Subthread explainlikeimfive

ELI5: In the 50's a single person in the US with a decent job requiring little or even no education could provide a comfortable home, education for their children, etc etc by themselves. Why were they paid so much or why hasn't that pay transitioned to 2017?

ELI5: In the 50's a single person in the US with a decent job requiring little or even no education could provide a comfortable home, education for their children, etc etc by themselves. Why were they paid so much or why hasn't that pay transitioned to 2017?

I have no training in economics; what I'm about to say is anecdotal, personal actually.

My dad became president of a mid-sized corporation in the late 50's. They merged with a bigger one in the 60's and he retired in the early 70's as an executive VP, maybe third or forth from the top of a Fortune 500 company.

What that meant in that era was that he was well paid and we lived a good life, but nothing crazy. We had a nice house in a nice suburb of a big city, not a sprawling estate or a mansion on a hilltop. He drove a Lincoln and bought my Mom a Ford. The company provided a country club membership. We played golf and tennis. We didn't have a private tennis court, a yacht or a plane. On vacations we traveled by car and commercial plane, sometimes first class, usually not. He and my mom waited their entire lives to travel to Europe and went there once. My brother went to prep school as a day student, I went to a public high school. We both went to elite colleges for which Dad paid full tuition, but we were on our own after that. When he and my Mom died, my brother and I split the estate 50/50. I inherited enough to clear my law school loans and put a downpayment on the house I live in today.

Where I'm going with this rambling story is that what has changed is wealth disparity. American corporations have become kleptocracies where folk at my Dad's level make more money than they can spend for any purpose other than keeping score with one another. I make a top 2% income, nothing to sneeze at. My salary is about 4 times what we pay entry-level clerical staff. Up to my level and little higher, the payscale seems pretty reasonable. In my Dad's era I'd expect the president of the company to earn 6-10 times what a person in my position makes. That's not the way it is today. I recently read in the paper that our CEO made more than 250 times what they paid me last year, and our company is a quiet one known for financial conservatism. That's the new normal in American business.

Edit- I'm picking up a lot of comments. I didn't plan to mention numbers, but what the fuck:

My salary is in the high $140's with a bonus and stock award of $35k or so if I have a good year, less or zero if I don't. My total compensation of $175,000 is top 2% per what's my percent.com.

Our staffers start around $40k.

Our CEO made $49 million.

Believe me, I'm well aware I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth and have nothing but first world problems.

ELI5: Why is it appropriate for PG13 movies/shows to display extreme violence (such as mass murder, shootouts), but not appropriate to display any form of sexual affection (nudity, sex etc.)?

ELI5: Why is it appropriate for PG13 movies/shows to display extreme violence (such as mass murder, shootouts), but not appropriate to display any form of sexual affection (nudity, sex etc.)?

Because Jesus. That's pretty much the long and the short of it. The majority of people who are religious find nudity and sexuality more offensive than mass murder and mayhem. Religion, and Christianity in particular, was dominant during the inception of film and continues to be the biggest influence of the "moral bar" that is set in the US and other countries. At least that's what I think. I'm no expert.

ELI5:Many sharks and other large fish have been kept in captivity for long periods of time but why has this not succeeded with Great White Sharks?

ELI5:Many sharks and other large fish have been kept in captivity for long periods of time but why has this not succeeded with Great White Sharks?

*thanks for all the responses! I believe I can wrap my brain around it better now.

Coming from an aquarist who works with sharks- Great White Sharks are what are called ram ventilators. This means they constantly have to keep swimming to keep water passing over their gills. Sharks have what is called a glide pattern- they have a burst of swimming, then having a gliding portion. When kept in human care, sharks need many things, including a certain shaped tank to allow for this glide pattern. If they do not have enough space or the habitat is the wrong shape, they cannot fully use their glide pattern to the greatest efficiency. If they have to cut their glide short, they use more calories swimming, and this imbalance makes them very hard to keep. Great whites have a huge special need for their glide pattern, so they are very hard to keep in human care. No one has ever kept an adult great white, but Monterey bay aquarium will collect and hold juvenile great white sharks for a few months before releasing them back. They never keep them longer than 6 months and there are a lot of rules about when they can have them.

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ELI5: How did a phone connect to another phone overseas pre-1950's?

ELI5: How did a phone connect to another phone overseas pre-1950's?

