Tell the Explainer What Question You Want Answered About Today’s News

Answers to your questions about the news.
Oct. 31 2012 8:05 AM

The Explainer Is At Your Service

Tell Slate’s chief Explainer what you really want to know about today’s news.

Voting is now closed.
Brian Palmer

"What do you want to know?"

Brian Palmer

Slate Chief Explainer

For 14 years, Slate's Explainer has been answering your questions about today's news. As Slate's current chief Explainer, I've covered everything from sports ("How Do You Fix a Soccer Game?") to combat ("Could You Beat Up a Neanderthal?") to animal rights ("Is It Illegal to Eat Your Cat?"). Readers are always invited to submit their questions, but the final decision about the day's topic usually belongs to my editor and me. Not today. For the Slate Reader Takeover, you have the chance to tell me what you really want to know about today's news. I've culled five questions from hot news stories, and you get to vote for the one that most piques your interest. By the end of today, the Explainer will have an answer for you.

Which question about today's news should I answer?

At the height of Hurricane Sandy, many news channels showed footage of floodwater carrying away parked cars. How do you repair a car that has been completely submerged in water?
10 votes
The Supreme Court will hear on Wednesday a pair of cases about the qualifications of drug sniffing police dogs. Opponents of the canine cops say they make too many mistakes and respond to cues from their handlers. Do dogs have the best sense of smell in the animal kingdom?
10 votes
A conservative campaign bankrolled in part by the Koch Brothers is seeking to vote three Florida Supreme Court justices off the bench in upcoming retention votes. Federal supreme court justices are appointed, while some states have elected justices. Florida has a hybrid system, involving appointment by the governor and retention by voters. Is there any evidence that one of these systems produces more qualified, more competent, more productive, or more impartial judges?
10 votes
The mother of a slain nine-year-old girl raised money so she could travel to the Sioux Falls execution of her daughter's killer on Tuesday night. She refused to sit, preferring to stand right in front of the glass while they executed the convict. Is it psychologically healthy to watch the execution of a person who killed a family member?
10 votes
Some activists are rebelling against breast cancer awareness slogans like "Save the Ta-Tas" and "Feel Your Boobies," according to a story in USA Today. They say the slogans trivialize the disease and objectify women. When did we develop so many colloquialism for women's breasts?
10 votes


This poll will close at 10 a.m. Oct. 31.

Brian Palmer is Slate's chief explainer. He also writes How and Why and Ecologic for the Washington Post. Email him at Follow him on Twitter.


Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
Dear Prudence
Sept. 23 2014 6:00 AM Naked and Afraid Prudie offers advice on whether a young boy should sleep in the same room with his nude grandfather.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 9:17 PM Trent Reznor’s Gone Girl Soundtrack Sounds Like an Eerie, Innovative Success
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.