Why does the USA spend so much money on her military, compared to other countries? $682Bn compared to $166Bn by China, the second biggest spender

  1. When comparing the U.S. to China, keep in mind that the U.S. is paying American prices and China is paying Chinese prices. I cannot find how much China pays its soldiers, but I imagine it is substantially less than what the U.S. pays its soldiers. Likewise the U.S. buys its tanks, planes, ships, etc. from U.S. manufacturers paying American workers.

  2. Some in this thread are pointing to the Military-Industrial Complex. That is absolutely a part of it, but it is not a very US-specific answer. That dynamic could apply in many countries, so why is this happening specifically in the US?

    There are a few big factors at play.

    First, the US came out of WWII relatively intact. Unlike most of the rest of the developed industrial world, we did not have a major war fought right on top of us. Our industrial centers were not bombed into oblivion, so we were in a good post-war position to be the political, military and economic counter to the rising Soviet empire.

    Second, the problem of communism – which, remember, was determined to “defeat” capitalism – required a military sufficiently strong to dissuade communist aggression. Not to defeat it directly, but to make it obviously futile or counter-productive, so that it would not expand into more and more theaters of potential conflict. However, the Cold War policy of containment would not work if it was just the US defending itself. It would be like trying to deal with an ant infestation with only enough pesticide for one room. So we needed a bigger military to not only extend the umbrella, but also to persuade potential allies to back our play.

    That leads to the third factor. The US building a massive, global defense system allowed other countries to reduce their own defense budgets. This was good, to the extent that it limited regional volatility, but it also meant that a significant reduction in the US defense capacity could create a power vacuum that our allies were not entirely capable of filling. If the US substantially drew down the defense umbrella, a lot of countries would feel the need to ramp up their own defense spending. This makes it a lot more likely that previously-containable conflicts could blow up into all-out wars.

    Think of it like your local police. Without a central police force, everybody would be directly responsible for their own protection. That would mean a lot of guns, a lot of paranoia and probably some warlords. The existence of a police force reduces the likelihood of that potentially volatile situation.

    TL;DR: If the US didn’t have a massive military, other countries would have to build up their own militaries, making regional conflicts and even world wars more likely.

  3. Just a thing to keep in mind: China is not known for its reliable numbers.

  4. I think it comes down to two key points (Open to comment & correction).

    The first is the two war doctrine – the US military has had a mandate to maintain itself at a level capable of fighting two ground wars at the same time. In 2012 the US finally acknowledged that this was an impossible goal – decent summary here. A change like this will take years to make, and I hope it does.

    The second is developing new military technologies – the US has taken on developing new platforms and tech before many other countries do. The cost of making a new technology is extreme. This is a constant in the US – there is a continuing effort to ensure current platforms are upgraded or new ones are created to win a conflict 20 years in the future. An example of this is stealth aircraft. Look at the Wikipedia page for stealth aircraft. Aside from conceptual, the majority of the aircraft on that list are platforms developed in the US – and looking at the demonstrators and cancelled platforms – remember that significant time and money went into those products too.

    If anyone could expand on this or give me a rebuttal, I would appreciate it:

    It feels like the US is in a constant state of preparation of being 1 step ahead (generation of technology) for various platforms – Zumwalt class destroyers, SR-72. While I find the development and tech in these devices exciting, I feel like it is too much money for an insufficient return.

  5. There are quite a few reasons, and I’ll try to be as politics free as possible:

    -We are isolated from the parts of the world that are strategically important to us, like Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we want to be able to intervene militarily there, that means a pretty capable navy and air force, neither of which are cheap. This is a bigger factor than I think a lot of people realize.

    -As much as we like to say we aren’t the world’s policeman, we kind of are. Most major conflicts in the world will wind up involving us some way or another. We also patrol the seas and are often the first to have assets available during disasters. To be anywhere, you have to be everywhere.

    -Shit is just more expensive in the US compared to China. From labor and raw goods to compliance with regulations.

    -We use the military as a way to indirectly subsidize aerospace and other industries.

    -We also subsidize our allies. Some of those countries can spend less on their own militaries because they just buy from us. That allows them to defend themselves more economically while strengthening the ties between us. The Russians do the same. That R&D ain’t cheap though.

    -Defense contractors have good lobbyists and lawmakers like military projects as they drive dollars to their districts and make them look tough.

    -We tend to be a bit fearful of the world and a large and advanced military makes us feel safer.

    -We like to be, or think we can spend our way into being, the best at things.

    So really it is a combination of factors.

