Where lipstick is concerned, the important thing is not color, but to accept God's final word on where your lips end. - Jerry Seinfeld
Question #92721 posted on 10/27/2019 9:23 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What in the world is this thing that's being built what looks to be in the same parking lot as the Draper aquarium?

Jenni Miller-lite

A:

Dear City of Blinding Lights,

The answer to your question is answered in full by a Salt Lake Tribune article,"Metallic giant once called ‘The Claw’ goes up at Draper’s Loveland Living Aquarium" and which I will quote almost in its entirety, and which you should check because they actually researched this article.

Officials at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium hoisted the 190-ton steel structure once known as “The Claw” into position in its outdoor plaza, atop what will be the facility’s new Ecosystem Exploration Craft & Observatory Command Center, a high-tech instruction center focused on the environment...

The structure served as a traveling stage for U2’s “360° Tour” 10 years ago, which included a stop in Salt Lake City. The 165-foot-tall behemoth is one of only two that remain from the stadium tour and is billed as the largest stage ever constructed.

2014U2_360Tour_Getty92390701_10191114-768x512.jfif
(Source. This isn't the Salt Lake Concert.)

Heck yeah, it was. I was there, when the claw bestowed us with its pointy grace in Salt Lake! I done seent it from the nosebleeds! Actually a decent concert, regardless of whether or not you like U2, they're capable of putting on quite the show, and quite the tour, which I think had as many as three of these going from place to place. Each giant claw was reported to cost "between £15m and £20m."

"But Ardilla," no one whines, "that's in British-moneys from the past, and that means nothing to me, because I live in a broom closet called Moon Apartments, and I only have one shiny nickel, which my roommate tells me is worth more than a dime, because it is bigger, (which makes sense!), anyways, I wish I had some frame of reference for what you're telling me."

Oh?

While it was probably designed, paid for and built even earlier, we'll say that initial purchase went down in 2010.
Using British Pound-US Dollar historic exchange rates from nine years ago and then depressingly converting that into Now-Money, that comes out in the range of $22,607,829 to 30,143,772.

For a frame of reference useful to a human being, that's enough money to purchase a lifetime supply of squid,
end up on the radar of the sea otter cartels, and end up losing it all in a massive miniature mammalian-managed cephalopod heist
.

How much squid is no one talking, here? Assuming best market prices for the Argentine short-fin squid: 9134 metric tons.

This, if you were wondering, is also the plot of the forthcoming Oceans 14. Don't ask me how I know, but know this much: You otter watch out.

But the Claw.

Aquarium officials bought it in 2016 “for a few million,” according to Andersen, with visions of making it part of a broader expansion at the Draper site that will also add a host of outdoor art installations and interactive plays areas.

The stage was shipped from Pennsylvania last winter and has required extensive structural re-engineering to match it to the location and to help it withstand Utah’s weather and potential for earthquake, Andersen said.

Crews spent Tuesday lifting the visually striking structure 16 stories off the ground and securing its legs. A central pylon goes in Wednesday.

Sixteen stories, 165 feet. That's actually taller than the SWKT, which lurks as campus's loftiest structure at 162 feet. But wait, there's more.

Workers will then add a spire, lighting system and custom fabric coverings. Soon, the aquarium’s million-or-so yearly visitors will be able to use the command center beneath to take virtual-reality tours “anywhere in the world,” Andersen said.

“They can use it as an exploration craft to discover rainforests, oceans, all the ecosystems around the planet, all the animals that live there and understand that they're actually all just one global ecosystem: the living planet,” he said

It's a craft? It's a craft! An exploration craft?! A teleportation pylon? A summoning portal to the Midwest, so its bored denizens may flee it from the nearest abandoned Kmart with minimal effort? Only time, and the Claw, will tell, for the Claw decides who will go and who will stay.

I'll leave you with this final quote.


“It looks fantastic,” the aquarium’s founder and CEO Brent Andersen said of the four-legged steel titan. “But it’s bigger than I recalled.”

Suerte,

--Ardilla Feroz

P.S. "A few million" could net you a cozy, clammy 909 metric tons of squid... just saying.

Question #92711 posted on 11/05/2019 2:04 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I suppose you’ll be getting a few questions about this....

How can I reconcile the fact that the LDS church is ok with homosexuality conversion therapy when it’s been proven to be ineffective and harmful? And how can I reconcile the fact that BYU/the church has not apologized for aversion/shock therapies done to students in the 60s/70s?

-My Name Here

A:

Dear reader,

These are good questions. I think they point to some deeper assumptions about the function of the Church as an institution which bear further investigation.

Before we get to that, though, let's clear up one critical misunderstanding. Despite what the misleading headlines on this issue have recently suggested, the Church today emphatically and explicitly does not support conversion therapy in any sense comparable to what was considered acceptable half a century ago. The objections to the bill raised by Family Services, which comprise about 26 pages, have been made publicly available online, and the objections raised are unrelated to the practice of conversion therapy, which is not endorsed or offered by Family Services. Since I started this answer, the Church has responded this past week with a clear reaffirmation of its opposition to conversion therapy and other abusive practices. (Family Services' comments are also directly available at that link.) "LDS church asks for clarification on bill set to ban conversion therapy" isn't quite as sexy and attention-grabbing of a headline as "Mormon church opposes ban on conversion therapy," but the former is a much better description of what's actually happening than the latter--the contention is about religious protections and the freedom to counsel people who want to live a life consistent with their religious values (e.g. "I'm religious and I want to stop acting out on my feelings of sexual attraction; please help me do that"). The concern seems to be that the current bill doesn't offer that. A previous bill banning conversion therapy, with stronger religious protections, faced no objections from the Church, but it died in committee, which is how we got here.

Now, granted, the Church does take positions that are often controversial. It also takes positions that cause particular groups of people pain--sometimes considerable pain. How do we reconcile that? Do we need to reconcile it? What does that look like?

Personally, I've never liked the common shibboleth that "the church is perfect but the people aren't." How can an organization being run by imperfect people from top to bottom really be perfect? What does a perfect church even look like? I'm not that old and the Church has changed considerably in my lifetime--my children and grandchildren will hear stories of three hours of church, home teaching, and missions without smart devices without ever experiencing them, and I have no idea what more will change by the time they're old enough to hear stories from grumpy old 9S about sitting through three hours of church on a hard-backed chair and only getting to call home twice a year. I think this phrase has set far too many people up to fail by leading them to equate the church as an institution or even as a culture with the gospel. The gospel is not the church, and it's not the culture. It's not funeral potatoes or weird Jell-o or the weird stuff your high councilor said one time over the pulpit that definitely doesn't square with the scriptures. The church, on both an individual and institutional level, can (and has, and still occasionally does) fail to live up to its divine mission to represent Jesus Christ--just like we struggle as individuals to do the same thing. That's not a bug, it's a feature. I can't tell you how many members I've talked to who seem to think that we suddenly get a blanket guarantee of infallibility when we move beyond the level of individuals in the church. That's not how it works.

I could go on for much too long, but I'll settle for loudly seconding what Josefina already said: nowhere are we guaranteed a perfect church. I don't know how it entered our cultural consciousness or why it's stayed for so long, but it's nowhere in the scriptures. Talking specifically about church history and the release of Saints, Elder Devn Cornish said much the same thing in the September 2018 Ensign.

"The impressions one gets from reading the history of the Church depend largely on what one expects to find in that history. We read the Lord’s own statement that this Church is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30). So it may seem reasonable to expect that the history of the true Church portray unerring leaders successfully implementing a sequence of revealed directions progressing to a perfect organization that is widely welcomed and embraced. But that is neither what the scriptures describe nor what our history represents, because the perfecting of the Church as an organization was not the Lord’s primary purpose."

"Nowhere in our scriptures, our doctrine, or the teachings of latter-day apostles and prophets is it taught that the purpose of the Lord is to perfect or to save the Church. Rather, the purpose of the Church is “for the perfecting of the saints … till we all come in the unity of the faith … unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12–13). The Lord’s primary purpose is to perfect His Saints. The Church serves to support that objective."

If that's how the Church worked then, it surely works the same way today. The Church sometimes does wrong. Sometimes serious wrong. You might be personally hurt by a ward member or a mission companion, or dismissed by a bishop who should be listening to you, or marginalized by a policy decision that directly impacts you negatively. The Church made up of imperfect mortals, from the youngest nursery child all the way up to President Nelson. It's only natural that the Church learns and grows along with its people.

One last thought to help expand this a bit, on the topic of revelation. Often we speak of revelation as something totally apart from--something wholly other than--human reason. In the sense that only revelation can make the things of God known to us, this is accurate. But in the broader sense we seem to use it in the church--in the sense that this somehow transcends and obliterates our cultural expectations and assumptions, and getting revelation means we download infallible, perfect pages from God's celestial, timeless Wikipedia--this is horribly off-base. Revelation comes when we ask questions. Our culture inescapably shapes our expectations and the questions we ask. All revelation is inextricably embedded within our cultural and moral framework--because how can God communicate with us any other way? All of us are products of the time in which we live and the experiences we have. Personally, I don't feel a need to reconcile the fact that Paul was okay with the practice of slavery or that Brigham Young believed in the curse of Cain or that BYU once practiced electroshock therapy--all notions that have rightly fallen out of favor today.  But--and this is the important part--all of these practices and beliefs were in alignment with the common beliefs and practices of the time, and that is as it should be, because all of us are shaped by the time in which we live. Certainly God could throw the curtains back and simply blast us with new and advanced moral knowledge. But that seems rather like God attempting to reveal to Abraham that e = mc2, or perhaps explaining to John the Baptist how to use a computer. 

For better or worse, the process of revelation is deeply introspective; it's a dialogue not just with God but with ourselves, forcing us to examine what we believe and why, and only when we're ready to challenge our own assumptions and really listen to what the answer might be--even if it means abandoning something we cherish--does God speak. When we fail to do that because of pride or complacency or apathy, we fall into error--emphasis on we; the onus is on us, not God, to be willing to receive the great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God as they are revealed.

God can, when absolutely necessary, simply deliver to us knowledge that is totally new and alien, but such occurrences (think Nephi building a boat or Moses building a portable tabernacle) are extremely rare, and unlikely to come when we're complacent in what we know and not willing to look for further light and knowledge. Revelation is an invitation from God to actively involve ourselves in our own spiritual growth, not just an event that happens to us when we push the right set of spiritual buttons at the heavenly reward dispenser. Church culture has done us a deep disservice in cultivating a notion that revelation is little more than downloading the mind of God and infallibly transmitting it through one speaking as a prophet (whatever that means). God is infallible. Revelation, because it is always delivered to (and through) imperfect humans with mistaken assumptions and imperfect modes of expression and understanding, cannot be infallible, and thus it is that even the Church finds itself sometimes making mistakes. For all this, there is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Atonement covers not only the mistakes you and I make, but also all those who suffer because of them (and thank heavens for that). Nothing I can do will change the fact that many people have suffered because of what was formerly considered a potentially legitimate form of therapy, but Christ has borne that burden and can succor those who suffered as surely as He can for anyone else.

I hope you find something worthwhile in this answer, and that it helps you reconcile the discomfort you've felt. Feel free to email me if you'd like to talk more.

Genuinely,

9S

Question #92576 posted on 09/15/2019 10:58 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I found the following map of diaper changing stations on campus. https://wsr.byu.edu/campus-nursing-map
Super helpful for the upcoming semester with a baby. But I want to know, are these all women’s restrooms? What men’s restrooms on campus have changing stations?

-Pushing a Stroller

A:

Dear Pushing A. Stroller,

Here is a list with all the bathrooms from the Women's Services map categorized as female, male, or family. For the most part, all the men’s restrooms are specifically indicated as men’s restrooms on the map, but there are a few exceptions. I’ve marked these exceptions with one asterisk.

Two asterisks indicate a restroom not included on the map. However, even with a few added restrooms, I can’t promise that these are all the restrooms on campus with a changing station. We (Inklings and I) used these maps to check whether the restrooms listed on the map were men's or women's and then did some field work to check the ones that we couldn’t do with the maps. Along the way, we just happened to find some extras.

Also, TLRB 251 is listed on the map as a men's restroom with a changing station, but it does not have a changing station.

And, without further ado, here you are!

Female
ASB B135
BNSN W132
BYUB 1013C
CONF 2291A
CTB 222
ESC S203
HBLL 1010
HBLL 2010
HBLL 4602
HFAC E319 (The map says B319, but I don’t think that exists. I think they meant E319 because it does exist and has a changing table.)
JFSB 1079
JFSB 1121
JFSB B027
JFSB B173
JKB 1019A
JKB 3021
JKB 4091D
JRCB 2nd Floor Library
JRCB 330
JSB 127
LSB 2103
LSB 3102
LSB 4115
LSB 5118
MC 3210
MC 3410
MLBM 2004
MLBM 2022
MOA Main Floor
MSRB 111 (It is not marked as MSRB 111 anywhere, but this is the mother’s lounge attached to MSRB 107.)
RB 114
RB Locker Room
SFH 2
SHC 1056
TMCB 1101
TMCB 248
TNRB W106
TNRB W206
TNRB W306
TNRB W406
WSC 1183
WSC 2080
WSC 2624
WSC 3212

Male
CB 201
CONF 2271A
JRCB 266
JRCB 332
MLBM 2008**
MLBM 2020**
MOA Main Floor
SHC 1054
TLRB 146*
TMCB 1105*
TMCB 272**

Family
Cannon Center Family Restroom
EB 212
EB 347
HBLL Family Study Area
HCEB 222**
HCEB 120A**
HCEB 218A**
HCEB 318A**
HCEB 418A**
HRCN 130
KMBL 1121
KMBL 1131
KMBL 224 (The map says 2226, but I’m pretty sure there’s no 22nd floor, so I think they meant this bathroom on the second floor. It’s pretty new.)

Hope this helps! Good luck!

Sincerely,

Cerulean

P.S. If you are unfamiliar with any of these building acronyms, just type it into the search bar at map.byu.edu!

Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

In response to Question #92448 on reparations, Guesthouse stated:

As far as policy goes, I would like to see some specific reparations acts, but will also be glad to see housing reform, educational reform, and welfare reform that will help the poor Black community.


Can you elaborate? What reforms? What reparations? How would you do it?

Be as specific as possible.

Thanks,

Sentinel

A:

Dear Watcher, 

Well, I told you I was TA-ing for the Race and Ethnicity class this fall, so ya gurl dug up her old textbook and supplemental materials and read UP! Sit down and buckle up kids, we're going for a ride. {Shameless plug here, for the love of everything, PLEASE TAKE SOC 323 IT WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER PERSON AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE.}

First of all, I think we should talk about feasibility, right? Because I have a feeling that I'm going to make my personal recommendations for possible reparations and reforms, and people are gonna be like "Yeah sure, but we will never be able to do this" or "Why should we care." 

So you should know: The United States has done reparations before. Other countries have too. Remember that crappy thing called Japanese Internment? President Reagan passed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 that payed over 800,000 victims or family members of victims $20,000. This required $1.1 Billion, but it was carried out. We also (rather pathetically) have *tried* to pay some reparations to Native Americans, often in terms of settlements and land allotment. Honestly, there's a lot to be done there, but that's not specifically what we're focusing on here. The point is, reparations are not a foreign concept to the U.S. Government. They are not unprecedented, and we can - and have - handled it in the past. Also, Reagan was a Republican, so don't try to tell me that reparations are a 'Liberal' issue. Because it's not. 

Also, think about the reparations that Germany paid for years following the Holocaust! That's a very large-scale tragedy, but the point is - they acknowledged the atrocity and tried to do something about it. That's a sore spot in their history, meanwhile, the United States still does not acknowledge or confront the wrongdoing of slavery in a systematic — or government-based — way.  

Granted, the U.S. did try (again, rather pathetically) to offer reparations with General Sherman's  (unfulfilled) promise of "40 acres and a mule" (as if that's sufficient payment for decades - nay, centuries, of enslavement... AND ANYWAY, stupid Andrew Johnson vetoed it very shortly after Lincoln's death, and all the land was returned to its original owners. In other words, massive failure.) For several decades, there has been a House Bill #40 (named after the previously mentioned phrase) that calls for the creation of a reparations commission to begin sorting out the who, how, and what of slave reparations. Unfortunately, it has never been successful, stalling year after year. 

If you think that the 13th Amendment or the Civil Rights era count towards 'reparations' you're also fooling yourself. Giving people the rights of basic humanity isn't paying them back for the lifetimes that were stolen and abused, or the repercussions of the systematic racism that came about in the years after freedom was won. 

Additionally, the demand for reparations is not one that is specifically against the 'white people' of America. The case for reparations is one against the government and the country itself, and is not, in its entirety, about the individuals who were taken advantage of. REPARATIONS IS ABOUT THE SYMBOLIC ACT OF ACCEPTANCE OF OUR HISTORY AND RECONCILIATION WITH THOSE WE HAVE HURT AS A NATION. It is meant to be a way to say "Wow, we feel so bad that we did this. Here is how we are trying to make it better." It's about America getting over its stupid pride and nationalism and acknowledging a hideous past, and trying to repair things! 

Alright. Before we get into my ideas, allow me to remind you that I am a student of sociology. I am not an expert, but I do have relevant information and pretty substantially research-backed opinions. However, if you are really deeply interested in learning more about this for yourself, besides the Te-Nehisi Coates article we mentioned in the previous question, there are plenty more resources you can turn to. Ones that I particularly enjoyed reading can be found here, here, and especially here. (they're big because I want you to read them.)

On we go. Let's talk about current policy reforms first, because those are a little bit easier to get. 

Housing Reform:

I hope that it's not unknown to you that there is discrimination in housing in the United States. It's manifest in a lot of different ways. Higher rent payments, less forgiveness for late payments, higher rates of eviction, worse options for loans, higher interest rates, or, being only shown homes in neighborhoods with known minority populations, even if the client could afford to live elsewhere. I care about housing reform, and I'll give what my suggestions are below, but you'll note that the core issue of all of this tends to be the racialization and criminalization of poverty... so that's where I think we should probably focus. That's where the discussion about the severe lack of subsidized and/or affordable housing comes into play. Housing is exceptionally expensive, and as the cost of living price continues increasing while wages stagnate, a greater percentage of families are paying more than half of their money into rent and utilities. That's debilitating.  Regardless, a few things I would like to see: 

  • Legislation that officially closes loopholes allowing for discriminatory practices in loaning based on race particularly, or at the very least, greater legal power for people that go against corporations for discrimination 
  • Certifiable training for real estate agents about racial politics and housing discrimination. Get certified so minorities can go with agents they can trust to cater to their needs and understand their unique position. 
  • Affordable housing acts like the one that Kamala Harris is pushing - the Rent Relief Act, which is designed to give an income tax credit to families who spend 1/3 or more of their income on housing. That's not a handout. It requires employment and tax-payer status, but helps people keep a roof over their head with more stability. And that's crucial. 
Again, this isn't my area of expertise. I'm interested in learning more about it, but for the sake of timeliness on this answer, that will have to suffice. 

