Best Vietnam Tours

Sponsored
Saigon Food Tour

Vietnam Tour Quora

Muhammad Ali & the Vietnam War: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Muhammad Ali & the Vietnam War: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know


Heavy.com

Muhammad Ali was extremely vocal when it came to his stance on serving in the Vietnam war. Read the details here.

Why Are There So Few Conservatives in Academia?

Why Are There So Few Conservatives in Academia?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Jordan Boyd Graber:

I'm a professor. I'm fairly centrist (fiscally conservative, socially liberal, generally pro-market libertarian), which makes me very right-wing compared with my colleagues. I would have definitely been a Republican in the past century (before the Southern strategy) and was actually registered as one until recently, partially for game theoretic reasons. At the national level, I've donated to more Republicans (Mitt Romney, John Huntsman, and Ron Paul) than Democrats (Lawrence Lessig).

There are three big reasons that conservatives are hard to find in university faculties: intellectual consistency, anti-science trends by conservatives, and social pressure.

Intellectual consistency. As professional “thinkers” (however pretentious that sounds), academics value intellectual consistency and people who can articulate sound policies. However, all of this century's top-ticket Republicans have lacked this essential trait. Thus, philosophical consistency has prevented me from voting for any Republican presidential candidate since I've been able.

  • George W. Bush, a big-government Republican, was unabashedly anti-intellectual and surrounded himself with evil, lying people; he expanded the debt and entitlements and brought more religion into government (all anathema to me). He also handled the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan completely incompetently.
  • I really wanted to vote for John McCain, and I'm still upset about Bush's dirty tricks in South Carolina (see above) that stole the primary from one of the most honorable politicians in the U.S. I think campaign finance reform is the most important issue in America, and I think McCain would actually have the guts to do something about it. However, when such an old candidate chooses a vapid religious fundamentalist as his running mate, I simply cannot vote for him (if only he'd picked Joe Lieberman, Romney, Tim Pawlenty, or Huntsman).
  • I liked Romney until he completely abandoned Romneycare, which was completely intellectually dishonest (it was developed by the Heritage Foundation!). I ended up voting for Gary Johnson instead out of protest.
  • 2016 is so much worse.

I suspect that many of my centrist colleagues feel similarly.

(The local level is a different matter. There, Republicans are more consistently pro-development and anti-NIMBY. They also are more supportive of nuclear energy and reasonable policies on GMOs. I’ve often voted for Republicans at county and city levels, but given the places I’ve lived they never have a chance anyway, so it’s a bit of a protest vote.)

Another issue is that Republicans have been increasingly anti-science, hounding federal funding agencies looking for “fraud” and “waste” and pursuing witch hunts against climate scientists. That deeply offends intellectuals both at a philosophical level and at a practical level, since we depend on state and federal funding.

Social pressure. Finally, the few “conservatives” that are in academia tend to keep their mouths shut. If we're in a science discipline, we can just steer conversation to our personal lives or business to keep things running smoothly. Or we concentrate on issues where we agree with our peers (education, equal rights, immigration reform, how Donald Trump is a buffoon).

Why are there so few conservative university professors? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Northern Vietnam in one week: The ultimate guide

Northern Vietnam in one week: The ultimate guide

by Ellie Abraham @ Intrepid Travel Blog

From big cities brimming with foodie fun, to landscapes so surreal they will blow your mind, Northern Vietnam sure won't disappoint.

The post Northern Vietnam in one week: The ultimate guide appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Split: The Croatian city that should be on your radar

Split: The Croatian city that should be on your radar

by Sarah Tate @ Intrepid Travel Blog

While Split may never shine as brightly as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ by tourist standards, general consensus among the locals is that they wouldn’t have it any other way.

The post Split: The Croatian city that should be on your radar appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Digital Detox: why you should go analogue for your next trip

Digital Detox: why you should go analogue for your next trip

by James Shackell @ Intrepid Travel Blog

What if you had to travel without the collected knowledge of humanity in your pocket? Relying only on analogue technology. What a challenge that would be.

The post Digital Detox: why you should go analogue for your next trip appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Is Tesla Gearing Up to Compete With Uber?

Is Tesla Gearing Up to Compete With Uber?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Jeremy Arnold, business analyst:

Here’s the thing about Elon Musk: He doesn’t spend a lot of energy worrying about what others are up to. His focus is on evolution, on creating the future. I don’t suspect that Tesla’s market position vis-à-vis Uber was really a consideration when he wrote his blog post outlining his new master plan. He just came up with a blueprint he felt was the right solution for a significant problem. When you’re the one birthing the industry, competition is a healthy symptom of your own success.

Now, is this bad news for Uber? Absolutely—but perhaps not in the way we’d think. This runs deeper than a fight for market share. This is about the clash of two very different types of organizations—or, if you will, two distinct visions of capitalism.

Uber is best understood as an Amazon clone built on the Jeff Bezos premise: borrow aggressively, grow to scale, then solve for ethics. The unintended consequences (“externalities” in economic speak) are a problem for a future day, which tends to be regularly postponed at each growth point. It’s the “creative destruction” argument on steroids.

Now, it should be noted that Joseph Schumpeter, the one who coined that phrase, also suggested that this way of thinking, however productive, had an expiration date. It was his opinion that this sort of capitalism would both “break the barriers that impeded its progress” while simultaneously “destroying the buttresses that prevented its collapse.”

In layman’s terms? If you move too fast and break too many things, you end up breaking things you end up needing, like the support of government and the existence of a class of workers who can afford your products. As we can see with the Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump movements, Schumpeter was on to something.

This is where Tesla (along with sister company SolarCity) is really a unique premise. Musk is a good student of history. He’s stolen bits from a dozen different models. But his mission was always constructed with externalities in mind. He understands that progress comes with messy costs. But he’s also of the persuasion that they can (and should) be controlled and minimized. So, while he works to create products that will unemploy millions, he also works to create ecosystems that will both cushion the fall and give them a means of bouncing back.

Uber, in stereotypical Silicon Valley fashion, has made grandiose claims about how it’s connecting the world, creating a better future, yada yada. But its actions don’t really reflect a deep concern about the future. Its endgame is creating a fleet of vehicles running on AI controls and its own commerce platform. It offers value to customers, sure, but the real objective is its own bottom line.

This isn’t to say that Tesla is a humanitarian NGO. It’s certainly going to make a healthy profit. But it’s not trying to sell services-as-a-commodity like Uber (i.e., where both the car and the revenue are theirs). It’s offering a commodity with benefits (i.e., you buy the car, then recoup some of your costs by letting Tesla lend it out when you aren’t using it). It offers the same downstream upsides, but in a more egalitarian way.

While it’s true that Musk has become the second coming of Tesla (the person) in terms of public idolatry, it’s hard to say it isn’t somewhat deserved. Let’s consider just a single line from the “master plan” in question: “I thought our chances of success were so low that I didn't want to risk anyone's funds in the beginning but my own.”

That’s simply not a thing you really hear in the startup world. It kind of defies the whole point of corporate capitalism—where the financial risks are externalized for the sake of promoting creativity and big thinking. Musk, as per usual, is operating by his own playbook.

There are more layers to this, such as Tesla’s possible incorporation of Ethereum, but the moral here is simpler than all that: There are two companies with subtly but directly opposing philosophies—one rooted in pursuing profits at the expense of changes to the world, and one rooted in seeking profits as a means of changing the world.

I’d suggest that difference is substantial.

Does Elon Musk's latest Tesla blog post mean that Tesla is positioning itself as an Uber competitor? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Lost Vegas: six ways to get off the Strip in Sin City

Lost Vegas: six ways to get off the Strip in Sin City

by Emily Kratzmann @ Intrepid Travel Blog

If you’d rather hold onto your hard-earned cash, there’s heaps of stuff to do in Vegas that doesn't require a casino.

The post Lost Vegas: six ways to get off the Strip in Sin City appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

8 beaches in Vietnam you have to visit

8 beaches in Vietnam you have to visit

by Rebecca Shapiro @ Intrepid Travel Blog

The best beaches in Vietnam – all turquoise waters and white-sand wonders – are destinations you don't want to miss. Here are a few of our favorites.

The post 8 beaches in Vietnam you have to visit appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Looking for a day tour? Meet Urban Adventures

Looking for a day tour? Meet Urban Adventures

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Scored some free time in Split? Got a day to kill in Nairobi before your trip starts? Introducing Urban Adventures – small group day tours with a difference.

The post Looking for a day tour? Meet Urban Adventures appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Meet the American couple who road-tripped for 10 years nonstop

Meet the American couple who road-tripped for 10 years nonstop

by Rebecca Shapiro @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Introducing journalist Karen Catchpole and photographer Eric Mohl, a couple whose road trip is the definition of epic. It's been a decade, and they're still going strong...

The post Meet the American couple who road-tripped for 10 years nonstop appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How Do You Get the Most Out of a Lunch Break?

How Do You Get the Most Out of a Lunch Break?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Nela Canovic, productivity hacker, writer, and Silicon Valley entrepreneur:

One hour is a long time, enough to feed your body as well as your brain. Here are some ideas:

Make your own lunch, and bring it to work. It doesn't take long, and you can prep the night before. In a glass container with a lid, pack some leftovers from your dinner with a few fresh vegetables on the side that you can dress up with some olive oil and lemon juice, a dressing you like, or just have them to snack on (think carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, kale, olives, etc). Or make a sandwich. Bring a snack, too. Then find a place to eat, maybe on a patio of your building or while sitting on a bench in a park nearby—somewhere you can enjoy your meal and eat it mindfully.

Benefits? It's way less expensive. It's less likely you will gain weight, which tends to happen more when eating out, mostly because you don't know all the ingredients that go into a restaurant meal as opposed to the meal you prepare where you can choose healthier options. Not to mention the portions are bigger in cafeterias and restaurants. You focus on what you are eating, and you feel fuller than you'd feel in a more distracting environment. Time for lunch: 15 minutes. 

What to do with the rest of your hour?

Go for a walk. It's good to keep moving after a meal, and you also give your brain some much needed rest. Monitor your steps with a pedometer or one of the many apps you can download on your phone (try Runtastic); most phones already come with a built-in health app that automatically logs your steps daily. You will see how easily you can log the time and make progress every single day.

Feed your mind. Select something interesting to listen to on your walk. It can be an audiobook or a podcast, such as Planet Money (stories on things smart people do, economics, world politics), Radiolab (show about curiosity, interesting ideas, science, philosophy), the Inquiry (a debate on a controversial topic in the news and four experts challenging one another with two views, for and against the topic), Question of the Day (a show for people short on time and long on curiosity, with a lot of good humor in trying to answer the question at hand), Achieve Your Goals (practical advice and strategies on becoming successful and interviews with famous authors and industry experts), Optimize With Brian Johnson (condensed big ideas from the best books on optimal living and microclasses on how to apply these ideas to everyday life, or Happier With Gretchen Rubin (a fun show led by best-selling author of The Happiness Project with small ideas you can apply to your life to exercise your happiness muscle).

Dream big. In the last five to 10 minutes of walking back to your office, make a plan to dedicate an hour later in the day to something that's important to your personal development. Have you been learning to code in your spare time? Plan out your progress, and think about which new materials you need or which tutorial you could look up online to get you going. Are you planning a trip abroad? Brainstorm a list of things you need to do and to find out about before booking your ticket. Learning a new language? Think about who you could ask for advice on which materials are optimal for your learning experience, and plan a trip to the bookstore or library to read up on learning techniques that can impact your progress. Write down these ideas when you get back to your desk so you remember them for later. Then schedule these activities into your day, your week, your month. Make your personal development your top priority, and work consistently—even in small increments—toward your goals.

How do I maximize my one-hour break at work? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

★★★ The Orchid Villa Dalat, Da Lat, Vietnam

★★★ The Orchid Villa Dalat, Da Lat, Vietnam


Booking.com

The Orchid Villa Dalat offers accommodations in Da Lat. Da Lat Market is 1.1 miles away. The accommodation features a flat-screen TV with cable channels.

How to see the best of Bali, minus the crowds

How to see the best of Bali, minus the crowds

by Jen Welch @ Intrepid Travel Blog

From hot springs to spring rolls, rolling rice terraces to volcano climbs at sunrise… need I continue? This place is awesome. Go.

The post How to see the best of Bali, minus the crowds appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How a road trip with my mum changed what I thought of Australia

How a road trip with my mum changed what I thought of Australia

by Isabelle Liekens @ Intrepid Travel Blog

This wasn’t the first time we had travelled together, but travelling in Australia was a completely different experience to what we were used to.

The post How a road trip with my mum changed what I thought of Australia appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How Do You Cope With Getting Laid Off?

How Do You Cope With Getting Laid Off?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Nela Canovic, productivity hacker, writer, and Silicon Valley entrepreneur, on Quora:

Here are five things you can do if you know you're getting laid off:

First, resist getting emotional about it.

Layoffs are more common than you think. Think of this time in your career as an opportunity to build up your resilience to changes in the economy and to be more flexible in managing your career path. Step one: Avoid blame. Whether it's blaming your manager, other team members, or yourself for not performing better, chances are you'll be wasting precious time. Why bother? You're better off accepting the situation and focusing on something positive you will gain from it. Acknowledge that you still have two whole weeks at your disposal to prepare for making the transition.

Second, make the most of the time that remains. Be smarter with the time you have left in your current role.

First, write your entire job description in detail. This will be helpful for when you update your résumé and prepare for your job search. List and describe all the projects you're working on, your skill set and how you're applying it, all your deliverables (past and present), and quantified results (number of new clients you've acquired, dollar amount you've saved by implementing a new tool, amount of time saved on a project due to process improvement you introduced to the team).

Next, ask your manager for feedback on your performance. It may not be something you want to do given the circumstances, but it can be valuable for learning what to avoid or which additional skill you can develop that can help your career. In many cases the reasons behind layoffs aren't due to employee performance but due to budget cuts or office politics. It very well might not have anything to do with you.

Finally, if you're on good terms with your manager and co-workers, ask to use them as a reference during your job search. When you get to the final round of interviews for your next job, in most cases you'll be asked to share up to three references. Be sure that you list people who know your work well and who you can trust to share your knowledge, expertise, and skills set with a potential employer.

Third, take stock of your finances. Make an assessment of your options after you've been laid off. Ask yourself: Do you have savings that will cover a few months' worth of living expenses? Can you apply for unemployment benefits? Are you able to move in with a family member or a roommate until you get a new job? Are there any unnecessary expenses you could cut back on until you're more financially stable? Are you fine with getting a part-time job that can help pay the bills while you are applying for a full-time role?

Write down all your options and estimate how much money you'll need in the next few months. The sooner you know how you stand financially, the sooner you can make a plan about what you need to do next.

Fourth, start your job search. It's the perfect time to start while you're still employed. And it doesn't have to take up a lot of your time right now. Make a promise to dedicate only an hour or two this week to strategize what you'd like to do next regarding your career.

Write down which new job you want: Is it the same role you've had before? Is it a different role where you could also use your skills? Would you like to work in a smaller company or a bigger one? What would be a description of the role you'd like (responsibilities, skill set, goals, deliverables)? Put everything down on paper.

Revamp your résumé. Highlight the skills you've developed in your last job, create a concise summary at the top of the first page, and use keywords throughout your resume that will get recruiters' attention. Save your resume in an MS Word or Google Doc format (so you can edit it when you need to) as well as a PDF (so it looks professional).

Start your job search. LinkedIn and Indeed are excellent sites to get started. If you haven't already, create a profile on each site and upload your resume so that it is ready when you apply for jobs.

Narrow your search. This is a good time to focus on the companies that are interesting to you. Instead of applying for dozens of jobs that only match the title you want to have, look up companies that promote the work ethic you admire, that are doing well financially, and that foster a corporate culture you'd feel comfortable in. Try to find out if there is anyone in your network who already works there, and ask them for an insider's point of view. Look up what other employees are saying about the company on Glassdoor.

Finally, plan a daily routine for the days after you leave your job. There are several benefits to structuring your day: You make the transition from being employed to unemployed much easier, you can maximize each day to work on creating a better future for yourself, and you may even feel calmer knowing in advance what your day is going to look like.

Plan on getting up early each day, just like you're used to right now. Make the most of your mornings by doing a short workout (start with 15 minutes), having breakfast, then working on your job search early when your brain is well-rested. Don't forget about socializing in the afternoons: You can reach out to a friend, go out for a cup of coffee, ride your bike, or take a walk. Dedicate your evenings for doing something you enjoy, such as reading a book, watching a film, writing, painting, or working on developing a skill you've always wanted to focus on but didn't have time to do.

If you knew you were being laid off in two weeks, what would you do? originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. More questions:

What’s an Example of an Authentic Portrayal of a Trans Character in Film or TV?

What’s an Example of an Authentic Portrayal of a Trans Character in Film or TV?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Jae Alexis Lee, transgender woman:

When I think about transgender characters in media, one of the things that we discuss so often is that the overwhelming majority of trans characters are portrayed negatively, heaped in negative stereotype or sunk deep into transition stories that serve as little more than a lens for the cisgender audience to view a portion of what trans people experience on their journeys. Even then, positive depictions of trans characters are often forced into narrow roles where the whole of their story is about transition or the character is intended to build audience attachment just before killing the character for dramatic effect.

We have a shortage of authentic portrayals of trans characters in media which makes it hard for many of us, as trans people, to find characters we can connect to. But sometimes, you get something special, something that can resonate with the trans audience in a way that the endless parade of stock tropes and stereotypes never will. Something that makes you cry in both happy and sad ways because it’s so genuine.

Nomi Marks in Sense8 made me cry because the character hit so close to home. Because there were so many parts of her experience that I could relate to in a visceral way and it really blew me away because I have never related to a character that strongly before.

Some of the things they did in setting up Nomi’s character were a little blatant and cliché, but they’re also things that happen. Watching her stuck in a hospital where she’s referred to by her dead name (the name a trans person was known by before transitioning) by doctors and staff because her mother refuses to accept her gender identity (and also constantly dead-names her). I think lots of us have family that refuse to accept our identity. That’s part of why this really struck home for me. Seeing her family bar her girlfriend from visiting is another pain that LGB people have known for far too long.

Beyond that, what I love about Nomi is that the fact that she’s a trans woman that is neither erased or made to be a significant plot point. We’re not seeing a coming out story. We’re not seeing a desperately trying to transition story. We’re seeing a trans woman living her life. For lots of us, life after transition doesn’t mean you stop being trans. The fact that you’re trans can show up in odd ways but, just like trans people’s lives are about a lot more than just transitioning, Nomi’s character is fully realized as more than just a cardboard cutout of a trans woman.

There’s this scene that I love when they introduce the character Bug who knew Nomi before she transitioned. When the conversation starts, Bug looks around and says: “Where’s Mike?” to which she responds “It’s me. I’m … Mike.”

I’ve had that moment. Sometimes I run into old students that I haven’t seen since years before I transitioned. When I say hi I get this moment of “Um, who are you?” That sort of thing doesn’t stop happening; it’s just a part of life, and it’s a part of life I can relate to. Later in this conversation (not in the clip), Bug says, “I got a serious hard-on when this showed up,” and Nomi’s response: “I know what you mean” completely throws him off for a moment. I about died laughing because, yes, this happens so much.

What I love most about Nomi though is that, while the fact that she’s trans remains part of the story, it is rarely center stage which lets her get on with being the truly badass hacker and team coordinator that she is. She isn’t a lens for the cisgender audience to look at trans issues through, she’s a trans woman that we, as trans women, can relate to.

The fact that the actress who plays her (Jamie Clayton) is actually trans and that the Wachowskis, who are two of the writers/producers of the show, are also trans lends a lot of legitimacy to how the character is handled. I, for one, love it, and I hope we get to see a lot more of things like this.

What are some examples of realistic transgender characters in fiction? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

How Does NASA Use Underwater Missions to Prepare for Space?

How Does NASA Use Underwater Missions to Prepare for Space?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Robert Frost, instructor and flight controller in the flight operations directorate at NASA, on Quora:

The NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations, or NEEMO, project has a charter to extend human presence across the solar system by the affordable and innovative use of spaceflight analogs.

It's a facility that allows NASA to work toward its goals while simultaneously performing experiments that further fields such as marine biology and geology, in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Operating in the underwater environment involves similar challenges and hazards to operating in space. If something goes wrong, the crew cannot quickly be evacuated (there is a 15-hour decompression required), so the space flight resource management skills are tested in a realistic environment in which safety must remain a constant portion of the crew’s focus.

NEEMO 21 is a 16-day mission with a variety of experiments on the time line. These include testing a mini DNA sequencer, a medical telemetry device, operations software, and optical communications equipment; performing simulated spacewalks to collect geological and marine biology samples; working with underwater remote operating vehicles; restoring coral and developing a coral nursery; and testing Mars analog operations (crew and ground working together with 15-minute delay in communications).

What is NASA studying with the NEEMO 21 mission? originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.  More questions:​

Is Newton’s Principia Still Relevant?

Is Newton’s Principia Still Relevant?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Paul Mainwood, degrees in physics and philosophy:

I would love to know how many people in the world today have actually read Isaac Newton’s Principia. They don’t have to have read it in the original Latin, just a decent translation into English or their own native languages. But they do have to have read it all the way through.

I’d be surprised if the answer was more than a few hundred. This isn’t for lack of access. There’s a free online version in English that anyone can browse to his or her heart’s content.

I certainly haven’t read it all, despite the fact that I spent several years studying the history and philosophy of physics at a postgraduate level and have written a paper on the interpretation of philosophical arguments that Newton employs. I’ve read bits of it, but not the whole thing. I tried, and I failed. It’s too obscure, too dense, too idiosyncratic.

Newton’s Principia is hideously out of date, and it bears no relation to how physics is done by anyone today—or for the past couple hundred years. It’s not even clear that it bears much relation to how Newton did physics.

For a start, the book involves no calculus. When Newton wrote Principia, he was still somewhat secretive about his “method of fluxions,” so he translated his arguments into the “geometrical style.” Given that many of the problems he addresses are much more easily framed in terms of calculus, this makes his geometrical arguments almost willfully obscure. In many cases, you can see through the mess of lines and curves he creates to the simpler calculus approach he was actually following. In other cases, his methods are just baffling.

It’s probably easier to display one of the pages than to argue this in the abstract:

Second, Newton’s topics make no sense at all today. They were chosen to suit the particular issues that he wished to address in 1687.

  • Book I is all about constructing a theory of motion under centripetal forces.
  • Book II is all about refuting Descartes’ theory of motion (which hardly anyone knows about today).
  • Book III is a pretty unsorted collection of derivations using tools introduced in the first part (e.g., the motions of comets), plus some philosophical musings.

None of this bears much resemblance to how Newtonian mechanics is introduced, taught, and used today.

The laws of motion that Newton first clearly stated and wielded in Principia are of course still relevant. They are used in a surprisingly large amount of contemporary physics, and in the vast majority of engineering and technical work done today. But they are not used in the way Newton used them. Even at an introductory level, the laws are stated and applied within a larger framework that Newton never appealed to (a framework that, ironically, owes much to Descartes and Leibniz). For more advanced work, they are reformulated according to a series of innovations that were constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries, principally through the work of Lagrange and Hamilton.

But the actual work itself? Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica was out of date almost as soon as Newton wrote it.

Is Isaac Newton's Principia out of date now? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Faces of Cape Town: A day tour with a difference

Faces of Cape Town: A day tour with a difference

by The Common Wanderer @ Intrepid Travel Blog

As our white SUV swings around the corner and begins the steep drive into Imizamo Yethu, the leafy mansion-lined streets of Cape Town’s wealthy Constantia instantly fade from memory...

The post Faces of Cape Town: A day tour with a difference appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Havana good time: Tips for solo female travelers in Cuba

Havana good time: Tips for solo female travelers in Cuba

by Sarah Simons @ Intrepid Travel Blog

I love the autonomy of traveling on my own, feeling free to make plans (and friends) at leisure. Thankfully, Cuba is perfect for solo travelers. Here's what I learned on a recent trip there...

The post Havana good time: Tips for solo female travelers in Cuba appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

#RumTheWorldTour – Episode 4: Cuba – Back to the future – but for how long?

by BainRo @ LegendaryTrips

This article is part of the “Rum the World Tour” by Laura (but call her LOLO!), who embarked on a Rum trip around the world and is sharing her experience on her blog and LegendaryTrips! Previous articles: #1 Introducing the extraordinary adventures of Lolo in 15 countries! #2 RumTheWorldTour – Episode 1: Exploring Trinidad #3 RumTheWorldTour […]

The post #RumTheWorldTour – Episode 4: Cuba – Back to the future – but for how long? appeared first on LegendaryTrips.

We sent an internet addict on a trip without phones. This is what happened

We sent an internet addict on a trip without phones. This is what happened

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

No phone. No internet. No cheating.

The post We sent an internet addict on a trip without phones. This is what happened appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Nicky Ng, an additive worm on Quora in Can Tho, Vietnam

Nicky Ng, an additive worm on Quora in Can Tho, Vietnam


Coroflot

I'm a generalist. I love to know a bit of everything. I'm a kind of INFJ.Technical skills: IT (SEO, wordpress, copywriting, online advertisings); Biological and food science (lab skills, research skills; ISO, TPM, HACCP and that sorts of thing); education (TESOL, coaching skills); Art (pencil and water color)...

Why you should take the Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu

Why you should take the Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu

by Andrea Campbell @ Intrepid Travel Blog

When I was told the Inca Trail was fully booked, I was disappointed. Hiking to Machu Picchu was the main reason I'd booked a trip to Peru. Then someone suggested an alternative I'd never heard of before: The Quarry Trail...

The post Why you should take the Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How to cross the road in Vietnam

How to cross the road in Vietnam

by Emily Kratzmann @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Why did the Intrepid traveller risk life and limb to cross the road in Vietnam? To get to the good stuff, of course.

The post How to cross the road in Vietnam appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Trekking Everest with a group tour sceptic

Trekking Everest with a group tour sceptic

by Sarah Alexander @ Intrepid Travel Blog

I learnt to respect both the path we tread and those with whom we shared it. So maybe, just maybe, I am cut out for this group travel thing.

The post Trekking Everest with a group tour sceptic appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

The joys of exploring the Galapagos Islands with my mom

The joys of exploring the Galapagos Islands with my mom

by Mirae Campbell @ Intrepid Travel Blog

This trip was the first one in a long time where she actually didn’t have to worry about a single thing, and she got to wake up and play outside and laugh with her new friends for over a week.

The post The joys of exploring the Galapagos Islands with my mom appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

The beauty of discovering Myanmar by bike

The beauty of discovering Myanmar by bike

by Annie Zimmerman @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Myanmar by bike was pure magic. The undulating hills made for excellent cycling, and the entire trip was one unique experience after another.

The post The beauty of discovering Myanmar by bike appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What’s the Best Way to Earn Respect at Work?

What’s the Best Way to Earn Respect at Work?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by John L. Miller, software engineer and architect who has worked at Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Oracle:

The path to becoming respected is simple. How do you get more respect? You earn it.

At work, here are things you can do to earn more respect:

Own your work. When you’re given a task, do it on time or early. Don’t let yourself get blocked. If you get blocked, use the time you are blocked productively for other tasks, and let someone know. If you’re going to miss a deadline, let your boss know well before that deadline lapses. If you make a commitment, honor it.

Be reliable. Admit what you know and don’t know, rather than guessing. Do good quality work that doesn’t need to be redone. Be someone your boss and team can count on.

Be helpful. Dig in and help other people in a way that is useful to them. Don’t seek credit for the work you help them with; it’s their work, and they own it. When there’s a problem and they’re looking for volunteers, volunteer if you have the capacity to do that thing, or volunteer conditionally, explaining what would have to be delayed or shunted. Do a little more than your part.

Be friendly and positive. If you have worries or negative feelings, keep them to yourself or share with your boss. Motivate people by showing you believe in what you’re doing and in the project as a whole. Smile. Work hard. Don’t get discouraged, or if you do, fight through it, working harder to fix things.

You get respect by being a person who is reliable, honest, humble, helpful, works hard, and is part of the team. At least, that’s what I believe.

In this case, you don’t sound like a team player. Your boss is doing it wrong by criticizing you in public rather than privately, but if he or she is the boss and if you’re not acting on that criticism to do better, that’s on you. If your peers really just want to see you fail, don’t fight or argue with them. Just do a good job, and don’t fail. That’s how you earn respect.

How do I earn respect at a toxic company? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Could the U.S. Have Avoided the Civil War?

Could the U.S. Have Avoided the Civil War?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Joseph Boyle:

We had many chances to avoid the Civil War, which is not to exclude the possibility of a (likely smaller and shorter) war restricted to the Deep South, either at that time or another time.

First, it was united American independence that set up the sectional conflict of equals. Britain was the greatest anti-slavery force of the time, and eliminating slavery needed to be a joint effort of Britain and the North, as suppression of the African slave trade had been since 1808. If both had been united with the South or both separate from the South, they would have approached anti-slavery in unison, pressing it only when they could apply the overwhelming force of both, making resistance impossible.

Second, the first wave of American abolition succeeded in half of the states, not three-fourths. Abolition never had a chance in the Deep South, but Virginia came close.

Next, it was mismanagement of the U.S.’s Pacific expansion that nearly led to war. The 1821 Adams-Onís Treaty unnecessarily renounced claim to East Texas, where American settlers were already arriving, leading to the Texas Revolution and Mexican-American War. The 1818 U.S.-U.K. negotiators were agreed on how to divide Oregon Country except for western Washington, but not getting this on paper allowed false hopes for BC to develop, which James Polk pandered to in the 1844 campaign, then sold out to free his hands to make war on Mexico for Southern expansion, angering Northern Democrats enough to pass the Wilmot Proviso denying any spoils to the South, leading to a four-year deadlock, after which the South was ready to go to war for the Southern California and New Mexico it felt it was owed. The Compromise of 1850 avoided war for the moment but left the South on edge and inflamed against Northern abolitionism.

The politics of the following decade seemed designed to convert the conflict to all-or-nothing. Squatter sovereignty led straight to Bleeding Kansas. The Kansas-Nebraska Act removed the time-honored 36°30’ divider.* The Dred Scott decision put the North in fear of slavery expanding north, and then the John Brown raid put the South in fear of abolition and race war expanding south.

The 1860 election broke American politics, but the Upper South still refused to join the Deep South in secession. Virginia was less secessionist than Kentucky, and Western interests detesting Eastern planters were growing in power and close to taking control of the legislature, where they would have stripped slavery of tax and legal advantages, accelerating its decline and emigration of pro-slavery elements farther South. After several votes against secession, the Sumter crisis and call for troops just before the state convention disbanded led to a surprise snap secession, next joined by Tennessee, North Carolina, and Arkansas, doubling the Confederate white population, bringing it to the gates of Washington, and handing it the most skilled officers. Any delay or secrecy in the Sumter crisis and response could have averted this until the Kentucky neutrality convention sealed Virginian neutrality. Naval invasion of the Deep South would have followed—this was anyway the only early success of the early war, taking the Confederacy's largest city of New Orleans. Without being bogged down in Virginia, Northern forces would also have taken Charleston in the first year.

*Correction, July 26, 2016: Due to an editing error, this post misstated that the Missouri Compromise removed the 36°30’ divider. The Missouri Compromise created the divider; the Kansas-Nebraska Act effectively removed it.

Was there any chance of avoiding the American Civil War? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

A walking tour of Paris’ best foodie haunts (with handy step-by-step map)

A walking tour of Paris’ best foodie haunts (with handy step-by-step map)

by James Shackell @ Intrepid Travel Blog

When I landed in Paris for the first time, I spent a happy few hours Googling the best baguette, the most celebrated croissant, a critically acclaimed salted caramel.

The post A walking tour of Paris’ best foodie haunts (with handy step-by-step map) appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Why travel is better when it’s spontaneous

Why travel is better when it’s spontaneous

by Ange Takats @ Intrepid Travel Blog

When it comes to travel, how many opportunities pass us by because we are so set on going to see a particular site – so determined to tick X, Y and Z off our trip to-do-list?

The post Why travel is better when it’s spontaneous appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Why New Zealand’s North Island is the trip of a lifetime

Why New Zealand’s North Island is the trip of a lifetime

by Sherry Ott @ Intrepid Travel Blog

By the time we ended our two weeks in New Zealand's North Island, our Intrepid group was like a big family to us. Here are 5 unique experiences we tried.

The post Why New Zealand’s North Island is the trip of a lifetime appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What to expect on ‘Hola Cuba’, by Americans who have been on the trip

What to expect on ‘Hola Cuba’, by Americans who have been on the trip

by Rebecca Shapiro @ Intrepid Travel Blog

At the end of a recent Hola Cuba trip, I asked a selection of American passengers just two questions: what the highlight of their trip was and what they wish they'd known prior to setting off.

The post What to expect on ‘Hola Cuba’, by Americans who have been on the trip appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How Do You Take a Good Selfie?

How Do You Take a Good Selfie?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Mira Zaslove, shutter-bug, taken thousands upon thousands of photos:

Selfies are tough, because you are both the model and the photographer. Generally, I prefer being behind the camera, rather than in front of it. However, I’ve taken my share of selfies. Most make me cringe, but there are a few things you can do to make them more successful.

Good lighting is one of the most important factors for taking a good selfie (or any photo for that matter). If you are in the sun, step into the shade. Harsh lighting is bad—shadows are unflattering and highlight bags under eyes. Artificial and florescent light can also make your skin tone look off and give you undereye bags. If you are indoors, pull up all the shades, let in as much light as possible, and stand near a window.

The best time to take a photo outdoors is one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset. If you shoot when it’s really dark, the photo will look grainy and unflattering.

Don’t use the camera flash. Direct camera flash gives you red eye and forehead glare. If you are using an off-camera flash, use a diffuser.

A good background is key. If you are somewhere really cool, snap yourself slightly to the side of the image, so you can see you and the background. Simple, clean, and nondistracting backgrounds are best. Before taking the picture, make sure to check the background. A messy room or branch coming out of your head will ruin an otherwise flattering selfie.

Angles are important. For women, take the photo from slightly above your head. Check out selfie-queen Kim Kardashian. According to OkCupid, this is the most effective angle for woman. For men: Take the photo with the camera below your head—you’ll look more masculine. Adjust your head angle and shoulders. Try a few shots to see what looks best. First straight on—parallel to the camera, then turn slightly to the left and then slightly to the right. To remove a double chin, and to accentuate your jaw line by extending your neck forward.

I love filters, but use them in moderation. Extreme editing will distract and can be ridiculous. Try to stay away from extreme contrast. The face smoothing on some pictures is just too extreme and makes you look like a wax sculpture. Not a good look.

What are some tips for taking selfies? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

5 Reasons Why Chinese Tourists Are So 'Rude' And 'Uncivilized' | Jeraldine Phneah

5 Reasons Why Chinese Tourists Are So 'Rude' And 'Uncivilized' | Jeraldine Phneah


Jeraldine Phneah Official Website

The China government has recognized this themselves. In a bold move to crack down on rude Chinese tourists, the officials have begun adding ...

Life’s a beach: why are we so drawn to the ocean?

Life’s a beach: why are we so drawn to the ocean?

by James Shackell @ Intrepid Travel Blog

The beach is the salty engine that drives global tourism. But why? What draws us to the ocean?

The post Life’s a beach: why are we so drawn to the ocean? appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

“Tourism creates jobs, jobs support families.” All your Nepal questions answered by our man on the ground

“Tourism creates jobs, jobs support families.” All your Nepal questions answered by our man on the ground

by James Shackell @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Nicholas Cowie lives with his wife and children in Budhanilkantha, Kathmandu. He was there when the earthquake struck on April 25th.

The post “Tourism creates jobs, jobs support families.” All your Nepal questions answered by our man on the ground appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What to see on a walking tour of Savannah, USA

What to see on a walking tour of Savannah, USA

by Claire Baxter @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Savannah may be one of the most beautiful cities in the USA; it’s green, it’s historic, and it’s perfect for a stroll. Here's our definitive guide to the southern city.

The post What to see on a walking tour of Savannah, USA appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Photos: this is what it looks like to cross the Nullarbor

Photos: this is what it looks like to cross the Nullarbor

by Dean Harries @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Two Poms, the Nullarbor and a beaten up Corolla named Betty. This has got Wolf Creek written all over it...

The post Photos: this is what it looks like to cross the Nullarbor appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What Are the Tactical Advantages of a Trebuchet Over a Catapult?

What Are the Tactical Advantages of a Trebuchet Over a Catapult?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Eric Lowe, classics major and historical European martial arts instructor:

A trebuchet is a device for attacking fortifications. Roughly speaking, a trebuchet has a few advantages over a catapult. First, it can handle heavier projectiles. A catapult’s maximum weight tops out at about 180 pounds; trebuchets top out at about 350. Second, compared with a torsion engine, it’s a fairly robust machine. Lastly, for a given weight of stone, the trebuchet has a longer range. The big ones there, of course, are the maximum projectile weight and range. When your objective is to smash stone fortifications, being able to throw bigger stones from farther away is certainly a desirable trait.

A catapult—well, we need to sort of redefine your idea of what a catapult is.

“Catapult” itself means shield-piercer. The things were originally designed to project darts of a size that no bow could shoot, with a range that no bow could match. The common thread among the three engines I illustrated is what’s called the “torsion spring,” the twisted skein of animal sinew that you see the arms stuck into. You can get a low-power demonstration of the idea by placing a pencil into the loop of a rubber band and then twisting the rubber band; when you let go, the twisted skein of rubber band makes the pencil whip around. That principle, writ large, is how a catapult works.

It’s important to note, therefore, that catapults do more things than trebuchets do. They were frighteningly accurate, as both ancient sources and modern reconstructions attest. Dart-throwing catapults were, I kid you not, used to snipe individual soldiers off of fortification walls from far beyond bowshot (the longest range attested for a dart-thrower is 700 yards; the longest achieved by modern reconstructions something like 400—still way beyond the effective range of any bow ever made). You can imagine how accurate, long-range anti-personnel fire could be quite useful in a siege, both to suppress defenders and simply to demoralize them. This is a capability that a trebuchet simply does not have. This is also why I list range as only a half advantage of a catapult. Because “catapult” covers a fairly wide range of machines, it’s accurate to say that trebuchets have a longer range than a catapult when projecting stones at fortifications. When it comes to the maximum range of any catapult, ever, catapults definitely have trebuchets beat. Then again, trebuchets don’t shoot darts, so the whole comparison is kind of wonky.

Now, when it comes to stone-throwing catapults, whether of the two-armed or one-armed variety, those are basically inferior to trebuchets. The one real advantage that they have is not tactical but strategic: Trebuchets require an incredible amount of wood. You just can’t take trebuchets with you on campaign, even disassembled, without the most extraordinary feats of logistics. Catapults, by comparison, are relatively portable (emphasis on the “by comparison”; a stone-throwing catapult can easily weigh upward of 2 tons). On the other hand, trebuchets only really require wood. The real guts of a catapult—the torsion springs—require the deaths of a great many cattle to provide the necessary sinew. In that sense, trebuchets are fairly cheap (assuming you’re campaigning in a part of the world where wood is abundant). On top of that, because the springiness of the torsion springs is highly sensitive to factors such as humidity, the springs require constant adjustment to maintain performance. You can imagine what it would do to accuracy if the right spring is ever so slightly looser than the left spring, and even if you’re using a one-armed catapult, you need to pay close attention to whether the spring needs to be wound tighter or looser to maintain the same point of aim. The things are heavy; you can’t just pick them up and move them if you find out that you’re hitting 50 yards short because it rained yesterday.

