• What qualifies as "self-employed" in the eyes of the IRS?

    Last year I made about $1200 as a guinea pig for a hospital's medical experiments. I'd get a vaccine or drug and then give them blood samples they could test. My U.S. tax software classified this as "self-employment" in a one-person small business, which seems like a lofty description, but it didn't for the year before when I... show more
    Last year I made about $1200 as a guinea pig for a hospital's medical experiments. I'd get a vaccine or drug and then give them blood samples they could test. My U.S. tax software classified this as "self-employment" in a one-person small business, which seems like a lofty description, but it didn't for the year before when I made half as much. Is the software correct?
    8 answers · United States · 2 months ago
  • How did spectators of medieval tournaments behave?

    I'm assuming that tradesmen & peasants showed up to watch. I know they wouldn't do the wave or chant Queen's "We Will Rock You" (as depicted in "A Knight's Tale"), but would they do the period equivalent or heckle like modern spectators do, or would they feel too intimidated by the knights? Was admission... show more
    I'm assuming that tradesmen & peasants showed up to watch. I know they wouldn't do the wave or chant Queen's "We Will Rock You" (as depicted in "A Knight's Tale"), but would they do the period equivalent or heckle like modern spectators do, or would they feel too intimidated by the knights? Was admission charged? Differences between England/France and other parts of Europe?
    5 answers · History · 3 months ago
  • Could one engineer a virus to degrade over time?

    Suppose someone altered a virus, either to become more contagious or lethal (as a bioweapon) or to carry genetic material (as a treatment or communal vaccine). Could you fix it so that the virus became less dangerous with each generation, fading out of the ecosystem after it had done its job?
    Suppose someone altered a virus, either to become more contagious or lethal (as a bioweapon) or to carry genetic material (as a treatment or communal vaccine). Could you fix it so that the virus became less dangerous with each generation, fading out of the ecosystem after it had done its job?
    1 answer · Infectious Diseases · 4 months ago
  • Why are Girl Scout cookies popular?

    Many people make such a big deal whenever that time of year comes around, and it seems way out of proportion to the product. Are these cookies considered far superior to other cookies? Do adults crave a socially acceptable justification for buying & eating unhealthy food, even when it's in sorta small, pricey boxes? Is it nostalgia or other... show more
    Many people make such a big deal whenever that time of year comes around, and it seems way out of proportion to the product. Are these cookies considered far superior to other cookies? Do adults crave a socially acceptable justification for buying & eating unhealthy food, even when it's in sorta small, pricey boxes? Is it nostalgia or other emotional attachment to these cookies or to the Girl Scouts?
    5 answers · Ethnic Cuisine · 8 months ago
  • What is the best solution for the Judgment of Paris?

    If you pick one goddess, the other two get angry with you. Granted, you could ask Aphrodite for the love of the world's most beautiful *available* woman, but they'd still find a way to get you. If you waffle and refuse to choose, perhaps they all get angry with you. So, perhaps I would pick Athena and explain, "Wisdom is the best... show more
    If you pick one goddess, the other two get angry with you. Granted, you could ask Aphrodite for the love of the world's most beautiful *available* woman, but they'd still find a way to get you. If you waffle and refuse to choose, perhaps they all get angry with you. So, perhaps I would pick Athena and explain, "Wisdom is the best bribe, because touching this dispute demonstrates I need all the wisdom I can get, and that lack also means you shouldn't take my opinion of your beauty as worth all that much." Better yet, if the question were in English, I could say, "Athena is the *fairest* because she acts the most justly towards humans instead of making them suffer for things that aren't their fault. (OK, Athena turning that boasting woman into a spider was disproportionate, but at least she got a fair weaving competition.) And if either of you, Hera or Aphrodite, retaliate against me for answering your question, that would be *unfair* and would prove my point." (Granted, they would be so egocentric that they likely would consider punishment for miffing them to be justified.) For that matter, which goddess would be most willing & able to protect me from the other two?
    8 answers · Mythology & Folklore · 1 year ago
  • What might modern Western civilization look like if Mesopotamia had never existed?

    Suppose the Tigris & Euphrates hadn't been there, and the region had made no cultural impact. I'm not talking about inventions like writing, as someone else would've invented it. I suppose Egypt would have been the influential civilization. How would Western culture look different?
    Suppose the Tigris & Euphrates hadn't been there, and the region had made no cultural impact. I'm not talking about inventions like writing, as someone else would've invented it. I suppose Egypt would have been the influential civilization. How would Western culture look different?
    1 answer · History · 1 year ago
  • At the Battle of Watling Street, why didn't Boudica's British try to outflank the Romans?

    Yes, I know that the forest made things difficult, but why would Boudica be dumb enough to send all of her army rushing into a bottleneck that neutralizes her greatest advantage (numbers)? Once she knew the Roman position, why not delay long enough to send at least a few thousand men to bushwhack around the Romans and put some pressure on their... show more
    Yes, I know that the forest made things difficult, but why would Boudica be dumb enough to send all of her army rushing into a bottleneck that neutralizes her greatest advantage (numbers)? Once she knew the Roman position, why not delay long enough to send at least a few thousand men to bushwhack around the Romans and put some pressure on their rear? (And if it were forest, maybe it'd be hard to judge British numbers.) Even if splitting her forces drew the Romans out, it'd still make them discard their superior position. Was the British army too amateurish & unruly to pull off a flank or anything more complicated than a mass charge? Or am I underestimating the roughness of the terrain, such that a few detached Romans could have blocked such an effort?
    7 answers · History · 1 year ago
  • Why has inflation in the U.S. remained so low, despite such low interest rates for the past 15 years?

