Natural Sciences

Old School Dungeons & Dragons: Part 12

Time again for another compilation of old School Dungeons & Dragons posts from twitter! I am still not tired of exploring the history and mechanics of classic RPGs and the adventures written for them.

Bughunters (1993), by Lester Smith. We begin with a look at a non-D&D roleplaying game produced by TSR in the early 90s, whose core conceit is pretty much given away in the title!

Bughunters was one of numerous worlds designed for use with the Amazing Engine gaming system,...

About a cat flip video!

Okay, even though my book is now out in the world and I spent years working on it, I still manage to come across new things that surprise me about the problem of the falling cat!  A good example of this came across my twitter feed the other day: a video of a cat doing some pretty incredible acrobatics.  I include a gif of the relevant action, which includes a slower-motion version of the flip, below.

The cat, and the people, are startled by the sound of a passing car. The cat almost instantly...

Falling Felines at BBC Science Focus!

In case you’re not tired yet of hearing about my book on Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics, I wrote a post for BBC Science Focus Magazine about the falling cat phenomenon, which you can read here.  A sample of the article:

With the recognition of conservation of energy, physicists soon decided that a cat simply cannot flip over on its own in freefall once it begins falling. The consensus view was that a cat, at the moment it begins to fall, must push off of its perch to...

Spoiler-filled The Rise of Skywalker thoughts…

Back from China and hoping to get some more blogging done! After some 24 hours of non-stop travel, I got back on the 23rd and decided to stay awake as long as possible by going to see the final movie in the Star Wars Skywalker epic, The Rise of Skywalker.  Like the previous two episodes in this trilogy, I thought I would share some spoiler-laden thoughts on the movie here safely below the fold in a blog post where they can’t hurt anyone!

A word of warning, and a disclaimer, before...

Meeting Darlene and playing Jasmine: The Battle for the Mid-Realm!

Life has had its ups and downs over the past few years, with a number of particularly painful downs. But every once in a while, something really lovely happens that reminds me that the world still has some surprises and joys in it, if one knows where to look!

So as folks who follow my blog are probably aware, I’ve been doing a long dive into old school Dungeons & Dragons products and the early history of role-playing games; here’s my last post on the subject, for those...

Fake Book Titles Extravaganza #3!

Time for another round of Fake Book Titles that I’ve done, compiled from twitter!  You can see compilation 1 and compilation 2 at the links. These have proven to be a welcome distraction in stressful times. And, wow, I’ve done a lot since part 2!

As always with these, content warning for language, innuendo, and politics!

Original title: The Caves of Mars.

Original title: En El Centro de La Terra (Spanish version of At the Earth’s Core.) I wasn’t sure...

A few more Falling Felines bits of news!

If you’re still not tired of Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics news, yesterday was a good day for new posts, which I thought I’d compile here, along with some earlier stuff I forgot to share!

The Curiosity Daily Podcast interviewed me late last year, and that interview went up yesterday! You can listen to the podcast here.

I wrote a blog post for BBC Science Focus giving an introduction to the science and history of falling felines, a bit of a “Cliff Notes”...

A decade of history of science!

I’ve picked up a significant number of new followers on the blog lately, and this combined with the wrap-up of the decade seems like a good time to share some of my favorite history of science posts of the past ten years, for those who might have missed them. I can’t say that I’ve written at a particularly fast pace, but I do manage to find some of the strangest, most obscure, and most interesting tales about science and how it has been done! What follows is a list of...

A chat with H.G. Wells (1897)!

Now that Falling Felines is out, I’m doing research for my next popular science book, which I will talk more about soon! In the meantime, I will share interesting tidbits that I come across in my explorations, such as this gem. Also, I’m currently traveling in China — again — so my blog-writing resources are limited!

In today’s media-rich environment, one expects to see the views of one’s favorite authors shared, for better or worse, through...

The Third Grave, by David Case

As a big fan of ancient Egypt, I am a sucker for horror novels based on ancient Egyptian mythology.  So when I saw that Valancourt Books had reprinted David Case’s 1981 novel The Third Grave earlier this year, I knew I had to read it!

However, this is a caveat to my reading: I am a big fan of Valancourt editions, but the original edition of The Third Grave was released by Arkham House in a limited printing of only 4,158 copies. I’ve been putting together a humble little collection...