Speaking of movement: You can’t put one-armed catapults on wheels. I mean, you can, but if the machine has any power at all, the recoil will cause the whole frame to jump into the air a bit when it shoots, and then slam down (and remember, these things weigh thousands of pounds). That will quickly smash your wheels to bits. The normal thing to do was to place them on bales of hay to act as shock absorbers. The hay bales would themselves be pounded to bits eventually, but you can re-bale the hay a lot more easily than you can fix a cracked catapult frame.

Two-armed catapults could be put on wheels, sort of. Dart-throwers were put on carts, and evidently shot from carts, in various cultures and times. And it was also fairly common to place them in siege towers. Likewise, stone-throwing catapults were not infrequently placed in siege towers. Now, a siege tower is not a small structure. But they are technically mobile.

Trebuchets, because they don’t recoil in the same way as catapults, can be put on wheels. In fact, doing so is advantageous for their accuracy, as I understand it, because of the way it lets the whole machine absorb some of the forces involved. On the other hand, owing to how incredibly large trebuchets were, you still couldn’t pre-assemble them and take them with you on campaign.

What are the tactical advantages of a trebuchet over a catapult and vice versa? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Finding friendship, unforgettable experiences and love on an Intrepid trip

Finding friendship, unforgettable experiences and love on an Intrepid trip

by Katie Lockhart @ Intrepid Travel Blog

We had one especially grueling seven-hour bus ride but he and I talked the entire time and it ended up only feeling like one.

The post Finding friendship, unforgettable experiences and love on an Intrepid trip appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Why this is the worst photo from my trip to Bolivia

Why this is the worst photo from my trip to Bolivia

by Justin Meneguzzi @ Intrepid Travel Blog

I sound like Darth Vader. That’s all I can think as I’m sitting here in the middle of the back seat of our jeep, leaning over the centre console that contains the clear plastic oxygen mask I’m clutching to my face.

The post Why this is the worst photo from my trip to Bolivia appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Is Civility Possible in a Dungeons and Dragons game?

Is Civility Possible in a Dungeons and Dragons game?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by David Durham, dungeon master:

I have the luxury of running games with a group of very seasoned players. The game takes place every Monday evening in Atlanta, and has for more than 30 years, from 8 p.m. until midnight. Most of the participants have logged at least 10 years in the game. Five of us have been there from the beginning. Currently, there are around 12 who regularly attend, and there’s a sizable waiting list to get into it. I don’t know how unique this situation is. We may be setting records in the annuls of D&D gaming, for all I know. The campaigns are based on the game’s second edition, but we have adapted anything we like from subsequent editions and absorbed them into the mechanics of our games.

Running a game with players as experienced as the group I deal with is a challenge. They milk the rules for every advantage they can manage. Coming up with ways to challenge this bunch requires a lot of imagination. And thievery. I steal from movies, TV shows, books, short stories, and the historical record of humanity. It also requires what amounts to a law degree in D&D rules. As the DM, I act as a one-man Supreme Court. If players want a character to pull off a maneuver where the rules are somewhat ambiguous (and over 30 years this has happened a lot), I allow him to state his case, I weigh his assertions, and then I make a ruling. Applying logic to the use of things like magic can be tricky, but it can be done. You just need to be firm and as consistent as possible. This cuts down on some of the bickering.

As for bickering between players, I use a two-tiered system. There is off-the-clock bickering, where arguments erupt over what course the group should take when they've reached a point where they can realistically hash out what they should do. Maybe they're in a suite of rooms at an inn or camped outside of a town where they will attempt some sort of derring-do the next day. Then there’s on-the-clock bickering, which takes place right in the middle of the action. Bickering on-the-clock costs crucial time, and I let the players know it. While you’re arguing over minutia, various entities are closing in and this means you either resolve your debate quickly or other factors will resolve it for you.

Off-the-clock bickering can actually be good for character development. A paladin might assert that no innocents can be injured in a proposed action. A thief may then chime in and say that that’s fine, but it will require the group to be sneaky. Paladins don’t generally like being sneaky, but if it will save innocent lives, they'll acquiesce. Such debate is an opportunity to allow things like alignment, character backstories, and eccentricities to come to the forefront. The trick is to keep the debate centered on character, and again, I’m fortunate in that I’ve got a group where character is paramount. We don’t really care if your fighter is the biggest badass that ever came down the pike. Is the character interesting? Does he or she add a compelling dynamic to the overall story? A phobia regarding spiders is more interesting to us than a plus-five sword.

On-the-clock bickering can be good for character development too, but as a DM I’m going to use it to increase the tension in a given situation. Depend on that. And believe me, the players know it. As they argue, I’m subtly rolling the dice, which they hear, and the bad guys are moving in. If you make an argumentative statement in the middle of a melee, it costs you an action. You ran your mouth rather than swinging your weapon or pointing a wand. This cuts down on needless chitchat pretty effectively.

This brings us to what we in our game call “wrong reality.” Bickering in-character is one thing; getting personal regarding a player is another. When someone gets personal with a comment, be it how a particular player conducts herself in-game or whatever, such remarks are met with various players piping up with “Wrong reality!” Personal digs can cost you experience points in my game, and everybody knows it. People have been kicked out of the game for too “wrong reality” utterances. It’s rare, but it has happened. If you have a problem with how a player behaves on Monday nights, you discuss it with him outside of the game. I’ve done this a number of times, where appropriate, and it usually works out fine.

In the end it comes down to realism. Is the bickering realistic for the characters in the context of the story? If so, I let it happen. If it isn’t, if it’s wrong reality bullshit, and I make it costly.

How can I get my D&D players to cooperate instead of just bickering with each other? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Where to find the best street art in NYC

Where to find the best street art in NYC

by Ashlea Wheeler @ Intrepid Travel Blog

If you’re keen for a self-guided tour of New York City’s public art, here’s where you can find it...

The post Where to find the best street art in NYC appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Do Fish Get Sunburned?

Do Fish Get Sunburned?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Leah Alissa Bayer:

As weird as it may sound, yes, fish get sunburns.

Koi kept in ponds are particularly susceptible to sunburns, as are fish in outdoor farming facilities where overcrowding forces fish to the surface. The combination of shallow, clear water and lack of natural shading devices leaves these guys vulnerable to intense UV penetration, causing skin sores. The burns can be fatal if left untreated and unprotected.

In natural settings fish are less likely to get burned for a multitude of reasons. For one, water is usually deeper. It also does a better job at obscuring rays; turbidity from suspended solids, or discoloration from dissolved organic substances, usually provides an excellent barrier against all UV wavelengths.

And some fish actually produce their own natural sunscreen to combat the summer rays. Researchers from Oregon State University discovered that fish naturally produce the compound gadusol, which provides UV-B protection among many other things. We’ve known that bacteria, algae, and fungi produce gadusol and thought fish obtained the compound by eating the microorganisms that made it. But as a result of the study we now know they synthesize the compound on their own. So of course, as we humans do, we’re going to science the hell out of that stuff:

The discovery of the gadusol pathway in vertebrates provides a platform for understanding its role in these animals, and the possibility of engineering yeast to efficiently produce a natural sunscreen and antioxidant presents an avenue for its large-scale production for possible use in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. 

Meaning, soon we may be taking sunscreen pills, hacked from the awesome ability of fish to protect themselves against the sun. Neat!

Want more? Here are publications on natural sunscreen in fish:

Do fish get sunburned? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

These travel tips from Intrepid Travel guides will help you get the most out of your holiday

These travel tips from Intrepid Travel guides will help you get the most out of your holiday

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Nobody knows more about travelling than Intrepid Travel’s network of local leaders; the experts who lead our small tour groups. Here are their nuggets of travel advice. Tips on choosing…

The post These travel tips from Intrepid Travel guides will help you get the most out of your holiday appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What happens on tour, stays on tour: our local leaders spill the beans

What happens on tour, stays on tour: our local leaders spill the beans

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

We chatted to a few of our leaders about some of their favourite moments on Intrepid trips.

The post What happens on tour, stays on tour: our local leaders spill the beans appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How Is Wasting Water Bad for the Environment?

How Is Wasting Water Bad for the Environment?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Ava Mohsenin, communications associate at WaterNow Alliance, on Quora:

Yes, wasting water is actually bad for the environment. There are anthropocentric, biocentric, and ecocentric reasons why wasting water is bad.

Anthropocentrically, fresh water is a vital resource for the survival of our population. Seeing as less than 1 percent of the world’s water is freshwater and available for us to consume (not trapped in glaciers), there are limitations that factor into our carrying capacity as a population on Earth, including the availability and distribution of freshwater. Different countries are endowed with different stocks of freshwater, and depending on their replenishment rate and usage rate, each has varying degrees of water scarcity that need to be addressed.

Wasting water in a country where it may appear water just magically comes out of the tap (e.g. Canada, the U.S., most developed countries), is wasting a precious, vital resource that millions (about 663 million) don’t even have clean, safe access to.

Furthermore, in places where clean water is scarce, overusing or wasting household water limits the availability of it for other communities to use for drinking, cleaning, cooking, or growing—and thus contributes to disease, illness, or agricultural scarcity and starvation.

You could tack on the economic incentive to save water, as it means lower household water utility bills, one of the largest incentives for waterwise individuals or households to conserve water.

Biocentrically, other species rely on freshwater besides humans as a vital component to their survival! Overuse of freshwater in household settings means there is less fresh water for agricultural use (which affects humans on a food scarcity level), but many livestock species rely on freshwater. Also, as we divert more freshwater from aquatic environments to supplement agriculturally, many plant and animal species are threatened or can become endangered. Despite our attempts to separate man from nature, we are indeed part of one ecosystem (the biosphere), and reliant on plants and animals; therefore, sharing and properly managing our most precious resource is crucial.

Ecocentrically, wasting water while our demand for water increases (as population and standards of living increase globally) means that we need to supplement for this lack of freshwater by pulling it out of aquifers or groundwater supplies in which the regeneration rate is lower than the extraction rate. This unsustainable practice decreases long-term water security and availability.

Furthermore, and almost most importantly, water takes a lot of energy, time, and money to filter and clean so that it’s drinkable. Wasting water or overusing household water means you’re wasting the energy-intensive process of filtration. The many steps of this process—extraction, transportation, filtration, etc.—require nonrenewable fossil fuels and as these resources become depleted, their dangerous by-products such as carbon dioxide build up in the Earth’s atmosphere, contributing to your carbon footprint and the Earth’s rising temperatures.

Is wasting water actually bad for the environment? originally appeared on Quora. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

26 Real Places That Look Like They've Been Taken Out Of Fairy Tales

26 Real Places That Look Like They've Been Taken Out Of Fairy Tales


BuzzFeed

If you love fairy tales and have a serious case of wanderlust, this bucket list was made for you. Travel suggestions via this Quora thread.

Tips for getting off the beaten path in Costa Rica

Tips for getting off the beaten path in Costa Rica

by Robert Schrader @ Intrepid Travel Blog

From hidden beaches, to fluorescent rivers, to some surprising truths about the underrated capital, here's how to transcend the typical Costa Rica trip.

The post Tips for getting off the beaten path in Costa Rica appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How Has Elizabeth Holmes’ Gender Influenced the Coverage of Theranos?

How Has Elizabeth Holmes’ Gender Influenced the Coverage of Theranos?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Tirumalai Kamala, immunologist, Ph.D. mycobacteriology:

Theranos started in 2003, yet breathless news coverage about it and Elizabeth Holmes began 10 years later, around August or September 2013. This begs the question: What was happening at Theranos between 2003 and 2013? What had Holmes and Theranos done in those 10 years? We may never fully know, but we have ample media coverage to help outline what we've learned about Theranos since 2013. When the news media first introduced us to Holmes, Theranos had assembled a board of political heavyweights with heft among deep-pocketed people around the world and attracted steadily increasing investment. It also announced a partnership to open Theranos Wellness Centers inside Walgreens drug stores—the first one in Palo Alto, California, in September 2013, and it expanded to several more in the Phoenix area a month later.

Between 2013 and 2015, the only news about Theranos seemed to be good news: From 2014 to 2015m, investments increased to the tune of hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars. In 2015, Arizona passed a Theranos co-authored bill that permitted patients to order any blood test they wanted without a doctor's referral. In July 2015, the Food and Drug Administration cleared Theranos' herpes simplex virus 1 IgG test.

Clearly, the relentless news coverage about Theranos that started in fall 2013 wasn't happenstance or coincidental. Theranos and Holmes assiduously sought the limelight around the time they were teeing up to a series of hefty accomplishments to their name. Now that this story has turned ever so sour, it's important to recall that Holmes and Theranos had plenty of fawning coverage when they first came to public attention.

Under the circumstances, isn't it reasonable to expect complimentary, even adulatory coverage given the backstory of a 19-year-old Stanford University dropout who claimed to have decided to revolutionize blood testing, who then spent years in “stealth” mode, only emerging to announce her company was offering hundreds of cheaper, more accurate tests from just a drop of blood, using a proprietary microfluidics-based system it developed from scratch? Given such a singular arc, doesn't it seem reasonable that coverage would be flattering, regardless of the person's gender? And indeed, given the steady stream of cover stories, flattering coverage it was.

How could it be otherwise with awards following in short order, culminating in Holmes being named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential people in 2015? Maybe gender added some additional mystique since there are so few self-made female billionaires, but surely the early anointing had more to do with the imprimatur that came with the big money and political heavyweights associated with the Theranos brand. Back then, wouldn't it have seemed reasonable to assume that surely such investors and luminaries associating with Theranos meant its technology was solid, especially given the 10-year-long “stealth” mode development phase?

John Carreyrou's first explosive Wall Street Journal exposé came out in October when the FDA had already inspected Theranos and subsequently informed it that its proprietary “nanotainers” were unapproved medical devices that it should stop using. In other words, first major negative news of Theranos came when U.S. federal regulators had already started probing its operations and even shackled its capacity to use its proprietary technology. This implies behind-the-scenes action of some duration that we just weren't and aren't privy to. When did such scrutiny start? What triggered it? Carreyrou's reports suggest some former employees got the ball rolling by filing complaints with federal regulators.

Two months later, in January, another U.S. federal regulator, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, announced it was considering putting the screws on Theranos. However Theranos chose to address this regulator's concerns, it obviously didn't work, because in July, CMS announced it was yanking Theranos' CLIA certificate (ability to operate a clinical blood testing lab) and banning Holmes for two years from operating labs. Presumably, these federal regulators weren't motivated by gender bias, but rather by their mandate to safeguard patient safety. Isn't that a good thing?

If news coverage of Holmes turned steadily rancorous with the steady drip-drip of bad news about it, was it to do with her gender or rather the more crucial matter at hand—that Theranos' tests weren't working as promised, the regulator's concerns even going so far as to suggest patients' lives may have been exposed to jeopardy? Yes, when Theranos seemed to be on the up and up, some may have cheered her on because Holmes is a woman, and yes, when her narrative started to fray, some may have had their pitchforks out at the ready because Holmes is a woman. Whichever pair of those jaundiced eyeglasses we may choose to don, we'll likely find a narrative in news coverage to fit our bias. However, does the person's gender matter when it's about patient safety? Doesn't accountability matter when it's about patient safety, regardless of the person's gender? Shouldn't that be the issue we choose to keep front and center about this story?

How has Elizabeth Holmes' gender impacted coverage and public opinion of the issues at Theranos? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

A tribute to our friend, Victor Ongollah

A tribute to our friend, Victor Ongollah

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Last week, we lost a dear member of the Intrepid family. Victor Ongollah, one of our most popular tour leaders in East Africa, passed away on 30 April.

The post A tribute to our friend, Victor Ongollah appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

We’re launching a brand new expedition trip to Moldova. Want to come?

We’re launching a brand new expedition trip to Moldova. Want to come?

by Philippa Whishaw @ Intrepid Travel Blog

For the first time, we're stepping back into the soviet era on a special trip through Romania, Ukraine and Moldova, Europe's least-visited country.

The post We’re launching a brand new expedition trip to Moldova. Want to come? appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

The ultimate marriage test: Newlyweds tackle Mt. Kilimanjaro

The ultimate marriage test: Newlyweds tackle Mt. Kilimanjaro

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

On the fourth day of our climb it was plainly in sight, so close we felt like we could reach out and touch it—the exhaustion, the aches, pains, nighttime trips to the bathroom in below freezing temperatures with monkeys shrieking at our backs, the altitude sickness, it had all been worth it.

The post The ultimate marriage test: Newlyweds tackle Mt. Kilimanjaro appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Visiting Hong Kong? Here’s what to do, eat and drink

Visiting Hong Kong? Here’s what to do, eat and drink

by Lauren Wigham @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Described by its own tourism board – and rightly so – as “a kaleidoscope of life, a sophisticated fusion of East and West,” Hong Kong is a place like no other.

The post Visiting Hong Kong? Here’s what to do, eat and drink appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How Do You Run a Productive Meeting?

How Do You Run a Productive Meeting?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Court Showerman, controller at Quora:

The first thing I always do before a meeting is calculate the total cost of the meeting. If the meeting is an hour, add up the per-hour salary of everybody in attendance. Take the attendees’ annual salaries and divide by 2,080 to get to per-hour cost. So now let’s assume the total cost of the meeting is $500. It is my job as the meeting presenter to get $500 worth of value from that meeting.

This trick has a bunch of benefits. It forces you to keep the attendance list small because the higher the cost of the meeting, the harder it is to produce the value. But the biggest advantage is that it now makes you think before the meeting, “What needs to happen to produce $500 worth of value?” Then prepare your documents and run the meeting to make sure you achieve that goal.

Below is a process to follow to help in achieving a meeting's goals:

Have somebody take notes. It normally shouldn’t be you because running a meeting properly takes too much attention to also take notes. But taking notes and running the meeting is better than not taking notes.

Always keep the goal in mind during the meeting and tell people the goal at the beginning.

Keep discussion on topic and moving toward the goal. Sometimes that means cutting people off, and sometimes it means specifically asking for input from someone who has not yet talked.

Keep people aware of the time and the goal. “OK. There are 30 minutes left, and our goal is to agree on a solution to problem X.”

Start to wrap up five minutes before the end of the meeting.

Wrap up should summarize the meeting by repeating the goal and hopefully the decision made (or progress made, project status, etc).

Identify next steps with owners and due dates of the next steps: “The next steps are X and Y. Jane has X, and it is due in one week, and John has Y, and it is due in two days.”

Organize the notes from the meeting. Give emphasis and highlights of the important parts. Actually take the time to organize and highlight the notes and send out to all participants.

Follow up on the next steps and keep the meeting attendants informed. “Jane and John have finished X and Y, and you can see the results here.”

Running a meeting properly is hard work and time-consuming, but if you make sure to at least get the same amount of value as cost from the meeting it will be successful. Also, if you calculate the cost of the meeting and you can’t think of how to get that much value, don't have the meeting. Send an email or use a Google doc. If everybody followed this trick there would be fewer meetings, and only the necessary people would attend, which would save a lot of wasted time.

What are good principles for running a good meeting? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Is It Better to Be a “Worker Bee” or a “Killer Bee” on the Job?

Is It Better to Be a “Worker Bee” or a “Killer Bee” on the Job?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by John L. Miller, software developer who has worked at Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Oracle:

Should you stay behind the scenes and work or be aggressive and self-promotional?

It all depends on your industry and your goals. I’ve worked in software at Microsoft and other large multinationals. I’ve managed individual contributors and managers of individual contributors. I’ve alternately been quietly productive and aggressive. I prefer being more visible.

If your goal is to quietly earn a paycheck with a minimum of fuss, then being behind the scenes is a good choice. Get your work done competently, do what you’re told, and ask someone in authority when you need more to do. Don’t hide, but don’t rush to volunteer.

There are risks with the quiet path. You’re not as valuable as someone who shows leadership in addition to doing what she’s told. You’re a cog, which makes you replaceable. If the company is doing well, there’s little danger. But when lean times come or it’s time to clean house …

Further, you don’t typically have a voice in where things are going, and you find out about their directions later, which can lead to feelings of powerlessness.

Someone who is self-promotional will more often succeed at advancing and getting more responsibility and compensation. If she works in the same place for very long (a few years), however, she needs to be better than simply noticeable; she needs the hard skills to back up her claims. Otherwise she is sidelined.

People who have both hard skills and the self-promotional, cross-team leadership qualities will go far. They will typically be better rewarded than other employees. They will be given more responsibility and be promoted more quickly. They will also often be more stressed, have more demands on their time, and experience increasingly fierce competition as their career matures. They succeed big or fail big.

It comes down to ambition and the need for recognition. If you need to be broadly recognized for your contributions, if you want to move up the corporate ladder, or if you want to move past a certain pay grade, you need to be visible and self-promoting.

Or you can be a cog, a happy individual contributor, for as long as the company is willing to let you.

Is it better to be a "worker bee" or a "killer bee" in the workplace? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Why Is Miso Soup Sometimes Served With a Lid?

Why Is Miso Soup Sometimes Served With a Lid?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Kaz Matsune, founder, speaker, author, private sushi chef at Breakthrough Sushi:

There are many reasons to use a soup lid in Japanese cuisine, and many reasons why sushi restaurants in the United States may not use a lid. Here are a few ideas:

The lid keeps the soup hot and the dust out. Back in the olden days (i.e., 300-400 years ago) in Japan, the kitchen was far away from the dining area, so they used lids to keep the soup warm. The lid also kept the dust out while transporting the soup. At restaurants in the U.S., soup is served at the beginning of the meal, and it only takes a few seconds to transport, so there really is no need to use a lid to keep it warm. In a modern kitchen, there is no need to worry about keeping ashes from burning coal from the cooking fire out of the food, either.

In Japan, soup bowls with lids are for special occasions and special guests. Therefore, it's customary to use a soup bowl without a lid for regular meals at home and at most restaurants in Japan. As such, if you were to go to a high-end restaurant like a Kaiseki restaurant, it's likely that you will be served the soup with a lid. Personally, I've never been to a restaurant in the U.S. that served the soup with a lid. I'm sure there are some that choose to use a lid for more aesthetic reasons and to treat every customer as a special guest.

The lid increases the visual appeal and the surprise. Generally speaking, in Japan a soup bowl with a lid is for a clear dashi broth soup called osuimono and not for miso soup. It's perfectly OK to serve miso soup with a lid, and many will do so in Japan. It is not really OK to serve osuimono in a miso soup bowl, though.

The reason is the element of surprise when a guest opens the lid to see the beautiful layout of the ingredients inside of the soup bowl. In osuimono, you can see all the ingredients in the clear broth sitting at the bottom of the bowl, beautifully laid out. With miso soup, it’s difficult to see the bottom of the bowl.

Just like the aroma, the Japanese value the visual presentation of their food. There is a saying: “You eat with your eyes first.” There are some decorations both on the outside of the bowl and inside the lid, and they are to be praised and enjoyed just as much as the food.

Again, unless the meal is for a special guest or a special occasion, there may be no need to use a bowl with a lid, especially lacquerware soup bowls with decorations, which are relatively expensive. Also, just like with a Japanese tea ceremony, I'd guess that many people in the U.S. are unfamiliar with this practice. Therefore, many restaurants feel no need to spend extra money for the decorated soup bowls.

Opening the lid releases the aroma. What we think of as flavor is a combination of taste and aroma. Although there are only five tastes, according to a recent study, a human can smell almost an infinite number of combinations of aroma. While the exact number of combinations of aroma a human can detect is up for debate, the Japanese understand the importance of aroma in their cuisine. The lid on a soup bowl keeps the aroma in the bowl and releases it when opened. With miso soup, it's difficult to smell the subtle aroma of ingredients, whereas with dashi broth like in osuimono, the aroma of miso is dominant. Thus, many Japanese chefs may think it unnecessary to use a lid for miso soup.

Why is miso soup served without a lid in the U.S.? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Meet the NGO that’s fighting back against human trafficking

Meet the NGO that’s fighting back against human trafficking

by Emily Kratzmann @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Just outside the Old Town in Hanoi sits one of the most important buildings in Vietnam, though you wouldn’t know it from the outside...

The post Meet the NGO that’s fighting back against human trafficking appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

6 common scams in Vietnam (& how to avoid them)

6 common scams in Vietnam (& how to avoid them)

by Justin Meneguzzi @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Stay one step ahead of the tourist traps.

The post 6 common scams in Vietnam (& how to avoid them) appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What’s It Like to Airbnb-Hop Instead of Renting an Apartment?

What’s It Like to Airbnb-Hop Instead of Renting an Apartment?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by James Altucher, author, entrepreneur, and Wall Street investor:

For a year I’ve mostly lived in Airbnbs. I decided my life needed a purge. I don’t know why I felt this way—probably a combination of a lot of things. It wasn’t a consistent life strategy. It’s just something I did. I threw everything out, I didn’t renew two apartments I was renting, and I didn’t start renting anyplace new. I had no place to live.

I’ve stayed in so many Airbnbs that the founders of Airbnb asked me to speak at their annual Airbnb Open, where 15,000 hosts were in attendance. I was the “super guest.” I’ve seen every possible Airbnb in a dozen or so different countries and all over the U.S. Not every situation is perfect, and there are some situations that are tricky. And it’s a lot different from having a place called “home” that you know you can kick back and just disappear to.

Some questions:

Is it more expensive? Yes, it’s more expensive than renting—maybe 10 percent more, give or take. But I don’t have to provide credit scores, references, and taxes, nor do I have to interview with landlords. And I don’t have to provide first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and security deposit. So it’s a lot easier for me, it saves a lot of time, and I don’t have to deal with any hassles. For instance, in my entire life I’ve never had a credit card (I’ve had only debit cards), so my credit score is weird. I always have to explain this because unlike the rest of America, I have never had credit card debt. People get suspicious and I’ve even had to have my accountant write letters. I also don’t have to buy furniture. Many good places have tens of thousands of dollars worth of furniture and artwork. I have to pay for none of that, but I get to live as if I own all of it. I love that.

What if you want to stay in one place for a long time? I’ve never in my life wanted to stay in one place for a long time, so I know myself. But even if I did want to “settle” for awhile, there are many good places on Airbnb where you can “rent” by the month through the system. In July, I have to stay in Brooklyn for five weeks because my daughter is taking a class there. So I will “move” from Manhattan to Brooklyn for those five weeks and find a place that’s convenient for her to get to her class and me to be around stores, bookstores, friends, etc.

Is it hard to move a lot? You have to be packing all the time? I don’t own anything. It’s one bag with a couple of outfits and one bag for computers. When I spoke at the Airbnb conference I brought up all my belongings onto the stage. That’s how easy it is for me to move—I can pack and move within 60 seconds of writing this answer.

What if no place becomes available? One time I did encounter that. And I called up Airbnb and got someone on the phone and the representative was nice enough to make phone calls and find a place for me.

What if the owner of a place claims you broke something and you didn’t? This happened to me once, and it’s unclear; maybe it was my fault. Airbnb has excellent mediation services, and nobody wants to cause trouble, so we figured it out.

Will you ever settle down in one place? I don’t know. Probably not. I like seeing how many people live. I already know how I live—how great is it to peek into the lives of dozens or maybe eventually hundreds of other lives and learn more about this great big species called the human race. We’re moving into an economy where it’s not about ownership but about access. I love not owning things but being able to access anything I want without too much hassle or with no hassle. So maybe I plan to live this way forever. But just like I don’t like to carry things around. I don’t like to carry the future around. So I take it one day at a time.

What's the hardest thing about living out of a suitcase and Airbnb hopping? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

7 years of carbon neutral: this is how Intrepid offsets your trip

7 years of carbon neutral: this is how Intrepid offsets your trip

by Libby Shabada @ Intrepid Travel Blog

This Earth Day marks 7 years since Intrepid Travel became one of the biggest carbon neutral travel companies in the world. Want to know how we do it?

The post 7 years of carbon neutral: this is how Intrepid offsets your trip appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Weather warning: Intrepid’s co-Founder on how you can stop climate change ruining travel

Weather warning: Intrepid’s co-Founder on how you can stop climate change ruining travel

by Darrell Wade @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Intrepid Co-Founder met with Al Gore again to discuss the progress that the world has made in grappling with climate change in the last decade. 

The post Weather warning: Intrepid’s co-Founder on how you can stop climate change ruining travel appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How to spot someone who is lying about military experience

How to spot someone who is lying about military experience


Military1.com

A question posted recently on Quora asked, "How do you spot someone who is lying about his/her military experience?" Check out these answers and add your own experiences below. By Jon Mixon, USAF veteran 1. They don't know the jargon - An

Why Do People in Mainland China Believe Only a Few Died in Tiananmen Square?

Why Do People in Mainland China Believe Only a Few Died in Tiananmen Square?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Clay Shirky, teaches social media at NYU in Shanghai:

Many of the answers to this question hinge on the phrases “only a few” and “in Tiananmen Square.” Your answer will vary depending on the assumptions you make about those phrases.

Prof. Ezra Vogel, author of Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China, a biography of Deng’s life concentrating on the period after Mao’s death in 1976, including the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, notes that collecting accurate data about the killings themselves is difficult. The shootings (and some vehicular homicide) were in more than one location, there was no safe place from which to report on events, and journalism was (and remains) tightly controlled in China.

Vogel pieces together multiple accounts of the night of June 3, 1989, and early morning of June 4, concluding that:

By 11:00 pm [on June 3], the troops, still unable to advance [from Muxidi], began firing live weapons directly at the crowds…People’s Liberation Army trucks and armored cars also began charging ahead at full speed, running over anyone who dared to stand in their path.

and

By 1 a.m. on Sunday, June 4, soldiers had begun arriving from every direction. Around the edges of the square, on Chang’an Boulevard and at the Great Hall of the People, soldiers opened fire on civilians who had begun taunting, throwing bricks, and refusing to move. The protestors had not expected that the troops would fire real bullets, but when some died and when wounded protesters were carried away, the remaining people panicked.

About the number killed, Vogel collects a number of different sources:

Official Chinese reports a few days after June 4 stated that more than two hundred were killed.
[Prime Minister] Li Peng told [U.S. national security adviser] Brent Scowcroft on July 2 that 310 had died.
Ding Zilin, the mother of some of those killed, later tried to collect the names of all those killed that night, and as of 2008 she had collected almost three hundred names.
Timothy Brook, a Canadian scholar then in Beijing, drawing on estimates by foreign military attachés and data from all eleven major Beijing hospitals, reported that at those hospitals there were at least 478 dead.

Assuming the People’s Liberation Army killed a few hundred students that night, most of them during the approach to Tiananmen Square, is it the case that only a few people died in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989?

You would assert that only a few people were killed if you believed that a few hundred is a small number. Americans in general do not believe this—our source of national trauma for military opening fire on civilians during anti-government protests was the Kent State shootings of 1970, in which four students were killed.

You would assert that only a few people were killed in Tiananmen Square if you believed that “in Tiananmen Square” refers only to the site of the student occupation in front of the Great Hall of the People but does not refer to the larger protest movement determined to block the passage of the military and police into the square.

Both of these assumptions are deeply affected by the culture of the hearer. For most Americans, military killings of protesting citizens is itself shocking in any number, and “Tiananmen” is the name of a protest movement, not a gate in the center of Beijing.

A better way to frame the factual heart of the original question would be to ask:

  1. Did Deng order the PLA to use deadly force against the citizens participating in the political uprising known as the Tiananmen Square movement?
  2. Did the number of people killed on the night of June 3 and early morning of June 4 reach into the hundreds?

The answer to both of those questions is “yes.”

Why do so many people in mainland China believe only a few people died in Tiananmen Square on June 4th, 1989? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Xi Jinping says China wants South China Sea issue resolved peacefully

Xi Jinping says China wants South China Sea issue resolved peacefully


the Guardian

China has the confidence and ability to maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea area, China’s president tells neighbours during tour

Is Paper Money a Fraud?

Is Paper Money a Fraud?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Harold Kingsberg:

Paper money is not a fraud. Sure, paper money seems weird at first glance (“So it’s this scrap of paper that someone says is worth something, so it’s worth something?”) but that doesn’t mean it’s a fraud. It’s just weird at first glance.

The key to understanding why paper money isn’t a fraud is to remember that value is not an intrinsic property. It’s not like density or conductance—properties of matter that don’t change depending on who’s looking or asking. To use an extreme example, you might think a gold brick is valuable, but that’s because you’re on dry land right now. If you were drowning in the middle of the ocean, that gold bar would have no value to you whatsoever. In other words, value is in the eye of the beholder.

That was an extreme example, but it’s pretty trivial to come up with less extreme examples. If 150 years ago you were filthy rich and wanted to rub everyone’s noses in it, you didn’t use silver cutlery at your fancy dinner party. Any rich person had that. You used aluminum cutlery. Aluminum. As in the stuff I drink my Diet Dr. Pepper out of and then recycle. Or, for another example, we now consider whales to be valuable alive, but go back 150 years, and we were killing them en masse for their oil, which we primarily used for lighting rooms. Really. Aluminum hasn’t changed in a century and a half, whale oil hasn’t changed. But their values have changed precipitously.

You can’t change this, either. You might think gold is different, but the truth is that it’s just a shiny yellow rock. It also has no intrinsic value—if it did, you’d still want it while drowning in the middle of the ocean—which means it can go the way of every other good. Between 1324 and 1325, Musa I of the Kingdom of Mali went on the hajj. Musa was a generous man, and wherever he went, he handed out gold. Sounds great, right?

Except it wasn’t. Musa gave out so much gold that in the cities of Cairo, Mecca, and Medina—wealthy trade hubs, the lot of them—that the value of gold plummeted. You stopped being able to buy as much with one gold coin as you used to be able to, and that wasn’t because the coins changed. This is actually the only time in recorded history one man controlled the gold supply in the Mediterranean, but it’s not the only time when coins lost value. The same thing also happened to the Spanish economy after the Spaniards plundered the gold and silver of the Americas. Despite the properties of gold and silver not having changed, you needed more of either to buy bread than you used to. Or, for example, in 1869, Jay Gould and James Fisk attempted to corner the gold market, driving up prices of gold massively—and that was when U.S. currency could be freely traded at set rates for gold. (More specifically, much of the United States’ currency could be freely traded for gold. Some of it was fiat currency. This doesn’t change the fact that the value of gold shot up like a cork, and then crashed, for reasons that had nothing to do with gold itself.)

History is littered with examples like this. No matter what you think might have some intrinsic value, trust me, it doesn’t.

So this brings us to paper money. It was invented by the Chinese during the Tang dynasty. Money back then was a copper disc with a hole in it, and your only way of carrying it around was to carry long, heavy strings of cash. This was pain in the neck—sometimes literally—to deal with, so people started using what we’d now considered promissory notes. You’d leave your cash with a trustworthy person, and he’d give you pieces of paper saying how much you’d left with him. You’d hand out the paper to other people when you wanted to buy things, and they could recover the coins at their leisure. Sort of like a check without a specific recipient and in standardized denominations. During the later Song dynasty, the government cut out the middleman and started issuing the paper money themselves. Thus, you had paper money that you could, if you were so inclined, redeem for copper coins. It was much more convenient for everyone involved—carrying around paper is easier than carrying coins, because it’s lighter and goes into a handy-dandy billfold really easily.

Skip ahead about 500 years to England during the 1600s. The same system of paper money existed there, but what bankers realized was that the chances that everyone would simultaneously demand their coins was actually pretty small. Thus, banks started issuing more paper money than they had cash on hand.

This may sound like fraud, but remember, the value of the paper money had always come from the fact that the institution that issued it was not a lying sack of crap. You had to fundamentally trust the institution issuing the paper money that it could somehow back up the value and that it wasn’t just printing paper money all willy-nilly.

But here’s the question: If nobody ever exchanges the paper for coins—and most people didn’t—then why bother having the coins at all? Remember, they’re not intrinsically valuable—I know, I’m getting nauseatingly repetitive about that, but it’s important—so if everyone’s cool with the paper anyway, why not use that and only that? This way, you don’t have to procure any substances and expend manpower to beat those substances into coins so that you can then give them to people who don’t actually want them.

Again, though, this requires significant trust in the organization that issues the currency. The currency has value because you trust the organization to not do anything stupid. And during the 1800s and early 1900s, banks did a lot of really stupid stuff when it came to paper money, which they were allowed to issue. But if you have, say, the U.S. federal government, issuing currency, well, that’s an organization you can trust to not be an idiot. So over the years, the federal government really stepped up its game with regard to paper money, and individual banks stopped printing it. Similar things happened elsewhere in the world.

This system, where the money is worth something because you trust the people who issued it, is called “fiat currency.” Paper isn’t worth very much. A promise from the U.S. government, though, is worth a lot. (Promises involving balance sheets, I should specify.)

But couldn’t the government just print a buttload more money, thus increasing the supply massively without changing any demand for money? Yes. This has happened in history. It’s called hyperinflation. It is something scary. However, Ebola is also scary, but you don’t want to design a hospital whose first concern is making sure Ebola doesn’t spread—it’s rare, and you don’t want to bother testing everyone who comes into the emergency room for it. Or, to put it more plainly, just because something is scary doesn’t mean all of your decisions should be based on the possibility of it coming to pass.

And it’s not even like not using fiat currency prevents hyperinflation. Remember Musa of Mali in Egypt? Hyperinflation. Spain? Hyperinflation. You don’t even need to change the gold supply to get to this problem. Rome spent most of the 200s, during a time called “the crisis of the third century,” experiencing overly high rates of inflation, not because there was suddenly a lot more silver and gold in the Mediterranean, but because it kept dropping the percentage of gold and silver that made up each coin. (You generally would never want a coin that was 100 percent gold. Gold is soft and malleable, which is not a desirable attribute of a coin. So you mix the gold with some other substance to form an alloy of some kind.)

OK, so why not just ban changing the amount of gold in each coin? This sounds like a really obvious solution, so you have to ask yourself: If it’s that good a solution, why don’t people implement it?

They don’t, because as it turns out, it’s not that good a solution. See, inflation actually isn’t bad. Hyperinflation? Terrible. Unchecked inflation? Also bad. But a low rate of inflation is actually really, really good. Let’s say you leave your money in a mattress for 10 years. If there’s no inflation, it can buy the same amount of stuff at the end of 10 years as it could before. If there’s some inflation, it’ll buy less. What this means is that you’re not going to keep your money in that mattress—you’ll spend it, you’ll invest, you’ll just generally use it. This use allows other people to start or grow businesses, which employ other people, which means more jobs, which means more people getting paid. In other words, without some inflation, you’re going to have a tough time with economic growth, and with deflation, you’re pretty much doomed. Just ask Japan how the past 25 or so years have gone for an example of that.

Besides, people can sometimes demand inflation. The defining issue of the 1896 U.S. presidential election was that farmers wanted inflation, and they wanted it badly. The basic idea was that this would lead to a raise in crop prices, but their debts would not be inflation-adjusted. It was inflation as debt relief, and it was extremely popular, with the candidate who supported the idea losing the election by less than 5 percentage points in the popular vote. The reason why it wasn’t so popular an issue in 1900? Improvements in gold refining techniques brought on inflation without any laws really needing to be passed.