Educational Reform:

Everything in society is tied together. So, education is very strongly linked with poverty and housing discrimination. Therefore, any changes to those other two aspects will change what the education experience looks like. I'm not totally sure which things should be done first, or which will have the biggest impact, but one thing I would like to see with educational reform is changing the way schools and districts are funded. It's pretty messed up that the best schools are the ones that have funding, because that means it's the people with more money that get better schooling. We're just compounding privilege on privilege. Those kids already have support systems and advantages that will help them succeed. But then we also give them better teachers, more extracurriculars, more opportunities... it's kinda ridiculous. The families where parents are working two or three jobs to put food on the table are the ones that need schools with good afterschool extracurricular programs. They need the extra support of good teachers and potentially free or cheaper tutors. Instead, it's all organized in a way that makes life ever harder for people who already have it hard. I think school funding should go through the state taxes instead of local, and the state can allocate according to need based on their own research. We also should focus on integrating high- and low-income areas. High-income families obviously have more choice to opt-out of this in favor of privatized education, but all research that I studied in my Sociology of Education class seemed to suggest that the best possible option was to have people from all backgrounds together. This allows for the communities to come together and help each other grow in ways that homogeny simply can't. It raises graduation rates for everyone and the community ensures that those who didn't have opportunities before are given those opportunities. It doesn't hurt the privileged in any way. They still get a quality education with essentially identical academic scores and whatnot, meanwhile, it helps the disadvantaged in monumental ways. 

Criminal Justice Reform: 

Honestly, there are so many things needed here I could make a new question about it specifically. Here's a few ideas:

  • Seriously decriminalize marijuana and make charges for minor drug charges much less severe, and pardon those who are in there for things that aren't even illegal anymore, since they were stupid in the first place. 
  • Erase the difference between 'white drugs' and 'black drugs'. You can't incarcerate people for different lengths of time for doing essentially the same crime just because you're racist. That's not how the law is supposed to work and I'm tired of it being this way.
  • Get rid of the death penalty. 
  • Investigate into misconduct like the Ferguson Police Department intentionally and systematically charging minorities excessive fines for minor traffic infringements to fund the city, because surely more places are doing it. 
  • Body cams should be in use, especially if responding to a potentially dangerous situation. People who's behavior is questionable need to be fired, not kept just to prove a point. That being said, people also need to be willing to listen to both sides of the story. I listened to an enlightening podcast episode that made me think about police brutality in a different way, and I really encourage you to listen to it as well: Revisionist History Season 4: Episode 7 - "Descend into the Particular" 
  • I'm not sure specifically how to fix this, but there are lots of POC - especially young boys - who will plead guilty to crimes they are not guilty of just because the cost of a trial that would likely acquit them is too much for them or their family to handle. That's just sickening to me. There are people in jail that don't belong there, just because they don't want to deal with the fight. That's stupid. The Innocence Project can't save everyone, we should just be doing a better job. I know trials can't be free, because people have to be paid and compensated. I will look more into this in the future, but I've already held this question over long enough that I will let this be the last point here. 

I haven't learned as much about criminal justice as I would like to. I'm not sure how to fix everything that's wrong with it, but I hope by the end of this next semester, I'll have some more information to better answer this question. Sorry I can't be more specific here, I just need to learn more before I can feel justified in having a strong opinion. 

Welfare Reform:

Like I mentioned, the core issue of all of this is money. The history of discrimination and oppression has most substantially affected the economic wellbeing of Black families. So, even if nothing else can be done in any other area, I really think that targeting economic inequality will make the most substantial difference. This is part of why reparations are important to me. Poverty is rampant because we have NEVER STOPPED DISCRIMINATING AGAINST THE BLACK COMMUNITY. They are so heavily overrepresented in the poor community because they have been dealt - and KEEP getting dealt - the literal crappiest hand of cards on the table, because the card dealer (not God, but society) is rigging the deck, and everyone knows it, but isn't stopping it! 

I started talking about this is an earlier question, but not enough that I think it counts as suggestions. It's also hard for me to get super specific, because I'm not the person that's designing things. I have opinions, and I'm trying to be educated about them, but I certainly don't know everything - or how best to implement the ideas that I do have. In any case, here's what I think: 

  • Keep the work requirement, obviously. Something over 70% of welfare recipients have at least one job, and a large majority of the remainder are incapable of working due to age or health limitations. I think encouraging work is good, and the purpose of welfare is to help people get back on their feet... especially if other systems are the ones pushing them down, it's fair. 
  • Eliminate penalties for wage increase and marriage. As is, if a person's income grows to 150% of the poverty level, they experience, effectively, a massive jump in taxes. 150% of the poverty line is still not that much (and the poverty line measurement is problematic as is, which I'll talk about next), so it's a vicious cycle where suddenly when you start doing the things that are supposed to help get you out of poverty - making more money - You lose the benefits far too quickly and you just get put right back where you were in the first place. Similar limitations apply to getting married - regardless of whether or not that means there will be two incomes. In other words, some of the current arrangements in the welfare system are creating problems instead of helping solve them. The way the program is organized right now is incredibly ineffective for the way that poverty actually functions in the United States. We need to change the rules in how long you can be on welfare to make sure people have support for long enough after they switch jobs or get married that they actually get a boost in the right direction. People don't want to stay on welfare, but sometimes doing the things to get off of it will just put you right back in. Super stupid. Here's a decent Fox News article on this topic (me? reading and citing Fox? I know! It's like I do research on all sides of the issue!) and an interview with Mitt Romney (watch at about 45:40 for the relevant content) So how, more specifically, can we fix some of these issues? First, taper benefits more gradually so there aren't 'cliffs' that you can fall off as soon as you make a certain amount. This should help ease people out of the programs without leaving them helpless when they're still finding their way back on their own two feet. Second, literally just get rid of the marriage penalty. Welfare policy should be purely neutral to relationship status. Why is this even a question? 
  • Find another measure of the poverty line, or at the very least, update it. Measuring based on how much food costs is stupid because that changes from place to place, doesn't take into account those who live in food deserts and therefore have to travel (additional costs) or the fact that unhealthy foods may be cheaper, but the health costs they entail are not cheaper. It also is a 'general' line, not adjusted for the varying costs of living expenses (especially housing) in densely populated urban areas, where many poor Black families have to live. Therefore, some families make more than the poverty line and don't qualify for benefits, but due to specific circumstances, like geographic location, still should technically qualify. I think that one potential solution would be to make welfare distribution and laws more state-based so there can be organization at a closer level. 
  • Make the process simpler!!! Welfare is dead in large part because the bureaucracy of it is so complicated that it almost feels like it isn't worth the hassle. You have to jump through hundreds of hoops, and it makes people frustrated. So, instead of trying to get the assistance that they need and benefitting from it, they just stay stuck in their current situation. Getting more people off welfare is good, but if that means that you just stop giving it to people, that doesn't actually solve the poverty problem. Sure, there are fewer people on welfare, but that means there's just more poor people who need assistance that don't get it because it's just too hard to do. Paperwork should be easy to understand and fill out, and people should have a good, accessible place to get information about qualifications that, instead of trying to shove them away, will welcome them and give them help in a way that is compassionate instead of despiteful. 
  • Combine the current 15 systems into something unified and consistent, because as is, the whole thing is a mess. There needs to be a committee that reviews the administrative goings-on, paperwork, requirements, usage, etc. of all of the different parts and coherently glue them together into a single effective welfare program that people can turn to and apply for the things that they need. There should be counselors available to go over a person's circumstances and determine what kind of assistance would be most beneficial for them. 
  • Offer free classes through said welfare system buildings on topics like budgeting, smart shopping, cooking, parenting, relationship building, interview skills, etc. Things to help people build the skills they need to make them more successful in the future. I guarantee you have people in the community that would be more than happy to volunteer to teach that kind of thing, or be paid very little. Heck, I'd totally do it. That's basically what 4-H was for me. 5$ for an annual membership and I learned SO MUCH stuff, mostly from volunteers. 
  • Say it with me: affordable healthcare.  It doesn't have to look the same as Canada's or Germany's or whoever else. But there needs to be a way to subsidize the cost of healthcare in the U.S. and guarantee that people who need it can get care. There are literally people dying because they can't afford their insulin or other medications, or who don't go to the doctor to get diagnosed for things because they can't afford it, only for once-small issues to become fatal. I wish I could be more specific about how I think the U.S. can do healthcare, but I really don't know the answer. Personally, I don't think that socialized healthcare exactly like Canada is the solution for our country. We're just different, so we need systems that function for us. Regardless, I think there should at least be healthcare benefits offered with welfare because environmental factors that tie with poverty have a big impact on health. Think about it... if the cheapest food is processed carbs, you're going to have a lot of health problems due to that. Or, you have to live close to work because you can't afford a car... so you live in the city, where there is more pollution, and your kids are more likely to be asthmatic... those kinds of things. So, there should be health assistance available for the people who really are going to need it more since  it's already hard enough for them to be healthy. 
  • Job placement services available to people who sign up for welfare! If we care so much about people working, why not ensure that there are resources available - or at least make sure people are aware of where to find them? Simple solution. 
  • Work to end stereotypes like the 'Welfare Queen' and welfare dependency, which just aren't true. The stigma is what makes people vote in ways that make things worse, not better. Educating people about the reality of welfare in America instead of letting people like freaking Charles Murray feed everyone misinformation that scars the country's policies for decades and keeps us from making progress because it just confirms biases in people's racist hearts that just aren't true! (*deep breath* Sorry, I seriously think Charles Murray is the worst.) 
Anyway, those are just a few of the ideas that I have researched and think might be a good idea. Honestly, the welfare system is so broken it might be a good idea to trash the whole thing and start over. And by that I mean, keep it until we put the new one in place, but the new one shouldn't be any form of "improvements" on the current system. We just need a good group of people of all different political alignments to get together, do a LOT of research on poverty in America, and welfare systems in this and other countries (or just freaking listen to the sociologists who are already doing the research, sheesh) and then discuss options and move forward from there. We know what kinds of things work well, and instead of trying to fix the dishwasher that keeps breaking, maybe it's just time to buy a new one... you know? Anyway. I care about this topic a lot. I'm going to be taking more classes in the future that should help me some more in my understanding of welfare, but this is what I've got. I hope that was specific enough for you. 
 
Now let's get to the big one. 

Reparations: 

Perhaps the reason that people don't like the idea of reparations is that they think that things are already fair and squared away. The Blacks were granted their freedom, were they not? But giving people back the basic rights that they deserved does not mean that you have made things right for abusing them for centuries. That literally just doesn't make any sense. Plus, it's not like after the slaves were freed, everyone treated People of Color like they were actual worthwhile human beings. They had to fight for their right to vote - something that should have been a given from the beginning- their right to marry whomever they chose (That one wasn't even fixed by the supreme court until 1967. That's insane!) and every day they still fight for their lives and their basic humanity in hundreds of ways. We talked about a bunch of them already above, so I won't go over them again. 

What needs to be understood is that sometimes saying "Oh, sorry" isn't enough, especially if you keep hurting the person/group of people. People used and abused Black men, women, and children for over a century. They were never compensated for their work, and sometimes would be punished horribly without reason. That disrespect for human life is a scar on the American past that needs to be reconciled, and there is a debt to be paid. The Government didn't have the right to "give" people something that should have been theirs in the first place. The Gettysburg Address, 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th (I include the 19th because it gave Black women the right to vote, though more generally just women...) did not fix things. 

Since money seems to be a tangible concept, let's think about it this way: Something like 600,000 slaves were brought to the United States from Africa. This number seems low to me, but that's what Wikipedia says so we'll use it as a base number. Now, many of those slaves had children, who also had children... and so forth. All would have been deemed property and been made to work. These people were literally sold as objects. What I'm about to calculate is in no way whatsoever trying to place a value on their lives, but rather is an attempt to estimate how much they should have been paid in the first place, so we can see how deeply indebted we are. Let's say that total we've got about 8,000,000 people who at one point or another were slaves. (By about 1790 the number was around 600,000, and in 1860 there were about 4,000,000 in the population that were slaves)  Surely the number is much higher, but for our purposes, let's stick with it. Okay, so slaves have at least a 12-hour workday. The average wage for a simple laborer in 1860 was about 10 cents an hour. I'm not going to do inflation calculations because that's complicated and it's not going to be that different. Stick with me here: 

$0.10 per hour * 12 hours * 7 days (they didn't really get weekends off) * 360 days a year (we'll say. Surely many never got days off.) * 32 years average life expectancy [lots of different measures from this, I took an average of several averages I found.] * 8,000,000 lives spent in slavery = $24,192,000,000. Twenty-four billion, one hundred ninety-two million 1860 dollars, low estimates. You want to know how much that is in 2019 dollars?

 ****$747,827,184,578.31**** (thanks, Inflation Calculator) 747 BILLION DOLLARS. Do you think those people were ever compensated? NO! They died in agony, sickness, malnourishment, and torture. They died separated from their families and loved ones, seen as objects. Bought and sold like they were nothing. This doesn't count for the emotional damages, health problems, or anything else. That's literally just the pricetag for the unpaid slave labor. You know what it doesn't count? Unpaid or minimally compensated prison labor that took advantage of millions of Black male prisoners. That's just a new version of slavery. That's going to put us over a trillion dollars. And that's just my estimate. I can't promise perfect accuracy there, just a disclaimer. Regardless, the total is baffling.

Tack on the emotional and physical damages (lynchings, murders, harrassment, housing discrimination, loan discrimination, housing discrimination, hate crimes, microaggressions, Jim Crow laws, voting restrictions, educational discrimination, criminal prosecution of innocents, police brutality, environmental discrimination leading to disproportionate representation of asthmatic children, heart disease, and cancers with little to no ability to seek treatment, and MORE!) and the numbers are so astronomical they may actually be more money than the U.S. is currently indebted to other countries! 

And what, do we think that saying "Oh, well I guess slavery is illegal now..." is going to just make that go away? Do we think that we can just shrug our shoulders and all will be forgiven?

But we can do better than empty apologies. We can do better than just saying, "Well, we'll keep trying to give you your rights." That stuff is important, and we need reforms and progress for sure. But let's think about that in terms of our debt calculator... Reform policies aren't chipping away at the damage that has been done, they're just trying to stop it from happening more in the future. Granted, it does make it seem better. And maybe we can say that it counts for enough that the amazing citizens of color would agree to forgiving chunks of that debt. They already don't ask for much, some don't ask at all. But I think we really ought to be honest about the damage that has been done and how we can REALLY try to make it right. 

I know that it's going to be a hard fight to get money that goes directly to descendants of slaves, so I have a few other suggestions that are perhaps more feasible: 

  • A Legacy Trust/Grant. Besides having the government contribute to it, people can donate to the trust, and those who are descendants of slaves can submit their ancestry. No other requirements. If you apply for the grant, you can get it. I think having it open to the public donation is a vital part, because there are TONS of people who I know would want to contribute (myself included) to stand in solidarity, but currently don't know how to help. That would be a good opportunity for people to show their support. 
  • Along the lines of the first point, a scholarship is also a good idea. College can be a distant dream for disadvantaged students, and one way that we can repay is by paying for some degrees, so that those people then have the opportunity to create their own success in life. It's a relatively small investment that changes people's lives. To me, that is a good effort at restitution. 
  • Tax Credit. This is one of Kamala Harris's ideas for reparations, but qualifying individuals could add the tax credit to ease their financial burden a bit, which over time can be really significant. 
  • Better curriculum in teaching history in the U.S. to include minority experiences and especially a more honest approach to teaching the atrocities of slavery, Reconstruction-era violence, Jim Crowe discrimination, and Civil Rights Era events. Honestly, I think that every single person in the world could benefit from a sociology of Race & Ethnicity class. It helps you learn more about yourself and your friends and peers and see the world beyond just your own eyes. Why they don't offer that kind of thing in high school? I have no idea. But History classes - heck, why not the core curriculum? - need to better integrate racial history into their books. I was in high school less than 5 years ago and I definitely remember having a super white-washed and sugarcoated textbook.  Education is the first step to understanding. 
  • Other ideas I am open to but am yet to study and understand.

The conversation around reparations are incredibly promising, and regardless of how controversial of a topic they are, I do believe that something ought to be done to address institutional racism and the history of slavery in America. Reparations isn't exclusively about paying back a debt, it's about being sincere in our apology as a nation and moving forward. This shouldn't be an unfamiliar concept. When we learn about repentance through the Atonement, we learn that we can never really repay the Savior for the sacrifice he made for us. But when we repent, we are asked to confess and confront our shortcomings, and do what we can to make it right. If a kid breaks a window, he should offer to either pay to have it replaced or mow lawns for the neighbor to make up for the damages. It's about showing your sincerity and Godly sorrow for your mistakes. It's only through that process of genuine penitence that we can make progress and become better. A similar concept applies here; until restitution is something that we can get behind, institutional racism will always persist. It means we don't take it seriously, and we aren't sorry. It means we have chosen to ignore the past, and the past's effect on the present. When this is the case, we condemn ourselves to a future that will never measure up to where we want to be. That is why I think the discussion about reparations and reforms is so significant. That's why I said that reparations also include confronting and being honest about history. 

People need to realize, too, that reparations can mean a lot of things. Right now, only about 25% of voters support the idea of reparations. I think that number is pretty low, and that may be because there is a misconception about it, that people think that it's just an unjustified handout. I think if there was better education about slavery and Black History, people wouldn't think it was such an outlandish idea. I can only hope to help educate people a bit and get them to open their minds and their hearts with compassion to the experiences of their fellow men. That doesn't mean that people have to come to the same conclusions as I have, but I really think people need to not brush off the idea of reparations so quickly without considering the virtue of restitution. 

Here's a really good quote from Reverend Mark Thompson, a member of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America: 

"For many of us, reparations means spiritual repair, cultural repair, repair through the means of education, health, economics, society, all of those things together. So it’s obviously more than individual checks, but helping to build institutions so that at least African Americans can catch up with white Americans."

And another, from Coleman Hughes [with some paraphrasing, lifted from this article which you should TOTALLY READ FOR A GOOD NUANCED OPINION]:

"Reparations is “something of a misnomer because the wrongs of history are generally too deep to actually be completely compensated.” What reparations should mean, he said, is “a full-hearted recognition that a wrong was committed, that something happened that should not have happened––and more than that, it’s an apology that feels more sincere because you’re attaching something tangible to it, because words are very cheap.”

I hope this has opened your mind a bit to the idea. I certainly don't expect people to agree with me perfectly, nor do I think my opinions will stay the same forever. I am happy to learn more and hear other ideas on the matter, as I know my feelings are not the "right" answer or the only way to think about this. But thank you for allowing me to offer my thoughts and being respectful. I really appreciate it. 

Cheers, 

Guesthouse

P.S. Thank you for being patient with this answer, I really wanted to do a good job and research it thoroughly so I'm sorry it took longer than promised. I hope you feel that it was worth the wait. 

Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Of all our 45 US Presidents, which one had the biggest nose? I know who was the tallest, heaviest, thinnest, etc. But I know several had nice-sized honkers. Whose out-sized all of the others?

Thanks.

-Proboscis Pete

A:

Dear person,

Here are pictures of all of the US Presidents in order. I took them all from this Wikipedia article.

