The best answer to any question.

Aug. 5 2014 12:16 PM

How Does a Language’s Design Influence a Country’s Culture?

Answer by Marc Ettlinger, Ph.D. in linguistics, research neuroscientist and the Deptartment of Veterans Affairs:

Recent work by economist Keith Chen claims that language can indeed have a big impact on culture: He argues that languages that explicitly mark the future tense pay more attention to the future, and therefore have lower rates of obesity, better rates of saving, better pension plans, lower smoking rates, etc.

Statistically, the correlations are high, as seen in some nice charts and graphs, and the reasoning makes sense: If you need to know to mark the future tense grammatically, it's on your mind more, and if it's on your mind more, you're more likely to factor it into your decisions.

Video Advertisement

July 30 2014 12:35 PM

How Do You Survive in a War Zone With No Military Training?

This question originally appeared on Quora.

Hi, I am Mark, and I am from Ukraine. We had around 40,000 troops mobilized due to the threat of military invasion from Russia. I wasn't mobilized, but if Russia attacks, I will volunteer anyway. Our government doesn't supply its soldiers with anything but an AK-47, a few mags, and military clothes—no gear.

I have never been in a service, and I have never had any kind of military training. For all that I know, there is a possibility I will be in a ditch shooting at Russians in a couple of weeks. I am asking anyone who had any military training for advice on how to survive during wartime. Thank you.

July 25 2014 7:12 AM

What Was It Like to Work at Walt Disney Studios in Its Earliest Days?

Answer by Ruthie Tompson, animator, Dumbo:

It was fun around there. We enjoyed it. The girls in ink and paint were called “the nunnery.” This was during and after the Depression. I loved it, and I loved having some money in my pocket. It was great.

July 24 2014 7:49 AM

Did Britain Treat All Its Colonies Equally?

Answer by Scott Bade, studied history at Stanford University, international security analyst:

In short, the British treated their colonies in vastly different ways, both across different regions and within the same colonies over time.  

The British Empire was never a consistent empire. Across various colonies, there were different raisons d'être and methods of organization for each one. Even within America, different Colonies were founded for entirely different reasons. Virginia started out as a mercantile colony run by a company; Massachusetts was originally a Puritan theocracy; New York was a crown colony taken over from the Dutch; and Maryland and Pennsylvania were religiously tolerant colonies governed by (relatively) benign hereditary feudal rulers (called proprietors), the Barons Calvert and the Penn family. South Carolina, with its sugar plantations, was more akin to a Caribbean colony than its continental neighbors. At the same time that the American Colonies were emerging, the East India Company established outposts in India, and the Royal African Company did much the same in Africa. None of them were uniformly governed or similar in character; the British government occasionally took notice but generally was not involved in their governance.

July 23 2014 1:46 PM

When Did TV Shows Start to Break Racial Barriers?

Answer by Irma Kalish, producer and writer, Good Times:

I think barriers were starting to break down when my husband, Rocky, and I worked on Good Times. The show actually portrayed a black family, and the idea was not to show the family as different. We weren’t going to write different jokes just because the family was a different race. Our show was there to portray the human nature of the problems they faced and what was going on with the family. The elements that held the family together—white, black, Chinese—didn’t make any difference. They all had the same purpose and family.

July 16 2014 7:39 AM

Why Is the Nash Equilibrium So Important?

Answer by Balaji Viswanathan, currently working on From Tryst to Tendulkar: The History of Independent India:

Game theory is a study of strategies involved in complex games. Almost every human interaction—politics, economics, law, and religion—can be modeled as a game. You are in a game if your fate is impacted by the actions of others.

There are many ways to classify the games. One such classification is whether the game is cooperative. Cooperative games are like partnerships where the players work together and contracts can be used for noncooperative players.

July 13 2014 7:12 AM

What Is Prison Life Like?

 

Read Michael Morton's answer on Slate on what it's like to be wrongfully convicted of a crime.

 

 

Answer by Michael Morton, author:

 

The first thing that surprised me about prison was the monotony. Every weekday is more or less identical—week after week, month after month, and yes, year after year after year. The routine numbs you. It grinds you down like a persistent, hacking cough. Eventually, it also erases your sense and understanding of time itself.

July 10 2014 11:57 AM

What Is It Like to Be Wrongfully Convicted of a Crime?

Answer by Michael Morton, author:

I was wrongly convicted of murdering my wife. I recall that first night in jail—it was not unlike being punched in the face. I was stunned, numb, and not sure of what lay before me. All personal control had been yanked away. What I wore, what I ate, where I slept, and where I could not go were all dictated by the state. In that situation, the absolute power of government becomes blatant, coercive, Orwellian.

July 9 2014 12:33 PM

Who Is the Greatest Chess Player?

Answer by John Fernandez, 2133 FIDE:

We can't answer Magnus Carlsen—not yet. His future is still ahead of him. We also can't answer Paul Morphy—in his day no one else was very good, and he got through everyone like a hot knife through butter. I present to you five options:

July 7 2014 12:06 PM

What Sparked Japan's Aggression During World War II?

 

Answer by Harold Kingsberg:

 

 

The short version: Japan's actions from 1852 to 1945 were motivated by a deep desire to avoid the fate of 19th-century China and to become a great power.

 

For Japan, World War II grew from a conflict historians call the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Second Sino-Japanese War began in earnest in 1937 with a battle called the Marco Polo Bridge Incident. However, before this, there had been years of border clashes between the Japanese and the Chinese, having started with the 1931 Japanese invasion of Manchuria. So, to explain Japan's behavior in the years from 1941 to 1945, we have to explain why Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931, and in order to do this, we have to go back to 1853.

READ MORE STORIES