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Month: December 2016

Why do humans want to have sex with attractive people?

By: | Post date: December 31, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture

The learned researcher Susan James (Vote #1: Susan James’ answer to Why do humans want to have sex with attractive people?) is of course right in the evolutionary selection angle, and even more right in the cultural situatedness of attractiveness. The body-ideal of Botswana sure isn’t the ideal of the 2016 US, which wasn’t the […]

How are you so knowledgeable?

By: | Post date: December 31, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Personal

Hoo boy. I’m being A2A’d this by Michaelis Maus, and he’s a trenchant one: I can’t give him a glib answer, and I can’t just protest that I’m an impostor. OK. I read a lot as a kid, as others did, and picked up a lot of encyclopaedic knowledge that way. It helps to connect […]

Will Australia become a republic soon?

By: | Post date: December 30, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Australia

As Richard Farnsworth said, republicans are waiting for an unpopular and unfamiliar monarch to raise the question again. OTOH the celebrity appeal of Kate & Wills (which is driving the millennials’ affection for the monarchy) could still see it stick around. Part of the problem is that republicanism doesn’t have the emotional vigour it did […]

What is the purpose of a university education? Is it primarily to learn or to acquire credentials for a future job?

By: | Post date: December 30, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Academia

Habib le toubib, how do you manage to keep breaking my heart so with your questions? (Ah, by sending A2A’s that I leave in the too hard basket for weeks.) I admire and love the ideal of liberal arts education. I do. Really. It makes you a better person. But we live in an age […]

If Satan had Quora, what questions would he ask?

By: | Post date: December 30, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Quora

Michael Masiello: what are your views on theodicy? (“Fuck you” is not an adequate answer) Am I also Shaytan? Am I also Kali? Am I also Angra Mainyu? Am I also the Demiurge? If God is Good is He also God? If God is God is He also Good? Should pronouns referring to Satan be […]

How would you define your personal culture? How does it differ from the general culture of your place of residence?

By: | Post date: December 30, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture

Unsurprising that this question of yours, Habib le toubib, is attracting a lot of attention from migrants and diasporans. And it would: migrants and diasporans have a personal culture that hybridises their upbringing and their environment, so it will be perceptibly different to that of their local mainstream. It’s a big brushstrokes kind of personal […]

How do you feel when a foreigner knows much more about your country than you do?

By: | Post date: December 30, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture

Nikos Tsiforos was a Greek humorist, who wrote a series of humour pieces covering all of Greek Mythology. I’ve cited his collection here a couple of times. At the end of the 640 pp book, he wrote this. Few of us Greeks know Greek Mythology well. (Before I started studying it to write it up, […]

Is it a coincidence that the nations which industrialised first were Christian?

By: | Post date: December 29, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Countries

Some good answers here, but none giving the obvious reference: Jared Diamond, Guns Germs and Steel. It was despite (mediaeval) Christianity: Byzantium stopped all science very early. The Islamic world was into Science before Christendom was, and the switches in both worlds were not about the religion, but about interpretations of the religion. As for […]

Why does Iran have a variety of ethnic groups?

By: | Post date: December 28, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Countries

Mehrdad, canım, I don’t know. I will guess, but whatever I guess, Dimitris Almyrantis will guess better. Here goes. The usual answer is, Iran is at a crossroads of civilisations. Maybe. But you know, so is Greece, so is Turkey, so is Russia, so is Spain. In itself, that’s not actually an answer; it’s only […]

Why do you think Ottomanism and Pan-Islamism Failed?

By: | Post date: December 28, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Countries

Mariam Als, thank you for your A2As. I truly am not qualified to answer this, and I hope Dimitris Almyrantis will. Irene Avetyan, I’m looking at you too. This is more to provoke an answer out of them, and it’s not rooted in any great understanding of Ottoman or Turkish history. (That, and I’m cleaning […]

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