    Traditionally, low interest rates lead to higher inflation. Why not this time?
    Traditionally, low interest rates lead to higher inflation. Why not this time?
    2 answers · Investing · 1 year ago
  • Why has inflation in the U.S. remained so low, despite such low interest rates for the past 15 years?

    Traditionally, low interest rates lead to higher inflation. Why not this time?
    Traditionally, low interest rates lead to higher inflation. Why not this time?
    1 answer · Economics · 1 year ago
  • Psychologically, what is the best age at which to separate a puppy from its mother for adoption?

    I have heard recommendations of 8 weeks, but I don't know the criteria. Would leaving the puppy with her longer make separation less traumatizing for one/both parties, or will it be bad at any age? Would return visits or a blanket smelling of the mother help?
    I have heard recommendations of 8 weeks, but I don't know the criteria. Would leaving the puppy with her longer make separation less traumatizing for one/both parties, or will it be bad at any age? Would return visits or a blanket smelling of the mother help?
    8 answers · Dogs · 1 year ago
  • If a President groped someone, and she fought back (e.g. by kicking him hard), how would the Secret Service react?

    For that matter, what if she didn't fight back but clearly felt assaulted? These are intended as serious questions, not a partisan rant. Would the agents subdue/separate them, or just watch it happen? Would the Service press charges against either?
    For that matter, what if she didn't fight back but clearly felt assaulted? These are intended as serious questions, not a partisan rant. Would the agents subdue/separate them, or just watch it happen? Would the Service press charges against either?
    5 answers · Law & Ethics · 1 year ago
  • What is wrong with my gas heater?

    If I turn the fan on "auto", I can hear it start to whir and give 4 or 5 clicking noises as if it's about to start, and it repeats that over and over, but it never gets going or produces heat. The fan works, and it does react to the thermostat.
    If I turn the fan on "auto", I can hear it start to whir and give 4 or 5 clicking noises as if it's about to start, and it repeats that over and over, but it never gets going or produces heat. The fan works, and it does react to the thermostat.
    4 answers · Maintenance & Repairs · 2 years ago
  • What if Mussolini had successfully escaped to Switzerland in April 1945?

    Would he have just kept living there with Swiss permission? If so, would be the consequences for the Swiss? Would a team have snuck in to get him? Would he have tried to sneak out and flee elsewhere? Or would the Swiss have extradited him?
    Would he have just kept living there with Swiss permission? If so, would be the consequences for the Swiss? Would a team have snuck in to get him? Would he have tried to sneak out and flee elsewhere? Or would the Swiss have extradited him?
    1 answer · History · 2 years ago
  • What websites let me look for domestic U.S. flights with flexible dates, as Travelocity used to?

    I'm not particular about when I travel, and I don't want to enter every conceivable combination of departure & return dates to find the lowest price.
    I'm not particular about when I travel, and I don't want to enter every conceivable combination of departure & return dates to find the lowest price.
    2 answers · Air Travel · 2 years ago
  • Why did the War of 1812 continue even after Britain stopped impressing people at sea?

    My impression was that the press gangs led to the war, but Britain and the U.S. reached an agreement about the issue, but the war had already started by the time everyone heard about it. Was the U.S. just too eager for a chance to annex Canada?
    My impression was that the press gangs led to the war, but Britain and the U.S. reached an agreement about the issue, but the war had already started by the time everyone heard about it. Was the U.S. just too eager for a chance to annex Canada?
    1 answer · History · 2 years ago
  • I underpaid a $3 postage fee by 12 cents. What will happen to my package?

    I forgot that a stamp is now worth 47 cents instead of 49 cents, so I underpaid in postage. Will the USPS a) return it to me for the remaining 12 cents, b) send it with postage due from the recipient, c) just send it & ignore my goof, or d) make it disappear in a warehouse in Atlanta?
    I forgot that a stamp is now worth 47 cents instead of 49 cents, so I underpaid in postage. Will the USPS a) return it to me for the remaining 12 cents, b) send it with postage due from the recipient, c) just send it & ignore my goof, or d) make it disappear in a warehouse in Atlanta?
    2 answers · Government · 2 years ago
  • Why, in the 6th season of "Game of Thrones", does Thorne...?

    ...open the gates to the Wildlings if he considers them such a threat? He later launches a coup because he disapproves of Jon's decision, but only after it's too late to do anything about it. The only reason I can think of for delaying the coup is that the sight of Wildlings walking through Castle Black won him more support, but that would... show more
    ...open the gates to the Wildlings if he considers them such a threat? He later launches a coup because he disapproves of Jon's decision, but only after it's too late to do anything about it. The only reason I can think of for delaying the coup is that the sight of Wildlings walking through Castle Black won him more support, but that would mean he 1) didn't truly fear the Wildling immigration but had only personal & unprofessional motives of power and antipathy towards Jon, or 2) he thought more waves of (live) immigrants were coming. But, #1 seems out of character, and he doesn't have evidence of #2. Or, perhaps he didn't want to leave Jon and the few other Rangers on the north side because Jon would survive, the other Rangers might not, and the Nightswatch would frown upon abandoning the latter. But either hypothesis means Thorne living with the danger of allowing the Wildlings (and giant!) to enter.
    1 answer · Drama · 2 years ago
  • Which can handle freezing rain more safely: a bus, or a car?

    Obviously, a bus is tougher in a one-car accident, and it would "win" a collision with a car, but would it be less likely to crash in the first place?
    Obviously, a bus is tougher in a one-car accident, and it would "win" a collision with a car, but would it be less likely to crash in the first place?
    3 answers · Maintenance & Repairs · 2 years ago