Category Archives: Science Stuff

My 2012 Balticon Schedule

Hi! How’ve you been?

It’s been a busy couple of months. I keep meaning to write, honest.

Look, it’s not you, it’s me.

Oh, never mind. Here’s where I’ll be speaking at the Balticon convention this year. If you’re in Baltimore, or near Baltimore, or anywhere on the east coast, swing by!

Multi-Creatives. Saturday, 12:00 noon, Derby.
The demands of […]

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Talking Science at Balticon 2012

This year I decided to focus more on science outreach, especially giving science talks to general audiences. As part of that, I’ll be attending Balticon, the long-standing SFF convention in Baltimore. I’m especially excited because I’m getting to interview Bill Phillips. In 1997 Dr. Phillips won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on […]

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Cars in Science

In my ongoing question to provide scientific input into everything regardless of its applicability, I’m now helping put the science in cars! I’m working with Jason Torchinsky, a contributor to the car site Jalopnik, on articles that combine physics and cars. First up is Jason’s discussion of how to build a lunar rover for as […]

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Have a Powerful Day!

Yesterday I tweeted a link to Rhett Allain’s fun article comparing name-brand batteries to dollar-store batteries. Rhett covers numerically approximating integrals, energy, energy density, and cost per joule of energy. As a bonus, his commenters taught me about eneloop batteries. My take-away from his article: if you’re going to use disposable batteries and you’re buying […]

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Three Very Small Exoplanets

NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, which is looking for planets outside our solar system, has found three of the smallest exoplanets yet. They’re all smaller than Earth — their radii are 0.78, 0.73 and 0.57 times that of Earth’s — and the smallest is about the size of Mars.

They’re very close to their star, too close to […]

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Science Experiments for Unimpressed Kids: Surface Tension

A while back, Eli and Liza excitedly talked about water striders. “They walk on water, dad!”

As a scientist, I never miss a teachable opportunity. “You know why water striders can walk on water?” I asked them. “It’s because of surface tension. I’ll show you!”

How to Demonstrate Surface Tension

This easy and fun experiment will be sure […]

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The Only Talk Combining Exoplanet Hunting and My Little Ponies You Will Need Today

At last it can be seen: my hour-long talk about how astronomers find planets outside our solar system, complete with a Goatse joke and pedagogical My Little Ponies.

I gave this talk for the second time at Geek Media Expo in Nashville. I had good panel attendance even though I was talking at 9 AM on […]

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In Which I Use Scientific Reasoning to Doubt the Thorium-Powered Car

While I was away at Dragon*Con, stories about a possible thorium-powered car popped up in the news. From the write-up at Txchnologist:

Charles Stevens, an inventor and entrepreneur, recently revealed that his Massachusetts-based R&D firm, Laser Power Systems (LPS), is working on a turbine/electric generator system that is powered by “an accelerator-driven thorium-based laser.” The thorium […]

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Talking Science at Dragon*Con 2011

It took me a while to realize how much science content there was at Dragon*Con, mainly because I was distracted by Steampunk Zombie Marvel Superheroes Made of Cardboard and Patrick Stewart. Now that I give talks for and hang out around the “reality tracks” in the Hilton (i.e. Space, Science, EFF, Robotics, and Skeptics), I […]

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Talking Science to Romance Novel Writers

A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to give a talk on science and technology to the Nashville Romance Writers of America chapter. Yes, yes, laugh all you want, but romance novels often touch on other genres. I met writers whose books had strong science fiction or suspense elements, and you can bet that […]

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