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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 ...


44

I finally found it! Brian W Aldiss did a (very) short story "Working in the Spaceship Yards" (1969); here's the significant extract: ... We were building Q-line ships when I was in the shipyard. They were the experimental ones. The Ql, the Q2, the Q3, had each been completed, had been towed out into orbit beyond Mars, and triggered off towards ...


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 ...


30

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

There are three modes used in various sci-fi works, and a 4th in some space-fantasy settings. Mode 1: Artificial Gravity. This is safely assumed anytime you see decks aligned parallel to the flight path... in other words Aft is back, not down. The details of how AG works vary widely by universe, but it's all handwavium, so for practical purposes, it's ...


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 ...


27

While science fiction novels and movies like to present the idea of a means of reaching the Earth's core, the actual physics of the Earth won't allow such a journey to take place. The Earth's Crust is like the skin of an apple. It is very thin in comparison to the other three layers, the mantle, the outer core and the inner core. Two of the primary issues ...


26

Chocolate has been shown to contain a number of different stimulants and chemicals (see below) that may trigger the release of endogenous endorphins ("endogenous morphine"). However, the antidepressant effects of chocolate seem to have been exaggerated in popular culture. A review article by Parker et al.1 notes that the concentrations of certain ...


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

Expanding on Balto's answer, a brief primer on the origins of metalbending might be in order. While Toph was locked in a box, Guru Pathik was remarking to Aang: Even the separation of the four elements is an illusion [...] metal is just a part of Earth that has been purified and refined. As she struck the inside of her metal cage attempting to see as ...


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

The Flash's powers have evolved since the character's first appearance in 1940. While they were supposedly scientifically-based, little effort was made to explain any Flash's powers until the late sixties or early seventies re-creation of Barry Allen as the Silver Age Flash. Jay Garrick who was once called the Golden Age or Earth-2 Flash, gained his powers ...


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

Yes, Batman is a scientist. But not all scientists are Batman. (Sorry, Homer.) From Batman (Bruce Wayne) at the DC Comics Database: Genius-Level Intellect: Batman is a brilliant, virtually peerless, detective, strategist, scientist, tactician, and commander; he is widely regarded as one of the keenest analytical minds on the planet. Given his lack ...


18

It varies from universe to universe. For instance, in Star Wars, this explanation is about all you get: Artificial gravity generators were used to create a stable field of gravity outside of a planet's natural gravity well, thus aiding life in space. (There's more, but that's the main point.) In Star Trek, I can give you a little more. In the Star ...


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 Generally: ...


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-...


17

There's really no evidence (one way or the other) to support this. The TVTropes page for Your Mind Makes It Real has a few instances in the "real life" section that generally do not support this. Namely, a lot of times, what happens in the dream is actually a result of something happening in "real life", such as breaking your arm in a dream means you were ...


17

Possibly Night's Dawn trilogy by Peter F Hamilton?


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

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

The book is Diaspora by Greg Egan. The original idea was to widen electron wormhole mouths to make the wormholes large enough to be traversable, and then use the wormholes to hop between the stars. This is based on Kozuch Theory, an Egan invention where all elementary particles are wormholes. The wormholes produced were traversable but useless as they ...


15

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 ...


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-...


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