The best answer to any question.

July 13 2014 7:12 AM

What Is Prison Life Like?


Read Michael Morton's answer on Slate on what it's like to be wrongfully convicted of a crime.



Answer by Michael Morton, author:


The first thing that surprised me about prison was the monotony. Every weekday is more or less identical—week after week, month after month, and yes, year after year after year. The routine numbs you. It grinds you down like a persistent, hacking cough. Eventually, it also erases your sense and understanding of time itself.

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July 10 2014 11:57 AM

What Is It Like to Be Wrongfully Convicted of a Crime?

Answer by Michael Morton, author:

I was wrongly convicted of murdering my wife. I recall that first night in jail—it was not unlike being punched in the face. I was stunned, numb, and not sure of what lay before me. All personal control had been yanked away. What I wore, what I ate, where I slept, and where I could not go were all dictated by the state. In that situation, the absolute power of government becomes blatant, coercive, Orwellian.

July 9 2014 12:33 PM

Who Is the Greatest Chess Player?

Answer by John Fernandez, 2133 FIDE:

We can't answer Magnus Carlsen—not yet. His future is still ahead of him. We also can't answer Paul Morphy—in his day no one else was very good, and he got through everyone like a hot knife through butter. I present to you five options:

July 7 2014 12:06 PM

What Sparked Japan's Aggression During World War II?


Answer by Harold Kingsberg:



The short version: Japan's actions from 1852 to 1945 were motivated by a deep desire to avoid the fate of 19th-century China and to become a great power.


For Japan, World War II grew from a conflict historians call the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Second Sino-Japanese War began in earnest in 1937 with a battle called the Marco Polo Bridge Incident. However, before this, there had been years of border clashes between the Japanese and the Chinese, having started with the 1931 Japanese invasion of Manchuria. So, to explain Japan's behavior in the years from 1941 to 1945, we have to explain why Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931, and in order to do this, we have to go back to 1853.

July 6 2014 7:13 AM

Why Did Starfleet Allow Families Aboard the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation?


Answer by Dan Holliday:


So the reason is rooted in Gene Roddenberry's half-baked ideas about the future and his obsession with peace. Roddenberry was incredibly scarred by World War II, and he was obsessed with a future of peaceful exploration of the galaxy. While he accepted that there might be "others" outside of the Federation that were not idealists, for him the size of the United Federation of Planets' space was so vast that the Galaxy-class ships would have families for their pathfinder voyages.

July 4 2014 7:17 AM

What Subjects Should Teachers Cover That They Often Don’t?


Answer by Peter Baskerville, vocational teacher:



Teach people how to learn. As the 20th-century U.S. historian, journalist, novelist, and educator Henry Adams explained: "They know enough who know how to learn."


Technology today is not just causing change but accelerating it. Knowledge is growing at an exponential rate, rather than at a linear rate that had been the norm up until the 1960s. Today, knowledge is estimated to be doubling every 13 months, as shown by this chart on medical knowledge growth published on 2020 Vision: Curriculum Renewal Project.

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.

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.