This brings us to a really important feature of fiat currency: You don’t have to worry about discoveries screwing with the value. Consider the idea of a currency that was entirely aluminum coins 200 years ago. That currency would be worth virtually nil 100 years later, not because of any actual policy, but because scientific progress in aluminum refining would have made the stuff really easy to find. You could say similar things about a currency where paper could be exchanged for aluminum—sure, you could adjust the rate of exchange, but you’d have to do it quick and repeatedly, and at that point, well, why bother? You might not think this could happen to gold, but I’m pretty sure those fancy aristocrats didn’t think their descendants would think of aluminum cutlery as being worth less than water and syrup. On the other hand, none of that impacts the supply of fiat currency. Policy, and policy alone, dictates how much of that is floating about.

So actually, when you get right down to it, coins have all the same disadvantages as fiat currency and then some. And because nothing is intrinsically valuable—again, just ask a guy drowning in a lake if he’d rather have a large block of styrofoam or a large block of gold—why not use fiat currency?

Is paper money the biggest fraud in human history? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Why you should think twice about haggling in Vietnam

Why you should think twice about haggling in Vietnam

by Justin Meneguzzi @ Intrepid Travel Blog

A how to, and how not to.

The post Why you should think twice about haggling in Vietnam appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

6 reasons you should think twice about orphanage tourism

6 reasons you should think twice about orphanage tourism

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Orphanage tourism is what happens when good intentions and reality don’t quite synch up. This is why it's not such a good idea.

The post 6 reasons you should think twice about orphanage tourism appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

This is what it looks like to eat your way through China

This is what it looks like to eat your way through China

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

If your experience of Chinese cuisine stops at a double order of fried rice and a side of sweet 'n' sour pork, you're not alone. Want to see what you're missing out on?

The post This is what it looks like to eat your way through China appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

An Aussie roadtrip from Coral Bay to Cape Range (photos)

An Aussie roadtrip from Coral Bay to Cape Range (photos)

by Dean Harries @ Intrepid Travel Blog

It’s a remote part of the country that retains that feeling of being completely undiscovered. This is our journey from Coral Bay to Cape Range on Australia's wild north-west coast.

The post An Aussie roadtrip from Coral Bay to Cape Range (photos) appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Life after cancer: the survivor who fell in love with the Outback and became an Intrepid trip leader

Life after cancer: the survivor who fell in love with the Outback and became an Intrepid trip leader

by Justin Meneguzzi @ Intrepid Travel Blog

“A few years ago, my husband was killed. My children grew up and got married. I also got cancer. I’ve beaten ovarian cancer twice.” I need a second to absorb…

The post Life after cancer: the survivor who fell in love with the Outback and became an Intrepid trip leader appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

4 unexpected benefits of visiting the Balkans on a group tour

4 unexpected benefits of visiting the Balkans on a group tour

by Libby Shabada @ Intrepid Travel Blog

The Balkan region truly has so much to offer travellers. But the benefits of experiencing the Balkans on a group tour were even more far-reaching than I could've ever imagined.

The post 4 unexpected benefits of visiting the Balkans on a group tour appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

10 reasons why you should travel to Nha Trang, Vietnam

10 reasons why you should travel to Nha Trang, Vietnam

by Amber Dunlap @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Located on the south central coast of Vietnam, Nha Trang is a paradise of city and sea, the absolute best of both worlds.

The post 10 reasons why you should travel to Nha Trang, Vietnam appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Why Do Chefs on Hell’s Kitchen Struggle So Much Compared With the Ones on MasterChef?

Why Do Chefs on Hell’s Kitchen Struggle So Much Compared With the Ones on MasterChef?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Sabrina Ali, fan of Hell's Kitchen and MasterChef:

Hell’s Kitchen is a brutal, schadenfreude-inducing show, while MasterChef is more or less a feel-good show.

Hell’s Kitchen contestants endure devastating beatdowns at every turn. First, they’re generally portrayed as some combination of backstabbing, sleazy, rude, arrogant, or incompetent, so we the audience are primed to enjoy the brutality and insults that come their way. Then they are subjected to humiliating punishments such as having to drink scallop shakes and eat lamb testicles when they lose challenges.

But most importantly, during the dinner service (the main competition event of each episode), they are shouted at and beaten down by Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen. Ramsay plays the villain on the show, hurling plates of food into the trash and getting into the contestants’ faces and screaming at them.

So it’s no surprise the contestants can’t finish dinner service; they’re set up to fail. It wouldn’t be Hell’s Kitchen if everything went smoothly and the chefs were successful. The whole point of the show is to watch them get destroyed.

Compare that to MasterChef—while Hell’s Kitchen is a grueling ordeal that chefs have to endure, MasterChef is more like a difficult but educational journey for the home cooks, the opportunity of a lifetime to learn from industry greats and prove their skills. The home cooks on the show are also portrayed as at least moderately likable and relatable, save for the season’s couple of misfits and bullies.

Most importantly, MasterChef is clearly meant to cast a more positive light on Gordon Ramsay, who acts as a mentor and teacher on the show, rather than the caricature of a drill sergeant that he is on Hell’s Kitchen. Ramsay seems to want the cooks on MasterChef to succeed, as does the show’s audience. So of course, they do succeed—they generally finish their tasks, and there are far fewer epic failures than there are on Hell’s Kitchen.

Finally, Hell’s Kitchen is oriented around teams, while MasterChef is oriented around individuals. On Hell’s Kitchen, the contestants are split into two teams at the beginning of the season and compete as teams until late in the competition. On the other hand, MasterChef features a mix of individual and team challenges, and the teams are different for each challenge.

This dynamic matters because it’s much more dramatic to show a whole team on Hell’s Kitchen imploding and getting summarily expelled from the kitchen than it is to show a random home cook failing to finish a task on MasterChef. And when there are team challenges on MasterChef, Ramsay is more of a facilitator than he is an obstacle: He generally tries to get the cooks through the challenge rather than look for ways to shut them down.

Why do Hell's Kitchen chefs have a hard time finishing a service, but home cooks on MasterChef have less trouble? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

The best thing about a family tour? Seeing your children make life-long friends

The best thing about a family tour? Seeing your children make life-long friends

by Daniel Pawlyn @ Intrepid Travel Blog

'On the first day, the eight children pronounced themselves best friends and bagged girls’ and boys’ areas on the bus for the journeys to come.'

The post The best thing about a family tour? Seeing your children make life-long friends appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What Qualities Do Talented Chess Players Share?

What Qualities Do Talented Chess Players Share?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by John Fernandez, 2133 FIDE:

If you’re not a great player yourself, generally chess talent will manifest itself in six different areas:

Focus. Chess games are long (up to seven hours in some formats). If you can’t focus, you will struggle to play.

Memory. You have to memorize a lot of opening theory, middlegame theory, and endgame theory. You also need to remember the lines you’re calculating, as well as other games to see similar themes. If your brain can’t retain information, chess will be brutally hard.

Studiousness. You have to study. A lot. You have to like to study. A lot. If you don’t, chess is not for you. This can also be linked to a genuine like for chess—if you actually enjoy the game, you can be fascinated with and study it a lot more. That can be a fun thing to do in your life and make you a better player.

Self-critical. The ability to perform dispassionate analysis is actually really important in chess. “Why did I make this mistake?” “What did I miss?” “What did my opponent do that I didn’t?” are all questions you will ask yourself after a game. Being able to answer it in a way that helps you improve is a very important skill set to have.

Determined. You have to want to be a good chess player. You have to want to be better. Continuous improvement is the name of the game, and if you don’t desire it, you won’t get there. (Honestly, this was my biggest weakness. My big legendary goal was getting a FIDE rating. Once I got it, I couldn’t figure out an attainable next step that I felt passionate about.)

Pattern recognition. This is the biggest skill there is in chess (in my opinion). If you can recognize patterns—not exactly memory, since you haven’t memorized the position, but you have memorized the theme—you will get good at chess, very quickly. I think this is the biggie.

Any youngster with these six skills is likely to make a good chess player. In fact, if you have glaring holes in these skill sets, it’s basically impossible to be a very good chess player at all—you’ll abandon the game after a pretty short while without it.

For the super-top level, I think there’s three skills that come up a lot in my experience:

Harmony. I know that most folks expect chess players to be mathematical, but I’ve found that the true greats have an almost musical quality to them, using all of their pieces together in a way that conductors use all of the orchestra members at the same time.

Gamble. You have to have a little bit of gamble in you—a little bit of bluff. You have to know when you can’t solve a position perfectly and make the judgment to go with something that might not be the best, but that puts maximum pressure on your opponent.

Stamina. A bit different from focus, you have to be willing to grind, game after game, tournament after tournament.

The problem with chess, for me, is that if you are good at these things, you probably have more lucrative careers ahead of you than chess!

How can I determine whether someone has a chess talent? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Trump’s Businesses Are Hundreds of Millions in Debt. Is This Unusual?

Trump’s Businesses Are Hundreds of Millions in Debt. Is This Unusual?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Peter Lynch, VP at Argenta Partners, former analyst at J.P. Morgan and Rabobank:

It is very common for a business to employ leverage (debt) in an effort to reduce the overall cost of capital and to boost returns to shareholders. The decision to assume debt should follow a very careful evaluation of the company’s cash generation and potential to maintain appropriate levels of liquidity moving forward. From what I read, it appears this last step is where Donald Trump struggles.

Often debt is secured by a lien on assets, and in the case of real estate, this can often extend to personal assets as well. What does that mean? If you secure a loan from a bank to purchase land and build a casino, for example, you are effectively making a promise (actually a legal obligation) to pay interest on this loan and repay principal (the amount of the loan) over time.

Cash flow, frequently referred to as the “life blood” of a business, is essential because it permits you to stay current on your obligations. If you fail to make these payments (default), the bank can take legal action to recover the balance owed. The challenge for creditors comes when the collateral used to secure the loan isn’t sufficient to recover the balance owed. Seizing and liquidating assets is not attractive if it is done at a loss.

I have seen investment groups use this to their advantage. In one example, a large private equity fund persuaded lenders not to pursue legal remedies and instead offered to sell the business and use the proceeds to pay off the remaining debt obligations owed to the lender. I had an opportunity to review the financials, and there was no chance the business sold for more than the amount of debt remaining on the balance sheet; however, the private equity group convinced the lenders to let them keep 10 percent of the sale proceeds anyway for their efforts.

Generally, when this happens enough times lenders stop lending to the groups with a history of defaulting. For this reason I might argue that while common for businesses, it is uncommon for businesses like the ones Trump runs. Or perhaps it just should be. Fortunately for these groups, financial memories are short and the promise “of this time is different” rings true even when investors and creditors should know better. Trump is no stranger to bankruptcy: “I am the king of debt. I love debt,” he once said on CNN. But in his career, debt has sometimes gotten the better of him, leading to at least four business bankruptcies.

With mounting frequency, these actions cannot be without consequence. Howard Marks, founder of Oaktree Capital Management, released an interesting memo recently where he touches on Trump’s approach to debt:

Finally, I’ll mention Trump’s most unrealistic claim: that he could trim the federal debt by negotiating the ability to pay it off at a reduced amount. He built his net worth in part by borrowing money and not paying it back, and he seems proud of his companies’ repeated use of bankruptcy as a strategic tool. But Trump doesn’t have an ongoing need to tap the world capital markets, as the U.S. does (he now operates under an asset-lite business model that emphasizes licensing fees rather than asset ownership; perhaps this is because his multiple defaults have caused the credit window to be closed to him). The United States could refuse to pay its debts in full – that’s called “rescheduling” or “default” – but we’d be unlikely to have the same access to the credit markets, and we would certainly cease to enjoy the benefits of a high credit rating and resulting low interest rates.

Marks was focused on the election, but I found this language interesting: that without access to credit, Trump has had to transition to an asset-lite model. What frustrates me is that Trump is referred to in the press as a New York City businessman, even in publications that clearly do not support him. To my mind, the term businessman implies some sense of financial acumen where the positive outcome is not limited solely to the individual. Whether it’s a business or a building, a lot of parties are involved in successfully financing, building, and maintaining attractive assets. It is why a great business can have an incredible impact on a community as revenue growth brings jobs and increased salaries for employees. Using inherited wealth, excessive debt, and bankruptcy as a tool to expand personal net worth should not share this association.

Is it that uncommon for businesses like the ones Donald Trump runs to owe $650m in debt? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Meeting Maximón, the smoking god of Guatemala

Meeting Maximón, the smoking god of Guatemala

by Anne Von Osterhausen @ Intrepid Travel Blog

One thing stuck out on my recent trip. Mostly because it was unbelievably strange and wonderful: a visit to Maximón, the Smoking God.

The post Meeting Maximón, the smoking god of Guatemala appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Want to go cycling in Tanzania? Now you can

Want to go cycling in Tanzania? Now you can

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Tanzania might not be a classic cycling destination, if only because cheetahs are usually faster than cyclists. Let's change that...

The post Want to go cycling in Tanzania? Now you can appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Meet the Leaders: Judy, Bahamas sailing skipper

Meet the Leaders: Judy, Bahamas sailing skipper

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

This week we're proud to introduce our very first female sailing skipper, Judy. She'll be skippering our sailing trips in the Bahamas (it's a tough job, but hey, someone has to).

The post Meet the Leaders: Judy, Bahamas sailing skipper appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Introducing our brand new Expedition trips for 2016

Introducing our brand new Expedition trips for 2016

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

After months of planning, arguing, drinking and pondering, we've come up with the craziest adventures on the planet: our Expedition trips.

The post Introducing our brand new Expedition trips for 2016 appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

E18 | Shaping the World of Surfing | Joshua Martin

by Michael Woodward @ JumbleThink - A Community of Dreamers with Big Ideas

In this episode I talk to Josh Martin, owner and craftsman behind Martin Shapes.  Josh builds hand shaped custom surfboards.  His surfboards are used by a wide range of surfers all with the goal to be better connected to their board and the wave they are riding. In this episode we talk about a wide range of topics including the World Longboard Tour, how a hand crafted surfboard is made, collaboration between rider and craftsman, the environment, what it means to carry on the legacy of a father, and so many other amazing topics.  Josh's passions for his craft will encourage you to dig deep to live your purpose.

What Is Jeff Bezos’ Biggest Mistake at Amazon?

What Is Jeff Bezos’ Biggest Mistake at Amazon?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Auren Hoffman, CEO of SafeGraph:

One big mistake that Amazon is making right now is that it is not giving anyone access to its data, customer relationships, and so on.

Amazon’s strategy has been to own 100 percent of the transaction—and that has worked out really well for them thus far. But it has an opportunity to power every e-commerce transaction by providing access to easy login, payments, authentication, and data on every buyer. It could make everyone’s e-commerce experience much, much better. Not only would that give Amazon more access to the pie, it will significantly grow the pie because it would provide a lubricant to make all e-commerce transactions (especially in mobile) better.

When it comes to e-commerce, Amazon is playing it very, very safe. And who can blame it? It is a truly amazing company that provides great products, makes transactions easy, and has wonderful customer service.

The thing that has helped it is that all the other large commerce players will not get together and form a co-op to compete with Amazon. Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Best Buy, Groupon, Zynga, and so on have not worked together in any way to share components such as data, experiences, login authentication. Amazon is betting that it will be too hard to coordinate the other commerce players, and it might be correct. But if there was a co-op of all the top retailers, it could be unstoppable. So Amazon is taking a bet that the world does not change—which is likely a good bet.

In addition, Google (via Gmail) has access to what consumers are buying across e-commerce providers (from reading email receipts). Of course, this is really valuable.

Besides Google, no other company in the U.S. has a sense of what people are buying more than Amazon. Even the average person is buying tons of items from Amazon. Their histories are really rich—and some span more than 15 years.

Amazon has done everything to hold the data for its own use only. It is super protective of the data. It is the only company I know of that masks and regularly changes its email receipts so companies such as Google have a hard time reading them. This closed system has served them well so far, but time will tell if it could be blind-sided by a more open data system.

What are Jeff Bezos' biggest mistakes as CEO of Amazon? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Traveller stories: what I learned on a small group tour in Southern Morocco

Traveller stories: what I learned on a small group tour in Southern Morocco

by Ben Feldman @ Intrepid Travel Blog

It’s an autumn afternoon, and I’m scouring the Internet for just the right tour when something different pops onto the screen: Intrepid’s South Morocco Discovery for Solo Travellers.

The post Traveller stories: what I learned on a small group tour in Southern Morocco appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Miyajima Island: A picture-perfect day trip in Japan

Miyajima Island: A picture-perfect day trip in Japan

by Cynthia Chou @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Pity the man who missed out on Miyajima while they were in Japan. It’s not a saying, but it should be. No visit to the country can really be complete without witnessing the peaceful beauty that is Miyajima Island.

The post Miyajima Island: A picture-perfect day trip in Japan appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How Can You Help Students Cope With Getting College Rejection Letters?

How Can You Help Students Cope With Getting College Rejection Letters?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Bruce Epstein, technologist and college counselor:

As colleges announce their final decisions, most homes are roller coasters of emotions. Spring is a time of elation, depression, and often both. I've helped dozens of students apply to colleges and grad school as a college counselor. Most people focus on the “college” part, but the “counseling” part is just as important. Here are some tips for handling the ups and downs of college decision season.

Have a Plan B. Most importantly, the student should have applied to a range of schools, including some with a high likelihood of admittance. You need only one “yes” to lessen the sting of the denials.

Denial is not rejection. Language can be toxic. A typical student categorizes an adverse decision as, “I got rejected from Columbia.” Yes, your application may have been denied, but that is not a rejection of who you are as a person. At the most selective colleges, nine out of 10 highly qualified applicants will have their applications denied.

Facing adversity. Hopefully you haven't coddled your child their entire life, and this probably isn't the first disappointment they'll face. If it is, this is a good time to develop coping skills. Ironically, colleges want resilient students, and businesses want workers who can overcome obstacles, so practice dealing with adversity now.

Be careful what you wish for. There is an old saying, “Put at least as much effort into the marriage as you did the wedding.” Being admitted to a college does not solve every problem in one’s life. The more competitive the college to which a student has been admitted, the harder they have to work once they get there. Students who think being admitted is the hard part may be in for a surprise once they arrive at college.

It’s their party. Hopefully you are not living vicariously through your teenager. For most teens, making it your problem just worsens their problem. You may be inadvertently adding to the pressure. Your teen may be more worried about disappointing you than dealing with their own disappointment. Don’t make your baggage into their problem. Understand how empathy is different from sympathy. See this video about how to actually help another person going through a rough time.

They can cry if they want to. Don't try to solve their problem or even address it the day they receive a denial notice. Follow your teen’s lead. Give them space. It will all seem OK in a few days or weeks. If waiting solves the problem, then wait. If they fall into a deep, prolonged depression, then consider other options, such as seeking medical help. But being sad is OK. They'll survive it. As a parent, it is hard to ignore the situation entirely, but you can refuse to engage is self-pity. The sooner you communicate to your teen that it is their problem and not yours, the better you'll all be. Just say, “I'm sure you can handle it,” and change the subject or walk away. When the time comes (not the day they get the denial letter), you can make positive plans. This may include (should include) visiting the colleges where your teen admitted. By then, you may find they are newly excited.

Your teen may be worried she will be the only kid like her at her new college. When she arrives for a visit, she will find kindred spirits and also be wooed by the school that does want her. I’m not saying to aim low, but, by definition, your student is going to be admitted to a college where other admitted students are similarly qualified.

Did you know that—depending on how you count them—there are 3,000 to 4,500 colleges in the U.S. alone? And yet, the conversation almost always focuses on 30 or 40 colleges (the proverbial “top 1 percent”). The truth is that there are hundreds of great colleges in the U.S. Colleges that you never heard of a generation ago are now fabulous institutions packed with highly talented students who (surprise!) also did not get into MIT.

Don't give up if they have no admissions yet. There are some great colleges that accept applications later than you think (I’m talking to you, Pitt). Some colleges accept applications as late as August!

If your teen has been hyperfocused on one college, he has two choices ahead of him: Move on and embrace another college, or dedicate the next four years to positioning himself for grad school at the desired university. Transferring is yet another option, but I advise against starting one college with the intent of transferring. Give the first college a real fair chance. (The exception would be if a student is shut out of four-year colleges, in which case transferring from a two-year college makes a lot of sense.) Yet another option is to take a “gap year” and reapply to colleges again the following year. This is not something to be undertaken lightly. It is the wrong choice if you think that waiting a year will magically increase your chances at Harvard. A student would have to work her butt off during the gap year to improve her chances, and most students are better off enrolling in colleges to which they’ve been accepted (even if it is a community college).

Your teen may have been waitlisted at one or more colleges. In my experience, most teens lose momentum at this point and accept admission at the “best” colleges to which they have been admitted. But there are some strategies for pursuing waitlists, and a small number of students will be offered admission off the waitlist between May and July. (Regardless, you’ll usually need to submit a deposit by May 1 to secure a place at another college.)

In extremely rare cases, some colleges will entertain an appeal of their decisions. In most cases, admission decisions are final, with no exceptions made. However, many colleges will allow students or their counselors to call the admissions office for feedback. In some rare cases, an administrative error might be uncovered, but don’t count on it. Recent history tells us that it is much more likely that students were accidentally admitted than accidentally denied admission.

Talk to your teen’s high school guidance counselor. He or she will have good general advice and maybe offer some specific guidance pertaining to your child’s situation. He or she may even be able to make a phone call to help get a student off a waitlist. Or make an appointment with an educated professional (college counselor) who can advise you of your options.

Good luck. This too will pass.

How can you help your daughter or son adjust to the disappointment of not getting into the college of his or her choice? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

When’s the best time to go on safari in Africa?

When’s the best time to go on safari in Africa?

by Carrie Pallardy @ Intrepid Travel Blog

You’ll probably want to pack your bags as soon as you start imaging the African safari of your dreams, but a little planning ahead of time can make your trip that much more magical.

The post When’s the best time to go on safari in Africa? appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Double strap adventure: a brief history of backpacking

Double strap adventure: a brief history of backpacking

by Cam Hassard @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Imagine for a moment that it’s 1969: Hendrix is shredding Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock; war rages in Vietnam; a counter-cultural revolution is taking place in the western world, and you’re part of it.

The post Double strap adventure: a brief history of backpacking appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Why Do Chimpanzees Have Such Wrinkled Faces?

Why Do Chimpanzees Have Such Wrinkled Faces?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Suzanne Sadedin, BSc.(Hons) in zoology; Ph.D. in evolutionary biology, on Quora:

It’s not just chimps. Other apes and their babies are wrinkly, too.

You know who else has a lot of wrinkles? Premature human babies. During the last month of gestation, babies don’t develop much neurologically or physiologically. They just fatten up. Even full-term babies are still kinda wrinkly, but within a few months, they get nice and chubby.

So the question shouldn’t be, “Why are chimps so wrinkly?” That’s easy: They have lots of facial muscles for signaling complex expressions. The question should be: “Why are humans so strangely smooth?” And the obvious answer is: fat. We have a layer of soft, pillowy subcutaneous fat that billows under our skin, making us pleasantly smooth and rounded and hiding our facial muscles.

Compared with other apes, we store a huge amount of fat and have small muscles. The average female chimp has about 3.6 percent body fat; a newborn human infant has about 13 percent, and the average woman 24–31 percent. The sheer amount of fat we store is astonishing; in particular, no other mammal has such chubby babies. Fat storage is thought to be an adaptation that supports our brains. Brains are hugely energetically expensive to build and run. As infant brain development passes through some critical stages, it’s vital that it has enough stored fat to support the growing brain, even if his or her family goes through a temporary food shortage.

But we also store our fat differently. Apes keep their fat internally, mostly beneath the muscles in their torso, so all you can see externally are their big, scary muscles. But we humans store a layer of blubber right under our skin. The other mammals who do this are mostly marine mammals trying to keep warm, a fact that led some researchers to speculate that our lineage went through an aquatic phase. However, most researchers don’t think this is likely.

So why do we store fat on our faces? It’s most likely a scam.

If you’re storing fat, you have more food than you need. That probably means you and your family are healthy and good at procuring and using resources. Importantly, you have nutritional resources to support brain development and maintenance. Our big brains are remarkably costly, metabolically. You’re likely to survive the next famine, and maybe, since you obviously have so much bounty, you’ll share some with your friends. And you’re likely to be fertile: Up to a point, fat stores are highly attractive in women. In short, having some stored fat means you’re probably a good social partner. The more our evolution revolved around egalitarian social partnerships instead of apelike dominance hierarchies, the less we needed big muscles to scare our enemies, and the more we needed fat stores to impress our friends.

Once people started looking at fat as a social cue, it would have made sense for evolution to shift the storage location. Instead of hiding our fat beneath bulging muscles, we started to hide our muscles beneath prominent fat stores. When we lost our body hair, our fat stores became even more visible.

Human facial fat in particular overtly advertises good health. It’s highly visible and impossible to fake. Hollow-cheeked, sunken-eyed, bony-faced, gaunt, wasted, haggard, shrunken, or emaciated—all these terms suggest chronic illness resulting in loss of facial fat stores.

Indeed, it appears fetuses spend the final month of gestation simply preparing for their grand debuts. They consume more resources than ever, but instead of maturing during this time, they just get fatter and fatter. Then after birth, they pile on even more fat in the most visible way possible. They’re saying, “Look, Mom, my metabolism is awesome! Invest in me!” and, “Look, everybody, my family is awesome! Cultivate social ties with us!”

Since we’ve co-evolved with our babies trying to convince us to invest in them via highly visible facial fat, we respond quite automatically with kindly and nurturing feelings toward chubby-faced entities. We can’t help it. It’s cute. Even older children and adult females retain high levels of facial fat, again eliciting gentleness and empathy from potentially dangerous adversaries. Actually, our whole species shows a suspicious trend toward neoteny, which some researchers have described as a self-domestication process. So much for survival of the fittest: We got survival of the sweetest, cutest, chubbiest munchkins.

And thus evolution, in addition to all the other awful things it’s done, can be blamed for the blobbiness of emojis.

Why do chimpanzees have such wrinkled faces? originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. More questions:​

How we’re stepping up the fight against orphanage tourism

How we’re stepping up the fight against orphanage tourism

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Who wouldn’t want to help an orphaned child? Unfortunately, our desire to help can sometimes cause more harm than good as, in some countries, orphanages have become tourist attractions that…

The post How we’re stepping up the fight against orphanage tourism appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Nepal festival guide: five Himalayan parties you need to see

Nepal festival guide: five Himalayan parties you need to see

by James Shackell @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Time your Nepal trip just right and you could have the ultimate mountain send-off (or welcome back) – we’re talking street dancing, candle lighting, dog worshipping fun (that last one is totally true).

The post Nepal festival guide: five Himalayan parties you need to see appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How Do You Break Into Voice Acting?

How Do You Break Into Voice Acting?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by William Salyers, stage, camera, and voice actor living and working in Los Angeles:

My career was the result of preparation meeting a whole lot of luck. I had been an actor for decades, with occasional successes on the stage and on camera. Out of the blue, a friend asked me to come in and read for a cartoon he had pitched to Adult Swim. That was Moral Orel, and I wouldn't have even been in the running for that job without his personal invitation. Voice-over is notoriously difficult to break into, moreso even than on-camera work. Animation is, within the world of VO, an even tougher nut to crack. I knew there was no way I was going to get cast as a series regular on an animated series, so I wasn't remotely nervous, which is probably why I booked it. We went on to do three seasons with me in the role of Reverend Putty.

My breakout job was voicing Rigby on Regular Show. When I got the audition, I didn't know anyone on the project, and booking it was about as statistically probable as being struck by lightning. They tried not to hire me. Even after I did the pilot, when the show got picked up, they put my part back out to auditions. I had to win the role twice. I think that was due to the fact that I'd done relatively little of that kind of work.

Even getting a VO agent is a challenge. While I was actively working on Moral Orel, I met with agents at William Morris (before it was William Morris Endeavor). I told them, “Look, I'm on this show; no one has a piece of it. If you take me on, it's an automatic 10 percent of something you didn't even have to do for me.” They turned me down. Fortunately, Carolyn Lawrence, the lead actor on Moral Orel, offered to walk me into her agents at Imperium-7. They agreed to work with me, and I've been very happy with them.

Since then, I've done a lot of work. Regular Show is on its eighth season. I've voiced many video games, guested on other animated series, and performed in animated features. I like to think this will be my work for the rest of my life.

But I never take it for granted.

How did you break into voice acting? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Should Children Learn MMA?

Should Children Learn MMA?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by David Chan, M.D., black belt Shotokan karate, learning Krav and MMA:

As with every question and answer on martial arts, it always depends on the school and instructor. Add in kids and the selection becomes even more important because the school and instructor(s) are likely to have meaningful imprints on their developing personalities. Training for kids is not the same as for training teens, where the training because more like that of adults.

Any MMA or martial arts school should emphasize respect, discipline, camaraderie, and learning. There definitely should not be injuries or bullying. If a parent watches a number of classes, he or she will get a quick impression if the school has an atmosphere that fits those positive attributes. I’ve done decades of martial arts, and the MMA school I train in now has the same traditional courtesy, respect, and careful instruction that I was accustomed to in the karate dojo.

The problem in selecting a school is that there are a lot of bad ones out there. Many MMA and martial arts schools are nothing more than glorified belt mills. The instructors don’t know much and cannot teach much. The kids don’t learn much. At the end of the day parents have paid a lot of money for a multidegree black belt, and their kids can’t do much more than beginners. An average parent won’t often see that early. So it would help if a parent could bring along someone with martial arts experience because he or she can spot a belt mill within 10 to 15 minutes of watching a class where “advanced” kids don’t look much different than the beginners—except that they have colored belts.

None of the above answers the question of whether a kid should learn MMA.

The obvious answer is that martial arts or MMA is helpful to know in case of emergency. But that’s probably a load of crap when it comes to kids. Effective self-defense is very difficult to learn, and turning off the natural flinch-and-cower reaction when really attacked takes a lot of practice, which also include aggressive sparing situations.

So it would be a very rare kid, no matter what he or she knows, who could effectively defend against a determined adult attacker. MMA or martial arts isn’t magic, and a kid can’t overcome the laws of physics. Size and strength matter. It takes years of practice to learn how to do this stuff in real situations.

For the average kid, I think that the real-world benefit of martial arts training is developing physical strength, mental strength, and self confidence. That self confidence doesn’t come from feeling like you can beat the crap out of someone. It comes from working hard with repetitive practice after tedious practice, year after year, and becoming stronger and better. That feeling of hard-earned accomplishment is valuable. Kids who are natural athletes have this in spades.

So one one thing I’m not sure about is MMA for young kids. MMA involves grappling and striking (fists, elbows, knees, and feet). For kids, the striking has to be very controlled, and there obviously shouldn’t be strikes that land to the head in practice. Look at all the concussion studies coming out, even in soccer from heading the ball.

For example, at the MMA school where I train, the kids only strike into focus pads. They aren’t permitted to free spar until they are teenagers, and even then, until they are 18, they are required to wear head protection, and their opponents are not permitted to do any techniques to the head.

If I were going to start a young kid today, I’d have him or her begin with jiujitsu, the grappling part of MMA. It involves a lot of rolling on the mat with an opponent and is more than wrestling. It’s very physically demanding and develops strength and speed while also learning technique. Kids learn how to get out of holds, how to escape when standing but also if held on the ground, and how to neutralize an opponent using body position and joint locks.

Why should children learn MMA? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

How Do I Get My Dog to Listen?

How Do I Get My Dog to Listen?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by John Buginas, SF/SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers, instructor, 2006–09:

Any animal can be motivated to listen or pay attention by controlling access to resources in its environment.

Find out what your dog really likes. It may be food, play, affection, a toy, a game of tug of war, a walk, getting up on your lap, going outside through a door, going inside through a door, chasing a ball, chewing on a shoe, sniffing a fire hydrant. What it likes may change from one moment to the next. Then, control access to the things your dog likes. Provide access to the things it wants in exchange for the behavior you want—such as paying attention to you, sitting politely, etc.

The things your dog likes may change from day to day or from hour to hour, as do your own preferences. The food it liked yesterday may not be so exciting if it has a full tummy, or a game of chase the ball may not excite them two days in a row or after a game of tug-of-war.

When thinking about motivation, think about sex and pizza. There are times you would turn down pizza, like after you gorged on prime rib, maybe? There are times you would turn down sex. Seriously. The trick to motivating any animal is to find out what it likes and understand how to provide that at the time it really wants it.

As an example: Your dog loves to walk and pulls on the leash and won't pay attention to you. If your dog wants badly to go for a walk and walks badly, you can use that as powerful motivation. You can use each step of getting ready and going for a walk as a training opportunity.

At you prepare for a walk, ask for attention before you move on. Ask your dog to look you in the eye and sit calmly before you put on its leash. Just wait it out. Be patient. Be calm. Hold the leash, ask it to sit, and just wait. It may take a very long time initially, but eventually, your dog will slam its butt to the ground when you get out the leash. The instant it gives you attention, say, “Good dog,” and move toward the door.

You can then use the same motivation to get it to pay attention to you and sit calmly at the door before you open it. Just wait it out. The instant it gives you attention, say, “Good dog,” and move through the door.

Your dog pulls on a leash? Stop moving in the direction it is pulling. Require it to look you in the eye, then only allow it to move when it stops pulling. Wait it out. Very Zen. Moving forward is what it wants. Sniffing is what it wants. It gets that when it stops pulling and looks at you. The instant it gives you attention, say, “Good dog,” and continue on your walk.

How do I get my Jack Russell to listen to me? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Why we’re rethinking orphanage tourism

Why we’re rethinking orphanage tourism

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Most travellers, donors and volunteers just want to help, but it's an industry that's doing more harm than good. Something needs to change.

The post Why we’re rethinking orphanage tourism appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

The community-based tourism project transforming the Myanmar travel experience

The community-based tourism project transforming the Myanmar travel experience

by Sarah Reid @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Read all about Myanmar’s very first community-based tourism project in Myaing, newly opened to visitors last year with support from Intrepid Travel.

The post The community-based tourism project transforming the Myanmar travel experience appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Places in Mexico you must visit, according to an Intrepid leader

Places in Mexico you must visit, according to an Intrepid leader

by Rebecca Shapiro @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Sit down with Intrepid tour guide Balam and you're bound to learn something new, especially about his country, Mexico. Here are his top tips for travel there.

The post Places in Mexico you must visit, according to an Intrepid leader appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Malta: Europe’s surprising best destination for family holidays

Malta: Europe’s surprising best destination for family holidays

by Melissa Ariganello @ Intrepid Travel Blog

From outdoor excursions to indoor activities, Malta offers a variety of fun adventures fit for all ages. Here's more reasons why it's worth a family trip.

The post Malta: Europe’s surprising best destination for family holidays appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Much more than a desert: A trip into the Sahara

Much more than a desert: A trip into the Sahara

by Annapurna Mellor @ Intrepid Travel Blog

I’ve approached deserts before; Mongolia’s Gobi, India’s Thar, Egypt’s Western Desert. All were powerful and desolate and imposing. Yet still, the Sahara felt different

The post Much more than a desert: A trip into the Sahara appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Beyond the Grand Canal: a non-touristy guide to Venice

Beyond the Grand Canal: a non-touristy guide to Venice

by Lily Cichanowicz @ Intrepid Travel Blog

It is possible to have an authentic experience in Venice, far from the crowds. Here's where to go for the finest eats, the coolest art, and even more.

The post Beyond the Grand Canal: a non-touristy guide to Venice appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What Advantages Does Hyperloop Offer Over High-Speed Rail?

What Advantages Does Hyperloop Offer Over High-Speed Rail?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Bruce Upbin, vice president of strategic communications at Hyperloop One:

There are a few: cost, speed, safety, and flexibility. Obvious caveat: Hyperloop networks don’t exist yet, and high-speed rail networks do. Advantage: high-speed rail!

Cost is a tricky comparison because the capital expenditure and operating expense numbers are entirely dependent on route and terrain, as well as what you’re transporting, how fast, and how often. But we think we can offer two to three times the performance for less money. Hyperloop systems will be able to travel at speeds north of 500 mph. Typical high-speed rail systems are well under half that. An auditor we worked with estimated that a Hyperloop system can be built for 60 percent of the cost of high-speed rail. We have numbers coming out shortly that are far more route-specific that will reinforce this conclusion. Most of the savings comes from less intrusive civil engineering work and having to add propulsion to only a small fraction of the track compared with high-speed rail, which is usually electrified the whole way. Maintenance is significantly less also due to our contactless track.

Hyperloop is safer because we don’t build at-grade. We’re either on columns or underground, reducing the risk of collisions with other vehicles or people. We’re also autonomous and unaffected by weather. If you take away at-grade crossings, pilot error, and weather, you eliminate roughly 90 percent of rail accidents.

Speed gets all the headlines, but Hyperloop’s other huge advantage is flexibility. Our systems are designed to be on-demand, with passenger pods leaving every few minutes or at even shorter intervals. It’s packetized travel. Most high-speed rail departures are once or twice an hour. With Hyperloop, you’ll be able to leave or arrive when you want and you don’t have to kill time getting bad coffee and pretzels at the bahnhof.

What advantages does Hyperloop offer over high-speed rail? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Is It Legal to Own a Sloth in the U.S.?

Is It Legal to Own a Sloth in the U.S.?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Mercedes R. Lackey, owned by 12 parrots, a starling, five cats, and eight peafowl:

No, no, no, NO. Do not get a pet sloth. Wild animals make very poor pets. Before you even consider any exotic animal, you need to ask the following questions.

Do you already have a vet within a 45-minute drive of your house lined up who is willing to treat your sloth? If not, is your regular vet willing to put in the extra time after work to study how to treat it? If the answer to this is no, then you cannot have a pet sloth. Most vets will refuse to treat an exotic animal even if it is dying. Sloths have extremely particular digestive systems, and they generally don’t display illness until they are very sick indeed.

Are you willing to go without vacation for as long as the sloth lives? If you get a permit, your permit will only cover you and the address of your home. You cannot get a pet-sitter. There are no boarding facilities for sloths. The zoo will not take it while you go on vacation. You cannot take it with you, because your permit only covers where you live, not anywhere else. If you cross state lines with it, your permit will no longer cover you, and the sloth will be confiscated.

What will you do if you get sick or hurt? Your permit only covers you. If the authorities discover that you are no longer in control of your sloth, they will confiscate it, they will have no idea of what it needs, and it will probably die because they tried to feed it dog food.

Your sloth will need a temperature of 85-plus degrees F and humidity of 80 percent. Are you willing to raise your home temperature to that? Are you aware of what that high a humidity will do to your furniture, carpet, and books? The sloth needs these conditions to be healthy; it is a rainforest animal.

Your sloth will need a huge enclosure. And it will poop all over the enclosure. You cannot housebreak a sloth. This means you will be cleaning up sloth poop several times a day. In 85 degree heat and 80 percent humidity. Imagine what your house, your clothing, and you are going to smell like.

Do you know you will have to make several small batches of fresh food every day for it? Sloths are browsers; they don’t eat one big meal. You cannot get Purina sloth chow at Walmart. Most of what you buy will not come from the grocery store (and no, the sloth cannot eat the leaves on your trees). This will be time-consuming and expensive.

