Unanswered Questions

178
votes
0answers
86k views

Has Stack Overflow saved billions of dollars in programmer productivity?

John Carmack is a renowned developer and CTO. His Twitter account has over 100,000 followers. On the occasion of Stack Exchange's 5th anniversary, he quipped on Twitter: [... Stack Overflow] has ...
58
votes
0answers
6k views

Are light-on-dark colour schemes for computer screens better for programmers?

There is somewhat general scientific agreement that in general case for reading, dark text on light background is more readable than light on dark. However, most studies have shown that dark ...
29
votes
0answers
780 views

Can you sharpen scissors by cutting Aluminum foil?

I needed to sharpen a pair of scissors, so I did a quick Google search to learn the technique. I was very surprised to find a number of sites suggesting that scissors can be sharpened by cutting a ...
26
votes
0answers
1k views

Do performance incentives work for knowledge workers?

In this animated video of his talk, Dan Pink claims performance incentives do not work, and can actually lead to worse performance. In summary, he quotes two studies (which he unfortunately does not ...
24
votes
0answers
342 views

Are LDS missionaries taught languages to a level of fluency in under three months which takes other schools years?

In How do Mormon missionaries learn foreign languages so quickly? it is claimed that LDS (Mormon) missionaries spend only up to ten weeks in languge learning, and that most are "fluent" within one ...
24
votes
0answers
523 views

Has anyone been caught using inductive coupling to steal power?

There are lots of references to the claim that people have stolen power through inductive coupling on the Internet: The most common claim it that it was a farmer somewhere that noticed electricity ...
23
votes
0answers
483 views

Is the US more tolerant of failure than other cultures?

I've come across several sources claiming that the US is more tolerant of trial-and-error than other cultures: (The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb) "American culture encourages the process of ...
22
votes
0answers
545 views

Did the NYPD use an ambulance to trick protesters into cooperating?

I saw this tumblr post (with over 50,000 notes, so it's notable), which says: Tonight the NYPD tricked protesters into helping them by driving empty ambulances through the crowd. We thought they ...
22
votes
0answers
598 views

Is gearing down more energy efficient than braking?

When spotting a red light or similar, I often release the gas pedal, gear down and let the engine decelerate instead of pressing the brake pedal. I was taught that this was more energy efficient for ...
22
votes
0answers
3k views

Is Shaolin monk Hu Qiong using “Chi energy” to withstand an electric drill?

In one of the episodes of Stan Lee's Superhumans (the excerpt in question can be viewed here) a Shaolin monk named Hu Qiong claims that by training his body and "transfering Chi to the right part of ...
21
votes
0answers
730 views
+50

Will people automatically look at the person they feel closest to when laughing?

In the post: 31 Psychological Life Hacks That You Can Exploit To Give Yourself An Advantage In Social Settings by thoughtcatalog, it said: When a group of people laugh, people will instinctively ...
21
votes
0answers
5k views

Does the brain limit muscle strength in humans, but not in other apes?

In researching whether the brain limits our muscle strength, Sciencedaily has a quote: Add to this the effect of severe electric shock, where people are often thrown violently by their own extreme ...
21
votes
0answers
11k views

Does wearing a scarf help a sore throat?

Today, my wife has shocked me by telling me that a scarf does not and cannot help a sore throat. I could swear that it works wonders for me! Pretty much the entire knowledgable Internet seems to ...
20
votes
0answers
520 views

Did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle call J.B. Rhine a “monumental ass” in print?

I need help confirming or debunking what may be an urban legend in the paranormal literature regarding the rocky public relationship between spiritualism believer (and famous author) Arthur Conan ...
20
votes
0answers
11k views

Experiments about the “power of thoughts” on cooked rice

Over the past few months a number of people (who don't know each other) have been telling me that I should try a "power of thoughts" experiment that's also known as "the rice experiment." They're ...

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