George Washington John Adams Thomas Jefferson James Madison James Monroe
1_george_washington.webp  2_john_adams.webp  3_thomas_jefferson.jpg  4_james_madison.jpg  5_james_monroe.jpg
         
 John Quincy Adams  Andrew Jackson  Martin Van Buren  William Henry Harrison  John Tyler
 6_john_q_adams.webp  7_andrew_jackson.webp  8_martin_van_buren.webp  9_william_harrison.webp  10_john_tyler.webp
         
 James K. Polk  Zachary Taylor  Millard Fillmore  Franklin Pierce  James Buchanan
 11_james_polk.jpg  12_zachary_taylor.jpg  13_millard_fillmore.webp  14_franklin_pierce.webp  15_james_buchanan.webp
         
 Abraham Lincoln  Andrew Johnson  Ulysses S. Grant  Rutherford B. Hayes  James A. Garfield
 16_abraham_lincoln.webp  17_andrew_johnson.webp  18_ulysses_grant.jpg  19_rutherford_hayes.webp  20_james_garfield.jpg
         
 Chester A. Arthur  Grover Cleveland  Benjamin Harrison  Grover Cleveland  William McKinley
 21_chester_arthur.webp  22_grover_cleveland.webp 23_benjamin_harrison.jpg  22_grover_cleveland_1.webp  24_william_mckinley.webp
         
 Theodore Roosevelt  William Howard Taft  Woodrow Wilson  Warren G. Harding  Calvin Coolidge
 25_theodore_roosevelt.webp  26_william_taft.webp  27_woodrow_wilson.webp 28_warren_harding.jpg   29_calvin_coolidge.jpg
         
 Herbert Hoover  Franklin D. Roosevelt  Harry S. Truman  Dwight D. Eisenhower  John F. Kennedy
 30_herbert_hoover.webp  31_franklin_roosevelt.webp 32_harry_truman.webp   33_dwight_eisenhower.webp  34_john_kennedy.webp
         
 Lyndon B. Johnson  Richard Nixon  Gerald Ford  Jimmy Carter  Ronald Reagan
 35_lyndon_johnson.jpg  36_richard_nixon.webp 37_gerald_ford.webp   38_jimmy_carter.webp  39_ronald_reagan.jpg
         
 George H.W. Bush  Bill Clinton  George W. Bush  Barack Obama  Donald Trump
 40_george_hw_bush.webp  41_bill_clinton.webp  42_george_w_bush.webp  43_barack_obama.webp  44_donald_trump.webp

There is a clear winner for the Biggest Nose Award: William Henry Harrison, whose nose is undoubtedly colossal. 

9_william_harrison.webp

Bravo, William! And now for our other award winners.

Next, we have Martin Van Buren winning the Biggest Hair Award:

8_martin_van_buren.webp

And for the Biggest Mullet Award, James K. Polk:

11_james_polk.jpg

And for the Biggest Beard Award, Rutherford B. Hayes:

19_rutherford_hayes.webp

And for the Biggest Mustache Award, the enviable William Howard Taft:

26_william_taft.webp

And the Best-Looking James Award goes to James Monroe, who beat out James Madison, James K. Polk, James Buchanan, James A. Garfield, and Jimmy Carter for the distinction:

5_james_monroe.jpg

I would also like to give Zachary Taylor (1) the Most Unhappy to have his Picture Taken Award and (2) Best Severus Snape Lookalike Award:

12_zachary_taylor.jpg

In a similar vein, Harry S. Truman is the clear winner for the Most Similarities to Harry Potter Award:

Screen Shot 2019-07-26 at 12.08.04 AM.png

And last but not least, the Most Likely to be Featured On Ancient Aliens Award goes to none other than Andrew Jackson:

7_andrew_jackson.webp

We hope you have enjoyed our award show this evening. 

-Sheebs

Question #92425 posted on 07/07/2019 5:24 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I think of this question every single morning, and I'm glad I finally remembered to ask.

Let's say I'm finishing up my morning shower and I wring out my washcloth to hang it on the inside of the door. If I had unlimited strength, could I wring the washcloth out so hard that, when I was finished, it was totally dry? In other words, could I force every molecule out of the material so that it was bone dry?

Don't know why. I just think of these weird things.

Thanks.

-Washrag Randy

A:

Dear person,

Let's say your washcloth is made of cotton. Cotton is good at absorbing for a couple of reasons. First, water is a dipole (has an electrically positively charged "side" and a negatively charged "side" to the molecule) and cotton's electric charges are distributed unevenly along its cellulose fibers. These uneven charges cause the water and cellulose fibers to be attracted to each other. Second, the cellulose fibers are structured in such a way that it is easy for water to move along and inside the fibers. This makes it very easy for water to "hang out" on and around cotton.

Wringing your washcloth is twisting. Thus, the force we are applying to the washcloth is torsion. Torsion is comprised of both compression and tension. When you twist the washcloth to get water out, what you are doing is using compression to force the cellulose fibers closer together. This reduces the amount of surface area that the water can "hang out" on. However, because torsion is both compression and tension, we cannot increase the compression without increasing the tension. And, eventually, the tension will cause the washcloth to rip. 

I don't know how to do the math to prove it, but I'm certain that the washcloth would rip before every molecule of water will be forced out of the material. If you were going to destroy a cotton washcloth, would you compress it as hard as you could? Or would you pull it tight as hard as you could? The latter, of course. To force every molecule out would mean reducing the spaces between and within the cellulose fibers until they were so small that water molecules are too small to fit inside. That's extremely tiny. 

So no, you could not not wring out your washcloth so hard that all the water would be forced out.

But wait.

Let's say, for the sake of fun, that your washcloth has infinite tensile strength and that your hands are infinitely strong. That is, the cloth could never rip and you won't break your bones, rip or burn your skin, or anything like that. The cloth can only be damaged by the compression part of twisting. Let's say that you, with your infinite strength, start wringing the washcloth. The cotton would give off lots of heat. This would make the water turn into steam at about 212 F. So parts of the washcloth that are touching the air would be dry. However, there is still water at the center of the washcloth, which surrounded by several layers. If you don't unravel the washcloth periodically to allow the water inside to evaporate and instead keep squeezing, the cloth is likely to ignite once it reaches 400-750 F, after which you wouldn't have a washcloth anymore.

-Sheebs

Question #92417 posted on 07/29/2019 3 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How do you escape a magical library?

-Reader

A:

Dear Reader,

The way of escape is so easy, you see
You don't have to beg and you don't have to plea.
There isn't a guard there to block you from freedom; 
And don't bring supplies, cause you really won't need ’em.
 
If you find yourself in a library unique,
It’s likely within there’s a door, so antique! 
“Escape” is a strong word, you really just leave.
Just walk right on out, oh, what a relief!
 
To find this old door you must solve all the clues
Like our sweet canine friends, Magenta and Blue.
The three riddles solved will reveal the place
(But only if you know my musical taste.)
 
The Board is a place of such detailed research
You must do your own, or be left in a lurch.
I’ll tell you where to find the riddles you seek 
Be prepared, for they hide in a secret Board technique.
 
The first question you’ll need regards this great nation. 
What do you think about making reparations?
And what of the imminent nuclear war?
Does that sort of thing frighten you to the core?
 
And now, dear reader, you've made it this far,
Are you a good dancer or do you play the guitar?
We want something romantic that has a good beat.
Solve this last clue, and your search is complete! 
 
A quick word of caution, if you take your time,
You may just find yourself stranded online.
Good luck on your journey! We hope you’ll achieve.
Remember to close up the door when you leave.

Cheers,

Guesthouse

P.S. A special thanks to Inklings, who is a far better poet than I, and who helped me work out the kinks. 

Question #92342 posted on 06/12/2019 11:46 a.m.
Q:

Dear yayfulness,

Did you make an embarrassing mistake in Board Question #91271, and would you like to fix it?

-this is obviously not yayfulness

A:

Dear obviously not yayfulness,

Yes, yes I did. Two embarrassing mistakes, in fact.

(If you’re actually reading this, I’m assuming you’ve already read my answer to Board Question #91271, so I’m not going to repeat myself. This answer probably won’t make too much sense without that context.)

The first mistake is named Tristan da Cunha, and it's a tiny blip of a volcano in the southern Atlantic Ocean with a permanent civilian population of about 250 and a fascinating history which I shamelessly binged about a month ago. It's also about 2,075 miles from the nearest temple in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The African coast is several hundred miles closer, and if a temple is ever built in Cape Town, South Africa, Tristan da Cunha will be evicted from the 2,000 Mile Club. Until then, though, I'd be remiss to deny it its rightful place.

The second mistake is that, in my zeal to find the furthest point from a temple in central Asia, I completely overlooked that the THIRD-LARGEST CITY IN RUSSIA IS THERE, TOO. Novosibirsk (population 1.6 million) is over 2,100 miles from the nearest temples in Finland and Ukraine. It's one of five (!) cities of over a million people in the 2,000-mile zone, the others being Krasnoyarsk, Russia (1.1 million), Almaty, Kazakhstan (1.6 million), Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (1.0 million), and Urumqi, China (3.6 million). There are seven branches in the Novosibirsk-Krasnoyarsk area plus one in Almaty; two of these branches, at Barnaul and Kemerovo, are 2,205 miles from the Helsinki temple and thus the two LDS congregations furthest from a temple.

Last year, I started working on a list of potential temple sites that could take places off the 2,000-mile list. Exactly one week after that answer got published, a temple was announced for Yigo, Guam, barely 1,000 miles from Pohnpei, Micronesia (formerly the second-most distant inhabited place from a temple outside of mainland Asia). Since then, I've refined the list quite a bit. I really wanted to illustrate it with a map somehow, but I spent the last two weeks arguing with QGIS and so far QGIS has won every time. So instead, here's a table. Temple sites to watch are places which meet three criteria: first, they have a substantial population; second, they have an established Church presence; and third, they are not close to an existing temple.

2,000 Mile Areas Temple Sites to Watch Countries to Watch
Central Asia Moscow, Russia; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Samara/Tolyatti, Russia; Saratov, Russia; Yerevan, Armenia1 Russia, Mongolia, Armenia2, India
Easter Island none none
Rodrigues Antananarivo, Madagascar3 Madagascar4, Mozambique, Malawi
Tristan da Cunha Cape Town, South Africa South Africa
Kullorsuaq and Nuussuaq Glasgow/Edinburgh, UK; Oslo, Norway; Belfast, UK; Newcastle, UK5 UK, Norway
Qeqertat none none
Al-Hofuf Bucharest, Romania; Yerevan, Armenia; Pskov, Bulgaria Bulgaria, Romania, Armenia, Russia, India

I'm reasonably confident that if a temple is announced within 2,000 miles of any of the areas in the first column in the near future, it will be built at one of the sites in the second column. I'm reasonably confident that any temple announced outside of the countries in the third column won't be within 2,000 miles of any of the areas in the first column.

-yayfulness

1 All of these would reduce the size of the area, but none would eliminate it entirely
2 I'm using Hungary as my baseline expectation for when a European country receives its first temple: over 5,000 members and 22 congregations, at least some of which are wards.
3 Maputo, Mozambique could technically be on this list, depending on a temple's exact address. Rodrigues is 11 miles wide, Maputo is 14 miles wide, and the westernmost point in Rodrigues is 1,997 miles from the easternmost point in Maputo.
4 As the temple-having country in Africa with the smallest LDS presence, Kenya sets my baseline for the rest of the region: just short of 15,000 members and 50 congregations, at least some of which are wards.
5 Newcastle is within 2,000 miles of Nuussuaq but not Kullorsuaq
Question #92277 posted on 06/07/2019 10 p.m.
Q:

Alright Board,

Since you all basically passed on question #91937 when originally asked, I thought I would tee it up again for Alumni Week. I know there are a lot of quantitatively-oriented people in the Alumni group, and I figure they might have fun with it.

----Original Question----

I regularly ride UTA FrontRunner from the North Temple Station to the Provo Station. I do this for lots of reasons, one of which is my perception that I'm reducing the carbon and particulate emission of the trip by taking FrontRunner versus driving. A few days ago, I was looking at the massive diesel fuel tanks on FrontRunner, and it made me wonder how many people have to ride the train in order for the fuel saved from not driving cars to offset the fuel burned by FrontRunner.

Question 1: how many vehicle miles must FrontRunner be taking off the road per FrontRunner mile in order for the train to "break even" in terms of carbon and particulates?

Question 2: Do we have any decent way to calculate, based on FrontRunner trips and ridership data, if FrontRunner, as a whole, is making things net better off in terms of carbon and particulates?

Assumptions: Assume that every vehicle mile is driven by a theoretical "average" vehicle. Assume that nobody is driving to or from train stations.

(I also understand that there are lots of other reasons to have a public transit program. I'm just talking about the pollution aspect here, and am not trying to label FrontRunner as "good" or "bad" on this basis).

-G

A:

Dear Jeepers, 

Hey man, I'm just here to prove that the current writers are still totally capable and awesome. I'm not particularly quantitatively inclined... which is why I didn't answer this the first time. But I'm not going to let this one slip past us. So for this answer, Tipperary and I put our heads together to tackle this question. 

First of all, we need to make an assumption: 1 vehicle mile = 1 passenger mile. Because cars can carry fewer people than Frontrunner can, it's easier to calculate things in terms of individual riders, assuming that each person that rides Frontrunner is one fewer person driving. 

Now for the facts: 

The average car emits 0.89 lbs of CO2 for every mile driven (see data found here.) Using the 1=1 assumption, that means Cars have a "per passenger mile" emission of 0.89 lbs. 

Frontrunner will emit X lbs of CO2, even if it's making its rounds with no passengers. The emissions per passenger goes down the more people that ride (logically. X/n will decrease as n increases.) To find where the point of equality is, we need to know how what n equals that would result in a 0.89 lb per passenger mile emission rate. 

Using data from the 2013 Sustainability Report, we charted the relationship between how many daily riders are on Frontrunner and the emissions per passenger mile reported for that year. Here's that chart: 

Emissions.jpg 

The points read from left to right, plotting 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and the farthest point extrapolating the emissions for 2018. The red point represents the point of equality that we found, indicating how many riders would have to take Frontrunner daily to equal the same emissions per passenger mile as if they were driving. That number is 3775. 

In other words, as long as there are at least 3775 riders on Frontrunner daily, it "breaks even" in terms of carbon emissions. I couldn't find reliable information on particulates, so we're just going to decide it's the same number (even though it's probably more, since diesel emits more PM2.5 than petrol cars do. But, since there isn't specific numerical information about PM2.5 emissions of Frontrunner, I can't answer that for now.) 

So, is Frontrunner really better for the environment? Based on this data, yes. The most recent data shows that Frontrunner hosts 17,600 riders daily, more than quadrupling the necessary ridership to make up for the emissions. Plus, as technology advances, we think of even more ways to improve emissions, and based simply on the fact that Frontrunner can take more people than cars ever can, it will always be more efficient.

Hope this satisfies your query. 

Cheers, 

Guesthouse and Tipperary

Question #92250 posted on 05/20/2019 12:18 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What are some foreseeable improvements that will come to the board or that you would like to see come to the board in the next few years?

-Inklings

A:

Dear Agent,

Here is the list of improvements planned for 2019 stolen directly from the desk of the editors in the Board Lair. Many rebels died to acquire these plans, but I think you'll find them worth the sacrifice.

  • Different language versions of the Board. Eventually all languages will be supported, but our first languages will be Parseltongue followed by Esperanto.*
  • Augmented Reality Board.* Enough said.
  • Multiverse board. This allows you to receive perfect answers to hypothetical questions by directly asking these questions to writers in an alternate universe where your hypothetical question is a reality.*
  • Board Empathy Link. This feature will allow writers to experience the emotions of readers and perfectly answer their dating questions.*
  • Television chocolate. Readers will be able to pull actual chocolate bars out of their phones or computer screens.*
  • Pure Incognito Mode. This allows you to ask questions completely anonymously. Your questions will be untraceable by search history, the FBI, and scrying wizards.*
  • 99 Hour Board.* Boom.

There you have it folks. Exciting changes are coming to the Board. You can trust me. Please ignore any and all asterisks.

Truly yours,

Totally Real Facts

*This feature may or may not be totally made up and completely ridiculous.

Question #92116 posted on 03/23/2019 12:36 p.m.
Q:

Dear an undetermined amount of Hours Board,

I have 4 questions sitting between 200-2000 hours. Why don’t you like me?

-One-tear crying face

A:

Dear you, 

Don't cry. We hold your questions over because we love you!

-Sunday Night Banter

Question #92043 posted on 03/17/2019 8:26 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

#92017 was fascinating to read about to me. How many offshoots of the LDS church are there and what did/do they believe? What's the most interesting one out there?

-I've heard of the FLDS and RLDS church before but that's it

A:

Dear same here,

Prepare yourself. Here are basically all the offshoots of the church Joseph Smith established. Data comes from this amazing timeline (seriously go look at it). There may be churches missing but hopefully I got all the orders right, and more info on these churches can be found here, which I liberally used and often straight out copied without using quotation marks (thank you Wikipedia and please forgive me).

This is really, really long. Sorry about that. But it's super fascinating. I think the most interesting one is the Perfected Church of Jesus Christ of Immaculate Latter-day Saints (number 30). Not only did they believe in polygamy, but the founder taught menstruation could be eliminated through righteousness, priesthood alchemy could turn common metals into gold, and that his partner's pregnancy was an immaculate conception. All in all, a religion founded by a man who has no clue about female anatomy. 

tl;dr: most of these churches held the same tenets of Mormonism. The founders usually thought they had the true authority, or the mainstream church went astray by certain practices (like practicing or not practicing polygamy).

The first church: Church of Christ. 1830. Founded by Joseph Smith.