  6. This can be explained by the Realist theory of International Relations. The argument behind realism is that there is anarchy at the international level, due to the lack of world government and enforceable international law. Realists would often explain why America needs to spend on its military for the following reasons:

    Leviathan: A Leviathan is necessary to maintain a balance of power amongst nations, in order to prevent war. When the balance of power fails, war occurs, people die, progress halts. Hence, realists strongly advocate weaponisation of the world’s leviathan.

    Standard of living: The standard of living and the GDP is higher in the United States than China, Russia, and India combined. While those countries don’t have militaries as powerful as the United States (but they are extremely destructive), they do spend a good chunk of their fiscal budget on their militaries as well. Goods and services are cheaper in those countries, hence, it looks like they aren’t paying much on paper. That is untrue. They are spending too much as well, and that money is better spent on infrastructure and scientific research for development, especially as they are not as economically developed as America.

    Research and development: R&D to the American military generates employment and contributes to a powerful American economy. Plus, R&D often has civillian as well as military uses. Take nuclear energy for example: the manhattan project was intended for a bomb, but nuclear energy has since become one of the most important sources of energy on the planet.

    World security: While people usually criticise America for warmongering and interference in other countries affairs, when you look at the numbers per capita, America is actually the most peaceful and responsible leviathan that has existed in the world’s history. War has declined remarkably since the end of the second world war, and we currently live in the most peaceful period of humanity’s history. Here is a short article on the decline of war by Steven Pinker. For more, I would suggest his book ‘The better angels of our nature: why violence has declined.’

    TL;DR: The United States is not really the demonic evil capitalist Empire the world pictures. While it has made mistakes, it has maintained a remarkable balance of power and has contributed to not only economic and scientific research through its defence spending, but has also greatly contributed to the reduction of international conflict.

  7. No. Look up military spending as a percentage of gdp, there are many countries who spend a higher % of their gdp than the US which only spends 4.6% of its budget on military. The answer is simplay that the worlds largest military is funded by the worlds largest economy.

  8. How has nobody mentioned the cold war?

    Even though it’s considered over, I think we can all agree that Putin’s recent actions in Crimea show us that it’s not unthinkable that another cold war could start.

    For decades, the United States had to maintain such an overwhelming military superiority (or, at the very least, parity with the Soviet Union) to discourage any rival from thinking that a war with it might be winnable.

    It’s easy, especially for those who did not live through the cold war, to look at military spending and call it ridiculous, but for all the threat of imminent nuclear war that was generally felt in the public, just try to imagine how it would feel to be a decision maker during that era. You can either spend a few hundred billion dollars on defense and go to sleep at night knowing you really did as much as you could to defend the country, or you can say fuck it, let’s spend the money feeding the homeless and sit awake at night wondering if the USSR’s military is strong enough in comparison that they might decide to invade.

    Nuclear weapons are a really interesting factor in modern war. On one hand, their existence means that it’s unlikely a full-scale, total war scenario will ever happen. If a major power, for example Russia, tried to invade and take over Western Europe, if Europe got desperate enough they might use their nukes. Russia might retaliate, and then you’ve got nuclear winter end-of-world scenarios – but Europe might not care, if their choices are surviving a nuclear winter vs. giving up their sovereignty to Moscow, it’s hard to say which they’d pick.

    Given that, you might think that spending a huge amount on a conventional military is a waste of money – all we need is a few nukes. If Russia tries to invade us our our allies, we just say – stop or we’ll nuke you. But knowing that they also have nukes and would retaliate in kind, we probably wouldn’t fire them, even if we had a 100% chance of being conquered by Moscow because it’s not worth destroying the planet to avoid occupation.

    It’s this weird paradox that keeps military spending so high. We need to pretend like we don’t have nukes because most major world leaders are unlikely to use them even in situations where defeat is inevitable without them. The reason the West is so worried about a nuclear Iran is that once they have nuclear weapons, they cannot really be invaded through traditional means. Do you think we would have tried to depose Saddam Hussein if Iraq had ICBMs? Of course not! The risk that he would use them to deter a loss of sovereignty is way, way too great.

    Back in 2004, when everybody was whining about how their weren’t any WMDs in Iraq, I just shook my head and told people – yeah, that’s the entire point. There are no WMDs yet. Saddam Hussein was the kind of guy who, if he could get a nuke capable of hitting a major European capital, would probably invade Kuwait again immediately with total impunity. Maybe Iran too – he tried in ’89, don’t forget. Yeah, we need cheap oil from that region so it’s economically motivated, but that’s the point of military – it’s to protect our interests, at home and abroad. We used it to protect those interests.

