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ScienceIamA (We are) Earthquake and tsunami experts with a focus on the Pacific Northwest AMA!

Oct 19th 2017 by WaQuakePrepare • 6 Questions • 52 Points

Edit: Okay! Thanks r/IAmA for all your questions, it's now time for us to trudge home. Thank you for having us and we loved answering your questions.

Answering your questions today are senior reporters Shona Ghosh and Sam Shead, who have been following Transport for London’s surprise decision last month not to renew Uber’s license to operate in London. Catch up on all of our Uber coverage at uk.businessinsider.com. You can follow Business Insider UK on reddit, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Proof: https://i.redd.it/iaylqcmp6ssz.jpg

Q:

My partner and I are both economically disadvantaged and live in a small apartment. We haven't lived in Oregon for long, and suspect that we won't be here longer than another year or two.

Question: Should we be actively trying to save money to purchase a bunch of earthquake preparedness items and storing them in a corner of our apartment (with limited space as it is), just to be safe? What if it hits when we are not at home? Part of me wants to just chance it and hope that we've relocated before it hits, but part of me feels like not doing anything about it is just inviting trouble.

Thank you for doing this. We really appreciate your input.

A:

How was your original escape to China orchestrated? Did your family help, and if not, how did you plan it as an 18-year-old with restricted contact with the outside world?

You are incredibly brave and your work now to become a social worker shows your nobility and goodness as well. I wish you and your daughter the best


Q:

What are your favourite examples of people using Excel for unusual things?

A:

I asked Adam Savage this, I'll ask you too.

When will some one remake Junkyard Wars? It seems like it would be perfect for some one with your skill set.


Q:

Was it strange to be back on earth with earth smells and earth people?

A:

Is there any optimism in the research community about finding "islands of stability" higher up in the periodic chart? Or is that considered a dead-end?


Q:

Has podcast sponsorship given you guys a good ROI? How has it compared to returns on other forms of advertising/marketing?

A:

Will there ever be a revival of SMBC Theater?

Also, you're awesome!


Q:

When talking to full-time Uber drivers (in a variety of different countries) the general consensus is that to earn a livable wage you've got to be putting in a minimum of 60 hours per week, if not more.

At what point does Uber cease to be a "technological breakthrough" and start to be more of a workaround to circumvent paying livable wages to its employees?

While taxi fares are certainly well above market rates in many places around the world, Uber seems to have gone the other way...instead of being unfair to consumers they are unfair to workers...What do you think ridesharing and the taxi industry will look like 5-10 years from now? There's no doubt that Uber has caused a disruption but how do you see the wage discrepancy correcting itself over time?

Also: Dude...if you want your AMA to take off you've got to be ready to answer the first dozen questions immediately. As in, immediately, as soon as they come in. In real time. The momentum you get (or don't get) in the first hour is crucial.

A:

Hello! Getting prepared can be done over time. Start with water, then food, then shelter. A good first purchase is a 3 gallon container of water, then you could get a water filter. Althea


Q:

My step-mother wanted me to marry so I would not be her responsibility anymore. I heard rumors that I could escape to China and be adopted by an older Chinese couple and live a happy life there. My step-mother knew a broker who convinced me to go to China.

The broker guided me to the Tumen river and told me when and where to cross. When I was picked up on the other side the broker told me to pay for my escape or be sold as a bride. I had no money and was terrified of being arrested by the Chinese police. I felt so trapped.

A:

One of my favorites support requests contained a business justification of "this issue is delaying the space shuttle launch". -Ben[Microsoft]


Q:

That's funny you say that. We've been talking about revamping that show.

A:

Yes, it was strange, including the smelly earth people.


Q:

Yeah, there is. There's a lot of work currently going on to try and find the island around neutron number 184, so that's work with flerovium (although the problem is we can't get the neutron count up). The other possible islands beyond that, say the 120 region, are theoretical at the moment, so we need to get the next few elements before we know.

A:

(Jason) - We love podcasts. Its a captive audience. We try to buy them at an affordable rate (1200-2500). We are selective on the audience. We do well in a more liberal space (its seems like the audience is more comfortable with Taboo topics). Typically, we can put $1 in and get $1.20 back. Its also a guaranteed Brand Build.


Q:

I will always appreciate how many people ask that question, but sadly no. None of us would have the time any more, and unfortunately SMBCT just never turned a profit.

A:

That is definitely a common narrative, though there are also Uber drivers who will tell you quite spontaneously they love the extra money and flex. It's more difficult to earn a livable wage if you drive for something like Uber Exec though.

In the UK, there are MPs who already think Uber is effectively flouting regulation and worker rights to make money. I don't see the wage discrepancy correcting itself over time; I suspect politicians will step in to force some level of worker rights. That would probably result in Uber raising its prices and looking more like a traditional minicab company. — Shona


Q:

My partner and I are both economically disadvantaged and live in a small apartment. We haven't lived in Oregon for long, and suspect that we won't be here longer than another year or two.

Question: Should we be actively trying to save money to purchase a bunch of earthquake preparedness items and storing them in a corner of our apartment (with limited space as it is), just to be safe? What if it hits when we are not at home? Part of me wants to just chance it and hope that we've relocated before it hits, but part of me feels like not doing anything about it is just inviting trouble.

Thank you for doing this. We really appreciate your input.

A:

Was there a certain event that happened in your life in North Korea that made you decide you wanted to escape?


Q:

For real. This needs to be seen.

A:

Where did you learn the majority of your workshop and building skills? I.E. Welding, carpentry, electronics, etc..


Q:

Hello! Thanks for doing this!

Considering your total 520 days in space, do you consciously ever feel any differences in your body or health as a result?

Do you ever dream you are back in a weightless environment, and how realistic are those dreams?

A:

What properties would be predicted for elements around that neutron number?


Q:

When your viral videos are released do you just sit back and watch the dollars roll in?

A:

Follow up: what is your smbc theater buddy James Ashby up to nowadays?


Q:

Uber drivers who will tell you quite spontaneously they love the extra money and flex

For sure...it's a great situation for those who drive for extra money on the side, in addition to their regular full-time job.

But I'd still argue that this fact further points to wages being low...in any other industry you wouldn't accept "Yeah, the pay is fine as long as you have another job and this one is extra."

In terms of government intervention...how do you see Uber evolving if they are forced to pay wages more on par with regular taxi cabs? (I fully recognize that if you had the right answer here you'd be working in a C-level position at Uber and not writing about them, haha, but for the sake of conversation...)

A:

We have a list of emergency kit items on our website. MIL.WA.GOV/PREPAREDNESS - Steven


Q:

My step-mother wanted me to get married and I wasn't ready. I was only 18 and needed to find a way to make money to provide for myself. I thought I could go to China and find a well-paying job.

A:

Ok, ok. I can get you a pic of the fence tomorrow (I don't typically carry around pics of my fence on my phone). I might still have the spreadsheet I used. -Jeff[Microsoft]


Q:

A lot of the skills I have I learned on the job. Fake it till you make it.

A:

I don't feel any differences now. Took about 8 months to feel back to normal. I rarely have a dream about space, unless I'm in space.


Q:

It's not so much the properties of the element, but properties of the isotope of that element. You'd get much longer lived isotopes, so you could have an element that lasts years rather than seconds.

In terms of the properties of flerovium - that's something that nobody's really sure about at the moment. It looks pretty unreactive, but at this point in the periodic table you start getting huge relativistic effects. The most interesting upshot of that theorised so far is with element 118 - which might not have electron shells!

A:

(bobby) Yes, I am actually answering from our shitty private jet.


Q:

Traveling a bit and writing some lovely fiction that hasn't been released yet. We're working on putting out a comic book based on a beautiful script he wrote.

A:

Interestingly, they have (briefly) talked about how their model would need to change with government intervention, at least in the UK. It would look much more like existing private taxi operators, with set shifts (as opposed to the current model where drivers can log in and accept rides at any time) and salaries.

It would also cost them millions of pounds in additional costs though at no point did they say this would force them out of business.

So, I could see a more restricted, more expensive Uber in the not too distant future. It depends on whether new legislation gets passed here or not though. - Shona


Q:

Yes, it's a promising technology, but it's brand new.

You only need to apply a 0.4 inch of this fiber-reinforced concrete to unreinforced masonry buildings for this to be effective...at least according to the Canadian researchers.

A:

What was the part of the day you looked forward to most when you lived in north korea?


Q:

What's the biggest mistake (or regret) thats happened within development?

A:

Who decided on the cars used in non-car specific myths/scenarios? It seemed sometimes that sought after classics got destroyed sometimes, where regular/other cars could have been used


Q:

Took about 8 months to feel back to normal.

That's actually an amazingly long recovery time. How did it compare to your time adapting to life in space?

A:

Left field question for you.

What is the standard banter at parties/events in your field?

When chatting with Yuri Oganessian (or similar) in a social setting, what percentage of the conversation is atoms & elements and what percentage is shooting the shit talking about sports or mayonnaise vs. mustard?


Q:

our shitty private jet

The Spruce Deuce

A:

Hey Zach, I love your comics.

Was it tough growing up with that last name though?


Q:

Hey Sam and Shona, do you think black cabs are free of the safety issues of which they accused Uber, or are they just less transparent?

A:

Yes! Looks promising, but as with all new technologies, it still requires testing. ...We'll certainly be keeping an eye on it though, since cost of retrofits has been a significant reason Washington building owners have given for rejecting building code retrofits in the past; even though we all know the retrofits are desperately needed, especially in schools. - Brian


Q:

Whenever I had something delicious to eat! I really looked forward to preparing the food and enjoying it with my family.

A:

Taking out u/Clippy_Office_Asst -Michael[Microsoft]


Q:

It still breaks my heart that we destroyed so many classic cars. Ugh.

A:

I never felt like I was completely adapted to life in space, but the transition to space to me is easier than the transition back.


