A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

September 26, 2018 | No Comments » | Topics: Answers

I’m a German soldier in 1939. What are my chances to survive until 1945?

By the end of the war the Germans had 12.5 million men under arms. Over 4 million died during the war. Survival depended upon where you were stationed. If you were in the East there was a much higher chance of being killed and wounded than if you were in the West or in Denmark or Norway. At the edges of the most vicious battles, such as the fighting near Vienna near the end of the war, or in Silesia, or in Czechoslovakia (where the Germans won major victories til the very last day) the chances of dying were very high. It also depended upon your branch. There was over an 80 percent chance of a U—boat sailor dying before the war ended and very few sailors from the beginning made it to the end. Aircrews also suffered, and this depended on where you were stationed and when you joined the Luftwaffe. The more experience you had, the greater chance of survival, however, the more experience you had, the more risky missions you were expected to take. It turns out if a soldier survives the first 90 days of combat his odds of surviving the war grow exponentially, according to the book “Dirty Little Secrets of WW2”. The most deadly time for a new soldier is the first couple of weeks at the front when the chances of dying are very high.

But if you were a soldier who joined the Wermacht in 1939 and were part of Operation Barbarossa there was probably only a 60 percent chance you would make it through the war, even less that you would make it through the war, survive and remain uncaptured. In 1941 alone almost a million men died in the East of an original fighting force of 4 million, mostly from cold and hunger. Survival was a matter of luck in many cases. Bidermann, a Leutnant in the 132nd Infantry Division who was stationed near Sevastopol had the extreme good fortune to have his division transferred to the Leningrad offensive right before the debacle at Stalingrad. The chances of a soldier surviving from the beginning through the Stalingrad debacle were less than 5 percent. The result for Bidermann was that he survived that turbulent period but ended up being captured at the end of the war in the Courland Pocket while Operation Hannibal frantically worked to remove men to Denmark in the final days.

Meanwhile, the chances of a soldier in Norway surviving the war were in the 90s of percent, despite the vicious need for violent and often torturous reprisals by Norwegian patriots against German soldiers.

In the US, the overall chances of any soldier surviving the war from the beginning were about 84 percent. In Germany, the number was roughly around 70 percent. The Germans fought for a longer period of time in more places against tougher enemies, terrain and weather and it doesn’t matter if death comes from a bullet, starvation or frostbite — you’re still dead.

–  Imiss07

 

 

What’s it like to drop MDMA with the girl you love?

We dropped 100mg each before we left our AirBnB to go to a nightclub downtown. The roll didn’t kick in until about an hour in, but when it did, wow. We danced for hours together on a crowded dance floor in our own little world. I held her in my arms and moved to the music. We would go from fast moving dancing, to her resting her head on my shoulders. When we got warm, we would share a cigarette and embrace each other in the cool air. Around 12:30am, we dropped another 50mg at the club and the roll continued. Every minute that passed felt like an hour. The night seemed to last forever.

When we called our Lyft around 2am, we dropped another 50mg. The whole car ride was spent holding each other’s hands and her resting in my arms. When we got back, the last redose was starting to hit, and man the teeth started to chatter. We laid down on the bed and just kissed and cuddled with each other for a little bit. We got undressed and made love to each other.

The whole night we were just silly and in-tune with each other. We dropped another 50mg around 3am to wrap up the night. The time we spent together that night felt like it lasted forever and it’s something I won’t ever forget. When we were dancing, it felt like the two of use were one. When we were in the bath, her laying on top of me, I could feel her emotions. And when we fell asleep in each other’s arms, I didn’t want the moment to end. We didn’t fall asleep until the sun came up.

We grew closer to each other more that night more than the whole year we’ve known each other. I wouldn’t trade our experience for the world.

 

 

Why are most people broke?

North American perspective: The root problem that causes most people to be broke isn’t necessarily “overspending”. That topic has been discussed a billon times over. We eat out too much. We buy too many clothes. We upgrade our phones too often. We go on too many vacations. We get it.

The root problem is WHY we’re able to consume to excess in the first place… and the answer to that is credit. It’s very easy to become broke when the money you spend isn’t yours to begin with… because any money you do come into, you’ll automatically owe to someone.

Credit is toxic because it enables money to magically appear out of nowhere, in a way that is accessible to you for monthly payments that seem more affordable than the actual amount you’re borrowing. Don’t have $20,000 in the bank for a brand new car? It’s okay! Just finance it for $300 per month over 72 months. Much easier to stomach spending $300 right away than $20,000 once you finally save it up, right?

Side note: Of course you can save up, say, $5,000 or so and buy an older car for cash. But in our society, there is more stigma to driving an older car and looking poor, than there is to having a brand new car that you borrowed money to buy. People would rather BE broke than look broke.

Similarly, you may not have $500 in the bank to join your friends on a weekend getaway. But if you put it on your credit card, you can pay it down at $100 or so per month… meaning it doesn’t matter that you don’t actually have the money. Because with credit, you can make decisions as if you do.