And lastly, there are very few (if any!) genuine sloth breeders in the U.S. This means that any sloth you get will have a very high probability of being illegally imported. Do you know how baby sloths are taken from the wild? Their mothers are shot dead, and the babies are torn from their backs, and the dead mothers are sold for meat. Do you want a sloth so badly you are willing to be a part of that?

Anyone who claims “he has heard” there is a “sloth rescue market” is not telling the truth. Rescued sloths are not shipped out of the country for the pet trade. Rescued sloths are generally cared for by rehabbers and sanctuaries in the area the sloth comes from so they can be released at adulthood into the wild, and people who are not “rehabbers” who have purchased “rescued” sloths are purchasing baby sloths whose mothers have been slaughtered. This same person who is claiming things like “he has heard there are sloth biscuits” that make it easy to feed sloths knows nothing about sloths, and if you challenge him, like Donald Trump, he will defend himself with “well that’s what he heard.”

To answer your question, yes, you can get a sloth with a non-transferable permit. But why would you want to, given all that?

Is it legal and even possible to own a sloth in the U.S.? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

A day in Hanoi, Vietnam: your go-to guide

A day in Hanoi, Vietnam: your go-to guide

by Emily Kratzmann @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Our guide to getting the most out of your time in Vietnam’s bustling capital city.

The post A day in Hanoi, Vietnam: your go-to guide appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Is Eating at McDonald’s Better Than Nothing?

Is Eating at McDonald’s Better Than Nothing?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Laurence Shanet:

Let’s look at this question mathematically. While it’s easy to vilify McDonald’s by employing hyperbole, such as “It’s not real food” or “That stuff will kill you,” in the end, I think the numbers will provide the answer you need. So let’s break this question down into its two component parts:

What will happen if you eat nothing? At first, zero. After a few days of not eating, you will start to lose weight. (That may be good or bad.) After anywhere from a week to three weeks, your body systems will start shutting down or at least failing to perform their tasks properly. You will also feel very weak and have very little energy. And depending on a wide variety of factors, including your starting weight, your overall health, and your body fat, you will die somewhere between one and 10 weeks after you starting eating nothing.

What will happen if you eat McDonald’s? Just like if you eat nothing, the first day or so will be unremarkable. After a few days of eating McDonald’s, you’re still going to be fine, because you’re eating food. Maybe you’ll burp if you eat really fast. After one to 12 weeks, what will happen? Nothing, because you’re eating food, which is a necessity for survival and nutrition. At this point, it’s probably worth lengthening the time periods that we’re checking in with you. After a year of eating assorted McDonald’s food, you’ll in all likelihood still be fine. Just try not to get hit by a bus. Now it becomes a matter of what the most likely thing is to kill you first, as well as your relative health, and your age when you started this silly experiment. But assuming you are relatively healthy in other regards to start with, you will in all likelihood live until you are 70 to 90 years old, barring any unforeseen accident, because this is how long people tend to live. So basically, assuming you started this in your 20s, you will probably die in 50 to 70 years, just as you would anyway.

The thing about dietary factors and their impact on health is that they are statistical. Even if a general dietary pattern is thought to shorten life expectancy, that doesn’t mean it will for an individual, nor does it mean that the difference will be significant. There are millions of people who eat much more than the recommended amount of saturated fat and sugar and still live way beyond the statistical mean. There are also millions of people who eat lean, healthy diets and die early of various causes, from cancer to heart disease, and countless others. So even if a particular diet were found to be dangerously unhealthy and reduce life expectancy by a few percent (which is not fully established yet), you’d still in all likelihood be living till approximately the same normal age range. While we all like the idea that we can control our health outcomes, the vast majority of important health factors are genetic. We may improve our statistical likelihood slightly through diet optimization, portion control, exercise, and other factors, but it’s really a blip on the graph for any particular user, and also relates to the health of the person’s overall lifestyle. On the other hand, the outcome for people who eat nothing is remarkably consistent and well established: rapid death.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that McDonald’s is not a single food—it’s a whole restaurant with more than 100 items on its menu, each of which has a different nutritional profile. McDonald’s doesn’t serve some evil substance from outer space (or inner chemistry lab). It serves food. Those food items vary from having just 15 calories and 0 grams of fat (side salad or apple slices) to 780 calories and 45 grams of fat (double quarter pounder with cheese), with most others somewhere in between. Some items are heavily processed, and others are not. And there is a wide enough variety that you could meet pretty much all of your body’s needs with their offerings, with a bit of forethought and planning. So just like eating anywhere else in the world, if you make decent choices and consume as varied a diet as possible, eating McDonald’s would be very unlikely to have any impact on your life expectancy or health at all.

In anticipation of people citing Supersize Me as evidence that McDonald’s can have a rapid and deleterious effect on your health, it should be noted that Morgan’s health effects would be totally attributable to a precipitous increase in overall caloric intake and saturated fat, both of which were voluntary and totally avoidable even if eating only at McDonald’s. This doesn’t even address the movie’s profoundly unscientific approach, and lack of blinding, sample size, control, etc. There is also a healthy dose of the “naturalistic fallacy” at work. If you were to suddenly start consuming exclusively cheeseburgers and fries by cooking them at home using the finest grass-fed free-range beef and hand cut organic potatoes, your health outcome would be no better.

Is eating at McDonald's better than nothing? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Why there’s never been a better time to visit Victoria Falls

Why there’s never been a better time to visit Victoria Falls

by Rebecca Shapiro @ Intrepid Travel Blog

In our humble opinion, there's never been a better time to visit the Southern African gem of Victoria Falls. Here's why you should take a trip there asap.

The post Why there’s never been a better time to visit Victoria Falls appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

The magic and madness of traveling in Vietnam with my mom

The magic and madness of traveling in Vietnam with my mom

by Harris Newman @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Now we were just two friends on an adventure, no barriers, with a foreign, exotic, and endlessly beautiful country as our playground.

The post The magic and madness of traveling in Vietnam with my mom appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What Would Happen if Google Experienced a Major Outage?

What Would Happen if Google Experienced a Major Outage?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Ashish Kedia, web solutions engineer at Google:

In August 2013, Google and all of its services came down for two to three minutes. Internet traffic as a whole went down by a massive 40 percent. A similar incident occurred in May 2009.

Note that these events were just for two minutes. Imagine if it had been for 30 minutes. It's highly unlikely, but if it did, here is what I think would happen.

During the first few minutes of the outage, people will check their internet connections. Some will even call their ISPs. Those who are tech savvy may check for hardware failures on their side (which is more likely than a 30-minute outage on Google’s end).

Finally, people will begin to realize that Google is actually down. There will be a period of disbelief, because Google has a history of being so stable. Assuming the outage will be as brief as it was in 2009 and 2013, they will desperately try to reload Google’s home page.

All around the world, users will be taking screenshots of the Google server error page (likely a 500 error). Your Facebook news feed will be flooded with posts like, “OMG I can't believe it!” and “I witnessed something astonishing today—Google is down!” along with several of the aforementioned screenshots.

People will begin looking for an alternate search engine—but how? Some people don't even know that there are alternate search engines. Those who do will provide Bing and Yahoo with a huge traffic surge.

DuckDuckGo, a search engine that doesn’t track your browsing habits, will start trending on Twitter. People will realize it’s good. Many other internet applications that use Google services as a back end will also come down. Without access to Gmail for 30 minutes, productivity across the whole world will drop by a huge margin. I can't even imagine the revenue loss—not just for Google, but for all the companies throughout the world that rely on Google. Android users will be stranded on the roads, and iPhone users who rely on Google Maps will be lost in the lanes. Oddly enough, internet life in China will remain unaffected.

People at Google’s competitors will rejoice and sing songs (I kid, I kid).

After what seems like forever, the outage will be fixed and services are restored. Google will issue a press release, explaining the cause (maybe). Tech savvy people around the world will try to dig deep in search of the cause of outage. Many will speculate that a group of hackers are responsible. People will then approach many high-profile hackers for their opinions.

The media will go crazy. They will call experts and try to analyze the situation themselves. Bloggers will write posts about how we are “too dependent” on Google. They’ll call it a reality check. Quora will be full of questions related to the outage, like “Why did the Google outage happen?” and “Is it true that Google was hacked?”

A lot of users will talk about switch from Google services to alternatives. Some will actually do it, at least for a while. BuzzFeed and ScoopWhoop will have articles like: “Google Went Down for 30 Minutes and You Won't Believe What Happened Next” and “10 Things to Do When Google Goes Down the Next Time.”

If it becomes a continual, repeated problem, people will switch to alternative products. Google's revenue will decline, and it will lose the monopoly. People will move on and build better products. Google engineers will have to hunt for jobs again. Many of them will start their own companies.

More likely, it will not happen again (at least not for a long time), and Google will recover and will do its best to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

What would happen if Google were to shut down for 30 minutes? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Where to travel in Indonesia, according to an Intrepid leader

Where to travel in Indonesia, according to an Intrepid leader

by Rebecca Shapiro @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Meet Maman. He's led Intrepid trips in Indonesia for over 10 years, and here he tells us about his favorite hidden gems, the must-try dishes, and so much more.

The post Where to travel in Indonesia, according to an Intrepid leader appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Want to travel with the family? 8 tips from Trip in a Van

Want to travel with the family? 8 tips from Trip in a Van

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

The Lorrimers are well and truly living the dream. In December 2015, young parents Justin and Bec Lorrimer sold their home in New South Wales, Australia, and set out on an epic road trip around the country.

The post Want to travel with the family? 8 tips from Trip in a Van appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

7 reasons to consider a winter trip to Iceland

7 reasons to consider a winter trip to Iceland

by Robert Schrader @ Intrepid Travel Blog

I know from personal experience that a winter trip to Iceland is every bit as fulfilling as it can be frigid.

The post 7 reasons to consider a winter trip to Iceland appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Is Getting “Cold Feet” Before Marriage Normal?

Is Getting “Cold Feet” Before Marriage Normal?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Anita Sanz, clinical psychologist:

It depends on what kind of cold feet you have.

If it's the kind of cold feet where you have some anxiety about getting married or you're feeling nervous about making a long-term commitment to someone, then that's completely normal. When you're nervous, it often means you are invested and care deeply about the outcome. So it makes sense that making the decision to get married to someone could cause a substantial amount of anxiety for anyone who cares about what he or she is doing.

This kind of cold feet can be easily warmed by talking with others who have been married and felt this way before. They can reassure you that it's normal and that they felt that way, too. Very few people are ever 100 percent certain of any major decision they make in life. If you get into the high 90s percentage-wise, you're doing well, but that means there is always going to be some doubt. That's OK.

But if you're talking about the cold feet that's the kind of nagging gut feeling or intuition that something just isn't right and you shouldn't be going through with the wedding, that's something else entirely. The kind of cold feet where everyone else seems a whole lot happier that you're getting married than you are. Where you are actually finding yourself faking that you're looking forward to it, because you can't find any happy or joyful feelings about the upcoming nuptials—that's something to pay real attention to.

In fact, if you're having those kinds of feelings, you probably need to stop everything and figure out why this is happening. Go see a therapist if you need to sort out your thoughts and feelings. It probably won't even take that long, once you're willing to move past the initial impulse to squelch your doubts because the venue has already been booked and the deposit on the honeymoon made.

You might discover it's because you felt pressured to get married. It wasn't really your idea. Your parents want you to be married. Her parents want you to be married. She wants to be married. Everyone else is getting married. Everyone else is already married, except you. You loved the idea of a wedding. Marriage? Not so much. You're getting married in the hope that you're not really gay (unless it's a gay wedding). You aren't over something yet. You're still not over your ex. You're in love with somebody else. You're getting married to get over your ex. You're getting married to become a better person. You're not over that he cheated on you that one time, even though you were taking a break. You haven't forgiven her for that one night. You can't get that incident out of your head. What if that happens again? What if it happens a lot after you get married? You don't really love him or her but you want kids and you're not getting any younger. Isn't that OK? You feel like you're settling. Isn't it okay to settle? Shouldn't everyone settle down? You thought this was a good time to settle down. You aren't ready for this level of commitment. You know he or she expects things to be different after you are married. You know this isn't going to work.

Whatever the reason, being able to be honest with yourself first is priority No. 1. Then you can figure out what to do from there. Many times, addressing the things that are causing serious cold feet won't lead to calling a wedding off. It can lead to working through some issues and concerns that could have festered and led to bigger problems later on.

In a relationship, if something has the potential to threaten your relationship, even if it's difficult, confusing, embarrassing, and even if there's the potential for some (OK, a lot of) conflict, it's important that you not avoid bringing it up. This is actually the one vow that I wish couples would actually make to each other when making a long-term commitment to each other: “I promise to be completely honest with you about anything that I think could threaten our relationship, no matter how scary, ridiculous, or embarrassing it is, no matter how much I don't want to talk about it or how much I think you don't want to hear it, even if I think it might hurt your feelings at first and we will have to work our way through it and it might even eventually lead to the end of the relationship, because to avoid dealing with it will eventually lead to the end of the relationship. And I love you and us too much to let that happen.”

The willingness to listen to and trust yourself and the courage to be honest with your partner about what you're feeling are two essential skills you need to be able to bring to an intimate partnership or a marriage.

You might as well start doing what's going to be necessary in a good marriage before you even walk down the aisle. So if it's just cold feet nerves, take that walk! Cold-feet gut feeling that there's something really wrong—don't walk until you've been honest with yourself and your partner.

What's the psychology behind having cold feet before getting married? Should people listen to that feeling more? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

How to get off the beaten path in Rome

How to get off the beaten path in Rome

by Andrea MacDonald @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Like in most of the world’s greatest cities, so many incredible sights equals so many tourists. But this Rome guide will help you beat the crowds.

The post How to get off the beaten path in Rome appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What Are Some Etiquette Rules for Sushi Chefs?

What Are Some Etiquette Rules for Sushi Chefs?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Kaz Matsune, founder, business owner, speaker, author, sushi program designer at Breakthrough:

Here are some restaurant etiquette rules in sushi and Japanese kitchens.

Say “good morning” at the beginning of the shift. No matter what time of the day your shift starts, you always greet by saying “ohayo gozai masu,” good morning in Japanese. This is common practice at restaurants in Japan, as well as in the entertainment industry. In the beginning, I felt weird saying “good morning” at 3 p.m., and after a while, I got used to it, and it just became natural. Why and when this rule started is unclear, though, some say the word “ohayo” signifies the beginning.

Arrive at least 10 to 15 minutes before your shift time. If your shift starts at 10 a.m., you are expected to be ready, fully dressed in your uniform, have all your knives and tools out, finished going to the bathroom, and start working at 10 a.m. sharp. Working in a kitchen is a battle against time. There is no room to sit around and spend time doing things you could have done before your shift. Every second counts. This leads to the third rule ...

Never sharpen your knife during your shift. Working in a kitchen is like going to a battle, and your knife is one of the most important weapons, like a gun to a soldier. How can you fight when your weapon is not ready? In a battlefield, that is a matter of life and death. In a kitchen, a dull knife means you are sacrificing the overall quality of the dishes and not performing at your optimum level, a sign other chefs see as a lack of discipline. Taking care of your tools is an important part and fundamental practice among all Japanese chefs. As such, you should sharpen your knife before or after—and never during—your shift. Also, you are expected to have your own sharpening stone(s) because of wear and tear from the usage, which greatly affects the end result.

There are some secret words among sushi chefs. Perhaps the need arose from as a courtesy to customers, and it may be that the Japanese culture is more about hiding than revealing. Sushi chefs have developed some secret words only used at a sushi bar. The word “aniki” (older brother) refers to older ingredients, and “otõto” (younger brother) means fresher ingredients. Be assured that aniki does not mean “old, bad, and not servable.” It’s older compared with other “fresh” fish.

Remove your apron upon entering the bathroom. As a gesture for cleanliness and hygiene, a Japanese chef is taught to remove his apron when entering the bathroom, either leaving it in the kitchen or some specified location away from the customers’ view, nicely folded, like a perfectly executed origami.

Say “knife” when walking with a knife in a kitchen. When walking in a kitchen with a knife, you are to hold it behind your back, blade facing away, saying (loud enough for other chefs to notice, but not customers), “Coming down with a knife.” It alarms other chefs and protects them from a possibility of running into you by accident. The knife holding posture also prevents you from cutting, in case someone run into you from the front.

What are some rules of restaurant kitchen etiquette that most people don't know about? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

How Does a Person Know When Someone Is Looking at Her?

How Does a Person Know When Someone Is Looking at Her?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Paul King, director of data science at Quora, computational neuroscientist:

There are several things going on when you see someone looking at you, all of which happen very quickly. (This applies to actually seeing someone looking at you, not “sensing it” from behind or in the periphery.)

Primates (including humans) are unique in the degree to which the eyeball can move around in the eye socket. This allows visual attention to be shifted quickly without physically moving the head. Primates and certain other mammals can tell when another animal is looking at them, but humans are particularly good at doing this from a distance. In fact, humans have the added ability to be able to tell where someone is looking, even when it is not at them.

It is easy to see why this skill confers an evolutionary advantage: By being able to do this, you can essentially “read out” the location of another animal's attention. If you are a social animal, and the one looking at you is a superior, you'd better behave. Or if it is an inferior, you are being challenged and need to respond so you don't lose your place in the status hierarchy. For humans, knowing where another human is looking allows you to read their mind regarding what they are thinking about. This is invaluable when trying to learn language, since it allows you to pair particular words with particular objects in the environment. Pointing is also effective for this.

So, how do we do it?

Detecting the direction of gaze has to do with noticing the relative location of the dark spot of the eye (the pupil and iris) in the context of the whites of the eye. The differential size and location of the white region shows where the eye is pointed. And if the pupil is exactly in the middle with equal white regions on each side, then the eyes are looking at you. We can see this from across the room. Head direction also provides a cue, which is primarily determined by where the region of the two eyes and the nose are relative to the oval face region, with hair as another reference marker. When the head is turned, the brain has to do some geometry to determine gaze direction from both head angle and relative eye angle.

There is an additional effect that happens when “eyes meet.” When you look at someone and he looks back, you have the feeling that your gaze was met. This can feel uncomfortable, and the person who was “caught” often quickly looks away. This effect is caused by a feedback loop. The second person to make eye contact sees immediately that the first person is looking at him. The first person realizes he was “discovered” and responds often according to perceived relative status or confidence. There is also the mutual knowing that eyes met, which becomes a shared event establishing a transient relationship.

The meeting of gaze helps people recognize each other. You may think you recognize someone, but if she seems to think she recognizes you too by not looking away, then the odds are greater that you are both correct. The visual systems of both individuals thus collaborate to establish mutual recognition. This happens quickly and subconsciously, allowing the social exchange to move forward toward acknowledging each other. If one person doesn't acknowledge back, it becomes an awkward case of mistaken identity.

Public speakers use the illusion of eye contact to create emotional intimacy with the audience. When people learn public speaking, they are told to glance around the room as they talk. This creates the illusion of intermittent eye contact with as many people in the room as possible, which allows the audience to feel that the speaker is talking to them personally, creating a feeling of intimacy.

When TV newscasters deliver the news, they want the audience to have the impression they are talking to them. To accomplish this, they talk to the camera lens as if it was a person. In movies, actors avoid looking at the camera so that the audience never experiences mutual eye contact with them, preserving the feeling that the viewer is invisible. To look at the camera is called “breaking the fourth wall.

How do we know when someone is looking at us? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

What to expect on an overnight train in Vietnam

What to expect on an overnight train in Vietnam

by Emily Kratzmann @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Station attendants march up and down the platform, blowing whistles to alert us to the impending arrival of the 5pm train to Hanoi. Fifteen hours of riding the rails? Here we come.

The post What to expect on an overnight train in Vietnam appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Why Is It Offensive to Tell Someone He or She Looks Tired?

Why Is It Offensive to Tell Someone He or She Looks Tired?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Gayle Laakmann McDowell:

Forget about the word offensive. That word confuses a lot of people and causes silly debate over what qualifies as harm. What matters is if it's hurtful/harmful. It often is.

If someone is yawning frequently, then it's reasonable to conclude that he or she is sleepy. It's fine, mostly, to say, “You seem tired.” (I say “mostly” because even if he or she is tired and you had reason to believe that, there might be a better way to ask.)

But when you conclude that someone looks tired, you’re going based off his or her physical appearance. Maybe his facial color seems a little off, or maybe she seems like she has bags under her eyes. These are generally considered to be unattractive things. Although your intentions might be showing concern and care, you’re signalling that the person’s physical characteristics are not attractive that day. That is a mildly hurtful thing; it's calling her a little bit ugly and making her self-conscious. It's better to just avoid such a comment. Even if you are basing this on the person’s actions, it can still be annoying. If it happens frequently, it makes a person have to be hyperaware of how he or she is coming across.

There’s a person I know who does this regularly. If I answer the phone and don’t sound sufficiently “bubbly,” she’ll say: “Is everything OK? You seem kind of down.” This happens about 30 percent of the time, immediately after I answer the phone. I've learned to fake a bubbly tone when I answer the phone for her just to avoid this question. She means well, but it's annoying.

If you really want to inquire about the person, it's better to ask in an open-ended way: “How are things?” This doesn't pass any judgement on his or her emotional state or physical appearance. And if the person is actually in an upbeat mood, it gives him or her the opportunity to talk about this, instead of having to justify No, really, I'm fine.

Is it ever offensive to tell a woman that she looks tired? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Why Does the BDSM Community Dislike Christian Grey?

Why Does the BDSM Community Dislike Christian Grey?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Franklin Veaux, sexuality educator:

The simple answer is because he is not a BDSM practitioner; he is a stalker and an abuser.

The complex answer: Christian Grey is a fictional character created by a writer (and, later, a movie studio) with no real-world BDSM experience for an audience with no real-world BDSM experience. He routinely violates boundaries, ignores consent, stalks Ana, engages in clumsy and wildly unsafe activities, has poor communication skills, and exhibits many traits of an entitled narcissistic abuser.

He is a popular character because he is fictional, and being fictional, he automatically knows what Ana wants because what Ana wants is determined by the same writer who created him.

This is a powerful and compelling narrative for many people. Why?

Because talking openly about what you want is scary as hell. It makes you vulnerable. Your partner might reject you. Your partner might judge you. Your partner might think you're too weird. Your partner might laugh at you. Your partner might leave you.

Imagine a partner who just automatically knows everything you secretly desire and gives it all to you without you having to ask for it or even admit you want it. Imagine having all the sexy things you fantasize about without having to do the scary work of discussing it, being vulnerable, or risking rejection. Sounds amazing, right?

The problem is that in the real world, people cannot read your mind. In the real world, nobody will ever automatically know what you want without talking about it. In the real world, you cannot expect to have what you want if you don't ask for what you want—but asking for what you want is scary.

People in the BDSM world don't like Christian Grey because we recognize what he is: a predator. He's a stalker and an abuser, but he's a stalker and an abuser whose tastes exactly match what his fictional victim really wants. People in the BDSM community know it never works out that way.

Why is Christian Grey so frowned upon in the BDSM community? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

The Pinnacles and Kalbarri: 5 spots to include on your West Australian roadtrip

The Pinnacles and Kalbarri: 5 spots to include on your West Australian roadtrip

by Dean Harries @ Intrepid Travel Blog

We found ourselves driving from Perth to the Pinnacles Desert, and then onto Kalbarri National Park. All in a Corolla named Betty.

The post The Pinnacles and Kalbarri: 5 spots to include on your West Australian roadtrip appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Our easy-to-follow guide for ethical animal tourism

Our easy-to-follow guide for ethical animal tourism

by Charlie Stone @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Animal tourism can be a force for good, but it's up to all of us to make that happen.

The post Our easy-to-follow guide for ethical animal tourism appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Top 50 military slang words and phrases

Top 50 military slang words and phrases


Military1.com

A question posted recently on Quora asked, "What are some commonly used military slang words?" Obviously, there are too many to list here, but below were some of the responses. Check them out and add yours in the comments below. By Jon Mixon, USAF VetASAP - As Soon A

How Does the Brain Create Consciousness?

How Does the Brain Create Consciousness?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Yohan John, Ph.D. in cognitive and neural systems from Boston University:

Does the brain create consciousness? I'm not so sure. At the very least, I know that no neuroscientist has caught the brain “red-handed” in the act of creating consciousness.

The standard materialist position is that consciousness is tied up with the brain. There is plenty of evidence that the brain influences consciousness (and vice versa!), ranging from studies of brain damage to the well-known effects of mind-altering chemicals.

The problem with going any further than this correlational fact is that no one knows how to define consciousness from an objective, third-person perspective. We only have access to one consciousness: our own. Every other consciousness is in a sense inferred from behavior. This process of inference is a social process, which is why the debate on animal consciousness is unlikely to end any time soon. We treat people as conscious because they seem conscious to us, and this seeming is a product of both our evolved perceptual systems and the cultural systems that operate on top of them. The fact that people disagree about whether a particular animal species is conscious or not suggests that there is no universal intuition about consciousness.

Because the problem of consciousness is a problem of definitions, some neuroscientists have decided to stick their necks out and define it. A popular recent definition is contained in integrated information theory, proposed by Giulio Tononi and Christof Koch. An apparent consequence of their definition is that pretty much anything can be conscious if it has the right sort of “information integratedness.” Philosopher Eric Schwitzgebel ran with this line of thinking and attempted to show that if materialism is true, the United States is probably conscious.

To their credit, Tononi and Koch seem to have bitten the bullet and accepted a form of panpsychism—the idea that everything is conscious. Some philosophers dislike it when definitions are too broad; they call the process “bloating.” It's a useful concept in my opinion. If everything from electrons to galaxies is somewhat conscious (by virtue of being somewhere on the information integratedness scale) then the concept of consciousness becomes less useful as a descriptor of observable phenomena. (But then again, perhaps we never actually observe consciousness anyway. We observe with consciousness. Consciousness itself seems to have no material attributes; it is only the objects or targets of consciousness that have attributes.)

This is why it is always good to go back to the kinds of definitions of consciousness used by philosophers and mystics. These definitions are much closer to our colloquial understanding of consciousness than anything proposed by neuroscientists. Consciousness is the field of subjective experience. We can communicate aspects of this experience, but we can never share directly in any consciousness other than our ownWe cannot answer the question what is it like to be a bat? We can barely even speculate about it.

One of my favorite descriptions of consciousness comes from Julian Jaynes' bizarre and beautiful book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind:

O WHAT A WORLD of unseen visions and heard silences, this insubstantial country of the mind! What ineffable essences, these touchless rememberings and unshowable reveries! And the privacy of it all! A secret theater of speechless monologue and prevenient counsel, an invisible mansion of all moods, musings, and mysteries, an infinite resort of disappointments and discoveries. A whole kingdom where each of us reigns reclusively alone, questioning what we will, commanding what we can. A hidden hermitage where we may study out the troubled book of what we have done and yet may do. An introcosm that is more myself than anything I can find in a mirror. This consciousness that is myself of selves, that is everything, and yet nothing at all — what is it?
And where did it come from?
And why?

Descriptions like this also reveal why neuroscience will always struggle to study consciousness in all its private glory. How are we supposed to study something that is a “hidden hermitage”? We never actually see consciousness. All we see are its consequences in behavior. So when we look for the neural correlates of consciousness, what we are really looking for are the neural correlates of certain measurable behaviors that we think are closely related with consciousness, such as attention, self-awareness, access to information, and (perhaps most importantly) the ability to comprehend and communicate. If there is a type of consciousness that we are incapable of acting upon or even remembering, then we will simply be unable to study it from a scientific perspective.

How does the brain create consciousness? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Is Denial Healthy?

Is Denial Healthy?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by David Chan, M.D. from UCLA, Stanford oncology fellowship:

A certain amount of denial is healthy in life. We can’t go day by day fearful of possible disaster.

I take care of cancer patients and do my very best to present to them the seriousness of their situations in an open and frank manner (except for the rare patient who responds to my question about wanting to know in the negative).

After the initial shock about what is happening to them, the very large majority of my patients, unless disabled by disease or treatment side effects, return to many of their daily activities and duties, including work, family, exercise, social commitments, and so on.

I’m more than impressed that my patients don’t do what many imagine they would do in a similar fix. They don’t go into their bedrooms, close the blinds, lie down, shut off the lights, and curl up in a ball on their beds, and never come out.

And why is that? Because they, like all of us, have denial. This is the belief that whatever is happening, it’s not going to happen to them. Denial is like many things in life: A healthy dose is good, but a lot of it may be bad.

We all have certain degrees of denial. We get on airplanes because although we know they can crash and burn, we understand the statistics and don’t think it will happen to us.

I’ve skied off very steep avalanche chutes because I didn’t think I’d fall and break my neck or back even though years earlier I came within 2 inches of hitting a tree with my head instead of my shoulder, which resulted in a fracture dislocation. I recently had a bit of a rough whitewater rafting adventure in Wyoming. The guide was explaining that if the raft flipped over in the rapids, that we were to get out from under it and then try to hang onto the sides with our feet facing down river. I thought he was being overly dramatic and was sure it wasn’t going to happen, so I had a great time. If I thought that was going to happen, I’d have been scared to death.

My cancer patients also have denial. Yes, they are scared. Who wouldn’t be? But even when the prognosis is terrible, at the end of the day, the very large majority don’t believe it will happen to them or at least that it won’t happen to them any time soon. That’s a healthy way to cope and allows them to function day to day under very tough circumstances.

Denial is bad is when it’s out of control. It’s like binge-eating, addiction to alcohol, compulsive gambling, or extreme risk-taking. Too much of a good thing is bad. Too much denial in a serious medical situation will cause the patient to forego treatment, and that has obvious dire consequences.

Denial: When it helps, when it hurts

What's the term for patients who are not willing to acknowledge the severity of their condition? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

A road trip to remember: When the United States met the total solar eclipse

A road trip to remember: When the United States met the total solar eclipse

by Philip Clews @ Intrepid Travel Blog

To experience a total eclipse is surely to have won first prize in the natural world’s lottery.

The post A road trip to remember: When the United States met the total solar eclipse appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

From salt flats to geysers: The beauty of visiting Bolivia with Intrepid

From salt flats to geysers: The beauty of visiting Bolivia with Intrepid

by Carla Powell @ Intrepid Travel Blog

My goal was to see Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flats.  A mass of white that touched the horizon and hung off the edge, like you had reached the end of the earth.

The post From salt flats to geysers: The beauty of visiting Bolivia with Intrepid appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Flying solo on a South Africa group tour

Flying solo on a South Africa group tour

by Tom Smith @ Intrepid Travel Blog

This 9-day overland tour, from the game parks of Kruger, through Swaziland and the beaches of Mozambique, down to Durban completely changed my view of what a group tour can be...

The post Flying solo on a South Africa group tour appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Interested in ecotourism? Here’s why you should visit Nicaragua

Interested in ecotourism? Here’s why you should visit Nicaragua

by Lily Cichanowicz @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Defined by lakes and volcanoes, abuzz with coffee harvests and influenced by the traditions of its indigenous peoples, Nicaragua is an ecotourist haven.

The post Interested in ecotourism? Here’s why you should visit Nicaragua appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

In the shadow of Toubkal: A trip into Morocco’s high mountains

In the shadow of Toubkal: A trip into Morocco’s high mountains

by Annapurna Mellor @ Intrepid Travel Blog

One traveller's journey beyond the ancient medinas, rolling deserts, and piled Tagines of Morocco, and into the snow-capped peaks of the Atlas Mountains

The post In the shadow of Toubkal: A trip into Morocco’s high mountains appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What’s It Like to Play Chess at the Grandmaster Level?

What’s It Like to Play Chess at the Grandmaster Level?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by John Fernandez, 2133 FIDE:

It's really hard. Grandmasters are very good. I'm only going to speak to my “classical” tournament games (six-hour time control) versus GMs. I've been fortunate enough to have many of these games, including four draws with GMs in classical tournament games.

Remember that GMs are (almost) impossible to prepare for. They've all played hundreds of openings. Just find what they are most likely to play and make sure you have something in mind for each. Remember that GMs don't generally like to play their “best stuff” versus lower-rated players. You'll get something a little weird in all probability.

Know your openings cold. I cannot stress this enough. The four games I drew were in lines I knew very very well. This meant that I was in a situation where I understood the plans, didn't take up oodles of time in the opening, and gave myself the best position possible. Games I lost were games I didn't know the openings as well. The last thing you want to do is find yourself where you are in a worse position with less time against a better player. You're toast in those situations.

Trust yourself. If you can't figure out the flaw in a line, go for it. Don't ever start second-guessing yourself or seeing ghosts. Remember, you have to play chess the best way you know how. The last thing you want to do is change your openings, thought process, or habits for a game against a strong player.

Relax. They're GMs, so they're supposed to beat you! Feel free to fire uppercuts and play the most important openings to your repertoire. If you have an opportunity to put pressure on your opponent, do it. This is a great learning opportunity for you; don't waste it.

Don't get freaked out by the spectators. This is one thing that happens in games you play versus GMs that doesn't happen in your “normal” games. Everyone in the tournament is going to glance or—even worse—spend time looking at your game. When I played Kosashvili in the first round of Curacao 2002, at one point I had GMs Korchnoi, Timman, Zapata, Macieja, Benko, and Averbakh staring at my game all talking to each other (this was after we repeated moves once). That can really mess with your head. (Fun aside, after drawing Kosashvili, who was one of the favorites and eventually tied for first, tons of people came up to congratulate me. Kortchnoi came over and said, “You made a draw?” and at my head nod, he thought and said, “But you are White—what is achievement?” Life is tough at those levels.)

Be professional. No clock banging, no overadjusting of pieces, no draw offers, etc. Learn something. Sit at the board the entire time. Focus. You can talk to friends later. Remember Ivanchuk's famous quote, “How does it feel to play?” and just enjoy it.

Sometimes I'd calculate some lines very deeply. Other times, I generally went on intuition. I usually felt more focused during GM games, but not significantly more. I honestly didn't do anything different. It was just chess against someone who is very good at it.

By the way, I approach simul games the same way, and have been very successful in simuls. Just use it as an opportunity to play your best chess and see how you match up. If you're any good, you might nick a half point (or even more!) and be a hero. If not, you had a fun battle.

What does it feel like to play chess at the grandmaster level? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Can an Untrained Man Armed With a Primitive Spear Kill a Lion, Tiger, or Bear?

Can an Untrained Man Armed With a Primitive Spear Kill a Lion, Tiger, or Bear?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Stefan Pociask, primitive weapons collector and tracking instructor:

This will be fun. You’ll learn about spears! But to that question, the answer is “no.”

If you change the question to: “Can a single, average-sized, athletic man armed with a primitive spear and minimal training defeat a lion, tiger, or bear in a fight?” the answer would be yes. He can, but it’s certainly not assured. A tremendous amount of luck would be required. It’s unlikely.

If you change the question to: “Will a single, average-sized, athletic man armed with a primitive spear and significant training defeat a lion, tiger, or bear in a fight?” the answer would be quite possibly. There have been times past where killing a lion with a spear has been a rite of passage required of young men in certain African tribes. But this was preceded by significant training.

If it was a youngster proving his mettle, it would likely be a long, narrow-bladed spear. If it was a senior warrior out to specifically hunt lion, it would probably be a long leaf-bladed spear, while a junior warrior might use a shorter one. Of course, they didn’t want their children eaten, so a lot of time was put into training before the event. An undertrained person would likely end up as a midday low-fat snack for the lion. Training included tactics, strategy, weapons grip, feints, the psychology and behavior of an opponent, the weaknesses of an opponent, your own frame of mind, and confidence. It also particularly included knowledge of anatomy and the target area—right alongside the neck. Your opportunities for a killing stroke were limited, sometimes to only one. These are all aspects of training that the minimally trained would not have access to.

Here’s something I bet you never heard. An interesting additional and vital weapon they carried was a small stick, sharp on both ends, only about the size of an ink pen. They would carry this in their opposite hand. If (when) the lion got too close and hadn’t dropped yet, that hand was thrust into the lion’s mouth, turned vertical, and jerked up, thereby keeping the lion from closing his mouth and ripping your throat out with his jaws. To say the least, this required exceptional courage! If a lion wasn’t killed, they were told “Don’t come home!” And if they killed a female lion instead of a large maned lion, “You are cursed, and don’t ever come home!” Some didn’t come home anyway—those who lost their cool. To say the least, it must’ve been an absolutely terrifying experience for these boys. This was true man-versus-beast battle in its most primal form. The man’s advantage was minimal and a far cry from today’s high-powered rifles shot across great distances by great white hunters.

Different styles of spears were used in different areas by different tribes. The particular type of spear that was carried was usually associated with a particular status within a tribe.

All this, to point out that spears are more than a sharp stick. They have functions and different styles for different uses. So weapons choice is also a factor, and “primitive spear” is pretty ambiguous. Spears, by their nature, are primitive; but by their design, they are quite advanced.

Now, the question mentions a number of very different species. The basic answer to all is pretty much the same. Skilled training is required, specific to the opponent, and certainty of a kill is never assured, although the ratio of success is very much reliant on the amount of training—and bravery.

Will a single average-sized athletic man armed with a primitive spear and minimal training defeat a lion, tiger, or bear in a fight? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

What Are the Best Ways to Invest Money?

What Are the Best Ways to Invest Money?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Rob Ennals, product manager at Quora, former product manager at Google:

People tend to overemphasize the returns from investing in the stock market and underemphasize the returns from investing in yourself—particularly when you are young.

To invest in yourself, you want to spend money on things that will put you in a better position to earn money in the future. This means spending money on things that will make you smarter, things that will save you time, and things that will save you stress.

In particular:

Things that will make you smarter: The secret to getting good at stuff is to put yourself in stressful situations where you will try to do hard things, fail in interesting ways, and learn. The traditional way to do this is to go to college, but other things like joining a startup or trying an ambitious project are also valuable.

Things that will save you time: All that stuff you need to do to get smarter takes time, so it’s often worth spending money on things that will give you more time. In practice this means things like living close to your work, paying a cleaner, having high-capacity appliances, and outsourcing any task that won’t make you smarter—all of which are expensive.

Things that will save you stress: Most things that will make you smarter are inherently stressful. If you are going to cope with that stress then you need to reduce the stress from other parts of your life. In practice this means things like buying products that are reliable (particularly your car) and getting them properly maintained—all of which costs money.

There are also some things to be careful of:

Be careful of investments that bring worry. If you care so much about what you have invested that you need to check the news all the time, then the penalty from stress and time may be exceeding the benefit from compounding interest. If you invest in the stock market, invest an amount you feel comfortable ignoring for a few years.

Be careful of expensive possessions that bring worry. If something you own is so expensive that you worry about whether it will get lost or damaged, then you may be significantly hindering your ability to grow. If having a fancy car or fancy clothes means you worry about damaging them, then maybe you are better off driving a Honda and wearing clothes from Target.

What are the best ways to invest money? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

How Do You Appear Sophisticated When Ordering Wine at a Restaurant?

How Do You Appear Sophisticated When Ordering Wine at a Restaurant?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Jonathan Brodsky, senior vice president at Chicken Soup for the Soul:

I believe that the easiest way to look sophisticated when ordering wine is to look like you know your wine so that you don’t need help from a sommelier or a waiter. I also think that this is silly—a sommelier likely knows more about wine than you do—but if the point is to impress, then here’s my algorithm:

Ask the other people what they like. Some people will answer with a color, some people will answer with a grape varietal (e.g. pinot), and some people will answer with a taste profile (dry, earthy, hint of lemon, and so on). If they answer with a color, pick the thir least expensive bottle of that color on the menu. If they answer with a varietal, pick the third least expensive bottle of that varietal on the menu. If they answer with a taste profile, tell them, “Oh, I think you’ll really enjoy this; it’s unique and a little different than what you’re used to, but it’s really good,” and then pick the third least expensive bottle that’s not from California or France. (This works best with producers from Spain, South Africa, Argentina, and Oregon in my experience, but I’ve had it work with Colorado, New York, and plenty of other wines.)

