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167

I will begin this by stating that I am a PhD Student in potato post-harvest physiology and the sprouting of potatoes is an aspect that many people that work with this crop find very important. It is certainly feasible that the potatoes, if refrigerated, would be able to sprout after several months. Some potatoes, including modern varieties, are able to ...


125

Saruman Yes, he was evil, since Tolkien was not a great fan of industrialization, but Saruman studied the natural sciences. Specifically, he was familiar with optics. His "Saruman of many colors" schtick was a reference to the fact that a prism splits white light into a spectrum; it is implied that Saruman may have been the first to discover this. ...


55

From the book: I am one lucky son of a bitch they aren’t freeze-dried or mulched. Why did NASA send twelve whole potatoes, refrigerated but not frozen? And why send them along with us as in-pressure cargo rather than in a crate with the rest of the Hab supplies? Because Thanksgiving was going to happen while we were doing surface operations, and ...


36

Yes, almost certainly. In the "Call the Producers" segment at the end of Episode 3, the Producer explicitly notes that Ms. Frizzle can't get sick because... ...she's magic at which point we see an inexplicable sparkle coming off of her image on the screen. Since magic (real magic) is evidently a part of the Magic Schoolbus 'verse, I think it's more ...


32

This is partly a problem with the episode ordering of FOX, and partly untold. "Summer of Love" was supposed to be episode two. It was to transition them from the "timer can open portals whenever, only it's super dangerous and might short out at any time if not given enough rest" model of the pilot to "the weakened timer can open portals at one specific ...


29

The mission wasn't long enough to require it. It is very expensive to dedicate habitat area to farming. It is very expensive to dedicate astronaut time to farming. You don't spend trillions of dollars on a mission and tolerate the risk of all the things that could go wrong with cultivating food, so you'd need to pack food as a contingency anyhow. They ...


28

Assuming the nature of science fiction story telling of the period, Theodore Sturgeon's point was that humanity's flirtations with science began occurring with our capacity to write and transfer information. Not only was the transfer important but the ability to build on the knowledge of previous generations. Since all knowledge was based on the word of ...


24

In the original script, Caleb's plan was to simply take her somewhere that they could purchase a compatible induction charging plate, a technology that has presumably become relatively commonplace in the near-future: CALEB: How long does your battery charge last? AVA: Twenty six hours. CALEB: So we’ll have about a day to get to a cell-phone or ...


23

Tom Bombadil? OK, he doesn't seem much like a scientist at first glance, but bear with me ... He lives surrounded by nature, which he knows and understands better than anyone. He has a lot of wisdom and perception, more than other characters, which is never really explained. He is not motivated by worldly desires or politics, preferring to just stay in his ...


22

Off the top of my head (and relating the answer to the films, rather than the comics) there were a number of fields in which Tony Stark demonstrated outstanding knowledge Engineering + Physics Tony's arc reactor, the literal heart of the machine is a wonder of engineering, outputting a vast amount of electricity with no obvious source of fuel, potentially ...


20

This question is discussed on p. 24 of Paul J. Nahin's Time Machines: Time Travel in Physics, Metaphysics, and Science Fiction (2nd edition, ISBN 0-387-98571-9): Of course, one might argue that Wells' machine does actually move, because it is attached to the Earth, which is certainly moving, but it is not clear why this should result in the time machine ...


19

This is made clearer in the book of the movie - moisture farmers extract water out of the air and sell it to plant farmers. Since we do not see any vegetation, it may be that there is limited arable land - but water can be extracted from the atmosphere elsewhere and then shipped to where it is needed. As for process - this isn't detailed in the book, ...


19

It's not much of a book admittedly, but despite its scienific foundations, "Breakfast in a Weightless Kitchen" (Завтрак в невесомой кухне), a 1914 short story by Yakov Isidorovich Perel'man (1882-1942), is anything but scientific in form. Specifically, it is written as a "missing chapter" (today we would probably call that a fanfic) for Jules Verne's From ...


18

The position of Science Officer is alive and well in the 24th century. You're implying several things. So I'm going to try and answer the question with some framing. The question is "Why did DS9 need a science officer?" So first we need to understand what a science officer does. From Wiki: https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Science_officer ...


18

The sulfur dioxide that spewed from the mouth of the volcano created a haze far up in the stratosphere, the upper limits of our atmosphere. The haze reflected sunlight away from the Earth, cooling the planet by almost 1 degree Farenheit (half a degree Celsius) over the two years that followed. -Muse magazine, April 2010 So this is based off of real-life ...


17

ETA: It appears the Archmaester Ebrose was documenting the weights as "penny" in the scene for the basis of the question. Based on the evidence below, I am fairly certain this would refer to a pennyweight. Whether or not this actually makes sense though is another question. And now back to your regularly scheduled answer... We do know George based his ...


16

Probably far from the earliest, but Robert H. Wilson's novelette "Out Around Rigel", first published in Astounding Stories, December 1931 (available at the Internet Archive) and available in a Project Gutenberg etext, is a famous classic. It is the story of an ancient Lunarian spacefarer: Even from afar off, I could see that it was desolate. Visible now ...


16

The semi-canonical Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual is deliberately vague on this, just referring to some unknown form of "charge reversal devices" on p. 67, but they do at least specify that Starfleet has special facilities for antimatter production: As used aboard the USS Enterprise, antimatter is first generated at major Starfleet ...


15

In a piece originally written on GEnie and archived on the excellent Lurker's Guide website, J. Michael Straczynski describes the station as being; "...patterned physically after the work of such scientists as Gerard K. O'Neill" with the central core of the station containing a "hollow-world look, with fields and hydroponic gardens along the 360-...


14

We can see from the image below (from season 6) that Leela's skeleton is completely normal from the neck down. That would strongly imply that the bone that she's missing is within her skull or upper neck. Presumably she's missing her nasal bone, since that would conflict with her big centrally-located eye.


14

Probably someone will find an earlier example, But the Soviet film Kosmicheskiy reys (Cosmic Journey) (1936) is mentioned on p. 21 of Reconsidering Sputnik as "the first Soviet film which showed weightlessness in action" (edit: after a little more checking, it looks like my earlier possible example below probably counts as a physically accurate depiction, ...


13

I have read every single book in the Animorph series, and can confirm there is no canon explanation of a size limit to a morph. The mosquito incident, as @izkata said, was a special phenomena due to a circumstancial sequence of events.


13

It's probably a reference to this excitable fellow1: I have absolutely no idea what he's saying, but he combines Coca-Cola, Mentos and Nutella to fill a Durex condom to absurd proportions, and is really happy about it. According to our friends at Chemistry.SE, the Nutella doesn't actually add anything to the reaction, from ...


12

Daredevil is a walking Geiger counter. By the man's own admission. In Daredevil #43 (1968), after Karen Page decides to walk away from him, a heartbroken Daredevil begins to storm the city, looking for a bad guy to lash out on. He first settles on beating up the Jester, but intercepts a radio call announcing the theft of radioactive vials. He then proceeds ...


12

It is: A taste of your own medicine by Tony Ballantyne: '... “I'm sorry, Ms Melham...” he began, and then more kindly. “I'm sorry, Sacha, but you've crossed the threshold. I'm afraid to say, you're not allowed science any more.” ...' The whole short story at this link: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v489/n7414/full/489170a.html


12

In the world of Stainless Steel Rat they have both FTL communication (in the form of FTL transmitters) and FTL travel (in the form of warp drives): "So they are already in warpdrive and cannot be contacted until they emerge." I considered the possibilities. "You will of course be in touch with the authorities at their scheduled destination. The ...


12

First off, the Martian soil probably does have the necessary mineral nutrients required to support life, but probably not the organic nutrients. Amending soil is not that much of a big deal if you have a few basic chemicals, and if you are like the main character a botanist with a general science background as well, you know what you need to do. Your ...


12

This is Ecodeath (1972) by William Jon Watkins & E. V. Snyder. An ecoescape story about Watkins and Snyder (when they weren't writing this book) who both can "Jump" into time. Watkins has lost his wife and child to the poison bloom of one Ashley's firm and is determined to get him; Ashley hires Snyder to kill Watkins, but before they're ...


12

He is most likely referring to the time since the beginnings of civilisation. Today, with more recent discoveries of proto-cities and neolithic settlements we'd say that civilisation started around 7,500 BC, or 9,500 years ago; in 1941, civilisation was generally held to have begun with Ancient Egypt which could, with a few rounding errors, be said to have ...


12

The issue is complicated by the starkly different relationship that Men, Eldar, and Ainur have with Arda: It is never the true home of Men, whereas the Elves and the Ainur within Arda are bound to it until the end. One aspect of this relationship is that the material of Arda responds to the will of the Eldar and the Ainur differently from the way it ...


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