  1. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (This is us.) Founded 1844. Brigham Young declared himself president and prophet after the death of Joseph Smith. Estimated membership: 15,882,417. Referred to as LDS Church from here on out (Sorry but it's the shortest and easiest way to keep track with all these churches). Yes, technically we are a break-off church.
  2. Pure Church of Christ. 1831. Defunct. Founder claimed he received a revelation that he was the prophet and the true revelator, not Smith.
  3. Independent Church. 1832. Defunct. Founder denounced Smith and the Book of Mormon.
  4. Church of Christ (Booth). 1836. Defunct. Believed Smith wasn't a prophet and the BoM wasn't scripture.
  5. Church of Christ (Parish). 1837. Defunct. Believed Smith was a fallen prophet, rejected the BoM and parts of the Bible.
  6. Church of Christ (Chubby). Late 1830s. Defunct. Created to minister to African Americans.
  7. Alston's Church. 1839. Told LDS members to stay in Missouri instead of moving to Illinois.
  8. Church of Jesus Christ, the Bride, the Lamb's Wife. 1840. Defunct. Believed Smith wasn't a prophet and the BoM wasn't scripture.
  9. Church of Christ (Page). 1843. Defunct. Hiram Page, a BoM witness, started this one.
  10. True Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1844. Defunct. William Law, who published the Nauvoo Expositor exposing Smith's practice of polygamy, formed this church (but did not claim to be a prophet, just the president). Said Mormonism was true but polygamy was a corruption.
  11. Church of Christ (Wightite). 1844. Extant. Founder rejected Brigham Young's claims of leadership. Moved with followers to Texas. Most followers joined the RLDS church.
  12. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Strangite). 1844. Estimated membership: 300. Strang (founder) had a letter from Smith calling him to be president (but of the church or the stake?), said angels told him he was Smith's successor. Found the Voree plates, a record of an ancient Native American. Was initially followed by William Smith (Smith's brother), Martin Harris, William E. McLellin, Lucy Mack Smith, and other famous people, though these people left when anti-polygamy Strang suddenly became super pro-polygamy (apparently no one can resist the lure of having multiple wives). He founded a town and crowned himself king of the church. Uses the Bible, BoM, and Strang's Book of the Law of the Lord, which Strang claims he translated from the Plates of Laban. Ordained women to the priesthood, practice animal sacrifice, Saturday Sabbath. Believes God is one God and that Jesus is the son of Mary and Joseph but adopted by God.
    1. Church of Christ (Aaron Smith). 1846. Defunct.
    2. Church of the Messiah. 1861. Defunct. Led followers from Maine to Palestine and failed to establish a mission there. Mark Twain wrote about the failed settlers returning home in his book The Innocents Abroad.
    3. Holy Church of Jesus Christ. 1964. Defunct. Church headquartered in France.
    4. Church of Jesus Christ (Drewite). 1965. One congregation left. Founder was excommunicated from Strangite church.
    5. True Church of Jesus Christ Restored. 1974.
  13. Church of Jesus Christ of the Children of Zion (Rigdon). 1844. Defunct. Founded by Sidney Rigdon. Believed Smith was a fallen prophet for practicing polygamy. Attempted to live the law of consecration and failed. Rigdon deserted the group and lived with relatives until his death.
    1. Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite). 1862. Estimated membership: 22,537. Fun fact: I met a Bickertonite on my mission in Georgia! He told us they believe in the BoM. Founder broke off from Rigdon's church after they moved to PA. Have the priesthood. Have offices of deacons and deaconesses, though these ordained offices are not part of the general priesthood. Have the president, the Quorum of the Twelve, and the 70. Rejects polygamy, celestial marriage, two separate priesthoods. Teaches that Smith taught some wrong stuff and many LDS denominations fell into error by following them. Believes in the Godhead, the Bible and BoM, the doctrine of Christ, only men get the priesthood authority, communion (wine and bread), and racial integration.
      1. Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite). 1907. Defunct. Dispute over nature of life in the millennium split the Bickertonite Quorum of the Twelve in two (wow imagine that happening to our church). Later merged with Primitive Church of Jesus Christ (below).
      2. Primitive Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite). 1915. Defunct. Rejected the First Presidency as a valid leadership organization. Later merged with Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ (above).
  14. Church of Christ (Whitmerite). 1847 and 1871. William E. McLellin claimed Smith designated David Whitmer as his successor. Many LDS leaders agreed, including Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, Hiram Page, and John Whitmer. Most remaining members eventually united with the Church of Christ (Temple Lot).
  15. Church of Christ (Brewsterite). 1848. Defunct.
  16. The Bride, the Lamb's Wife. 1848. Defunct. Founder claimed he was taken to heaven to talk with Smith, who designated him as his true successor.
  17. Congregation of Jehovah's Presbytery of Zion. 1848. Defunct. Founder claimed he was "Baneemy" mentioned in D&C 105:27 (I looked it up. The old verse said "my servant Baurak Ale, and Baneemy, who I have appointed..." and the current version says "my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and mine elders, whom I have appointed..." So sorry about that Charles Thompson). He also said God rejected the church after Smith's death, and he had been called to renew the priesthood.
  18. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Gladdenite). 1851. Defunct. Founder claimed Nephi (one of the three Nephites) gave him the golden plates, the Urim and Thummim, the breastplate of Moroni, the Liahona, the sword of Laban, and two crowns representing the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods. Said he was washed, anointed, robed, and throned in a vision, and claimed he was David the king. Martin Harris followed him (This is Harris's what, third offshoot he's joined? Say you're a prophet and he'll back you up, apparently). Brigham Young initially said they should kill this founder, but later said to just leave him and their church alone. Members later helped form the Church of Christ (Temple Lot).
  19. Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite). 1853. Estimated membership: 12. Founder said he was a member of the Quorum of Seven (D. Michael Quinn believes this was a subcommittee within the Council of Fifty), and thus the only one with priesthood authority after everyone else apostatized. Practice United Order, retains Nauvoo-era Temple endowment and Baptism for the Dead. Doesn't practice eternal marriage, polygamy, or missionary work because God rejected all the gentiles after Smith died.
    1. True Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite). 1953. Defunct? Split over presidential succession issue, folded with death of its founder.
    2. Restored Church of Jesus Christ. 1980. Estimated membership: 25. Founder claimed to be the "One Mighty and Strong" Smith prophesied would come to set the church in order. Teaches a bipartite god (God the Father and Jesus Christ only).
    3. Church of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. 1985.
  20. Church of the Potter Christ. 1857. Defunct. Founder claimed he was Jesus.
  21. Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (RLDS). Renamed Community of Christ. 1860. Estimated membership: 250,301. Organized by Joseph Smith's son. Never practiced polygamy, ordain women to the priesthood today, accept the LGBTQ community. minnow and I went to a congregation last week; they have similar hymns, a woman presided and directed, and only those with the priesthood can give talks. Priesthood ordinations come from leadership, so not everyone has it. It felt more like your average Christian church than the LDS church.
    1. Church of the Christian Brotherhood. 1918. Defunct. Left the RLDS Church due to their denial that Smith practiced polygamy (the RLDS Church eventually accepted it). Founder rejected most of Mormonism's tenets, as polygamy proved Smith was a false prophet.
    2. Church of Jesus Christ Restored. 1960s. Estimated membership: 40. Instituted polygamy and the United Order. Church leaders found guilty of sexual exploitation and abuse.
    3. Church of Jesus Christ (Toneyite). 1980. Founder claimed to be "Elijah and only prophet" of his organization.
    4. Church of Christ (Clark). 1985. Keep annual feasts, including Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles, etc.
    5. Independent Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1985.
      1. Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 2000. You can watch all their broadcasting live from the Centerplace of Zion on their Facebook page.
    6. Church of Jesus Christ Restored 1830. Mid-1980s. Split when RLDS Church opened priesthood to women and built the Independence Temple.
    7. Church of Jesus Christ (Zion's Branch). 1986. Estimated membership: 200. Opposed RLDS Church giving women the priesthood. Wow a lot of people had a problem with women gaining equality. Their beliefs are very similar to LDS beliefs except they don't do baptisms for the dead, a temple endowment, eternal marriage, and polygamy.
    8. Lundgren Group. 1988. Estimated membership: 20. Described as a cult. Founder was dismissed from RLDS Church, practiced methods of "mind control" on his followers, claimed he was God's last prophet, and was later executed by the state for murdering five people. This is actually a really disturbing story.
    9. Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1991. More people having issues that the RLDS Church allowed women to hold the priesthood. Seriously people we have THREE new churches simply because the RLDS Church decided women should have a more equal role.
  22. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Gibsonite). 1861. Defunct. Organized in Pacific Islands, had a gathering place established on Lanai, HI. Founder sought, and gained, power in the Kingdom of Hawaii, but wasn't a very good advisor.
  23. Church of the Firstborn (Morrisite). 1861. Assumed defunct. Believed in reincarnation - taught Joseph Smith was a reincarnated Mormon and Apostle Paul, and that the leaders were reincarnated Moses and Cainan. Taught the Second Coming was imminent and not to plant crops. The specific day of the Second Coming kept changing because it never happened.
    1. Kingdom of Heaven. 1866. Defunct. Lived a communal life in Washington until 1881. Taught reincarnation, that the founder was the archangel Michael who lived previous lives as Adam, Abraham, and David. Declared his son the reincarnated Jesus Christ, who came to be called "Walla Walla Jesus" (...cool). Declared his second son to be God the Father. Both of his children died.
    2. Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Most High. 1882. Disbanded in 1969.
    3. Order of Enoch. 1884. Believes in reincarnation, founder taught he was the "One Mighty and Strong" and was a reincarnated Joseph Smith, Adam Enoch, Moses, David, Ezekiel, and George Washington (...cool). Rejected polygamy, believes the millennium will happen in the 24th century. Wrote a book with 7 major teachings: Brigham Young led the church astray; African Americans are not cursed as Young taught, but should be allowed to get the priesthood and enter the temple; the Lost Tribes are not living at the North Pole (I guess we believed that?); reincarnation is real; Joseph Smith sinned in practicing polygamy and that's why he was killed; Morris (Church of the Firstborn founder) was a prophet; their founder was Jesus reincarnated.
  24. Church of Christ (Temple Lot). 1863. Estimated membership: 5,000. Led by Quorum of the 12, reject office of prophet, reject baptism for the dead, celestial marriages, D&C, and the Pearl of Great Price. Owns the lot designated by Smith for the temple of the New Jerusalem in Independence, MO. Believe they have the priesthood and are the only true church. Heavily influenced by David Whitmer's writings.
    1. Church of Christ (Fettingite). 1929. Estimated membership: 2,450. Founder claimed to have received revelations from John the Baptist. Adopted seventh day sabbatarianism. Doctrine and practices are virtually identical to the Church of Christ (Temple Lot). Only true church.
      1. Church of Christ (Restored). 1937. Only true church. Reject Saturday Sabbath, but otherwise same as Church of Christ (Fettingite).
      2. Church of Christ With the Elijah Message. 1943. Estimated membership: 12,500. Virtually same as Church of Christ (Temple Lot).
        1. Church of Christ (Leighton-Floyd/Burt). 1965. Estimated membership: 35.
        2. Church of Christ With the Elijah Message, The Assured Way of the Lord, Inc. 2004. This name tho. Similar to Church of Christ (Fettingite). Believes the Godhead is one person, not three.
      3. Church of Christ (Hancock). 1946. Defunct. First LDS denomination to be established by a woman. Accepted the Bible and BoM only at first but eventually rejected the BoM. Jerald and Sandra Tanner are former members. Kept only KJV Bible and BoM. Modalistic view of God (one God, different manifestations). Members joined Protestant churches after it dissolved.
    2. Church of Christ At Halley's Bluff.1932. 
      1. Church of Israel. 1972. Few LDS beliefs or practices remain in the church. Is racist. Believes white people are descendants of Adam and Jewish people are descendant of Cain and Satan. Deeply distrusts the government and most home-birthed children in the church do not have social security numbers. Believes the medical profession is "Jewish" and discourages the use of doctors and immunizations. 
  25. The Church of Zion (Godbeites). 1868. Defunct. Split to be more liberal and inclusive. Were the original core of Utah Territory's Liberal Party, but as they became more anti-Mormon and critical of polygamy, their influence died out.
  26. Council of Friends.1920s. Also known as the Priesthood Council. Created to continue the practice of polygamy after the mainstream church stopped its practice. Founder claimed LDS President Taylor gave him and others keys to ensure polygamy would continue even if the LDS Church stopped practicing it. Splintered into...
    1. Latter Day Church of Christ (Kingston). 1935. Estimated membership: 3,500. Originally LDS Founder preached polygamy, was excommunicated. Claims they maintain Smith's original teachings (including plural marriage). At first all members wore all blue clothes without outer pockets and went bareheaded and barefoot. There's intra-family marriages and possibly child marriages.
    2. Apostolic United Brethren. 1954. Estimated membership: 10,000. Has a temple in Mexico and an endowment house in Utah. Views the LDS Church as legitimate and divine, though wayward. They're the Sister Wives people. Believe in the United Order, polygamy, and the Adam-God doctrine.
      1. Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times. 1955. Founder was excommunicated for practicing polygamy and declared himself the "One Mighty and Strong" sent to redeem LDS people; reported 19 prophets visited him. They actively proselyte to LDS members so if you see the pamphlet "Priesthood Expounded" it's from them. They converted nine LDS missionaries in France, which has been called the "worst missionary apostasy in the history of the [LDS] Church."
        1. Church of the First Born Lamb of God. 1972. May still exist? The founder was the Presiding Patriarch of the Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times but started teaching that he, not his brother (the president), had the authority to lead the church. He was excommunicated and so he started his own church. He prophesied his brother would be killed and one of his followers shot his brother. And then he and his followers committed dozens of assassinations of members of that church and other Mormon fundamentalist groups. The founder died in prison during his life sentence. Lovely.
      2. Church of the Firstborn. 1955. Estimated membership: around 100. Founder said the "One Mighty and Strong" would be an Indian prophet. Here's their Facebook page in case you want to learn more.
      3. Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS). 1954. Estimated membership: 10,000. Largest group of LDS people who practice polygamy.
        1. Centennial Park. 1984. Estimated membership: 1,500. They've been on TV quite a bit ("The Outsiders", on Oprah, Polygamy, USA). Most live in Centennial Park City, Arizona. Practice polygamy, but the woman chooses her husband.
          1. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Kingdom of God. 1990. Estimated membership: 200-300. Practice polygamy, the United Order, and believe in the Adam-God doctrine.
        2. Church of Jesus Christ (Original Doctrine) Inc. 2000. Estimated membership: 700. Created after Warren Jeffs excommunicated their founder. Practice polygamy; most members are descendants of six men.
      4. Church of Jesus Christ in Solemn Assembly. 1974. Estimated membership: 400. Helped create the Confederate Nations of Israel, an organization patterned after the Council of Fifty. Members can be atheist or from any religious denomination or any sexual orientation. About 25% of members practice polygamy. The first openly gay mayor in Utah history belonged to this group.
      5. Church of the New Covenant in Christ. 1975. Founder was LDS and believed the Church should still practice polygamy. Said he received revelations from Jesus and John the Baptist, and that he was taken to the City of Enoch where Smith ordained him to all the priesthood keys and declared him the "One Mighty and Strong." Headquartered in Oregon. Supposedly they practice free love, drug experimentation, and heterosexual and homosexual group sex. The founder now has abandoned teaching polygamy and wants to reorient his family life away from its patriarchal structure, though he hasn't divorced any of his five wives.
        1. Sons Ahman Israel. 1981.
      6. Righteous Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1978. Estimated membership: 100-200. Founder claims to have been visited by God and Jesus and holds all the priesthood keys. Church was formed two months before the ban on the priesthood was lifted; founder claimed he foresaw this "apostasy" through revelation. Organized basically the same as the LDS Church. Teaches polygamy, the United Order, the Adam-God doctrine, and the Curse of Cain doctrine. Thankfully they don't allow women under 18 to be sealed into plural marriages. Yay for no child marriages!
  27. Third Convention. 1936. Formed by Mexican LDS members who broke away after dispute over local governance and autonomy of the church in Mexico (the LDS church wouldn't give them a Mexican mission president). Most members eventually came back to the DLS Church.  
  28. House of Aaron. 1943. Estimated membership: <1,000. This denomination does not want to be known as part of the LDS movement, but their founder was baptized into and excommunicated from the LDS Church. 
    1. Zion's Order, Inc. 1950. Estimated membership: 100. Use LDS scriptures besides D&C 132, in addition to 650 revelations to their founder. Teaches the LDS Church must return to practice the United Order.
  29. Independent LDS congregations in Nigeria. 1953. Joined back to common LDS church in 1978. Basically people converted but there wasn't enough church leadership, so they deviated from LDS Church doctrine. Practiced polygamy and established their own black priesthood hierarchy, both which were prohibited by the LDS church at the time.
  30. Perfected Church of Jesus Christ of Immaculate Latter-day Saints. 1955. Founder claimed to be a reincarnated Moroni and was visited by a reincarnated Joseph Smith ("Our Druid Brother"). Founder claimed he had the Urim and Thummim and the seer stone Joseph used to translate the BoM (though Joseph didn't use the former, only the latter). Taught polygamy and druidry, mainly reincarnation. The founder taught that menstrual blood was corrupt and that menstruation could be eliminated through righteousness (I'm torn between laughing at this and being concerned that a lot of cultures believe this and women really do suffer because these beliefs), that priesthood alchemy could turn common metals into gold, and that the "One Mighty and Strong" was a "young white Indian". The founder's partner gave birth to twins, and the founder declared it was an immaculate conception (This guy thinks periods can be stopped by righteousness, I'm honestly not surprised he doesn't know how pregnancy works).
  31. Independent LDS congregations in Ghana. 1964. Joined back to common LDS church in 1978. Founder found a BoM and started his own congregations. Once blacks got the priesthood in 1978 the founder and most of the group were baptized into the LDS Church.
    1. Apostolic Divine Church of Ghana. 1976. Extant. The part of the above church that did not join the LDS Church.
  32. United Order Family Of Christ. 1966. Lasted until 1974. Founded in Colorado specifically for young gay men only, ages 18-30. Practiced the United Order. Was the third gay Christian church founded in America.
  33. School of the Prophets. 1982. Founder published the Book of Onias that condemned LDS Church leaders. He got excommunicated and started his own church. You can read their Second Book of Commandments here. According to the website, this isn't another church, but rather an organization to chastise LDS members into repenting and following the law of consecration, the United Order, etc. Oh wow they even have a Facebook page with a picture of Jesus whipping current day apostles. Almost all of their posts include #LDS #Mormon #Repent. They must not have heard President Nelson's recent GC talk about our name. Oh guys this is just too good.
  34. Church of Jesus Christ (Bullaite). 1983. Founder taught he was the "One Mighty and Strong". Requires his followers pray in his name.
  35. Restoration Church of Jesus Christ. 1985. Dissolved in 2010. Majority of members were LGBT. Called the "Gay Mormon Church" or the "Liberal Mormon Church." Founder was a former LDS bishop excommunicated for being homosexual. Used all LDS scripture plus The Hidden Treasures and Promises, which was revelation given to their church leaders. Was the first LDS denomination to ordain women to the priesthood. Held Heavenly Mother as an equal member of the Godhead. The Word of Wisdom was good advice but not a requirement. Practiced home teaching, endowments, celestial marriage, and LGBTQ marriages, including some homosexual polygamous marriages. Had about 500 people.
  36. True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days. 1994. Estimated membership: 300-500. It was a "new restoration" for the "very last days" before the 2nd Coming. Was upset at LDS Church for scattering members instead of gathering them, discontinuing polygamy, and the temple changes. Taught polygamy; law of consecration; limited reincarnation; gathering of the Saints; that the founder was Joseph Smith reincarnated; that Armageddon would happen in 2004; later that Christ would appear in March 2000; does the original temple endowment; sugar, honey, and meats are forbidden. Did you just ask for a Facebook page? Go check out their cover picture - it's super Masonic! 
  37. Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1994. Extant.
  38. The Church of the Firstborn and the General Assembly of Heaven. 2001. Practices polygamy and the law of consecration. The founder claims to be the Holy Ghost and the Father of Jesus.
  39. Church of Jesus Christ in Zion. 2004. Estimated membership: 1,000. Founder is a former LDS member.
  40. Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ. 2007. Headquarted in England. Added the Book of Jeraneck to scriptural canon.
  41. Fellowships of the Remnant (Snuffer). 2013. Estimated membership: 5,000. LDS Church deemed it a large enough problem to have then-Elder Oaks address members in Boise, Idaho in the "Boise Rescue". Snuffer (founder) claimed the LDS Church lost the priesthood authority. Said Brigham Young was in apostasy (Adam-God Doctrine). Most followers think Smith didn't practice polygamy (yeah sorry guys he did). Believes Mary, the mother of Jesus, is Heavenly Father's wife and our Heavenly Mother.

So all in all we got about 88 offshoots. Holy heavens above.

-guppy of doom

Question #92026 posted on 02/12/2019 2:22 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I need your help. My sanity is at stake. There is a song stuck in my head, but I don't know what it is called!! Here's what I know: It's a female singer singing about a woman named Alice who is in love with the postman. A possible line, ''hey alice, do you wanna go out tonight?"

I have searched for hours to find the song and I just can't. Please help. I need this song out of my head. Thank you.

-R

A:

Dear repeater,

When you posted this question the first time, I tried looking it up and could find nothing. Tipperary couldn't find anything as well. Judging by the lack of corrections on the post, it seems none of our readers know it either. I suggest you write your own version of the song, publish it, and see which band sues you for copyright issues.