    Anyway, I’m rambling.

    TL;DR – the cold war might be officially over, but as long as nuclear weapons exist, it will never stop. Accept high military spending as a fact of life.

  9. The military industrial complex you’ll hear folks complaining about in this thread is a bit of a misnomer. It plays a role, and there is certainly lots of waste, but that really doesn’t begin to explain why we spend so much more money. Here are the main reasons.

    1. American strategy and the Cold War: George Friedman of Stratfor has put this far better than I could. Paraphrasing, following the end of World War Two, the American strategy by necessity was in fighting for power in a bipolar world, us vs. the soviets. That meant we needed to invest outrageously to keep up with the soviets, and later, to force their economy to implode from the competition. That strategy was effective but cost a lot of money.

    2.American strategy today: So why are we spending so much money today, and far more than we spent beating the soviets? Because America’s overriding imperative is to prevent the rise of another power that could challenge us ever again. That means shutting down any country that seeks even regional power, frankly whether they seem to be friendly or not. That’s why Iraq was a perceived threat and Iran still is, but North Korea never quite seemed to rate at the same level. At the end of the day, North Korea was just going to steal regional influence from china and Japan, creating more instability that would cement our power in the region. If Iraq began to invade gulf states, or Iran starts threatening to eclipse the Saudis, we’ve got a potential emergence of a regional power. The problem is, shutting down any possibility of a regional challenger is really expensive. It means we not only need force projection to get troops in (which means having the best navy and the means to protect it) but it also means we need to station assets on a permanent basis so that our allies can stand down. This is also why folks talking about the 21st century as involving the rise of the East are talking nonsense. No country has ever had the lead we have now, and no country has ever had the means to protect that lead the way we do.

    1. Flexibility: Much has been made of military waste in recent years, and there certainly is a lot of it. But when you look at seemingly pointless duplicative programs or money that seems to be a sinkhole for some classified project it’s worth keeping in mind that many folks view their budgets the same way a mid level office manager does: use it or lose it. In other words, we keep the basic machinery running to prevent talent from being depleted, facilities falling into disrepair, etc. just in case we suddenly need to fight a massive war. We need the flexibility to go from zero to 60 in a matter of weeks if the situation calls for it.
  10. 1) Military spending provides a lot of jobs in both the public and private center. Cutting those jobs is always a tough sell legislation wise

    2) Much of the spending is in fact done in research, and technology is almost always a worthwhile investment. Thats pretty much the best argument there is for increasing NASAs funding for example

    3) As a percentage of GDP, plenty of countries spend more than the US

    4) The US is pretty big and requires a lot of spending to maintain a presence so that it may help allies like those of the NATO alliance and South Korea at a moments notice. Not everyone might agree with it but it is a fact. The US after all contributes 22% of the UNs budget (the legal maximum)

  11. A country spends money on what the people actually in power want the money spent on.

    I can’t explain it any more simply than that.

  12. Because U.S. arms dealers/defense contractors are the greatest beneficiaries of corporate welfare in the world. I saw so much waste during my service(under Reagan) that civilians cannot possibly imagine without seeing it for themselves. Read WW2 and D-Day General Eisenhower’s farewell speech as President for his warning on this issue.

  13. Most likely been said already, but war/military is a huge business, there are most likely many companies lobbying for huge military budget. Off note US also uses their prisoners as “free” slavelabor, and why not since they have most prisoners per capita, hmm wonder why, since their justice seems to be the most logical and just in the world… Point being that prisons are huge part of the war/military business too, for example making most of the helmets used by US army.

  14. The TD;DR. Big rich country, some complicated counting issues, and because there are lots of people who want to spend more money. Oh and lots of the rest of us don’t spend enough.

    So the first thing is, absolute spending is a bad measure. 166 billion dollars in china buys a lot more man hours than 166 billion in the US. Second, some countries (China and Russia notably) lie. The DPRK (north korea) spends something like 9 billion dollars a year on defence, but that buys them about as many man hours as something like 280 billion dollars would. That’s a massive oversimplification of course, but China’s military is not 24% as capable as the US because they spend 24% of the money.

    Third, what countries count as defence spending varies. If you import fighter jets from somewhere we all more or less agree on that as defence spending. But if you spend 40 billion dollars (or 400 billion) developing a new fighter jet programme is that defence spending? Well… yes. But not everyone calls it defence spending. The reverse is also true, the US spends a lot of money on research through defence agencies that the rest of us would count as civilian spending (notably on this like spectroscopy equipment useful in astrophysics and nuclear weapons related stuff, and on nuclear power, but lots of other stuff too). The US spends a lot of money on healthcare for veterans and other DoD employees, which the rest of us don’t do specifically, because we just have healthcare for everyone.