If possible, always order by bin number rather than bottle name. This saves you the embarrassment of having to pronounce something that your waiter might ask you to repeat. If there aren’t bin numbers, point to the wine as you order it from the menu. This avoids any translation issues, because the waiter will instantly stop listening to you and read the menu instead.

There are times when you’re at a restaurant without the diversity of choice of a large wine list—places with 20 or fewer bottles on the menu. In that case, default to the median price on the menu (likely to be in the $40–$50 range), and pick the oldest bottle in that range (if it’s a red) or, if you’re ordering white, ask the other people at the table if they like Californian wine or not (to many people, California is synonymous with oak). Then, order a Californian/American white or a French/Italian white based on their answers.

There are also times when the algorithm I’m using might fail because there are only two or three of a particular wine varietal on a menu; in this case, default to the second least expensive.

Surprisingly often, this algorithm will result in you ordering something that has changed from the menu (e.g., they’ll have the 2007 instead of the 2006). If this happens, don’t accept the newer wine and instead ask for the menu and repeat the algorithm using a different varietal. I often default to the taste profile choice in this case, accompanied by, “If I can’t have that one, let’s try something new. I’ve heard good things about this.” I do this because there are often multiple other countries to order from on a given menu, and most people are only familiar with California, French, and Italian wines.

Here are the reasons I pick the third least expensive in any category:

  1. If I’m ordering the wine, it tends to mean I’m paying for the meal. So it’s a cost-saving measure without the appearance of being cheap.
  2. The cheapest bottle on the menu or in any category (except for off-piste drinking, such as South African wines) is usually crap. So you’re not going to impress anyone with that.
  3. The second least expensive bottle on any menu was often the cheapest bottle last year, and it suffers from self-esteem issues.
  4. The cost difference between the third least expensive bottle on the menu and the next three to five in the category tends to be about $20, but the overall quality of those wines are all the same: They’re all drinkable and pleasant and, sometimes, surprisingly good. So no one will fault you for choosing bad wine, and you can go through the meal without wine being a hindrance to good conversation.
  5. Because of No. 1 above, it’s easier to order multiple bottles to get everyone to a happy place.

There is one other strategy that I’ve employed from time to time, but it requires actually knowing a bit about wine. That’s to order the wine you want to drink (assuming you know something about the producer, year, or region), and then follow that up with a drinkable, significantly less expensive bottle. I don’t like this strategy much, because you can always taste the difference, so I tend to employ this only when we’ve had a number of glasses each of the expensive bottle and we’re all aware that we’ve shifted from drinking for enjoyment of taste to drinking for enjoyment of company. I usually only do this with close friends, and I point it out up front—“Let’s start with this bottle, and then we can move to something not as good after a bottle or two.”

If you’re out with someone who really knows her wine better than you, let her order, even if you’re paying. Deferring to her knowledge base is the sophisticated thing to do.

What are some tips for looking sophisticated when ordering wine from a restaurant? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Why a group tour in Madagascar was the right choice for me

Why a group tour in Madagascar was the right choice for me

by Nomadic Matt @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Along with the benefit of having the entire trip’s logistics planned out, this tour gave me authentic local and cultural opportunities I would not have had as a solo adventurer.

The post Why a group tour in Madagascar was the right choice for me appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

The benefits of taking the train to Machu Picchu (and what to expect)

The benefits of taking the train to Machu Picchu (and what to expect)

by Katie Lockhart @ Intrepid Travel Blog

When I read that on my nine-day Classic Peru tour we were taking the train to Machu Picchu I breathed a sigh of both relief and excitement...

The post The benefits of taking the train to Machu Picchu (and what to expect) appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How Does an Aircraft Carrier Maintain Fleet Readiness?

How Does an Aircraft Carrier Maintain Fleet Readiness?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Marty Erdossy, captain, U.S. Navy (retired):

To maintain fleet readiness, a ship’s crew must be trained and proficient enough to effectively operate the ship in combat. Additionally, the ship and its equipment must be fully operational and reliable. Finally, the ship should have the supplies, ordnance, and fuel on board required for the ship to conduct sustained combat operations.

Let me talk a little about the challenges of training a team the size of a small city. During my 30 months as the commanding officer of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), I expended much of my energy making sure my ship and crew were combat-ready. It is easy to understand that after an extensive maintenance period, much work must be done to return the crew to a combat-ready level of proficiency. For a number of reasons, the training challenge actually never ends. One reason is that new untrained personnel arrive almost every day. Another is that the ship and air wing team are capable of so many different types of missions; it is easy to lose proficiency for some of those missions in just a short period of time. In heavy combat operations, the missions are often exactly the same every day. During repetitive operations you can find that the team is really good at one task but have their skills atrophy in another.

U.S. Navy aircraft carriers that are not deployed “on station” overseas undergo what is generally referred to as a turnaround training cycle. This period is made up of maintenance and training and usually some time spent as an operationally ready aircraft carrier that can quickly deploy in response to our nation’s needs. When an aircraft carrier returns from a deployment, it may maintain a ready-carrier condition for a few months, or it may transition into a maintenance period, which could last from a few months to nearly a year.

In 1997, I reported to the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) as the executive officer (XO) while the ship was undergoing a heavy maintenance period in a dry dock at Newport News, Virginia. One of the XO’s primary responsibilities is to train the crew. This was one of the toughest yet most rewarding jobs of my naval career. Taking that ship from a heavy industrial maintenance period to flying aircraft in support of combat operations in Kosovo in just under a year’s time was an incredible transformation.

During the maintenance period, with the ship’s equipment in what seemed like a million pieces, we were already thinking about being ready to operate the ship during combat conditions. During this period, as the training team leader, I made up my training teams of experienced crew members who would do the training required to make sure the crew was ready when we went on deployment. My training team learned about how to train the crew and developed the scenarios we would use to train the crew. Meanwhile, other crew members did classroom-style training to review the basics, such as first aid, damage control, and normal and emergency operating procedures for their equipment.

During this phase, the commanding officer and I took bridge watch teams to a shore-based navigation simulator with visual displays and all of the equipment normally found on the bridge. In these simulators we practiced our communications and watch-standing procedures. We tested ourselves on the nautical rules of the road and our ship handling skill. Likewise, those who operated the ship's defenses went to off-ship training at facilities specifically designed for them to maintain proficiency or learn and practice the latest war-fighting tactics. The air traffic controllers also went to shore-based controller simulators and conducted actual aircraft control from shore-based control stations. The ship’s air wing personnel used this time to hone their skills on bombing ranges and in Top Gun–like air-to-air tactics training.

Near the completion of the maintenance period, the ship conducted a training event called a “fast cruise,” during which all of the ship’s watch stations were manned and communications verified, while most normal operating checklists and procedures were executed as if the ship was actually getting underway. My training teams monitored the watch-stander’s performance, teaching the crew when necessary. Only when the commanding officer was satisfied that the crew was properly trained did he allow the ship to go to sea.

About the same time as the ship was preparing for fast cruise, the air wing pilots conducted field carrier landing practice (FCLP), where they flew their aircraft to a simulated carrier deck at an airfield. These landings were observed by a landing signal officer (LSO) who trained and certified that the pilots had demonstrated the proficiency required to land their aircraft on a ship at sea. When I was an E-2C Hawkeye squadron LSO, I spent many sleepless nights sitting in an old greenhouse-like shack at the end of a runway, critiquing my squadron pilots’ landing performance in preparation for going to sea. While watching airplanes landing at night may sound like fun, this was very serious business. Because of the inherit dangers associated with aircraft carrier operations, the standards for pilot performance are extremely high. After each practice session each pilot was debriefed on the trends he exhibited during that session. Grades were assigned to each attempted landing. Meticulous records were maintained and graphs were developed that pictorially displayed the good and bad corrections the pilot made while attempting to land the aircraft. As with any task requiring skillful execution, the practice under the critical eye and constructive feedback of a good coach quickly improved the performance of the pilots.

You might ask, “Why don’t you save a lot of money by doing all of the training ashore?” While the various simulators are good, they are designed primarily for teaching the basics. Similar to the blocking and tackling drills used in football, they are important but do not take the place of a practice game or scrimmage. Operating at sea brings a complexity to the training scenarios that just can’t be replicated ashore.

During the early at-sea periods, the ship operated for a short period without aircraft. This allowed the ship’s crew to check out the equipment and build on the previous training. This training period is where the crew really learned to work together as a team. Every piece of equipment was tested and exercised. The crew’s skill and the ship’s weapons systems were tested by shooting at drones and towed targets. The propulsion plant operators drilled and practiced every imaginable emergency scenario. Simulated fires, battle damage, and personal injuries were used to test the crew. Surprise “general quarters” (or battle stations drills) were conducted to exercise the crew and the ship’s equipment. As the proficiency level increased, so did the complexity of the operations and the drills that the training team used to train the crew.

When the air wing arrived, the pilots were required to demonstrate proficiency during day landings before moving on to the more difficult night landings. In keeping with the “crawl, walk, run” concept, early operations were conducted with less than a full complement of aircraft. Again, as proficiency improved, the flight deck became more crowded with aircraft, and the crew was given more challenging scenarios. The air wing personnel were integrated into the ship’s training program. They responded alongside the ship’s company to fight simulated flight deck fires, acted as stretcher bearers for mass-casualty drills and performed first aid to simulated injured shipmates.

Throughout this process, various experts assessed the progress of the crew and the condition of the ship’s equipment. In the early phases of the training, they assisted the crew with the training and the grooming of the equipment, but as time went on their role shifted to an inspection or certification responsibility. Each new day brought a more challenging flight schedule. More aircraft were launched and recovered during each event. The aircraft carried more complex load-outs of weapons, some of which were used on target drones or bombing ranges. Other Navy ships and aircraft simulated the enemy during later phases of training. When the crew and the ship achieved an adequate level of fleet readiness, we were certified ready to deploy for combat operations.

The training doesn’t end with the certification, because even during peacetime operations, aircraft carrier operations require great care and attention to prevent disaster. Without a continuous training program, proficiency will erode. During my tour as the commanding officer, the carrier air group (CAG) commander and I had regular discussions about our ship and air wing team’s proficiency. Even during two nearly back-to-back combat cruises, we scheduled training events to sharpen the skills of our team.

In other words, "operating at sea to maintain fleet readiness” means to train or practice as a team. This is an important investment that keeps our ships and sailors combat ready.

What does it mean for a US aircraft carrier to be maintaining fleet readiness? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Barbiesavior will change your perspective on voluntourism

Barbiesavior will change your perspective on voluntourism

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

This is barbie as you've never seen her before

The post Barbiesavior will change your perspective on voluntourism appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Why a group tour in the Middle East was the right decision for me

Why a group tour in the Middle East was the right decision for me

by Megan Arzbaecher @ Intrepid Travel Blog

By going with a group, I knew my transportation would be insured, my activities vetted and my accommodations safe. I felt more confident and safe exploring all the amazing things that Jordan and Egypt have to offer.

The post Why a group tour in the Middle East was the right decision for me appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Why Northern Sri Lanka should be on your travel radar

Why Northern Sri Lanka should be on your travel radar

by Leslie Price @ Intrepid Travel Blog

One day Northern Sri Lanka may have tourist trails, backpacker hostels and smoothie shops like the south. For now, the region is as wild and unexplored as it gets.

The post Why Northern Sri Lanka should be on your travel radar appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

The Russian Ministry of Culture is trying tourism propaganda, and we love it

The Russian Ministry of Culture is trying tourism propaganda, and we love it

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

It's not often you watch something that you know is sponsored by a questionable regime, and come out with a big smile on your face.

The post The Russian Ministry of Culture is trying tourism propaganda, and we love it appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

10 facts you probably don’t know about Namibia

10 facts you probably don’t know about Namibia

by Julie Faye Germansky @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Namibia is an incredibly progressive country for sustainable tourism. Here's what else you need to know about the Southern African beauty.

The post 10 facts you probably don’t know about Namibia appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

6 Things we Learned Traveling Around the World by Bicycle

by Anna @ Global Gallivanting Travel Blog

6 Things we Learned Traveling Around the World by Bicycle Guest Post by Daniele Giannotta and Elena Stefanin from Cycloscope.net a blog about bicycle touring and...

The post 6 Things we Learned Traveling Around the World by Bicycle appeared first on Global Gallivanting Travel Blog.

The 10 best beaches in Australia. Officially.

The 10 best beaches in Australia. Officially.

by James Shackell @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Which strip of sand reigns supreme in Australia? Rub some zinc on your nose and get out the cricket set...we're going to the beach.

The post The 10 best beaches in Australia. Officially. appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How Should Students Who Want to Study Computer Science Prepare for College?

How Should Students Who Want to Study Computer Science Prepare for College?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Ben Y. Zhao, professor of computer science, on Quora:

When in high school and preparing for a career in computer science, a few things come to mind that might be helpful.

First, you need to make sure that you can get into the major. That is an increasingly nontrivial challenge. If you get into elite schools such as the Ivies, Stanford, Duke, or MIT, you shouldn’t have a problem choosing your own major. But at many public universities, it is increasingly hard to get into CS because of the sheer demand by incoming undergrads. You need to make sure that your application is strong enough to get into the CS major if the school separates admission by major.

Second, it helps to be curious about technology. CS is one of those fields with numerous subareas that can cater to different types of students: math-oriented (theory, crypto, or scientific computing), practical (systems, networking, databases and data mining), or hands on (architecture, systems). No matter what, it helps to have a strong curiosity about technology driving your desire to learn. That’s something that will help you when the going gets tough, helping you grind through courses outside of your research interests.

Third, almost all of the general advice regarding college applies: be open-minded, eager to learn, work your ass off to get the most out of every moment in college, etc. Out of these general pieces of advice, I’d perhaps emphasize one: that it is OK to fail and that failure teaches us resilience and how to take risks. I gave a keynote at the Mobisys 2016 Ph.D. Forum on this topic, using anecdotes from my personal experience to prove the point. One of these days I might put the slides up.

Finally, I think having prior experience with technology, computers, and programming will help in general. It can certainly make some intro CS classes a bit easier to deal with. But it’s unlikely to make a difference in the long run, which is why I don’t rate this factor higher. This is also something that has unfairly skewed away women and minorities who are less represented in CS and technology majors. But I know first-hand that female students and minority students have as good a chance as any at succeeding in CS, despite their perceived disadvantage at often being exposed to the area later on in life.

Do you have any tips for prospective CS students in high school? originally appeared on Quora. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

6 tips for booking your first cycling trip

6 tips for booking your first cycling trip

by Ellie Ross @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Pedalling sets the perfect pace - you travel slowly enough to enjoy your surroundings but fast enough that they're constantly changing.

The post 6 tips for booking your first cycling trip appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What Are the Differences Between Teaching Undergraduate and Graduate Students?

What Are the Differences Between Teaching Undergraduate and Graduate Students?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Elizabeth H. Simmons, dean, professor, ACE fellow, physicist:

As a physics professor, I’ve taught students at every level in the university from freshman nonmajors through doctoral students.

The pedagogical tools are similar at all levels, in that active-learning methods are the most effective for promoting deep understanding and mastery. One should use pure lecture as sparingly as one can and do as much as possible to get the students talking and applying material right in the classroom. However, it is far easier to come up with classroom tabletop demonstrations for elementary courses than for advanced ones (those tend to get rather heavily mathematical), so the particular kinds of active learning one employs shift from the hand-on to the calculational and conceptual as one moves from freshmen through graduate students.

In teaching undergraduates who are not majoring in the discipline, one must take care to connect what is being learned to areas that they are intrinsically interested in, whether academically or in real life. If students feel there is long-term value in what they are studying, they are more likely to put in significant effort to understand the concepts rather than merely trying to skate through the course.

When teaching undergraduates who are majoring in the field, I expect that they are intrinsically interested in physics, so my job is to help them see how the particular subject matter ties into other areas of physics. Again, one wants them to appreciate the long-term value of the material—but now as it relates to their scientific studies and eventual careers. I expect them to be able to grasp not only the core concepts of the particular class but also the range of validity of the different methods we are using and how that corresponds to the natures of different physical situations one may be analyzing.

I expect that graduate students have had a solid undergraduate preparation in the discipline and retain the essentials of the core areas. So in teaching more advanced material, I can draw on principles and results covered in undergraduate courses as a starting point and show how they fit together to yield new insights. I also expect that anyone electing to pursue graduate coursework is strongly interested in understanding the conceptual underpinnings of the field. This means that I feel more free to spend time on key derivations (rather than focusing solely on outcomes) as a way of illustrating methods they will find useful in their future research.

At all levels, I expect students to come to class prepared (according to directions given in the syllabus and course website); speak up in class; work actively on in-class projects; and bring questions to me after class, via email, or during office hours.

What are the differences between teaching undergraduate and graduate students? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Read and weep: True Detective season 2 finale filming locations

by Keke @ LegendaryTrips

[No spoiler guarantee] Before revealing the most iconic filming locations of True Detective season 2’s finale, let’s weep together. Let’s weep for True Detective’ second season that could have been great but took off way too late, in a hurry. Anyone watching avidly the show felt it. Perfection was there. It was everywhere. In Ray […]

The post Read and weep: True Detective season 2 finale filming locations appeared first on LegendaryTrips.

How Do I Have Better Conversations?

How Do I Have Better Conversations?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Matthew Manning:

Here is how to become more intelligent and have better conversation:

Do all of the obvious things that people are going to suggest and that you could probably figure out yourself. Chief among these is, of course, is reading more. Read all the time, even when you are waiting in line at the DMV, even when you are in the bathroom.

Don't forget reference books. When I was a kid I would pore over encyclopedias. These days you can do much better with Wikipedia. Read the articles you like, look at the pictures, try to understand the tables. Go on Wikipedia adventures, clicking from one thing to the next, and try to figure out how you started at woodwinds and ended up at Beastie Boys.

Try to unlock fine art. Try really hard to read poems and figure out what they mean or what the authors were talking about. Pick out one picture in a museum and stare at it for an hour. This will feel like an exercise in futility at first, but it will get easier over time and you will be amazed at how enlightening it can be.

Spend more time in coffee shops or any other social or creative space. Listen to the conversations around you. Even if you think people are morons for what they are talking about, just listen to them. Try to determine if you agree or disagree and why. If you feel compelled, butt into a conversation and see what happens.

Watch more documentaries. Documentaries zero in on a small slice of life and pull it apart for nearly two hours. The specific illuminates the whole—this the key to increasing intellect. Try to see the connections to how small microcosms represent larger working systems. This is how you better acquaint yourself with metaphor. Metaphor is the great tool of the human mind, and it's what separates us from the beasts.

Spend less time trying to absorb the noise and pay attention to the specific signals that interest you. There is a deluge of bullshit information that is thrown at you everyday, and I don't hesitate to say ignore most of it. Pop culture deadens the senses and fills up important storage space in your finite brain. If you must take it in, do so with a critical and suspicious eye. 

Find the others. Find other smart people and make friends with them. Don't look to argue with them. Try to understand them, debate respectfully, and learn from them.

Now the most important question: Can you do it?

How do I become more intelligent and have better conversations? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Quarry Trail FAQ: The ‘other’ route to Machu Picchu

Quarry Trail FAQ: The ‘other’ route to Machu Picchu

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Heard of the Quarry Trail? That's cool - neither have the tourist crowds.

The post Quarry Trail FAQ: The ‘other’ route to Machu Picchu appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Why one traveller quit her office job and moved to the Australian Outback

Why one traveller quit her office job and moved to the Australian Outback

by Leah Greengarten @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Sometimes we need a life change. One traveller recounts how an Intrepid trip through the Northern Territory inspired her to move from the Sydney suburbs to Australia's dusty Red Centre.

The post Why one traveller quit her office job and moved to the Australian Outback appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

“Travel is no longer something only the rich can afford”: a Q&A with Intrepid’s co-founder

“Travel is no longer something only the rich can afford”: a Q&A with Intrepid’s co-founder

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

When Intrepid began, we had one destination, one small group and one tour leader: Geoff Manchester.

The post “Travel is no longer something only the rich can afford”: a Q&A with Intrepid’s co-founder appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How to choose the best small group tour company for you

How to choose the best small group tour company for you

by James Shackell @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Travel isn’t like buying a new toaster. There are a lot of variables to consider. Here's how to know if we're for you.

The post How to choose the best small group tour company for you appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

7 best travel destinations for the US dollar

7 best travel destinations for the US dollar

by Barry Choi @ Intrepid Travel Blog

To help you plan your next trip, we've picked 7 destinations where the US dollar will go a long way. Time to stop making excuses and start ticking off that bucket list...

The post 7 best travel destinations for the US dollar appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Why Was Darth Vader So Much More Powerful in Rogue One?

Why Was Darth Vader So Much More Powerful in Rogue One?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Rob Fletcher, Star Wars geek:

Because in Rogue One he benefited from 21st-century special effects and the weight of expectation brought by almost 40 years of being the most iconic villain in movie history, while in Star Wars he was in a cheap sci-fi flick nobody expected to be a hit and trying not to break the flimsy lightsaber prop.

We watched Vader grow in power and mythic status through the original trilogy. By the end of it he was stamped indelibly on movie history. He was so unforgettable that 16 years later an entire trilogy could be justified to tell his back story. His power was undimmed despite that prequel trilogy depicting him as a gee-whiz kid then a leering, whiny teen, fumbling his turn to evil then only showing him in the full costume at the very end in a scene that was unintentionally funny.

Another decade later and a new generation of Star Wars movies decided (rightly) that they couldn't out-Vader Vader, so the new masked villain is one whose greatest weakness is his own inadequacy in the face of Vader’s legacy.

Then along comes Rogue One. Because of when it's set and how it ties to the original movie, it's logical Vader could, even should, appear. But how can the movie use Vader? He has to have impact, but he can't overshadow the A cast. Any fanboy will tell you the thing we'd never seen was Vader just straight wrecking some dudes. We'd seen him fight with a lightsaber on one-on-one duels but only against trained Jedi. The scene they came up with certainly has impact. It's horrifying, crowd-pleasing, and perfectly brief.

Forty years ago Vader wasn't Vader yet. He wasn't Luke's father, and he wasn't in the middle of a tragic fall-and-redemption arc spread across six movies. When they filmed Star Wars the lightsaber duel was a kendo-inspired sword fight. Jedi hadn't yet developed the acrobatic fighting style of the prequels or even the heavier, medieval sword fighting style of Empire and Jedi. The spinning wooden rods coated in reflective tape were prone to shattering on contact, so the actors had to be careful. Forty years later Vader’s cultural import is enormous. Audiences would feel cheated if his return to the screen wasn't given a spectacular, grandstanding scene commensurate with his status.

Why was Darth Vader so powerful when he confronted the rebels in Rogue One compared to his confrontation with Obi Wan in A New Hope? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

How Do Newly Formed Countries Decide on Monarchs?

How Do Newly Formed Countries Decide on Monarchs?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on TwitterFacebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Stephen Tempest:

This is something that happened a lot in the 19th century, as new countries were formed on the basis of national self-determination. Most of these countries preferred to become constitutional monarchies, since the existence of a king was felt to ensure stability and provide a check against factionalism or a military coup.

When a new nation was formed by breaking away from a parent country, often the monarch would be a relative (brother, younger son, cousin, etc) of the parent country's royal family.

If a country gained independence as a result of help from a larger kingdom, then that larger nation might insist on a member of its royal family taking the throne of the new state as a quid pro quo for its help. On the other hand, sometimes the opposite happened, and the great Powers of Europe would intervene to insist that the new state's king must not be a member of any existing powerful families in order to preserve the balance of power.

And sometimes the new king would be the leader of the independence movement, though that was actually quite rare.

The following four examples illustrate the different types of procedure that might be involved.

Belgium

Belgium was a part of the Netherlands until 1830, when the Belgians rebelled against Dutch rule. Britain supported its bid for independence and agreed to guarantee its neutrality, but in return it insisted on Belgium becoming a British-style constitutional monarchy.

The revolutionary Belgian government spent several months considering candidates to become its king. Some wanted a Dutch prince from the House of Orange, but most were violently opposed to this. For a time it looked like a French prince would be given the throne, and three rival candidates were considered, but nobody could agree on any of them. Besides, the British were suspicious of Belgium falling under French influence. So in the end Belgium settled on a German prince with ties to the British royal family.

The new King Leopold I was a minor member of the German nobility, the youngest son of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. In 1816 he married Princess Charlotte, the daughter of the British prince regent (and a cousin of the future Queen Victoria), thus briefly becoming a member of the British royal family. Unfortunately his wife died in childbirth after only a year of marriage. However, the British crown awarded him the title of “prince” and a mansion to live in, and he lived in England until being offered the throne of Belgium.

Greece

Like Belgium, Greece won its independence in a rebellion, thanks to military and diplomatic support from Britain, France, and Russia. In the London Conference of 1830 the three great powers decided (without bothering to ask the Greeks' own opinion!) that the Ottoman Empire should be forced to recognize Greek independence and that Greece should become a constitutional monarchy.

One of the first candidates to be offered the Greek throne was in fact Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. He turned it down, put off by stories of Greece's instability and weak position. He became king of Belgium instead a few months later.

In May 1832 the great powers held another conference in London and this time decided to offer the throne to another minor German princeling, this one from Bavaria. The Greek National Assembly voted to accept the choice, and King Otto I arrived in Greece in 1833.

Prince Otto Friedrich Ludwig was the younger son of the king of Bavaria. He was only 17 when he became king of Greece and won sympathy at first by changing his name and adopting Greek national costume. However, his popularity did not last, and in 1862 he was overthrown in a rebellion.

The National Assembly wanted the country to remain a monarchy but preferred a fresh start and did not want Otto's dynasty to remain on the throne. Seeking closer ties to Britain, it decided to offer the throne to Prince Alfred, a younger son of Queen Victoria. The queen, however, was unwilling to allow her child to become king of Greece, and there were also objections from the other great powers at the thought of a British king ruling Greece.

Several alternative candidates were discussed, including a French duke, a couple of German princes, and an Austrian archduke. In the end, however, a prince of Denmark was picked out as the most neutral choice. The Greek National Assembly approved this decision in 1863.

Prince Vilhelm of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg was the younger son of the heir to the Danish throne. He was also the brother-in-law and personal friend of the prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, so had indirect family ties to the British royal family too. Like his predecessor Otto, Vilhelm—or Geórgios, as he renamed himself on becoming king—was only 17, but he managed to avoid Otto's mistakes and remained popular.

Serbia

Unlike the previous two examples, Serbia's royal family was home-grown. The revolt against Ottoman rule beginning in 1804 had been led by a local leader, Karadjordje (“Black George”) Petrovic, the son of a farmer who had gained military experience in the Austrian army. His uprising was defeated, but a second revolt in 1815-17 was successful. It was led by Milos Obrenovic, the son of a herdsman. Obrenovic forced the Ottomans to recognize Serbia as an autonomous principality, self-governing but paying tribute to Constantinople. He also had his rival Karadjordje assassinated and proclaimed himself prince of Serbia.

Obrenovic's two sons each ruled in turn after him, but Mihailo was overthrown in 1842 by a revolt. The Serbian National Assembly elected Alexander Karadjordjevic, son of the rebel leader killed by Milos Obrenovic, as its new prince. (Serbia would be recognised as a kingdom instead of a principality in 1882.)

The throne of Serbia then alternated between the Obrenović and Karađorđević dynasties, usually violently. Aleksandar was forced to abdicate in 1858 and an Obrenović took the throne. They ruled until 1903, when King Aleksandar Obrenović was murdered, and Petar Karađorđević became king.

Brazil

Brazil gained its independence from Portugal in 1822, and unlike most post-colonial nations, it decided to become a monarchy. The circumstances behind this were somewhat unusual.

In 1807 Portugal was conquered by France, and the Portuguese royal family fled abroad. The 74-year-old Queen Maria suffered from severe dementia and her son João, the prince regent, ruled in her name. He went to Rio de Janeiro in the Portuguese colony of Brazil and set up court there.

After Napoleon's defeat in 1815, it was expected that the royal court would return back to Portugal, but João preferred life in Rio and was reluctant to move. He therefore decided to declare that Brazil was now no longer a colony but a kingdom in its own right, in personal union with Portugal under the same monarch; as such, Lisbon and Rio were co-equal capitals. In December 1815 his mother became the first queen of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves.

This change was resented back in Portugal, and in 1820 a revolution broke out. The rebels demanded a constitutional monarchy, the return of the royal court to Lisbon, and the downgrading of Brazil back to a colony again instead of a kingdom. João, now king since his mother had died in 1816, agreed in April 1821 to return to Portugal. He appointed his son and heir, Pedro, as regent of Brazil to rule the kingdom in his name while he was away in Europe.

In Portugal, things were moving fast. A revolutionary parliament, the Cortes, was drawing up a new constitution. Though it had some Brazilian delegates, the Cortes was dominated by Portuguese, and they quickly proposed new laws to curb Brazilian autonomy, restrict its trade, and return its to colonial status. These measures aroused great anger and alarm in Brazil.

In January 1822 Pedro defied the orders of the Cortes to return to Portugal. In May he issued a proclamation saying that the Cortes in Lisbon could not pass laws that applied to Brazil unless he, as regent, also approved them, and in June he announced elections for a constituent assembly. In response to this the Cortes stripped Pedro of his position as regent of Brazil; Pedro's response to that in September 1822 was to declare Brazil's independence from Portugal.

With the agreement of the various provincial assemblies of Brazil, Pedro was acclaimed as “constitutional emperor and perpetual defender of Brazil" in October 1822. The title emperor rather than king was chosen because of its Roman (and possibly Napoleonic) connotations, as a ruler chosen by popular acclamation rather than dynastic succession. A brief war with Portugal resulted in Brazilian victory, and in 1825—thanks to British diplomatic pressure—Portugal reluctantly agreed to recognize Brazil's independence in return for a 2-million pound reparations payment.

How do newly formed countries find a royal family if they want to become a monarchy? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Meet the chef: an interview with Andrew Fielke

Meet the chef: an interview with Andrew Fielke

by Justin Meneguzzi @ Intrepid Travel Blog

The mastermind behind Intrepid's exclusive tour menus on why we should go back to our bush tucker roots.

The post Meet the chef: an interview with Andrew Fielke appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

15 Fascinating Riddles of Earth

by Keke @ LegendaryTrips

Despite the incredible technologies we have today, the Earth is still full of mysteries – from man-made and natural to outright supernatural. Whether it’s a man-made pit of fire that hasn’t stopped burning for over 40 years, Russia’s anomalous Area 51 or eerie post-apocalyptic guidestones built by a mysterious man, our planet never fails to […]

The post 15 Fascinating Riddles of Earth appeared first on LegendaryTrips.

5 ways to get more out of your Northern Lights trip to Iceland – according to a plasma physicist

5 ways to get more out of your Northern Lights trip to Iceland – according to a plasma physicist

by Dr Melanie Windridge @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Dr Melanie Windridge has a PhD in fusion energy and wrote a book on the Northern Lights – so yeah, she knows a thing or two about the aurora. The scientist explains how to get the most out of your adventure to Iceland.

The post 5 ways to get more out of your Northern Lights trip to Iceland – according to a plasma physicist appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

“Papua New Guinea is truly the last frontier.” We talk to the man who built our wildest expedition yet

“Papua New Guinea is truly the last frontier.” We talk to the man who built our wildest expedition yet

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

When we sat down this year to plan our brand new expedition trips, we knew we wanted Papua New Guinea in there somewhere.

The post “Papua New Guinea is truly the last frontier.” We talk to the man who built our wildest expedition yet appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Why Are Younger People More Creative Than Adults?

Why Are Younger People More Creative Than Adults?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Paul King, director of data science at Quora, computational neuroscientist:

Children have a more active imagination than adults, and young adults are less constrained by their own prior patterns of thought.

As people become “good at life,” they develop habits of thought that serve them well. These habits are thought styles that “work” (get results, impress people, carry us through difficult situations). As we accumulate “thought techniques,” three things happen.

First, we become more effective and able to “effortlessly” (mindlessly?) navigate tricky waters.

Second, we adapt to social norms and accepted ways of thinking, making us more effective with people and society.

Third, we become a prisoner of our own success. Sticking with what works makes us both more successful and less creative. Why be random when you can be right? Unfortunately what works is what worked in the past and misses the enigmatic paths that lead to unexpected surprises.

People who are in creative professions develop personal systems to stay creative. They develop predictable habits that take them into unpredictable territory. This is a lifestyle choice to stay in the uncomfortable territory of the unknown. They may seek out people outside their profession, read random things, or force themselves to brainstorm whimsically. This systemization of creativity doesn’t have the bizarre arc of childhood imagination, but does combine life experience with creativity in a way that can be more impactful (and higher paying) in modern society.

Why are younger people more creative? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

How Do Entrepreneurs Think of Ideas for Startups?

How Do Entrepreneurs Think of Ideas for Startups?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Yair Weinberger, founder of alooma.com:

There is no such thing as an “idea” for a startup, at least not in the sense that most people are thinking about it. At least not in business-to-business, but I suspect not in business-to-consumer either. 

What was the “idea” behind Google, Salesforce, or Slack? We used IRC 20 years ago and HipChat two years ago, but the great product and great execution of Slack took the market amazingly fast.

It also does not matter. It's very rare that after 12 months you’ll be doing the same thing anyway. In the words of LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman: “Starting a company is like throwing yourself off the cliff and assembling an airplane on the way down.”

Great companies always find inefficiencies in the markets they operate in, and create products that fit snugly into the needs of the market. So if you want a great startup idea, here is how my team went about it. I think it’s a repeatable process. In my opinion, this method works best for creating a business-to-business software-as-a-service startup.

Find a market that excites you. Otherwise you’ll be bored to death when doing your market research. For me, this was the data integration market, but that is because I suffered for more than a decade from the inefficiencies in this market. For others, this may be boring as hell.

Research the heck out of this market. Spend three to six months doing your market research. Put a foot in the door of anyone who will open it for you, and learn from him or her. Try to diversify as much as you can in terms of company size and business vertical (unless you nail down something specific very early), but the best geographic place to do this research is probably the San Francisco Bay Area. If you live in another country, hop on a jet and eat ramen for three months, while you drive (or Uber Pool) up and down the 101 for meetings.

Understand what products they are using today, what works, what does not work, and what they wish would have worked. You should focus on understanding why certain products have been unsuccessful. This information can be difficult to extract, because people will often paint a picture that is brighter than reality. Try to put a monetary value on these problems (cost of x engineers, two times shorter sales cycle, etc.).

It may take you 10-15 meetings to nail the right persona, but at the 100th meeting you’ll have a very good understanding of the market and the “holes” in it. If you found a big hole, and you can put a plausible $1 billion or more number on it, you've got your “idea.”

This is the time to start building an MVP to take to market. The nice thing about doing thorough market research is that you may well find your first five real customers there. For example, you can say, “Remember when we talked about x? I have now started a company around that idea. Would you be interested in buying my MVP?”

Your “idea” will change over time, so don’t fall in love with it. The market shifts and changes under your feet, competition emerges, and you will understand much more about the market when you're actually trying to sell something. Be laser focused, but listen carefully to your surroundings. Try to increase your focus as you progress. Solve a very specific problem, and do it amazingly well.

Tell your idea to as many people as you can. No one will steal it, and it does not matter even if he or she tries to. Execution is at least 99.99 percent of it.

Good luck! It’s a fun ride.

What are the best ways to think of ideas for a startup? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

How Does the Secret Service Adapt to Different Presidents?

How Does the Secret Service Adapt to Different Presidents?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Jason Wells, former U.S. Secret Service agent:

The Secret Service has learned a lot since they lost President Kennedy. Yes, it was their fault. They were responsible for President Kennedy’s life, and they did not appropriately secure the area that he was visiting. The result was one of the most politically changing moments in our country’s history and the loss of one the United States’ most popular presidents.

Could it have been avoided? Absolutely. Many of the current standard procedures for protection that are used today by the agency came from studying the Kennedy assassination.

Yes, the U.S. Secret Service will absolutely do a better job protecting President Trump than they did protecting President Kennedy. Just like the agency did with Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan (minus the Hinckley attack—another learning experience), Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama.

The truth is that the Secret Service gets better at their protection mission with every sitting president and every election cycle, because every president, their families, their vice presidents and their families, and political candidates all have different lifestyles and ways they operate in the world. It forces the Secret Service to adapt to these lifestyles.

When the agency took on the Vice President Quayle, they had never had a family that was so active; they were adventurers who loved the excitement of the outdoors—kayaking, whitewater rafting, midnight camping. It was a learning experience for agents. They needed to learn how to protect and (possibly) evacuate a protectee in the wild.

Then they protected George Bush, a sub-6-minute miler for five miles. They needed to adapt to that. How can you keep up with a person like that while wearing all that gear? Agents who were “runners” just came off of eight years jogging with Bill Clinton, the McDonald’s-cheeseburger-eating president who was happy to stop every two blocks for a picture.

Then they were assigned (then) Sen. John Kerry, an avid skier. Another adaptation—agents needed to be trained in protecting a person on the slopes, something reminiscent of a James Bond-esque chase scene in the Alps.

The Trump family is another challenge. There is no question that the dual lifestyle of New York City and Washington will present logistical expectations that has never been experienced in the history of the agency. But the U.S. Secret Service will learn, evolve, and be ready for it when another multibillion-dollar, reality-show business tycoon is elected into the Oval Office one day.

Will the Secret Service do a better job protecting President Trump compared to 1963 when John F. Kennedy was assassinated? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Is It Possible to Open an Airplane Door Mid-Flight?

Is It Possible to Open an Airplane Door Mid-Flight?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Ron Wagner, airline pilot and former USAF aviator:

Sure, no problem at all, if you’re strong enough to pull sideways with 3 to 4 tons of force.

Every once in a while back in my airline days, a young flight attendant would breathlessly race into the cockpit to warn us that a guy in an emergency exit row was trying to open the door. She’d ordered him to stop, but he just kept trying. Now she needed one of us to come back and stop him. We just laughed and told her to ignore him. Because it is funny.

At cruise altitude, the average exit hatch has about 3 to 4 tons of pressure holding it in place. Even on the ground, once the pressurization is turned on, there’s maybe 400 to 800 pounds of pressure. Yes, airliners pressurize a bit on the ground, which prevents pressure bumps that would pop your eardrums during takeoff. It’s less than 1 psi, but multiply that by hundreds of square inches and you’ll see that even if we went back to try to stop the guy, even on the ground, if he was strong enough to pull it out, we weren’t going to stop him.

Now, escape hatches are different from the main doors and are pretty easy to design because since they’re removed from the inside, they’re simple plugs, and pressurization makes them essentially impossible to remove. The main doors do indeed open outward. Why don’t they blow out?