-guppy of doom

posted on 08/18/2019 12:27 a.m.
Turns out it was my cousin who asked this question and we just figured out what song it is. For any other readers who were just dying to know -- "Alice" by Lascivious Biddies. Sincerely, Cerulean
Question #92015 posted on 08/03/2019 10:04 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I want to crowdsource my quest for world domination, so I come to you. Let's say my goal is to become dictator over the largest possible percentage of the planet's population. My vague and admittedly somewhat cliched plan is to spread a virus or bacteria that causes a fatal illness, let the world descend into global catastrophe as the plague takes hold, and at the last moment step in as a fearless and level-headed leader who can guide civilization to new and glorious heights. So here are my questions:

1. Which virus/bacteria should I choose? (It can be any microorganism that's ever caused a plague - if it's extinct, assume I've preserved a sample in my evil lair.) Since I'm evil, I obviously want it to kill as many people as possible, but the biggest goal is to spark a panic.

2. Where should I distribute it? (Assume I only have one shot at this; I'd spray it over every metro area if I could, but with limited supplies, I have to choose the single location that would make the biggest impact.)

3. How should I deliver it? Slip it into drinking water? Put it in vents in the subway system? Sprinkle it from a high-altitude drone? What's the best way to infect the largest number of people?

4. In preparation for my takeover, I'd like to become a mid-level government bureaucrat - just powerful enough to be on the inside of national operations, but not in any sort of spotlight that would make me a target as people start getting blamed and ousted for their mishandling of the crisis. Which country's government should I choose, and what position should I aim for? How can I best situate myself to take over the world when everything goes south?

5. When the plague starts to spread, what should my first moves be? What's the best way to take power in my own government, form alliances with others, and then supplant anyone who tries to challenge my authority?

6. Anything else I should consider? What advice would you give to an aspiring globalmegaoverlord?

-The Brain

(...just so we're clear, this is a fun hypothetical. Not a real plan. Repeat: NOT REAL. But I love the sort of imaginative political thinking that has to go into answering questions like these, and it's something I suspect y'all are good at. Once you've answered, feel free to turn your scenario into a novel that earns you a million bucks and eternal fame.)

A:

Dear Brainy,

Oh my friend, it's cute that you think this is a political question. Allow me to enlighten you as to the true nature of your (purely hypothetical, of course) question. It's a math question. A glorious, wonderful math question that just so happens to lie within the exact same field of mathematics as my research. And, you know, world domination just to happens to be my major's motto.

First, we want to make sure that our one location causes the maximum damage. To determine just where that is, we're going to use some good ol' brand new by math standards network theory. And very conveniently for us, some people have already put together an air transportation network. As part of the article's analysis, different communities can be detected in the network.

 airline_communities.jpg

(source)

Our goal is to hit a location that will give us access to as many of these communities as possible. To do that, we need to identify which cities are community hubs--cities that act as connectors between the different communities. While the article I've been referencing lists some of these hubs, it does not give any particular order as to which ones are the most important. But it's still a very good starting point. So our target city will be one of the following: Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Frankfurt, London, Paris, Rome, Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, Delhi, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Melbourne, Auckland, Sydney, or Anchorage.

To narrow things down further, I'm going to find the city with the greatest degree centrality (which is to say, the city with the most air transportation connections).

Alright, you probably don't care about this next little bit, but because I'm a math nerd, I'm going to tell you anyways (mwahahaha):

In network theory, we use centralities to measure how important something is. Degree centrality is the most basic of these--something is important if it has lots of connections. However, there are many other ways for something to be considered important. Lucky for us, all these different centrality measures tend to be highly correlated, so even if I'm just using degree centrality to determine the most important city for us to infect, that city would most likely show up as important using other metrics. And because it's far easier to simply look up degree centrality without actually constructing my own air transportation network, that is what I'm going with.

A quick google search tells us that the US wins for most passengers carried, so we're going to narrow our focus to US cities (leaving Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles). Another search reveals American Airlines as the biggest international airline based in the US. Thus to determine our target, we will use data from American Airlines. 

Comparing the number of destinations between Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, New York comes out on top with 4,529 different destinations (beating the other two cities by a margin of over 2,000 different destinations). Below is featured the network of flights just from originating from New York.

airline_network.PNG

(source)

Alright, now that we know our target, we need to decide on our weapon--and I have the perfect candidate: influenza.

We will want to make sure that our influenza is strain A, as only A strains of influenza have been known to cause pandemics. This disease is perfect because it can have an infection rate of up to 50%, kill 10-20% of those infected, and takes 2-4 days from being infection to displaying symptoms. The high contagiousness and mortality rate are good for obvious reasons. The lag between initial infection and displaying symptoms will give us the window we need for the disease to have a change to spread worldwide before quarantine-like methods are employed.

Influenza is an air-borne disease so we will want to spread it through the air. I suggest utilizing ventilation systems in the subway, airports, and any other public area you can infiltrate.

Assuming you and your magic lab can find and or develop an A strain of influenza with a 50% contagion rate that kills 20% of those infected, we can expect quite a lot of chaos to ensue. To quite literally illustrate this, I've decided to model how London will be affected by our little plot. If we have a few hundred infected New Yorkers fly into London, they will each encounter hundreds of individuals every day (thank you crowded, metropolitan areas). The influenza will then spread like wildfire.

disease_spread.PNG

As you can see in this plot, within 50 days of those few hundred people flying in, the entire city will have been infected, and roughly 1.66 million will be dead. Charming.

And I'm afraid I must leave the rest up to you now. You see, I don't actually want to seize power. It all sounds rather... messy. I much prefer simply figuring out the math behind things.

Worst of luck to you (I do happen to care about this world, you know),

~Anathema

Question #91971 posted on 02/08/2019 12:02 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

The writers in 2012 weren't too keen on answering Board Question #68368, citing it was tedious and there was no known reason. Looking at the dates, there was a reason: something big happened within a day or two of the date listed (New York Times, September 10th 2001 tipped me off). I won't repeat the question, but what might be the big events that this reader was subtly referencing? (and for bonus points, something that did happen on that unsuspecting overlooked day in history)

-Corsica S.

A:

Dear C.S.,

So I know you didn't ask for us to answer the original question, but I started to because I was curious and then I got into it and then it was just too late. And tedious is right

Some of the papers required payment for access, others are small enough that the only archives are in local libraries as microfiche. I don't get paid enough as a Board Writer to be able to afford Washington Post articles from 20 years ago or travel to Kansas, but I tried my best. However, I don't think all of them are actually referencing super significant dates. I did a lot of local research in and around those dates both nationally and locally based on the newspaper... and some of them just didn't turn up anything interesting. But, since you asked and because I looked it up anyway, here you go: 

Deseret News--January 9, 2012

For this one, it's really hard to tell which thing was the headliner, but here's the link to all the articles for that day.

Fave bonus story of the day:  A couple entered an unlocked Taylorsville home, watched TV, took showers, and drank hot cocoa and then left. Didn't take anything. They just.... trespassed and then left....???

I looked up the news for January 7-11 and didn't really find anything that stands out as particularly memorable. January 9th, 2012, is about 1 month before Joshua Powell and his two sons were killed (murder-suicide) in their home. Also, it was right when Mitt Romney was running for president, so that was definitely a lot of what the Utah news was about. You can tinker around in the archives yourself, but I genuinely have no idea what 'larger event' may be nearby. Readers who may know may enlighten us all. 

Ogden Standard-Examiner--May 15, 1999

This is one that I simply couldn't find. I also couldn't find much about any news from other sources around that date. There was a major tornado in SLC within a few months... but nothing particularly notable, unless readers (again) are aware of something. 

If you're dying to find out yourself, I emailed the Standard-Examiner and they said that the Weber Library has microfiched articles. 

Chicago Sun Times--August 31, 2004

WM. KENNEDY SMITH SWINGS BACK // HIS LAWYER: IT'S 'SOLEY AND EXCLUSIVELY' ABOUT MONEY // He denies sexual assault, his attorney calls accuser's suit 'a gross abuse' of legal system... That's mostly it... most of the major news headlines on and around that date are about the sexual assault accusations of William Kennedy Smith. 

The day before, the Republican National Convention started for 2004 in which George W. Bush would be nominated, and demonstrators carried mock coffins outside Madison Square Garden. 

New York Times--September 10, 2001 

Published weekly, so there wasn't anything specifically for the 10th, but on the 9th the headline was "Fear of Recession Ignites Discussion of More Tax Cuts." How exciting! And you definitely already guessed the nearby date. 

Los Angeles Times--September 12, 2001

I bet you can guess with this one. "Terrorists Attack New York, Pentagon: Thousands dead, injured as Hijacked US Airliners Ram Targets, World Trade Towers Brought Down"... and that's pretty much all the news that day. 

Washington Post--November 7, 2000

WP wanted to charge me to look at anything in their archives, which is stupid. But Nov. 7, 2000, was the historical election where George H. W. Bush won against Al Gore in what has been determined to be "the closest election in U.S. History." I'm sure that day they weren't quite talking about the problems with Floridian votes because that wouldn't be until later that night. Undoubtedly though, the Post had frontline news focused entirely on the election. 

Los Alamos Monitor--March 22, 1997

The only news I could find was that a nuclear physics study lab in Los Alamos got a new president and supposedly some really important documents went missing. In 1997 I found indications that China had stolen some data or information from the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the White House found out in the summer. Anyway, whatever it was, it definitely involved a nuclear physics study lab. I couldn't find any exact sheets or headlines, but some of the general news around that date indicates that's what was going on. See Here and Here

Topeka Capital-Journal--February 29, 1996

No idea here either... but if you really care, you can check out the Microfilm at the Kansas Historical Society on Reel NP 4403. Maybe something about the murder of Michael Jordan's father in North Carolina is the date being referenced?  

Concord Monitor--June 17, 1995

I'm pretty sure there was no published newspaper on the 17th, but the headlining article for the 18th says, "Center questions still linger: Council votes tomorrow". Further research explains that the city was trying to buy property for a civic center, and that was the major news for most of June in Concord. June 20th news indicates that the City Council voted (13-2) to buy the property and spend $3 million on building the center. Again, that's mostly what they're focused on. See Here.

Savannah Tribune--April 1, 1990

I really don't know what the original asker of the question was going for. Nothing particularly notable happened in April or March of 1990 in Savannah specifically. Here and here are lists of events in GA in April 1990... and I don't see anything. Granted, at this point I stopped looking as hard because I didn't feel like there was much to find. You can find murders and political scandals and "newsworthy" events for all of these dates, but none of them really add up to me. If you're interested, lots of big golf Tournament stuff happened on April 1, 1990 around the nation... so there's that.

 

So, my dear Corsica... I have no idea what dates all of these newspaper references are nodding to. I almost doubt that all of them are pointing to anything specific, because I dove into countless rabbitholes to get the originals and also to find historical events connected to the dates... and some of them just turned up completely empty handed. Maybe my standards weren't high, and maybe I just wasn't sure what to search for. I don't remember any of these dates... but if we have readers who are appalled that I could possibly miss something obvious about any one of them, drop a correction because I would genuinely like to know. 

Cheers, 

Guesthouse

Question #91949 posted on 04/05/2019 12:24 a.m.
Q:

Dear Anne, Certainly,

What do you want to say before you retire?

-Anne, Certainly

A:

Dear you,

It's weird to be writing this. My first answers posted in October of 2011 - I've been at this for over 7 years. When I started I'm not sure I'd even declared an undergraduate major. Since then, I've finished undergrad and law school, gotten married, been admitted to the bar, and survived the first year of being a mom. So, basically, the Board's been one of the constants in my life during a time when a lot has changed.

Since no answer by me would truly be complete without subheadings, let's get some things written that I'd like to say.

Things the Board has taught me:

1. Waiting a few hours is frequently a good idea when you think you have something important to communicate. I often try to not be a jerk even in first draft answers because fellow writers will still see that stuff, but even when I think I'm writing cautiously or clearly, my writing almost always benefits from later review. This is one of the best skills I've learned from the Board: to reflect before speaking/writing. Writing on the internet is interesting because it lacks so much context. It's really hard to use inflection to convey tone (though you can do a bit with emphasis, etc.) Accordingly, I've learned to look at what I'm saying and try to see how someone else would interpret it - particularly someone who might disagree with my opinion. 

2. You really can procrastinate something forever and it isn't usually that helpful. The dirty not-so-secret of the Board is that 100 hours is a goal/aspiration, but not always a reality. Indeed, we've seen questions go into the 4 digits. Sometimes this totally makes sense, and there are totally valid reasons that I've put Board stuff on the back burner to do stuff like, you know, school, or family, or other stuff that matters more in the real world than green thumbs-up. However, having that ever-climbing overdue in my inbox feels icky. I wish and also don't wish that I had that on things I'm procrastinating in my real life: "It has been +12 days since you said you were going to take care of X..." Once it hits a few hundred hours you're like "uggghhh I don't even want to deal with it." But eventually you're either going to have to do it or delete your answer and lose out the effort you already put into your partial answer, so there's that.

3. Listen not just to what people say, but what they should have said. That may sound super patronizing, and maybe I am (though I hope not), but one of the things I've noticed on the Board is that it isn't uncommon to have a reader write in a question and provide enough background to make it pretty clear that the problem they've identified either isn't really the one that's causing their issues or is only a part of the cause. For example, if I write in a Board Question that says:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I've been writing for an online website for 7 years now, but I'm retiring. I don't really have any friends or hobbies other than writing for the website, and I don't know what to do other than sit at my computer staring at a blank screen all day once I've quit. Which should I start writing for afterwards, Quora, or Yahoo! Answers? 

~Anne, Certainly

If that were a real question, it's pretty clear that the answer wouldn't just be either Yahoo! Answers or Quora, the answer would hopefully also encourage me to find friends by doing X, Y, and Z, and to pursue new hobbies, which I can try by doing A, B, and C so that I can have a more improved, balanced life. 

While it's important not to assume that you just know better than someone else about their own life, I think that it's important to look not only for the questions that are asked but the questions people don't yet realize they need answered. This can include clarifying definitions, correcting incorrect assumptions, identifying problematic attitudes, etc. 

This is useful in relating with others and understanding ourselves. When we look beyond just what someone's saying and instead try to understand their whole problem or scenario, we're able to understand and respond to them more effectively. Further, sometimes this sort of reading-between-the-lines is going to be appropriate to analyzing our own communication and what we might NOT be saying (out loud or even to ourselves.) Hopefully over time I'll be able apply to my life the skill of looking past the first level of questions to find what's underneath.

4. Some things are worth it and some things aren't. This is one that gets hit home a lot with the Board. There are some questions that are perfect for a really involved "here's this cool thing I did in the real world and photo-documented for this answer" or "here's a 3000 word essay I wrote about this topic with a bunch of deep reflection and cited sources." There are also questions that, after looking at or attempting, you can tell that you're not going to be able to answer the way you want to, or that aren't worth doing something crazy for.

5. It's okay to not know everything. The Board has allowed me to confront a lot of areas where only incomplete answers are possible. This is something that I've also experienced a lot in my life. There are tons of areas like "planning for my future" and "how to be a parent" and "testimony of the Gospel" where there's an outline of information available and plenty of ways to learn more but I'm pretty far away from being able to provide a completely fleshed out, perfectly-written answer that closes the book on every relevant issue. And that's something I've gotten to be more okay with. Not knowing everything is okay and that it doesn't make the knowledge that you do have and can share useless.

6. Helping people vs. being right. This is a principle in a lot of different places in life, but the Board has been one of mine. I was reading a comment yesterday about the importance of compromise rather than "winning" in marriage, and writing Board answers has a bit of a similar vibe in that part of the goal of the Board is for us to say what we think and believe, but sometimes we want to convince YOU of what we think and believe too - and there are some types of language that are more helpful for convincing people than others. Trying for clarity and compassion rather than writing to people who I already know agree with me helps me think more clearly and, I hope, write better.

Things I'll miss:

1. Not only is the Board cool, but the Board WRITERS are cool. This means that the behind-the-scenes is a major bonus to being a Board Writer. Though I haven't been able to make it to events since moving out of state, I've had some good times with fellow Boardies, and that includes relationships that either never would have happened without the Board or that would have been drastically different without the Board. Some of that still carries through - a text with Sheebs about whatever (usually at night when at least one of us should be asleep), seeing Owlet and her baby on my instagram, that sort of thing. But I'll miss being one of the writers. It's a pretty neat group of humans, even if I always have a hard time figuring out "Wait a minute. This person on my Facebook. They're a writer. But who are they?" (I'm not great with names to start... add in pseudonyms and the fact that you often interact with writers online more than in person and things get confusing.)

2. Being challenged and forced to think. Not that I won't find this in other areas of my life, but there's been a lot of value to me to know that there are certain writers who have different opinions than me. It makes me want to write in a way that makes my opinions defensible, even if they're not persuasive. It makes me want to write in a way that's loving even if it's not agreeing. I think that's valuable. 

3. Being Anne, Certainly. Not to say that Anne, Certainly isn't going to remain a part of me (awww) or that Anne is drastically different than who I am in real life, but Anne has more time to reflect on things and is more careful with how she speaks and may be consequently be a bit wiser or kinder than [me]. Hopefully I can become those things over time. 

4. A great outlet to write with an audience. I really enjoy being given an interesting prompt and being allowed to just go ham on it. 

5. A great outlet to procrastinate and waste time. I mean, obviously, I can still read but the writing part.

Things I want to say:

Thanks. It's been a cool part of my life to do this for so long, and I'm going to miss it. Feel free to email me whether or not we've spoken before. Thanks to those of you who emailed me, talked to me in real life, and asked questions and read answers. Keep telling people about this place, keep reading, and keep writing in.

Closing Anne, Certainly Advice:

Here's some advice you guys didn't ask for; a few things that, in my opinion, are important to a lot of the questions people ask us here and that most of us face, or that have been important to me:

1. Pay attention to how kind you are to yourself - remember to take the time to consider whether you would judge another as quickly as you judge yourself, whether you would say to another the things you say to yourself, and whether you would treat another the way you treat yourself. Apologize when you're not being good to yourself, and then try to do better.

2. Remember that there are lots of worse things in relationships than 10 minutes of awkwardness, and lots of them come from trying to avoid every 10 minute period of awkwardness. As long as you're trying to be respectful and kind to others and yourself and paying attention to make sure you respect the wants and needs of others minor inconvenient awkwardness can really help. See, e.g. the conversation flirting with someone so they know you'd go out with them if they asked, the phone call declining a date (or being rejected),  the quick discussion about boundaries on things that make you uncomfortable, etc. 

3. In spiritual matters, don't forget that if faith and doubt are opposites, doubt is an action (like faith is) and not just a state of mind: this means that for those who want to continue in the Gospel despite questions, troubling concerns, or other trials, your continued Church attendance, prayer, scripture reading, and holding to covenants are an act proving that you have faith even when you do not feel you can stand up at a pulpit and say that you know X,Y, and Z. Don't convince yourself that lack of knowledge is lack of faith, or that an imperfect testimony is no testimony or no faith.

4. Get blessings. Whatever you're struggling with, God wants to help with, and the Priesthood is one way He does this. 

5. It is okay that your capacity is not the same all the time. What you could do last year is not the measure of what you should be doing now. If you get sick (mentally or physically) or if you get busy or if you get overwhelmed, it is okay that "your best" may not give you the same results as it will during other times in your life (or the same results other people might get).  One of my favorite quotes is by Orson Scott Card (from the book Xenocide): "We must do all we can do without destroying our ability to keep doing it." You are building a self, and it might be that this week 90% of labor goes towards working on the "endurance" part of yourself and you have to send in project delays on the "learn skills" or "do service" parts or other priorities. That's okay: you can be "engaged in a good cause" even when your abilities and limitations don't permit you to do as much for it as you want. 

To borrow a quote from my namesake: "Dear old world [and Board]... you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you." Thanks for the opportunity.