Q:

Probably 60% old friends seeing each other, 40% discussing who's doing what/interesting ideas/how work is going. It depends how long ago it was that they caught up with each other.

As the community is relatively small, there's a lot of business chat and deal making. In the cold war, the US/Russian teams were competing and not working together; today it's just not possible to do the research any other way.

That said, if it's a conference or something everyone's looking to unwind a little. Nuclear physicists discussing going to an escape room is great. Also scientists LOVE to talk about food.

A:

(Carson) If we ever actually get a jet. Consider it named. That or Shitty McShitface.


Q:

Well, I grew up hard and I grew up mean. My fists got hard and my wits got keen. So, it wasn't too bad.

The truth is Weiner is probably preferable to a name adjacent to Weiner, because all people can do is say "HEY WEINER." I imagine it'd be worse if it were pronounced like "whiner" and I had to defend the proper pronunciation over time.

Fortunately, I got married, and now have a nice dignified last name.

A:

Hey! Definitely not. Uber drivers have to go through all the same TfL background checks that black cab drivers go through, including a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

Uber also gives passengers a more direct place to complain.

A lot of women say they feel safer using Uber because there's a digital record of who picked them up, where from, and at what time. That said, there's always a risk that a random Uber driver with a great rating could one day decide to behave inappropriately. — Sam


Q:

Stand in doorway or no? I've heard conflicting advice.

A:

What kind of stuff do they teach in North Korean schools about western civilization?


Q:

Why can't the auto-scientific notation default be disabled?

A:

Did you ever recover from the emotional damage caused by the infamous bike jump?


Q:

If you're allowed to elaborate on them, what sort of projects did you do while in space?

A:

so what is it, mayonnaise or mustard?


Q:

Have you thought about marketing to pregnant women? I bought one while I was pregnant and it really helped with pregnancy "issues." I didn't end up with any hemorrhoids even after pushing my kid out for 3 hours! I'm recommending it to all my preggo friends.

My husband loves it too!

Edit: if we learned anything from this thread, it's that you should call your mom and tell her you love her.

A:

I'm a regular sized person but a huge fan of your comic. It's given me many laughs and had gotten me thinking about all manner of human things.

My questions are these:

Excluding your own work, what comic series or graphic novels do you enjoy most?

What is your favorite comfort snack? For me it's is Mac and Cheese Eggrolls© and almonds.


Q:

Hi Shona and Sam, what's the reaction been among commuters? Are their local ride-share competitors that benefit from this? Thanks!

A:

Doorways are not necessarily strong. We recommend under a sturdy table or desk. - Corina and Tim


Q:

I did not spend much time in school because of how difficult life was for us. The Great Famine left us without food and we needed to work on the farms instead of going to school. I remember textbooks always portrayed America as a terrible place and Americans as evil. We were told that the South and North could not reunite because America wanted to keep our countries separated to weaken us.

A:

I know that it can be frustrating entering values and having this happen. We are investigating what we can do to make this better.  You can help by Voting for this issue. For now, you can select a range and format as text prior to entering the bar codes / id numbers. -Eric [Microsoft]


Q:

Haha! Yes, and amazingly I didn't get injured too bad. I need to revisit that jump using a BMX bike.

A:

Over 400 different experiments in all different scientific disciplines.


Q:

My general recollection is that Russian food had a lot of mayo, so I'm going to go with that one.

A:

(Carson) While it's not something we've explored fully, we're definitely looking to try out the pregnant women market more. We actually did a blog post featuring my wife who was utterly saved by the Squatty Potty during pregnancy. She also loves talking about poop so it worked out...


Q:

Comics: I've really loved Guy DeLisle's traveling series.

Comfort Snack: I do a handmade pizza that's greasy and covered with pickled or brined vegetables, all of which my wife hates. The latter adds to the savor. Although, if I could eat anything all day, it'd be these.

A:

Commuters were initially shocked by the "Uber has been banned in London" headlines but they've now realised that the taxi app might not disappear after all.

Uber has appealed Transport for London's (TfL) ruling and there's a good chance that it will be given an operating licence if it makes a few changes that satisfy the transport regulator.

Right now I don't think any competitors are benefiting. If anything, Uber is probably getting used more in London due to all the publicity. Of course, that could all change if Uber fails to turnover TfL's decision. — Sam


Q:

Thank you for doing this AMA! I have two questions.

In the event of an 8.0 or 9.0 earthquake, would those in Seattle be able to drive away in the aftermath, avoiding bridges, to take refuge in another state?

And secondly, I’ve seen a lot of conflicting advice on how long each family should be prepared to take care of themselves in the time after a megathrust.

FEMA recommends having enough supplies to last 3 days to two weeks. The city of Seattle recommends 7-10 days. Finally, the State of Oregon published a report outlining a likely loss of electricity for up to 3 months and loss of drinking water for 1-12 months.

What is your take on how long each family should truly be prepared to be on their own?

(Here is the link to that report if needed: https://www.reddit.com/r/CascadianPreppers/comments/2hddwo/must_read_understand_the_real_situation_of_oregon/?st=j8ytjs0q&sh=41133a6b)

A:

How does the Korean spoken in the South differ from the North?


Q:

Hello from the Mod Team at /r/excel!

Will you ever integrate other languages, such as python, into Excel, to complement VBA?

Also, will SQL be integrated better into Excel? The current query viewer is poor, compared to other environments.

A:

Wait, you're actually considering jumping the wagon again? Do you think using a BMX bike instead of that "cruiser" would help?

If you do decide to jump it again, we'll need Kari and Scottie there for commentary. Just like old times!


Q:

What do you think is the biggest misconception that people have about astronauts?

A:

Were there any instances where they weren't able to successfully recreate the new element after making the claims?


Q:

Used mine this morning. Had it for a few months now, and I do think it's helping "get it out". Unfortunately, my lower bathroom times has led to less reading and Reddit time. Everything's gotta have a down side, doesn't it?

A:

Oh my goodness that looks delicious!

I work in a pizza shop. My favorite pie to make is pepperoni with pickled onions, pickles jalapeños, and pickled peppers. If you're ever in New Orleans, come by and we'll hook you up with all the pickles you want! We'll make /u/sciencegal gasp at the horrors of our many pickles!


Q:

What is the most interesting thing you found in your research?

A:

There is a Facebook page, 2 Weeks Ready, that has more information on what you can do to make your family, neighborhood and community ready(er) for Cascadia. @2WeeksReady. Althea

https://www.facebook.com/2WeeksReady/


Q:

Because the North Korean government is so militaristic, the language is very direct and authoritative. South Korean's are more passive in the way they use Korean.

Also, in South Korea they borrow so many English words and it was hard to learn all these new "Korean" words.

A:

Hi Mod Team, thanks for all your hard work!

Lots of options here so folks are aware.. there're several ways to use Python with Excel today already using great open source (including Pandas!) and partner solutions, and through the Microsoft Graph. We also announced ability for Excel to call out to Azure Machine Learning models that could host R or Python within them.

We're working hard to extend the programmability surface area to make sure developers can build very rich solutions that run across platforms, and have been releasing these every month.

For scripting in other languages, yes, this is something we're exploring. Would love the feedback on our User Voice site: http://excel.uservoice.com.

Thanks! - Ash (Microsoft)


Q:

Totally. The "Cruiser" was way too heavy. BMX should be a piece of cake. I'll post it on YouTube.

A:

That they were always the smartest kid in the class, and I was not.


Q:

Loads. There are some claims that have never been substantiated, for example the Israeli scientist Amnon Marinov claimed to discover element 112 in 1971 while working at CERN. His claim has never been endorsed. Element 102, Nobelium, was named by a Swedish team who claimed to have discovered the element (they hadn't).

Perhaps the most infamous example is Victor Ninov, who is alleged to have fabricated evidence to claim he had discovered element 118 in the late 90s at Berkeley.

A:

(jason) think of all the extra yoga time you now have


Q:

I may take you up on that one day...

A:

One of the most interesting things I've found is there are a number of other taxi app companies that are waiting for TfL to issue them with an operating licence.

Via — a startup that has raised $200 million from Mercedes-Daimler and other investors — is up and running in the US but it's been waiting almost half a year for its London licence.

If TfL doesn't issue companies like Via and rival Taxify with operating licences then these companies will turn their back on the city and set up in other European destinations. — Sam


Q:

There's also a subreddit, /r/CascadianPreppers, which specializes in natural disasters for the pacific northwest.

Redditors are always welcome to join ask questions there.

A:

What is a funeral ceremony like in North Korea for the average citizen?


Q:

Thanks for doing the AMA. I have a question about a VERY simple yet useful feature that magically disappeared for recent versions.

I have 2 spreadsheets open side by side. I highlight several cells and get the 'sum' of the numbers, which shows in the bottom Status bar. I click onto the second spreadsheet to type that number. The sum in the Status bar below disappears from the first spreadsheet.

This used to never happen and whatever I had highlighted would remain in the taskbar at the bottom while I clicked the other spreadsheet. This would help me transfer new data from one spreadsheet to another, but now I need to manually add a =sum() in the first spreadsheet so that it shows it physically.

WHY!?!

A:

"Lets egg Tori on until he hurts himself" lol


Q:

What beverage options does one have on hand on the ISS? Did you miss any foods/snacks?

A:

What would you say was the greatest site to visit, in your personal opinion?


Q:

Does this device do anything to help treat/prevent hemorrhoids?

A:

Damn it's been five years since I left home to study abroad in France (came back after a year and a half) and I had totally forgotten about Canellés. Fuck you


Q:

Are there any other really interesting stories you are working on?

A:

We have certainly seen examples of power being out for long periods of time and water also. Transportation infrastructure will be seriously damaged but not completely destroyed. 3 days is not enough, we recommend 2 weeks. The damage will be less severe further east, so Seattle is likely to have less damage than Long Beach. Tim Walsh and Corina Forson (DNR)


Q:

Where I lived people were buried after three days in a small coffin. No one I knew was ever cremated. I once heard about a North Korean grandmother who was scheduled to be buried but woke up and scared everyone in the village when they realized she was still alive!

