joalheagney t1_jebv5pb wrote

If I could write anything other than dialogue well and could turn this into a book, I think I'd actually go for fluid logic for my magic computers.

"That's a very pretty magical fountain incantation."

"Fountain? That's my desktop pc. It's running a mundane game called Doom. If you look closely at the display part here, you can see the main character just blew the head off a demon."

"... I actually find that pretty offensive dude."

"... oh shit. Sorry. I forgot you're 1/4 demon on your mum's side. I'll load up Tetris instead."


joalheagney t1_je6y870 wrote


"Well it did, you saw for yourself."

"Gnnnnn. I mean you just killed a dragon ... using garden supplies! And what the hell was that incantation?"

"Look. We've been friends despite a lot of ... stuff. Can I trust you to keep a secret?"

"... fine?"

"Remember last April Fools when you sent me to that mundane world for a month?"

"Look. I've already apologised for that. I didn't think it would be that hard to bring you back. I even handed myself over to the College's tender mercies once I realised I wasn't going to get you back by myself."

"Not trying to guilt you man. That month was the best thing that ever happened to my magical career. I worked out how to visit any time I want and I've been spending the entire year learning SCIENCE!"

"Oh that trollop again? The scientific method blah blah blah, and that alg... algae.."


"Mathematics with letters. You expect me to believe that allows you to kill a dragon?"

"Well that and these books specifically."

"...Thermodynamics for Dummies? History of ... Guns? My Little Chemistry Set? Metallurgy for Beginners? I'm not getting it. And you still didn't tell me the incantation you used."

"Focault's Geometric Binding."

"... That's a First Year Spell, isn't it? What did it do again?"

"Makes a tube of magical force."

"... Nope. Still not getting it."

"I've just invented the Spell of Gun."


joalheagney t1_jd1oog4 wrote

Or he will have established several centuries of precedent that a dragon can be a trusted and valuable member of the community. "You're the DRAGON?" "Um. Yeah." "... So. Now we know, you won't need to run off on us so often?"


joalheagney t1_jac2ieh wrote

"Wait. According to this, all other galactic civilisations get one senator. But it says you've given us four?"


"Veri... wha. Oh. That means yes I guess."


"Okay. So. Why?"

Humans are extremely short lived and as a consequence, naturally short sighted.

"Soooo ... if we're that short sighted, why give us four votes."

Error. You get one vote. Decided collectively between your representatives anonymously.

"Wait. Wha ... You mean we collectively get one vote? Secretly? So what? Majority wins?"

Error. The vote must be unanimous.

"Oh that is such bull shit. You expect four humans to exactly agree for our vote to count?"

Clarification. Not initially. Our sociologists predict that it will take a few disastrous votes before you start considering each other's beliefs, desires and fears, but the end result should be beneficial to your species.

"Ohhh, this is such bull shit."

Clarification. The representatives will be primarily decided by age ... to represent the full experience of human lives. One 10 year old, one 30 year old, one 50 year old and one 70 year old. When the Eldest dies, a new Youngest will be selected. This should eventually encourage a good balance between immediate needs and future aspirations. You have been selected as the first Young Elder.


Clarity. Not initially, no.

"Damnit. I know the Youngest and the Eldest are going to gang up on me."


joalheagney t1_j9nr2t2 wrote

Keeping it short? Viruses reproduce by inserting DNA into our cells' nuclei (Even the RNA viruses - there's just extra steps).

Several viruses have a dormant stage, where they infect a cell, but don't produce new viral particles unless triggered - usually by stress of the host. Herpes simplex is a good example, which is why cold sores come back.

Once a viral gene is in a stem cell, it's up for reuse and adaptation via evolution, just like any other gene.


joalheagney t1_j9mnukn wrote

Reply to comment by sillypicture in He’s 52 days old by furkanta

This boy does, but they're open about 1/2 way. You can see that they're a little taller than they are wide, and the tops and bottoms are pointed. His head just had to grow big enough to match his eyes.


joalheagney t1_j9ma94i wrote

I'd imagine the Draconic Taxation Bureau has a decided lack of humour about impostors. These adventurers may eventually decide that they would have been better off eaten by the dragon.


joalheagney t1_j9egs9m wrote

"The thing about being a wolf is that existence is all immediate. Hungry? Time to hunt. Thirsty? Let's go to to the river. Mating season? Time to make a buffoon of yourself picking fights with the other males and hoping that a female picks you."

"Doesn't sound that much different from most human men I know."

"Don't trivialise what I'm saying with humour please. Human existence is hell. I'm constantly thinking about what happened. What might happen. God, I'm constantly thinking about what might have happened instead of what actually happened. What's the point of that?"

