As we said in our original list, the world is a strange and mysterious place where anything can happen. These are 10 more crazy “what if” situations about everyday life, and even alternate history scenarios.
10. What Happened if We Evolved Alongside a Competitive Species?
One thing that really helped humans become the dominant species on Earth is that we became technologically advanced and no other species did. This raises the alternate history question: what would have happened if another species, say chimpanzees, became technologically advanced alongside us?
It really shouldn’t be a big surprise, but we would be constantly at war with them. Humans have been going to war with each other over resources, ideologies, and nationalities for thousands of years, so why would we treat a completely different species any better?
William Harcourt-Smith, a paleoanthropologist at the American Museum of Natural History, says that perhaps, after tens of thousands of years of war, we might be able to find peace if we settled in different geographical areas and used different resources, like humans focused on animal husbandry and lived inland, while “The Others” fished and lived on the coasts.
Harcourt-Smith points out that monkeys living in the same tree usually ignore each other unless they are fighting for resources and humans act in a very similar way.
9. What Happened if a Woman Took Viagra?
On Viagra’s official website, it clearly states that women should not take Viagra, which is a brand name version of the drug sildenafil. That being said, there have been a few studies on the effects of sildenafil on women.
One study found that it works in a similar way that it does in men. In a study that was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers gave half a group of women who were taking the antidepressant medication serotonin reuptake inhibitors (which are known to cause a low libido) sugar pills. The other half were given sildenafil.
They found that the women who took sildenafil had better orgasms, but it didn’t do anything to their sex drive. It should also be noted that the study was funded by Pfizer, who happens to be the manufacturer of Viagra.
Also, sildenafil does more than just help men with erectile dysfunction. It is also used to treat a form of high blood pressure called pulmonary arterial hypertension in both men and women, so technically some women already use Viagra.
For several years, many pharmaceutical companies have tried to develop a female equivalent to Viagra, but to no avail. And if Pfizer knew, or even thought that it worked in females, extensive testing would have been conducted and it’d be available to be sold.
8. What Would Happen if a Man Took Birth Control?
This one is a bit more difficult to answer because there are dozens of birth control pills that act differently from one another, because they contain different levels of the synthetic hormones estrogen and/or progestin.
If the pills have high levels of estrogen, it can lead to changes in the male body over a long period of time. Some changes include a lower sex drive, having problems getting and maintaining an erection, lower sperm count, and shrunken testicles.
It also leads to muscle loss and may make the bones weaker. Facial and body hair may become thinner as well. It’s also possible that it could lead to mood changes, like a more mild temperament.
Of course, that is over a long period of time. If a male accidentally takes a few, he won’t feel its effects.
7. What Would Happen if the Internet Shut Down for a Day?
It’s a beautiful morning, you’re lying in bed and you reach for your smart device to see what’s going in the world. That’s when you notice that your internet isn’t working. You check with your neighbors and you find out the internet is down for everyone. It turns out there was a solar storm that knocked the entire internet offline around the globe.
What should you expect if this were to happen in real life?
Armageddon! Break into your neighbor’s house, crack their heads open and feast on the goo inside because the downfall of humanity has begun!
Actually, don’t worry, it won’t be that bad.
First off, getting everyone back online will be every internet service provider’s top priority, so the internet should not be down for very long.
If the outage lasts for a few days, the economy may not even be too severely impacted. People will continue on doing the things they normally would that don’t involve the internet. In fact, some companies may benefit from the internet outage, as it will give them a chance to get caught up on tasks they have been postponing because they spent time goofing off online.
Yes, online giants like Facebook and Google will be hard hit, but what is everyone going to do as soon as the internet comes back online? They’ll probably have more visitors in those first few hours after the internet comes back online than they do in a week.
Scott Borg, who works at the non-profit organization United States Cyber Consequences Unit, compares a short term internet outage to the economic depression during a long weekend, and the world’s economy is set up to handle the occasional long weekend.
Overall, it would essentially be like one big snow day… albeit a very, very boring snow day.
6. What Would Have Happened if Neanderthals Didn’t Go Extinct?
Neanderthals and humans started to branch off from a common ancestor 700,000 years ago and completely split apart about 300,000 years ago. For reasons unknown, they went extinct about 42,000 to 30,000 years ago.
But what if they didn’t? Would they have been a competitive species, or would we have lived alongside them like in the Geico commercials?
Paleoanthropologist Will Harcourt-Smith says that unless humans and Neanderthals actively kept themselves separate from each other, the Neanderthals probably would have been assimilated. The problem the Neanderthals had was that their population was much smaller than the human population. Evidence to back up his theory is DNA tests show that humans and Neanderthals did interbreed. If you were born outside of Africa, there is a good chance that 1.5 to 2.1 percent of your DNA comes from Neanderthals.
If the Neanderthals weren’t killed off because of some other mitigating factors, like disease or weather change, perhaps more Neanderthal DNA would have been passed on to modern humans and this could have led to more prevalent Neanderthal traits in humans.
