10 Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

August 6, 2015 | No Comments » | Topics: Answers, Interesting

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70 Years ago the US dropped atomic bombs on Japan. How did the US justify this use of force?

This is the casualty estimate for an invasion of mainland Japan. Those are just our casualties…Based on the Battle of Okinawa, the Japanese military casualties would have been about 20% higher, and the civilian casualties would have been 2 to 3 times as high.

The most telling statement in that passage is this: “Nearly 500,000 Purple Heart medals (awarded for combat casualties) were manufactured in anticipation of the casualties resulting from the invasion of Japan; the number exceeded that of all American military casualties of the 65 years following the end of World War II, including the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In 2003, there were still 120,000 of these Purple Heart medals in stock.[60] There were so many left that combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan were able to keep Purple Hearts on hand for immediate award to soldiers wounded in the field.”

People can argue all day about the predicted numbers but the logistics experts make their decisions based on reality and their data showed they needed 500,000 purple hearts. Thats an incredible number of expected casualties.

Compare that to the top estimates for the casualties for both bombs: 246,000.

It was horrific, but clearly the right thing to do.



Why doesn’t Japan hold a grudge against the U.S. after we nuked them?

The biggest thing to remember is compare how nations were treated by conquerors at the time. Case in point, Japan itself. When Japan conquered other nations during WW2, they treated the locals horribly to say the least. Comfort women and the rape of Nanking are two of the most striking examples. Foreign militaries were expected to rape, steal and kill with impunity while occupying another nation.

The United States bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, preventing an invasion by the USSR. With the Japanese surrender, they expected us to treat them the way they had treated other nations. Instead, the U.S. military went to work helping rebuild the nation. Japan was practically “honorary white” in the view of America and Europe prior to WW2, and were the most westernized of any nation in Asia. This just helped accelerate the process.

During the war, a lot of the Japanese didn’t agree with the decisions made since all the political power was concentrated in the hands of the Army and the Navy, who had a bitter rivalry. If a young man wanted to be successful, becoming an officer was one of the most reliable ways of doing this. The rivalry between the Army and the Navy is part of what caused the Kwantung Army to begin expanding Japan’s holdings in China without the consent of most of the rest of the political powers that be. The US’ decision to dismantle the military’s hold on the Japanese government was appreciated.

The US eventually became a major trading partner, and our culture became extraordinarily popular in Japan. Japan’s standards on beauty are very similar to the West’s, for example.

The fact that I’ve seen statues of General MacArthur, the man who ruled over Japan as a military dictator during the transitional period says something about how favorably the United States is viewed.

Operation Tomodachi helped repair some of the tensions in US/Japanese relations caused by minor resentment over American influence in Japan and the poor decisions by some of the military stationed there. When I was there during the earthquake and tsunami, the US stepped up to the plate to help in a way that I can’t recall seeing in any other natural disaster. Even Haiti paled in comparison.

This isn’t to say there isn’t any conflict. There are vans full of nationalists that protest the US military and occasionally follow American service members/their families when they’re off-base. There are unfavorable opinions, but the US is viewed as a good ally and influence for the most part.



What became of the children of high-ranking nazis? How did they deal with the actions of their parents later in life?

There’s a book on this subject called “My Father’s Keeper – The Children of Nazi Leaders – An Intimate History of Damage and Denial: How Nazis’ Children Grew Up with Parents’ Guilt” written by a German journalist called Stephan Lebert. He did a series of interviews and general research on the children of high ranking Nazis. Also a film called “Hitler’s Children” made by Israeli director Chanoch Zeevi. It was quite diverse – Martin Adolf Bormann ended up being a quiet and peace-seeking priest. Edda Göring made public appearances, attending memorials for Nazis and took part in political events, Gudrun Burwitz (daughter of Himmler) was a neo-Nazi. Bettina Goering had herself sterilized so she “would not pass on the blood of a monster”.

The most disturbing anecdote in the book was Hans Frank’s son Niklas Frank – apparently he masturbated on October 16th (the anniversary of his father’s death) with the image of his father hanging.


How are transgender individuals different from other dissociative identity disorders?

People suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder are not always fully aware of their actions. People with Body Dismorphic Disorder do not have an accurate gauge on their body image, leading to self-harm through starvation and purging behaviors.

Transgendered individuals are very different. They are fully conscious of their desires and intentions. Any negative outcomes are more likely the result of that individual’s culture, friends, and family. Historically, their treatment has been very poor.

The decision to undergo hormone treatment and/or surgery (which not all wish to do) is made carefully and after at least a year living as their desired gender (Edit: thank you for the timeline correction) and with deliberation. When transgendered people make changes to their lives, they are very much “being themselves”, but it is harder for them than buying new clothes or losing weight or learning to relax around other people.