A:

Are you on Windows? Open your first file. Then open a separate Excel process by going to Start > Run and type excel /x Then open the second file. Let me know if it works! -Dave [Microsoft]


Q:

Why would they do that?

A:

We have a lot of juices and coffee and tea. And something that's similar to Kool-Aid.

Do I miss any food/snacks? from space? no.


Q:

Oh, that's really hard! I loved them all for different reasons. RIKEN was amazing because the whole city is obsessed with discovering an element - there's bronze plaques of the periodic table leading to the lab. GSI was great too, because it's got a LINAC - the accelerator they use is about 100m long and it's awesome to walk around it.

I'd probably say Oak Ridge, though. It's set in the rolling Tennessee valleys, so it's beautiful, and the different labs are all incredible. I got to go to both the High Flux Isotope Reactor and its hot cells (radioactive cells where they isolate the elements from the reactor), and also visit the X-10 reactor: the world's first nuclear reactor. Standing in the place where history was made was a huge thrill.

A:

(bobby) Those bunch of grapes are caused by straining to go. Squatty Potty reduces the straining. It essential un-kinks the garden hose "colon" so the poop can come out with less pushing.


Q:

I live down the street from a bakery that makes them. $3 a piece and worth every penny.

A:

I won't go into great detail (...just in case our future stories don't work out) but the areas Sam, I, and our colleagues are looking into right now are issues around sexual harassment in the tech industry, the gig economy and treatment of workers in the UK, unethical behaviour/lies by some major startup names. Uber's fate in London and the UK generally obviously remains an interesting topic. — Shona


Q:

Thank you! Is it assumed that after a two week supply of one's own, emergency services would cover families if the power were to be out for 3 months?

A:

Thank you so much for doing this. You, and LiNK are wonderful.

What kind of stigmas do you face in South Korea as a North Korean? How difficult is it for you to "come out" as a North Korean?


Q:

How large is the Excel team compared to the other product teams (ie. Word, PowerPoint, Access, etc.)?

A:

What was the funniest episode of Mythbusters you filmed?


Q:

Thanks for your time in doing this. My question is, What does the ISS smell like? Are there ever any issues regarding smells? and if so how do you go about solving them? Cheers!

A:

ORNL bonus points for radioactive frogs


Q:

I love you and I hate you for significantly degrading my pooping experience in the office or basically anywhere without my trusty squatty potty. Also will you please bring back the wooden teak model, it looks so much nicer. Why was it cancelled in the first place?

A:

Your comics steadily evolved from one panel single cell organisms into huge, monstrous megafauna. Now I feel like there's a great deal of genetic diversity in your comic ecosystem, though the megafauna of yesteryear is much less common. What personal thoughts do you have about your comic length? When did you decide to move from single panels to multipanel comics and how has your planning/layout process changed since then?


Q:

Do not assume anything. Prepare for the worst. We will do our best to get things up and running and give out supplies as soon as we can, but we don't know for sure how long that will take. Every area and every disaster is different. Preparedness, response and recovery are all whole community efforts. The more we all pitch in and work together, the safer everyone will be! - Maximilian

A:

I face the most discrimination when I apply for jobs in South Korea. When I have an interview, the South Korean employer can usually tell I have a North Korean accent. They will then tell me they do not hire North Koreans and end the interview right then. That happens about 7 out of 10 interviews.


Q:

We are the XL team ;-)

A:

Probably the superhero episode. I just remember dressing up in costume and running around the shop like a freak.


Q:

We store our garbage on board for a long period of time, so sometimes it can get smelly. In general, though, it's not an unpleasant smell on board. Space itself has a very unique smell, kind of like burning metal.


Q:

(Carson) The teak model never went away! Also, grab a porta-squatty for those travelling turds.

A:

I did single panels for a long time just because that was a genre I enjoyed. After a while it felt very constraining, and the comics just started growing and growing as I experimented more.

Lately they've gotten a bit shorter (on average at least) in part due to time constraints. I'm also more interested in prose writing, so sometimes when I have an idea for a longer story I just write it down, with the intention to do the whole story when things have slowed down a bit over here.


Q:

"10% chance of an M9, 20% chance of an M8+ in 50 years. By factoring in the long time since the last event, it rises to 15-18% of an M9 and 25-40% chance of an M8+."

This was sent to me yesterday by John Vidale.

A:

Hello Joy (and Sarah!) This is John From L.A. (I did your hair for the fundraiser last month) I just wanted to ask how can you get your daughter out of China so she can come live with you?


Q:

Do you guys have a preference internally between A1 and R1C1?

Also, what new features are you most excited to introduce into Excel that you're able to talk about?

A:

What was the worst injury you have sustained on Mythbusters?


Q:

How do you know how space smells like?

A:

Isn't X-10 the world's second nuclear reactor? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-10_Graphite_Reactor

The X-10 Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, formerly known as the Clinton Pile and X-10 Pile, was the world's second artificial nuclear reactor (after Enrico Fermi's Chicago Pile-1), and the first designed and built for continuous operation. It was built during World War II as part of the Manhattan Project.


Q:

Do you still speak with your Shark Tank investor?

A:

SMBC is the most consistently good comic I've read, so thanks for making procrastinating so much easier! What is your favorite scientific field to make fun of, or which is the easiest?

Also side note, will we ever see pharmacology as a field show up in a comic?

Thanks you!!


Q:

Great questions! Contact your local emergency manager and ask them for localized preparedness tips, how to sign up for alerts, what opportunities there are for getting training, and who to contact to get involved in local preparedness efforts. In the meantime, you can go to mil.wa.gov/preparedness for good preparedness information, including the Map Your Neighborhood program. Please do get involved locally (CERT is great). We need more preparedness champions! - Maximilian

A:

Hi John! Thanks again for the great hair style. I can get my daughter if the man's family will allow me to take her. It will be difficult right now to bring her to South Korea because they want to keep her. I also want to finish university so I can get a job which will allow me to provide for her if she comes to South Korea.


Q:

Depends on what you mean by "preference". Internally, references are parsed to just row and column numbers, and so the distinction between R1C1 and A1 goes away. It's only when parsing formulas or displaying them back to the user that A1 versus R1C1 applies. -Jeff[Microsoft]

A:

I only went to the emergency room once on MB. Hollywood myths I was trying to hang on to the edge of a building. When I let go I fell 10ft and my shin hit the ledge of a window below. 7 stitches later I was good to go.


Q:

When a volume was previously at vacuum, like after a space walk or a resupply ship arriving, when you open the hatch you can smell it.

A:

The Chicago pile was never permanent, it was basically, well, a pile. so that's why I said X-10 was first.

But technically yes, Fermi got there first.


Q:

(Carson) Of course! We actually worked with Lori on the release of our latest video.

A:

Thanks!

I really enjoy economics humor, though I haven't done much lately for some reason.

Recommend me a good pharmacology book and I'll try to check it out!


Q:

Considering that most people will not be prepared for even 2 weeks without utilities and grocery stores, what preparations are being made for potential civil unrest that might occur?

A:

Thank you for doing an AMA. I lived in South Korea for a while, and when I would talk to the locals, they all held an opinion not of disdain for North Korea, but more like regret. They seem to all wish very much for a peaceful reunification of the two nations.

My question is this: all the news of North Korea is almost inconceivably dreadful. While I'm sure there is much misery in the country, can you tell us a story of a time when you or your family were genuinely happy? What sort of things bring joy to the average North Korean?


Q:

Hi guys!

Do you miss me?!

A:

Was there a myth on the show that you were personally afraid to test?


Q:

How often did you use the ham/amateur radio on-board the station?

If you did, where was the most rural location you talked too?

A:

What is the best way to beat an Exodia Deck?


Q:
  1. What does the Squatty Potty do that a regular step stool would not?
  2. My husband is not on board the Squatty Potty train. Might a collapsible version be made in the future?
A:

Hey Zach, what do you think you'd be doing if SMBC hadn't taken off?


Q:

I always plan for the worst and hope for the best. During disasters there will unfortunately be incidents where law enforcement will need to step in to help protect people and they will do their best. However, we have seen consistently throughout history that during a crisis people come together to help each other. Look at the example of volunteers right after the 7.1m earthquake in Mexico. They worked selflessly and tirelessly to help pull people out from under collapsed buildings. During the shooting in Las Vegas people were risking their lives to help other people escape the shooting and help the injured. - Maximilian

A:

My fondest memories from North Korea revolve around my family. Everyday when my mom would come home she would give me a big hug and I loved that. I also have great memories of family talent shows where we would sign karaoke late into the night!


Q:

Some days, but fortunately they let you out of the Microsoft Archives some days and we get to see you around campus. -Ben[Microsoft]

A:

Anything involving heights I tend to stay away from.


Q:

I didn't have a ham radio license, so the ham radio guy wouldn't let me use the radio.

A:

Black Lotus.


Q:

"Bobby" The Squatty Potty is definitely an improvement to a regular step stool. In fact it was created to replace my mothers "poop stool" which was a step stool from walmart. The Squatty Potty height, width angle and ability to hug the toilet give the pooper optimal squatting posture. I liken a regular stool to cutting a steak with a butter knife, yeah you can do it but when you switch to a steak knife (squatty potty) its much easier and quicker

A:

Hard to say. SMBC lifted me out of a shitty job, then later got me out of finishing a science degree.

Honest best bet - I'd probably be a mediocre (but not unhappy) physicist, or maybe be a stay-at-home Dad writing fiction in his spare time.


Q:

I tried to AskScience this question but no one replied, so you lot will do. A mate and I were getting drunk while sitting in a large bay with a very small opening to the ocean and we had an argument about tsunamis and inlets.