Airliner doors are ingeniously designed. Few people realize it, but it’s some really excellent engineering. Next time you’re boarding a Boeing, take a good look at the mechanism. Upon closing, the door swings inside the cabin and then nestles outward into a frame where the door becomes a plug. They’re called plug doors. In aviation, you always want physics to work in your favor, so cabin doors use physics to remain in place rather than fighting physics with some massive locking mechanism.

Without this design, eventually with daily use on tens of thousands of planes, over decades, one of these locking mechanisms would eventually break and a door would open in flight. I’ve never heard of a plug-type cabin door opening in flight.

Unfortunately, designers have not always used that principle on all aircraft doors. The doors on the lower baggage bins on a DC-10 are a tragic example. They used a locking mechanism, something akin to a bank vault. Very strong, but something that must not deteriorate with thousands of uses by baggage handlers. Sadly, a couple of them failed.

One such example was the crash of Turkish Airlines Flight 981. The rear cargo door blew out with such force that the entire aircraft frame buckled. (MD never built planes as strong as Boeing.) The buckled floors left the control cables under the floor hanging slack. The pilots' yokes in the cockpit were just loose and floppy. All they could do was let everyone pray while they watched the plane slowly go out of control and crash.

This crash resulted in a complete redesign of the locking mechanism, and no more DC-10 nor MD-11 cargo doors have blown out. But those accidents, combined with others caused by sloppy design, eventually caused the DC-10s to cease passenger operations. They now only carry freight.

Can an airplane's exit door be opened in mid-flight? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

7 facts you probably don’t know about Costa Rica

7 facts you probably don’t know about Costa Rica

by Christina Campo @ Intrepid Travel Blog

You probably know that Costa Rica is an ecotourism and adventure travel paradise, but here are some facts you might not know.

The post 7 facts you probably don’t know about Costa Rica appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What Went Wrong at Yahoo?

What Went Wrong at Yahoo?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Igor Markov, EECS Professor at Michigan:

Yahoo started as a manually constructed list of links to websites and aspired to be a media portal to the web. The culture that developed at Yahoo apparently shortchanged engineering in the grand scheme of things; media people were viewed more important. At Google, engineers were first-class citizens, so Google attracted top engineers and could be very selective in hiring. Over the years, Google (and later Facebook) assembled a greater brain and skill capital than Yahoo. Google started later than Yahoo and viewed the core challenge as an algorithmic problem—finding the best websites through automated indexing and real-time search, not manual indexing like Yahoo. So, Google relied on automation more; used a memorable, minimalistic interface that didn’t require daily maintenance; focused on a better-defined objective; and leap-frogged the competition.

With a leaner operation, Google wasn’t hit as hard by the dot-com bubble bursting (the dot-bomb) as Yahoo. Facebook started much later; had a crisp goal; and also managed to attract great engineers, many from Google. Like Google, Facebook stayed lean for a while, remaining flexible and sensitive to what prospective customers wanted.

Lessons learned (for the long term):

  • Focusing on one thing and becoming the best at it is important
  • Effective automation beats manual labor
  • Quality hiring and retention are important
  • Lean operation helps survive in a slow economy

Google’s obsession with infrastructure and its data-driven culture of self-improvement were prescient. (Amazon is another example.) Reliable and scalable infrastructure is very attractive to engineers—it improves the learning curve, avoids routine, provides a valuable experience, and helps building résumés even when projects fail. It also makes possible acquisition more attractive to innovative companies that can leverage their technology at the Google scale.

Google realized this advantage early and made a number of strategic acquisitions, such as YouTube, the team that developed the Android OS, and more recently DeepMind. In contrast, Yahoo wasn’t as successful in acquisitions and their integration and missed many market opportunities.

Another lesson learned: Planning and optimizing for the large scale—data, processing, engineering, business, branding—ensures continuing innovation and helps capture new markets

What went wrong with Yahoo? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

What Would Thinking Be Like Without Words or Pictures?

What Would Thinking Be Like Without Words or Pictures?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Yohan John, Ph.D. in cognitive and neural systems from Boston University:

What a great question! I don't think neuroscience has much to comment on the matter yet. All we can really do is introspect and speculate about the answer.

I used to be a strong “thought equals language” sort of person, but nowadays I'm not so sure. I widened my definition of thought to include imagistic thinking, such as imagining cogs and gears moving together. I could imagine, say, an engineer thinking directly in terms of mechanical “scenes” without any intervening words. But it's hard for me to imagine what thinking would be like without words or images. Maybe that's just a limitation of my own thinking.

I read an extraordinary account of a man named Ildefonso who was deaf and never learned sign language. He reached adulthood without any language at all. Somehow he found a way to survive and even use money, but he had no real concept of what he was doing. The received wisdom was that after a certain age it would be impossible to acquire any sort of language. He eventually met someone who could teach him sign language. She persisted when most others would have given up, and managed eventually to teach him sign language. It's a really moving story that I highly recommend reading.

Naturally, people wanted to know what his mental life was like prior to learning sign language. But he didn't want to talk about it at all, Richard Whittaker reports:

Of course, you and I are interested in learning what was it like? It's another frustration that Ildefonso doesn't want to talk about it. For him, that was the dark time. Whenever I ask him, and I've asked him many, many times over the years, he always starts out with the visual representation of an imbecile: his mouth drops, his lower lip drops, and he looks stupid. He does something nonsensical with his hands like, "I don't know what's going on." He always goes back to "I was stupid."
It doesn't matter how many times I tell him, no, you weren't exposed to language and ... The closest I've ever gotten is he'll say, "Why does anyone want to know about this? This is the bad time." What he wants to talk about is learning language.

This is of course just one anecdote. It doesn't mean that anyone whose mind is empty of language is stupid or not thinking. I do find it hard to relate, because I am a highly linguistic thinker.

Based on my own highly subjective introspection, I've always wanted to separate “thoughts” from “sense impressions.” I think of sense-impressions as the things going on when we daydream, or when we're just about to go to sleep. These experiences for me are on the threshold of thought and nonsense. I've been thinking that thoughts by contrast are cognitive entities that you can manipulate, repeat, or at least recognize as being the same thought. In other words, if you can say, “I've had this thought before,” then that category of mental experience is a thought. (But then I tie myself in knots, because sometimes when I am “thinking” I don't actually produce any distinct “thoughts.”)

Can people think without language or pictures? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

What it’s like to road trip through Mongolia

What it’s like to road trip through Mongolia

by Annapurna Mellor @ Intrepid Travel Blog

From the traditional Gers planted on a lonely steppe, to the rolling sand dunes of the Gobi Desert. Annapurna Mellor shares her experiences of road tripping across Mongolia.

The post What it’s like to road trip through Mongolia appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Ever wondered what an Intrepid sailing trip looks like?

Ever wondered what an Intrepid sailing trip looks like?

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Sailing isn't like it was in the old days. Rates of scurvy have declined. Peg legs are few. No-one really knows what 'hardtack' is anymore. On the whole, things have improved.

The post Ever wondered what an Intrepid sailing trip looks like? appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Stunning photos of Hoge Veluwe National Park in Winter

by Keke @ LegendaryTrips

The Hoge Veluwe National Park is one of the most beautiful Dutch national parks. It consists of about 55 square kilometers of heathlands, sand dunes, and woodlands. The park is amazing but becomes even more mysterious and majestic during winter when the snow covers the trees and paths to transform the park into a frozen […]

The post Stunning photos of Hoge Veluwe National Park in Winter appeared first on LegendaryTrips.

How to explore Oslo on a budget

How to explore Oslo on a budget

by Michelle Keomany @ Intrepid Travel Blog

A trip to Oslo doesn't have to break the bank, especially with these top tips.

The post How to explore Oslo on a budget appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

5 times technology ruined my trip

5 times technology ruined my trip

by Hallie Entwistle @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Technology has changed the way we live our day-to-day lives and (for worse or for better) it’s also changing the way we travel...

The post 5 times technology ruined my trip appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Why does Star Trek have a huge following?

Why does Star Trek have a huge following?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Robert Frost, instructor and flight controller at NASA, on Quora:

The Star Trek franchise celebrated its 50th anniversary in September. During that 50 years, more than 700 episodes and 13 movies have been made. One could watch Star Trek for more than 500 hours without seeing anything twice.

Star Trek stories are humanistic; they are founded in Gene Roddenberry’s belief in the perfectible human. They provide an optimistic vision of our future. Star Trek tells us that no matter how crazy the world may look today, it will get better. We will get better. There will be a time in which doing great things will be the norm.

Contrary to the common perception, Star Trek did not perform poorly when it aired on NBC between 1966 and 1969, but it didn’t perform strongly enough to justify its very high cost. After airing its third season during a time period in which its core audience wouldn’t be home, NBC canceled the series. Three seasons of a show used to be an important benchmark, because it made the show a valid candidate for syndication sales. During the mid-1970s, UHF stations all over America purchased the rights to re-air those three seasons. It began to air daily and found audiences that missed out the first time. The popularity of the show grew immensely, particularly amongst juveniles and young adults. Vietnam was over, and man had walked on the moon. There was a vast sea of young people who found the bright future of Star Trek inspirational.

Star Trek depicts a meritocracy. The characters were cool not because of looks, wealth, or social position, but because they were very good at their jobs. It is a rare television show that sends the message that it is cool to be smart.

Star Trek’s optimistic view of the future stands as a contrast to the bulk of science fiction. Most television and cinematic science fiction depicts varying dystopian futures. Dystopia provides writers with shortcuts to conflict; it’s easier. When just making it through the day provides conflict, writers don’t have to generate as many new ideas. Star Trek thrives on those new ideas.

Star Trek’s “Wagon Train to the stars” construct meant that each episode found the crew in a new place. Each new world enabled the writers to imagine new scenarios to challenge the crew of the Enterprise. The veil of new species and new civilizations allowed the writers to tell issues stories and create moral plays that probed our contemporary views without overtly criticizing them.

The ridiculousness of racism could be exposed through the artifice of an alien white on one side of his body and black on the other in conflict with an alien black on one side and white on the other. The Vietnam War and the Cold War could be criticized by putting the Federation and the Klingons in the position of arming less developed planets in the buffer zone between them. The roles of technology and automation could be examined in an episode that depicted a computer replacing the captain of the ship. Our very humanity could be examined by telling stories about an outworlder from the planet Vulcan or a man-made android.

Star Trek excelled in its characters and casting. The original series focused on a trinity of characters. At the center was the classic hero, Captain Kirk, a dashing and passionate adventurer burdened with the responsibilities of command. Like angels and devils on his shoulder were his advisers, Spock, the logical Vulcan viewing the world through a cerebral lens, and McCoy, the ship’s physician and the very embodiment of heart, compassion, and morality. Surrounding them was a spectrum of diversity that showed us people of different backgrounds working together, seamlessly.

Star Trek showed blacks, Asians, and women in roles of respect in a time when that was not the norm. Whoopi Goldberg has talked about freaking out when, as a child, she tuned into Star Trek and saw that black women were part of the future. Nichelle Nichols has told the story of how when she was contemplating leaving the show, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told her not to, because her character was a symbol of hope for equality.

I came to Star Trek long before I understood the concept of race. The fact that Uhura’s skin was browner than Scotty’s or that Sulu’s eyes were different than Chekov’s was shown as being no more significant than the fact that Scotty’s hair was a darker color than Captain Kirk’s hair.

Twenty-one years after Star Trek premiered on NBC, a new television series called Star Trek: The Next Generation began airing in syndication. It was a huge success and ran for seven seasons. It continued the formula of a bright future, a highly competent crew, and moral plays.

Three more television series followed, but the concept had been saturated. For 18 years, Star Trek appeared on television on a weekly basis. It lost its casual audience and was surviving off of only the die-hards. So, Star Trek took a four-year break.

The strengths of Star Trek make it best suited for television and less well suited for the cinema. It has had mixed success on the big screen. The multiplex is about spectacle. When Star Trek returned to the big screen in 2009 it was welcomed by a large audience, but it wasn’t quite Star Trek. Star Trek is more about thinking and talking than blowing things up. In 2017, Star Trek will return to its native format and hopefully that audience will be hungry, again.

Why does Star Trek have a huge following? originally appeared on Quora. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. More questions:

The Tulum Ruins: a Mexican family holiday with ancient Mayans

The Tulum Ruins: a Mexican family holiday with ancient Mayans

by Iseult Larkin @ Intrepid Travel Blog

With ancient Maya history, ruins and beautiful beaches, Tulum is the perfect place for your next family trip.

The post The Tulum Ruins: a Mexican family holiday with ancient Mayans appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Behind the scenes on a Kakadu group tour

Behind the scenes on a Kakadu group tour

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

We get asked a lot what a group trip in Kakadu National Park looks like. What do you see, what do you do, how many times do you get to swim in photogenic billabongs – that kind of thing...

The post Behind the scenes on a Kakadu group tour appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What Should Young Women Know Before Pursuing Tech Careers?

What Should Young Women Know Before Pursuing Tech Careers?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Julie Zhuo, product design VP at Facebook:

Things that have helped me that may help you:

Find a support group of women in similar situations. It is so incredibly helpful to have a group of people with whom you can share your experiences and hear “oh yeah, me too” or “I went through the same thing.” Because of the gender ratio in tech, you may find yourself the only woman in a class or meeting or near your space at work, and the support that comes from finding others in similar situations helps with that isolation.  

Focus on what you love doing. There's probably a reason you got into tech. Maybe you loved coding or design, the transformative potential of the industry, or the proactive “let's solve hard problems” mentality. Focus on that, and don't focus on the detractors, prestige, or other stuff. Try to put yourself in a situation where you are able to do that all the time.

Find a team or company that values diversity. Seriously, ask them straight up in an interview what their perspectives on diversity are. Don't settle for the PR speak, and ask for real examples. Get to the point where you feel confident that the team, even if it isn't diverse today, really does value you and will listen when you raise issues. 

Only compare yourself to you. Compare yourself to the you last week, last month, or last year. If you are learning and getting better, celebrate. When I was in my college computer science classes, the guys next to me who had been coding since they were 10 felt like they smoked me in terms of how quickly they grasped a concept or completed an assignment. It would be super demoralizing, and I'd wonder if I was cut out for this. Well, it turns out I was cut out for it, and the reason why is that every month, my skills were better than my past month. Keep this up for a few years, and you can do the math on where that gets you.

What advice would you give to young women who want to pursue a career in tech? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

A road trip through Southern Africa

A road trip through Southern Africa

by Allison Q. McCarthy @ Intrepid Travel Blog

If I was going to go to the other side of the world, I wanted to see how people lived. And that’s just the kind of adventure I got when I set out on a road trip through Southern Africa.

The post A road trip through Southern Africa appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Go with the Flo: Intrepid leader Florence talks what to expect on an East African safari

Go with the Flo: Intrepid leader Florence talks what to expect on an East African safari

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

What's it like to travel through East Africa on a small group safari? Let's let an expert do the talking.

The post Go with the Flo: Intrepid leader Florence talks what to expect on an East African safari appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

The most famous US Presidential trips of all time

The most famous US Presidential trips of all time

by Maire Kennedy @ Intrepid Travel Blog

With Obama touching down in Cuba for the first presidential visit in over 50 years, we're looking back on how Air Force One helped shape the 20th century.

The post The most famous US Presidential trips of all time appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

7 experiences that prove the Galapagos Islands are the definition of bucket list-worthy

7 experiences that prove the Galapagos Islands are the definition of bucket list-worthy

by Georgina Lawton @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Here are seven totally amazing experiences that you shouldn't miss once when you get there (having experienced them myself on Intrepid Travel's 10-day Active Galapagos trip)!

The post 7 experiences that prove the Galapagos Islands are the definition of bucket list-worthy appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Are There Any Continuity Errors Between Rogue One and Episode IV?

Are There Any Continuity Errors Between Rogue One and Episode IV?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Rob Fletcher, Star Wars geek:

Episode IV definitely suggests the Death Star was only just operational and had never been fired in anger before. Rogue One gets around this by having the first two firings use a “single reactor ignition” low-power mode, and the destruction of Jedha the subject of an Imperial coverup so that when Tarkin describes the destruction of Alderaan as an “effective demonstration,” it's because that is the first time the Empire is publicly acknowledging the Death Star’s existence.

That initially seems to fly, but why is there an about-face on the policy of secrecy? Vader says the Death Star project is suspect because of the risk of Galen Erso having sabotaged it and tasks Krennic with disproving that. Krennic promptly dies in a major battle in which the Rebel Alliance escapes with a copy of the Death Star plans but then the Empire decides to go public with the Death Star anyway?

Mon Mothma’s presence (as well as confusing half the audience about which Death Star we're talking about) seems odd given that she then disappears for two movies. Why wasn't she on Yavin 4 during the battle? Why was she nowhere to be seen on Hoth? It's possible to craft a retcon of course but I'm slightly surprised the movie didn't try to explain her later absence.

What are Leia and the Tantive IV doing at the battle of Scarif? Earlier Bail Organa had said he was sending her to contact Obi-Wan. She wasn't supposed to be the getaway driver for the theft of the plans. Why take a high-value undercover member of the Alliance and a diplomatic vessel used for covert operations into a fleet engagement?

Why is Vader alone when he tries to breach the Tantive IV? Where is his boarding party? Why does he then send regular troops to do the same job when they catch up with Leia’s ship over Tatooine?

Are there any continuity errors between Rogue One and Episode IV? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

How we changed the elephant riding industry

How we changed the elephant riding industry

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Over two years ago, we officially put a stop to elephant riding on Intrepid trips. It was the start of a big change for the travel industry...

The post How we changed the elephant riding industry appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

“You’re never too old to be carried” and other lessons learned tackling the Inca Trail

“You’re never too old to be carried” and other lessons learned tackling the Inca Trail

by Emily Kratzmann @ Intrepid Travel Blog

When we started out on our 42 kilometre trek along the Inca Trail, I was full of questions about all things hideous; things I really should have researched before booking the trip.

The post “You’re never too old to be carried” and other lessons learned tackling the Inca Trail appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

The most beautiful place you’ve never seen: Northern Brazil in photos

The most beautiful place you’ve never seen: Northern Brazil in photos

by Amanda Linardon @ Intrepid Travel Blog

There’s a part of Brazil that is mostly void of international tourists. It’s a little harder to get to, but it's worth it.

The post The most beautiful place you’ve never seen: Northern Brazil in photos appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Beyond the pho: a street-level guide to Vietnam’s tastiest food

Beyond the pho: a street-level guide to Vietnam’s tastiest food

by Libby Shabada @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Yep, it does get better than banh mi.

The post Beyond the pho: a street-level guide to Vietnam’s tastiest food appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Who Had the Strongest Military During the Cold War?

Who Had the Strongest Military During the Cold War?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Igor Markov, EECS professor at Michigan:

It fluctuated throughout, as technology changed many times over, and the economic fortunes of the USSR became very sensitive to oil prices.

As of 1945 (before the Cold War), the USSR had the strongest conventional land-based military. After the U.S. withdrew most of its troops, it essentially dominated in Europe (the U.S. returned some of the troops, but the USSR still held a vast numerical advantage, especially in tanks).

The U.S. had the strongest navy and dominated both the Pacific and the Atlantic uncontested; this didn't change throughout the Cold War, even though naval technologies changed a lot (nuclear subs, etc.), and the USSR invested heavily in surface and submarine navies.

The air forces were more or less evenly matched in 1945, except that the U.S. and the U.K. had better air defense networks. In subsequent years, the USSR developed very competitive air defense equipment and networks. Other air force technologies also made major leaps forward, but the USSR eventually lagged behind due to systemic weakness in digital electronics.

Early nuclear weapons affected the balance in several ways. In addition to its demonstrated use of offensive nuclear weapons, the U.S. developed several categories of defensive nuclear weapons, including area air defense and a strategy to block a possible Soviet armor advance through the Fulda gap using tactical nuclear weapons such as artillery shells. As a result, the stronger Soviet ground forces in Europe could not fully realize their potential. In the 1970s and 1980s, the U.S. developed medium-range missiles, anti-tank weapons, robust ground attack planes (A-10), and attack helicopters to neutralize the Fulda gap threat.

At early and mid-stages of the Cold War, the USSR had a larger count of nuclear missiles, but that was partly explained by the perceived unreliability of missiles and warheads. There were also rumors of the so-called Bomber gap and Missile gap between the U.S. and the USSR, most of which turned out false.

Overall, who had the stronger military during the Cold War, the US or USSR? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

9 places you should never take a selfie

9 places you should never take a selfie

by Kate Sitarz @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Selfies can be fun and result in some of the most hilarious souvenirs from a trip, as long as you’re following proper selfie etiquette.

The post 9 places you should never take a selfie appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Wisdom from the wilderness: 7 lessons I learnt while travelling in Egypt

Wisdom from the wilderness: 7 lessons I learnt while travelling in Egypt

by Louise Maccallum @ Intrepid Travel Blog

In some ways Egypt was the land I’d expected it to be: an exotic green strip clinging to the banks of the Nile. But in others it was a surprise. A big one.

The post Wisdom from the wilderness: 7 lessons I learnt while travelling in Egypt appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What Are the Chances of Surviving a Plane Crash?

What Are the Chances of Surviving a Plane Crash?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Tom Farrier, former director of safety, Air Transport Association:

Ignore Hollywood. Aircraft involved in crashes are safer than at any time in history, thanks to decades of experience, research, and safety enhancements. According to the Aviation Safety Network, in 2016 there were about 163 aviation “accidents” worldwide, including those involving business jets and military transports as well as jet and propeller airliners. A grand total of 24 resulted in fatalities, meaning only about 15 percent of all accidents in this grouping—which themselves are extremely rare events—actually resulted in lives being lost. Only five of the fatal 2016 accidents were in the U.S, and none involved a major U.S. air carrier.

Consider four possible outcomes to any crash:

  1. You survive a survivable accident
  2. You survive a non-survivable accident
  3. You don’t survive a survivable accident
  4. You don’t survive a non-survivable accident

So, what the heck is a “survivable accident,” anyway? Well, to synthesize a couple of different takes on the subject, most in the aviation safety business (as well as those interested in other types of vehicle safety), look for three conditions:

  • The forces encountered by human occupants were within the limits of human tolerance
  • The structure surrounding occupants remains substantially intact, maintaining an uncompromised volume around them
  • The postcrash environment does not present an immediate threat to occupants or rescuers

In practical terms, this means directing forces away from people, slowing the onset of those that can’t be redirected, preventing internal structures from failing in such a way as to stick into the area where the carbon-based life forms are, and keeping the fire, smoke, and fumes from easily starting or readily spreading. On this basis, you can see that a smoking hole in the ground is nonsurvivable, and there’s always a possibility that a small number of people don’t get the full benefit of protections that rendered the overall accident to be considered “survivable.” But, there are many, many examples to the contrary in events classified as “accidents” due to property damage and/or major injuries experienced in them.

In February of 2001, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board released the results of a comprehensive review of air carrier safety. It noted, “Fatal accidents such as TWA flight 800, ValuJet flight 592, and EgyptAir 990 receive extensive media coverage. Nonfatal accidents, however, often receive little coverage. As a result, the public may perceive that most air carrier accidents are not survivable. In fact, the Board's study shows that since 1983, more than 95% of the passengers survived.” (That includes accident where, given the criteria above, the accident itself should have been considered nonsurvivable.)

A large contributor to this record goes to the many improvements the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration required of air carriers over time. These included:

  • Improved seat cushions with reduced flammability
  • Floor proximity emergency escape path marking
  • Lavatory smoke detectors
  • Lavatory fire extinguishers
  • Halon fire extinguishers
  • Improved interior materials
  • Cargo compartment liners
  • Cargo compartment fire detection/suppression
  • Thermal/acoustic insulation
  • 16G seats
  • Improved access to certain types of exits

(These are expanded upon in a graphic available at here.)

If you keep passengers properly restrained until the noise dies down and the movement stops, you reduce the likelihood of a fire starting in the first place, you delay its propagation, and you make the byproducts of burning stuff less toxic, you have a much better chance of keeping everybody alive.

This was Asiana Airlines 214, which hit the sea wall in front of the runway touchdown zone on short final to San Francisco International on July 6, 2013. People were ejected from this aircraft during its postimpact tumble and breakup, but two of the three people who died were accidentally struck by first responders in the confusion. There were many significant injuries suffered by the crew and passengers, but the aircraft did what it was supposed to do under extreme conditions: It protected its occupants as well as it possibly could, and it didn’t allow fire to spread until there was time to get everyone evacuated.

Bottom line: Accidents are rare; when they happen, fatalities are that much rarer thanks to a lot of hard work and investment in making planes as safe as possible.

What are the chances of surviving in a plane crash? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Cycling Vietnam: Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City

Cycling Vietnam: Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City

by Vicky Philpott @ Intrepid Travel Blog

The view didn’t matter. We’d got there, without having to call on the support vehicle. We’d hit kilometre number 60 of the day and the idea of just sitting there while another five flew by was just what I needed to hear...

The post Cycling Vietnam: Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Trip or treat? Our spookiest adventures from around the world

Trip or treat? Our spookiest adventures from around the world

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

With Halloween fast approaching, things are getting eerie at Intrepid. Here are some of our spookiest trips from around the world.

The post Trip or treat? Our spookiest adventures from around the world appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How Is Plato’s Republic Relevant Today?

How Is Plato’s Republic Relevant Today?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Cecili Chadwick:

Written in ancient Greece at a time of major political decay, Plato’s Republic is becoming increasingly relevant for anyone who cares about justice or has an interest in restoring the political health of our communities. In fact, I can’t think of anything more relevant. What we learn in the Republic is that the nature of justice depends on the nature of the city and that there are strong parallels between the city and the soul.

One view of justice held by many can be found in a discussion with Thrasymachus when he says:

Democracy makes democratic laws, tyranny makes tyrannical laws, and so on with the others. And they declare what they have made—what is to their own advantage — to be just for their subjects, and they punish anyone who goes against this as lawless and unjust. This, then, is what I say justice is, the same in all cities, the advantage of the established rule.

In the Republic, just as there are five different regime types, there are also five corresponding characters of men, and they each give birth to the next: aristocracy, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny. These regime types can also be read in order of excellence.

An aristocracy is a regime ruled by well-educated people who mix prudence and experience to become superior leaders. The leaders of this regime channel their desire and ambition through reason. There are three separate castes in an aristocratic society: 1) ruling class, defined by wisdom; 2) soldiers/guardians, defined by a pursuit of honor; and 3) the majority class, defined by the base desires of man. Considering Plato’s tripartite theory of the soul, an aristocrat is a person in whom appetite, logic, and spirit work together properly.

A timocracy is a system where property replaces wisdom as the highest value. In this regime, the soldier/guardian class are no longer warriors in pursuit of honor but seek the things important to people of the middle class—moderate wealth, medicine, basic schooling, leisure, influence, etc. In this system, leaders are more “high-spirited” and simple-minded than in an aristocratic regime (Crete and Sparta are Plato’s examples of a timocracy). A timocratic man's nature is primarily good, but reason’s pre-eminence has been eclipsed by appetite and spirit, which are the new highest values in a timocracy.

An oligarchy is the first regime in which an actual desire for wealth rules. It is not property in this system that is valued, but money. Money is desired for its own sake, whereas in previous regimes money was a means to acquire the materials necessary for the good life. In this way, money is prized over virtue or honor. The rulers in an oligarchy are warriors whose “spiritedness” dominates their souls. Oligarchs tend to be thrifty, hard-working, and possess a superficial honesty derived from self-interest. They may seem superior to the majority, but their souls are extremely fragile. Oligarchs are scions who have forsaken their fathers’ values because the fragility of a decaying regime could not maintain its previous orientation toward the good life. Oligarchs retreat from a life of high ambition and virtuous living. These men only appear to be good, while their desires are almost entirely self-referential and materialistic.

In Plato’s Republic, a democracy is a regime where one can find the most variety, which is why every character type can be found in it. Again, as found in previous regimes, the aim of democracy is not virtue, but freedom. Democracy abhors restraint, so freedom for individuals to do as they wish is the highest value. In a democracy, the ordering of the rulers and the ruled is often reversed. In this way, the lower classes grow large and society begins to cater to the lowest common denominator. In a democracy, men act more like boys, teachers fear their students, and the battle of the sexes finally commences. A democratic man is often consumed by his desires and he assigns equality to everyone regardless of merit or deed.

After democracy crumbles, tyranny emerges from combining a desire for freedom and a lack of discipline. In this regime there are no remnants of civic virtue and power is seized for the purpose of maintaining order. A tyrant is the worst type of man and he is completely unjust. Naturally, he is also the man who leads the worst type of regime. The tyrant is eros incarnate. For a real life example, it’s quite possible that this character type has some Trump-like qualities.

Considering the state of our current political spectrum, I think we may have something important to learn from Plato’s Republic. If nothing else, we could certainly benefit from a discussion about the good at a time when everything seems so relative … or democratic?

How important is Plato's Republic and why? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

How Cuba’s culinary scene might surprise even the biggest foodie

How Cuba’s culinary scene might surprise even the biggest foodie

by Megan Arzbaecher @ Intrepid Travel Blog

I went into my Intrepid Travel tour thinking it'd be nine days of just eating rice and beans. Wow, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The post How Cuba’s culinary scene might surprise even the biggest foodie appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What to expect on a trip to Turkmenistan

What to expect on a trip to Turkmenistan

by Elle Hardy @ Intrepid Travel Blog

The gateway to the Silk Road is distinct from the other ‘Stans’ in culture, history and landscape. And for sheer craziness, there is nowhere else in the world quite like it.

The post What to expect on a trip to Turkmenistan appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How Do Trans Women Feel About Caitlyn Jenner?

How Do Trans Women Feel About Caitlyn Jenner?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Jae Alexis Lee, MTF lesbian feminist:

Sigh. That really sums how I feel.

Last year I came out and went full-time. It was the year she did the same. While Caitlyn was giving her coming-out interview with Diane Sawyer, I had just spent that very same month coming out to friends, family, and my employer's HR and management types. The same day that Caitlyn's Vanity Fair cover dropped, I called a meeting with my employees to let them know I was about to go full-time.

I've had Caitlyn's shadow over several of my milestone moments, and I've needed to respond to comparisons to her for much of my journey. That alone is draining. While Caitlyn and I have a few things in common, we're very different kinds of women.  So the first thing I feel is tired.

After that ... I'm kind of scared of her and of how she chooses to use her platform.

I'm scared of a trans woman who says that the hardest thing about being a woman is choosing what to wear. I'm scared of that because it perpetuates the notion that trans women don't understand how women suffer or struggle simply because they are women, and I'm scared it because it perpetuates the stereotype that trans women are fetishistic cross-dressers who are really all about the clothes.

I'm scared of a trans woman who sees the Halloween costume made to mock her and says, “I'm not offended—it's OK.” I'm scared because she's legitimizing jokes at the expense of trans women and undermining the work of the trans community that says, “We're done being reduced to the butt of jokes.”

But more than that, I'm scared of a trans woman who has a powerful platform but seems to lack the skill to wield it effectively. We speak so much about the need for people with powerful platforms to use them, but while Caitlyn has a platform that is arguably more powerful than the one she wielded prior to her transition, in many ways she still addresses the needs of the trans community as an outsider, and she holds herself apart from the community. In many ways, while she is like many of us, she doesn't see herself as one of us, and that really frightens me.

Caitlyn is learning. I hope she continues to do so. I hope she continues to achieve positive things as she uses her platform. I hope, more than anything, that she's able to live a happy and authentic life.

But part of me can't help but hope she'll take a small step back from the spotlight to do some of the learning and growing that her actions make clear she needs to do. I hope that she can then re-engage as a more powerful ally in the fight for trans rights. I hope that one day she'll feel that she really is one of us ... because we need her and trans women like her to stand with us, shoulder to shoulder, as one of us. And I don't feel like she's there yet. 

How do trans women feel about Caitlyn Jenner? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

What Makes Pixar’s Movies Exceptional?

What Makes Pixar’s Movies Exceptional?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Craig Good, an original Pixar employee who worked there for 31 years:

I’d say there are a few key things at work here.

Pixar does not make children’s films. It has yet to make a single one. When you make a film aimed at an audience or a demographic, you are making the insane claim that you have the ability to read minds. Most bad big-budget movies are made for an audience. Pixar, on the other hand, makes movies its employees want to see. At some point in production it has to make sure that the film is still suitable for a young audience (note that it didn’t shy from a PG in the case of The Incredibles), but it does not make the movies for children.

Pixar is a creative-driven studio. It doesn’t seek or accept outside story ideas. If the director doesn’t feel passionate enough about a story to want to spend five or six years in hell bringing it to the screen, it doesn’t get done. The development department is there to support the directors, not to buy and assign properties to be made.

Pixar’s movies all suck, and it knows it. At some point in production, every single Pixar film sucks. The trick is not stopping there. Very few studios are willing to hit the brakes on a production and idle several hundred extremely expensive artists while story problems get worked out. Pixar has done this multiple times. It eats into its profitability, but is good for its reputation.

Pixar only hires the best. I remember lunch with a Toy Story–era animator who said that if he were showing up then he’d never get hired. There are so many people who want to work there now that it’s insanely competitive to get in. Want to work in production at Pixar? Simple: Just be better than 99.9 percent of everybody else in the industry. And hope there’s an opening.

Pixar values its employees. It understands that the only meaningful assets it has are the people who make the movies happen and who enable those who do. It can be a very demanding environment, but they do what they can to make it a rewarding one. (Now that the studio is so big this happens with varying degrees of success, but they do try.)

Story really is king. It’s not just a slogan. Story drives everything creative at the studio: technology, art, and even the layout of the buildings. This attitude is foundational. John Lasseter mentioned when we were making Toy Story that the “new” look of the film would keep an audience engaged for about 10 minutes. After that, if the story didn’t carry the film, it would crash and burn.

What are Pixar's standards that differentiate them from others' storytelling skills and works? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Why Hasn’t There Been a World War III?

Why Hasn’t There Been a World War III?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Balaji Viswanathan, history buff:

Primarily because of nuclear weapons. Without nuclear weapons, World War III and World War IV would have started and ended in Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, or even India.

The great thing about nuclear weapons is that they give people the chills. Imagine all the people talking about Hiroshima and Nagasaki even though they amounted to well less than 1 percent of all deaths in that war, as though the 99 percent of other deaths from bombs and bullets were from showering roses.

People talk so much about nuclear weapons because in their minds the conventional bombs are not that dangerous. These conventional weapons don’t scare them to death, when they actually should. Since people aren’t not scared, they don’t stop their governments from fighting silly wars.

The beauty of nuclear weapons is that they make people really worry about the consequences of war. They cannot just send their young men to war while they sip their coffee (like what the Americans are doing while fighting half a dozen wars right now). The nuclear weapons promise total destruction. Someone could bomb their homes right there in the middle of the U.S. or China or Russia or India and instantly vaporize them. They could “enjoy” the same consequence as their brave lads on the front lines that they have sent to fight (through voting).

This bone-chilling fear of personal harm keeps us from being too irrational. Not trade or prosperity. There was enormous world trade before World War I, but they didn’t have deadly weapons to scare people.

However, there will come a day when the danger of nuclear weapons will peter off. We will find a way to disable or destroy nuclear warheads in a consistent way. At that point, the public will once again lose this fear and plan of delivering vengeance. The leaders merely reflect public opinion and they might act irrationally too. That is when World War III will occur. Or there might be a party that could lose a nuclear weapon when a third party could steal it and use it against another nation. That will start a major war.

Until that time, the present nuclear arsenal provides sufficient protection against a war. Fear works.

Why won't a World War 3 occur? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Botswana in photos: the magic of an Intrepid safari

Botswana in photos: the magic of an Intrepid safari

by Rebecca Shapiro @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Three countries, nine days, and more incredible animal encounters than you could possibly count. These are Botswana's highlights, in photos.

The post Botswana in photos: the magic of an Intrepid safari appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Dig into Croatia’s best-kept secret — its food!

Dig into Croatia’s best-kept secret — its food!

by Urban Adventures @ Intrepid Travel Blog

As part of Urban Adventures' brand new Made In Croatia tour, we join the locals and head straight to the market to devour cheese, bread and wine.

The post Dig into Croatia’s best-kept secret — its food! appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Blog Rewind: Top 10 – Legendary Posts of 2015

by BainRo @ LegendaryTrips

2015 is now behind us, hello 2016! The LegendaryTrips Team made some calculations and is glad to share with you the Top 10 of the most popular blog posts of 2015… From Japan to Cuba, South Africa or Norway, discover exceptional places related to TV Shows, films, music or books. 1 – The Continental Hotel […]

The post Blog Rewind: Top 10 – Legendary Posts of 2015 appeared first on LegendaryTrips.

Love elephants? Enter this colouring competition and win a trip to Sri Lanka

Love elephants? Enter this colouring competition and win a trip to Sri Lanka

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

If you’re yet to get on-board with the whole ‘adult colouring-in’ thing, this is a good time to start. We've got a trip to Sri Lanka up for grabs.

The post Love elephants? Enter this colouring competition and win a trip to Sri Lanka appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

American travel to Cuba: Q&A with a local Intrepid guide

American travel to Cuba: Q&A with a local Intrepid guide

by Libby Shabada @ Intrepid Travel Blog

The President just went there. The Rolling Stones just toured. What do improving relations with Cuba mean for US travelers?

The post American travel to Cuba: Q&A with a local Intrepid guide appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Why everyone is talking about Iceland right now

Why everyone is talking about Iceland right now

by Ashlea Wheeler @ Intrepid Travel Blog

How one of the world's smallest, coldest countries became a tourism powerhouse.

The post Why everyone is talking about Iceland right now appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

6 sunset viewing spots in Vietnam

6 sunset viewing spots in Vietnam

by Ellie Abraham @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Vietnam boasts some stunning settings from which to watch the sun rise and set. From Halong Bay to Mui Ne, let us take you through some of the best.

The post 6 sunset viewing spots in Vietnam appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What Are the Advantages of Collaborative Writing?

What Are the Advantages of Collaborative Writing?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Larry Dixon, scif-fi and fantasy writer, artist, designer, editor, and falconer:

There are many advantages!

As my co-writer Mercedes R. Lackey and I say, when you’re co-writing, you each get to do the best parts. When you have a good connection with a co-writer, you can build storylines around your strengths.

Each writer can play to her preferences and let the other writer do his thing. In the Serrated Edge books, for example, I’d get a manuscript handoff from Mercedes with “***LARRY: CAR STUFF GOES HERE***” on the page, when it was time for Tannim Drake to talk technical.

Collaborative writing can be fun and social. We are social animals, but writing is a very solitary art. Usually it’s just you, in a room, with a word processor, for hour upon hour. When you have a co-writer—especially when you have a shared document ability like Google Docs and can use instant messengers—you’re not just all alone. There’s someone you enjoy being with and working with you, but he or she isn’t all up in your face.

Another advantage of collaborative writing is that it lightens the load on everybody involved. One person is declared the senior and has the final say. The editor gives input and expects the writers to fix things and add things.

Our superhero book series at Baen, The Secret World Chronicle, was a blast during production because there’d been as many as four writers on the same book, sometimes live in the same document on some nights. One writer might jam away around page 46 while another’s at page 88, and another will click on through to do callbacks, and another writer can ask the others to continuity-check something.

With a co-writer, you can get prompts if you bog down on a page, from someone who’s inside the same headspace. And, you get to make a lot of jokes about what you’re working on. It can be a load of laughs!

