The best answer to any question.

Nov. 17 2014 8:56 AM

What’s the Process for Co-Writing a Book With Sen. John McCain?

Answer by John McCain, U.S. senator from Arizona:

Working with Mark Salter has varied a little from the first book to our sixth, but it’s basically the same process. Mark and I discuss and agree on the outline of the book, the subjects we want to write about, the points we want to make, and the message we hope it will convey. When the subject has been my own life and career in the military and in politics, Mark has interviewed me at great length, hours and hours and hours of interviews after work.

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Nov. 16 2014 7:14 AM

Why Did the U.S. Lose the Vietnam War?

Answer by Tony Morse, managing partner, Spatial Analysis Group:

Basically because the Vietnamese wanted to win more than the Americans did. There were a couple of reasons for this. First, the Americans were an invading force, and the Vietnamese were fighting on their own soil. Second, the Americans were not willing to make an all-out commitment to win.

Nov. 14 2014 8:08 AM

Was It Possible to Make a Phone Call From Germany to the U.S. in 1946?

Answer by Scott Welch, serial entrepreneur:

For all practical purposes, this would not have been possible.

Let's start with the "phone call" part, because that is the easiest. The first successful transatlantic telephone cable was not laid until 1956, which is a decade later than 1946. Even in 1956, the process of setting up a transatlantic call might take several hours. You would call your local operator, who would transfer you to a "traffic operator." That operator would in turn call the transatlantic operator and get in line for a circuit. You would hang up but wait by the phone. At the other end of the line, the person you wanted to talk to would do the same thing.

Nov. 6 2014 10:02 AM

What Is It Like to Be a Late-Night Talk Show Guest?

Answer by Darby Stanchfield, actress in the ABC drama Scandal:

Jimmy Kimmel is such a nice guy. I have to preface this by saying that I've mainly interacted with him on Jimmy Kimmel Live—the two times I've been on his show, and once last year when I had a brief chat with him and his wife backstage at ABC's NYC Television Upfronts.

Oct. 31 2014 8:06 AM

What Made the U.S. So Powerful?

Answer by Balaji Viswanathan, history buff:

Here is my three-by-three take on the U.S.:

Geography

Size: It is the fourth-largest in area and third-largest in population. Countries with greater area than the U.S., such as Russia, have way too much unusable land. The two countries bigger than the U.S. in population, India and China, are still climbing up from the colossal destruction faced in the 19th and  20th centuries and also face severe resource constraints. Russia has still not settled in terms of governance. Brazil and Canada have too few people. That leaves the U.S. in a nice sweet spot.

Oct. 28 2014 10:04 AM

Will Textspeak Ever Replace Standard English?

Answer by Balaji Viswanathan, product manager at a venture-funded startup creating new markets:

When someone writes in standard English, I can use just my eyes to read without any vocalization. My eyes will quickly scan the text and will stop only at unfamiliar words, errors, or new information. This way, we can quickly read at 400 words per minute to focus on just the new information and can be more efficient at what we are doing.

Oct. 22 2014 9:51 AM

What Was It Like to Work at NASA During the Challenger and Columbia Disasters?

Answer by Clayton C. Anderson, U.S. astronaut, retired, AstroClay.com:

I witnessed both of these disasters live but in very different contexts.

For Challenger, I was not yet an astronaut. I was still an aerospace engineer, working in the mission planning and analysis division. We were devising ways for space shuttles to approach and dock with some of the new (and quite varied) space station configurations (Power Tower, Delta, SOC, etc.). I was seated in a meeting—discussing various aspects of how to safely approach and dock while using minimal fuel—on the sixth floor of NASA Johnson Space Center's Building 1, the administration and management building, on launch morning. 

Oct. 21 2014 11:37 AM

What Was It Like to Work at the Original Napster?

Answer by Ali Aydar, first nonfounding employee of Napster:

There were three distinct phases of Napster, and working there was different in each one.

Phase 1Preinvestment from Hummer Winblad (before Q1 2000): At this point we were a small team, made up mostly of engineers. Our CEO was an energetic former venture capitalist named Eileen Richardson, who was primarily working on raising money. A successful money raise was predicated on growth of the service. At the time I joined in September 1999, there were only 40,000 registered users and only a few hundred connected simultaneously at any given time.

Oct. 16 2014 10:12 AM

What Is It Like to Film Scandal?

 

Answer by Darby Stanchfield, plays Abby Whelan on Scandal:

 

 

The schedule is a crazy-grueling for Scandal. That being said, we all love working on the show so much, the material is so fun, and the crew so great that it's much more manageable than if we were a miserable bunch.

 

Oct. 15 2014 9:21 AM

How Do People on the Autism Spectrum Navigate Long-Term Relationships?

Answer by Marcus Geduld, former dateless nerd, now 20 years into a relationship:

In a relationship, both members must collaborate on coping.

It's true that I can't multitask. So, for instance, if I'm writing a Quora post, I can't listen to my wife at the same time. I'm either 100 percent absorbed in writing or 100 percent absorbed in listening. Half-listening is something I've never experienced and can't even imagine.

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