Thing In My Food. It Was Just Stuck To A Piece Of Meat; It Wasn’t Lodged Into It Or Anything. Anyone Know What It Is?
Answer: Cattle/pig microchip for meat traceability.
25. It Is Approx. 3 Meters Long And Open At The End. Found With Some Similar Looking Ones Scattered Around On A Hillside While Hiking. What Is This Thing?
Answer: This device is called Gazex and it’s used to start avalanches, so they can control when and where they happen. This avalanche control system uses specially constructedand “exploder” sites and tubes built at key locations in avalanche territory to set off avalanches at controlled times. The exploders literally detonate a mixture of oxygen and propane from the tube structures. The explosive force expelled from the tubes triggers avalanches. The explosive bursts are fueled by gas canisters stored in tanks beneath the exploders on the mountain.
26. Found this small fine pointed device in a desk drawer many years ago. The point retracts fully inside by twisting just above the tip.
Answer:It’s a retractable toothpick.
27. Found on Guam in shallow water. 3-meter diameter disk. Top looks like polyester in a honeycomb shape that is fiber glassed to flimsy aluminum disk. I’m stumped on this one. Never seen anything like it.
Answer: There was recently a Chinese Long March 3B rocket launch that failed, and the rocket and its payload was seen reentering the atmosphere near Guam.
28. Me and my parents found this in our backyard earlier today (it reads “do not enter poison gas”) it’s on a circular concrete thing.
Answer: It is the cap to a septic tank.
29. I found this squishy thing in my Monster coffee. I don’t know what it is and I’m pretty grossed out.
Answer: I’m a process chemist for a food company. Heat excursions and a tad bit too much calcium will lead to sodium alginate gelling. If you ripped it open, there would probably be a bit of a core where the alginate may not have fully hydrated.
30. Found while clearing yard. Weighs about 6 lbs. Area has WW2 history. Should I call EOD?
Answer: EOD here. That is definitely uxo. Everyone had the right answer, call emergency services. Furthermore, when you people find stuff that looks suspect just call it in; We’re bored.