For transgendered people, “being themselves” requires a great deal of introspection and self-awareness. They recognize that they feel different from others who have the same assigned gender, sometimes as early as their toddler or primary school years. They must somehow come out to themselves, accept it, and (if possible) articulate that understanding to others in a world and/or culture that is not well designed for them. Truly, the ability to successfully make a transition represents a great deal of mental fortitude and well being. Cis-gendered individuals should learn to be understanding to those with different life experiences.



How do you train pigeons to send letters to another? It seemed quite common in the olden times and it seems like it could be impossible to train pigeons to do that 

Messenger pigeons (aka homing pigeons) only work in one direction. They always fly home.

So to send a message, you first send the pigeon (in old times a rider on a horse would take it) to the other person. When they feel the need to send you an urgent message, they attach the message to the pigeon and let it go. It flies to your house (it’s home) promptly. There is usually a bell or buzzer rigged up to the door so when it arrives it alerts you. There is always food in the pigeon house for a reward.

The training process begins by releasing the pigeon near home and gradually increasing the distance.


Why are all the intellectuals worried about AIs rising up against humans? Why do they think Humans and their AI creations can’t be friends?

The issue is that computers don’t think like humans.

Say I give a hyper intelligent computer an instruction to minimize the number of human deaths. It could decide that the best way to do this would be to kill all humans, since this means no new humans will be born, meaning less humans will die in the long run.

Or I could tell a computer to maximize sock production. Well, the computer could decide the biggest issue in the way of sock production are the humans that won’t let it build as many factories as it wants, and it could remove humans as a result.

Basically, computers are going to get even more powerful. We need to be careful they always work for us, and don’t cause us to die out in some skynet event.



How everything in existence coming from absolutely nothing (Big Bang) is any less ridiculous than theological explanations? 

To clear up a common misconception, the big bang theory does not state that our universe came from nothing. It only explains how and why it expanded from its high density near-singularity state, 13.7 billion years ago. Beyond that we cannot make good scientific statements and so any predictions about how the universe came into being are speculation.


What is more ridiculous sounding to you?

Frankly, they are all ridiculous sounding to me. But we seem to agree that the third option is probably not true.

Based on all our scientific observations, the second option could be false because the farther back in time we look the more our universe converges.

And so, many people have arrived at the first option as an answer.

Another hypothesis to consider is our universe could be part of a vast multiverse, and was created due to the changing conditions of this multiverse.



How could Germany, in a span of 80 years (1918-2000s), lose a World War, get back in shape enough to start another one (in 20 years only), lose it again and then become one of the wealthiest country?

There are a couple of things to keep in mind about Germany; it is one of the largest and most populated states in Western Europe, and it has had a very strong industrial base for many many years.

After WWI, Germany was in pretty bad shape. It owed a ton of money in war reperations. This issue was dealt with by the Nazis basically just refusing to pay them.

More importantly though, Germany might have lost the war, but even the winners were in really rough shape. No one was willing to stand up to the Nazis until it was too late. When they started to remilitarize, no one stepped up because they either thought that the lot they were dealt in WW1 was too harsh, or because they were too war-weary to care. When Germany started to absorb parts of its neighbors, it was justified by claiming that it was done either to protect German nationals, or because the Germans had been invited to do it (which is partly true in some cases).

Further, once WW2 started, the Germans had a couple big benefits. Most of their immediate neighbors were too weak to do much, France and Britain wanted to avoid bloodshed. When they invaded Poland, they got help from the Soviet Union. Once the war really got underway, France folded almost immediately, and the British were pushed off of the continent not long after. France was gone, Britain was technically still at war but couldn’t mount an offensive, Italy was an ally, America, Spain, and the USSR were neutral, and much of Central Europe was already under Nazi control. They were able to take most of Europe without much of a fight.

Helping matters even more, Germany benefited from having some pretty revoltionary tactics, scientists, and equipment. In particular, the Germans wrote the book on blitzkrieg and tank warfare, which proved instrumental.

After they lost the war, the country was split into four administrative zones, occupied by the Americans, British, Soviets, and French. The American, British, and French zones were evnetually consolidated to become the country of West Germany, while the Soviet zone became East Germany. The Western Powers poured a ton of resources into rebuilding West Germany and getting them back up to speed (so that they could help fight the Soviets in the event of WW3). Since they’re still one of the biggest and most industrial states in Europe, it’s only natural that they’ve had a strong economy ever sense.



Why do I never see cheese used in Asian Cuisine? 

Asian cultures did not historically raise cattle, and therefore few people are lactose tolerant. European culture has led to adult tolerance of lactose in a larger part of the western population. The normal human condition is to lose tolerance for lactose in adolescence. 


