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June 27 2014 7:41 AM

What Should You Talk About on a First Date?

Answer by Ian Morgan:

A first date is not the time to hash out the deep, existential viewpoints. This should be obvious. Sadly, our world is cluttered with facts that should be obvious but all too often are not. What is less obvious is that you should not go into a first date with the idea that you will end up in bed. Hey, if it happens, good for you, but don't "expect" it.

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June 24 2014 2:09 PM

How Physically Intense Is Ballet?

 

Answer by Joshua Engel:

 

 

Here's one way to look at it: Have a look at what happens to a ballerina's feet. I'm not going to post a picture, because it's not for the weak of stomach, but here's a link to a Google image search.

 

That kind of damage comes from spending hours a day training. They move as if they don't weigh anything at all, but that's a carefully crafted illusion: They move that way because they are intensely strong. They combine that strength with a grace that comes from practicing the same moves over and over and over until it looks as if it's weightless.

June 20 2014 11:38 AM

What Is Daily Life Like With Alzheimer's Disease?

Answer by Jae Starr, 15-plus years working with Alzheimer's and related dementias:

This is an excellent question, and one I've considered often in the last decade-plus of working with such folks.

First, it depends upon the stage of dementia: mild, moderate, or severe.

June 19 2014 10:55 AM

What’s It Like to Discuss the Holocaust With a Survivor? 

Answer by Joshua Kaplan:

I am an Orthodox Jewish guy, so as you can imagine, I have met many Holocaust survivors over the years. Until I got married, however, I did not get to actually discuss with any of them their personal Holocaust stories in a detailed way. I do have lots and lots of relatives who did experience the Holocaust, but those relatives did not survive. The first time I did actually have the opportunity to have a discussion with a survivor was when I got married.

June 18 2014 11:33 AM

Is Resisting Arrest Ever Legal?

Answer by Tim Dees, retired cop and criminal justice professor, Reno Police Department, Reno Municipal Court, and Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Police Department:

Possibly, depending on which state you happen to be in. Some states expressly grant the right to resist an unlawful arrest, and a few others expressly prohibit it.

That said, I would never advise someone to resist arrest, even if he or she knows the arrest was improper or unlawful. The cop's trained reaction to resistance is to increase the level of force to overcome the resistance. Since he has the immediate capacity to take that level all the way to deadly force, you're rolling the dice in a very dangerous game.

June 17 2014 11:29 AM

Was Voldemort a Virgin?

This question originally appeared on Quora.

Answer by Sandhya Ramesh:

My first instinct was to laugh at this question, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how very valid this question is. It begs us to explore into Voldemort's character.

Did Voldemort ever have sex? We don't explicitly know, but it's easy to guess. Voldemort is a very unifaceted, one-dimensional character. He's evil, and that's about all. There are no layers of complexity to his persona, unlike Dumbledore or even Draco Malfoy. We know that Voldemort was incapable of love. He did not love anyone, and did not care to be loved. He felt nothing for his family, and only wanted his friends in school to rally around him because he wanted to hold power over them. Bellatrix Lestrange was obviously in love with him and worshiped him, but he only cared for her servitude, not her. We know that he did not date anyone, even when at Hogwarts.

But sex is different from love. While love often accompanies sexual desires, it's perfectly possible for a person to have sex independent of emotions, or to use it as a weapon to exert power and machismo. We see it around us in the media all the time: a prime example being James Bond. Sex is instinctive and offers one of the highest forms of pleasure. To most people, that is. Voldemort, in my opinion, was above that. He would have looked at sexual desire as a weakness—something that could be exploited and used against him, something that would distract him from his goal of immortality. Sex is a basic human need, and Voldemort wanted to distance himself from being human as much as possible. He would abhor the physical union of a man and a woman's body (or a man and a man's). In fact, I believe he was too consumed by megalomania to share his body with anyone else at all. To him, his body was his own, and was made to experiment with.