What would happen if a tsunami in the ocean struck a large bay with a very small opening connecting it to the ocean? Would the tsunami wave go forward only at the size of the opening and directly impact the land straight ahead of the opening, or would it spread back out and hit a large chunk of land once it has gone through the opening?

A:

Hi. Your story sounds horrific and harrowing. I’m glad you’re okay. I hope your daughter can be delivered to you safely.

What is North Korea like? Is it anything like the news stories we see on the television? Is it better or worse? Are there any myths about North Korea that are spread by the western media? I’m guessing you didn’t like it, hence the defection.
How likely is it you will see your daughter soon, and how will you be able to get her back?
What action can be taken to help stop human sex trafficking? I’d like to help if I can, but I don’t know how much use I’d be.

Thanks in advance, and thank you for doing this AMA. Hope you see your daughter soon. :)


Q:

Have you ever considered integrating excel formulas into other Microsoft Office tables? Whenever I work on a table in OneNote or Word I find myself wanting to type =sum()

A:

Also, have you ever had to work with any celebrities (not asking for names!) that you just refuse to work with again? If so, what sort of behavior was it that caused it?


Q:

Do you give your brother a hard time for being an "old man" compared to you?

A:

Which element do you find to have the most unexpected properties?


Q:

It's much more comfortable, your legs are up to the sides, rather than directly in front of you. It also tucks away "underneath" the toilet so you don't trip over it when you run into the bathroom

Very handy

A:

Was the "red button" always a feature in the smbc website? If not, when did it start?


Q:

it all depends on the height of the topography, the depth of the bathymetry and the the tsunami height and wavelength. In short it all depends on where the bay is and how far away the earthquake was and how many beers you've had.- Corina and Tim

A:

Good questions! There is so much focus in the western media about North Korea's military and nuclear weapons. There is rarely any stories about average North Koreans, especially those that live outside the capital Pyongyang. Most North Koreans are ordinary people that want to live peaceful lives but the media makes it look like every North Korean wants to destroy America or South Korea.

Everything in the underground broker networks revolves around money. North Korean women that cannot afford to cross the border are told it is free to cross and then when they cannot pay on the other side they are sold instead. That was my experience. If you want to get involved in helping North Korean women avoid sex trafficking you should fund rescues through organizations like LiNK. The safest way a woman can avoid being trafficked is to have her rescue paid for before she leaves the country. Then when she crosses she can enter a safe network that can move her out of China before she is exploited.


Q:

Word has some basic formula capabilities ...

-Sam[Microsoft]

A:

Kari Byron!...Just kidding.


Q:

No. But thanks for the idea, I will start.

A:

Oganesson is really strange. It might not have any electron shells, and it's probably a solid at room temperature - which is mad considering it's in the noble gases!


Q:

(jason) - We designed the slim for that exact reason. We wanted to open the front so it would be easier to go (more foot room) https://www.squattypotty.com/shop/poop-better/slim-teak/

A:

Lonnng ago, we used to participate in these online voting sites, where you tried to climb ranks by getting people to click a button. As an inducement, I'd draw a bonus panel you saw after voting. Over time, it became a normal feature of the site, so that even after we stopped doing the voting site stuff, I felt like the panels needed to stay. HENCE, the red button. Also, hence, why longterm readers still sometimes call it the "votey" or "votey comic."


Q:

Thanks so much for this AMA. I live in a Bellevue apartment that was built in the late 60s. It's a wooden frame structure. In the event of a 7-9 scale earthquake, should I expect the integrity of my apartment to fail? Also, what is the threat of liquefaction in the Queen Anne area? My girlfriend lives in Interbay in Seattle and her home is in a liquefaction zone. Should she be looking to move? Finally, is a 7-9 scale earthquake were to hit, what are the casualty estimates for areas like downtown and the Seattle waterfront?

A:

Joy, thanks so much for sharing your experiences, and thanks Ian and Sarah for being a part of such a great organization.

How has your experience in New York City been so far? How does it compare to the culture in which you were raised?


Q:

When are we going to be able to play Doom on Excel?

A:

If you can have one piece of tech from all the fictional universes you were involved in. What would it be and why?


Q:

Hi Scott, thanks for the AMA.

How was getting used to life back on earth after one year aboard the ISS? What was something you had to "learn" again?

A:

Really apologise to ask you such a silly question, but how does this have no electron shells? Amazing AMA btw!


Q:

Now that I am pooping better, what are you doing to ensure I will continue this path and that your next product will move me further towards my goal of pooping perfect?

A:

Hi XKCD guy! How do you come up with all those ideas?

scnr

(but seriously. With both of you publishing science/humor crossovers, I sense there's more similarity between the two of you than just your 4 letter-names)


Q:

Regarding older apartment buildings, some have many garage door openings on the bottom level or have tuck under parking. These types of buildings may be considered "soft-story" buildings as the bottom story is weaker than the upper stories and are particularly vulnerable to collapse at the bottom level. Cities in California are currently retrofitting this type of vulnerable building. You can go to www.strongtie.com/solutions/softstory to learn more. - Emory

A:

I am happy to share :)

New York City is so bright at night! There are so many lights! The buildings are so tall here. I also love the diversity here, there are people from all over the world on every street. In North Korea I never saw someone from another country.


Q:

In order to get Couath / Collab working, we had to deprioritize playing Doom in Excel. Maybe an Add-in will be made? - Michael [Microsoft]

A:

Light saber! Great question.


Q:

Took me about 8 months to feel completely back to normal. The one thing I had to learn again was how to control my daily schedule and decide what I was going to do.

A:

As someone writing for a chemistry mag, I know this is weird. Have a look at this link.


Q:

(Carson) Soon we'll be coming out with our brand new religion, Poostafarian. That should help you reach poo nirvana.

A:

We both buy from the same secret joke manufactory.


Q:

I live in a brick apartment building in Seattle, although according to a map I found of the unreinforced masonry buildings in the city, mine isn't one of them, which is a slight relief. However, I still fear that in the event of an earthquake the building would collapse. If I'm home when an earthquake hits, would it be better to move toward the center of the building, into the hallway, and away from the outer brick walls of the building? I know it's kind of a crapshoot, but my current plan involves moving toward the center of the building, and I'm not sure whether that's a wise idea or not based on how buildings tend to fall.

A:

I've seen photos of average people in N. Korea. Only the children seem to ever smile. Is this cultural? Or us it due to the awful life adults must face each day?


Q:

Hey guys,

Is there a way to key into a cell with the writing prompt at the end of the text already in there, so you can add on to it instead of overwriting it?

Edit: Glad there's more people like me.

A:

We see on camera that yourself, Kari, and Grant have a great rapport. Do you continue to see them outside of the office?


Q:

The graph of human health vs prolonged exposure to gravity level only has two data points: one at microgravity and one at 1 gravity. Do you think even small amounts of gravity would help greatly offset the negative health effects of microgravity? For example, would astronauts on the Moon (in 1/6 gravity) fare much better than ISS astronauts do?

A:

Chocolate lab or black lab? My grandfather always had golden labs for hunting, but I prefer darker dogs. There's no particular reason I do, just aesthetics.

In your travel, which have you found to be better?


Q:

Why didn't you say "maybe you've tried our stool that helps you get your stool out easier"?

A:

So how nihilistic/cynical are you in real life? Or is it all just theoretical?


Q:

The general recommendation is to drop, cover and hold on. In general, you want to find a sturdy table that you can get out from easily after an earthquake. For unreinforced brick buildings, there is an added risk of injury for anyone who is outside on the sidewalks from falling bricks. If it were me, after the shaking is over, I'd look to make my way out and away from the building safely. - Emory

A:

It is not cultural, I think young North Korean children are not really aware how difficult life is. But I know plenty of adults that smile too!


Q:

Yes you can, using F2 shortcut.

Olaf (Microsoft)

A:

I see Kari all the time and now that our White Rabbit Project Live tour is starting I'll be seeing both of them more.


Q:

I think you definitely have got something there. And that would make a great experiment. The Japanese had some fish they were experimenting on at various levels of gravity below 1g.

A:

They're all good dogs, brooks.


Q:

(Jason) - Hilarious. We had a team of writers. There were so many one liners that didn't make the cut. One day, I would love to do a short film that is longer. Edit: word

A:

This is pretty close to autobiographical: http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/the-consolation-of-philosophy


Q:

Yes, I'm sure you're right. It's hard to wrap my mind around, but I'd still rather hear tough truths than false reassurances that wouldn't do me much good in the moment. So thanks for the tip! I'm from tornado country — twisters can of course do lots of damage but at least we saw them coming most of the time and could move to take cover. Not so for these quakes!

A:

Do you expect to see the current regime in North Korea fall within your lifetime?


Q:

What's the best way for me to become the 'Excel Guy' at work?

A:

About 10 years ago you were in Windsor, Ontario on a tour speaking to kids. The extra tickets were turned over to the university and I was able to attend. In your talk you showed your Mythbusters audition tape “Do girls fart?” and also a video of a childhood experiment that I think was just a pipe bomb that you filmed from 6 feet away. Any chance you could share those videos again?


Q:

How long does it take to get used to looking at Earth and realizing you're not on it? What does it feel like looking at Earth?

A:

Hello, my father was a chemist for 30 years and still is really into chemistry news and stuff. Your journey and book sound super interesting and I would love to share it with him, only issue is that he doesn't read English fluently. Do you know if your book will be published in other languages (French in particular) by any chance?


Q:

Do you have any nursing homes which you sell to in bulk? What is some of the most surprising or best results that you have observed or reported by someone who suffered from colon cancer for example.

A:

Sorry to go off on a tangent here, but you linking an old comic brought this to mind. Zach, there's no good way to search the SMBC archives and it's really hampering my ability to quickly post "relevant SMBC" links for that glorious karma in order to spread awareness of your most excellent webcomic. Normally when I try to find a specific, half remembered comic, I end up spending half an hour on it until I either give up or find it but the offhand comment that sent me down the rabbit hole has long passed.

