The best answer to any question.

July 25 2015 7:22 AM

What Prompted the Renaissance?

Answer by Tim O'Neill, head inquisitor against bad history:

What people refer to as the Renaissance (as opposed to the earlier Carolingian, Ottonian, and 12th-century renaissances) was a movement in art, architecture, and literary writing that began in Italy in the 14th century and spread to other parts of Europe in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. It was in many ways a curiously conservative and backward-looking movement based on apeing an idealised version of ancient Greco-Roman culture. As history writer James Hannam puts it: “It was a time when, in order to be up to date in writing or architecture, artists had to model their work on a prototype that was over 1,000 years old.”

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July 24 2015 1:10 PM

Why Does the U.S. Have So Many Military Bases Abroad?


Answer by Tim Hibbetts, A-6E, F/A-18C pilot, operational level of war planner:



The U.S. military is that house guest of dubious benefit, questionable timing, faulty manners, but impeccable credit.


July 23 2015 12:08 PM

What Are the Differences Between American and Australian Values?

Answer by Peter Baskerville, Australian citizen:

There are many big-picture values that Americans and Australians share.

As an Aussie, I see that both nations highly value individual freedom and fully understand that it's not free but rather comes at a significant price. This is why Australia has been one of America's staunchest allies in every global conflict for more than 50 years in an effort to defend and protect that freedom. They both value the concept of democracy: being governed by a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. So we have each adopted constitutions to protect this system of governance. They also value capitalism and the economic system where a country's trade and industry is controlled by private owners in a competitive pursuit of profit, rather than controlled centrally by the state.

July 22 2015 7:08 AM

What Makes LeBron James So Good?

Answer by Jonathan Brill, NBA fan:

If you were going to design the world's best basketball player, you might do something like this:

Make him big enough so that he can play either wing spot and even climb into power forward should the need arise. Magic Johnson was 6-feet-9 and famously played center for an injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the 1980 finals. Ben Wallace was only 6-feet-9, and he was the most dominant defensive center in the game for a few years. Larry Bird was 6-feet-9 and he was the most dynamic forward in history. You don't want to go much shorter than that because you start to give up size, and if you want to play inside out, size is critical. Not just height, but having the kind of frame that will support the weight needed to bang inside. Guys like Ron Artest and Shawn Marion are good modern-day equivalents. LeBron James is like Magic Johnson, only with 20 pounds more muscle, better conditioning and diet (in Magic's defense he came up in an era where it was still OK to go out drinking and do a nontrivial amount of drugs the night before a game), and a football wide receiver's hands.

July 21 2015 7:16 AM

What’s It Like to Be a Chef?


Answer by Jonas Mikka Luster, former cook, jml.is/en/:



Let's break it down, shall we? Chefs work weekends, nights, holidays, through their birthdays, their anniversaries, everything. We work when everyone else parties; we sleep when everyone else is at the beach. When you're out to drink into a new year or to the Colts winning the Super Bowl, we work.


July 20 2015 7:53 AM

How Do You Become Vegetarian if You Enjoy Eating Meat?

Answer by Jonas Mikka Luster, former cook, jml.is/en:

Here's the thing: You're already a vegetarian. Well, a vegetarian plus, but you eat all the things vegetarians eat already. So now you have to find out what it takes to eliminate the things they don't.

July 19 2015 8:14 AM

Who Was the Greatest Wizard: Gandalf, Merlin, or Dumbledore?

Answer by Ernest W. Adams, game design consultant, Tolkien reader since 1968:

I'm going to start with a literary, rather than a fanboy (Do you think the Thing could beat the Hulk?), approach to this. I'm also completely ignoring TV and movies and sticking to written sources.

July 18 2015 8:20 AM

Do Restaurant Staff Eat the Kitchen’s Leftovers?

Answer by Jonas Mikka Luster, restaurant owner, certified master chef:

Some do, some don't. That's a question of restaurant policy and restaurant culture.

There are sendbacks. Those are just eaten by the least well-treated of staff. No one who works in food should ever have to be so hungry that he has to eat someone else's food off a half-eaten plate. Sadly, it happens, especially in chain dining.

July 17 2015 7:17 AM

What’s It Like to Be a Teen Working in Silicon Valley?

Answer by Alexandr Wang, Quora performance engineer:

The short answer is that it's not that different from being a twentysomething working in Silicon Valley. Only a few years separate an 18-year-old and a 21-year-old, and in most respects, they'll have a pretty similar experience working in tech. But, for this answer to be interesting and meaningful, I'll mostly be focusing on the differences. Of course, I'll be speaking from my own experience, which could be very different from other teens working in Silicon Valley.

July 16 2015 7:09 AM

How Can I Run Faster Than Usain Bolt?

Answer by Alex Suchman, runner for 12-plus years:

You want to run like Usain Bolt, you say? Here's what you need to do. Let me warn you, though: It's impossible for almost all of us, and for the rest, it still isn't easy.

Step 1: Be a genetic freak. 

Natural ability is more important in sprinting than any other sport I know. Many sports, like soccer, require athletes to spend years learning complex skills. Less physically gifted players can gain an edge with better technique. Sprinting is on the other end of the spectrum. Everyone knows how to run, and although you can improve your technique to a degree, that's mostly determined by your natural biomechanics. Conditioning is important, but that's just the icing on the cake.