Here’s a list of things that don’t work the way we think they do – and sometimes, don’t work at all:

  • For example: The crosswalk signal. How many times have you stood at a corner pressing and pressing that button? Well, odds are, it’s not doing anything. Because cities everywhere have installed automated systems that set crosswalk signals on timers to keep traffic moving. So, no matter how many times you push the buttons, odds are, it does nothing. In fact, a new study looked at 3,000 cross walk buttons – and found that 2,000 of them weren't connected to anything.

  • Now here’s a surprise: Don’t be fooled by HD TV. Dutch scientists analyzed people as they watched a video clip on what they were told was a “regular” TV. Then, they watched the same clip on what they were told was a high definition TV, but it was actually the same exact TV. The result? People rated what they thought was the HD TV picture quality as significantly better. So, before you plunk down big bucks for a new HD TV, do your own TV-test and see if you can actually tell a difference.

  • And, next time you’re chilly at work, don’t bother turning up the office thermostat. A survey found that 90% of them are dummies. Why? Companies don’t want to run up huge energy bills to heat an entire office. Instead, they lock the temperature in the building control panel, and install dummy thermostats in offices that people can adjust, so there’s the illusion of control. Bottom line: If you’re cold at work, bring a sweater.