    But the second link has percentage of GDP. That’s a better measure. The US economy is very very big, because the US is the third most populous country in the world, and very rich relative to India and China and Russia and Brazil and Indonesia.

    The US also has a policy of being able to fight two wars at a time. That’s the nature of being a major player in two oceans at once. They could get stuck fighting North Korea on one side and Russia in Ukraine on another (to give a modern example). So where other reasonably rich countries have a one war, when we’re up for it policy, and that costs 2-3% of GDP, the US has 2 wars at once, and right bloody now as a policy. That costs more. The US of course has this policy because it has interests everywhere. A major war in South Korea would cost the US a lot of money and cause it a lot of problems, but so would a war in the middle east disrupting oil supplies.

    Other countries who face serious threats (e.g. israel) or who are in the midst of long term (re)armament plans, like the middle east, all spend more than the US as a percent of GDP.

    Now the US does have a military industrial complex and does spend more than other countries in part because of that military industrial complex. The jingoistic and self centred voices of groups who benefit from the US having a large military are a constant pressure on defence spending, they’re part of why the US has a two wars at a time doctrine. Say that anyone who doesn’t support the troops is a traitor and you can get a lot of traction. But there is also the practical reality that the US doesn’t want to find itself without the ability to make tanks or aircraft carriers or the like. Small countries give that up or share it across many partners but the US is a big country and doesn’t want to risk being caught flat footed.

    Oh, and for all the complaining about it, the difference between say, 4.5% and 2.5% of GDP is not actually that much money. You hear lots of complaining about ‘healthcare’ as being relevant here ‘Canada has free healthcare and that’s why we have a pathetically small military’. Most of us are spending 10-12% of GDP on healthcare, the US spends 18% (though much of that money is private). It’s important to keep some perspective here. Western governments spend 40-55% of GDP – that is to say roughly 1/2 of all activity involves the government in one way or another, and the vast majority of defence spending is local spending unless you’re a poor third world country. So it’s just shuffling money around, and a lot of us underpay and then when it comes to problems in the world we either cannot contribute, or need quite a lot of time to ramp up capabilities.

  15. Military Industrial Complex It’s a jobs program and supports entire cities and states in some areas of the country. When Romney was campaigning, he’d tell the little towns how Obama was going to close their military bases and cost their local economy money and jobs. The U.S. Dept. of Defense is the largest single employer in the world.

What is the stupidest rule you ever had to follow?

  1. In my public school, we were told not to stand in circles at recess because it looked like we were a gang, and some of the teachers “feared for their lives”. So we stood in square shapes instead

  2. So I had to leave school early for a cross country meet, missing gym.
    Because I missed gym, I had to make it up after school one day so I missed cross country practice. The makeup gym class was to walk a mile.
    So I missed walking a mile in order to run about 3 miles as fast as I can, and because of that, they made me walk that one mile instead of running 5 miles at practice the day after.

  3. I was in the U.S. Army, Stationed in Korea. I had to water the trees near the barracks on Wed.

    It was raining.

    Here I am standing in the rain watering a tree, questioning how I got to this fucked up point.

  4. At school football/soccer was banned, as it was played too much, to make way for other sports. The ban was soon revoked after people were getting hit in the head with cricket bats.

  5. We had chairs in our schools for $2000, but they were so expensive that we weren’t allowed to sit in them for a year after they were bought

  6. My son isn’t allowed to take books out of his school library that aren’t in the “second grade” section. He comes home every week and complains because the librarian says the book he wants is “too hard for him…”
    Fuck them, seriously.

    ****edit: wow, this really blew up. Tl;dr Yes, I take my son to the library weekly. Yes I am raising hell with the school administrators. It’s all very frustrating, and a process, but we are working on it. I’m not letting it go I promise! ****

  7. my dad goes crazy at me whenever i drink fresh fruit juice after midday because ‘fresh juice is for breakfast’ according to him. now i’ve moved out though so i can enjoy orange juice whenever i want, oh yeahhhh.

  8. In high school if you were late to first period you got a detention. Late to your second class there was no penalty. This just caused everyone including myself to just skip the first class all together.

