The best answer to any question.

March 26 2015 7:22 AM

What Was It Like to Witness the Rumble in the Jungle?

Answer by Clarence B. Jones, public speaker, professor:

In 1967, Muhammad Ali had refused to be drafted into the military based on his religious beliefs and moral opposition to the war in Vietnam. “No Viet Cong ever called me a nigger,” he’d commented. He was arrested and on draft evasion charges, found guilty, and stripped of his boxing title and boxing license. Ken Norton had broken his jaw in a 1973 fight. In ’72, Joe Frazier had beaten him. By 1974, at 32, Ali was past his prime.

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March 25 2015 7:26 AM

How Has Publishing Changed in the Digital Age for Book Authors?

Answer by Alan Cheuse, author of Prayers for the Living:

I've published more than 20 books; more than half of these were either novels or short story collections. I have never left behind the necessary feeling that each new book will be the best and that each new book feels as though it were the first. Even so, I have never felt as confused and at the same full of expectation as I have with my latest, the novel Prayers for the Living.

March 24 2015 7:38 AM

What Should You Do When Your Flight Is Canceled?

Answer by Stephanie Vardavas, United million-mile flyer:

Pull out your cellphone as soon as it becomes clear that your flight is significantly delayed, even if it is not yet officially canceled. Call your airline and ask to rebook. And don't forget to nail down your seat assignment while you have an agent on the phone. The airline will not charge you a change fee, and by calling in quickly you will have a better chance of getting a decent seat on a desirable alternate flight. Flights are so crowded these days that relatively few aisle and window seats will be available, so confirm your seat assignment if you can. This is the No. 1 most important thing you can do, and it has worked for me countless times.

March 23 2015 7:11 AM

Why Was the Eastern Roman Empire Unable to Reclaim Lost Territory?


Answer by Tim O'Neill, 20-plus years of studying various aspects of Roman history:



The Eastern Roman Empire did take back large swathes of the most important and most valuable territory, in north Africa, Italy, and parts of Illyria. From 533 to 554, Eastern Roman generals waged a long series of wars against the Vandal Kingdom in Africa and the Ostrogothic Kingdom in Italy as part of the Emperor Justinian's attempt to win back the key territories of the former Western Empire to Roman control.


March 22 2015 7:04 AM

Why Did It Take So Long for The Great Gatsby to Be Recognized as a Masterpiece?

Answer by Cristina Hartmannauthor:

Let's rewind all the way to the beginning, circa 1925.

F. Scott Fitzgerald was a budding writer with two successful novels, This Side of Paradsie and The Beautiful and Damned. As part of the unparalleled literary cadre of Hemingway, Stein, and Pound, he was on the cusp of greatness. He was good, but hispièce de résistance awaited.

March 20 2015 7:12 AM

How Do TV Writers Develop Episode Plots?

Answer by Kate Powers, newly minted TV writer:

It's not uncommon for a writing staff to use a visual reference tool to track the breaking of one or more episodes. I've pretty much only worked in rooms where we favored 3-by-5 index cards on 3-by-4 cork boards, but many shows prefer white boards, or in some cases magnetized white boards and dry erase “tiles” that function like cork boards. A lot of the time, this is in addition to the near-constant note-taking of writers' assistants.

March 19 2015 7:19 AM

Why Did the British Invade the Falkland Islands?


Answer by Stephen Tempest, qualified amateur historian:


An English ship under Capt. John Strong in 1690 was the first to explore the Falkland Islands in detail, map them, and give them a name. However, that can't be called an invasion, since nobody lived there at the time except for penguins.

March 18 2015 7:42 AM

How Does a Pixar Film Get Made?

Answer by Craig Good:

This question demands a lot of detail, and I'm not sure I can provide all of it. I'll do my best to sketch it in here, but I'll doubtless miss something. I'll probably also get stuff wrong. There are a lot of moving parts to a Pixar movie production. There are people whose jobs involve keeping track of those parts. I never worked one of those jobs.

March 17 2015 7:16 AM

What Do Drummers Think of the Movie Whiplash?

Answer by Henry Modisett, jazz drummer in high school and college:

I played jazz drums in high school and in college. My high school had four jazz bands with two to three drummers each. They not only competed with one another, but also went to multiple competitions against other high schools throughout the state ever year. So, I have experience being in a competitive band and competing for the No. 1 role within the band as a young drummer.

March 16 2015 7:41 AM

What Does It Mean to “Break” a TV Script?

Answer by M. Scott Veach, I write one-hour dramas:

It basically refers to the part of writing a script where you decide on the story or plot points or narrative elements of the episode.

Backing up for a second. The writing of an episode of TV is generally dividing into two major abstract, creative elements: the story and the writing.