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The big questions in Life

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Tropo, 20th Feb, 2007.

  1. Tropo

    Tropo Well-Known Member

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    The big questions in Life

    Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up every two hours?
    If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?
    Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are flat?
    Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there is not enough?
    Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?
    Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?
    Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?
    Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?
    Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?
    What is the speed of darkness?
    If the temperature is zero outside today and it's going to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold will it be?
    If it's true that we are here to help others, what are the others doing here?
    Do married people live longer than single ones or does it only seem longer?
    Do you cry under water?
    If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, then what is baby oil made from?
    Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him on a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?
     
  2. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    I think I can answer these for you.

    The big questions in Life:
    Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up every two hours?

    It's not how long they sleep, it's the way they sleep - they don't have fully developed thought patterns which keep them awake - it is mostly instinct ... they wake mostly only when they are hungry, or dirty.

    If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?

    Yes - if you think of "hearing" as a concept rather than a biological function, deaf people can certainly hear what you have to say - in their own way.

    Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are flat?

    It's not so much about pressing harder (although that's a natural reaction), it's more about pressing longer.

    Remote controls typically work on infra-red light signals being sent to the device. Like a torch, as the batteries run down, the light becomes weaker. If you hold the light on longer, there is a chance that enough light may find its way to the receiver - thus operating the device.

    Of course, if the batteries are truely flat, this won't help - but frustration and laziness takes over.

    Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there is not enough?

    Banks make profits by lending money to people and charging them interest - and by charging fees. If you read the fine print on the PDS for the account - you'll see that they retain many rights in regards to recovering the money you owe them - including arbitrarily taking money from other accounts you may hold with that bank and applying it towards any outstanding and overdue debt (or overdrawn account).

    You really don't want to let your account get overdrawn - the penalty interest rates are often higher than credit card interest rates !!

    Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

    You have no way of verifying the count of stars - but you can see far more than you can realistically count, and there is a romantic aspect to there being so many stars you simply can't count them.

    Paint is not only here and now (and tactile), it also usually doesn't look much different between wet and dry ... and because dry paint is the goal - you feel the desire to check to see whether that goal has been reached yet.

    Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?

    Paperwork. The person is still alive when they are injected - and it is most likely a criminal offence to inject anyone (regardless of their situation) with an unsterilized needle.

    Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

    He's too young.

    Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

    It's about the transfer of kinetic energy. Taking a bullet on the chest allows Superman to release the kinetic energy of the projectile in a controlled manner.

    Ducking at a thrown revolver implies it is thrown at his head - and the skull is a hard object, not really suitable for stopping another hard object with (if it was so strong that it is unbreakable, then simple physics will tell you that any object thrown with enough force against it will bounce right back off again, potentially hurting someone else). It may well be safer to others for him to duck and let it fly by, than take it on the head and see it bounce back in an unpredictable manner.

    Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

    So they can hear their radios.

    What is the speed of darkness?

    Exactly the same as the speed of light. There really isn't such as thing as "darkness" - there is merely the absense of light. So if something is becoming dark - it means the light is leaving. And light always travels at the same speed (assuming a constant medium).

    Naturally, if what you are seeing is the perception of increasing darkness, it is likely to be from the source of the light moving away from you - in which case, the speed of change is related to the nature of the light source, and the reflection of that light on other objects and your ability to perceive changes in light - and has very little to do with the actual speed of light.

    If you are talking about the sun going down, you would need to work it out based on the linear velocity of the earth's rotation at the point of the sun moving behind the horizon, and then taking into account the fact that there is no longer a straight line between you and the sun after that point - hence you are seeing reflected (and refracted) light which makes the calculations far more complicated.

    If the temperature is zero outside today and it's going to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold will it be?

    Both the celcius and farenheit temperature scales are relative - that is they are related to a specific temperature. For celcius it is based on the freezing and boiling points of water at sea level.

    There is a third temperature scale, also known as the absolute scale - and the unit of measure is called the Kelvin (named after British mathematician and physicist William Thomson Kelvin who proposed it in 1848).

    This absolute scale starts at what we call "absolute zero", which is defined as being the point where molecular energy is at a minimum - essentially, when matter stops moving. There is no negative value for this scale.

    The formula to convert from Celsius to Kelvin temperature is K = C + 273.15, so 0 degrees Celsius is equal to 273.15 degrees Kelvin. So twice as cold means that it will be 136.58 degrees Kelvin, which is the equivalent of about -136.58 degrees Celcius. That's very cold, and you'll die very quickly at those temperatures. You'd better hope that they are not using the Kelvin scale when they calculated "twice as cold".

    The problem with such a statement is that it depends on the context and the scale they are using. "Twice as" implies a numerical scale - and we've already shown how problematic that is.

    In reality, it comes down to perception. The question should have been asked ... "if it is zero degrees celcius today, and I percieve that it will be twice as cold tomorrow, what temperature will that represent on the celcius scale ?".

    Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any reliable measure for perception of temperature (very much a subjective measure), and indeed other factors such as humidity, airflow (wind), and even the sensation of direct sunlight, can impact greatly on our perception. In particular, an increase in wind speed at low temperatures can make it "feel" much colder than the
    actual temperature.

    As a rule, wind is the major factor in the perception of temperature at low readings, and humidity is the major factor at high temperature values.

    If it's true that we are here to help others, what are the others doing here?

    Because we are not all the same (things would be pretty boring if we were), we all have our own experience and skills. Thus we can always help others and they can help us. It's not an absolute measure - it is a matter of finding those people who have the skills that you need, and vice versa.