What is Fascism?

Fascism is a hard ideology to define because nearly every modern government or political movement has been called ‘fascist’ by somebody. I contend that fascism was a political movement unique to the early 20th century, especially in Europe, because its worldview was shaped by events and philosophical ideas from the late 19th century until the interwar period. Some people have called states like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq ‘fascist’, but I believe that there is a big difference between authoritarian dictatorship and genuine fascism.

So how did fascism originally develop? It grew out of a European intellectual movement which criticized the alienating effect that industrial society had on modern man, as well as late 19th century critiques of Liberalism and Positivism. They believed that industrial society robbed men of their individuality; however they wanted to assert it at the same time. These ideas were adopted by many young people, especially young, middle-class socialists, because they wanted to rebel against what they perceived as pointless and archaic bourgeois morality and conformity. This is why in the 1930s, fascism looked like it might actually take over Europe: it successfully harnessed people’s dissatisfaction with modern society and directed it into political channels.

Fascists were influenced by philosophers like Gustav Le Bon who wrote about the need for a strong leading figure to lead the masses against social ills. He believed that people were fundamentally irrational, and should embrace their irrationality. This was taken up by fascist ideologues who thought that their members’ irrationality should be harnessed by the leader and directed into political action, which was mostly comprised of beating up socialists, communists and trade unionists (or Jews in the case of Nazism). Fascism was a fundamentally violent ideology which praised war and conflict. Both Hitler and Mussolini believed that war was the highest expression of human ability and society, and sincerely thought that life was a continual conflict between people for limited resources (hence the title of Hitler’s autobiography, Mein Kampf). To fascists war was a good thing because it let nations or races decide who was the strongest and who deserved the planet’s resources.

Fascism’s insistence on embracing irrationality is one thing that makes it hard to comprehend; although Hitler and Mussolini wrote their respective handbooks about fascist beliefs, they ultimately rejected concrete doctrines and always acted in response to current events. This is why a lot of fascist rhetoric and actions seem to be contradictionary.

The First World War gave fascism its mass base. Veterans across Europe felt alienated in civilian society after the war, which could not understand their experiences on the frontline. A lot of them wanted to return to an idealized comradeship and hierarchy of the front line, which fascist organizations like the SA and the Blackshirts offered. A lot of them didn’t actually care about the nuances of fascist ideology, they just felt like they didn’t belong in civilian society and needed order and comrades. Instead of a real enemy opposing army, fascism offered them a frontline against post-war society which was especially attractive in revisionist countries like Germany and Italy, where many wanted to destroy the existing Liberal order which they blamed for their countries’ humiliations.

Unlike socialists and communists, fascists wanted to cure modern society’s alienation through the creation of a hierarchal state made up of different social classes working together for the benefit of the nation. This is called ‘corporatism’ and is fascism’s only real contribution to economic thought. The competing segments of industrial society would be united by the leader act entirely through the state, which incidentally would preserve existing capitalist hierarchies and strengthen them. Fascists were for a sort of inverted social-democracy which would give social services to its members but not to anyone else. If you were not a member of the nation or the Volksgemeinschaft – tough luck. This is why many people participated in Fascist and Nazi organizations like the DAP or Hitler Youth; if you did not actively participate in the national or racial community, you were not a part of it and would be socially ostracized (or worse) and denied state benefits. They didn’t necessarily believe in fascist ideology, and many opposed it, but the fascist state required them to participate in it.

The major difference between fascism and socialism is that the former was all about preserving hierarchy and bourgeois society, while getting rid of industrial alienation through the creation of a totalitarian society. Mussolini thought that by giving up your individuality to the totalitarian state, you could have your energies and efforts multiplied by its services. Paradoxically, by surrendering individuality, alienation would somehow disappear. In industrial societies, fascism was popular with the middle class because it offered a cultural and social revolution which would keep hierarchies and fortify them through corporatism. Unlike conservatism, fascism wanted a cultural revolution that would create a “New Fascist Man” who had no individuality separate from the state. This is why it was appealing to the middle class; it let them vent their frustrations about modern society and be little revolutionaries while simultaneously protecting their property and position in the social hierarchy.

The emphasis on maintaining private property and hierarchy was what made fascists hate socialists and communists. Fascism marketed itself as the “Third Way” between Liberalism, which was responsible for alienation and the post-war Wilsonian order, and Socialism, which threatened to take bourgeois property in an economic revolution. Conservatives and fascists usually got along because they both hated the same things, but most conservatives failed to understand the revolutionary aspect of fascism and believed they could be controlled to curtail workers’ rights and revise the Paris Treaties, which didn’t really work out.

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