Saturday, September 25, 2021

So You Think You're Smart Oxford, Ole Miss — Answer These Brain Twisters

Editor’s note: We need a little help on this one. We encourage you ingenious readers to make a comment with the correct answer to these questions posed by HottyToddy.com contributor, Steven J. Austin. Write back on this site by clicking the Comments button at the end of the story or comment on Facebook when we post one of the photos from this article with a link.
I think I’m a smart guy.
But part of being smart is admitting when you are not. That is, there are things I always wonder about but can never truly grasp. I think other people may also ponder these questions and mysteries, as well. So, I am looking for answers. And I figure the “Brainiest 10s of Oxford” can come to the rescue and at least attempt to help me, and others, with the following:

Swan Lake 5

1. Music: My favorite piece of classical music is the Act I waltz in Swan Lake. I can listen to it every day, and particularly enjoy the Bolshoi ballet performance of it that can easily be found on YouTube. My question is this. How did the musical geniuses of their time, like Tchaikovsky, compose this timeless and magnificent music without the aid of electronic recording devices? You may think it’s a silly question. But it’s hard for me to imagine that they could compose every note for every instrument without being able to go back and forth to hear how things meshed. Did these great composers actually sit down and play every instrument? Once Tchaikovsky wrote the part for a viola, for instance, did he secure someone to play that part while he wrote the part for a flute? This classical music is so magnificent and overwhelming, I want to learn how they did it. What was the process? Or do geniuses at this level, then and today, simply work in ways we mere mortals cannot comprehend?

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2. Technology: I grew up without computers and mobile phones, yet my generation got things done. I’ve interviewed Apollo astronauts who have told me that their current cell phones have more computer power than what was needed to place Americans on the moon. So, there I am in the men’s room at the Atlanta airport, maybe even a couple of floors underground. Everyone is on a phone, the radar is going full blast, and radio communication between the tower and planes is constant. So when my friend in San Diego calls me, how does her phone find mine?
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3. Human Biology: Does a person who has been blind from birth dream as a sighted person does? If you have never seen an object, color, etc., what are your dreams like? I know several people who are blind, but have never had the guts to ask them what I believe is a very sensitive question.

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4. Chemistry: You would figure that by now one of the tire companies would have created automobile and truck tires in different colors. I think people would go nuts over this option. There has to be a reason why it hasn’t been done, and I am guessing it has to do with the composition of rubber and other materials that comprise the typical vehicle tire. What’s up with that?
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5. Space: When you see film of rockets in space or fictional movies, you often see explosions. If space is a vacuum without any air, how can something burn and be on fire?  Or does the fire only coincide with the amount of oxygen or air (on the vehicle) that is involved with the blast, and ends when that all runs out?
Thanks for your help.
Steven J. Austin writes for publications worldwide, and wrote the original “10s of Oxford” feature.

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