Voldemort was also a psychopath, and psychopaths have a very deviant sexuality (in most cases of real life examples). If anything at all got Voldemort sexually excited, it was the prospect of power—power to kill, not power to rape. Anywhere we find sexual undertones to his character, it has been just before a display of power and has also been homoerotic—when Harry and Riddle meet at the Chamber of Secrets, when Voldemort is about to get his body back in the graveyard, when he and Harry are in the cage, etc. J.K. Rowling's language is very vivid when she describes these scenes. The words are soft, slippery, dangerous, and filled with sexual connotations. She especially describes Voldemort's long fingers, his silky voice, his nostrils flaring up in excitement, his heavy breathing, his gently caressing his wand. She uses words like penetrate, forcibly taken, and many other euphemisms for rape. However, in my opinion, these lines of text written with the sole purpose of making the reader aware of Lord Voldemort's perversion (and for us to be disgusted by him), and to possibly hint that power to kill is the only thing that got him sexually excited. Whether Rowling really intended for her words to have erotic connotations is almost irrelevant as she achieved the sole purpose of using them—to make our skin crawl, to make us understand that Voldemort is perverse, loves danger, and is to be feared.

Sex also has a evolutionary purpose, but Voldemort didn't care for his bloodline. He never expressed any kind of desire to have progeny, because, I'm sure, he didn't think there was any woman who was worth carrying his child. Voldemort is very dismissive of women in general. I'm not equating my previous homoeroticism point with misogyny here, but his dealings with female characters have been very indicative of how less he accepts and values members of the female gender. He finds Ginny boring, he demeans Lily Potter's love (including his infamous "Stand aside, girl!" line—he doesn't want to bother with her), he uses disturbingly casual language when talking about how he violated Bertha Jorkins, he is disinterestedly sadistic about the female teacher he tortures in Malfoy's house. Reiterating, I don't think he was misogynistic. He just didn't bother to think women important and didn't find them interesting, even as victims. The sole exception was Bellatrix Lestrange, and again, for her unwavering loyalty. When he talked about one of the characters being pregnant, he uses the word mated. That's how impersonal fornication and reproduction with women is to him.

However, despite his own views about himself engaging in a sexual act, I do believe he knew exactly how much other people valued sex, attraction, and love. He is often described as being irresistibly handsome as Tom Riddle, and he is sure to have known that. With people like Hepzibah Smith, he played her attraction toward him to achieve his means. When he became Lord Voldemort, he had reached a stage where he had a faithful base and didn't need to charm anyone to get his way. Even more so because he had lost so much of humanity in his transformations, he had only the basic human need for survival: food. By the time he was Lord Voldemort (despite what I said earlier about the graveyard scene), Tom Riddle had become fully and completely asexual.

So my answer to the question is yes, Lord Voldemort was a virgin.

More questions on Quora:

 

June 16 2014 1:58 PM

How Does a Therapist Handle the Session After a Client Attempts Suicide?

 

Answer by Anita Sanz, Ph.D., licensed psychologist, sanzplans.com:

 

Every person is unique, and any post-suicide-attempt situation is complicated, so what my client and I will end up talking about will vary greatly. That said, here's my answer.

June 12 2014 8:33 AM

What's it Like to Act in The Americans Versus in a Movie?

Answer by Noah Emmerich, actor, FBI agent Stan Beeman on the FX series The Americans:

The biggest difference is obviously that in a film you know the entirety of the story before you begin. You have done your homework, and you know everything about this contained universe, and the work is done pretty much in advance.

June 11 2014 11:15 AM

How Has Social Media Impacted Scandal?

 

Answer by Jeff Perry, actor, Scandal:

 

It has been fascinating. Gigantic. Crucial. It may not be overstating it to say it is one of the fundamental elements that kept us on the air. From the seven episodes of the first season to where we are now, it allowed a core audience to begin their viewership rituals and adorations that led to a larger word-of-mouth experience that led to bigger viewership that led to staying on the air—and, in fact, thriving. So it’s been kind of a change that way, and really beautiful that way.

June 6 2014 10:54 AM

Will the System for Getting a Math Ph.D. Change as Research Expands?

 

Answer by Alon Amit, Ph.D. in mathematics, math circler:

 

The way I read the question, and the part that I find interesting, is this: It is becoming increasingly hard and time-consuming to master the knowledge needed for conducting research at the forefront of mathematics. Could it be that it will become so hard that progress in mathematical research will grind to a halt?

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