  9. When I was in grade 3 – 6 when our school bell would ring, after recess or lunch, we had to freeze where we were. No movement at all. The duty teachers would scan the school yard just looking for someone to yell at for continuing to move after the bell. After about 2 minutes they would ring the hand bells and we could line up to go in. It’s been over 50 years and I still can’t figure out the reason for it.

  10. When I worked at my university library, we were allowed to browse the internet on the computers at the circulation desk after all of our tasks were done. One time one of the two computers apparently got a virus, and after the IT people fixed it, we weren’t allowed to browse the internet on THAT particular computer. The other one, they were fine with. It was very obvious that my supervisor had no idea how computers work.

    So, of the two people working a given shift, one would get to browse the internet and the other did not. :/

  11. Growing up, my mother was obsessed with laundry.

    Dirty clothes go in washer while you’re “dirty”. Take a shower, and only then may you start the load. Go sit down in the designated “clean” area until the load is done. Fold clothes, put away, repeat cycle.

  12. I went to a private baptist school my freshman year of high school. Whenever we had an assembly and it was time to clap our hands for someone who had just spoken or performed, we would have to all clap our hands in unison. It would be led by the bat shit crazy pastor’s wife. She felt normal clapping was too chaotic. It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever witnessed.

  13. Being only allowed to go to the washroom once per semester, and yes, they keep track. I don’t get the logic whatsoever, humans piss and crap, what’s harmful about going to the washroom? If anything it’s less harmful for me to go.

    On the upside though, I’ve learnt how to hold in my piss for immeasurable amounts of times.

    EDIT: Being asked if I’m in US since it’s illegal; Canada. I’d assume the same might apply though. Even so, not all teachers enforce the rule 100%, most let it slide because it’s incredibly stupid. There are one or two teachers that are “that type of teacher” and just tell you to wait it out for a few more minutes.

  14. I work at a daycare/preschool. I am male.

    After working there for 3 years, with all ages and having changed easily too many damn diapers, management suddenly decided I shouldn’t do that anymore. Even though that’s literally part of the job. Now personally, I didn’t mind (I hate changing diapers) but my co-workers threw a fit about it. Plus, it’s a little sexist… so now I have to change diapers again.

    Edit: clarification, spelling

  15. I went to a Catholic elementary school for a year and we weren’t allowed to talk during lunch. One of the nuns had a whistle she’d blow in your face if you were caught talking to your friends.

What are some psychological life hacks you can do to give you an advantage in situations?

  1. If you get yourself to be really happy and excited to see other people, they will react the same to you. It doesn’t always happen the first time, but it will definitely happen next time.

  2. If you ask someone a question and they only partially answer just wait. If you stay silent and keep eye contact they will usually continue talking.

  3. The moment your alarm wakes you up, immediately react by sitting up, pump your fists and shout “YEAH!”

  4. If you just met someone and don’t know what to talk about, remember the FORD system :


  5. Avoid the sidewalk shuffle by looking intently over the person’s shoulder, or between people’s heads in a group. Your gaze shows them where you’re going. They’ll drift toward the opposing side / create a gap to avoid you.

  6. I remember the last time this thread showed up, someone posted that if you ask someone to do you a small favour, cognitive dissonance will make them believe that because they did that favour, they therefore must like you.

    After all, why would they help someone they disliked?

    I don’t have a source unfortunately, but I believe the original comment did if anyone can find the previous thread.

  7. Foot-in-the-door phenomenon. People are more likely to agree to do a task for you if you ask them to do something simpler first.

  8. Demonstrate value

    Engage physically

    Nurture dependence

    Neglect emotionally

    Inspire hope

    Seperate entirely

  9. Pay attention to people’s feet. If you approach two people in the middle of a conversation, and they only turn their torsos and not their feet, they don’t want you to join in the conversation. Similarly if you are in a conversation with a coworker who you think is paying attention to you and their torso is turned towards you but their feet are facing in another direction, they want the conversation to end.

    You should check out Carol Kinsey Goman’s research on these types of things in the workplace.

  10. Don’t get physically pissed off at inanimate objects.

  11. People have a certain image of themselves and will fight tooth and nail to cling to it. Use this information wisely.

  12. The physical affects of stress (increased breathing rate, heart rate ect) mirror identically the physical affects of courage. So when your feeling stress from any situation immediately reframe it : your body is getting ready to do courage, it’s Not feeling stress..

  13. after a person breaks up with someone, they are at their most vulnerable state for manipulation because of the flood of emotions. This could be used for the good or evil purposes.