Now, co-writing is a specialty. It takes a set of skills that run from emotional support to productivity hacks to “voice” editing. I am most known, by cover credits, as a co-writer because I have honed this skill set for decades, and I have co-written far more novels than have my name on them (for marketing reasons: co-writing is considered to “dilute the branding” if done too often with a writer). I truly enjoy bringing my abilities to bear and working with multiple writers.

The skills you develop being a co-writer help a great deal in the industry too, being a mix of confidence, diplomacy, and social graces.

What are some advantages of collaborative writing? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Coast to coast: 5 unexpected fringe benefits of road-tripping across America

Coast to coast: 5 unexpected fringe benefits of road-tripping across America

by Jo Stewart @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Road-tripping across America will reveal cinematic landscapes, bizarre roadside oddities and laugh-out-loud town names.

The post Coast to coast: 5 unexpected fringe benefits of road-tripping across America appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What’s the Best Way to Move Out of Customer Service Jobs?

What’s the Best Way to Move Out of Customer Service Jobs?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Jae Alexis Lee, IT support manager:

I’ve helped a lot of agents over the years find the career footing to exit entry-level customer service roles, and there are a few words of advice that I’d give anyone looking to make that transition.

Step 1: Skills assessment

When you’re leaving customer service for other pastures, you really need to start by doing an assessment of what skills you have. In HR speak, we often talk about transferable skills, or the things that you’ve learned to do at one job that can be useful to another job. It’s easy to be blinded by the things that are a routine part of your day-to-day job and to think that those skills aren’t important, but extracting those skills and marketing them will make you significantly more appealing to prospective employers in another industry.

It’s easy to look at a customer service job and say, “I just talk to people who yell at me all day long about things that aren’t my fault but they blame me anyway … ” and to become dejected about the value of your skills, but take a few steps back and look at the things you do without much thought and ask yourself what you can do with that.

Consumer billing specialists routinely juggle several months of invoices, tracking payment histories, service changes, proration, and a number of financial complexities that leave customers bewildered. That’s a useful skill. Technical support specialists frequently find themselves as stand-ins for user training, functioning more as educators than repair people. That’s a useful skill.

So when you’re looking to make a move, the first thing you need to do is take a look at what you do, and then figure out what skills you’ve developed that you can take elsewhere.

Step 2: Look for opportunities to expand your role

Customer service organizations often have a variety of roles that need someone to do work that’s a little bit different from general customer service work. Investing some time and effort in one of these roles can give you an opportunity to further refine the skills you identified in Step 1 and to pick up some additional skills as well.

For some people, that means seeking a defined promotion within the organization: supervisory, advanced technical, trainer, etc. If available, these positions can be a good place to spend a year or two getting yourself ready for an exit. Even without those formal roles, customer service organizations frequently have needs for subject matter experts or people to take on tasks outside the role of customer service representative.

These roles not only serve as opportunities to build transferable skills, but on a résumé, they demonstrate that you have performed at a level that’s been rewarded with some form of advancement. That looks appealing to future prospective employers who will see that you’re motivated to grow.

Step 3: Don’t lose sight of the job you have while preparing for the job you want

I feel like it’s important to mention this. I’ve seen lots of CSRs, when they hit the point just before moving into expanded roles or just after, when they’re really starting to hone the skills to make a successful exit, start to fail at doing the jobs they currently have.

This is the worst kind of short-timer’s syndrome to fall victim to. You’re working hard, doing the things that are going to get you ahead, but in the meantime your existing job duties feel unimportant and become neglected. In some instances, I’ve seen this cost CSRs their promotion into a formal advanced role because their current job performance was considered as part of their evaluation for promotion, and in the worst cases, I’ve seen CSRs fired for spending too much time on things that weren’t their job and not enough effort on things that were.

Failing to stay on top of your current job can turn what would have been an opportunity for growth into everything from a lost opportunity to a bad reference to a lost job.

Step 4: Look for an optimized exit that aligns with your experience

When you’re looking for that step out of customer service, there’s a special set of jobs that allow you to harvest one extra skill: industry knowledge.

Industry knowledge can be part of what makes someone choose you over an equally (or better) qualified outsider and this isn’t something that you should underestimate. Advancement within the same company to a different line of the business is the most obvious example, but there are many other opportunities to leverage what you already know from your time spent in the CSR trenches.

Most CSRs have learned a healthy bit not only about their company’s products and services but about the competitor landscape. You’ve learned about your company’s suppliers and their customers. Aiming your first move at something related to your current position allows you not only to leverage your industry knowledge to get up to speed in a new type of role more quickly, but also lets you see a bigger piece of the puzzle that can be a tremendous asset to your new employer.

Step 5: Don’t sell yourself short

When you finally hit the streets and start circulating that resume, don’t ever sell yourself short. Customer Service Representatives are often underappreciated and it’s easy to feel like there’s nothing special about you when you’re interviewing. Look back at all of those skills we talked about in Step 1, recognize how far you’ve come and how valuable you can be to someone else by using those skills, and don’t ever diminish what you’ve learned in the trenches.

If you can’t see value in yourself, employers won’t be able to see it either. If, however, you can sift through all the things you learned while keeping customers happy and you can extract the gold nuggets of transferable skills, employers will line up to buy what you have to offer.

How do I get out of customer service? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

How Much of a Pilot’s Training Is Emergency Landing Practices?

How Much of a Pilot’s Training Is Emergency Landing Practices?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Stan Greenspan, licensed private pilot:

You can teach anyone to fly straight and level in about 10 seconds. Push the wheel or stick forward, and the ground gets bigger. Pull the wheel or stick back, and the sky gets bigger. Turn or push right, you turn right; turn or push left, you turn left. Congrats, you can fly straight and level. It takes about 10 brain cells to do this, so you can do everything else while you fly straight and level.

Taking off is pretty easy, too. Just point the nose toward the end of the runway (far end!) and apply throttles. When it gets going fast enough to fly, it will, and you get to manage the climb out. Not too hard.

Navigation takes time. You need to fly far enough to get lost and then find where you are on the map. They make you do that so when the screen goes out, you can find your way back. All the other air work is mostly to make sure you don’t drop out of the sky if you screw up somehow.

Landings are where you spend the other 75 percent of your training time, first with power and the wind down the runway, then with a crosswind. When you can land it so smoothly nobody can tell (a “greaser”), you get to move to the hard stuff.

You’ll be flying around the circuit or pattern, and the instructor will calmly reach over and pull the throttle out to idle (go-fast is when the throttle is push full forward or “fire-walled”) and says, “Oh dear, the engine seems to have failed!” You declare a (simulated) emergency and land the plane. You do it from all sides of the field landing into the wind, across the wind, and with the wind (when you have completed everything else), and when you can do it without a sweat, you’ll begin to practice out in the training area.

Flying along at 3,000 feet, the instructor will again play with the throttle and leave you without power. You then have to find a place to land and get ready to do it. You’ll do it over and over again until you learn to fly with one part of your brain looking for a place to put it down if the engine stops, either because the nut-bar instructor beside you decides it’s time or because, well, the engine decides it’s time to stop working. You use the other 99 percent of your brain to keep watching and working on where to put it down safely. On your first trip over a large body of water, you begin to sweat a bit more, because you really want to keep it dry if the engine or engines start to sound funny. (And they always do that first time.)

Flying lessons are not so much about flying but about emergencies. You can’t “pull over” and deal with something on a cloud someplace. You need to be aware at all times of someplace to put the plane down if you really need to.

The only time I had an engine issue, I was flying over the city of Toronto, actually right over the downtown area, where there are no large places to land. Roads are no good—there are always wires crossing every road, and most parks are full of trees. Trees are pretty soft for the most part (they told us that in flight school), but it’s bad form to bash up the plane by putting a branch through the wing.

I was lucky in that it wasn’t a total loss of power, and I was close enough to three airports (not counting Pearson), and I had enough altitude to get to at least one of them at all times. The engine was having issues making full power, and it wasn’t carb ice, I had put the heater on, so getting down back at Buttonville was the best choice. I called them up, they cleared me straight in, and I landed it. Was I worried? Not really. I knew I could land it. I had practiced enough.

Funny story time: Once during training, the instructor idled the engine, and I began to look for a nice spot to land. It was farm country, so there were lots of places to put the plane. I found a nice corn field and had the plane down to about 100 feet ready to land it when the instructor let me add power again to go back up into the sky. As it happens, an airplane with the engine idling is pretty much silent. Well, as it would happen, at the left side of the corn field was a farm house with a garden and a woman bent over tending to her plants, with her back to me. I can see this out my side window. Again, I’m about 100 feet up and maybe 150 feet from her when the airplane becomes rather loud. She was very surprised, to say the least! The look on her face was priceless. I did wave, and she didn’t complain.

What kind of emergency landing training do pilots receive? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

This is what a Tasmania group tour looks like

This is what a Tasmania group tour looks like

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Ah Tasmania. The Apple Isle. You may know it as the bit of Australia that often gets left off maps, Commonwealth Games uniforms and various marketing collateral. Awkward. It also happens to be one of the most beautiful states in all of Australia.

The post This is what a Tasmania group tour looks like appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Why Do Some People Love Jury Duty?

Why Do Some People Love Jury Duty?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Sabrina Ali, former juror:

I served on a grand jury once, and I loved it! I'm excited to do it again one day. Here's what I enjoyed about it.

I learned a lot about the criminal justice system. If you aren't a bit of a Law and Order nerd, this part might not appeal to you. But if you've ever wondered how the justice system actually works, jury duty will bring you one step closer to understanding that. For example, it's one thing to believe, in theory, that indigent defendants struggle in the court system. It's quite another to actually see that in practice—to see a defendant get swallowed by the system because he or she didn't really understand what was going on when he or she was arrested and don't really understand what's going on even at the grand jury proceeding.

I learned a lot about drugs. Drug crime is pretty interesting! Sad and scary and violent and fraught with social and moral issues, but definitely interesting. I'm not going to give details on actual cases, of course, but during the course of jury duty I learned:

  • Which street corners in my city feature the most drug deals and sting ops
  • Some of the tactics of the incredibly brave and cool undercover officers who take down the drug dealers
  • Some of the drug dealer and cop lingo and general terminology
  • How the police get defendants to inadvertently confess or give up damning evidence when they are arrested (I'm particularly glad I learned this, in case I'm ever arrested)
  • What the actual punishments are for various common drug felonies

I got to influence outcomes. The prosecutors probably hated me because I was highly vocal during the proceedings and deliberations (I'm pretty sure they wanted us to just go with the flow and not be too active). But this was my favorite part of being on the jury.

I got to ask questions to the prosecutor and witnesses. During the proceedings, grand jurors can ask questions (at least where I lived). This was important for our jury—sometimes a juror's questions would expose important information about a case. It was also fun to think critically and assess whether we had enough information to indict on the charges the prosecutor had put before us, and asking questions was an important way of getting the information we needed to come to that conclusion.

I got to participate in deliberations. After the prosecutor had presented his or her case, we would deliberate. I love debate and discussion, so this was right up my alley. It had been a while since I'd advocated for something in front of a group of people, so this was a lot of fun for me.

I met some interesting people. The jury was a cross-section of adults living in the same city that I was living in, so I met a lot of people I would never have met otherwise. I knew that I'd been siloed into certain social groups based on my job and background, but I never realized the concrete impact of that until this experience.

It was really different from my normal life. I was working in finance, so jury duty was a pretty drastic break from my normal life. It gave me the chance to exercise a lesser-used part of my brain and be a little bit different from my “work personality.” And it was two weeks long—enough time for a true break, but not enough time to get bored.

So if you get summoned for jury duty, it won't necessarily be a terrible experience, depending on your interests. I'm looking forward to serving again one day, though I imagine that I'm an anomaly like that.

Why do some people want to get jury duty? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

From Delhi to Goa: What it’s like visiting India with Intrepid

From Delhi to Goa: What it’s like visiting India with Intrepid

by Rebecca Shapiro @ Intrepid Travel Blog

"India is a sensory overload, but in the best possible way." That's how photographer Mirae Campbell describes her recent 15-day trip from Delhi to Goa with Intrepid Travel.

The post From Delhi to Goa: What it’s like visiting India with Intrepid appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What Do the Wealthiest People Know That Others Don’t?

What Do the Wealthiest People Know That Others Don’t?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Ron Rule, CEO of As Seen on TV:

That big money is served in small increments. Whether that's return on investments, profits, margins on products you're selling, whatever. People who don’t understand this are always trying to double or quintuple their money in as few transactions as possible, while the largest and most successful companies and people in the world win by making “small money” over and over again.

That wages and income are about what the job is worth, not the individual. As a person, as a human being, your value is immeasurable. If you went missing in the woods, our society would easily spend five or six figures trying to find and rescue you, without hesitation. But dude, putting a sticker on a box is still only worth $5, if that. Your income potential isn't about what you need or what the employer can afford; it's about the value of what you do. Those who are in the upper income brackets have understood and embraced this reality and have worked to bring something of value to the market or their company.

That personal debt is not a “tool.” It's shackles—delayed gratification is more gratifying than instant gratification. If you can't pay cash, you can't afford it. That guy you know making $70,000 per year driving an $80,000 BMW and carrying $15,000 in credit card debt looks like he's well-off, but he's an idiot. His entire paycheck is gone by the end of the month, and none of that stuff is his. He's basically just renting it from the bank. He’s paying more annually in interest than he’s earning in his IRA. One hiccup in his income and the bank takes it all back, making all the money he's paid thus far for nothing. But the guy who saved up and paid cash? His savings account grows every month and no one will ever show up and take his stuff.

The value of the dollars you have versus unearned future dollars. Those people who got a “great deal” on Ikea furniture or faux leather couches will be buying another one sooner than the person who bought quality goods. And the thing is that the people who cheap out know that when they buy it. They rationalize it by saying, “If I get three years out of it, that's fine, I can buy a better one later when I can afford it.” When you do this, you're basically deciding to throw away the money you have and committing future dollars you haven’t even earned yet. A smarter decision: save a little longer and spring for quality goods that don’t need to be replaced so quickly.

Math. The broke person really wanted a particular item but it was more than $100, and he or she didn't have it. When the item went on sale for 20 percent off, he or she rushed to one of those payday advance places and borrowed the money to get it. The interest on those type of loans of course negated the savings. But the person didn't care and justified it by thinking, “Oh well, it's the same money anyway.” He didn’t realize that the problem wasn't how he bought the item.

The importance of life insurance. I won’t get into the personal responsibility argument about leaving your loved ones to fend for themselves. The point is that life insurance is hands-down the easiest and lowest-impact way to pass wealth on to the next generation. For a few measly dollars a month, your kids can be millionaires (or at least hundred thousand-aires). Even people who will never make enough money in their lifetimes to buy homes and die broke and penniless could leave enough to get all of their grandkids through medical school. It’s a total no-brainer, and you can afford it. If you’re retired, your adult children should be paying the bill for you. Stop making excuses.

That lotteries are just another tax on the poor. You do realize the government keeps half of it, right? That’s before the winner is taxed. Yep, that $7 million jackpot really represents $14 million in actual lottery ticket sales, so you’re basically just voluntarily paying more taxes. You won’t see the 10 percent standing in line buying lottery tickets. Even during the big jackpots. Your odds of winning are 1 in 292 million, yet there are people who drop $20 per week, every week for 40 years or more hoping one day it will be their turn. That same money invested from ages 20 to 60 would be worth $300,000 on their 60th birthday, even with the most conservative market estimates. Or another way to look at it: you could turn $40,000 into $300,000 simply by not playing the lottery. It’s dumb. Stop doing it.

Above all, if you can commit to living within your means, your means will increase over time. Feeling broke today? Look at your paycheck. Now imagine you didn't have to spend all of that on car payments and a house that's bigger than what you need, and the credit card payments on all the stuff you bought to fill it. Just imagine that whole paycheck staying in your bank account and not going out the door to those payments. You aren't so bad off anymore, are you?

Now imagine what your savings account would look like in just one year if you threw it all there and forgot about it. Because that's where you could be if you thought about money differently.

Successful people know it’s not about how much you make; it’s about how you spend it.

What knowledge does the wealthy 10% understand that the other 90% are missing? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

This is what happens when you unleash 8 pro photographers on an Intrepid trip

This is what happens when you unleash 8 pro photographers on an Intrepid trip

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Vote for your favourite shot and go in the draw to WIN $10,000 worth of travel goodness!

The post This is what happens when you unleash 8 pro photographers on an Intrepid trip appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

25 things I learned in 25 years of solo travel

25 things I learned in 25 years of solo travel

by Marie-France Roy @ Intrepid Travel Blog

I’ve been on dozens of solo trips, and traveling alone seems just as natural as living alone. Here are 25 things I’ve learned in 25 years of solo travel.

The post 25 things I learned in 25 years of solo travel appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Vietnam’s coffee culture: What to know and where to go

Vietnam’s coffee culture: What to know and where to go

by Kyle Hulme @ Intrepid Travel Blog

There’s one thing above all that stands out as synonymous with Vietnam, and that’s the burgeoning coffee culture that has taken hold.

The post Vietnam’s coffee culture: What to know and where to go appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

6 reasons why cycling in Jordan is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure

6 reasons why cycling in Jordan is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure

by Rebecca Shapiro @ Intrepid Travel Blog

If you like adventure, culture and a generous dose of uniqueness then we don't even need to convince you that our new 9-day Cycle Jordan tour is a must-do.

The post 6 reasons why cycling in Jordan is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Are Self-Published Books Inferior to Professionally Published Books?

Are Self-Published Books Inferior to Professionally Published Books?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Archie D'Cruz, editor, designer, writer:

To give some context:

One of my clients is a “big five” publisher, based in New York. I also have a few other clients in publishing, ranging in size from fairly large to very small. I also know at least 20 authors who have self-published.

So overall, how do the books compare? For the most part, self-published books do not even come close to what a major publisher puts out.

This is not a knock on the authors themselves. Some of the writers I know who have self-published are good—brilliant even. Yet the books suffer in comparison to what a major publishing house will release. Why? Here are a few reasons:

Editing. It constantly surprises me that so many self-published authors see no need to trust their manuscripts to an editor (or, for that matter, a proofreader). Or they may just not wish to spend the money on what they may feel is an unnecessary expense.

Having seen raw manuscripts from published authors, I can tell you that they aren’t necessarily a class above. Their work can sometimes do with a bit of polish as well. They make errors, too. What they benefit from is having multiple sets of eyes review and make edits—often many rounds of edits. Copy is also checked for spelling consistency and reviewed using a style guide (typically the Chicago Manual of Style).

The result, most often, is a superior product.

Cover design. I suspect it would shock a lot of people to know exactly how much time a major publisher spends on cover design. This is such a critical aspect of book publishing, simply because it is the first thing a reader notices. The larger publishers I work for sometimes go through as many as a dozen different versions of a cover during the rough layout phase, and then continue to work with three or four options. There are photo shoots if necessary. Yes, cover designs can (and often do) take months.

Of course, there are many times that a major publisher will also use stock photo images from, say, Getty Images or iStock, but even these are combined and manipulated in so many ways that they are unrecognizable from the original by the time the book goes to print.

Many self-published authors, though, go the Fiverr route, or purchase an inexpensive stock image, only to discover the quality is not that great or that the same image has been used countless times before, so there’s nothing unique about it.

Design and layout. The production values for the interior of the book are just as important. I cringe when I see the ghastly Times New Roman used as body type in a book. The same goes for type set too close to the binding (something that needs to be taken into account while laying out the book), or when hyphenations are set to “on” when the type itself is justified, or when the type is set so close to the page borders that it is not allowed to “breathe.”

Authors aren’t expected to know all this, of course. But larger publishers have designers to take care of this; self-published authors, on the other hand find they have a lot of learning to do.

None of this is the fault of authors who self-publish. In a sense, we are fortunate to live in an era where we don’t need a traditional publisher to release a book. But as far as quality goes, for the most part, there is a divide.

Are self-published books not as good as books from publishing houses? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Can Social Media Fulfill Our Need for Friendship?

Can Social Media Fulfill Our Need for Friendship?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Erica Friedman, 25 years of telling people how to do online community right:

One-hundred percent effectively to 0 percent effectively, depending on the person.

I’m going to propose a person, an average person. Her name is Joanna. Joanna has two kids in their late teens and a job that she likes in an office, and she likes get-togethers with family and friends. She doesn’t travel much, but she and her friends and their spouses often go over to one another’s houses for potluck family parties. She watches TV, sometimes goes out to a movie, and is a casual fan of pop music and culture. She’s moderately physically active. Fairly average, yes?

How likely do you think Joanna is to have online friends? You can’t tell from her profile, can you? Maybe she has friends she kept in touch with online when they moved or people she’s met at work conferences or through hobbies. But what we can infer is that Joanna is more likely to hang with people in person. For Joanna, social media is an extension of real-life friendships—a way to stay in touch with people she knows and has met.

Now we turn to Terry. Terry’s also a working mom with two kids late teens—just like Joanna. The difference between Terry and Joanna is that Terry is a fan of Otome games. Terry likes her neighbors, but their lack of interest in a topic she finds compelling makes their conversations somewhat unstimulating. She’s as glad as anyone to watch hockey, but she just played the original Angelique game for the first time and really wants to talk to someone about it. Guess where she goes?

So, whereas Joanna’s friendships have geographic, familial, and circumstantial origins, Terry has interest-based friendships. Joanna has folks she knows from her kids’ school, work, family, and hobbies. Terry’s friends share her interests.

Terry has a niche hobby that will certainly give her a chance to speak with folks all over the world who also like Angelique, but those folks are scattered thinly across the globe. They “meet” online, they talk online, they hang out online. For Terry, in-person meetings are an extension of online friendships.

Terry’s relationships are just as real as Joanna’s; they are simply shaped differently. In fact, Terry might talk with her friends more often than Joanna, who gets together with them every few weeks (or not). Both sets of relationships are equally valid, and serve the same functions for the people in them.

For many, online communities provide a wider and larger pool of people from whom to draw than mere geographic or circumstantial friendships. While it is true that online, no one knows you’re a dog, you can also become a dog online and meet the rest of your pack, if that’s what you want.

How effectively can social media networks fulfill the need for friendship? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Which Authors Are the Best at Developing Characters?

Which Authors Are the Best at Developing Characters?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Cristina Hartmann, writer:

Well-written characters are part and parcel of great literature, but a few authors stand out from the crowd. They consistently turn out an army of well-crafted and fascinating characters you’ve met before—because they’re so damn real. They don’t rely on plot to make them interesting—they just are. They never, ever write the same character twice. (Sorry, Philip Roth.) They’re simply maestros of their craft.

Here are a few:

Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice, Emma): You might think of her romances as fluffy and frothy nothings, but she’s a deft hand with characters. She slowly and steadily builds up the virtues (and flaws) of everyone with a wryness that still resonates with readers two centuries later. Plus, you just can’t beat Darcy and Elizabeth for the most well-developed romantic couple. People really don’t change (and remain as hilariously oblivious to their flaws).

Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina, War and Peace): Long-winded he may be, but Tolstoy is a virtuoso of character. Over hundreds upon hundreds of pages, he delves into the complexities of Anna’s adulterous affairs, Kitty’s lost love, Levin’s shyness, and Karenin’s coldness. He’s not brief, but he’s good.

Ruth Rendell (Brimstone Wedding, A Dark-Adapted Eye): Known as Britain’s “Queen of Crime Fiction,” Rendell is more famous for her macabre stories of insanity, sociopathy, and bloodlust. What kept her popular throughout her illustrious 40-year career was her characterization. Every murderer (and victim) turned out to have incredible depth and complexity. Not one was the same. She was able to achieve this with more than 100 novels under her belt. Take that, John Grisham!

Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go): I don’t think I’ve read an Ishiguro book that didn’t have stunning characterization. His lovely prose simply heightens the impact of his subtle drawing of ordinary people in complicated situations. Even as he flits from one genre to the next, his characters always keep it real.

Which authors are the best at developing characters? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Mexico misguided: how a local leader can enhance your trip

Mexico misguided: how a local leader can enhance your trip

by Taz Liffman @ Intrepid Travel Blog

When you’ve traveled in a region before, it can be tempting to think there’s little to be gained from group travel and a local leader. How wrong I was.

The post Mexico misguided: how a local leader can enhance your trip appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Top 10 destinations for cycling adventures in 2018

Top 10 destinations for cycling adventures in 2018

by Rebecca Shapiro @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Read on for a selection of cycling trips we're most excited about in 2018. New and old, near and far, short and long, the only thing they have in common is that they'll leave you breathless (quite literally!).

The post Top 10 destinations for cycling adventures in 2018 appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

9 alternative travel spots for 2018

9 alternative travel spots for 2018

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Here at Intrepid we’re all about tackling the negative impact of over-tourism. And for us, the most exciting way to do this is by exposing you to those lesser-known destinations.

The post 9 alternative travel spots for 2018 appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Beyond Berlin: 5 German stops to include on your ultimate Eurotrip

Beyond Berlin: 5 German stops to include on your ultimate Eurotrip

by Dean Harries @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Like many before me, I had a limited view of how Germany worked. It turns out there is a world beyond Berlin.

The post Beyond Berlin: 5 German stops to include on your ultimate Eurotrip appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What Is the Memory of Ants Like?

What Is the Memory of Ants Like?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Ted Pavlic, research scientist in social-insect lab:

Although olfaction (sense of smell) is certainly important to ants, the memory story involves much more than just chemosensory recall and recognition. Different species of ants have different memory capabilities for smell, vision, and even things like the distance and direction of their home nest based on feedback from their step count.

First, it is important to address what is not clearly memory. It's not clear how much of the “memory” discussed in Matan Shelomi's answer can definitely be attributed to central nervous system mechanisms over peripheral nervous system mechanisms, let alone neurology over genetics and physiology. For example, does an ant “remember” the smell of its colony, or is there a genetically derived colony odor? Or do workers use the smell of their own cuticles for reference? Regardless, how much recognition goes on in the sensory centers of the brain opposed to odor receptors in the antennae? There is evidence for different mechanisms in different ants, and some of those mechanisms are difficult to interpret as memory. In general, this is a very active area of research right now.

Having said that, the olfaction of honeybees (Apis mellifera) is often used in laboratory studies of learning and memory, and honeybees are very closely related to ants. In particular, researchers make use of the proboscis extension reflex, where a honeybee extends her “tongue” when she detects certain odors. By pairing a responsive stimulus with a novel stimulus, the honeybee can then be trained to respond to that novel stimulus as well (Hebbian learning, those that fire together wire together). Thus, she learned the smell of the novel stimulus; arguably, she remembered it. Relating back to ants, an analog of the PER for ants has been done in at least one case. Ants can also be trained to respond to novel odors after pairing them with new odors.

The mechanisms and behaviors associated with recognition of colony odor (as opposed to odors associated with foods, as in PER) are more complicated. It is true that ant colonies in the laboratory will often tolerate ants from other laboratory colonies over time, but it is not clear that they are becoming more tolerant of different colonies. For example, their nests could simply be gaining the same scent due to tightly controlled laboratory conditions. So it could become difficult for ants to synthesize and/or recognize unique cuticular compounds of other ants; everyone starts to smell the same. You don't need any learning to drive this latter phenomenon. However, a more interesting case involves observed aggression in the wild between ants from neighboring colonies but not from colonies far away. In these cases, ants behave as if they are learning and remembering the scent of colonies near to them and associating those scents with aggression. Ants with unfamiliar (unlearned) colony scents do not lead to aggressive responses. Again, cuticular recognition is a hot area of research right now. So a lot of these ideas are speculative or isolated in only a handful of studies.

In regard to ant visual capabilities, ants such as Gigantiops and Harpegnathos have very good vision. They use it for hunting and can actually jump onto their prey to make the kill. Harpegnathos in our lab will follow your finger as you move it around their heads (which are equipped with very large eyes). So although some ants, like army ants, are entirely blind, other ants have fantastic vision.

Alex Wild has a nice blog post about Gigantiops that includes nice photos. Of course, Alex Wild also has some great shots of Harpegnathos.

It is true that ants like Cataglyphis (which are also large-eyed hunters) have been shown to respond to polarized light in the sky to help navigate home (which involves memorizing the position of “home” within this landscape). This sensitivity to polarized light has been shown in other insects as well, like honeybees (which are also able to use optical flow and can communicate the polar coordinates of a nest to nestmates who can then “remember” those coordinates and navigate back and forth). However, the memory of Cataglyphis isn't only for visual cues. They have also been shown to count their strides to update a memorized “home vector” that maintains distance and direction from their current position to home. Although the outward trip of a lone Cataglyphis is circuitous, her return path is straight along this home vector. By artificially lengthening or shortening a forager's legs for the return portion of her trip, she will overshoot or undershoot her nest entrance by a predictable amount. Thus, she is not simply responding to external cues about her nest entrance (which would require memory on their own). She is navigating based on an internal memorized map that she generated by counting her strides. It may be worth noting that Cataglyphis cannot use pheromone trails as they are native to deserts where it is so hot that pheromone trails would decay too quickly to be useful without very frequent reinforcement. These ants can forage in isolation. Thus, they are unable to maintain a pheromone trail and instead have to depend on vision and local memory for navigation.

And then there are the tandem runners, like Temnothorax, some Camponotus, some Pachycondyla, and even more. The details can vary in the tandem running use across these ant taxa, but a general description makes the point about memory here. Ants like Temnothorax can lead a follower to a new location without the use of a trail. The leader walks a short distance and waits to be touched by the follower. Meanwhile, the follower encodes the visual landscape as she sweeps her head from side to side. After learning the entire route, she can return on her own and even take novel paths—showing the destination as opposed to the entire route was actually communicated, and she memorized that location. There are variants of tandem running, like in Pachycondyla where the follower learns the path while being carried (without any chemicals being used along the trail). In general, these tandem behaviors show the use of both ant memory as well as visual capability.

There are many other examples, including whole colony nest-choice preference shifting consistently after being exposed to different intermediate stimuli. The mechanisms behind all of them aren't always well understood, but there is enough known to prevent boiling down all ant memory to just following scents.

What is the memory of ants like? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

The World Wanderers Podcast: Travel | Adventure | Lifestyle – Podcast

The World Wanderers Podcast: Travel | Adventure | Lifestyle – Podcast


Podtail

Are you interested in traveling? Do you ever get the urge to get away? Did you just get back from a big trip and are struggling with post-travel depression (it's a thing!)? Are your dreaming of your next travel destination? Amanda & Ryan have been there. As twenty-something travel enthusiasts and world travellers, Amanda & Ryan share you with you what they've learned through their adventures around the world. Having traveled for over a year together to more than 40 countries, they have had up's and down's, lost themselves, found themselves, and a whole lot in between. You'll learn tips and tricks for your travels, awesome places to go, and how travel can allow you to lead a happier life. – Listen to The World Wanderers Podcast: Travel | Adventure | Lifestyle instantly on your tablet, phone or browser - no downloads needed.

How you can engage in ethical elephant tourism: World Animal Protection lays it out

How you can engage in ethical elephant tourism: World Animal Protection lays it out

by World Animal Protection @ Intrepid Travel Blog

In 2014, Intrepid ended elephant riding on all trips after a report revealed widespread cruelty in the elephant tourism attraction industry. Since then, a lot has changed, but new research shows there’s still a long way to go. Here's how YOU can make sure your encounter isn't hurting elephants – according to our friends at World Animal Protection.

The post How you can engage in ethical elephant tourism: World Animal Protection lays it out appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How Can College Students Make the Most of Recruiting Events?

How Can College Students Make the Most of Recruiting Events?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Makinde Adeagbo, founder of /dev/color, former engineer and manager at Pinterest, Dropbox, and Facebook:

Show Up. To my surprise, lots of people just don’t show up. Or they show up to just one event on campus. If you want to work at a company, show up to every event it has on campus. The recruiter will remember you, and that will matter when it comes to decision time.

Get feedback. As you go through the process, ask for feedback. Even if the company declines you. A lot of recruiters will be honest about the areas in which they want to see you improve. That’s super helpful. They are giving you the playbook for what to learn to get the job next time.

Don’t let rejection get you down. It’ll happen. Oh my, it’s happened so much to me. I did an internship at Microsoft, then got rejected the next year, then got another offer the year after that! I’ve probably done seven-plus interviews at Google and gotten rejected more times than I’ve gotten offers. It’ll happen. Get that feedback and send your résumé to five more companies.

Get to know the people at the events. It’ll be really hard for you to get much useful context about the company culture from the reps there. I’d say the best way is to just get to know the reps. If they seem like people you’d like to work with, that’s a good sign.

How can college students make the most of university recruiting events by tech companies? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Yes, we’re offering a Cuba trip for Americans. Here’s the deal.

Yes, we’re offering a Cuba trip for Americans. Here’s the deal.

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

If you’re an American who thought you’d never be able to get to Cuba, it’s time to rethink your thinking.

The post Yes, we’re offering a Cuba trip for Americans. Here’s the deal. appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How a local group is fighting poverty in Kenya, one pig at a time

How a local group is fighting poverty in Kenya, one pig at a time

by Philippa Whishaw @ Intrepid Travel Blog

It’s our first day in Nairobi, and we’re on our way to market to buy some fat pigs. Except this time, we won’t be going home again and doing a jig.

The post How a local group is fighting poverty in Kenya, one pig at a time appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How Much Fake Blood Has the Horror Movie Industry Used?

How Much Fake Blood Has the Horror Movie Industry Used?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Kynan Eng, who specializes in tech startups and research, neuromorphic engineering, mobile big data, and VR:

My best guess is that 619,920 liters of fake blood (around one-fourth of an Olympic swimming pool) have been used in the production of “proper” horror movies—ones that had a commercial release, such as Carrie. This is based on 17,712 horror movies, 5 liters of blood per horror scene, five horror scenes per movie, plus two scenes requiring blood for set-dressing. Note that these numbers don’t include movies with lots of blood but no horrror categorization, such as 300, Death Race, or Rambo.

Below are my detailed calculations and some weakly justified assumptions.

In January, Amazon told me that it had 17,712 horror DVDs and 2,982 horror VHS movies (and a few laser discs). EBay told me that it had 120,496 listings of horror DVDs. I am going to assume that every horror movie ever made has made it to DVD, and every horror movie is either sold on Amazon directly or via one of its affiliates. If something has been lost in time, it doesn’t matter because we as a planet generate far more horror than we ever did before. I am a bit concerned that using Amazon means we may miss some horror movies from China, Japan, and India, but I can’t think of an easy way around it.

There are of course a wide number of ways to die horribly in a horror movie, requiring different amounts of fake blood. However, a quick search for professional fake blood reveals the “Nick Dudman Standard Blood 5 liter” container of washable, nonstaining blood (for $459.99!). Since movie makers are practical people who work to a budget, I am going to assume that, on average, they buy one of these containers for each slasher scene in their movies, and hope that they get it right within five to 10 takes. Yes, some scenes will use epically more blood, but others might not use any at all, so it will probably even out.

Based on my personal history of watching horror movies, I am going to assume that the average horror movie contains five scenes requiring blood:

  • The scene-setting kill at the start of the movie
  • The easy kill of the hapless scientist or life partner or loser passing by
  • The takedown of the first professionals sent in to take care of the threat, reinforcing the fact that the threat is serious
  • The empathy-building kill of a popular character who was supposed to survive but didn’t. Alternative: narrow escape of hero character.
  • The epic final showdown

Two of these scenes will occur in a place where there is already a lot of blood lying around, which will require more units of fake blood. So we have a total of seven blood-scene-equivalents.

CGI hasn’t been around that long, and it’s cheaper to use real fake blood. Blood is expensive to simulate well. So we can ignore virtual blood.

About how many liters of fake blood has the horror movie industry used since the dawn of the motion picture? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

What’s It Like to Own a Pet Lizard?

What’s It Like to Own a Pet Lizard?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Donna Fernstrom, reptile breeder and keeper:

A few basics:

Expect to spend considerably more on the enclosure and equipment than you do on the animal. Keeping reptiles is similar to keeping fish—most of your attention will go toward keeping the environment correct. The fish themselves may cost pennies, but the tank costs hundreds. It’s the same with reptiles. Don’t skimp.

Reptiles need vet care. Line up a knowledgeable vet who has a good reputation with your local herp societies before you bring home a reptile pet. A new pet health checkup should be done before you place your new reptile in its lovely planted enclosure—so you don’t then discover it has parasites, and you have to rip the entire thing apart and bleach it. Have a bare-bones quarantine enclosure set up and stable for a new reptile, if you are going to use a planted naturalistic vivarium as a permanent home. The size of the reptile doesn’t make any difference—green anoles and house geckos still need vet care, even more so, because most are wild-caught.

Read books on reptile care—recent ones. Read reputable online reptile care forums (not just random articles thrown up by Google). Read articles on breeder websites (breeders generally know what they’re talking about). Read all the things before you even choose which reptile species you want; learn all about lizards in general, and the species you are most interested in, in particular.

Understand that most reptiles are remarkably long-lived for their size. Even the diminutive green anole can live for up to eight years—three times longer than a domestic mouse, which outweighs it considerably. And the common pet leopard gecko can live for an eye-popping 20 to 30 years. Be prepared for this, and take it into consideration when you choose a reptile species. This is definitely not a short-term pet!

Never get any reptile that you are unable or unwilling to care for for its full lifespan. You cannot just rehome it when it grows too large. Reptile rescues are full to bursting with Burmese pythons, red-eared slider turtles, and giant green iguanas. Zoos don’t need any, either. Neither does anyone else—these species are mass-produced but grow too large for the average home. You need to be very well-prepared before you bring one home—and if you do, consider adopting from a rescue.

Always remember that interaction is for you—reptiles will tolerate it at best and hate it at worst. They aren’t affectionate. They do have individual personalities and may appreciate you (or at least your treats), but they don’t form emotional bonds and won’t enjoy being petted. If you want an animal that likes physical affection, get a social mammal or bird. Reptiles need to be left alone most of the time. Too much handling creates negative stress that can ruin their health, especially when they’re new to a household. (Leave all new reptiles alone apart from cage-cleaning for the first month.) I’m sure there are stories of the rare iguana or bearded dragon that appears to like scratches, but these individuals are outliers—very, very rare—and you should not expect such a thing.

Take your time. Do not rush this. You have a lot to learn, a lot to buy, and a lot of decisions to make before you ever set eyes on a live lizard.

When that time comes, check rescues first, breeders second, expos third, and pet stores dead last. The healthiest animals will come directly from breeders. Do research on them as well to find a good, reputable one. Yes, it’s OK to have a reptile shipped to you; 99.9 percent of the time it’s perfectly safe. Local is best, but shipping is fine.

What should I know before bringing home a pet lizard for the first time? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

5 of our favourite foods from around the world

5 of our favourite foods from around the world

by Amy Foyster @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Listen up, food lovers. If you’re anything like us, it’s likely your top priority when booking your next trip is largely based on what you’re going to eat.

The post 5 of our favourite foods from around the world appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

16 photos that prove Japan looks better on film

16 photos that prove Japan looks better on film

by Gemma Saunders @ Intrepid Travel Blog

I really enjoy taking my trusty Minolta on trips overseas. I love the grainy look of a film photo and the effort and time I put into taking photos...

The post 16 photos that prove Japan looks better on film appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Iceland’s tourism board just released a video series, and it’s awesome

Iceland’s tourism board just released a video series, and it’s awesome

by Philippa Whishaw @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Need a lesson in hot tubbing 101? Iceland Academy's got your back.