I'm actually still trying to find one you did a while ago where some characters are arguing about the distinction between something that is alive and not alive, then the punch line is about how God thought it would be funny to creat a universe where all meaningful distinctions are arbitrary. That one comes up surprisingly often and I still can't find the damn thing.


Q:

In addition, Washington DNR has created these Scenarios, with the help of the Hazus tool: you can find those on their Geology Portal: https://geologyportal.dnr.wa.gov/ -Brian

A:

I am not sure. If I am lucky, I have another 60 years of life so maybe by the end of my life I will have the chance to go back to see my hometown.


Q:
1. do vlookup and pivots 2. ???? 3. profit as the Excel Guy 

-Sam[Microsoft]

A:

Oh man! That was a while ago. I'll look through my video files and see if I can find them.


Q:

Instantly. You just had the ride of your life, and you know you are not on Earth anymore.

It's inspiring.

A:

I hope so! It's certainly going to be available worldwide.


Q:

(jason) - We have received multiple reports from respected research groups, all give it amazing reviews. We tread lightly on promising any major medical fixes. But 2/3rds of the world squat to poop (asia- india- turkey). We know that squatting aides posture, reduces pressure, and improves elimination and comfort while eliminating

A:

Yeah, sorry, we need to fix that. Meantime, you can always ask https://www.reddit.com/r/SMBCComics/


Q:

(My second question)

What new things have been learned, if any, from some of the more recent quakes - in Mexico a few weeks ago, in Haiti a few years ago, etc.? Any legacy advice/knowledge from decades ago that has since been reversed as a result?

A:

I have interviewed many North Koreans now settled in the UK. Many of them told me they had been caught by the Chinese police and repatriated to the north a number of times, but managed to escape again and again.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/north-korea-nuclear-weapons-refugees-china-women-prostitution-sold-a7982356.html

Can you explain why they didn't face harsh consequences for escaping in North Korea?


Q:

What is the most amazing thing you've done with Excel?

A:

Did the build team get booted from the show by the producers? by Adam and Jamie? or did you guys decide to leave on your own?

Did you really enjoy the skits you guys did re: myths (i.e. the prison break).

Where did you guys go to shoot your machine gun myths?


Q:

Did you feel “smarter” once you got back on earth? The same way pilots say flying opens their mind a bit.

A:

Why?


Q:

Can only humans use it?

A:

Zach, I’ve been reading SMBC for years and years now so I appreciate all the laughs. How do you stay productive when feeling unmotivated?


Q:

an ounce of preparation is better than a pound of cure. The more we can do now to prepare individuals and cities will help immensely in the event of a disaster. We've also learned that slip distributions along faults are complicated and that controls a lot of the effects.- Tim and Corina

A:

Ian here: It all depends on where they were caught and the circumstances around their arrest in China. If they are caught close to the border with China, it is easier to convince the North Korean authorities that they were in China for economic reasons and intended to come back. If they are caught closer to the border with Southeast Asia it is obvious they were trying to defect and that can carry much harsher consequences. If it is discovered that a North Korean had contact with a South Korean or Christians anywhere in China, that can also increase the chances of facing much harsher punishments. The North Korean government is also incredibly corrupt and bribes from family members to local officials can have an impact on one's sentencing.


Q:

A long time ago, not very far away, I analyzed my Halo 2 data in Excel and it was popular for 15 mins.

-Sam[Microsoft]

A:

It was a combination of circumstances. The show had run it's course and we were ready to move on to new opportunities.


Q:

You definitely have a different perspective when you've spent time in space, and some people refer to this as the orbital perspective: a sense of being more empathetic to the environment and the human condition.

A:

I take a hands-on approach to research. Sure, I could read the theoretical papers, but it doesn't tell you the vibe of the place, or the behind-the-scenes stories, or what a nuclear reactor smells like.

The only way I could write a book that told the whole story, in a fair way, was to be there, speak with the people that did it, and see it with my own eyes.

It's the most amazing adventure I've had in my life.


Q:

(Carson) I'm genuinely curious what you're wanting to use it for now.

A:

It helps that comics pay for food and shelter.

I also have a daily schedule I'm pretty strict about. When working from home, keeping disciplined can be pretty tough. There's an extent to which it's a skill you have to practice. In terms of staying productive on "creative" work, I suggest you think deeply about what you were doing at times when you felt most able to make good work. For me, it involves reading difficult books, being a bit stressed out, and having at least lead a few books that same week.


Q:

Is it expected the the majority of energy released and damage comes from the actual interface rupture offshore or from the N. American plate flattening out after the locked area stops pushing it back?

A:

If you get your daughter back from china and the Chinese authorities catch you, isn't there a chance that they WILL hand you over back to North Korea?


Q:

VLookup or Index Match?

A:

How did MB change your life the most? Did you begin to be recognised on the street, and did you expect that when you started? Oddest/best fan interaction?


Q:

What is your favorite space themed movie and/or tv series?

A:

How did you pay for 36,000 miles of travel ?


Q:

Will you create an adjustable squatty potty?

A:

The philosophy in your comic seems pretty broad and insightful to my cretin mind. What do you read/watch/smell/eat for inspiration?


Q:

I like this question! It's physics and must have a good answer, and yet while I have a physical picture in my mind about the process, there are different ways of looking at it. Let me give it a shot. The energy released during an earthquake is elastic strain energy stored up in stressed rocks surrounding the fault. Slow tectonic movements deform the rock, storing strain energy as stretched (or compressed) atomic bonds. [Think of a stretched rubber band...]. When friction holding the fault from slipping is exceeded by the tectonic stresses across it and the fault slips, strain energy flows from the rock toward the slipping fault surface where it is converted into grinding rocks, heat (maybe even melting some little bits!), and seismic waves that radiate away, carrying energy with them.

So the answer, I guess is that strain energy flows out of the deforming rock mass, but any, say, gravitational energy changes from the meters of uplift or downdropping that could result from the deformation are going to be a small part of the energy budget. When seismologists think about earthquake energy they almost always relate the energy change to action on the fault plane...the slip and area of rupture. But I've always thought that is just a proxy for the volume of rock that contained the energy to drive rupture. That volume is the REAL battery storing the earthquake energy! -Paul

A:

I am now a South Korean citizen! That means that when I go to China I am there on a visa and they have no reason to arrest me. It will be hard to get my daughter back without the permission of the family who bought me. If I just try to take her back it would be considered kidnapping by the Chinese government.


Q:

INDEX/MATCH - Once you get used to it, you can write them almost as fast as VLOOKUP, and the combination is more powerful/efficient. Smitty [MSFT]

A:

Being recognized definitely took time to get used to. The best interactions are when fans recognize me, but can't place where they know me from. Did we go to school together? Do you work at my dry cleaners? So funny.


Q:

Apollo 13 and The Martian. I used to watch the old school Star Trek.

A:

A book advance. :)


Q:

(Jason) We offer the 2.0 Squatty Potty.. It comes with a 7" base and a topper that increases to 9". Cheers Bill

A:

I try to read everything. Lately, I've been reading all of Nevil Shute, in part because it's a busy time and I find Shute very relaxing.

I haven't had as much time for philosophy and science lately, but am hoping to get back into it more once our kids are a bit older.


Q:

Is it expected the the majority of energy released and damage comes from the actual interface rupture offshore or from the N. American plate flattening out after the locked area stops pushing it back?

A:

Is North Korea really as bad as the media portrays it? Is it better? Is it worse?


Q:

1. Any plans for Cortana?
2. What are the major changes in Excel 2019?
3. Have you guys seen this?

Thank you, appriciate the AMA

A:

What's the most scared you've been on the job?


Q:

Based on your time in space, what do you see as being the primary challenge of extended human spaceflight missions outside of Earth's orbit?

A:

The concept of creating new elements is insane to me and extremely interesting! What did the people you met consider to be the hardest or most abstract concept when it came to discovering or creating these new elements? Another question to go along is what is the general process and techniques needed to find these elements?


Q:

Did you ever think you'd be doing an AMA while someone is writing to you while using your product? Cause that's me, I am doing that right now. Thank you, my partner in poop.

Ps I use your unicorn video whenever I try to pitch clients on making something hysterical and powerful

A:

On The Beach is one of the most engaging books I have read. I have never had as much trouble grocery shopping as I did during reading that book. I mean, what’s the point? We are all going to die.


Q:

There is also a correlation between there being a disaster somewhere in the United States, and the current administration head showing up in that general area afterwards, so that will probably happen, too. That's all I can say based on the Data Points.

But yes: FEMA is currently overwhelmed by the disasters in this country, and it is estimated that a Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake and Tsunami would also be overwhelming to FEMA, just on it's own. Help will be on the way, from the City, County, State, and Federal governments, but it will come from you and your neighbors, first. Get prepared! -Brian

A:

It is much worse than the way media portrays it. They are so focused on the military and showing scenes of Pyongyang when average North Koreans are really struggling to survive. I wish they would show how normal North Koreans who are trying to live normal lives despite the cruelness of the regime.


Q:
  1. it is a great idea (a partner already created a prototype).
  2. We have not fully locked the feature list yet, but we will post it to our Excel Blog as soon as we do

  3. Yes, have you seen this

A:

On White Rabbit Project I built a 1902 replica race car, the Baker Torpedo. I got it up to 80mph and when I applied the brakes the bolts sheered and I was heading for a cliff at the end of the runway with no brakes. At the last minute I cranked the wheel left and the car came to a stop.


Q:

Funding.

A:

The big problem is that you have to shoot your projectile into a target with enough energy to overcome the natural repulsion of the nucleus (otherwise it bounces off), but not enough energy for it to undergo nuclear fission (which breaks it apart). That means you have to be really creative - it's not just about picking two elements whose numbers add up to what you want. We've got pretty good ideas how to get to elements 119 and 120. After that... nobody really knows. We had a really amazing projectile (Calcium-48, a very neutron-rich isotope), but we had to stop using it as we can't produce enough of the target materials!

