Natural Sciences

Old School Dungeons & Dragons: Part 17

Since I’m behind in compiling my old school D&D posts from twitter, here’s another post!

Operation Seventh Seal (1985), by Evan Robinson. Let’s look at an adventure from another TSR roleplaying game, Top Secret!

Top Secret was introduced in 1980 as a contemporary espionage roleplaying game, designed by Merle M. Rasmussen and published by TSR.

Looking back on playing Top Secret as a teen, I’m struck at how strange it is: it is effectively “spy...

Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay

My apologies for the long delay in writing — the chaos in the world and the busy nature of life has left me rather drained!  But I have managed to start reading some fiction again, and I thought I would share thoughts on one of my recent reads, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (2016), by Paul Tremblay.

One night Elizabeth Sanderson awakens to the call that every parent fears: her son, 13 year old Tommy, has disappeared into the wilds of a Borderland State Park while hanging...

Presentation tonight on “Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics!”

Hi all! For those who might be interested in watching, I’ll be doing a live presentation about the history of falling cats and science, based on my Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics book, as a Science Cafe for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences! You can read about the event, and find the YouTube link to it, at this link.

I assume that there will be a recording, and I will also post the link to it when it becomes available!


Jasmine: Journey Into Power coloring book

I haven’t been blogging much lately, because *gestures hands at everything* but I wanted to give a shoutout and a boost to a friend’s work today!

If you’ve been following for a while, you may remember that not too long ago I met Darlene, a very talented artist who was one of the early fantasy artists for TSR; one of her most famous works was the fantasy comic Jasmine which ran in Dragon Magazine for 12 issues starting in issue 37. (I have a physical copy of that issue...

Astronomers find the closest known black hole to Earth!

Astronomers find the closest known black hole to Earth!:

I forgot to share this post from Bad Astronomy from last week! Astronomers have found the closest known black hole to Earth, which is about 3 times closer than the previous record holder.

This could be cause to make folks really nervous, because there aren’t a lot of things about black holes that are good for living creatures, to put it nicely. Fortunately, this black hole is still 1,000 light years away, which is way too...

Old School Dungeons & Dragons: Part 16

Been a while since I’ve compiled my twitter threads on old school D&D, so time to catch up a bit!

Reunion (1998), by Jackie Cassada and Nicky Rea.  Here we look at a rather unusual specimen from the Al-Qadim line of “Arabian Adventures.”

Reunion is a rather unusual adventure for a number of reasons. Though it is one of the Al-Qadim “Arabian Adventures” line produced by TSR, it came out some four years after that line had been officially ended!...

Presentation on “Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics!”

Okay, so I did a video presentation at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences tonight on “Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics!” Due to COVID restrictions, it’s the closest thing to a book event I’ll be doing for a while, so I’m grateful to have had the opportunity.

Watch the video for a fun walk through the basic history of the falling feline problem in science, as well as a couple of brief demonstrations by me on a spinner, showing how angular momentum...

Fake Book Titles Extravaganza #4!

Time for another round of Fake Book Titles that I’ve done, compiled from twitter!  You can see compilation 1, compilation 2 and compilation 3 at the links. Been struggling a bit more with inspiration the past few months, but let’s see how I did…

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

Original title: The Eyes of Sarsis.

The classics never get old:

Original title: The Odyssey.

This one next will (hopefully) make no sense at...

Old School Dungeons & Dragons: Part 15

Time for another roundup of my twitter threads on old school Dungeons & Dragons products! Let’s jump right in:

The Complete Fighter’s Handbook (1989), by Aaron Allston. I haven’t yet touched any of the “handbook” supplements that were made for 2nd edition AD&D!

The Complete Fighter’s Handbook was the first in a long line of handbooks intended to expand the variety of options for characters, races and campaigns in 2nd edition...

‘Murder Hornets’ in the U.S.: The Rush to Stop the Asian Giant Hornet

‘Murder Hornets’ in the U.S.: The Rush to Stop the Asian Giant Hornet:

Yeah, I really couldn’t let this story pass by without some comment here!

Just when you thought that 2020 couldn’t get any more ridiculously bad, here come the invasive murder hornets!

This comment in the NYT article struck me:

For larger targets, the hornet’s potent venom and stinger — long enough to puncture a beekeeping suit — make for an excruciating combination that victims have likened...