10 Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

January 9, 2015 | 1 Comment » | Topics: Answers, Interesting

Why does Islam seem to have more violent fanatics than other religions?

Several reasons, really.

Firstly: Islam is a particularly all-encompassing religion, in the sense that being a “Muslim” is supposed to be your primary identity and motivation in life. Arguably one of the reasons that Islam got so huge in the first place was that it encouraged the fragmented and tribal arabian peninsula to put aside petty squabbles for the first time and unite for a common cause. Other areas that adopted the religion followed similar paths: It’s a central doctrine that before your race, gender, family allegiance or nationality, you’re a Muslim. This is why historically the Islamic world has historically been organized into large, multicontinental caliphates, and it’s also why Islamism has been a massive issue in the middle east since the fall of the Ottoman Empire: The fragmented, corrupt and secular arrangement of the middle east is a historical anomaly, and one that doesn’t make too much sense from the old school Muslim perspective that the Islamic world should be united.

Secondly: There’s a selection bias in the western media that violent muslims must necessarily be religious fanatics. The Islamic world is a massively diverse place, with lots of different issues other than just religion. Palestinian militants are no more fundamentalist muslims than Irish terrorists in the 70’s were fundamentalist catholics: Religion obviously plays a role, but it’s usually more of a justification than an actual reason. Similarly, the Iranian-Israeli rivalry is typically depicted as a religious one, but in reality the Iranians hate the Saudis almost as much as they do the Israelis (There’s a religious element in the Saudi-Iranian rivalry too, but it’s still not the dominant factor).

Lastly: It only takes a few bat-shit fanatics to make an entire religion look bad. Those guys who killed that soldier in the UK, or that guy who stabbed that filmmaker in the Netherlands obviously make up a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction of the muslim community in Europe. While it’s probably the case that there are more Muslims willing to do violence in the name of religion than there are Christians, with both populations you’re dealing with a minute fraction of the population that really shouldn’t be used to judge the religion as a whole. If the Islamic world were intent on bringing down the west, there would be a lot more of them fighting.





What exactly is dry cleaning?

Dry cleaning is basically just like a large front load tumble drum washing machine with the exception that no water is used. That is what is implied by the “dry” part. But in reality the clothes get plenty “wet”, just not with water. There are many solvents that we use now other than the old traditional tetrachlorethylene. They are all safer and less toxic. But they are all still solvents that excel at removing oily stains. For other stains we usually add a bit of spotter chemical to the stain to pretreat. And we inject a specially blended detergent into the solvent to help break up and dissipate some stain solids like food or mud. The dry cleaning machine itself has one or more huge tanks where it stores the solvent. During the process the solvent runs through many filters to catch debris and keep the solvent as clean and fresh as possible. Some of these filters we change daily, weekly, monthly, and some every few months.

As a third generation dry cleaner the strangest part to me is that the “dry cleaning” is probably the least important part. Most of our customers could wash these items at home but then they would have to iron them which is the chore they don’t want. Of course the ironing is easy for us because the solvent creates far fewer wrinkles than soap and water would, and we use huge expensive specialized presses that make getting out the wrinkles fast and easy. From our perspective as the folks doing the work the hardest part of the job is the effort we put into having to keep everything organized so after tumbling around with all your neighbor’s clothes we can pull out only yours and get them back to you.




It’s there really any difference between what company I buy gasoline from?

 I work at an oil refinery and we put our gasoline in the same lines as our sister refineries so its pretty uniform spec prior to blending which occurs at the terminals. That said, the general consensus at our lab is that additives are mainly a function of marketing and provide very little performance difference.

The biggest difference is made by the quality of how the distributors and gas stations store and manage their product. Some independent distributors in my area are notorious for delivering fuel that came from dirty tanks and those can fuck up an engine pretty badly. In general I try to buy gas from stations which have gas delivered by the major companies because I know their storage and handling methods are generally top notch.

Edit: I also wanted to say that the best gas you can find is the stuff that doesn’t have ethanol blended in, which can potentially damage the engine over a long time period. Usually you can find the non-ethanol blends at stations that sell to agricultural customers (sorry, city slickers!).




Why is the Mona Lisa so highly coveted?

Five reasons:

  1. The smile. It was the first painting of its kind to have someone smiling in such a way, so it was sort of a new era.

  2. The brush strokes. He used strokes so small, they were damn near invisible, creating a very ‘photographic’ painting in a time when that wasn’t really done.

  3. Street Cred. Leonardo Da Vinci was an extremely talented guy, the quintessential renaissance man. He was a genius, and is thus rightly given praise.

  4. Time. This painting took four years of Leonardo’s life to make.

  5. Subject. Nobody’s entirely sure who he’s portraying, which is pretty weird for portraits. Usually, portraits like this one are commissioned by the person depicted, but it doesn’t appear this was for anyone but Leonardo. Is it a girly version of him? A prostitute? A secret lover? Or just something out of his head?



Why do we feel the urge to destroy things when we’re angry?

