The best answer to any question.

Jan. 29 2015 7:26 AM

Is Scandinavian Exceptionalism Similar to American Exceptionalism?

Answer by Sofie Louise Kastrup Marcussen, student at Aalborg University, Denmark:

I'll base my answer on this definition of American exceptionalism, translated from a Danish definition: “American exceptionalism is the belief that the USA is a chosen nation (even divinely so) with a chosen people whose values are exalted compared to the rest of the world.”

In some ways, there are similar attitudes in Scandinavia. (I'm basing my answer on my own experiences, growing up in Denmark.) In other ways, American exceptionalism is really its very own species.

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Jan. 28 2015 8:10 AM

Are Astronauts Discouraged From Drinking Coffee While in Space?

Answer by Clayton C. Anderson, two-time ISS astronau, six-time spacewalker, 30-year NASA employee, retired:

As far as I can recall, I was never discouraged by anyone from drinking coffee while living aboard the International Space Station. For me, morning coffee was one of those wonderful psychological benefits reminding me of life here on Earth.

My coffee intake was limited to “two cups” per day. Two cups is actually two bags of coffee on ISS.  While typically calling for 8 to 10 ounces of hot water to mix with the freeze-dried coffee within, I usually upped the amount of water to 12 to 14 ounces, thereby giving me more coffee to drink and perhaps a less strong version of this uplifting caffeinated beverage.

Jan. 27 2015 7:24 AM

What Is the Most Important Classical Chinese Painting?

Answer by Paul Denlinger, have lived in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong; fluent in Mandarin:

The most significant classical Chinese painting is the Qingming Shanghetu or Along the River During the Qingming Festival, which was painted nearly 900 years ago during the Northern Song dynasty.

Jan. 26 2015 7:29 AM

Why Did Josef Mengele Misuse His Medical Knowledge During the Holocaust?

Answer by Kiel Majewski, executive director, CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, the only organization dedicated to the memory of the twin victims and survivors of medical experimentation at Auschwitz:

In my analysis of Josef Mengele, which I and my colleagues performed in the course of developing an exhibit about him, I can see three main reasons why Mengele "misused his knowledge," as the question says.

Jan. 25 2015 7:11 AM

How Can I Get My Cat to Like Me More?

Answer by Madalyn Zimbric, graduate student at University of Michigan and aspiring cat lady:

Many people have trouble with their cats because they don't understand or speak cat language. It's kind of like an English speaker attempting Mandarin but not knowing about tones. You're attempting to say “Hi! I really like you! Let's be friends.” But in Cat what you're saying is “Hey, you jerk. You'd better stay away or I'll kick your ass.”

Jan. 23 2015 7:32 AM

What Is the Typical Relationship Between a Japanese Married Couple?

Answer by Steve Wright, coordinator of international events at Bibai City Hall in Hokkaido, Japan:

This is a very interesting question, and I'm glad to have a chance to offer my ideas. It's been my good fortune to live in northern Japan since 1989, and I still feel as if every day is a learning experience. My bride of the last 24 years and her parents are my main models for understanding married couples here, but I have a few other close (married) friends, so I'd like to talk a little about some main issues.

Jan. 22 2015 7:44 AM

What Does It Feel Like to Cancel Your Wedding?

Answer by Tracy Wang, software engineer at Google:

It's been more than two years since I canceled my wedding, and I think it was the best decision I could have ever made in my life. Both of us are way better off. It was a complicated situation, but I can recall exactly what it felt like to cancel the wedding chronologically:

Relief: I had been debating it for a long time; I even talked to my ex-fiancé about it, and my gut was telling me to leave, but logically, I felt like the problem was not insurmountable. Fact is, just understanding the problem was profoundly difficult and confusing (because the problem involved family who had their own serious problems).

Jan. 15 2015 7:17 AM

Why Are the Middle Ages Often Characterized as Dark or Less Civilized?

Answer by Tim O'Neill, M.A. in medieval literature and have studied most aspects of the period for many years:

It's clear that there was a collapse in learning and much technical capacity as a result of the fragmentation and chaos that followed the fall of the Roman Empire in Western Europe. In places such as southern Gaul or northern Spain, this collapse was a slow decline over several hundred years. In others, such as Britain, it was much more sudden and catastrophic. Modern surveys of archaeological and documentary evidence, such as those summarized by Bryan Ward-Perkins in The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization show that this means a clear decline in material culture and technical capacity between the later Roman era and the seventh century.

Jan. 14 2015 7:57 AM

What Period of History Do Chinese People Most Admire?

Answer by Kaiser Kuo, dabbler in history:

Many Chinese are very admiring of the Tang (618–907), especially the years before the An Lushan Rebellion that broke out in 755.

The Kaiyuan Shengshi, the first part of the emperor Tang Minghuang (Xuanzong), who ruled from 712 to 756, was considered to be the apogee of Tang splendor. During this time the Tang capital at Chang'an was the largest city in the world, with a roughly square city wall with a perimeter of 35 kilometers (22 miles) and a population of more than 1 million. It was an extremely cosmopolitan city, sitting as it did at the eastern terminus of the Silk Road, and people from all over the known world of the day could be found there. There were Nestorian Christians, Manicheans, some Arab Muslims, Indian Buddhists, and even some Jews living in Chang'an. You could encounter Central Asians from as far west as Persia to the easternmost reaches of the steppe corridor, Japanese, Koreans, Malays and more in the great markets.

Jan. 11 2015 7:24 AM

How Do I Become a Faster Runner?

Answer by Steven Walling, product manager:

Mechanically, there are only two ways to run faster: Increase the length of your stride, or increase your number of steps. That's really it. The hard part is doing this correctly. To accomplish both of these things you need: