I'd be curious to know (a) whether the orbits are stable over long periods, and (b) whether solar energy reaching the surface is constant enough to maintain consistent temperatures in the preferred range for life-as-we-know-it. Some temperature excursions are probably allowable (and would produce some interesting… » 4/01/15 12:33pm Today 12:33pm

I read the Stephen Donaldson books when I was fairly young. While I understood the concept of a flawed hero or anti-hero or whatever you'd like to call him, I found Thomas Covenant's unrelieved self-loathing tiresome to read. Donaldson's prose can also be pretty purple at times, and the books could stand some fairly… » 4/01/15 12:07pm Today 12:07pm

Does it need a plot? Because I think I could probably stand just to watch things explode (with a few lingering shots of escapee supermodels thrown in for change of pace) for a couple of hours. Think "Koyaanisqatsi", but with more explosions and mutants in leather bondage gear. Sure-fire winner, trust me on this. » 3/31/15 11:04am Yesterday 11:04am

Just to confuse matters further, it seems that dogfish (a kind of small shark) probably don't bark. The swell shark, which does, is a catshark. But then some dogfish are also catsharks, or perhaps that should be some catsharks are also dogfish. (Try to stay with me here). » 3/30/15 2:37pm Monday 2:37pm

I think there's room for a crossover here. Mad Max and Babe fighting bacon-hungry mutants in a post-apocalyptic wasteland? The story writes itself. » 3/19/15 9:27am 3/19/15 9:27am

Or perhaps you could just leave a handful of ball-bearings underneath the stretcher that the person being scanned lies on. When the MRI powers up, any little bit of magnetic metal in the vicinity is going to take the shortest route to the electromagnet, and if the shortest route happens to pass through your vital… » 3/18/15 4:08pm 3/18/15 4:08pm

Alessandro Manzoni's novel "I Promessi Sposi" ('The Betrothed') — much hated by Italian schoolkids, because it's long as hell and a required set text — has a chapter in which the hero goes to Milan at the height of the poisoning panic. He is promptly accused of being a foreign spy sent to give everyone the plague by… » 3/18/15 3:49pm 3/18/15 3:49pm

Just as we regularly underestimate the intelligence of people in the past, so we underestimate the extensiveness of their trade routes. The simplistic view of history we get in school has all the different cultures living in separate boxes, occasionally colliding in 'clash of civilizations'-style wars like the… » 3/18/15 10:33am 3/18/15 10:33am

So, on a yearly basis, we're still running at about 42,000,000 cows killed by humans against 22 humans killed by cows. I think we have the upper hand for now, but, obviously, the balance could tip at any moment. » 3/12/15 11:10am 3/12/15 11:10am

"Now, no one's faulting your productivity, Joe. It's amazing that you got so much done in such a short time. And yes, if we'd read your resume, we'd have realized that you got most of your CGI experience working for Michael Bay. But your digital pubic hair is just a little too ... how shall I put this? A little too… » 3/04/15 8:32am 3/04/15 8:32am

The next tablet in the British Museum's collection is the reply to this one, and reads: "Due to a higher-than-expected tablet volume, all of our servants are currently busy assisting other merchants. Your tablet is important to us. Please continue to wait, and a scribe will respond to you as soon as possible." » 2/26/15 3:47pm 2/26/15 3:47pm