The other challenge is actually detecting what you've done. Again, incredibly hard, especially as these elements aren't around very long. Today we're using machines so sensitive that, for example, if you used it to weigh a 747 airplane, you could tell if you left a penny on one of the seats.

I liken it to shooting at a needle in a haystack, the bullet hitting the needle and fusing into something new, and then catching that bullet-needle as it flies out before it hits the ground.


Q:

(Carson) That's the only place to be when asking the Squatty Potty team a question. It allows you to channel your inner poop.

A:

It's a great book, but I'm more fond of Pied Piper and Requiem for a Wren. On the Beach is not very characteristic of Shute, though it's still excellent.


Q:

Is it expected the the majority of energy released and damage comes from the actual interface rupture offshore or from the N. American plate flattening out after the locked area stops pushing it back?

A:

How's your diet compare to what you ate in North Korea? and do you plan to stay in South Korea or do you plan to go somewhere else? I hear Canada is nice.


Q:

Is it true that the Excel logo is an X (and a small L) instead of an E, to avoid this?

A:

What's your favorite album?


Q:

How are you liking retirement?

A:

I went looking for more information on Calcium-48 and found https://www.sciencealert.com/the-calcium-52-isotope-might-have-just-lost-its-magic-status which says that Calcium-52 was momentarily thought to also be a magic-number nucleus, but then was found to probably not be as its nucleus-radius is larger than theory predicted. Has theory caught up yet for why this is so?


Q:

How frustrating was it to get Kathy Griffin for a funny commercial, only to have her create a controversy and subsequently no longer use that advertisement?

A:

We meet up with him at The Max pretty regularly.


Q:

Considering predictions: It's important to realize that an Earthquake could happen at any time in the area, so understand what to do during one. It could happen today, tomorrow, next week, or it might not happen in your lifetime. Get prepared now, so you're not caught off guard after the earthquake.

A:

The food in North Korea is similar to South Korean food. The food is spicier and saltier in the North.

Unless there is a reason for me to stay in South Korea, I am open to living anywhere after I finish university. I like South Korea but don't feel the need to stay.


Q:

The Excel logo has been an X and an L longer than these other products have been around. -Eric[Microsoft]

A:

Nevermind by Nirvana


Q:

My retirement does not consist of golf, unfortunately. I'm busier now than I've ever been.

A:

Not sure, to be honest. I know that we're not really looking at Ca beams, even for island of stability. I'll ask and find out, though.


Q:

(bobby) It sucked. I am actually a Kathy fan and support her right to demonstrate her feelings toward a president she feels threatened by. The problem we had is that we just want to help people poop better and not get all political about it. When our spokesperson went there, we decided to just drop the campaign and go back to magical unicorns and awesome dragons who don't give a shit about who is in office.

A:

ಠ_ಠ


Q:

Chris Goldfinger reported a big quake 20 percent possible within 50 years. That accurate? Article:

Given that data, the chances of a quake hitting the central Oregon region in the next 50 years have been upgraded as well, going from between 14 and 17 percent to between 15 and 20 percent.

https://articles.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2016/08/risk_of_major_quake_on_cascadi.amp

A:

Come to Canada!!!! We will accept you with open arms :)


Q:

When will the Mac version get multiprocessor support?

A:

Was it you or Adam who got on Jaime Hyneman's nerves more? haha


Q:

What are your thoughts on private corporations like SpaceX and BlueOrigin? Also what are your thoughts on rocket reusability and why NASA aren't focused on it. Thanks :)

A:

Why do the Russian team JINR have so much success in creating the synthetic elements? Are they getting the base elements drunk so that the impacting elements have an easier time hitting them?


Q:

What would you most like to tell us that no one has asked about?

A:

Your comic has one of the most diverse casts of characters within it. Was this a conscious decision of yours to do?


Q:

Chris has made that estimate, there are others who dispute it. It is an active area of research and Chris has revised some estimates recently. The recurrence interval depends on the rupture length. A typical scientist answer: It's complicated! - Tim and Corina

A:

Canadians always seem to be so nice!


Q:

Thanks for the question - we are actively working on this, but you can add your vote to support it anyway on Excel.UserVoice.com.
- Steve [Microsoft]

A:

I think you already have the answer to that one. ha!


Q:

I think SpaceX and BlueOrigin and other private companies are doing great work.

I don't know why NASA doesn't focus on reusability. It seems SpaceX has proven it's possible.

A:

Well, JINR does produce its own brand of vodka (I have a bottle)...


Q:

(Carson) No one asked how my poop was this morning. It was great!

A:

It was, maybe around 2010 or so. It's not something I try to call attention to, because it seems to me to be more in the category of decency than goodness, if that makes sense.

To this very day I get accused of virtue signalling, and every time that happens it warms my little heart.


Q:

would you recommend purchasing a p-wave detector? how much advance notice would one give you in the event of a cascadia subduction zone quake? also how do scientists know when a quake is coming (what are they measuring & what do they use to measure)? how much advance notice would they have in the event of the big one?

A:

I just want to say how amazing it is you have been able to overcome such obstacles! Please continue to strive and move forward! I am sorry for what has happened to you, and the obstacles you have had to face. I hope you have a content and hopeful future! Also, my question is. How old are you?


Q:

I know it's not the intended purpose of excel, but excel games made otherwise boring days behind my desk wonderful. So thank you for that.

What excel features both built-in or not do you wish more people knew about/or knew how to use?

A:

Ariana's buttock on the stool : myth confirmed or busted ? your opinion ?


Q:

Have you seen SpaceX's recent Mars architecture update? Any thoughts or opinions? Would you go to Mars in BFR if given chance? (not permanently)

A:

If someone find a new element, can they name it after themselfs?


Q:

My son has a birthday coming up. Can we hire the unicorn for entertainment and dessert?

A:

I've always liked to pretend that you make the comic with just blank characters and then use a randomizer to determine gender/race at the end. True or False?


Q:

It depends on what you're trying to protect. The warning depends entirely on where along the subduction zone (from Mendocino to Vancouver Island) the earthquake starts, and where you are. Let's say you're in Seattle. If the earthquake started off the Olympic Peninsula, you'd get about 40 seconds warning. If it started at Cape Mendocino, about 3 minutes. PNSN (pnsn.org) uses data from about 400 sensors in the region. We monitor ground motions continuously and automatically detect and locate earthquakes. Check our website out and you can even watch realtime data coming in on our "quickshake" program (http://quickshake.pnsn.org). -Paul

A:

Thank you so much for those kind words. I am now 25! My birthday is soon :)


Q:

I love seeing what kind of creative things people come up with in Excel! It makes learning it so much more fun.

For features, mine is PivotTables, especially creating table relationships with the Data Model. Smitty [MSFT]

A:

Photoshop: Busted


Q:

I have not, but I will take a look soon.

Yes, I would go to Mars on the BFR, assuming it works.

A:

Yes. The IUPAC rules say you can name an element after:

1) A place

2) A mythical creature

3) A property of the element

4) A mineral

5) A scientist

To be honest, IUPAC would probably reject the name unless you'd done something really noteworthy. Only two scientists directly involved in element discovery have had elements named after them: Glenn Seaborg (seaborgium, 106) and Yuri Oganessian (oganesson, 118).

Sort of. Gallium is a bit of an odd one, and Fermi got his Nobel for element discovery, although he isn't credited with discovering one.


Q:

"Bobby" Dookie is incredibly busy. I'll ask his agent for you.

A:

No randomizer. Just, try to keep things various.


Q:

In a 9.0 event, is it expected that most roads will still be passable by typical automobiles? How about getting out over the passes to the eastern side of the state? How hard will it be to travel to relief sites? If I live I West Seattle, and the bridges are disabled, are there plans to get supplies to people who can't make it to relief areas in downtown?

A:

Did you live in Pyongyang or elsewhere? Did anyone that you know get sent to one of the gulags/prison camps? If so, what for? What was your day-to-day routine like in North Korea? How hard was it to cross the border?


Q:

Well you apparently worked on a ton of stuff that defined my childhood. Any memorable moments from your movie work?

A:

What is the scariest experience that you had in space or in the atmosphere?


Q:

Check out the list of elements discovered by the UC Berkeley Rad Lab or Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Wonderfully self-referencing.

Things like Californium and Lawrencium.

A:

Who came up with the unicorn poop idea? Is there a story behind it?


Q:

I mean, what possible reason could you have for having a diverse cast except to make people say "wow, that guy is a really virtuous dude"

Why would any character be non-white and/or non-straight unless those factors are required for the joke, I just cannot get my tiny brain around it.

(That's sarcasm, if it wasn't obvious)

A:

Check out the DNR geology portal seismic Hazard scenarios: https://www.dnr.wa.gov/geologyportal for more details on estimated road and other infrastructure damage. This data was used in the Cascadia Rising exercise to try to understand the difficulty of moving equipment into the state to aid with response and relief efforts: in addition to damage to bridges, considers secondary hazards such as landslides, which can also block roads and hamper transportation. The plans are always in progress, and help will be on it's way as soon as it can get there, but this difficulty, and the time it will take to get to you. Take the time now to get prepared, because if you don't have those supplies when it happens. It's also important to look at the area you live in, and think about the routes you frequently take to get to work, to meet family members, to the grocery store. Which of these areas could be impacted by an earthquake? Are there alternate ways to get there? Work on those plans now, not the day after the earthquake. -Brian


Q:

Only people that are deemed loyal by the regime are allowed to live in Pyongyang. I live in the northern part of the country which made it easier to cross into China. I knew many people that disappeared and it was rumored they were taken to prison camps. There was never a way to confirm it, they just vanished one day.

A:

Starship Trooper was the first movie I worked on at Industrial Light and Magic and it is the one movie I'm most proud of.


Q:

That's a tough question. The worst time was when my sister-in-law was shot, and I was halfway through a six month flight.

A:

The New Yorker magazine actually complained that they didn't name the elements Universium Ofium Berkelium Californium.

Also it's not named after the labs, but the towns. Lawrencium was after Ernest Lawrence.


Q:

(Carson) We actually did a video about it. The choice to go with the unicorn pooping ice cream was a fairly big risk to our business that paid off massively.

A:

Similarly, the only reason I bathe is to hygiene signal.


Q:

Seattle's Emergency Management website has some good information here http://www.seattle.gov/emergency-management/hazards/earthquake

Also the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) seismic scenarios has a great tool to look over earthquake impacts. https://www.dnr.wa.gov/geologyportal

Any additional questions should be directed to your local Emergency Management Office

A:

How many people would you say actually believe all the propaganda by the government, how many think Kim Il Sung is a God?


Q:

I just want you to know that is my favorite movie to watch drunk.

A:

Did you socialize much with the Russians on the station? Does it feel like one team or more like 2 separate teams in different parts of the ISS?


Q:

Would you say that different countries\labs come up with different ways to approach discovering new elements, or do labs follow somewhat standard protocol with few additions here and there?

A:

Is there any movement towards a portable Squatty Potty?


Q:

If you could genetically modify your offspring, what changes would you make to them?

A:

You should also check out Bellevue's Emergency Management website: https://fire.bellevuewa.gov/emergency-management


Q:

Most people that live by the Chinese border know that the propaganda is fake. They have a lot of exposure to foreign media that is smuggled in through China. The people that believe the propaganda usually live in secluded areas with little access to outside media.

A:

Yes!


Q:

Yes, all the time. They are great friends. But sometimes it seems like we're working on two different space stations, because there are two halves.

A:

The basic principle is the same, but there are differences depending on which beams/targets to use, and also things like how you detect the elements (setting up separators and magnets etc).

The big difference was really in the 1970s/80s. GSI discovered their elements through the 'cold fusion' technique, which used heavier beams than ever before. But this gives you a really small cross section so can't be used anymore.

The current race is really between Japan and Russia, and they are using different beams and targets and pretty different equipment.


A:

Despite stereotypes, higher IQ is associated with pretty much universally positive effects, so I'd go with that. I say that not without reservations about genetically upgrading babies.


Q:

Is Earthquake Insurance worth getting?

A:

Firstly I want to say that your story really touched my heart! You are an amazing and strong woman, and I wish you the best for the future! My questions are: What culture shocks did you face when you came to South Korea? And how different are the North and South Korean cultures? I'm thinking differences in body language, language, food, customs, values, beliefs, etc... How difficult/easy is it for a North Korean to adapt to Korean society? Is there a lot of discrimination towards North Koreas living in South Korea? (I'm a university student at a university in Sweden and for my final assignment my thesis is how the 65+ years divided have changed the Korean culture, your answers will be of great help, thank you!)


Q:

Dunno if you have answer this, but after "Hot Chile Cures" ep, did it made you love or hate spicy food more or less?

A:

Can you describe what it was like to go on your first space walk?


Q:

Nice, you were literally just up the street from me here in Darmstadt, Wixhausen.

How do you feel about the repeated snub of not naming an element Wixhausium? A lot of Germans feel strongly about it as "Wix" is also slang for masturbate.

A:

Anything compact enough to fit in a backpack? Maybe even in two pieces, one for each foot. Something for students or frequent travellers.


Q:

My pre-ordered-from-April Soonish copy arrived to my neighbor and I nearly had a stroke. Is there a medical condition for anxiety from misdirected internet orders of geeky books or do we have to wait for ICD-11/DSM 6 for that?

Second question: typing Soonish into my Amazon app I get Spanish book recommendations. What will your next book misdirect to?

A:

Hi boxedvacuum, That's up to you, but as with any insurance, it is always significantly more worth it when you need it, than when you don't. For a couple of points about this, FEMA only gives up to $30,000, and that is only if Individual Assistance is qualified for... which does not happen with every disaster (Smaller earthquakes, for instance, may cause significant damage to your property, but not enough for you to qualify for FEMA response). For more information about earthquake insurance policies in the State of Washington, Office of the insurance Commissioner put together an FAQ about it, here: https://www.insurance.wa.gov/earthquake-insurance. The link to earthquake insurers on that page also provides details on the potential providers in Washington. -Brian


Q:

The first big cultural shock was when I saw South Korean women is very short skirts! North Korean culture is more socially conservative so I was very surprised to see couples in the South holding hands and kissing in public.

Korean society is very family oriented. It was very hard at first to adapt in the South when I didn't have a family to see or talk to anymore. On holidays I didn't know what to do because I had no family.

The South Korean language has so many strange words that are borrowed from English. That took some time to get used to!

It was also difficult to decide on what to study and what career to pursue. In North Korea, I didn't get to choose what my future would look like. It was kind of overwhelming to choose a path to take when there were so many choices.

A:

I still enjoy spicy foods, but I cringe when I smell habanero peppers.


Q:

Surreal. Crazy. Type two kind of fun. Fun when it's done.

A:

I passed through Wixhausen on Wednesday. It's not very large, so I can understand why they went for Hesse and Darmstadt. Some great pizza, though.

And I wasn't aware of the slang... that's a bit awkward. I do know that the Americans used to propose rude slang for some of the elements as a joke - and even picked Pu for plutonium because of 'obvious reasons', which I take to mean it says 'poo'. So it wouldn't be totally random.


Q:

(Carson) The Porta Squatty can actually fit in a decent sized purse. It'll easily fit in most backpacks.

A:

re: anxiety - we can fix it with CRISPR

re Spanish - damn. I wish it would just direct you to my other books. Preferably one of the more expensive ones.


Q:

itll be really hard to get a payout if it ever actually becomes a problem.

Exactly.

So, how to best hedge your bet?

A good place to start is to get a price quote for a seismic retrofit of your residential property. If your contractor looks at it and says $4k, or if they look at it and say $20k, it helps inform your decisions. They'll hand you a bunch of options that you can do, from low cost gas-shutoffs to having your home bolted to the foundation. There's a lot of variables when pricing this out.

Either way, even if you do get a seismic upgrade for your home, it's still not a bad to have quake insurance, and certainly your insurance rates will be much lower.

A:

1- What do you think about tourism companies offering trips to North Korea and the people that go on those trips? Do you think that it's just money that goes to the regime or that it helps in some way the locals?

2- Do you still have family in NK? If so, are you considering getting them out?

3- Have you met Yeonmi Park and Hyeonseo Lee? Do you relate to their stories?

4- Are you considering writing a memoir?

5- What city did you live in in NK? Did you ever have some kind of romantic relationship or held hands with someone?


Q:

Hi Tory!
 
Two quick questions: What was your favorite Myth to bust? And what was the most surprising result or conclusion you and the crew ever came to?
 
Thanks for doing this!

A:

What was your first meal upon returning back to earth?


Q:

What do you do for fun?

A:

Should have called it the Pop-A-Squat.


Q:

Given how long SMBC has been going, do you ever accidentally get an idea for a comic that you've already done? Do you have to go back and check your previous comics to make sure you don't repeat? Or are you just clever/insane enough that no joke enters your brain twice?

A:

Hi reqiamata, for information on the damage potential from the 8.0 off the coast of Oregon, or full 9.0, i suggest checking out the "Seismic Scenarios" on WA department of Natural Resources(DNR) Greology portal: https://geologyportal.dnr.wa.gov/ (Go to the seismic scenarios tab, which can provide estimates of shaking, and then estimates of economic loss and casualty potential).

With a full 9.0 rip, damage will extend South into Northern California, and North into most of British Columbia, and it is difficult to say which of the two ends would be more damaged. The scenarios should provide a bit of detail about the extent of predicted damage though. Hope that helps! -Brian


Q:

I have kept a diary that I hope to one day turn into a book!

I do have family in North Korea and I get to talk to them often through special brokers that sneak Chinese phones into North Korea. If they wanted to come out I would help them but my grandmother is very old and my father is very sick and too weak to make the dangerous journey.

I do not want to disclose the city I lived in to protect my family but it was in the Northern part of the country.

A:

Dynamite Cement Truck.


Q:

A salad.

A:

I play a loooooot of computer games.

Currently blasting my way through Bolivia in Ghost Recon: Wildlands. It's...eh, it's OK. After that I'll probably revisit Witcher 3 (favourite game) or Fallout: New Vegas with some graphics mods.


Q:

(Carson) During father’s day we typically do a post about Bill, one of our founders. We lovingly refer to him as “Poppa-Squat” since he’s the father of Squatty Potty.

A:

Yeah. A few times I've actually drawn the same idea twice. What's really weird is how similar they end up being.


Q:

This question has come up a few times over at /r/Preppers and /r/CascadianPreppers - you should occasionally follow those subs to see how other people do it.

The best bet for you might be to have the minimal supplies you need, and things that double for other uses.

For example, do you like backpacking? Great, you've probably got 2/3rds of the emergency equipment you need. Pick up a case or two of bottled water from the grocery store, pick up a bucket of Mountain House Freeze Dried foods, or maybe two buckets if you can find a place to store them. While 2-weeks worth of supplies are recommended, having just 5 days worth of stuff isn't a bad start.

These sort of "preps" complement your every day life.

Also, can you preposition stuff at someone else's home? Do you have a friend or family member where you might be able to stash an emergency kit? It's something to think about.

A:

How do people in North Korea perceive Dennis Rodman as a person?


Q:

Has there ever been a project you took on, regretted half-way through, and had it end up being one of your favorites when done? Or have you pretty much always ended feeling the same way you started?

A:

How does one clean the ISS?


