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June 4 2014 10:55 AM

What Is an Example of a Counterintuitive Mathematical Result?

 

Answer by Michal Forišek, computer science lecturer at Comenius University:

 

 

The Hydra game!

 

Imagine that you are Hercules, and you were given the task to slay the Hydra. Here is one possible hydra:

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May 26 2014 8:21 AM

Why Are Movie Adaptations of Books Usually Inferior?

Answer by Robert Frost, cinephile:

Movies, as an entertainment product, are not more complex than books. Books are clearly more complex. When a scriptwriter sits down to adapt a novel into a screenplay for film, he starts by deciding which plots are to be kept and which are to be purged. He also decides on which characters to merge or cut in order to reduce the number of characters. A two-hour movie can't support all of the subplots and characters that a 500-page book can. A reader might spend 10 hours reading that book. That's a lot more time to convey information. Here's an easy example: Go read any of the Harry Potter books and then watch the films. You'll find that many of your favorite scenes and characters from the books won't be in the films. A film just can't handle the level of complexity a book can.

May 25 2014 7:11 AM

How Do NASA’s Mission Control Centers Operate?

Answer by Robert Frost, NASA instructor and engineer in the Mission Operations Directorate:

A mission control center, or MCC, is a facility from which personnel operate remote resources needed to conduct a mission. In the case of NASA, that usually means a spacecraft. Below is a picture of MCC-H, the NASA MCC for the International Space Station located in Houston.

May 23 2014 7:19 AM

What's It Like to Work With Adam Sandler?

Answer by Ken Miyamoto, produced screenwriter, former Sony Pictures script reader and story analyst, former Sony Studios liaison:

I worked with Adam Sandler and his Happy Madison crew a lot during my Sony days as a studio liaison.

May 21 2014 8:54 AM

How Does Pixar Name Its Characters?

Answer by Craig Good, teller of stories, many of which are true:

The same way any other writer might: It's a normal part of the story process.

May 19 2014 12:51 PM

What Is It Like to Land on an Aircraft Carrier?

Answer by Barry Hampe:

It is precision flying at low speed and a high angle of attack. It is the definitive skill that sets Navy carrier pilots (and Air Force exchange pilots who have flown with a Navy carrier squadron) apart from all others. It's interesting to note that military uniforms have all sorts of badges and doodads to show that the wearer has qualified in this or that, but there is no doodad for carrier landings. They are included in the gold wings a naval aviator wears.

May 16 2014 8:17 AM

How Do English Speakers Differentiate a “Th” Sound From an “F” Sound?

Answer by Marc Ettlinger, Ph.D., linguistics, U.C. Berkeley:

English speakers don't actually differentiate "th" and "f" all that well. Indeed, in certain speech perception tests, native English speakers can perform as poorly as random guessing in distinguishing "th" and "f" because it's one of the most difficult contrasts in English.

May 14 2014 8:27 AM

How Did Comic Books Regain Popularity?

Answer by Robert Frost, engineer and instructor at NASA, more than 15,000 comics in my collection:

The resurgence was a two-step process.

First, comics producers decided to ride the coattails of the surge in popularity of science fiction. DC Comics went first. They rebooted characters like the Flash and Green Lantern to give them science-based origins. The Flash got his powers in a laboratory accident. Green Lantern got his powers from alien technology. Although Superman came from an alien world and Batman used tech gadgets to perform his acts of derring do, it was more common for superpowered heroes to obtain their abilities through magic and mysticism—like Captain Marvel (Shazam!) and Wonder Woman.

May 9 2014 12:24 PM

What’s It Like to Be a Teen Mom?

Answer by Imogen Moore, freelance journalist:

I was 18.

After having my second child at 36, I can say that 18 is a great physical age to have a child. I had plenty of energy and didn't care as much about a clean house so I had a lot of extra time to play.

May 8 2014 1:37 PM

Why Is Spider-Man So Iconic?

Answer by Mark Hughes, screenwriter, Forbes blogger:

In a nutshell, Spider-Man represents the reverse of almost every other superhero's "secret identity" concept.

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