Love,

~Anne, Certainly

Question #91882 posted on 01/09/2019 3:28 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

According to the U.S. government Office of Women’s Health (https://www.womenshealth.gov/relationships-and-safety/sexual-assault-and-rape/sexual-assault) the term “Sexual Assault” includes non-consensual sexual activity by physical contact, as you might expect, but “can also be verbal, visual, or non-contact.” Examples include voyeurism, exhibitionism, or sending some unwanted texts or “sexts.” It includes sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment in turn is officially defined by the Office of Women’s Health to include behavior such as making comments about your clothing, body, behavior, or romantic relationships. Making sexual jokes or comments, whistling or catcalling. Spreading rumors about your personal or sexual life.

I like the way this understanding of sexual assault emphasis that sexual assault is not just sexual physical contact. It places the blame on the perpetrator even though the perpetrator may be blissfully unaware that his sexual jokes, comments, body exposure, or whistles may be harmful to his victims, who are never at fault. And it is not up to the perpetrator to determine if his conduct is within the appropriate social norms, traditions, or customs for the time and place. It is solely how the victim perceives his behavior as being unwanted and sexual in nature. My question is, what do you like or dislike about the Office of Women’s Health’s definition of “sexual assault?” Is it useful?

Pat

A:

Dear Pat,

I think this definition is unclear in ways that have allowed you to interpret it differently than I would, and that kind of ambiguity bugs me when it comes to a term people are going to take legal (or other punitive) action based on. 

You and I agree that:

a) It is not a victim's fault if they are sexually harassed

b) It is possible to sexually harass someone without touching them

Here's where you and I diverge somewhat. You say that "it is not up to the perpetrator to determine if his conduct is within the appropriate social norms, traditions, or customs for the time and place. It is solely how the victim perceives his behavior as being unwanted and sexual in nature." Let's break that down.

Point 1: A perpetrator does not get to determine whether what he did is within appropriate norms of time/culture/place.

This is accurate in the sense that you can't just decide that something is okay and that means it is okay. Furthermore, I think that while some behavioral standards are influenced by time and place, consent is consent (and nonconsent is nonconsent) and basic fundamentals of morality are constant through time and culture.

Point 2a: Sexual assault is determined solely by the victim feeling that s/he does not welcome the behavior...

Point 2b: ... and by him/her perceiving the behavior as sexual.

These are where my biggest problems with your interpretation lie, I think. In general, I think that crimes should require intent (or, as it's referred to in law, a mens rea or evil mind) as well as doing something that causes a bad result (the actus reus" or evil hand). Though some crimes are statutory and have no mens rea, it's probably not a great idea to eliminate the requirement generally for reasons I don't want to dive off into here. (Submit another question if interested).

This does not mean that someone must intend to sexually harass you, because there are various states of mind that will suffice for a mens rea, depending on how we choose to write and adjudicate our laws. For something like sexual harassment, I'd probably favor a definition that included lower mental states like "recklessness" or "wilfullness." (e.g. it's harassment if a reasonable person really should know that you don't welcome this person's attention, but they're super stupid about it, or purposefully trying to ignore your "no" signals.)

What I take issue with is the fact that you've eliminated any objectivity by determining that both welcome/unwelcomeness and sexuality of conduct are determined internally by the victim rather than based on some sort of objective standard. 

Most people who sexually harass someone will know that their actions are unwelcome. However, it's problematic to convict people of crimes (either legally or in the court of public opinion) based on criteria which could be invisible to anyone but the victim

To be clear:

-Someone about to act sexually towards another person is responsible for ascertaining consent

-Every individual always has the right to refuse or withdraw consent

That's not really what we're concerned with here, though. My concern with your interpretation of this definition is summed up by the following scenarios. I do not suggest that these situations represent the majority of sexual harassment, but they could (and may actually) happen and that means that the definition needs to account for them.

Hypothetical 1: Carol is a friendly worker who greets each co-worker as they pass her receptionist's desk. She likes to compliment people and will often congratulate them on work-based accomplishments or mention things like new haircuts or glasses or such. One day Carol says to Dean "I like your plaid shirt Dean, lookin' good! Have a great weekend!" as he leaves the office. Dean thinks that Carol's comment on his shirt is sexualizing him, because he is a bodybuilder who works hard to build up his pectoral muscles, and because he thinks she knows he has a photoshoot as a swimsuit model this weekend. 

Problems: Carol may not have even known that Dean had a swimsuit shoot this weekend, much less been making a creepy allusion to how Dean's pecs would look during it. All she meant to do was to compliment his tie, and 99 people out of 100 would perceive no problem here. However, if Dean gets to determine what behavior is sexual (rather than a reasonable, objective standard being applied), this constitutes sexual harassment if Dean didn't like it and thinks Carol meant it sexually. 

Hypothetical 2: Geoffrey is on his second date with Linda, a girl he has been friends with for a few weeks. They are watching the newest season of "Great British Bake Show" in Geoffrey's apartment, alone, after eating dinner together. Geoffrey says to Linda "Can I hold your hand?" Linda says yes, but is secretly uncomfortable because she has already decided that she doesn't want to go on another date with Geoffrey. Linda isn't happy about holding his hand, but doesn't want to say no and make the rest of the night awkward.

Problems: In most real-world situations, there are ways to tell that someone isn't into you or they'll tell you. However, there are also scenarios where people intentionally hide what they're feeling.. In these situations, I don't think we can hold someone else responsible for knowing that another's feelings on welcomeness differed from what their actions portrayed. 

I'll restate that these scenarios are not what we are usually concerned about when we discuss sexual assault: we are most frequently concerned about situations where it's pretty clear that something was both sexual and unwelcome to all parties: victim, perpetrator, and objective observer. While ambiguous cases like the above may occur, what people commonly mean by sexual harassment is much more clear, harmful, and blatant

But when we set up a rule that's going to define when people get punished for something, I prefer it to be inclusive of not just the most likely scenario, but of less-likely-but-possible ones as well. Accordingly, I have problems with the way you've read this definition, and thus with the ambiguity in the definition itself. I think a definition for sexual assault must clarify the standards by which actions are evaluated, and I don't think that relying on things that can occur solely in a victim's head (even if they usually don't) is appropriate when it comes to punishing someone else. If we only look at the victim's mind, we run the risk of punishing people for behavior that they didn't and shouldn't have had reason to know was wrong.

 

So what would I change? I'm reluctant to come up with my own word-for-word definition because  it would probably be inadequate in many ways. That being said, here are elements I think we need to get across in defining sexual assault for legal purposes, and that we should consider when deciding whether an accused perpetrator deserves non-legal punishments (like shunning, job loss, etc).

1. A perpetrator who does something that they know or that, interpreted by a reasonable person with knowledge of relevant context, is sexual. 

So, I want something that's objectively sexual to have occurred. This will vary by context.

A man walking into an LDS Relief Society meeting wearing a Speedo and interrupting the lesson to stand with his groin at eye level in front of the woman who refused to date him may well be sexual (and unwelcome, but we'll discuss unwelcomeness next). However, standing around in a Speedo at the beach while you enjoy the waves at your feet is probably not.

Pulling off your friend's wig as part of a prank war at a Halloween party is probably not sexual, but pulling off the wig of a Hasidic Jewish coworker may well be.

However, we can look objectively at those situations, if we know the relevant context (things like: history between the people concerned, the location, the culture and individual history of the people concerned, etc.) This enables evaluation according to an objective, reasonable standard as to whether conduct should be interpreted as sexual. It lets us know whether someone should have known what they were doing would be seen as sexual.

2. A perpetrator who does something that they know or that, interpreted by a reasonable person with knowledge of relevant context, is unwelcome. 

So I also want something that's objectively unwelcome to have happened. Again, the context matters.

A woman who says "I really need to go to work" when her husband goes in for a kiss in the morning, but who continues to kiss her husband may well be happily consenting despite her protests about the time. If we know enough about the couple's relationship dynamics and current circumstances, we may be able to interpret the ensuing makeout as fully consensual even though the same words could indicate a nonconsensual encounter under different circumstances. (For example: the same woman saying that she needs to get to work to the creepy guy who's following her on the sidewalk trying to invite her to coffee at his apartment.)

Again, this objectivity allows us to evaluate whether the perpetrator should have known that his actions were unwelcome (and thus harassment).

Note: In my opinion, it is possible to be hurt by the actions of another and for your pain to be real, even if what they did does not qualify as "harassment" under these criteria. We should support those who need our help dealing with pain and sadness. However, it is also important that we do not set up definitions that assume that any time one person is hurt another person must be legally (or morally) worthy of punishment.

Essentially, here are the possible scenarios

1. The perpetrator and an objective observer can tell that the victim would be offended by the sexual act: This is harassment.

2. The perpetrator does not know the victim would be offended, but the objective observer can tell. This is probably still harassment, because it's important for society to have reasonable standards of actions. You can't go around harassing people or committing crimes just because you're stupid or purposefully ignorant of basic behavioral standards.

3. The perpetrator knows the victim would be offended, but the objective observer doesn't know. This is the concerning situation. I acknowledge the troubling possibility that there is secret knowledge held by predators that doesn't make it to a jury or any other observer that enables the harasser to use externally reasonable behavior to harass someone. Such action is clearly immoral, but I do not have a good answer to how a morally sound and consistent legal system can identify and punish it without using rules that are subjective and/or creating a risk of false conviction (the prevention of which is a major fundamental of the American legal system). 

4. The perpetrator does not know and an objective observer does not know that the action is sexual/unwelcome. In this case, we should still seek to help the person who is feeling pain or sorrow, but I do not think it's moral to punish someone for something they couldn't have reasonably known was going to hurt the other person. 

In summary: The two elements I suggested above (objective sexualty and objective welcomeness) describe how we can evaluate someone else's behavior without having access to their brain, and I believe that this is the standard we should generally use for law and one we should frequently consult (though not necessarily always emulate) for social or other institutional rules/standards.* It doesn't seem fair to me to use the internal workings of a victim's mind as the sole determinant of what is and isn't sexual harassment. In order for sexual assault to mean something other than "Something I don't like," I think there needs to be a tether to an objective standard. However, objective standards like these never excuse immorality: Each of us is accountable to ourselves and to God for our own motivations and actions, and we won't get off by saying that something we knew was wrong even if an observer couldn't know that.

This is a long-ish answer, and I hope I have written it well enough to make it clear that: 1) Sexual harassment is never acceptable and is always immoral and sinful and 2) it is important to have objectively discernable criteria for determining what qualifies as harassment when we will label and punish someone as a harasser.

~Anne, Certainly

 *It's important to me that the legal system err on the side of avoiding false conviction. By contrast, there may be times where social or other institutional sanctions, punishments, or even just adjustments are appropriate with less evidence. To make an analogy: criminal cases usually require conviction "beyond a reasonable doubt" while civil cases may punish someone if the evidence is "a preponderance" (basically >50% chance). If we're only 51% sure Jerry harassed his coworker Kelsey, I don't want Jerry in jail, but I'm fine with his company choosing to fire him or relocate his position to another office.

posted on 01/12/2019 9:34 p.m.
I work at a very large corporation with operations across the United States. We invest a significant amount of time and money in our sexual harassment training, policies, and enforcement. I suspect our policies and enforcement are standard for a U.S. based corporation.

When evaluating allegations of sexual misconduct, we apply a "reasonable person" standard. Our policy most certainly does evaluate sexual harassment from the recipient's point of view. We don't rule out sexual misconduct simply because someone doesn't have a malicious intent. However, when evaluating whether certain actions are inappropriate, we apply a "reasonable person" standard. In other words, would a reasonable person interpret the conduct as sexual harassment?

So, in Anne Certainly's first example, our company would potentially find that a reasonable person wouldn't consider that to be sexual misconduct and there would not be any negative consequences for either employee.

I'm not an expert on this by any means, but I just wanted to share how one large U.S. company applies this type of definition in real life situations. I suspect that this "reasonable person" standard is a very common application of this definition.
Question #91798 posted on 06/05/2019 8:12 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Alternate history question.

Before the turn of the century (that is, the 20th century), disputes with Mexico lead to war with the United States. When all is said and done, before 1910, the new Mexican-American border (along with parts of the Caribbean) now looks like this.

How different is world history from 1910 onward?

-Tippecanoe and Tyler Too

A:

Dear Old Hickory,

Here's a (non-chronological and obviously non-comprehensive) bullet-pointed list of various ways the world would be different if Cuba and large parts of what is now Mexico were part of the US.

  • Well first of all, we wouldn't have the "Fifty Nifty United States" song, because we almost certainly would have ended up with more states, and saying something like, "Fifty seven nifty United States" just isn't nearly as catchy.
  • Obviously Cuba would have had very different leaders from 1910 on. One of the things that would mean is no Batista regime. Backed by the US, Fulgencio Batista led an authoritarian government in Cuba between 1940 and 1944, and then again between 1952 and 1959. Especially during his second presidency, he was pretty much the worst (suspended their constitution, censored the media, made deals with the US mafia, and, oh yeah, used secret police to carry out up to tens of thousands of public executions). Not having Batista in power would have been GREAT for Cuba. For one thing, they would have avoided all the state-sponsored violence that happened under him, and for another, their economy would probably be a lot better. Due to his close ties with the US, Batista made a lot of deals with American businesses, moving the most profitable industries and land over to American hands, and sort of screwing over Cubans. During his presidency the gap between rich and poor Cubans got considerably wider, leading to many Cubans (including Fidel Castro) becoming pretty soured on capitalism.
  • On that note, if there were no Batista, Fidel Castro may never have been revolutionized. Batista's regime only ended in 1959 because Castro overthrew it in the name of doing what was best for Cuba (aka getting rid of a president who routinely tortured and killed his own people). But if Batista hadn't been there being the worst, Castro might not have had anything to rebel against. 
  • Then again, Castro was very anti-imperialist, so maybe he would have still led a revolution, just this time it would be against US control of Cuba. But considering how powerful the US military was in the 1940s and 50s (right after we won WWII and dropped an atomic bomb on Japan), I don't know if he would have risked rebelling against the government. The US government was not in a mood to put up with much dissent during that time (as evidenced by McCarthyism), and even if Castro had tried something, I doubt he would have been as successful. So while it's entirely possible that Castro still would have led a revolution, I don't think he would have ended up taking control of Cuba, and the rest of my answer still stands.
  • Also, McCarthyism probably would have spread to Cuba in a big way during the Red Scare, and a lot of people would have lost their jobs or even been imprisoned.
  • Of course, we can complain about Batista's human rights abuses, but Castro didn't end up being so great himself. Human Rights Watch has had Cuba on their list of countries to keep an eye on for years, in large part because of Castro's own authoritarian policies, keeping himself in power at the expense of the people, many of whom were kept in poverty and in a state of constant fear because of the lack of political freedom. So no Castro in power probably would have also been beneficial to Cuba.* 
  • And let's not forget about Che Guevara. Although he was Argentinian, he played a huge role in the Cuban Revolution of 1959, and that's when his face became an internationally recognized symbol. So no Cuban Revolution, no cool Che Guevara merchandise. And then what would the cool kids in high school wear to show how woke and edgy their economic views are?
  • In a world where Che was never revolutionized and made famous through his association with Castro, South American history would have also unfolded very differently. Che used guerilla warfare and revolutionary tactics throughout South America, and the Montoneros in Argentina drew a lot of their inspiration from him. They were trying to turn Argentina into a "Socialist Fatherland," and to that end used a lot of violent guerilla tactics. This in turn led to a lot of right-wing backlash, and a right-wing military dictatorship in Argentina led by Jorge Videla. The fighting between the Montoneros and the right-wing Argentine Anticommunist Alliance (AAA) is known as the Dirty War, and during this time 30,000 normal Argentinians disappeared (meaning they were killed, mostly by the AAA and Videla's secret police). So without the Montoneros, it's possible Argentina never would have had their Dirty War. But Videla probably would have still ended up taking power, so things would have still been terrible for Argentinians during that time.
  • The Cold War would still have happened, but if Cuba were part of the US there wouldn't have been any Bay of Pigs fiasco, in which JFK sent a covert invasion force to try and overthrow Castro's government (because it was communist, and the Cold War era United States was all about ending communism), and which is generally considered to be a huge failure of his foreign policy.
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis, which is the closest we ever got to actual nuclear war with Russia, also would have been averted.
  • Moving on from Cuba, if the Yucatan Peninsula were part of the US, probably all the beautiful Mayan ruins there would have been completely commercialized and destroyed :(
  • Culturally speaking, Juan Rulfo is a famous Mexican author who's especially known for his writings inspired by the Mexican desert. However, if all that desert were part of the US, I don't know if he ever would have been inspired to write what he did, and we would be left without his rich addition to literature.
  • Considering how much land in the area would already belong to the US, I think it would be more likely that Puerto Rico would become an actual state at some point, instead of just a territory. And in that case, maybe Trump wouldn't have just thrown paper towels at them in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, but would have actually done something to alleviate their suffering.
  • The US would probably have even more imperialist policies in that alternate reality than we do in right now (considering that this alternate reality is based on the immediate effects of an imperialist policy and all). This might put a strain on our foreign relations with other countries, who would view us as too power-hungry and think we needed to be stopped.
  • However, due to our huge population, other countries would be a lot more hesitant to go to war with us. The US would be well-equipped to fight a war of attrition, letting thousands of our citizens die just to prove a point to another country that we could suffer those losses and still win a war. All it would take is one foolhardy, trigger-happy president. The knowledge that we would have such a superior army to so many other countries could fill us with hubris, and we might become bullies on an international scale, pushing around other countries just because they wouldn't be able to stop us.
  • I would like to think that because of a larger Latino population in the US, we would be less racist. But sadly, it's probably more likely that we would have just used Latinos as a scapegoat for national problems, and there would probably be some form of Jim Crow laws for Mexicans and Cubans.
  • Tourism to the Caribbean would probably be cheaper and easier if a big chunk of it were US soil. Havana would be the new Hawaii.
  • You know how the US currently has a lot of conflict between its different regions? People from the South have a completely different culture from people in California, for example. If the United States were big enough to encompass parts of Mexico and Cuba, we would have even worse regional conflicts. It would be tremendously difficult for the whole country to agree on anything having to do with culture or politics, and people who lived in, say, Maine, would probably feel almost no sense of kinship with people who lived in the Yucatan peninsula, despite the fact that they would live in the same country.
  • Congress would be even more slow and belabored than it is now, because a greater land mass and population would necessitate more members of the House of Representatives. The more people you have, the slower things are. 
  • But at least the Latinx population of the US would be more represented in politics, because as things are, despite the fact that the US actually has the 2nd largest population of Spanish speakers in the entire world, our Hispanic population is often overlooked. But if large swaths of Mexico and Cuba were part of the US, their local politicians would hopefully bring their unique needs to the forefront of national consciousness.
  • As things currently stand, there are a lot of drug cartels along the US-Mexico border. My guess is that would continue even if the border were at a different physical location than it currently is.
  • The US would probably make good economic use of all the extra land, and although a lot of it would be desert, we would probably use it for factories or something, and the Mexican desert could become the new Rust Belt.
  • At some point, the indigenous peoples of the new US states would try to have some sort of uprising to gain their political independence from the US. This already sort of happened in Mexico with the Zapatista movement, but it would be even more pronounced. Indigenous people would want control of their own land and resources, and would want political autonomy, so it's only natural that they would try to revolt. I doubt they would be super successful, but it would be a recurring point of tension in those areas.