  14. You don’t have to, you get to.

  15. I currently work for the Federal government, and used to work in a high profile office, which reported directly to parliament. After years surrounded by important people, Media coverage and generally feeling way over my head, here are a few things I learned along the way;

    • Fake it till you make it; confidence is more important than knowledge.

    • Don’t be intimidated by anyone, everyone is playing a role and wearing a mask.

    • Don’t be afraid to ask questions; it makes you look interested, and you will learn something. Anything can be learnt if you put the effort in. Everything anyone knows, they learned along the way. Everyone, even the president. Ask open ended questions to move conversations along. Learn the difference between open and closed questions.

    • Along the same line, learn to argue for and against a variety of topics. If you can do this, you can take any position on any matter. Being able to argue a point is the basis of persuasion and learning.

    • When you are having a conversation, use open body posture. Learn the difference between open and closed body language. When you feel uncomfortable, mirror the other person’s body language.

    • Learn how to paraphrase and summarize, to ensure understanding and avoid mis-communications. Along the same line, if you are going to use a telephone, record yourself talking. Are you difficult to understand? Do you talk fast? Etc. Put yourself in the shoes of the other person.

    • Knowledge is power. Don’t just learn how to do your job, learn why it has to be done a certain way. Improve on it if you can. Demonstrate your knowledge to your bosses, it will get you noticed.

    • Go to your managers with solutions, instead of problems. Make their job easier, learn how they work, and then ride their coattails up the ladder.

    • Your attitude is everything. Learn how to deal with stress without changing your behavior. Doing a high stress job is one thing, doing it while making it seem seemless is another. This is also why knowledge is important – the more you know, the more confident you become, and the better you look.

    • Learn Etiquette. It might seem stupid, but it is the basis of common business courtesy, and it DOES make a difference.

    Good luck!

What’s a really short YouTube video (10 seconds or less) that makes you laugh uncontrollably every time you watch it?

  1. [embedyt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QLSRMoKKS0[/embedyt]

  2. [embedyt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loWFypHb48k[/embedyt]
    A lesson for Jonathan Charles of BBC World News on the importance of punctuation on the autocue and breathing.

  3. He is doing so much better!


  5. [embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpigjnKl7nI[/embedyt]
    Watch your profanity

    My favourite!

  6. [embedyt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFAK8Vj62WM[/embedyt]
    These penguins just slay me

  7. [embedyt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihpG_NJ_T1g&feature=youtu.be[/embedyt]
    Recount of a bear encounter on local news [:10]

  8. /r/youtubehaiku is perfect for this.

    Edit: For those flocking there now, please sort through at least the top posts before posting your video. There are tons of reposts. Also: Please check the sidebar rules and keep them in mind!

  9. [embedyt]www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJgDYdA8dio[/embedyt]
    Filling in, due to…

  10. It’s 16 seconds but oh well rules were made to be broken


  11. [embedyt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blpe_sGnnP4[/embedyt]
    Ha Ha Ha Ha

    ^such ^meta

  12. [embedyt]http://youtu.be/brdLMV01lmc[/embedyt]
    Not 10 seconds, but too good not to share

  13. [embedyt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqZOqxk_xtI[/embedyt]
    Fucking Bob.

  14. [embedyt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_X6VoFBCE9k[/embedyt]
    Ah fuck. I can’t believe you’ve done this.

When we tag animals so they can be tracked and counted, do the tags affect the way their peers relate to them? Does it affect their mating chances?

  1. It really depends on the species. Those species that depend more heavily on smaller color features are more likely to be affected by bands. It’s an important consideration in the design of bird tracking studies! Here’s an interesting study on zebra finches that found a preference in female individuals for males with red beaks or red identification tags:

  2. Another consideration is how the tag or band might affect their physical movement. For example, with microbats we have to be very careful with radio tags to ensure they don’t substantially impede flight– even if the transmitter only weighs half a gram.

  3. I worked with a group tagging monkeys, and we had to put quite a lot of instrumentation on the poor guys. They were immediately ostracized from the group because of their unfashionable ‘jackets’, but we would capture and release then back into the group no problem in a few days.

  4. Yes! You are absolutely right! Even small tags have shown to affect mortality and breeding rates n penguins in this landmark 2011 study: http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110112/full/news.2011.15.html

  5. A general rule of thumb is to use a tag or collar no heavier than 2-5% of the individuals body weight. Everyone tagging an animal has hopefully considered all possible costs, including a litany of behavioral costs (foraging, interacting with the same species, raising young, etc). interestingly, lots of reptilian or amphibian tags are actually implanted into body cavities (hellbenders, for example: https://ag.purdue.edu/fnr/discover/HerpetologyLab/Documents/StoufferSurgicalImplantation.pdf) or even sewn on to the back of the animal with dissolving sutures (http://www.herpconbio.org/volume1/issue1/Bull2006.pdf). Wildlife biologists often have to resort to these seemingly invasive methods due to the body shape and skin type of reptiles/amphibians. These methods are usually used only when everything else has been ruled out as more damaging or a greater hinderance.