Major cities had a "long distance switchboard" which had access to overseas telecom lines (typically cables running under the ocean). You had to call the operator and ask for "long distance" and then talk the the "long distance operator" and tell them what country you wanted to call. They made the connection through very primitive means, sometimes literally by plugging a wire into a socket.

ELI5: What do robbers do with stolen objects from museums? Why would anyone buy these stolen objects other than keeping them for their private collection?

ELI5: What do robbers do with stolen objects from museums? Why would anyone buy these stolen objects other than keeping them for their private collection?

There are a lot of people in the world who don't care about laws, or the laws of other countries, or the property rights of other people. For example if you stole a piece of art from someone in England that a wealthy member of the royal family in Saudi Arabia wanted they probably don't care at all that it was stolen. African warlord/dictator? You could sell them a stolen baby much less art. Drug cartel leader? They break laws all the time, why would they care about that?

Many really wealthy people can basically ignore many laws in their own countries much less the laws of foreign countries. How is Scotland Yard going to search the palace of a Saudi prince? They aren't and they couldn't arrest the prince even if they wanted to.

ELI5: How did television studios make words like show titles appear on screen before computers?

ELI5: How did television studios make words like show titles appear on screen before computers?

Sorry if that's worded poorly. I mean like when the words "I Love Lucy" or "The Honeymooners" or screen credits would appear over the live action footage.

I actually worked in TV before computers. We would make the titles with press-on letters (I forget the brand name) and shoot them with a camera. The title camera would be combined with the live camera in a device called a "luma key" that would switch the live camera off and the title camera on everywhere that the lettering appears, based on the brightness. This was with monochrome cameras. With color cameras there was a device called a "chroma key" that would switch based on hue, usually tuned to blue. The same device was used for example to put graphics behind the weather man. You had to be careful the talent didn't wear any blue clothing.

EDIT: found a web page that shows a switcher with built-in luma key, and explains how it works: Switchers. Scroll down to "Keys - Internal, External, Matte."

EDIT 2: I remembered what the letters were called; Tactype. You can buy a sheet of it here: VINTAGE TACTYPE Lettering 12 x 8 Sheet Dry Transfer 5514 Futura Medium

ELI5: Why are most foods baked in the oven at around the same temperatures (say 350-425 degrees Fahrenheit)? Is there a scientific reason behind this common temperature range?

ELI5: Why are most foods baked in the oven at around the same temperatures (say 350-425 degrees Fahrenheit)? Is there a scientific reason behind this common temperature range?

At least from what I've noticed most temperatures for food and other baking in the oven don't range below or above these temperatures despite the oven being capable of them. Anyone know why?

EDIT: For those on the metric system, approximately 175-220 degrees Celsius.

When you cook, you're trying to get heat from outside the food to inside the food. There's lots of different ways to do that. Baking in an oven isn't actually very efficient! You can sear a steak on a very hot skillet in 2-3 minutes, but baking the same steak to the right doneness might take an hour in an oven. Because the oven's so bad at getting heat inside food, trying to turn the heat to the same levels as the skillet will leave you with a completely burned outside and a near-raw inside in a hurry.

There's also certain chemical things that happen in food when we cook it. At very high temperatures, beef "browns", which creates very pleasant and complex flavors. That's why fancy steaks are almost always seared. You can bake a smaller steak in an oven, but you'll never quite get the same kind of flavor that searing creates. Low temperatures also do things! Pot roasts are generally tough cuts of meat, but after being kept in a slow cooker at around 200 degrees for hours, the heat will have broken down much of the tissue that makes the meat tough and turned it into a tender, tasty meal. Brisket and many other cuts are almost inedible unless cooked this way.

That's beef, though. Why do most of the things we cook fall in the 350-425 degree range? Well, I'm thinking of a lot of the things I throw in the oven. Frozen pizzas, frozen snacks... I'm not trying to cook those so much as warm them. But "hot air" isn't super good at getting heat inside food. So if I crank the heat up too high, I'll burn the outside and have a frozen inside. (Microwaves are the opposite: they're better at getting heat inside food. That's why pizza rolls take 20 minutes in the oven but only 2 minutes in the microwave. But that kind of 'heat' isn't so good at browning, so it never crisps them quite right, does it?)

That's what's going on with a lot of foods, too. Go much hotter than 425 and the heat can't penetrate the food fast enough to stop you from burning too much. Go much lower than 350 and it's going to take hours to heat the food enough, and in many foods like bread it might be important to generate some steam before certain reactions finish. That's why a lot of instructions for baking turkeys suggest cooking at two different temperatures. In one phase, the goal is to slowly get heat inside the turkey without drying out or burning the outside. In the other phase, the goal is to brown the outside to create more flavor.

