Science in Fiction: Kim Stanley Robinson and Living on Other Planets

You'll notice I didn't say "terraforming," even though that's what we usually think of in connection with human colonies beyond Earth. Really, there's a whole range of possibilities for how we might survive on other worlds, and only some of them involve remaking a whole planet. Usually I focus on one book, but this time … Continue reading Science in Fiction: Kim Stanley Robinson and Living on Other Planets

How We Mutate

A few months ago, I read an article explaining that geneticists have recently found an important difference between humans and octopi. They have eight limbs! Weird, huh? No, OK, the real discovery was that octopi and squids both adapt to their environment in a completely different way from humans. They can change physical characteristics quickly, … Continue reading How We Mutate

Linguists Hate This One Weird Trick!

Seriously, they do. That's because it's wrong. What is it, you ask? Look no further than your average semi-accurate Renaissance faire. Ah yes, there it is, right between the oversized turkey leg stand and the fairy-windchime store—"Ye Olde Dresse Shoppe." It's a pretty standard way to express that you're trying to recreate a "historical" sensibility. … Continue reading Linguists Hate This One Weird Trick!