  6. This is something discussed by statisticians as well as biologists when considering what are called capture-recapture methods. You capture some amount of animals, tag them, release them back into their habitat, and then later recapture some new amount and this will give you a good amount of information with which you can make an estimate on how many total animals there are in this habitat.

    Now, what you are asking if whether the tags we place on animals have any effect on their “lifestyle”. Well the answer is: it depends! It definitely can have an effect on the things you mentioned but since we are aware of this we, as statisticians or biologists or what have you, try to minimize the impact of the tags on the animal. It won’t help us estimate the total population if any of the tags go missing unexpectedly (ie: a colorful tag making some animal very visible to predators is bad).

    TL;DR: Yes the tags do affect them but we try to make the tags such that the effect will be minimized.

  7. Not directly related to color, but it was found that certain penguin tags could increase drag when the birds where swimming and hurt their survival chances, source

  8. What about the selective process of capturing animals to tag? A priori I would wager that in general a researcher would be catching less fit individuals. For example, if a researcher is trapping birds, he / she is more likely to trap a sick, unfit bird than a fit, fast, intelligent (and sexually selected) bird.

  9. I was watching a show the other day about tagging lions. They chose to tag & also give a birth control to the lioness, since her male companion would stay with her. What was interesting is that the reason they don’t do the male (for birth control reasons) is that he will lose his mane, therefore losing his stance in the pack.

How close together are the stars near the center of our galaxy?

  1. Short answer, yes! (with some assumptions)

    According to these lecture slides, the stellar density near the Galactic center is ~100 stars per cubic parsec (compared to ~1 star per cubic parsec in the stellar neighborhood). This corresponds (assuming I did my math right) to an average distance between stars of 0.13 parsecs (0.42 lightyears). If a star like the Sun were that far away, it would have an apparent magnitude (in V-band) of -4.6 mag. Wikipedia lists -4.0 as the faintest magnitude at which one can see things in the daytime sky with the naked eye. Since -4.6 is brighter than -4.0 (because smaller magnitude means brighter object) you could see a star like the Sun at 0.13 parsecs away (although, probably only if you have good eyesight). If you have stars in the sky that are brighter than the Sun or closer to you than the average distance between stars, then you’ll have a better chance of seeing them.

  2. http://i.imgur.com/RibFV9P.gif


    > A 2.2 micron animation of the stellar orbits in the central 0.5 arcsec. Images taken from the years 1995 through 2013 are used to track specific stars orbiting the proposed black hole at the center of the Galaxy. These orbits, and a simple application of Kepler’s Laws, provide the best evidence yet for a supermassive black hole, which has a mass of 4 million times the mass of the Sun. Especially important is the star S0-2 as it has has been observed for more than one full orbital period, which is only 16.17 years.

  3. Because stars are so closely packed together near the galactic center, the night sky for inhabitants there would be spectacular. Near the galactic center, the average distance between neighboring stars would be only 1000 AU (about a light-week). If the Sun were located within a parsec (=3,2 light year) of the galactic center, there would be a million stars in our sky with apparent brightness greater than Sirius. The total starlight in the night sky would be about 200 times greater than the light of the full moon; you could easily read the newspaper at midnight, relying on starlight alone.

    Source: http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~ryden/ast162_7/notes31.html

  4. Within a parsec of the galactic center, the estimated number density of stars is about 10 million stars per cubic parsec. The number density of stars here in the Sun’s neighborhood is a only 0.2 star per cubic parsec.

    The nearest star to the sun is about 4 light years away. In the galactic center, the average distance between neighboring stars would be only 1000 AU (about a light-week). Not only would the starlight to be bright enough to read by at night, many of those stars would be visible during the day. However, I doubt anyone is looking up into those spectacular skies. Most of the stars are young and hot and will explode as a supernova within a few million years. Between the supernova and any outbursts from the nearby supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s center, most of the planets in the region have been sterilized from the radiation.



  5. Hopefully, this is a acceptable reply. Try downloading Space Engine.

    Its a universe simulator. It has procedural generation of every star in every galaxy so you can visit all of them. (Yes, every star in every galaxy). All types of planets are simulated so you can find one with water and atmosphere go down to the surface.