Cooking often involves a LOT of complex chemistry, and delicate balancing acts of temperature.

Update

Wow. This is without a doubt my most popular post ever. Thanks for the gold, and thanks for so many comments. I want to address a few things, it seems there's a lot of nitpicking.

In general, I wanted to cover "high heat burns the outside before the middle gets hot enough, low heat takes too long and can't brown". It's ELI5, not an exhaustive guide to the science of cooking. There's lots of dishes that can't take 300 degrees, lots of processes like denaturing proteins I didn't get into, etc. I already feel like the post is too long for ELI5, I couldn't talk about every potential interaction.

Similarly, I appreciate corrections on how microwaves work, but again that was really a one-off example. I know about how microwaves excite water molecules, and that moisture content matters, etc. It's still true a microwave can cook, say, a chicken breast much faster than an oven but in so doing you miss out on things like browning. All of this makes the post even longer and distracts from answering, "Why do we bake things within a specific temperature range."

Sometimes, when explaining complicated topics to people who want a rough answer, it helps to make gross oversimplifications. I think /sub/askscience is far more appropriate for the level of detail most of you are striving to find!

And yes, I do cook more things than pizza rolls. But it's a lot easier for people to relate to pizza rolls than "that time I made spanakopita", and if I'd started talking about baking bread I'd have been WAY too encouraged to get into the chemical details.

ELI5: What do people on Wall street actually do?

ELI5: What do people on Wall street actually do?

Let's say you want to make widgets, but you need money. You could ask out investors, but if every inventor had to talk to every investor it would be time consuming. So investors give their money to fund managers and the fund managers distribute the money to inventors (taking a cut off the profits from investments or charging or fees).

Everything else is just increasingly more complicated ways of trading risk for money.

It's not much different than a grocery store. If every person that needed did had to contact and trade with every farmer it'd be insane. The grocer doesn't make anything, but they take a cut for facilitating a trade (essentially).

ELI5: Why can you "brick" phones so easily, but not computers?

ELI5: Why can you "brick" phones so easily, but not computers?

Bricking generally means making completely unusable at the hardware level. The reason that computers rarely get bricked is that we RARELY do any manipulation of the computer at the hardware level. To brick a computer, you would need to break the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) which pretty much no one non-techy messes with. If you break windows, you can still reinstall windows. If you break the BIOS, you can hose things pretty quickly.

The other aspect is that even with the BIOS, I can't think of ANYONE who would be messing around with the BIOS without using the official manufacturer's files. Most of the time you're messing with phones, you are doing so with custom firmware/ROM's, which means something made by someone other than the manufacturer. If you're flashing your BIOS, you're almost always going to be doing it with something provided (and quality controlled, tested, etc) by the company who made the product.

So it comes down to two factors:

1) for computers, you generally don't tinker at such a deep level that you're going to risk bricking it

2) Even if you are messing at that level, you're not doing anything that is not officially approved of by the manufacturer.

The final aspect is the fact that it's relatively easy to replace a computer (especially a desktop) part. If something in your phone breaks, 90% of us are just going to give up because it's so hard to replace. Most of the stuff that's likely to go bad is also easily replaced/substituted. I fried my sound card on one of my desktops a few months back, and for $10 I just plugged in a new sound card. If I killed the speaker on my phone, I'd say fuck it and just buy a new phone.

ELI5:What keeps antarctic penguins from having frostbitten feet?

ELI5:What keeps antarctic penguins from having frostbitten feet?
Youtube Link

Bunch of things.

For general heat conservation:

Huddling in groups with a constant rotation from outer towards inner and back Thick, tightly overlapping down feathers Good general body design to minimize surface area exposed Thick blubber

For feet specifically:

the ability to dilate vessels and control flow

very little, if any, muscle in the feet. Movement is controlled by tendons which attach to muscles located deeper in the warm areas of the body Penguin skeleton - from u/Wolfy21_

keeping them tucked under their warmer skin

counter-current heat exchange: veins and arteries are organized closely together in a way that allows the blood leaving the warm heart to run near the colder blood from the feet before it actually reaches the feet. Benefit is that it warms the colder blood before it reaches the main body and the warm blood loses its initial heat to other blood instead of ice/air. image, credit to u/wildflower8872 from a similar thread years ago

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