This is how North Americans think. Money is a largely abstract concept to them, in that the amount of money in their bank account is generally irrelevant to most decisions that involve money. If you’re buying a car, you’ll just make the monthly payments. If you’re doing a renovation, you’ll take a line of credit out on your house. If you’re buying a new outfit, you’ll put it on a credit card and sort it out later. It’s not so much about what you have… as it is about what you have access to.

Growing up, I was naive to the way credit was used. I always thought that if a $20,000 car costs $20,000… or if a $1,000 computer costs $1,000, or a $5,000 vacation costs $5,000, then you have to have that money ready to go. Like, if it costs $5,000, you have to have $5,000 in your bank account, don’t you? How else could you possibly pay for it?

My brain calculated it as “If I earn $10 per hour, and that computer costs $1,000, then I need to work about 100 hours, or about two and a half weeks full time to buy that computer”. Likewise, I figured that for an adult who earns $30 per hour, they would need to work about 30-something hours to buy it, and that’s just how people bought things. It seemed pretty straightforward…

Then as I saw the spending patterns of adults who I worked with, I knew this was impossible. There had to be something beyond the surface with the way these people spent money. People owned condos, bought lunch every day, came to work in new clothes on a regular basis, went on vacations to exotic places, bragged about the places they went to for dinner, the lot.

I could only think one thing… Where the HELL could all of this money possibly be coming from?!

Then I began to pay a little more attention, and it all made sense…

Notice how the only “actual” funds that they have to support these things, are the payments they are making towards these debts. As in, you use debt to pay for things, and then cash to pay parts of that debt… as opposed to just using cash to pay for the things in the first place. It’s nearly unheard of to simply pay for something with actual money.

You’re probably thinking… “Okay, but they have a job… So it’s impossible for them to be broke, isn’t it?”

Not really, actually. Let’s go with a $1,500 semi-monthly paycheck. At the end of each month, you’ll have $3,000. Not really “broke”, right?

Well, let’s just say you get a lot closer to “broke” when that money gets distributed to your various debt obligations, which are the glue that hold the average person’s life together. Just illustratively…

Side note: Since you can use credit cards everywhere, the way people think is that the amount of money that you “have” is whatever is in your bank account, plus whatever your credit limit is. So if you have $200 in your bank account and $5,000 of available credit, you “have” $5,200. That ability, combined with the stigma of saying “I don’t have the money” is exactly why even above-average income earners can appear well-to-do by never declining anything based on money, while actually being broke.

Remaining account balance after mortgage/car loan/credit cards: $200

Then you’ve got your utility bills, internet, phone, cable, and other such things… and before you know it, you’re at $0.00!

Observing this behaviour went a very long way in explaining both how everyone I worked with seemed to be living well, but yet they’re still broke despite working full-time jobs.

My conclusion was this… the North American economy is basically a complex weave of credit instruments in which illusionary dollar figures move from one balance sheet to another, and virtually no one has an actual “cash” balance to their name, beyond short-term holdings for servicing various debts.

This mentality isn’t even completely consumer-driven. It goes far deeper than the consumers themselves…

That is how deeply-rooted our credit dependence is… you are often REQUIRED to use credit for many types of purchases, even if you have the cash.

Think about how absolutely sick that is… even if you HAVE real money, there are many cases in which you cannot USE it!

So, if I had to simplify my answer to “Why are most people broke?” by keeping it to one sentence, it would be “Because everybody owes somebody.”

It never ends. As long as you owe something to somebody, it’s difficult to save up any money to have actual cash on hand. Especially because any money you can save, is better off being put towards your debts. No point earning less than 1% in a savings account when your credit cards are charging you 19.99%, right?

As long as you owe money to somebody, it’s difficult to “have” any money, because at any time that you possess money, it “belongs” somewhere else.

In the simplest sense, this is how being “broke” works. It has absolutely nothing to do with your income or earning power. It has to do with how much of your earnings are payable to your creditors. Which, for a lot of people, is 100%.

Of course, you can “plan” your monthly debt payments and “put aside” money in a savings account. But even if you have $5,000 in savings and still owe $20,000 between your car loan and credit cards… how is that supposed to help anything? Your net worth is still -$15,000! In fact, because you’re keeping that $5,000 in the bank doing nothing and paying interest on the full $20,000, you are becoming even MORE broke, just so you can “feel less broke”.

These problems don’t exist as much in places like Europe, where credit isn’t common, or at all in Islamic countries where most forms of credit are illegal. If you need something in those places, you pay for it with YOUR money. If you do not have enough money for it, you cannot afford it. It’s simple.

By comparison, more than 60% of North Americans can’t come up with $1,000 on short notice, even for a “necessary” expense like a car repair [1]… Because every single dollar that they earn is spoken for before it even reaches their bank account.

THAT is why most North Americans are broke. It’s not because they’re not making money. It’s because…

In even simpler terms…

If you’re North American, this probably sounds like you or someone you know. The economy here is almost completely dependent on credit. Which is an easy way to get into debt… and an even easier way to be broke, no matter how much money you earn.

– Maxwell Arnold