    For what you ask, I would fly to the center of the galaxy and search for a star with a planet system. Then I’d land on the planet on the day side and see what the sky looked like.


    quick tutorial:

    mouse wheel for speed and forward and back arrows to travel

    click to lock, “g” to go to the selectged object

    “F2” to identify planets around a star

  6. The center of this image is the site of Sagittarius A*, a point containing an extremely dense mass widely thought to be the supermassive black hole at the center of the milky way, with stars in very tight orbits. The orbits of a few objects in our solat system is provided for scale.

  7. A quick wiki search gives you the following:

    > A typical mass density for a globular cluster is 70 MSun pc−3, which is 500 times the mass density near the Sun.

    Apparent magnitude, or how bright we see objects here on earth, is on a logarithmic scale. log(500)= +/- 2.7

    > Brightest star (except for the Sun) at visible wavelengths: Sirius at -1.47

    > Faintest objects observable during the day with naked eye when Sun is high at –4.00

    Note that the lower the value, the higher the brightness. E.g. the sun has -26.74. Now I feel like I’m cheating a little bit by equating the mass density to apparent magnitude, but I suspect it is at least a good indicator.

    -1.47 -2.7 = -4.17 which is just bright enough to see when the sun is high.

    Therefore my answer to this question would be yes, but barely.

    *Edit: That said, if you are anywhere near a star like R136a1, you are very likely to see them during the day. It has a luminosity of 8.700.000 times that of the sun.

  8. Apparently, stars are packed very close together. 10 million stars per cubic parsec; around our neck of the galaxy, it’s about 0.2 stars per cubic parsec. Source.

    A cubic parsec is roughly 3 x 10^49 cubic meters. If we assume the stars are evenly distributed, that’s 3 x 10^42 m^3 for each star. Which would mean that the stars are about 1.5 x 10^14 meters apart from one another. The distance from the earth to the sun is 1.5 x 10^11 meters, so these stars are separated by about 1000 AU. So I’d hypothesize that you probably wouldn’t be able to see other stars during the day. However, the night sky would probably be really really cool looking. You’d have 10 million stars within half a parsec of you (1.6 ly). From earth, the closest star is Proxima Centauri, which is 4.3 ly away.

15 Offensive Facts

  1. Pretend rape is one of the most popular fetishes in the world.

  2. John Lennon was a woman beater (he physically assaulted both wives).

  3. Apparently MLK plagiarized his doctoral thesis.
    Credit so I’m not accused of plagiarism.

  4. Fred phelps from westboro baptist church was a prominent civil rights attorney during the civil rights movement because god never condemned black people. He was disbarred for perjury.

  5. 60% of all kids that drown in the United States annually are black, despite the fact that they are less than 20% of the American population.


  6. That the atomic bombings of Japan wasn’t anything different than what was already going on (dozens of Japanese cities had been firebombed into rubble already with one in particular, the Firebombing of Tokyo, being the most destructive bombing raid in history which killed between 100k and 200k people) and under the rules of war at the time were not a war crime.

  7. 28.5% of black men will serve jail time in their lives, compared to 4.4% for white men.

    Blacks account for 40% of the jail population in the US.

    Either way you look at this, either as racism by the police force or as blacks are bad to society, it is offensive to somebody.

  8. The US spends more on its prisoners than it does on kids in school.

  9. Attractive people are more successful at pretty much everything.

  10. Women are physically speaking the weaker sex.

  11. The Allies during World War Two conducted terrorism against the Germans. It was known as the Dehousing Programme. Its aim was to destroy the majority of civilian homes in over 50 German cities. The idea was that studies during the Blitz and other bombings over the UK by the Luftwaffe had shown that people found it more demoralising to have their home destroyed than anything else, even having friends and family killed. The hope was that destroying that many houses would cause the German people to give up.

  12. The United States does not acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of 1915 as a historical fact because they are allies with Turkey (who denies that such a thing ever happened).

    Just to put this in perspective for those of you that don’t know about the genocide, it’s as if Germany was so ashamed of its past actions that it denied them, and was allies with France, and France denied that the holocaust never happened because Germany said so.

    Edit: I may have been unclear. The reason the Turkish Government denies it is because they ordered it.

  13. Jesus Christ was not a white person.

  14. Some medicines work better for black people, white people, etc. but theres some resistance against giving white people one type of drug and black people another.

  15. The Los Angeles Clippers currently lead the NBA in scoring, averaging 107.4 points per game.