"I guess I'm used to it. I don't really understand what you want from me? "

"I need more words."

"Really? You seem pretty articulate for an ex-wolf."

"Grrrrrhhh. I need emotion words. Ways to express the sheer frustration that is human existence."

"... ah. You want SWEAR words. THAT I can help with."


joalheagney t1_j62icrk wrote


The battlefield shivered with the sound of wooden staves colliding together. The enemy general Bordrick looked up sharply, a deep foreboding filling his heart.

Yes. Straining over the slowly diminishing sounds of men fighting and dying ... yes ... yes that was the sound of tinkling bells. "Oh gods."

Crack. Again the sound of iron-shod oak colliding with iron-shod oak. "Caaaalllll the RETREEEEET." Bordrick shouted, panic straining his vocal cords. "Caaaallll RETREEEEETTT."

Taking a deep breath just as he sees a splash of colour at the edge of the battle, the general desperately seeks to warn his men of the impending doom. "THEY'VE UNLEASHED THE BLOODY MORRIS DANCERS! REEETRREEEEETTTTT."

Many a Hey-Nonny was Nonnied that day, children, many a Hey-Nonny.


joalheagney t1_j4pbw10 wrote

Because you can just allow more heat to go up a tall, well designed/balanced chimney, at a lower fuel to heat efficiency, than taking that heat, converting it to electricity, then to kinetic energy.

Same overall effect with extra (unnecessary) steps. Chemical PE -> heat (-> electricity) -> kinetic energy -> gravitational PE.

A better overall strategy is mass heater fires, like mass heater rocket stoves, or Scandinavian masonry stoves. Burn a small fire, hot, fast and about 70% efficient. Let the heat soak into a massive thermal mass and allow the heat to slowly soak out into the dwelling.

An even better solution are Chinese fire-beds, where you sleep directly on a very flat, very short stove. Heat the body, not the house.


joalheagney t1_j4pb3u8 wrote

The other big issue is the driving gas. You want something with a really low molecular mass for maximum thermal expansion. Hydrogen gas would be ideal if it didn't have a distressing tendency to diffuse into and through metals. And. You know. Explode in contact with heat and Oxygen.

Helium is half as good (twice the MM) ... but incredibly expensive and almost as hard to contain. Doesn't explode though which is good.

And then you're into N2, O2 and you may as well use air for obvious reasons. At about 14 times the MW of hydrogen gas. :/


joalheagney t1_j452krj wrote

"See, the art of healing mainly focuses on choice and balance."

All I recieved was a gurgle in reply.

"Yeah we use aspects of growth magic and a whole lot of divination, but it's all about keeping things as close to optimum as possible. The ancients called it 'Homeostasis'."

No gurgles this time. Just a silent plea from eyes filled with horror.

"And, when it comes down to it, there's always an implicit assumption that the thing we help heal, to grow, is the patient, the human body. Which requires a lot of training so that we don't accidentally heal or grow the organisms that feed on human flesh."

Silence finally as the ex-bandit finishes rotting alive.

"Ever hear of bacteria?"


joalheagney t1_j0p33a7 wrote


"You heard me. I said you should stop being an over-dramatic bitch."

The giant horned being stomps over on cloven hoof and looms over me. He gives me a baleful side-eye and quietly growls "Do You Have No Fear, Little Being?"

"Well no, not as much as I had before you started monologuing."

A deep snort flattens my hair, the view of his cavernous mouth further supporting my hypothesis. His breath smells like clover.

"I Will Repeat Myself. My Demons Wiil Trample Your Armies ..." I nod. Makes sense.

"... Gore Your Bowels From Your Bodies..." Well that tracks too.

"... Eat Your Fle..."

I raise my hand. "I'm going to stop you right there. That's when I knew that you were at least partially bluffing."

The mighty being puffs himself up as if to bellow, then deflates. In a much more normal voice, said "Damnit. Alright. What gave me away?"

"Form follows Function. While a predator may have legs as long as yours, your eyes are on the side of your head. Only prey animals have horns, predators just use their teeth and claws. And THAT was the biggest give away. Your teeth are flat - built for grinding, not ripping and tearing flesh. Your entire species is vegetarian, isn't it? And if you're bluffing about that, then what else are you bluffing on?"

"... Damnit."


joalheagney t1_iyyy54d wrote

Free neutrons penetrate shielding materials like crazy (because they are uncharged) and cause secondary nuclear reactions (because they pack a lot of mass and energy) when they are captured by something. Those reactions leave radioactive decay products. So your entire reactor becomes radioactive.