Questions without answers…

…or not.

I found the following questions on the Internet. They were called “Funny Questions”, “Pointless Questions” or “Questions without answers”. And at first glance all these attributes apply to the questions. However, at second glance I felt like answering them. It took me quite some time but in the next days I am going to post a few questions a day and their respective answers that make more or less sense – I hope more rather than less. If I made any mistakes shame on me. Anyway, you’re welcome to comment, correct my mistakes or ask further questions (I’ll try to answer them). To cut a long story short here is the first bunch of questions.

How fast does darkness spread?

We all know that light is pretty fast traveling at around 300,000 Km/h. This means that a ray of light can cover the distance between the earth and the moon – 384,400 Km – in 1.3 seconds. Saying “twenty-one” will take as much time.Considering this speed it is no wonder that whenever you flick a switch the room will immediately be filled with light. How about darkness?
Considering the example of flicking a switch darkness spreads as fast as light. If you turn the light off in a room then it’s dark, isn’t it? So, if light in a room spreads with 300,000 Km/h so does darkness.
Surely, it is different with night and day but that’s another story.

In winter a thermos bottle keeps drinks warm while in summer it keeps them cool. How does a thermos bottle know when it’s summer or winter?

A thermos bottle is made of a stainless steel or plastic shell. The shell contains some kind of a lined glass jar. Between these two layers of glass there is a vacuum to improve insulation. All the thermos bottle does is to slow down the temperature equalization between the inside of the bottle and the outside world. Of course it does not know whether it is summer or winter. Otherwise, you would never be able to keep your coffee hot in the summer, would you?

Why are “lethal injections” performed with sterile needles?

One could think that as the inmate is going to be injected a lethal cocktail it does not matter if a needle is sterile or not. Actually, the states could use the same needles over and over again just cleaning them after they have been used. The prisoner is going to die anyway, so why care about germs and infections?
In their Lethal Injection Procedures the Florida Department of Corrections (and other as well, I guess) states that “[t]he foremost objective of the lethal injection process is a humane and dignified death.” Think what you like but I guess that using sterile needles keeps up some of the prisoner’s dignity, no matter what crimes he has committed. Public executions – justified or not – have always been humiliating for the condemned as death is such an intimate moment.

Why is the line never busy when you dial the wrong number?

There were two answers I could find concerning this question. One had to do with old analogue telephones. When a number was no longer in use but not completely deactivated, a caller could still get a free-line signal.
The other answer is about human selective perception. Selective perception means that one perceives only parts of the environment caused by the brain’s ability to recognize certain patterns. This helps us to deal with vast quantities of information. We filter out the (seemingly) unimportant parts.
But what has selective perception got to do with dialing the wrong number? Well, if you unintentionally dial the wrong number and the line is busy you would not think that you dialed the wrong number. You would assume that you dialed the correct number and that the person you called is just talking on the phone because this is the pattern your brain recognizes: busy line = phone being used.