What is the difference between Great Britain and England?

Answer by Robert Frost:

Here's a Venn diagram from a class I teach, that explains the meaning of the British terms.

Here are the areas we are concerned with.  England is a country, like Scotland and Wales.

Great Britain is the combination of England, Scotland, and Wales.

Ireland is the island that contains Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The United Kingdom is the combination of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The British Isles includes The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

All that said, I can still never remember if I'm supposed to address mail to my Dad with Great Britain or United Kingdom.

What is the difference between Great Britain and England?


Who checks that there is no human cloning going on?

Answer by Adriana Heguy:

There are two types of cloning: reproductive cloning, which is intended to make a baby and thus a full human being, and therapeutic cloning, which means to create embryonic stem cells that can be used for therapeutic purposes, but not to implant on a woman's uterus to make a baby. Many countries have banned reproductive cloning, some also therapeutic cloning. In the US, the laws change state by state. This article is a little old but it's pretty thorough: Special Report: Cloning

I'm going to address reproductive cloning here.

In most countries, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of research institutions such as universities, non for profits or even the industry, have to approve any and all research carried out that involves human subjects. These IRBs police all research carried out on human subjects. In the US, the IRBs include not only scientists and bioethicists, but also members of the general public. 

Of course, it's not like the IRB will come to your lab and snoop around to make sure there is no human cloning going on. Once the research is or is not approved, the IRB assumes the lab is complying. As with many other things that are illegal or unethical, and require a large team of people to achieve, keeping human reproductive cloning a secret would be very, very difficult, as you'll need a large number of researchers who can keep a secret, as well as fertility doctors, physicians, the owner of the womb, etc.

Reproductive cloning is very, very difficult to achieve, it's a technical challenge in humans, and it is very expensive, it necessitates a significant infrastructure in addition to know-how. The first report of human cloning turned out to be a fraud, and brought disgrace to the researcher, Dr. Hwang from Korea, who now clones dogs (Korean Scientist’s New Project: Rebuild After Cloning Disgrace).

Of course, nothing prevents a very, very rich person in cahoots with unscrupulous researchers in a secret lab, and surrogate moms paid to keep quiet (if the cloned person is a guy, if it's a woman, she can be pregnant with her own clone) to carry out reproductive cloning. But this is no different than any other illegal or unethical activity in the world: sometimes people get away with it. I would argue that in the case of reproductive cloning, if a healthy baby is produced, someone will talk, as it would be a huge achievement to succeed at human reproductive cloning and people would want to take credit. Just like Dr. Hwang wanted so badly to be the first to do that, that he was willing to commit fraud.

Who checks that there is no human cloning going on?

Could Ashoka have defeated Alexander?

Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:

Likely. Alexander's troops only marginally won against Porus in the Battle of the Hydaspes and it was a very costly victory. Porus could demoralize Alexander's troops enough to get them homesick. And Porus was a small time king in India's frontier with no major reputation.

Ashoka's territory was possibly 20 times bigger than that of Porus and it was also much better organized. To win Ashoka, Alexander would have had to travel 2000 more kilometers into India's interior and would have had to face a hot, humid tropical zone with dense forest cover unlike the ones he encountered in the West Asia. The economic might of Pataliputra was also far bigger than Purushapura.

While the Macedonian faced a highly unstable Persian empire that was going through internal troubles with viziers & satraps poisoning the emperors, the Mauryan empire under Ashoka was in a much better shape. Darius III had very little experience and was just installed to the throne by a vizier who wanted to play a shadow game. Alexander made use of Darius' inexperience to the full tilt. Against an experienced emperor like Ashoka it was a totally different ball game. Greeks also had very little understanding of India's topography while they understood Persia a lot.

Ashoka's territory size was comparable to that of the Macedonian's (List of largest empires) but with a larger population. Ashoka was as ruthless and had a very powerful army. They would have matched well in a neutral territory midway between Greece and India. However, when fighting in Indian terrain with the Macedonian fighting far from home and a massive army of elephants, Ashoka would have crushed Alexander.

Could Ashoka have defeated Alexander?

What are some of the greatest examples of presence of mind?

Answer by Samidha Paroha:

I heard this story when I was a kid.

The story's about an old man who used to plant potatoes in his field every year, and for that he had to spade the whole field all by himself. His son used to help him do so, but this year he was in prison.

So, the father wrote to his son saying, "I hate the fact that I am getting too old to dig up the garden alone. Had you been here, you would have helped me dig up the plot. I think I'll not be able to plant potatoes this year."

The son wrote back to him telling him NOT to dig up the potato gardens, since he had hidden GUNS over there!! The very next day, police came over to the father's house and dug up the entire field to find the guns. Needless to say, they didn't find any.

When the father wrote to his son again to tell him about the arrival of the police and how they dug up everything, the son wrote back saying, "Go ahead and plant your potatoes Dad, this is the best I could do from over here!"

What are some of the greatest examples of presence of mind?