    Do married people live longer than single ones or does it only seem longer?

    Yes they do (in general). A stable relationship (of any kind) means that there is an additional point of view to consider in decision making. This consideration means that decisions are often more rational and reasoned - and hence less likely to be harmful. In an environment where two (or more) people care for each other, the desire to see no harm come to them means that a safer route is often taken (in whatever endeavour is at hand). Single people have only their own conscience to guide them - and sometimes their desires and needs override commonsense - and they tend to lead riskier lives.

    Interestingly, the more people you have involved in the decision making process, the more conservative it becomes. However, there is a point where this starts to become ineffective - trying to gain a consensus from everyone is virtually impossible, so if you try, you will enevitably make no decisions, or else you will see the group split into factions. If you leave these factions to their own decisions without a small group of people making the decisions for everyone, you will see conflict.

    Do you cry under water?

    Tears are basically a brine mixture - pretty much in the same concentration as sea water. But they also contain mucus, antibodies and enzymes to protect, humidify, and lubricate the eye surface.

    If a foreign substance touches the surface of the eye, the natural reaction is for the eye to release tears to flush it out. This is why the best way to get rid of dust or an eyelash in the eye is to let the tears flow (rubbing it will only irritate the eye - making things worse).

    Underwater, the eyes can still release that same mixture.

    If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, then what is baby oil made from?

    Baby oil is usually made from mineral oil (derived from crude oil via distillation). Interestingly, there are arguments that ingesting such mineral oils can cause deficiencies of essential vitamins - especially in infants where their digestive system and immune systems are not yet fully developed. Remember that infants can usually place their feet in their mouths - and love to suck on just about anything - so be careful what you put on your infant.

    Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him on a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?

    That's because you have bad breath.



    Hope this helps :D
     
    Last edited: 20th Feb, 2007
  3. Simon

    Simon Well-Known Member

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    Sim - you have way too much time on your hands.
     
  4. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    I just thought it was worth helping Tropo with his questions ... hopefully now he can sleep more "like a baby" :D
     
  5. Tropo

    Tropo Well-Known Member

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    Not bad....Not bad at all !!!:D
    You just woke me up....:p I must be hungry...:D
    PS - few more....

    Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?
    Does pushing the elevator button more than once make it arrive faster?
    If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?.
    Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!
    :eek:
     
  6. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?

    Depends on the design of the freezer - I have seen some freezers that do have lights.

    Freezers are generally used for longer term storage of food and drinks, and as such are not accessed as often. Freezers also tend to lend themselves to stacking items - such that a light would not be very helpful to find things.

    Fridges are often accessed many times each day - and items are not usually stacked on top of each other, but rather behind one another - it is quite likely you would need to access an item near the rear of the fridge, and thus a light will assist with this. There is also a matter of food hygiene - it is easier to see when an item has spoiled and should be removed from the fridge when there is a light. This is not so much of a problem in a freezer.

    Does pushing the elevator button more than once make it arrive faster?

    Depends on the design of the elevator. In general, no - but psychologically it can help. By occupying the mind with pressing the button, the concept of how long the elevator takes to come will decrease. Time moves more slowly to the inactive mind. Ironically, the agitated mind tends to jump from one idea to another very quickly, so is unlikely to be occupied by pressing a button for very long. The best method is to focus on an item - it may be the button, it may be the lift indicator, it may merely be the grain of wood, or pattern of paint, or a smudge on the door. Focus on the item, marvel in its design, explore it with your mind, and time will pass more quickly.

    Depending on the design of the elevator system and the size of the building and complexity of the traffic, there are many factors which impact on the timing of elevators. Traffic flow through elevators and multi-level buildings is a difficult science and relies heavily on queueing theory and human psychology. Get it wrong and you annoy everyone.

    For an interesting study in how elevators work and impact on the psychology of people, I suggest you play the game "Sim Tower" (from the same people who make the game Sim City and The Sims). Surprisingly technical game that includes scheduling lifts in order to keep building tenants and users happy.

    Interestingly, as part of a final year computer systems engineering project in university, we had the task of designing and a building control system simulator that included elevators, heating and cooling, fire and security alarms, and such. Part of our design specification was to include a form of secret "back door" function for the lifts, where, without any visible external control (such as a control key), the engineers would be able to gain preferential access to the elevators by a certain pattern of button pressing. Our lecturers weren't that impressed - although our friends were.

    If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?.

    Quizzes are not, in fact, quizzical. Something is quizzical if it is odd, strange, or perhaps comical.

    While the terms "quiz" and "test" are somewhat synonymical, in general a quiz is used more for an informal test, whereas a test is often quite formal - not quite an exam, but more than a quiz.

    Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!

    Goofy is indeed a dog, but Goofy was created as a human character, as opposed to Pluto, who was a pet, so he walked upright and had a speaking voice. Such is the way of cartoons.
     
  7. Tropo

    Tropo Well-Known Member

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    Well done !!!. You made my day :D :D
     
  8. perky

    perky Well-Known Member

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    EXACTLY what I was thinking.
    Sim, why don't you go on a quiz show (maybe Temptation?) , you would seriously clean up. :D
     
  9. pudsa

    pudsa Well-Known Member

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    Sim, its not an issue you 'definately and most assuredly' have too much time on your hands!!!:)
     
  10. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    You all have no time management skills - that's why you feel you have no time for stuff like this :p :D