What's So Great About Espresso?
Answer by Peter Baskerville, founded, owned, and managed more than 15 cafés and coffee shops and made more than 100,000 cups of espresso coffee for customers:
Just three experiences with an espresso "god shot" and you would have your answer. As a barista in the many cafés I've owned, I've watched countless customers turn from passive, generally disinterested coffee consumers into evangelizing espresso snobs on the back of just three experience with this "elixir of the gods." See, once you have developed a taste for the finest espresso, you just can't drink the other stuff.
What Would Happen If a Coin-Sized Black Hole Were Placed at the Earth's Center?
Answer by Frank Heile, Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University:
The Earth would be destroyed, but the whole planet would not be swallowed up by the black hole. A black hole with a Schwarzschild radius of about a centimeter, which would make it about the size of a coin, would have about the same mass as the Earth. The reason the Earth will be destroyed but not simply swallowed up is because the Earth will be resisting the black hole in at least two ways.
First of all, not all of the Earth would simply be sucked into the black hole. When the matter near the black hole begins to fall into the black hole, it will be compressed to a very high density that will cause it to be heated to very high temperatures. These high temperatures will cause gamma rays, X-rays, and other radiation to heat up the other matter falling in to the black hole. The net effect will be that there will be a strong outward pressure on the outer layers of the Earth that will first slow down their fall and will eventually ionize and push the outer layers away from the black hole. So some inner portion of the core will fall into the black hole, but the outer layers, including the crust and all of us, would be vaporized to a high temperature plasma and blown into space.
Do Doctors Ever Treat Cancer With Natural Regimens?
Answer by David Chan, MD from UCLA, Stanford oncology fellowship:
I believe in treating cancer with anything that works. Show me that something works, and I'll use it. Period.
But don't give me a story of how someone's aunt's best friend was told that she had six months to live and was cured by taking a natural supplement found through the Internet and is still alive 10 years later—and then ask me to give the OK to try it.
Some cancer patients have the great misfortune of having a cancer that is very advanced or poorly treatable by anything. For them, it doesn't make a great deal of difference what they do, with the exception of some considerable out-of-pocket expenses if they see someone particularly unscrupulous.
How Did Technology Help Create China's Historically Large Population?
Chinese technology was 1,000-plus years ahead of everyone else—like this, but with horses and rice.
Imagine if today's crops suddenly became 30 times more productive. That would cause a population boom, right? Agriculture is how human populations exploded in size compared to hunter-gatherer civilizations. So let's talk about some of those tools of agriculture and how population booms were achieved in an era of horse and plow.
How Do German Children Learn About the Holocaust?
Answer by Rebecca Kaßner, German, who wonders a lot about Germany and her fellow Germans:
I will make this one a little more personal because I understood the question to be aimed in that way. I was born in 1985, so it was the generation of my grandparents and great-grandparents who were alive during World War II. I think for me, there were roughly three stages of realization.
Knowing there was some war in the not too distant past: I knew that my grandfather had been involved in a war, but that was something very distant for me. He only told the story how he had to ride a horse but was afraid of horses. The whole idea of war was not something I could understand at that time. But it was also clear from movies and stuff that Germany lost the war and that something horrible happened back then.
Which Country Has Most Closely Matched the Dystopian Future of George Orwell's 1984?
Answer by Todd Gardiner:
North Korea is a great example:
- Perpetual state of war (perpetuated solely to constrain society)
- Charismatic great leader (who has created a false cult of personality)
- Media blackout and nonstop propaganda
- Voicing any criticism of the government is a "thought crime."
- The ministries may lack the names of 1984 (e.g., Ministry of Plenty), but the results are the same: war, propaganda, torture, starvation.
- Members of the "Inner Party" have a very high standard of living.
- A large proletariat class who are more politically free than the middle class but brutally oppressed economically
What Was It Like to Be a Victim of the May 1998 Riots in Indonesia?
Answer by Hindra Martono:
I never told this story to anyone—not to my friends, not even discussing it with my family.
I was 8 years old when it happened. My parents run a grocery store, which is an easy target for the rioters, as the economic problems of Indonesia in 1989 caused rising price for foods, prompting them to sack shops like ours.
As a child, I didn't understand anything about the situation, but I remember the date. It was May 14, 1998, around 2 p.m., I think, after lunch. I remember I was watching the news about the riots that were happening all around Jakarta from the day before. My family was clearly terrified and discussing our options.
What's the Difference Between a Dialect and a Language?
Answer by Marc Ettlinger, Ph.D., linguistics, UC–Berkeley:
The pioneering sociolinguist and Yiddish scholar Uriel Weinreich had a quote:
Why Does Iran Have a Serious Brain-Drain Problem?
Answer by Sam Sinai, theoretical biologist embedded in a computer science program at MIT, has lived in Iran and U.S.:
Since I technically qualify as a "drained brain," I will give you an anecdotal account, accompanied with a more broad set of reasons why people like me leave and continue leaving. But before we get there, take a look at this excellent infographic on this topic.
How Much Chauvinism Do Female Police Officers Face?
Answer by Tim Dees, retired cop and criminal justice professor, Reno Police Department, Reno Municipal Court, and Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Police Department:
Law enforcement has improved with regard to the way women are treated in the workplace as compared to the 1960s, when the first women entered mainstream policing. Some of the first female patrol officers were required to wear skirts and pump-type shoes and carried their firearms in a shoulder bag. Prior to that, women were mainly relegated to investigations involving children and handing of female prisoners.