The post Iceland’s tourism board just released a video series, and it’s awesome appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Everything you need to know about visiting the Sahara

Everything you need to know about visiting the Sahara

by Julie Faye Germansky @ Intrepid Travel Blog

It’s a major bucket list item when in Morocco — you cannot deny the call of the desert. Here's what visiting the Sahara is really like.

The post Everything you need to know about visiting the Sahara appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Do Antibacterial Soaps Do More Harm Than Good?

Do Antibacterial Soaps Do More Harm Than Good?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Tirumalai Kamala, immunologist, Ph.D., mycobacteriology, on Quora:

Over the years, the consensus that the harm caused by antibacterial soaps outweighs the benefits has indeed coalesced. But to understand how antibacterial soaps could harm, we first need to understand how they differ from regular soaps. Also referred to as antimicrobial or antiseptic soaps, they contain chemicals that regular soaps don't.

Many liquid soaps labeled “antibacterial” contain triclosan, a synthetic compound, specifically a phenylether or chlorinated bisphenol. While the Food and Drug Administration classifies it as a Class III drug—a compound with high solubility and low permeability—triclosan is also a pesticide. Triclocarban is another common chemical found in antibacterial soaps. Many of the concerns about triclosan also apply to triclocarban.

Since it appeared on the scene in 1972, triclosan has steadily permeated through the consumer landscape such that it's practically ubiquitous today. Triclosan is so ubiquitous it's even found embedded in medical devices such as catheters and sutures to prevent infections.

As for its beneficial effects, a 2015 study compared the bactericidal effects of plain versus triclosan-containing soaps in conditions that mimic hand-washing and found no difference in their ability to reduce bacterial numbers during a 20-second exposure. In other words, dubious benefit when used for routine hand washing under normal circumstances (i.e., only washing hands for a few seconds). After all, most of us don't scrub as though preparing to do surgery every time we wash our hands.

How Triclosan Inhibits Kills Microbes

In vitro studies show triclosan can stop bacteria growing at low concentrations (bacteriostatic) and kill them at high concentrations (bactericidal). It also has some activity against some fungi and even parasites such as those that cause malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, and toxoplasmosis, Toxoplasma gondii.

Triclosan is able to target many different types of bacteria by blocking the active site for an enzyme essential for bacterial fatty acid biosynthesis. Blocking the enzyme enoyl-acyl carrier protein reductase, triclosan prevents bacteria from synthesizing fatty acids, which they need for their cell membranes and for reproduction.

Problems With Triclosan

First, triclosan selects for antibiotic resistance. As widespread triclosan use increased, labs increasingly started finding cross-resistance to antibiotics. Under selection pressure from triclosan, bacteria mutate to develop resistance mechanisms to it, which end up bestowing antibiotic resistance as well. In other words, studies show triclosan selects for antibiotic resistance.

Second, when discharged widely into the environment, triclosan can affect biomass such as algae and bacterial communities. Since it's widely used in such a diverse array of products, triclosan ends up in soil, ground water, and municipal wastewater treatment plants. Such plants require proper functioning of microbes to break down sewage. Triclosan can inhibit methane production in wastewater plant anaerobic digesters as well as select for multidrug resistance in such bacterial communities. Triclosan's effects persist even beyond because it's discharged from wastewater treatment plants as effluent. Certain algae species in the vicinity of such plants have been found to be very sensitive to triclosan. Triclosan also affects bacterial communities in rivers. Potential environmental risk of triclosan becomes even more relevant in areas of water scarcity where it doesn't get sufficiently diluted.

Third, triclosan can alter gut microbiota in fishes and rodents, potentially alter human microbiota, and even promote tumors in rodents. Triclosan could profoundly and stably alter fish gut microbiota as well as those of baby rats. While so far triclosan doesn't appear to affect human gut microbiome, the data are far from conclusive, being based on just one study with seven volunteers. On the other hand, a study on nasal secretions from 90 healthy adults found a positive correlation between presence of triclosan in nasal secretions and nasal colonization by Staphylococcus aureus. This suggests triclosan indeed has the potential to influence and even alter human microbiota. One mouse model even found triclosan capable of promoting liver tumors.

Fourth, triclosan can disrupt hormonal function. Triclosan was found to disrupt thyroid hormone-associated gene expression and altered the rate of frog metamorphosis. It could also disrupt thyroidestrogen, and testosterone function in rats.

Given the increasing litany of concerns about triclosan's deleterious effects on the physiology of a wide variety of species, which may also increasingly include humans, several governments are either considering banning it or have already done so. In March 2010, the European Union banned triclosan from any products that may come into contact with food. In  2014, Minnesota banned the sale of triclosan-containing cleaning products (soaps), giving manufacturers time until early 2017 to phase them out. As of 2015, Health Canada was considering banning triclosan. It's estimated that about 1,730 products, including cosmetics, health, and personal care products containing triclosan were available in Canada in 2011. The FDA is mulling its regulation, with a report due in September.

Do antibacterial soaps do more harm than good? originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. More questions:​

How Does Working on Wall Street Compare With Working in Silicon Valley?

How Does Working on Wall Street Compare With Working in Silicon Valley?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Mira Zaslove, Fortune 500 manager:

I began my career on Wall Street and subsequently have worked for more than a decade in Silicon Valley startups.

There are three main similarities: You work with smart and engaged people, there are large potential payoffs, and the work is interesting and “sexy.”

The differences are in the types of smart and engaged people:

Work hours and perception

On Wall Street people love to brag about how hard they work. People exaggerate the number of hours they work, and it's considered a badge of honor to pull all-nighters and work throughout the weekend. Face time is critical, and generally people do not leave until they are told they can. Managers expect their team to show up before they do and to leave after they do. It's OK to go to the gym in the middle of the day, and “hours” are more flexible than many people on Wall Street make them out to be, but nevertheless hours spent at the office (working or not) are long.

In Silicon Valley people may work these same types of hours (often even longer), but instead they like to brag about how quickly they came up with the solution or about the shortcut they found. Nobody likes to be seen as working throughout the weekend but rather wants to be seen as someone who takes advantage of his or her time off. Being in the office is not nearly as critical as getting work done. Managers are unlikely to care where you got your job done or what time you come and go; they care more about the work you deliver.

Credentials and perception

On Wall Street nearly everyone asks what college you went to. You will know who went to Harvard, Stanford, etc. Many people have MBAs, and this information is likely to come first on even the most senior employee's resume. People on Wall Street generally dress well, and you can tell where someone is in the organization by the clothes that they wear and they way they look. Executives and managing directors carry leather briefcases and wear well-tailored suits, Rolex watches, and Ferragamo shoes. People generally drive fancy cars and live in nice apartments.

In Silicon Valley people rarely talk about what college they went to or make it a point to ask others. Education is unlikely to be the first thing mentioned on a résumé or in a job interview. People at top-tier startups generally have similar alma maters as those on Wall Street, but there are fewer MBAs in Silicon Valley than Wall Street. Executives and directors wear jeans, sweatshirts, hoodies, Apple watches, and sneakers. It is often hard to tell the executives from the interns at first glance. People often take Ubers, and few people live in fancy apartments.

The large potential payoffs

Money on Wall Street is generally made on the annual bonus. For people making the big bucks, bonuses are often more like commissions and tied to some clear-cut money-making activity such as trading or investment banking revenue. Big bonuses one year do not always mean big bonuses another year, and there is a lot of focus on making fast cash rather than on the longer-term viability of the company.

Payoffs in Silicon Valley generally take more time. It is rare to “score big” in one year. It can happen, but most startups don't pay large bonuses; rather, employees get stock options, RSUs, and the like. Stock packages are necessarily tied to a concrete activity. Employees are going to make money if the company succeeds. So a massive underperformer who got into Facebook at the right time is going to make a lot more money than a rock-star performer who worked for VebVan. This is generally not the case on Wall Street. If you are a good trader or investment banker who brings in revenue, you will make money even if the company is going under.

The interesting and sexy work

Work on Wall Street is generally more defined than it is in Silicon Valley. I had a job trading commercial paper, and that is all I did. It was easy for me to know exactly what I was going to do on a given day. It was rare for me to do anything other than what I was hired for. Trading is exciting, and the adrenaline certainly pumps when you win and lose money (and I did plenty of both). However, there are a lot of established rules and regulations, and working on Wall Street is a more certain path. Clients pay for experience and expect a certain level of service. It is hard to move up quickly without “paying your dues.” People generally don't like change, and it isn't considered helpful to suggest new ways of doing things.

Working at a startup, I did something new almost every week. I wore a lot of hats and was expected to do whatever I could to help the cause. It is easier to move up fast, and promotions are more a result of performance than anything else. Work can change quickly as companies pivot, and you are unlikely to be doing what you were hired for at a startup even six months later. You are expected to think of new ways of doing things, and established rules and “ways of doing things” aren't really taken seriously.

How does working on Wall St. compare and contrast with working in Silicon Valley? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

What it’s like returning to your hometown in Vietnam after 32 years

What it’s like returning to your hometown in Vietnam after 32 years

by Jessica Korteman @ Intrepid Travel Blog

It was only at the age of 34 that a combination of good timing and an emerging curiosity about where he was born and spent the first year and a half of his life, led us on a trip to Vietnam.

The post What it’s like returning to your hometown in Vietnam after 32 years appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

3 Killer Tips For Better Travel Inspiration

by BainRo @ LegendaryTrips

  – Hey ho, let’s go! – Yeah..! Where? Well, this sounds like a good summary of how most of the travel brainstormings start. The problem is that sometimes it doesn’t get much more further than that! Travel inspiration is not always easy to find, especially when you have so many possibilities…   How to […]

The post 3 Killer Tips For Better Travel Inspiration appeared first on LegendaryTrips.

The worst tourist traps in the world, according to Quora users

The worst tourist traps in the world, according to Quora users


SFGate

From the scenic ferry ride over to the unique, chilling history of its famed prison, it's a half-day trip that's well worth the time and money. In a popular thread on the question-and-answer site, users gave their responses to the query, "What are the worst tourist traps in the world?" Answers poured in from around the globe, calling out some of the most overrated spots that tourists keep visiting. Flight attendants share their worst, weirdest encounters in the not-so-friendly skies

Is Sherlock Holmes Rich?

Is Sherlock Holmes Rich?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Kynan Eng, tech startups and research, neuromorphic engineering:

It is not clear if Sherlock Holmes is rich, but he will need a decent after-tax income to live his lifestyle in modern London in 2016: 7,680 pounds ($10,064) per month living on his own or 5,460 pounds ($7,155) living with Watson. Before tax, he will need to make a rather hefty 12,828 pounds ($16,810) per month to live on his own or 8,346 pounds ($10,937) per month with Watson. We’ll assume that he doesn’t have any student loans or special tax exemptions.

Holmes does not seem to have many hobbies apart from his work and stimulating his intellect, and he does not seem to have any external financial commitments either. Hence it is relatively straightforward to estimate his expenses.

For rent, two-bedroom apartments in Baker Street go for around 3,300 pounds ($4,324) per month.

For housekeeping, it’s unclear what Mrs. Hudson charges for cleaning and minor catering duties, but housekeepers cost around 7 pounds to 10 pounds ($9-$13) per hour. Let’s say that she does 10 hours of work per week or 40 hours per month, for 400 pounds ($524) per month.

Holmes does not seem to use public transport very much. It’s unclear how much he uses taxis, but let’s say it is an average of twice per day—more when he is on a case, less between cases. This is 60 times per month, at any time of day or night. If we assume a moderate distance of a few miles for each trip at standard taxi fares of 25 pounds ($33) per trip, this works out to 1,500 pounds ($1,966) per month.

We will assume that Holmes is like Batman or Steve Jobs: He has just enough copies of the same or similar outfit to do his job. This website helpfully shows what clothes he wears: 1,350 pounds for his coat, 150 pounds to 460 pounds for his shirts, 495 pounds upward for his suits, 500 pounds for his shoes, and 308 pounds for his dressing gown. A fully stocked basic wardrobe might have two coats, 10 shirts, four suits, four pairs of shoes, and one dressing gown—a total of around 10,000 pounds ($13,105). Let’s say 12,000 pounds ($15,725)  including socks, underwear, and other accessories. He will need to replace his entire wardrobe every five years, thus spending 2,400 pounds per year on clothing, or 200 pounds ($262) per month.

Holmes has highly developed senses and tastes and must therefore require high-quality food. Even if he never eats at restaurants, he will need at least 1,000 pounds ($1,310) per month to feed himself high-quality food and wine at home.

Total cost of the above when living on his own: 6,400 pounds ($8,387) per month. When he is sharing the rent and housekeeping costs with Watson, this comes down to 4,550 pounds ($5,963) per month. Adding 20 percent for incidentals, this comes to around 7,680 pounds living on his own or 5,460 pounds living with Watson.

Regarding incidental costs, Holmes is a known cocaine user. It is not clear how much he consumes, but given that U.K. cocaine prices appear to be around 54 pounds ($71) per gram (around two taxi trips), I’m going to assume that this falls into his 20 percent incidentals. His other known habit of violin playing is not expensive in terms of running costs.

The median person living in London earns around 4,000 pounds ($5,241) per month. Whichever way you look at it, Sherlock Holmes needs to be making a lot of money to be a private detective.

Is Sherlock Holmes rich? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Packing the perfect rucksack for a family holiday

Packing the perfect rucksack for a family holiday

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

We’re no strangers to rucksacks and know that using every inch of space is key, so check out these five handy hints on how to pack your family's rucksacks for your next trip together.

The post Packing the perfect rucksack for a family holiday appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Sustainable tourism and the future of the Northern Territory

Sustainable tourism and the future of the Northern Territory

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

While the past 20 years have seen great progress in native title land claims, and protecting our National Parks, the future of Australia's north is at a crossroads. We chat with Graham Tupper to find out why.

The post Sustainable tourism and the future of the Northern Territory appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

This ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ lip sync is the most joyful video you’ll see today

This ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ lip sync is the most joyful video you’ll see today

by Tim Edwards @ Intrepid Travel Blog

An Australian couple who visited Egypt on an Intrepid trip have become overnight celebrities after a video they made of their holiday went viral. Egyptians are hoping the fun film…

The post This ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ lip sync is the most joyful video you’ll see today appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

How Old Is the U.K.’s Current Postal System?

How Old Is the U.K.’s Current Postal System?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Stephen Tempest:

It dates back to the 1850s but adopted its current form in the late 1960s.

In Britain, Sir Rowland Hill set up the first national, uniform postal service using prepaid stamps in 1839. It was a stunning success, with the number of letters being sent nationwide more than doubling in the first three months after the introduction of the system.

By the 1850s, the post office was encountering major problems delivering mail in London, then the world's largest city with a rapidly growing population. Letters were often vaguely addressed, a problem compounded by the frequent duplication of street names. There were, for example, 13 different Hamilton Roads as far apart as Brixton, Chiswick, and Golders Green—not to mention eight Hamilton Streets and nine Hamilton Terraces, just to confuse things further.

Sir Rowland Hill therefore introduced the first system of postcodes in London in 1856; it was phased in over the next two years. Initially there were ten postcodes: WC and EC (West Central and East Central) in the middle of town, then N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, and NW radiating out from them like the spokes of a wheel. A decade later some adjustments were made because two of the districts were felt to be too small compared with the others; in 1866 NE was merged with E, and in 1868 S was divided between SE and SW.

The 1860s also saw the post-code system first extended to other large cities within Britain. In 1864 Liverpool was the first outside London to be divided into post codes, with four districts. Manchester followed suit in 1868 with eight districts. Others followed, but even by the early 20th century the system was only found in the biggest cities. It saw expansion in 1932 with several medium-sized cities introducing postcodes as well.

It was not until 1917 that the London postal districts were split into numbered subdistricts (SW1, SW2, SW3, etc.). This was because most of the experienced postal workers had been sent to the trenches of Flanders, and hastily trained substitutes, most of them women, had been brought in to fill their roles. Each individual post office within a postal district was given an alphanumeric code, making it easier for inexperienced sorting workers to send post to the right place. The numbers were assigned in alphabetical order by the name of the post office within a district, not by geographical criteria, which is why, for example, SE1 is in the north-west of the SE district, but SE2 is far to the east at Abbey Wood, SE3 is more central at Blackheath, and SE4 is farther west at Brockley.

The post-code system was extended nationwide in the 1960s. It was at this point that the two-part post code was adopted: the “outward code” denoting the postal district, including the various already existing codes such as SW1 in London. This was followed by the new “inward codes” such as 1AA, which denote the individual street or locale within the district. SW1 1AA therefore means Postal District SW (out of around 120 postal districts in the U.K.), subdistrict 1 (there are usually about 20 subdistricts per district), Sector 1 (a sector usually contains about 300 unique addresses), Unit AA (a unit normally contains about 15 unique addresses).

A first trial of the new system was attempted at Norwich in 1959 with limited success; a more successful trial incorporating the lessons learned took place at Croydon in 1966, and then the system was rolled out progressively, region by region. By 1974 everywhere in the country had a post code. Optical character recognition equipment that can read a post code automatically without human input was introduced nationally in 1985.

How old is the UK's current postcode system? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

How Can You Succeed at Learning Higher Math as an Adult?

How Can You Succeed at Learning Higher Math as an Adult?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Dmitriy Genzel, computer science Ph.D.:

Usually the problem that people like you have is that they got lost at some point in their education. Usually it isn’t at the level of the last class you completed, but somewhere earlier. We all use our intuition to do math. You can learn the rules, but if you don’t understand what they are for and why they are the way they are, you are limiting what you can learn. The rules are like training wheels on a bike, and as you get to the next level, your instructor assumes you know how to bike, and then you crash.

So you really need to go back and see if you understand why, say, ab+c = abac. And as you go through the curriculum, at some point you are going to start just saying, “I don’t get this completely, but I sort of understand. I can still do the problems. I can keep going.” At that point you need to go back; this is where things broke for you. As a kid, you just went ahead and your math building got a hole inside and unraveled. Some holes are harmless, but many aren’t, and you are probably not in a position to know which are which.

One thing that is very helpful to realize is that math has to be the way it is. Almost nothing you learn is “just because,” but it is the only way it can possibly be. If you understand why, you have half the battle won, and you won’t make half the mistakes that other people make, and you’ll never forget a concept, just like you don’t forget that objects fall down and not up.

Tutors can help you get through the place where you got stuck, but it should be you driving it. Sometimes tutors just help you pass tests; they teach you the rules but not understanding. Sometimes they don’t understand themselves. You need to figure out what is the first topic that you don’t completely get and get the tutor help you really get it, and then you can go forward.

My kids are doing algebra now, and I recommend Art of Problem Solving Algebra. This book, if you use it as it tells you to, won’t let you get away with learning rules without understanding. I do not recommend Khan Academy as a primary source, since it’s based around the idea that you want to learn how to use math more than about understanding why math is the way it is. You can get away with the former, even through many college courses, but the latter really makes it possible for you to go as far as you choose.

How can I succeed at learning higher math as an adult when I was bad at it in school? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

What’s a Potential Epidemic That No One Is Talking About?

What’s a Potential Epidemic That No One Is Talking About?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Kamala Tirumalai, immunologist, Ph.D. mycobacteriology, on Quora:

When we hear the word epidemic, we typically think of diseases—often communicable diseases—but maybe we shouldn't. An epidemic that isn't so much potential, but real, has been with us for at least a century and is only increasing in importance: road injuries. Also important to remember that one doesn't need to be a driver to fall victim to road injuries. Victims include cyclists, motorcyclists, passengers, and pedestrians.

Rubbernecking was one of the first phrases I added to my vocabulary when I came to the U.S. Needless to say, I learned it in the context in which it is perhaps most often used: drivers slowing down to see what happened in a road accident. A 2014 report reckoned it involved 1.2 billion vehicles. That was expected to increase to 2 billion by 2035.

The thing about hidden epidemics is that we somehow learn to internalize certain costs, get habituated to them, and keep on moving. Dangers inherent to an automobile in motion are precisely the type of costs our brains seem wired to discount. I read an all too familiar regurgitation, that every time there's a plane crash, a statistical accounting of how much safer, despite that particular crash, plane travel is compared with automobiles. Numbers aren't apparently enough to leave an impression though. As prosperity increases around the world, increasing numbers of the newly affluent are taking to the roads in their new cars the world over, and inevitably, increasing numbers are dying or injured. After all, the driving habit is taking off in those places just as electronic distractions proliferate as well.

In my time behind the wheel, I've seen it all. From a seemingly endless stream of drivers with their eyes glued to their phones, to someone looking in her vanity mirror carefully applying mascara, another wielding an eyelash curler, someone else mouthing a spoonful, the other hand holding a bowl, drivers all. Wait a minute—that last one, did I really see that? I had to make sure I really did see it. Yes, no doubt about it, a driver behind the wheel eating his breakfast using a bowl and spoon, hands-free driving as far as I could tell. Rubbernecking. Did any of them, or me for that matter, seriously consider we would rubberneck or be the object of someone else's rubbernecking that day as we got in our cars and started driving? Of course not. If we'd done that, how could we overcome our fear-induced paralysis to start driving? Sheer habituation and following inevitably in its wake, a hidden in plain sight epidemic of road injuries and deaths. The fact remains that in the U.S., the lifetime chances of dying in a car accident are apparently 1 in 606 compared with 1 in 174,426 by lightning.

So let's look at some more numbers to better understand the contours of this particular epidemic. In 2015, the Lancet helpfully published a massive report by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation–funded Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation on global causes of mortality. First off, it included road injuries as one of the top 10 causes of global death in a list that includes the likes of heart disease, respiratory infection and stroke. Its analysis further concludes road injuries jumped up the list from No. 10 in 1990 to No. 5 in 2013.

While adding more granularity to road injury data, the World Health Organization’s 2015 global status report on road safety is the typical Curate's egg, some good bits. but mostly bad. According to the report, though road traffic fatalities plateaued between 2007 and 2013, they're increasing in middle- and low-income countries. Unfortunately, middle-income countries are where most of the world lives.

So what can be done? Can anything be done? The WHO data suggests it's going to be something we've seen before: a long, hard slog to enact and enforce safe driving practices. This includes traffic partitioning to protect those most vulnerable; tough drunk-driving and helmet laws; strictly enforced speed limits; and vehicles that meet not just basic safety standards, which shockingly most of them don't right now, but those that meet preferably the most stringent safety standards .

What are some potential epidemics that nobody is talking about, as of 2016? originally appeared on Quora. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. More questions:

What’s the Most Fulfilling Part of Being a Professor?

What’s the Most Fulfilling Part of Being a Professor?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Ben Y. Zhao, professor of computer science at University of California–Santa Barbara:

There are quite a number of answers to this question, and depending on your personality, they will likely produce varying levels of impact. Instead of trying to come up with an exhaustive list, I will do my best to mention a few of the top fulfilling moments I’ve experienced from my personal perspective.

Watching a (nearly) finished Ph.D. student receive that coveted job offer, whether it’s that faculty position she’s worked so hard for, a position at that top research lab, or a lucrative offer from that hot startup everyone wants to join. This is the culmination of years of hard work by the student, and to a lesser degree, by the adviser. These are moments when you see quantifiable ways that your efforts have literally altered and shaped the life of another human being. Unlike parents and teachers who often need to wait years to see their efforts come to fruition, a Ph.D. adviser sees that direct impact of his or her efforts for the past N years, materialized immediately in a single moment.

Watching one of your students deliver a fantastic talk at a premier conference in front of a packed room of attendees from all over the world. Another moment capturing months (sometimes years) of hard work designing, implementing, analyzing, and evaluating their ideas, followed by the tough process of publication and a lengthy preparation process for the final presentation.

Getting an unexpected thank you note in the mail or an email from a former student, thanking you for that class you taught her six years ago and detailing how it’s changed the trajectory of her life and career. Despite the the significant level of effort most professors put into teaching, we tend to forget just how many students are impacted by what and how we teach. These occasional notes are great reminders of how much our teaching matters.

Meeting up with a former student at an academic conference and being introduced to his or her current students getting ready to present their work. It’s yet another reminder of the level of impact of our work and how it reverberates through the continuing work of our former students.

All of these have the same recurring theme: impact on lives of students and former students. There are many other fulfilling components to the academic life, like getting papers published, getting grants funded, receiving awards and recognition, seeing our research directly impact industry and real users, etc. But I personally find the role of teacher most satisfying, and that’s why those moments are the most fulfilling and memorable to me.

What's the most fulfilling part of being a professor? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

What Does the U.S. Coast Guard Do With the Drugs It Confiscates?

What Does the U.S. Coast Guard Do With the Drugs It Confiscates?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Jason Wells, founder of National Advancements for Proactive Safety and former special agent:

It genuinely depends on the situation. What most people don’t understand is that the U.S. Coast Guard has the unique position of both being a military organization under the compliance of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice and serving in a federal law enforcement capacity (its jurisdiction being maritime law enforcement). “Posse Comitatus” prohibits the United States military from enforcing laws in our country, so that is why the U.S. Coast Guard is not under the umbrella of direction provided by the Department of Defense (it is under Department of Homeland Security).

So sometimes it needs to wear the “federal agent” hat, and sometimes it needs to wear the “military protector” hat, depending on the situation. I guess that a garden-variety example of each of these two scenarios would be these:

Scenario No. 1: Coast Guard is patrolling federal water routes in the United States and comes upon a boat filled with individuals who have drugs and are wanted by police. The Coast Guard would need to conduct all of the appropriate measures necessary to arrest the suspects, to include confiscating any evidence found on the person or the boat.

Scenario No. 2: While conducting a routine patrol on international waters, the cutter (Coast Guard ship) comes upon a boat filled with individuals who are attempting to smuggle drugs into the United States. In a situation like this, the boat and the drugs are destroyed, and the people are taken into custody or returned to their point of origin. This is known as “the Law of the Sea," a form of arbitration between countries.

What does the U.S. Coast Guard do with the drugs they confiscate? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Dark Tourism sites: should we be visiting them?

Dark Tourism sites: should we be visiting them?

by The Common Wanderer @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Dark tourism sites: part of cultural memory, or commercialising something sacred? And why do we feel the need to see them at all?

The post Dark Tourism sites: should we be visiting them? appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What Is It Like to Fly Older Aircraft?

What Is It Like to Fly Older Aircraft?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by John Chesire, four decades of aviation experience:*

Compared with today’s passenger aircraft, they were much more difficult to fly. The instrumentation was minimal, and the control pressures were like driving a heavy dump truck.

While I was in the Navy and had a couple thousand hours flying fighter aircraft. I had the chance once to fly a Convair C-131 Samaritan.

It was the military version of the civilian Convair CV-240 family of airliners. I was very surprised at how difficult it was to fly compared with the F-4 and A-4 I was used to flying.

When I flew it as a co-pilot from Philadelphia to northern Minnesota, I had a few impressions. First, the controls were extremely stiff. It flew like a truck! The instrumentation was also minimal and spartan.

The main attitude indicator was the smallest I had ever seen, with the exception perhaps of the little T-34B. It made it difficult to fly in instrument conditions.

Flying cross-country in it, I found that it did not fly very high and could not get above the weather. Even worse, we encountered heavy icing over Lake Michigan and could not maintain altitude. Fortunately we got rid of the ice before we went into the water.

It was noisy and uncomfortable, and it was fatiguing to fly a long distance. And it was slow.

I enjoyed the opportunity and the experience; however, after that trip I was most happy to be flying fighters again.

How hard were early passenger planes to fly? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

*Correction, Oct. 17, 2016: Due to a production error, this post originally misspelled author John Chesire’s last name.

How Should You Answer an Interviewer’s Question About Adding Value to a Potential Employer?

How Should You Answer an Interviewer’s Question About Adding Value to a Potential Employer?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quorathe knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Mira Zaslove, Fortune 500 manager, on Quora:

This is the most important question you will be asked in any interview.

Have an answer. If only for yourself. Even if you don't directly get asked this question, the interviewer is interviewing you to find out what value you can add to the company. Be prepared to answer.

If you aren't prepared to give the interviewer a good reason to hire you—i.e., the value you will add—don't expect them to.

Answer honestly and confidently. Smile when he or she asks. Tell the interviewer, “I'm happy you asked that question.”

Then, tailor your answer to your “fit” with the company. Honestly, look at your strengths and the job requirements, and highlight where they align. Give examples. Think show, not tell.

For example, if you:

  • Have been in the industry a long time, highlight your experience, and give a few examples of how you can bring your expertise to add value.
  • Know people who work at the company, highlight your cultural fit. Give examples of the traits you share in common, and how important it is for you to add to the culture.
  • Use the product, highlight your passion for its use. Give examples of how your knowledge of the product will help you to add value.
  • Already work at the company and are looking to move positions, give examples of all the processes you understand and how your knowledge coming from X department will help augment the value in Z department.

If you can't think of anything to say or get stumped, focus on this: Most jobs have three main requirements. First, you have the skills to do the job. Second, you want to do the job. Third, they want to work with you. The importance of each will vary by position, but generally, you want to focus on your fit in relation to these three things.

Don't get defensive. Don't stutter. And don't say something generic like, “I'm a hard worker.”

Please don't say, “Because I'm smarter than everyone else you are interviewing.” You don't know the quality of the other candidates. Someone once said this to me in an interview. I did not hire that person. Also, not every job requires that you are smarter than everyone else. In fact, most don't.

If the interviewer directly asks you why he or she should hire you over other candidates, admit you don't know the other candidates as well as you know yourself and then move on to your pitch. This is your chance to sell yourself in a positive way, not make others look bad.

How do you respond to "How will you add value to this company?" when asked in an interview? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google . More questions:

Visiting Chernobyl with Intrepid: What it’s like and what to know

Visiting Chernobyl with Intrepid: What it’s like and what to know

by Kristin Amico @ Intrepid Travel Blog

When we arrive at the site where few other visitors dare to go, we feel like we've landed in a fabled place that most will only ever see in history books.

The post Visiting Chernobyl with Intrepid: What it’s like and what to know appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Our 6 top tips for avoiding generic travel photos

Our 6 top tips for avoiding generic travel photos

by David Nagle @ Intrepid Travel Blog

While we’re not all just thirsty for Insta and Facebook Likes, everyone still wants amazing travel photos to remember their trip and show their mates – to wow them, inspire…

The post Our 6 top tips for avoiding generic travel photos appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Why I love El Salvador, a country with a story to tell

Why I love El Salvador, a country with a story to tell

by Rachel Uberti @ Intrepid Travel Blog

It's a country with a story to tell but also a country with lots to offer. The people are welcoming, the beers are cheap and sites are almost tourist-free.

The post Why I love El Salvador, a country with a story to tell appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

12 Incredible Palaces and Heritage Hotels in India (for all budgets)

by Anna @ Global Gallivanting Travel Blog

12 of the Best Palaces and Heritage Hotels in India  India has an incredibly long and rich history and one of the highlights of a trip...

The post 12 Incredible Palaces and Heritage Hotels in India (for all budgets) appeared first on Global Gallivanting Travel Blog.

Does Tennis Equipment Need to Be Tweaked at Different Temperatures?

Does Tennis Equipment Need to Be Tweaked at Different Temperatures?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Laurence Shanet, former college/satellite tennis player, tennis coach, USRSA certified stringer:

For a recreational player, there is little need to tweak your existing equipment. Contrary to what many players will tell you, research has shown that even fairly high-level players can’t distinguish string tension differences of up to 10 pounds when using blinded conditions. That said, there are a few ways your equipment will vary at different temperatures.

Racquet and strings: Your racquet does perform differently at different temperatures. The resilience of the strings decreases as temperature goes down, causing the perception of an increase in tension at colder temperatures. And the frame may also flex slightly differently. Unfortunately, if you only have one racquet, there’s not much to do about this.

However, if you’re a tournament-level player or lucky enough to own multiples of the same racquet, you could get them strung at a range of tensions and keep the variants with you so that you can switch if you like. Start by playing with the middle tension, and then you can go tighter or looser as desired. Generally, you will find that the higher the temperature rises, the more you’ll want to increase tension in order to keep things feeling the same. But these things vary by the type of string used and many other variables, so there isn’t any “formula” for it.

Balls: Since the balls tend to move slightly faster at higher temperatures (and may even bounce slightly higher), some tournaments may apply minor tweaks for extreme temperature variations. However, this option isn’t really available to consumers. It also isn’t really necessary, as only a truly elite player would be able to perceive any difference. Further, there are many other factors that would affect the feel of the ball, including humidity and altitude, so there’s really no point in even trying.

Shoes: At the pro level, some pros will use slightly different sole compounds in extreme temperatures on hard courts, with softer soles working better in cold temperatures and harder ones more appropriate for the highs. But for the most part, even the pros don’t bother with this, and neither should you. You don’t have much availability of different soles, and you wouldn’t notice it much anyway.

Bottom line: Don’t worry about it. There is no formula, and there are many other factors that will affect you more than the temperature. Unless you’re an elite, world-class player, there is no reason to give it a second thought, as your main concern will simply be staying hydrated and focused in all conditions, and worrying too much about your equipment will only be a distraction.

Does tennis equipment need to be tweaked when players play at different temperatures? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

7 essentials every traveller should pack for their trip

7 essentials every traveller should pack for their trip

by Patricia Magana @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Suitcases are a finite space. You only want to fill them with stuff you'll need. Here are 7 simple things you should be packing every time.

The post 7 essentials every traveller should pack for their trip appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Want to know what a Galapagos cruise is really like?

Want to know what a Galapagos cruise is really like?

by Intrepid Travel @ Intrepid Travel Blog

To answer that question, we quizzed some real-life Intrepid Travellers on a real-life Galapagos Islands trip.

The post Want to know what a Galapagos cruise is really like? appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

10 reasons Slovenia should be your next big Eurotrip

10 reasons Slovenia should be your next big Eurotrip

by Ashlea Wheeler @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Slovenia – the relatively quiet country that we’d known almost nothing about became one of our most memorable stops in Europe.

The post 10 reasons Slovenia should be your next big Eurotrip appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Can People Become Force-Sensitive in the Star Wars Universe?

Can People Become Force-Sensitive in the Star Wars Universe?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Rob Fletcher, Star Wars geek:

My read has always been that, as Yoda and Obi-Wan say, the Force binds all living things together: “Life creates it, makes it flow.” Thus all living things have the Force flowing through them.

Some may have more innate ability to manipulate it or be more in tune with it than others; some may become more able through discipline and training. Some consciously use the Force (Jedi, Sith, Chirrut in Rogue One to some extent). Others put it down to luck, but even if they don't believe in the existence of the Force, it's still there, flowing through them. A Jedi would look at Han’s exceptional piloting skill or his ability to scrape his way out of every tight spot and see the Force at work whether Han acknowledges it as such or not.

The idea that Force sensitivity is a binary thing you either have or don't seems like a role-playing game approach. Tick a box if this character “has” the Force. The same goes for the idea of the ways in which Jedi or Sith manipulate the Force being distinct spell-like techniques. Tick a box of this character knows “Force push.” This interpretation arose from the West End Games pen-and-paper role-playing games and later video games such as Jedi Outcast. There's nothing in the movies to suggest that's how the Force works. It makes sense as a game mechanic but not otherwise.

The related idea that certain abilities innately belong to the light or dark side is also wrong. “Force push,” “Force jump,” “Force choke,” etc. are all specific uses of telekinesis. Luke choking the gamorrean guards in Jabba’s palace isn't a sign of him drawing on the dark side; it's a specific application of the same technique he learned when Yoda taught him to move rocks with his mind. It's the motivation behind the use of the Force that draws the user toward the dark side. Luke choking someone in anger would be him drawing on the dark side, but it's not the simple fact he's using the Force to restrict their airway.

Of course, The Phantom Menace complicated things by introducing the idea of midichlorians. But we're kind of ignoring that whole concept now it seems (good). Even with midichlorians I think my interpretation stands up.

So, to answer the question, I think everyone intrinsically has some connection to the Force. In some it's stronger than in others. Some may be able to train themselves to use it more consciously and effectively but that takes discipline and commitment many people lack.

Can people become Force-sensitive in the Star Wars universe? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Travel for two: choose the perfect trip for your relationship status

Travel for two: choose the perfect trip for your relationship status

by Libby Shabada @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Travelling is the ultimate relationship test. You'll find out more about your life partner while haggling with an Ecuadorian chicken-merchant than you would in 40 years of marriage.

The post Travel for two: choose the perfect trip for your relationship status appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

What’s It Like to Be a Quadruplet?

What’s It Like to Be a Quadruplet?

by Quora Contributor @ Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by Tracy Hess, quadruplet:

Since being a quadruplet is all I know (as opposed to being a single child, twin, etc.), I don't know how it would feel to be anything other than a quadruplet. So the best way I can answer the question is that for me, being a quadruplet is probably similar to people who have siblings close in age. Sometimes you get along and have a built-in best friend, while other times you hate each other. Sometimes I would get along better with one sister than another, but that would rotate. I attribute being very competitive with the fact that while growing up, I was constantly fighting for my parents' attention and had to figure out who I was as an individual instead of being just “one of the four.”

I have learned to appreciate that since quadruplet births are more rare than single births, there is more interest in it. The Mothers of Supertwins, or MOST, organization estimates the odds at 1 in 571,787 pregnancies. As a kid, I didn't understand what was so interesting about it. It wasn't until high school that I really started noticing that people seemed to have similar reactions. Here are the most common reactions/questions and how I answer:

“What is it like?” I don't know any different.

“I have never met a quadruplet before.” You may have, but if the conversation hasn't come, up you wouldn't know. I have met a lot of people who don't know I am a quadruplet unless we happen to talk about siblings and they ask questions that make me feel it is appropriate to mention.

“So there are three more of you?” We are fraternal (do not look alike), so our looks and our personalities are very different. We have similarities, but you would probably only guess that we are sisters, not necessarily born within a five-minute span.

“Do you have telepathic connection and feel the same pain when another sister gets hurt?” I think anytime you know someone extremely well, you are somewhat in sync. I don't necessarily feel the pain when a sister gets hurt, but we seem to think alike. For example, in the past we have all called my mom about different things within an hour of each other without planning.

What does it feel like to be a quadruplet? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

Central American gem: 6 reasons you’ve got to get to Belize

Central American gem: 6 reasons you’ve got to get to Belize

by James Shackell @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Central America’s little-country-that-could is due for a tourism boom, but if you hurry, you can still beat the crowds. Belize it.

The post Central American gem: 6 reasons you’ve got to get to Belize appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Surreal Places To Visit Before You Die | LegendaryTrips.com

Surreal Places To Visit Before You Die | LegendaryTrips.com


LegendaryTrips

Surreal Places To Visit Before You Die: A Travel Inspiration List By BuzzFeed on LegendaryTrips.com

10 Intrepid trips you can still join in time for the holidays

10 Intrepid trips you can still join in time for the holidays

by Rebecca Shapiro @ Intrepid Travel Blog

Because the festive season doesn't just have to be about cheesy music, sweet holiday drinks and exchanging presents with colleagues, friends and family.

The post 10 Intrepid trips you can still join in time for the holidays appeared first on Intrepid Travel Blog.

Going solo: the joys of travelling by yourself

Going solo: the joys of travelling by yourself

by Marianna Jamadi @ Intrepid Travel Blog

I realized something on my Intrepid trip. I am most comfortable when I am unco