I'm sure there would be even more changes than this, but I think this is a pretty decent start to some of the historical, economic, and political changes that would have occurred. 

-Alta

*I'm not trying to say that the whole world would be better if the US controlled everywhere, because we definitely have our fair share of problems, and if we had controlled Cuba, I'm sure we would have created a whole lot of other problems there. But objectively speaking, most countries would be better off if they avoided dictators who abuse human rights, and Castro ended up becoming a dictator who abused human rights, no matter how pure his intentions may have been in the beginning.

Question #91794 posted on 03/06/2019 3:28 p.m.
Q:

Okay, Sheebs,

Tell me all about the world of academia in Harry Potter. Are there magical universities? What fields exist beyond what gets taught at Hogwarts? What do philosophy and science and the arts look like in the magical world? What would you write your dissertation on?

-RE:#91669

A:

Dear person,

There are not magical universities, but students with exceptional magical gifts are often mentored by more experienced magical academicians. It is common for professors at the eleven wizarding schools to conduct and publish research. However, there are many other people who are not academics who also publish. This is particularly common among wandmakers, potioneers, healers, and government officials. However, intellectuals from many walks of life participate. For example, before his death, ice cream parlour owner Florean Fortescue was a frequent publisher in the periodicals Magical History and Philosophical and Ethical Issues in Magic. 

Periodicals

Speaking of periodicals, research-oriented periodicals have existed in the wizarding world since the late 18th century. They were originally established by wizards who followed topics in non-magical academics and found the format to be useful. The first seven journals were the only journals until the middle of the 19th century. With the exception of Clairvoyant and Alchemical Studies, they are now the most prestigious journals in magic. I'm hoping that this section gives you a sampling of the most active areas of magical academia.

First Generation

The Practical Potioneer. The very first magical scholarly periodical. Contains articles about potion methodology, brewing, and application. 

Transfiguration Today. Contains articles about all types of magical transfigurations. More recently focuses on non-human transfiguration.

Challenges in Charming. Contains articles about all types of magical charms. Originally had greater emphasis on magical theory, now is more application-focused. 

Wandlore. Contains primarily case studies of the creation and use of particular wands with remarkable (or remarkably unremarkable) properties.

Being, Beast, and Creature. Contains articles about non-human magical animals with emphasis on philosophical issues pertaining to the definitions of being, beast, and creature and classification of animals into categories. 

Magical Botany. Contains articles about magical plants and magical uses of non-magical plants. 

Developments in the Dark Arts. Journal that documents new forms of dark magic. Interestingly, it is typically written by anonymous authors to protect their identities. 

Alchemical Studies. Now defunct. Contained articles about magical elixirs (extraordinary potions, such as felix felicis) and the uses of the philosopher's stone and its derivatives. 

Clairvoyant. Contains articles about fortune-telling methodologies and prophecies. Now only slightly more prestigious than The Quibbler. 

Second Generation

The second generation of scholarly journals were created starting in the middle of the 19th century. They reflect increased recognition of specialized charms and spells in mainstream magical scholarship. Additionally, greater attention was beginning to be paid to theory and philosophy of magic. I've provided a list of English language journals below.

Magical Theory:

Frontiers in Magic

Advances in Sorcery

Magical Methodologies

Theory for Magicians

Magical Physics

Philosophical and Ethical Issues in Magic

Magical Mysteries

Controversies in Magic

History of Magic:

Magical History 

Modern Magical History Review

Wizards and Muggles Throughout History

International Journal of Magical History

Potions:

Quantitative Journal of Potionmaking

Studies in Potions

Potions of Non-European Origin

Properties of Potions

Elixir

Transfiguration:

Theory in Transfiguration

The Journal of Human Transfiguration

Transformation 

Issues in Animal Transfiguration

Empirical Studies of Transfiguration

Sentience and Transfiguration

Animagi

Non-Transfiguration Spell-Casting:

Charms

Non-Traditional Applications of Magic

Journal of Non-Verbal Magic

Journal of Defensive Magic

Jinxes, Hexes, and Curses

Atmospheric Magic

Incantation

Case Studies in Unintentional Magic

Healing:

Essays on Healing

Unusual Cases in Healing

Journal of Pediatric Healing

The Clinical Journal of Magical Maladies and Healing

Clinical Review of Non-Magical Medicine

Divination and Related Disciplines:

Theoretical Issues in Divination

Proceedings from the International Society of Divination and Arithmancy

Cartomancy

Progression in Palmistry

Crystal Gazing

The Astrologer

Occlumency and Legilimency:

Magic and Mind

Psychology of the Magical Mind

Magical Biology:

Magizoology

Herbology

Magical Flora

The International Journal of Dragonology

Magical Organisms of the Old World

Magical Animals and Plants (North America)

Magical Animals and Plants (South America)

Australian Journal of Magical Fauna and Flora 

Magical Microrganisms

Magical Marine Life

Muggle Studies:

Archives of Muggle Studies

The Journal of Muggle Studies

Non-Magic Peoples of the New World

Muggle Scholarship Review

Applications of Muggle Technology

Electricity

Non-Magical Engineering

Art and Literature:

Studies of Magical Portraits

Journal of Magical Art

Contemporary Wizarding Art

Runes

International Journal of Magical Literature

Magic and Language

Miscellaneous:

The Journal of Quantitative Studies in Wandmaking

Journal of Magical Pedagogy

Cultural Studies in Magic

Magical Anthropology

Studies of Squibs

Magic and Death

Rulings of English-Speaking Wizengamots

Magic and Time

Philosophy, Science, and Art

Philosophy in the wizarding world is pretty similar to philosophy in the muggle world. Metaphysics, epistemology, axiology, and logic are all discussed by learned witches and wizards. However, there are additional questions and applications in magic. Magical metaphysics is also a common area of study. For example, how is it that accidental magic results in anything other than explosions or undifferentiated goo? Does this reflect some underlying aspect of the nature of reality? This is actually quite mysterious if you think about it. The intersection between ethics and magic are also fascinating. One phenomenon that has sparked interest in this topic is that many witches and wizards have found they are incapable of performing unforgiveable curses. 

Science has become more of an interest for wizards as muggles have become more technologically advanced. Increasingly, academics are doing sophisticated, controlled experiments to better understand phenomena. For example, many young wandmakers are systematically varying the properties of wands to determine the actual impact of different cores, woods, and lengths. 

Wizarding art, as you could imagine, is extremely cool. Many wizarding artists like to use the same techniques and methods of muggle art, such as painting and sculpting. They then enchant the results. However, there are some mediums that wizards can use that muggles cannot, such as potions. Contemporary magical art, as you might imagine, is about pushing the limits of the definition of art. For example, individuals participating in one contemporary movement of magical art are highly interested in enchantments that temporarily influence aesthetic perception. Another group is interested in art without spell-casting, similar to the muggle artistic movement of minimalism.

Dissertation Topic

This might require more than one study, but I think it would be really cool to study incantations and why they work. Why are so many of them in Latin? What is the underlying structure that causes certain words to activate certain spells? If that is already known, then can magic be activated using light, or magnets, or other sounds, or any other medium? 

-Sheebs, who is now saddened by the comparative boringness of her actual dissertation

Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Now that the new engineering building is open and everything, I realize that the College of Engineering has at least three main buildings (Clyde, Crabtree, and EB) plus a number of lab buildings like the Fletcher and the Snell. I also realized that I couldn't think of another college with that many buildings.

So which college, school, or department has the most floorspace/square footage?

-Is It Obvious which Major I'm Doing?

A:

Dear you,

Which college has the most floor space? I think the best way to determine this is with a chart! Because charts make everything better (Is it obvious which major I'm doing?) The columns will be colleges and the rows buildings. If I believe that a college has some claim to a building, then I will mark it with an X. Ideally, there would be a hard and fast rule such as a college only being able to claim a building if it houses a department office in that building, but ain't nobody got time for that (at least not busy college students).

There are a lot of auxiliary buildings that I've decided to exclude for the sake of time and personal sanity, so unfortunately office buildings, storage buildings, greenhouses and the like are not included in this tally. Anyways, without further ado let's look at the breakdown:

  Business Education Engineering Family Home and Social Sciences Fine Arts and Communications Humanities International Studies Law Life Sciences Nursing Physical & Mathematical Sciences Religious Education
Benson                     X  
Brimhall         X              
Herald Clark             X          

J Rueben Clark

              X        
Clyde     X                  
Crabtree     X                  
Engineering     X                  
Eyring                 X   X  
Testing Center                       X
HFAC         X              
SWKT       X         X X    
JKB         X X            
Life Sciences                 X      
MARB                        
McKay   X                    
JFSB       X   X            
JSB                       X
Snell     X                  
Talmage                     X  
Tanner X                      

*Note, as you can see I don't really have the MARB belonging to anyone. Pretty much every college has classes there, but who really likes it? So no one claims it.

Now for a list of square footage by building (source for building sizes):

Benson: 192,246 sq ft.
Brimhall: 40,276 sq ft.
Herald Clark: 30,879 sq ft.
J Rueben Clark: 174,970 sq ft.
Clyde:  203,575 sq ft.
Crabtree: 99,448 sq ft.
Engineering: 200,000 sq ft.
Eyring: 187,590 sq ft.
Testing Center: 26,463 sq ft.
HFAC: 292,817 sq ft.
SWKT: 133,849 sq ft.
JKB: 139,164 sq ft.
Life Sciences: 269,936 sq ft.
MARB: 43,717 sq ft.
McKay: 80,939 sq ft.
JFSB: 312,006 sq ft.
JSB: 73,815 sq ft.
Snell: 37,796 sq ft.
Talmage: 158,696 sq ft.
Tanner: 196,000 sq ft.

Now for the totals. Colleges will be listed along with the buildings they have in parenthesis. I'll start with the lowest and build up to our champion.

12th. International Studies (Herald Clark Building): 30,879 sq ft.

11th. Education (McKay Building): 80,939 sq ft.

10th. Religious Education (Testing Center, Joseph Smith Building): 100,278 sq ft.

9th. Nursing (SWKT): 133,849 sq ft.

8th. Law (J. Rueben Clark Building): 174,970 sq ft.

7th. Business (Tanner Building): 196,000 sq ft.

6th. Family, Home and Social Sciences (SWKT, JFSB): 445,855 sq ft.

5th. Humanities (JKB, JFSB): 451,170 sq ft.

4th. Fine Arts and Communication (Brimhall, HFAC, JKB): 472,707 sq ft.

3rd. Physical & Mathematical Sciences (Benson, Eyring, Talmage): 538,532 sq ft.

2nd. Engineering (Clyde, Crabtree, Engineering Building, Snell) 540,810 sq ft.

1st. Life Sciences (Eyring, SWKT, Life Science Building): 591,375 sq ft.

Life Science is the winner ladies and gentleman. Now, this is going by college to the best of my knowledge so it may be off. As far as majors go, Alta mentioned that some majors might spread across even more buildings because they have classes from several different colleges.

But, if we're willing to think outside the box a little we could find a very clear cut winner. BYU has two mottos; one of which is "The World is Our Campus". Although international studies has the smallest amount of building space ON CAMPUS, they cover a huge amount of area off campus. There's the BYU Jerusalem Center, BYU London Centre, and study abroads, internships, and field studies all across the globe. So, in a stunning turn of events INTERNATIONAL STUDIES WINS IN A LANDSLIDE!

Peace,

Tipperary

Question #91780 posted on 06/03/2019 11:12 a.m.
Q:

Dear astrophysicists of the 100 Hour Board,

Imagine I'm standing on the moon and you're standing on Earth. We're both looking up into the sky. Wave - I can see you!

Okay, now imagine that above my head is a mass hanging from a chain. The chain, which is about 238,900 miles long, stretches from me (on the moon) to you (on the Earth); on the other end, there is a second mass dangling above you. In other words, the thing that's suspending the mass above my head is the force of the Earth's gravity acting on the mass at your end of the chain. And vice versa.

Is this possible? That is, could you, in theory, have a chain that spans the distance from the Earth to the moon and has a mass on each end, the two masses balancing each other out without touching the ground and the chain held in tension by the gravity of the earth pulling on one mass and the gravity of the moon pulling on the other?

How big would each mass have to be? How high off the ground could they get before gravity was insufficient to pull the chain taut? How easy would it be to disrupt such a system? (If it helps, you can assume a weightless chain, although I would definitely be interested in an answer that accounts for how mind-bogglingly heavy a 238,900-mile chain would be. And how much force it would have to be able to withstand.)

-Not a physics major

P.S. I actually drew you a lovely ASCII-art diagram of the scenario I'm describing, as I feel like it's hard to visualize. But it turns out the Board can't render it properly. Alas.

A:

Hi!

Your question is awesome. I took the time to attempt a solution that includes a chain with mass. There's some math, so buckle up. First of all, here's the setup the way I think you have described it (there's a tl;dr at the bottom if you don't want to see this):

Original Setup.png

I've simplified your question and made the object between the Earth and the Moon a single "dumbbell" made of two masses (M1 and M2) and a solid bar of length L. Both masses are 10 km above the surface of the planet. I've arbitrarily chosen steel as the material that we're making this out of, because why not? Since it's a single piece, gravity will act on its center of mass as if it were a point mass (i.e. as if it had no shape and all its mass is in one place). The trick is to put the dumbbell between the Earth and the Moon so that its center of gravity is in a very special place: the Lagrangian point, which is the place where the combined gravitational effects of the Moon and the Earth combine together to exactly equal the centripetal force required to keep stuff in orbit. In other words, it's a place where you can set something and it'll stay there. It's right here:

Setup w CoM.png

First, let's calculate the Lagrangian, which I will call x. As I said, both terrestrial and lunar gravity have to combine to make the orbiting object go in a circle. In math-speak, that looks like this:

Calculating LaGrange (correctly).png

That's complex, so I threw it into WolframAlpha and solved it for x (inputing a term for velocity blah blah blah physics physics). The Lagrangian is about 90% of the way to the moon. So now that we know x, we need to pick masses that puts the center of mass of the dumbbell at the Lagrangian point so that it will stay there without falling toward either body. That equation looks like this:

Calculating CoM.png

Here we need to make some choices. I constrained the system by choosing M1 and the material for the cable (MC) so that those masses are known. Then WolframAlpha solved for M2 for me. I picked 1,000,000 kg for M1 and a steel cable. M2 came out as an absolutely massive number: 2.8E16 (28 quadrillion) kilograms. This huge mass is necessary to drag the center of mass almost all the way over to the moon against the placement of the first mass and the cable.

I was going to leave it at that, but this actually presents several problems. I'm going to leave out the math for the rest of this but trust me, it was impressive.

  • The fact that the dumbbell is also orbiting Earth so as to stay aligned between the Earth and the Moon makes it so that there's tons of tension on the Moon-side of the dumbbell. So much that it would tear the steel bar apart. I fiddled with the width of the cable until it was strong enough to withstand the forces and ended up with a 70- or 80-m thick cable. That's a lot, but that's what it takes.
  • That much steel weighs a bunch. The mass of the cable is now on the same order of magnitude as M2. I did a quick check and found that there is actually enough iron on the planet to make that much steel. We'd need something like one one-millionth of all the iron in the world, but it's there.
  • If the masses were spheres of steel, M1 would have a 3-m diameter. Ok, that's fine. But M2 gets up to almost 10,000 m in diameter. Not sure how we'd get it up there or get it moving fast enough to stay in orbit.
  • If you read El-ahrairah's response and click the link, you'll find a more thorough explanation of the fact that you wouldn't be able to just stand under the thing and look up at it. Because the Earth's surface is moving relative to the dumbbell, you'd fly past the dumbbell at a pretty good rate of speed (~1000 mph).
In other words, this is totally impossible and could never be done. But if we could just will a dumbbell in place, it would probably look like what I described above (more or less, the details here are likely wrong since I'm sure I overlooked something and didn't get a second opinion, but I'm pretty sure the general idea is going in the right direction. Anyone who sees mistakes or things I overlooked should definitely submit a comment.)
 
tl;dr: With a 1,000,000-kg mass suspended 10 km above the Earth, you'd need a 28-quadrillion-kg mass on the Moon side connected by an 80-m thick cable to keep it from ripping itself apart. And then you'd still have tons of problems.
 
Cool question.
 
-The Man with a Mustache
Question #91757 posted on 01/15/2019 9:46 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Today I was driving by a church building (belonging to another Christian denomination) with a "for sale" sign. It made me wonder what would happen if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ever needed to sell one of its church buildings. Does this ever happen, and if so, how do they go about selling it? I can't imagine seeing a "for sale" sign in front, so maybe they'd find a private buyer of sorts; would they just sell the land and take down the building? Or sell the whole thing as is? Thoughts?

-thanks!

A:

Dear you,

Funny that you ask, but I have actually helped the Church sell buildings and land. They sell property all the time and all across the world and so your scenario actually happens quite frequently.

The Church usually has a long-standing contract with a commercial real estate brokerage in the United States who handles their transactions. When the Church sells property it is called a disposition project. They ask for an opinion of value by a licensed real estate agent or the equivalent and they match it with their internal valuation to make sure they don't list it for a price that they are not willing to sell it for. Here's a picture of a Church building in Preston, Montana that sold a few years ago (I got this picture from the commercial real estate assisting the Church at the time):

13.5.16 - 554-4823 MN Preston - Picture of sign_1.jpg

If the valuation is high enough, they will agree to sell it. This approval can take weeks or months. The real estate agent(s) involved are actually encouraged to put a sign on the property so that people who pass by the building or land will know that it is for sale. Typically the property is also listed on multiple websites for sale to attract as many potential buyers as possible. The standard process is to list the property for 30 days before responding to any offers as to give each buyer an equal chance of submitting an offer and doing some preliminary research in order to submit a reasonable offer.

Another tidbit of information that you may not be aware of is that when the Church decides to sell a meetinghouse they decommission the building. Essentially decommissioning a building involves removing the steeple, removing Church signage from the building and property, and filling the baptismal font. 

Upon receiving offers, the Church has an internal review process that can take weeks or even months to respond to buyers. It can be frustrating to buy property from the Church because the process can take quite a long time. 

One question you might or might not ask is: "Why would the Church contract with a commercial real estate brokerage in the United States even when they are selling property in Europe, Africa, or other continents and countries? Great question! Well, the Church prefers to have one point of contact for all of their transactions instead of having hundreds or thousands of points of contacts across the world. It helps the Church keep track of all their disposition, acquisition, and leasing projects straight, and it helps keeps transactions from being held over longer than normal.

Anyways, this is probably more information than you anticipated, but it's currently my job and I am loving it! Do you have any other questions regarding Church real estate or real estate in general? I'm happy to answer more questions like this!

-Sunday Night Banter

posted on 01/18/2019 9:31 p.m.
Provo has several examples of former COJCOLDS meeting houses.

The apartments at 396 100 W and the school at 105 N 500 W are examples.
posted on 01/19/2019 11:25 p.m.
You can also search the archives for another example:

https://100hourboard.org/questions/56303/
Question #91747 posted on 10/18/2018 9:36 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Does water have enough surface tension that an ant (maybe your average small, black kitchen ant) could walk across it? Conversely, how much surface tension would a liquid have to have for a human to walk across it? Is such a liquid possible?

-the mad hatter

A:

mad hatter,

Beautiful question. Just beautiful. 

Short answers:

  • no
  • 587170 mN/m
  • depends on your definition of "possible", "liquid", and how exclusively it needs to be caused by surface tension.

Explanation:

I'm not a physicist or an entomologist. If a professional were to proof this, they would likely find many errors. But I probably know more about it than you do because now I've been reading about it for like six hours. 