People usually get angry in response to feelings of vulnerability and disempowerment. Any situation where someone gets angry, they are also probably feeling something like hurt, insecure, disrespected, invalidated, betrayed, frustrated, threatened, the list goes on. Anger allows you to get some of that power back and direct those negative feelings outward on to someone/something else (e.g. destroying something). This often makes people feel better in the short term, even though there are typically long term consequences of acting aggressively. Also, when I say this can make people feel better, the anger and aggression is sometimes identified as relatively better than sitting with feelings of vulnerability and powerlessness. Emotions are subjective and there are tons of individual differences between people.




Why must businesses constantly grow? Why can’t they just self-sustain?

In business, being dynamic/adaptable is the key. No market or technology is going to stay the same forever.

The items/services that you customers want can change on a whim. The things that your competition is offering will change. Sometimes disruptive technology will come along and completely alter your business model. When digital photography became the norm, the companies that were producing film had to either change everything, or go broke.

When planning a businesses high level strategy, you always want to be proactive, never reactive. Let’s say that we are the people in charge of Kodak in the ’90s and the ’00s. We see that digital cameras are just hitting the market. Because of our expertise in the photography industry, we believe that film is going to become obsolete in the near future. Its time for us to make a change.

If we’ve always been the same size, it means that there is no extra money in our budget. In order to start researching and developing our own digital cameras, we are going to have to shrink down other departments to have extra money. Maybe we cut back on manufacturing, or marketing, or customer support. No matter what we do, we are going to have to lose some people, or some market share, or some quality.

On the other hand, if we’ve been growing for the past few years, we have options. We can funnel that extra money into R&D. We can acquire another company that is already researching digital photography if our growth has been substantial. We can borrow money, knowing that future growth will outpace the interest on our loans.

Overall, companies grow for the same reasons that people grow their careers. They want more stuff/profit, they want to be better suited for emergencies, and they want to have money on hand to take advantage of opportunities when they arrive.



WTF was the Architect was trying to tell Neo in the movie Matrix?

Before the current version of the Matrix, the machines created other versions. The first was a “Perfect World Scenario” where everybody was happy and life was good. Human psyche could not handle this overload of perfection and rejected the program. People couldn’t believe it was real. The second Matrix was a “Nightmare Scenario”, wars raged so as to appease the sadistic nature of humanity. This was also a failure because people couldn’t accept it.

The solution was found by The Oracle. She concluded, that if people were given a choice to accept or reject the Matrix (even if they weren’t aware they were being given that choice), they would overwhelmingly accept the program anyway.

Of course that this acceptance was not universal. A small number of people would still reject the Matrix. If left unchecked in the system, these people behaved like a virus, making other people aware that they lived in a fake world, destabilizing the whole system. They had to be removed. That’s why The Architect allowed Zion to survive, to preserve the Matrix and to remove the people that were aware that they were inside a program. But this in turn created the problem of controlling Zion.

If left unchecked, the city would eventually grow too powerful. For that purpose, the Architect and The Oracle created the concept of The One. Every time Zion grew too big (around 250.000 people I think), The One would be born. The One carried an important part of code from the Matrix (the Prime Program) that gave him a greater form of control over the Matrix (aka Neo’s Powers).

He was supposed to be guided by The Oracle to meet The Architect, reinserting the Prime Program he carried, thereby rebooting the Matrix. After the destruction of Zion, The One would create a new Zion with a select few people on the Matrix. After his death, The Oracle would begin to spread the prophecy of his return, perpetuating the cycle.



Why is beef jerky so expensive?

Beef jerky has two major inputs, steak and energy. Which combine to reduce the size and weight of the steak. A pound of steak becomes a few ounces of beef jerky, and the few ounces of jerky need to cover the cost of the steak and energy required to evaporate all the water and add the tasty smoke.




Why are all drugs “bad”? Why can’t there be a drug that gives intense pleasure/euphoria (heroine, coke etc) but has 0 adverse effects?

Drugs create highs by manipulating chemicals our bodies produce normally. Frequent drug use can change the way our bodies produce and utilize these chemicals, causing our bodies to produce too much or too little. There is no perfect drug because any substance usage takes our bodies out of chemical equilibrium, causing adverse effects.




If Sith Apprentices always kill the master and take their position, why do Sith Lords keep taking apprentices and teaching them their ways?

The darth bane trilogy of books explains the concept of the rule of two very well, for starters there are only two sith because that way the power base is focused, there is not a huge array of sith fighting each other for power, as is the nature of the dark side. and so it is harder for the jedi to confirm their existance, thus ensuring the continued survival of the true Sith. Because there are only two sith, a Sith lord MUST take an apprentice, for the power and knowledge of the sith must not be allowed to die out.

Every Sith master knows his apprentice will try and kill him, as he killed his master before, and most accept this, because it means he has grown weak, while his apprentice is strong, in this way the Sith ALWAYS grow stronger, while the jedi stagnate, sharing knowledge and power among lesser weak people who should not be allowed to survive.

there are Sith who strive for immortality, thinking they will never find an apprentice strong eneugh to succeed them; or perhaps being afraid of death, such as palpatine has tried various times. Palpatine, and those like him have strayed from the Path of two that was instituted by Bane, weakening the Sith and exposing them.


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