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March 4 2015 7:42 AM

Is There Class Conflict Among Elves in the Lord of the Rings Books? 

Answer by Thomas Snerdley:

Yes, Galadriel and Elrond Peredhil overthrew the elven monarchy.

The ultimate “class conflict,” of course, was Fëanor's rebellion against the lordship of the Valar. But his rash oath was swiftly followed by “class conflict” by the people of the host of Fingolfin, who refused to accept Fëanor's kingship: “When Fëanor began the marshalling of the Noldor for their setting-out, then at once dissension arose.  For though he had brought the assembly in a mind to depart, by no means all were of a mind to take Fëanor as King. Greater love was given to Fingolfin and his sons ... ”

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March 3 2015 1:14 PM

How Does a Professional Race Car Driver Navigate Normal Traffic?

Answer by Michael Johnson, professional race car driver and coach:

I'm a professional driving coach and race car driver, currently licensed, and competing in International Motor Sports Association Continental Tire SportsCar Championship and in Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car. For me, driving in traffic on the street isn't much different than in traffic on the race track.

Wait, don't take that the wrong way. 

March 2 2015 7:21 AM

What Are Cultural Faux Pas When Working at Star Trek’s Starfleet?

Answer by Anne K. Halsall, lifelong Trekkie:

Having a relationship with a holographic image of a real person.

If that cute ship's counselor won't give you the time of day, why not just recreate her in the holodeck? It must be tempting, but it can go horribly wrong if the objects of your “recreational” programs find out what you've been up to.

Who does it: Lt. Barclay in “Holly Pursuits,” Star Trek: The Next Generation; Geordi LaForge in “Booby Trap,” Star Trek: The Next Generation; Quark in “Meridian,” Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; countless other people.

March 1 2015 7:23 AM

What Happens When You Copy or Scan a Mirror?

Answer by Archie D'Cruz, editor, designer, writer:

Let’s find out, shall we?

I took this fairly large round mirror and scanned it using my Canon flatbed. The result was, let’s say, not very mirrorlike at all. In fact, the glass area was almost black.

Feb. 27 2015 8:03 AM

How Does a Betta Fish Know When Food Is in Its Aquarium?

Answer by Kirk Janowiak, wildlife biologist, fish-fancier for more than 50 years:

Your fish has some cool adaptations that allow it to know when you put food into the aquarium.

Bettas have good eyes for short distances. They have pretty good color vision and see shapes really well. They are, however, a bit near-sighted.

Feb. 26 2015 7:22 AM

Was Elvis Presley a Better Musician Than the Beatles?

 

Answer by David Stewart:

 

 

Better in what way?

 

 

Vocally: Elvis had a great voice, and few could touch him. His rock ’n’ roll numbers were electrifying, and his slower ballads were beautiful. His ability to command a song was just fantastic. The Beatles all had good voices (except Ringo Starr, obviously), but they couldn't touch Elvis for vocal ability.

 

Feb. 25 2015 7:20 AM

Why Is Poetry So Difficult to Understand?

Answer by Stephanie Vardavas, student of human frailty:

The main obstacle to understanding poetry, whether you are talking about Keats or Shelley or Whitman or even Leonard Cohen, is our ingrained tendency to be very literal in communication. We often speak and write in extremely literal terms, because we want to make sure we are understood. So when communication is incoming, we look at it the same way and try to extract its literal meaning.

Feb. 24 2015 7:47 AM

What Is the Philosophical Perspective of Star Trek?

Answer by Robert Frost, engineer/instructor at NASA, hardcore Star Trek fan since I was 2:

Humanism. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the original series, was an ardent humanist and imbued the show with those ideas, sometimes to the show's success, sometimes to its detriment. Humanism is defined as “an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.”

Feb. 23 2015 7:39 AM

If Magneto and Graviton Would Battle, Who Would Win?

Answer by Frank Heile, Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University:

I have to put a vote in for Graviton. Assuming the laws of physics still apply to the world of Magneto and Graviton, then Magneto has to still respect Maxwell's equations, and Graviton has to respect the equations of general relativity.

Feb. 22 2015 7:42 AM

How Can You Distinguish a Good Tattoo Artist From a Bad One?

Answer by Kevin “Jack” Allaire, licensed freelance tattoo artist:

This is easy and difficult at the same time. The first thing you have to do is look through the portfolio of the artist. As with a lot of things, a person's previous work speaks volumes. Make sure there is a large variety of different work in the portfolio: color, black and gray, traditional, realism. If a portfolio is filled with pieces of flash art (small, common, money-making pieces picked from off the wall), I would call that person a tattooist and not a tattoo artist.

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