book science

Found this book at the thrift store a couple of days ago. Buying it was a moral imperative.


Back cover: Misunderstood  vampire Sterling O’Blivion was working at a dance stuido in Chicago when the Rysemian starships landed and things began to change for the better. For one thing, the aliens could take any form they chose, human or otherwise, and Sterling fell head over heels for the one called Benaroya, who was presently disguised as Virginia Woolf. For another, Sterling got a neat new job as chief spokesperson for the aliens’ front operation selling the Famous Men’s Sperm Kit.

After seven hundred years, Sterling had begun to think the joy was going out of life. Now she had the chance to turn into Mr. Spock, to dance with Abraham Lincoln, and to fall wildly and truly in love. It was just the sort of romp an aging vampire needed!

(Published in 1984)

First page:

Sometimes scientists change their minds. New developments cause a rethink. If this bothers you, consider how much damage is being done to the world by people for whom new developments do not cause a rethink.
—  Terry Pratchett - The Science Of Discworld
Universities are very familiar with bright, qualified school-leavers who arrive and then go into shock on finding that biology or physics isn’t quite what they’ve been taught so far. ‘Yes, but you needed to understand that,’ they are told, 'so that now we can tell you why it isn’t exactly true.’ Discworld teachers know this, and use it to demonstrate why universities are truly storehouses of knowledge: students arrive from school confident that they know very nearly everything, and they leave years later certain that they know practically nothing. Where did the knowledge go in the meantime? Into the university, of course, where it is carefully dried and stored.
—  Terry Pratchett - The Science Of Discworld

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” 

- George Orwell, 1984


August 18 2017

I opened the physics book again out of guilt >_> 

Someone needs to remind me to finish all the forms/requirements for the UCLA Health volunteer services yikes I feel like I’m gonna forget and get kicked off

I’m really looking forward to going back to school already, sigh unpopular opinion



In Andy Weir’s new novel Artemis, life on the moon is no bed of roses. The coffee is weak (because water boils at a low temperature) and the food is rank (because it’s hard to grow much more than algae).

He talked to NPR’s Scott Simon about building his lunar colony – and why it’s modeled after the less savory aspects of some beach resort towns. Check out their conversation here.

– Petra

anonymous asked:

Hit me with a cool fact of the brain!(short if possible?I have duslexia)Thanks!✨

Ok from where you’re sitting right now I want you to try and slowly scan the room from left to right in one smooth motion. It’s not possible- instead, your eyes move along in little jumps called saccades. Now I want you to lift your pointer finger up and move it along from left to right, following it with your eyes. You’ll now notice your eyes no longer move in saccades but follow your finger in a swift motion known as a “smooth pursuit”. This movement allows our eyes to closely follow a moving object and evolved to aid us in catching prey or keep away from predators. Autistic people, abuse victims and those under the influence of alcohol or drugs often show a lack or defecit of smooth pursuit.


Earth’s oceans are 30% more acidic than they were a century ago, which prompted science writer Juli Berwald to wonder what that meant for jellyfish – a deceptively simple question that spurred an entire book about these fascinating animals and their relationship with climage change.

Our critic Jason Heller calls Spineless “delightful and entertaining.” Check out his review here.

Also, if you need a moment of calm, I highly recommend the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s jellyfish cam: 

… ahhhhhhhhhh

– Petra

mortavita  asked:

I'm toying with a story in a superhero universe where the main character is literally created rather than born. Their purpose is to protect government interests and they escape after a few decades. Now I want them to explore their own identity given they have no lineage, and I feel like they would become really attached to Golems and Judaism. The emotional center of the story would involve them discussing the nature of their existence with a Rabbi. Is this stupid?

Can my sci-fi artificial intelligence identify with golems and discuss this with a rabbi?

I love this! This fits really well with the existing way golems are treated in SFF. Have you read Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni? Chava’s journey is a lot like what you want to write, only it’s set in 1900’s NYC’s lower east side. And rabbis in general love discussing things, so that’s right on point. I’d suggest reading some Jewish blogs or graphic novels like Rabbi Harvey or The Rabbi’s Cat to get a feel for how those conversations might go, if you aren’t Jewish.

I also highly recommend Becky Chambers’ A Closed and Common Orbit, which doesn’t have anything to do with golems but is the best “AI learning how autonomy works” novel I’ve ever read and also a wonderful book about found-family on a space colony.


As humans, we have invented lots of useful kinds of lie. As well as lies-to-children (‘as much as they can understand’) there are lies-to-bosses ('as much as they need to know’) lies-to-patients ('they won’t worry about what they don’t know’) and, for all sorts of reasons, lies-to-ourselves.
—  Terry Pratchett - The Science Of Discworld 

Big day everyone! I can finally reveal the cover of my new book! I am absolutely in love with this art. They did such a great job. It really captures the spirit of the book, playful but serious content. The book won’t be out until May but I can hardly wait! Tell me what you think of this cover!! I’ll be doing book events all over the country next summer and fall and I hope to finally meet some of my Tumblr peeps out there. Until then!