5. What Happens if a Hole Opens Up on an Airplane While it’s Flying?
It is by far one of the biggest movie tropes of all time: There’s a hole in an airplane, it sucks people out, and they fall to their deaths. Since it’s been in so many movies, it has to be real, right?
First off, if a hole does open in an airplane, it’s not going to be because someone opened a door mid-flight. It’s physically impossible to open a passenger door on modern planes while they are in flight because the cabins have a higher pressure than the outside, so there is around 6 pounds per square inch of differential pressure against a door that is hundreds of square inches.
But what happened if, for whatever reason, a giant hole forms in the side of the plane that you’re aboard? If that’s the case, there would be an explosive decompression, which would cause someone standing next to the hole to be sucked out. If someone is buckled into their seat near the hole, they won’t fly out because plane seats are secured into the plane so that they won’t fly out the hole. In other words: when the flight attendants tell you to buckle up, do what they say.
Now all you have to worry about is possibly being violently thrown off a flight that you paid for so that the airline’s staff can fly instead.
4. What Would Happen if You Fell Into a Volcano?
There’s pretty much no hope for this one. You’d die, but the interesting question is how would you die if you fell into a volcano? Would you drown like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings? Or would you burn to death?
If you fell into a volcano, you’d fall onto a pool of magma, which is molten rock that is below the earth. The difference between magma and lava is that lava is molten rock that has come to the surface. Nevertheless, magma and lava behave very similarly when it comes to falling on it.
Magma and lava are about two-to-three times denser than water and it can be thousands to millions of times more viscous than water, so it isn’t as easily deformed. It would be like landing on wet cement. You’d make a small indentation, but wouldn’t submerge or sink in.
The good news is that you may be dead before hitting the magma. As you fall and get closer to the magma, your lungs could char or you might asphyxiate. If you aren’t killed while falling, then hitting the magma at a high rate of speed will probably break your neck or skull, which should kill you.
If you do survive all that, your body will burst into flames the instant you hit the magma and you’ll melt into the magma or become specks of ash. So try to avoid jumping into an active volcano, alright?
3. What Would Happen if We Collided with Another Universe?
In the multiverse theory, there are an infinite number of universes running parallel to our own. And parallel is exactly how we want the universes to run, because if one collides with our own, we’re in big trouble.
The good news is that we won’t be able to tell it’s happening because it will happen so fast. In fact, the exterior wall of the other universe will be traveling nearly at the speed of light when it hits us. Anthony Aguirre, a physicist at the University of California-Santa Cruz, says that if we could slow it down, it would look like a giant mirror crashing down on us. It would look like a mirror because the outer boundary of the other universe would reflect light.
After that, we won’t feel anything because we’ll no longer exist. Boy, isn’t this becoming one heck of a feel-good list?
2. What Would Happen if You Didn’t Shower or Bathe for a Year?
Obviously, you’d stink.
Dead skin would accumulate on top of your skin and part of that dead skin is a protein that is really smelly. Also, bacteria would grow on your skin and when it mixes with sweat, it gives off a terrible odor.
Brown clumps will also grow in areas where your body produces the most oil, like behind your ears and under your arms. Your head would itch something fierce, because of all the dead skin accumulated on top of it. Acne and puss bumps will also become common.
Your groin will also be another major problem area because rashes could become common. It’s even possible that the scum between your toes will spread to your groin.
One of the biggest problems you’d face is infection. If you cut yourself, the first thing you’re supposed to do is wash the cut so it doesn’t get infected. So if you’re covered in bacteria, that means you’re more likely to get a soft issue infection.
Finally, if you wanted to return to normal (and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t?), the bad news is that it would take several weeks. That means if you want to try this experiment – which we beg you not to do – you may not want to set up a date within the first month of showering again.
1. What Would Happen if Every Species Became Self-Aware and Intelligent
In the Planet of the Apes films, we have a problem when one species becomes intelligent and self-aware. But what would happen if all species suddenly became self-aware and intelligent? Innes Cuthill, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Bristol, thinks that it will be an all-out war between the species.
Humans would probably set out to wipe out any animals we’d view as threats like lions, tigers, and bears (Oh my! Yeah, we know). Next, we’d have to kill off the primates before they got organized because if they somehow got ahold of human technology like guns or even computers and learned how to use them, we would be in big trouble. Physically, they are much bigger, stronger, and more agile than us, so if they became smarter and used technology it could be too hard for us to overcome.
But in the end, there is a good chance humans would win the early stages of the war because there are so many of us and we’re already armed, plus we have already access to technology and – most importantly – know how to use it.
We just have to hope that something like bacteria doesn’t gain intelligence, because a smart bacterium could probably kill off all humans (and everything else) and take over the planet.
Even if a bacterium doesn’t gain intelligence, the war of the species would be horrible for anyone who survives because ecosystems will collapse and only things like cockroaches will survive.