Questions to Monsieur Internet: The Color of Mirrors, Earth Without Oxygen and The Longest Letter Ever Written

I'm a curious creature, that much I can assure. Every day sneaky, foxy questions pop up in my head. Without any precedent, forewarn or notice they storm my brain begging me and pleading me to be answered... Without Google I'd be condemned to madness and despair, ironically drowning in the waters of my own thirst for knowledge.

While briefly revising my browser history I encountered quite peculiar yet somehow interesting questions, and I thought. Why not to make a segment about it? Well here you are.

Please feel welcomed to Questions to Monsieur Internet. These are four inquiries that today, with the kindness of this cybernetic Monsieur (Or mademoiselle) I was able to put to rest.


What's the longest letter ever written?

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Children's Letter about the National Park of Cumbria: This letter was written in the year 2015 by several kids from eight different schools of Cumbria, England. and verified by the Official World Record organisation as the longest letter to have ever been drafted. Lettered over Ambassador paper (used for high-quality business documents and invitations) and consisting of 290 meters, it communicates what these English boys and girls love the most about their local area.

My question: If this letter wasn't ever sent or received by anybody, but rather displayed in Cumbria's National Park... Is it still a letter?


What happens if you put your car in reverse while speeding?

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I can't even recall how many times I've been tempted to try... Yet perhaps, it might be a better idea to research a little bit first.

Nothing: This feels like a disappointment. I must admit I expected iron fragments flying in all directions and particles of half the fusillade dancing in slow motion meters above the ground. Although I suppose the real scenario isn't necessarily bad.

Aside of the fact that the transmission would self-destruct and would require a complete replacement, the consequences of this very unintelligent action would be the car ignoring the request until a more proper speed is achieved, and then, reverse. 

But what about an Old Timer? Similar, with the only slight dissimilarity that the motor would stall and, once the car slowed down, the engine would act as when the transmission is in neutral. 


What color is a mirror?

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The simple answer is ''A mirror is the color of whatever it reflects'', except that maybe that is not necessarily, fundamentally and indisputably true. The second answer perhaps would be silver, since silver is an underlying material of these objects... Regardless, once again, the answer is, to some extent, false. White then? Nop, still partly wrong. 

A mirror doesn't reflect colors in the same way pigment does, a mirror speculates light while absorbing a infinitesimal fraction of it, transforming the glass inside to... Green. How can you test this yourself? Face two mirrors in front of each other, creating a tunnel; the image will be reproduced an infinite amount of times against itself... Every time a little greener. 


What would happen if the Earth lost oxygen for 5 seconds

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The answer I found to this question was so precise and interesting I must reproduce it without alter.

1. Everyone at the beach would immediately get sunburns (even though there would be no beach, no sand, and no water): Molecular oxygen in the air protects our skin against UV light.

2. The daytime sky would get dark: Fewer particles to bounce light means a dark, almost black sky.

3. All pieces of untreated metal would instantly spot weld to each other: The only thing preventing metal from welding together on contact is a layer of oxidation.

4. The earth's crust would crumble: Oxygen makes up to 45% od the Earth's crust.

5. Everyone's inner ear would explode: Because we would lose up to 21% of the Air pressure. 

6. Every building made out of concrete would turn to dust: Oxygen is an important binder of concrete. 

7. The oceans would evaporate and bleed into space: Without oxygen, hydrogen is free to float to the upper troposphere and eventually into space.

So, what if the amount of oxygen doubled?

1. Everyone would feel more alert, active, and happier. All that fresh oxygen would improve our cognition, alertness, and physical performance. As a result, most athletic records would likely be broken by oxygen-enriched athletes.

2. We would get sick less often. Neutrophils, soldiers of the immune system, destroy bacteria by using NADP oxidase to pump ions into, and disrupt, intruding cell's membranes causing rupture. More oxygen, more oxidase. 

3. Everyone gets better gas mileage. Oxygen-enriched air improves engine performance by producing hotter reactions and reducing the proportion of nitrogen, which reduces heat transfer.

4. Paper airplanes would fly farther. With all that extra air, the air pressure near the surface would increase significantly. Gliders, parachutists, birds and paper-plane hobbyists enjoy greatly improved performance.

3. Higher elevation Biomes become inhabited by more vertebrates. Areas such as the high Himalayas or high Andes are no longer off-limits to animals without special adaptations to increase their levels of hemoglobin.


3. Insects would be huge. Many insects rely on gaseous diffusion to for respiration, therefore the maximum body size depends on the proportion of oxygen gas in the atmosphere meaning this little creatures could be as big as cars. 

6. We would die younger. Free radicals are thought to exacerbate the aging process through oxidative stress, which interferes in numerous cellular processes: protein production, DNA replication, intercellular communication, and are also thought to contribute to MS, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and a host of other ailments. 

In other words with double oxygen we would all burn twice as bright for half as long.

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This is it for today. All the questions I spontaneously had along the day; as you could appreciate there wasn't perhaps a very vast variety or number, but, in my defense, this is nothing but an experimental section which I hope you enjoyed. See you soon (possibly)

Ava L.