The potential in your first question r e a l l y depends on the ant, and I wouldn't call it "walking." Ants have a lot of different sizes and a lot of different instincts. Black kitchen ants in the western US are much smaller than the mammoths back home in Maryland.  But there aren't any species I know of that can really "walk" on water. Even bugs who are designed to travel on the surface aren't so much picking up their legs and walking, as they are pushing through the surface layer.

Maintaining surface tension is not strictly about mass. It's about weight distribution and the pressure placed on individual bonds between water molecules. Think of a needle laying on top of fabric vs the needle being stabbed through the fabric. Singular ants are often small enough not to break the surface tension of water. Their exoskeletons are hydrophobic which helps a lot. But after a few minutes the ant will sink. Their tiny legs break the surface tension because of the pressure applied at the point of the leg without being distributed. Water skeeters (or the Gerridae family) on the other hand, distribute that pressure with tiny hairs all along their legs that allow them to push through the surface layer of the water without breaking it. 

Red ants (Solenopsis invicta) have a rafting instinct to save the colony in the event of flooding. They lock their mandibles together, forming tight pockets of air between them. The air bubbles help distribute the weight to prevent the specified pressure on the water bonds. The colony can float for weeks while they wait for floodwaters to subside. So, yeah they can sit atop the surface layer but that's about it. Too much motion or release of the air pockets could penetrate the surface tension and, depending on the density of the ant, it would sink or at least get waterlogged. 

Technically, maintaining surface tension is a different phenomenon than floatation.  Floatation is a relationship between density, buoyancy, and maybe viscosity. You can get wet with water and still float. But if you get wet you've broken the surface tension. 

Basically, water skeeting(riding the surface tension) requires a certain relationship between the weight, the perimeter(or area) of the contact point, and the angle of the contact point. Human feet have many angles and contact points so it would require a liquid with enough surface tension (exerted force when stretched) to constantly out compete your weight/foot area/contact angles relationships. 

Surface tension is the force F per unit length L exerted by a stretched liquid membrane. Think of stretching a rubberband and how much force is waiting to be released. It's like that, only recognizing that such force is already being applied on your finger, and can be measured in terms of F over L. So how much force is being exerted by water when it gets stretched? Usually about 73 millinewtons (mN) per meter (m). 

Mercury has the highest surface tension relationships of any known element usually at around 485 mN/m. Converting that to pound-force you get .11 lbs/m. So mercury can support .11 pounds for every meter of contact. So a 132 pound human (such as myself) would require 1200 meters (3937 feet) of contact to maintain surface tension on a pool of mercury. I would basically need to be flattened into a very thin sheet of mass. Without being flattened out like that I would sink and bob until I reached equilibrium. That would probably submerge me partially and then flip me to have the most surface area distribution a.k.a laying flat. 

The average adult foot is about 1 meter. For simplification we won't talk about contact points and angles of that foot, or those of a foot in motion. But since walking requires one foot at a time and it is a very convenient conversion factor, we're going to use it. You need a liquid that can support 132 pounds over only 1 meter. The force of that liquid would have to be 132 pounds. Or, for the sake of comparison with mercury's 485 mN/m, it would have surface tension of 587170 mN/m. That is a very active amount of energy stored in the surface of a liquid. Like a swimming pool that is also a trampoline that also isn't defined by viscosity.

That brings me to non-Newtonian fluids. If you don't know what those are you should check out this video. Non-Newtonian fluids are about non-static viscosity. Not surface tension. These things can behave as both a liquid and a solid depending on the force applied to them. So they get the "walking on liquid" job done quite nicely. Whereas a liquid with high surface tension holds things up by applying force, non-Newtonian fluids hold things up by having force applied and becoming more solid. If you could have a liquid that was both non-Newtonian and had a high enough surface tension, the force would be applied to itself and it would act as a solid. Which actually turns out to be pretty boring because now it's just a solid. So I guess that's how we get trampolines. 

There you have it! Bonus analysis: If Jesus altered surface tension to walk on water he would have had to make up for pretty much his entire body weight in exerted force on a 1 meter foot. Scholars estimate that he was probably about 5'1 and weighed about 110 pounds. He was probably pretty muscular based on his profession, maybe with some atrophy at the time of the miracle. So he might have weighed a little more. So we're looking at maybe like a spiritual pound-force of 120?

Some other videos for your imagination:

Mercury + non-Newtonian fluid

Non-Newtonian fluid + hydraulic press

 

Babalugats

Question #91725 posted on 10/24/2018 11:46 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Runners always move to the inside when going around a curve because it's shorter.

How many miles would you save on a trip across the US (say on I-80 from SF to NYC but if you'd rather take I-10 from LA to Jacksonville, that's fine too) if you always moved to the inside of the curve of the road?

Related to that, how much gas would you save if you always drove the inside of the curve of the road?

-Yuki Kawauchi in a panda suit

A:

 Dear Yukikawhat?

What a great question. Fun fact: the outside lane of a standard track is 453 meters, which is 53 meters longer than the inside lane. Calculating that distance is relatively simple, because you just measure the straightaways, and then use the formula arc length=radius*angle. You add those up and you end up with the difference if you're good at math and putting things into calculators. Figuring out how much of a difference it would make driving on the inside is trickier though because we don't know how many curves there are, and how much we save on each curve. How will we find out? We shall guesstimate! 

Guesstimate 1: How many curves are there? 

So, to estimate how many curves there are, I will count the number of curves on a 10 mile stretch of 1-10 (Jacksonville baby!) and then use that number to estimate the total number of curves. So, this is the stretch of road I chose:

LA.PNG

Between Los Angeles and Ontario there were 26 turns over the 39.4 miles. The trip from Los Angeles to Jacksonville is 2,416 miles. So if we take 2,416 miles/ 39.4 miles * 26 turns we end up with an estimated 1594 turns on our trip.

Guesstimate 2: How much do we save on each curve? 

How much are we saving on each turn. Well, the majority of the spots on 1-10 I looked were 2 lanes and looked like this:

2laneroad.PNG

The average two lane road is 24 feet wide, but the cars will drive in the middle so the the distance between the center of both cars is more like 12 feet. The majority of turns, as you can see actually aren't very big turns. I would say that the majority of the curves you will find are only about 45 degrees, and most of them won't be more than 90 degrees. We'll guess that each curve is somewhere in the middle. We'll go with a generous 57.29 degrees because that gives us a 1 radian per curve and makes our math easier. So, now for our final guesstimate:

1594 turns * 1 radian/turn * 12 ft. radius differential per turn *(1/5280) miles/ft. = 3.622 miles

There you have it folks, it looks like cheating the inside corners will save you about 4 miles on your trip. This only works out to saving you about 0.15% of the distance. Now we could be off, but I honestly don't think we'd be off by much for three reasons:

  1. A standard 400 m track is going around curves half the time and the outside lane is only about 13% longer than the inside. So I would but the absolute maximum for any route at 13%, but that would be for driving around on winding roads.
  2. Have you ever driven accross Wyoming, Nebraska, or Arizona. Let me tell you, those roads are heckin' straight. The stretch of road I picked for our estimate went through cities, which means we probably overestimated.
  3. The downside with switching lanes, is that the inside curve often alternates, so you would have to switch lanes a lot, which would defeat the purpose a little.

So, in the end, how much does our 3.622 miles save us on gas?

3.622 miles / 20 mpg * $3/gallon = $0.54

That's right folks, 54 cents. The moral of the story here is that cutting corners doesn't pay, kids.

Peace,

Tipperary

P.S.  Enjoy your well earned cash. Don't spend it all in one place though, eh?

Question #91714 posted on 11/07/2018 6:12 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Why doesn’t the Church run background checks on those who work with children?

-Concerned

A:

Dear you,

This is related to the question you asked, but it's my thesis and I think it's important to set it out out front since my answer gives a lot of reasons I don't think background checks are the right answer. In my opinion, the Church already has policies in place to prevent the vast majority of child abuse, and efforts to further prevent abuse may well be more effective if they focused on increasing compliance with Church policies and making any necessary refinements to Church policy, rather than on background-checking members.*

I can't tell you why the Church doesn't background check, but I can offer a few reasons I'd be wary of doing background checks if I ran an organization that worked with children the way the Church does. Although even a problematic method of preventing abuse is worthwhile if it is the best method, I don't think background checks are necessarily the best method. Here are a few of the difficulties checks could prevent that may contribute to their potential inferiority versus other methods of abuse prevention. 

  1. Infrastructure/Logistics: The number of people who work with children (and I assume you'd include youth) in the Church is huge. It might not seem that hard to background check a few primary teachers, right? But let's consider the number of people you'd need for a primary in a decent-sized ward. A simple count: 3 presidency members, 2 music specialists (pianist, conductor), 2 nursery, and 2 each for CTR 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and Valiant 9, 10, and 11. Assuming you have no primary subs EVER, that's like 23 people right off the bat. Then we add in 2 scout leaders and 2 activity day leaders. Then we get to the youth program and add presidencies for YW and YM (at least 3 people each), scout leaders (at least 2) and camp leaders (at least 1). Then add an adviser for each of Priests, Teachers, Deacons, Laurels, Mia Maids, and Beehives. Now we're up to something like 42 people who need to be background checked and who can never be absent from Church. Additionally, lots of these callings will be rotated frequently. On top of that, you lose a ton of flexibility if you can only use background-checked people for substitutes in Sunday classes or additional help at an activity, or babysitting during a Relief Society activity, or whatever. Further, you're going to have to repeat these background checks every few years in order to maintain the quality of information. That becomes even more burdensome.
  2. Cost and availability of checks. In the US, I think it's relatively cheap to get background checks and there are checks that are at least decent in terms of quality. However, "relatively inexpensive" adds up when it's 40+ people (at least), and when you have to do them on a continual renewing basis. However, the cost you pay to the agency (is the Church going to contract with one particular agency? Another complication...) isn't the only cost: you also will lose a lot of time cost because you'll basically need a new background check specialist or an additional clerk in every ward to help people fill out paperwork, keep on top of renewals, etc. Additionally, we're a global Church. I don't know to what extent complete, affordable background checks are available in other nations. 
  3. Legal/Liability: I speculate but do not know that by starting a policy of background checks, the Church could open itself to legal liability (or perceived liability by people trying to sue) in certain situations: what if a ward wasn't careful enough in making sure people filled out the paperwork properly? What if a ward missed someone because they knew they'd had a check done in another ward in the Stake last year? What if a ward wasn't careful enough when it chose a background check service? What if a ward ignored something on a background check that was later claimed to be relevant?
  4. Loss of willing volunteers: There are a lot of people in the Church who I think would look askance at the Church doing a background check on them. We believe in repentance, after all - why does my bishop (or ward clerk, or "background check specialist" a calling we'd probably have to invent to handle this many checks) need to know that I [got arrested for pot as a teenager, spent time in prison for tax fraud before moving to this ward, got a DUI 10 years ago, whatever]. I can imagine a decent number of people taking the stance of "Look, I do service with the children/youth as a form of service. I'm not going to sacrifice my privacy when I'm already giving up my time and adult socialization to do something I might not even really want to do."
  5. Standard-setting Problems: What, exactly, should be the standard for something that's "bad enough to keep you from working with youth"? Any crime that required sex offender registration at any point (such as public indecency or urination)? What about domestic violence? What about domestic violence in the presence of a child, or toward a child? Sexual offenses towards adults, or only children? What about non-sexual or non-violent offenses like drug use? Is there a time limit on any of them? What about stuff that happened when you were a minor? This becomes a logistical issue that the Church has to establish guidance on (or else you risk significant local variation, again possibly opening up liability or at least criticism). What if the check turns up court records where someone was accused, but acquitted? What if they lost a civil trial with a lower standard of proof but weren't guilty on a criminal case? (In case that's unclear: imagine that someone punches someone else- the criminal standard to convict them of assault is "beyond reasonable doubt" but the victim can sue them for the cost of the steak they put on their eye and have the standard to recover the money only be "preponderance of the evidence" (more likely than not.)) This becomes yet another logistics nightmare where you need a hugely complicated set of guidelines and probably significant guidance from Salt Lake to ensure consistency, and that means that you probably end up erring on the side of restricting where you might not need to and suddenly there are a lotttt of people who can't hold callings that they would be totally fine doing.
  6. False Sense of Safety: Finally, if people know that the Church generally background checks those who work with youth, they may actually fail to take appropriate cautions in protecting their own children (even though this seems backwards, it's related to the Moral Hazard problem.) Background checks on the level an organization like the Church would be doing them aren't likely to find anywhere near every case of abuse: they're mostly only going to turn up the ones that resulted in convictions. This could leave out not only people whose victims never came forward, but even cases where the victim came forward but no conviction resulted. People who don't understand this might get lax about using the Church's other, important safeguards. "Oh, it's okay if you ride home alone with Brother Johnson, he's been background-checked." "Oh, Sister Smith has been a member her whole life, I'm sure it's fine if she takes the primary class by herself; we're waiting on her background check still but she must have had one in her last ward because she mentioned working in primary there." "Oh, we'll just have the campout with Brother Franklin, after all, several of the boys are almost 18, and that's close enough even though none of the other adults can come..." etc. etc.
So why not add background checks in spite of these difficulties? The Church already has safeguards in place that, when followed, will prevent the vast majority of abuse of children without these difficulties.
 
This publication, "Preventing and Responding to Abuse" explains Church guidelines that I'd encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with and to stand up for. To summarize the relevant ones, the Church:
  • requires records be in the ward before giving a child-facing calling
  • will give no child-facing calling if note for abuse on record
  • requires 2-deep leadership
  • requires a second adult "in an adjoining room, foyer, or hall" or in the office at interviewee's request when a child is being interviewed
  • restricts adult-child sleep arrangements on overnight activities
Not every ward perfectly follows these guidelines, and that should change. I would urge people who see their ward's youth programs violating these points to raise the issue with the bishop (or stake president, if necessary). If you're asked to sub for primary, tell them you'd be happy to but you know the guidelines say you have to have a partner teacher, does the president know someone who's available, or should you run over to Gospel Principles and grab your spouse/friend? Etc. 
 
It is still sadly likely that some few cases of abuse would occur even if compliance with these rules were perfect; it's hard to come up with a set of rules that is perfect in any possible situation. However, the relevant questions seem to me to be:
 
1) Would background checking adult leaders improve compliance with the Church's anti-abuse guidelines?
 
Maybe, if people with even a non-abusive record are generally less rule-abiding and more likely to fudge or outright disobey abuse prevention rules and so you just exclude them from these callings entirely. But that's a pretty excluding way to use a background check. So, if the background check doesn't really improve the existing anti-abuse framework, 
 
2) Would background checking adult leaders prevent abuse the Church's anti-abuse guidelines don't currently prevent?
 
It's clear to me that background checks could identify some people who shouldn't work with youth, and maybe that includes people who haven't been already flagged as such by the Church. If these people are identified, maybe they don't get the calling to work with the youth. Maybe this prevents some abuse because a potential predator doesn't get a calling and so there's never a situation where they're left alone with a kid because their ward doesn't follow two-deep situations, or whatever else permitted the abuse.
 

3) And, more importantly, will background checks prevent abuse to the best amount in the best way (i.e. efficiently)?

This is the crux.
 
However, this also gets sort of unpleasant, because even though the worth of every person is infinite, the amount of resources we can devote to preventing any specific harm to that person is not. The safest way to prevent abuse of children in Church would be to refuse children any entry to Church buildings and require parents to find childcare before attending Church alone. We're obviously not going to do that because children, on the whole, benefit from Church. What's tricky is finding the exact point at which the benefit to children of decreased chance of abuse is more significant than the harm to children (or the Church as a whole) resulting from increased burdens of whatever prevention methods we use.
 
Let's take an example of a relatively simple policy: two deep leadership. This policy assumes that, with another adult watching, a predator won't risk getting caught and therefore won't abuse a child. A quick google indicates that there is something on the order of 750,000 (747408, but let's round) sex offenders in the US. That's a broad categorization that includes people who aren't necessarily a danger to children. The US population is roughly 329,000,000. That means that sex offenders make up less than .23 percent of the population. Now, the odds that any two randomly selected individuals will BOTH be sex offenders is about .05% per these numbers. And that's if we started randomly pairing people together that nobody knows anything at all about. This isn't close to an accurate representation of how things would actually work in the Church, of course, for many reasons: there may be non-offenders willing to protect offenders, which would raise likelihood of abuse, but there are also plenty of people on the sex offender registry for something like public urination who would absolutely report or prevent abuse of a child. Furthermore, we don't pair random people we don't know together to make up primary/youth callings: we have bishops to make callings, primary presidents to supervise, etc. But the point of this exercise is that we can see that a simple step like 2-deep leadership makes it very unlikely but not impossible that an abuser will have an opportunity for abuse. What we have to decide is, since there's still that remaining tiny chance, what else are we willing to do to reduce it? How far down do we need to get the number before we're happy having primary, and still able to have it from a cost perspective? Maybe if we did everything we can think of (say, 6-deep leadership with mandated teacher-student ratios, only using professional teachers who pass an annual background check and who pay a large bond to the Church that they'll lose in case of abuse, using rules that say teachers can never touch children) we could prevent abuse almost entirely (but still not totally, because people break rules and find ways), but at that point we can't functionally run the program.
 
So, we have to decide on the acceptable level of risk and then once we've got that we want to use the most cost-effective methods to get our risk down to that level.
 
In my opinion, the bulleted points above that the Church counsels for abuse prevention are relatively low-cost while being very effective at reducing risk when actually implemented. By contrast, an additional background-check requirement seems to me to add a lot of "cost" that could decrease volunteer willingness (hurting programs), cost time (hurting programs), add complexity, and still only reduce risk a little bit, assuming the Church's already-extant policies are being followed. Now, the policies are not always followed, and I think that needs to change. However, my argument would be that the more efficient way to reduce abuse is to increase enforcement of the anti-abuse policies and make any changes we need to them, rather than to add a secondary background check system.
 
Thoughts:
 
Your mileage may vary, of course. You may have different opinions (or maybe you've got evidence I'm uninformed of, my knowledge of background checks or child abuse statistics/profiling are very limited) regarding how effective background checks are or about flaws with the Church's policies or the difficulty of enforcing compliance therewith. However, I hope that my reasoning above at least shows how it's possible, in good conscience, to believe that resources are better devoted to preventing abuse through mechanisms other than a background check.
 
Child abuse is evil. We all have a responsibility to be our brother's keeper, and that includes those of our brothers and sisters who are children. I urge everyone reading this answer to review the anti-abuse policies linked to above and commit to comply with them and encourage others to do the same, while still remaining vigilant to any situations that need reporting or revising.
 
Thanks for reading,
 
~Anne, Certainly
 

*For an example of recent refinement, see the announcement of allowing a second adult in the Priesthood interview of a woman or minor. The Church's policies might not be perfect yet, and what needs to change (and how) will likely vary based on who you ask, but the Church has shown a willingness to continue to improve them as good ideas are presented.  

posted on 11/10/2018 11:47 a.m.
I live in Pennsylvania, where essentially every organization that works with children (including churches) are required to have background checks and fingerprinting performed on the adults that work with children. The background checks by the state are free for volunteers, however, the fingerprinting is around $25, which is reimbursed by the ward. Although I think it's good that this is done, it is definitely a major stumbling block to quickly getting people into callings with the Primary and Youth programs. Not because everyone is a sex offender - it just takes time and paperwork (and remembering to turn in said paperwork).