Natural Sciences

October reading: A Night in the Lonesome October

So I semi-regularly blog about books on this site, and my usual strategy is to read the book and then write a blog post about it.

For October, I’m going to be a little different! Over the month, I’m going to read Roger Zelazny’s A Night in the Lonesome October (1993), and I encourage y’all to read along!

This book is special because it is divided into 31 chapters, each representing one day of October, plus an introductory chapter. By tradition, or even intent...

Old School Dungeons & Dragons: Part 9

I have almost caught up with all the old school Dungeons & Dragons posts I’ve been doing on twitter! So, without further ado, here’s part 9!

Die, Vecna, Die! (2000), by Bruce R. Cordell and Steve Miller. This module has the curious distinction of being perhaps the last “old school” adventure ever published!

Die, Vecna, Die! was one of two mind-bogglingly epic adventures released with universe-spanning ramifications, allowing DMs to have a reason...

Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics in Five Languages!

Some exciting news to share: it turns out that my upcoming book on Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics will be translated into five languages so far!  In case you missed the lovely cover image before, here it is again, for the English edition:

Right now, it looks like it’s slated to be translated into: Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Chinese, and will also be available in audiobook format!  I will have more details on those translations when they get closer...

Old School Dungeons & Dragons: Part 7

Almost caught up on my old school Dungeons & Dragons posts from twitter!  So here’s part 7!

UK4: When a Star Falls (1984), by Graeme Morris.  We start today with another of the UK-produced modules, which tend to have a very different flavor and welcome quirkiness when compared to their US counterparts.

The fact that this module is written by Graeme Morris is a good sign: Morris was an author or co-author of many excellent modules from the TSR UK office, including Beyond...

Old School Dungeons & Dragons: Part 6

Still doing the research on some new physics blog posts, but in the meantime, I have a lot of old school Dungeons & Dragons to catch up on! So before I share more science tricks, here’s part 6!

CB1: Conan Unchained (1984), by David Cook. As a company, TSR was not immune to the allure of making more money by licensing deals.  Later, I’ll discuss some products that will blow your mind! One of the more obvious choices was to take advantage of the popularity of a certain...

What a Scientific Englishman thinks of Scientific Americans (1874)

Things are a little crazy here in the United States right now, so as a pick-me-up of sorts, I thought I would share this charming article that appeared in the January 30, 1874 issue of Scientific American: “What a Scientific Englishman thinks of Scientific Americans.”  It is a lovely reminder of how great we can be, when we put our minds to it!

R.A. Proctor (1837-1888).

The article was written by the English astronomer Richard Anthony Proctor (1837-1888), who is...

Effects of explosions on the ear (1887)

Here’s another blog post inspired, in part, by my work on my upcoming book on Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics

When we discuss our ideal impressions of science, we often imagine repeatedly doing laboratory experiments in which every variable is controlled and the fundamental phenomenon is isolated from all others.  However, in plenty of situations, especially involving biological specimens, such controlled experiments are impractical, impossible,...

Old School Dungeons & Dragons: Part 8

It’s a quiet night, and I’m feeling great, so here’s old school D&D, part 8!

Chronomancer (1995), by Loren ColemanChronomancer is one of the oddest AD&D supplements I’ve come across yet, and highlights how much TSR was willing to experiment to keep players engaged in the 1990s.

Chronomancer introduces a new wizard class, the Chronomancer, who has access to what is known in the book as “Temporal Prime,” the dimension of time....

Dr. SkySkull in China, Part 6: The Temple of Heaven

Part 6 in a long series of posts about my month and a half in China. Part 1 can be read here, Part 2 can be read here, Part 3 can be read here, Part 4 can be read here, and Part 5 can be read here.

On the day we arrived in Beijing, and on the day before I nearly killed myself climbing the Great Wall, we warmed up by visiting another of the major historical landmarks of the city: The Temple of Heaven.  We in fact visited later in the day, having taken the train from Jinan that morning, but...

Old School Dungeons & Dragons: Part 5

Trying to keep my game of catch-up on old school D&D alive, so here’s part 5!

WG5: Mordenkainen’s Fantastic Adventure (1984), by Robert J. Kuntz and Gary Gygax. This adventure is reeeeeally old school, even though it was published in 1984!

The name sounds a bit silly, but don’t let it fool you: this adventure was first written in 1972/1973 by Robert Kuntz in order to challenge the skills of none other than Gary Gygax, who used his wizard Mordenkainen! It is a quite...