Q:

Do you like tactics/strategy games like XCOM? Or tabletop RPGs like DnD?

A:

do you think you'll expand to working with food products that make things more... regular?


Q:

Lots of your longer comics (like the one about the moon colony populated by prize winners) take a hypothetical scientific advancement or political decision and explores the consequences for humour. Have you ever considered fleshing out a comic idea into a longer-form comic book? I'd totally buy something like that if you made it.

A:

This is really a fairly complicated issue. Precisely what will happen depends on details of the rupture which are unpredictable. We can extract the most likely scenario from running a bunch of models. Most simulations suggest that there will be long durations of shaking. However, how strong the shaking is and whether it is high-frequency shaking or low-frequency (slow rolling motions) in Seattle depends largely on how close the fault rupture gets to the city. I would expect more like 90 seconds of strong shaking and minutes of low-frequency oscillations. The strong shaking will impact shorter structures, while only the very tallest buildings and structures will be impacted by the long period-long duration rolling. -Paul


Q:

I don't even know who that is! Ian and Sarah just had to tell me about his relationship with Kim Jung Un.

A:

My first week on Mythbusters. I left ILM where I was working on big special effects movies, next thing I knew I was scraping chicken guts off the walls of Jamie's shop. I almost quit, but I'm very glad I stuck it out.


Q:

We have a vacuum we use to clean the filters, and then we have something similar to a wet wipe that we use to clean everything else.

A:

Yeah, one of my childhood favourites was UFO: Enemy Unknown and I love the new XCOM. Haven't got Chosen expansion for 2 yet; waiting until there's a Longwar mod.


Q:

(Carson) While I don't know if we'll ever get into food products, we're planning on working with some chefs and bloggers to create recipes that help you poop with ease. We'll probably post those on our blog and Facebook pages.

A:

It's a goal of mine during the next five years.


Q:

If I am in a two or three story house, what is the likelihood that the floor will fall out from underneath me if I am on the second or third floor (during a 7+ quake)?

A:

Hi Joy, I actually have two questions:

  1. What is the most outrageous piece of propaganda that you heard regarding the Kim family in North Korea?

  2. Was your relationship with the Chinese man abusive in any way?


Q:

How did it feel to work on Star Wars? Were you a fan when you saw it as a kid?

A:

How far away are we from artificial gravity?


Q:

Which lab was your favorite and why?

And where there big differences between the labs? I mean, was there a lab which was huge and had super expensive stuff while there were others that were like a classroom or something?

A:

Hi guys, fantastic product and advertising. Poop is weird and the word is funny for everyone, and with your unicorn...you made it weirder and funnier.
Can we see what your prototype looked like?


Q:

Hey Zach, I'm a really big fan of your work and can't wait to read Soonish. Now that you've finished Soonish, what's your next Big Project?

A:

This really depends on when your house was built and what it is made out of. I would suggest contacting a structural engineer to do an assessment. If it is a wood structure, built after 1980, then it should flex fairly well and most likely would not collapse during an earthquake. If it is an unreinforced masonry building, built a hundred years ago, then the risk of collapse is a lot higher, especially chimneys and facades. - Maximilian


Q:
  1. I remember that a textbook once said that Kim Il-song turned a pinecone in a bomb during the Korean War and killed many Americans with it. As a child I thought it was totally true. Now I laugh at how impossible that is!

  2. The man was not abusive to me. I was lucky in that sense. But it was still so hard to be forced to be with someone that bought me.

A:

Star Wars changed my life as a kid. It was a dream come true to get to work on the Star Wars movies.


Q:

It's all about money. Money can solve a lot of problems, including this one.

A:

Some labs have funding. Others don't. So I went from somewhere like Oak Ridge, which has an operating budget of billions, to somewhere like JINR, which has some labs (JINR has several different labs, all looking at different things) with buildings abandoned and boarded up for decades because they were less successful.

Funding is the name of the game, here. Funding and beam time.


Q:

(Carson) We actually made this video private, but I think it'll be fun for people to see how far we've come. This was the first video we made. It shows our original stool design (that we've since changed massively) and also shows how much better our new commercials are!

A:

Likely order of operations:

1) New SMBC book, with a new abridged minibook

2) Pro-immigration non-fic graphic novel with Bryan Caplan

3) SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY?!

Aspirationally, I'd also like to do some serious fiction writing, some books for little kids, and maybe some young adult fiction. But, time is limited, and unfortunately I have a very happy family who like spending time with me.


Q:

Are there liquifaction zones surrounding/and in Puget Sound? If so where are they? Thanks for the great thead.

A:

Can you make a machine that will pay off my student loans?


Q:

Maybe this is a ELI5 but, does gravity affect your digestion up there? I imagine there's a lot of reflux going on.

Thanks for doing this! I love following the ISS feed.

A:

As an element collector, most of us will never have anything above element 92 in our collections (for the most part). Did you come across any cool novelties that one might use in a collection to represent the superheavy elements?


Q:

Which Shark were you most afraid of?

A:

Thanks for the answer, I'd really like to read some serious fiction writing from you! Good luck with all those projects!


Q:

Hi Stv_prc, The short answer is "Yes!" Liquefaction is common in areas where unconsolidated sediment sits on top of wet areas, so floodplains, river deltas, and any areas that have been filled out into the harbor are at risk. To find out where they are, I would recommend checking out DNR's Geology portal, and checking out the Liquefaction zones (use the dropdown menu for: Earthquake Data -> Ground response -> liquefaction susceptibility). https://geologyportal.dnr.wa.gov/

-Brian

A:

It already exists. It's called a phone. Call your family.


Q:

Gravity is critical to our digestive system. Eventually, you sort of get used to it.

A:

I have lapel pins for 116 and 117, a 114/116 discovery medal, a 112-branded LED cube, and some element-branded pens.

Also I've got a periodic table signed by everyone I spoke with, including Yuri Oganessian, which is unique (nobody else has someone from every lab, including the lead discoverers of 107+). I'm planning to auction that for a children's charity.


Q:

(Carson) There's that one cookie cutter shark that can supposedly cut holes in submarines. Absolutely terrifying.

A:

I'm sure I'll do it eventually. Just a matter of time...


Q:

How long do you estimate it will take to restore the following things?

  • Electricity
  • Drinking water and sewer
  • Healthcare facilities
  • Gasoline and Natural Gas
A:

How many other guys have you met that also have the name Tory?


Q:

I was a child when man took its first step on the moon. It was such a huge event! At that time, it was life-changing. I’d love to see NASA’s funding upped. So many innovations and milestones came from our space program. Thinking about it is immensely huge. You’ve spent a record time in space, another huge event. What kept you going?

A:

Has any work gone into the detection of man-made elements in atmospheres of other planets?


Q:

Who was your biggest inspiration in creating this glorious masterpiece?

A:

Hi Zach! Have you ever considered compiling a book of all the hate mail you get? Like a "best of" kind of thing. It would only make sense, considering how much you openly invite the stuff.


Q:

Hi Chairbendr, This is a difficult question to answer. Assuming we're only talking about Washington here, getting all of those things back up and running will take between 1 and 5 years, depending on where you are, what time of year a disaster occurs, how much preparation an area did before the disaster, whether residents stay in the area to help recover afterwards or move away, location in general, degree of destruction... For instance, some areas in Japan are still not completely recovered from their 2011 earthquake, and Japan spends a lot of time and money on earthquake preparedness.

Electricity and water/wastewater will likely be restored first, as they are vital to recovery of all the other elements, so the goal will be within the first few months, but this will be easier in some areas than others. With damage from earthquake (heaviest shaking) and tsunami focused towards the coasts of Washington and Oregon, and challenging access to arrive there (which may be impacted by landslides, road damage, liquefaction, etc.), it will certainly take longer for power and other infrastructure to be repaired in these areas.

Consider the challenges Puerto Rico is facing right now: After a disaster, it is challenging to restore critical infrastructure. This will also be the case following a CSZ earthquake.

For more details on the levels of destruction to these types of infrastructure and the economy, I suggest reading the Summary report of the Hazus Run: http://file.dnr.wa.gov/publications/ger_seismic_scenario_cascadia.pdf

-Brian

A:

Weirdly enough on the set of MB and WRP we had a builder named Tory.


Q:

My belief in our mission. And the fact that I couldn't come home, so I had no choice.

A:

Not too much in terms of exoplanets etc, but there is work trying to determine if superheavy elements (which are the man-made ones) exist in nature. One way to do that is to look at olivine crystals in meteorites - if your meteorite has been floating around space for a billion or so years, you can look at what smashed into it a long time ago by the traces left in the olivine.


Q:

(Jason) - The Squatty Potty was originally a garage idea made to help Mom Poop better. After 7 kids, she had developed severe constipation and was using clunky books and weird poop stools. We studied the natural squat, added a hill to toe pitch and the U shape to get it out the way when not in use. Then the magic started happen. Hard work and luck have been good to us. Mom and Dad, raised 7 kids and found this success in their late 60's its a dream story thanks to all of friends and media folks. We are just so thankful to everyone and hope that the inventions continues to improve the natural elimination we all desire.

A:

I'm afraid I really get very little hatemail. Ages ago I used to do a lot of creationism jokes, and then I got a bit more. I think as the comic has gotten nerdier I get less hate and more "this is slightly incorrect, sir."


Q:

What is the best disaster movie ever? And please don't say to has the Rock in it.

A:

Plan to do anymore racing soon? How did you enjoy Lemons?


Q:

Was there any „boring“ time?

A:

Hello, great AMA! Just wondering what is the average stability time for some of the newly discovered elements?


Q:

I used the Squatty Potty for a couple months, and I found that simply leaning forward helped just as much as the Squatty Potty, and I found it more comfortable too. What do you have to say about this?

A:

Will there be a Starpocalypse Season Two?
— Somebody who bought Starpocalypse Season One, and wants to buy Starpocalypse Season Two.


Q:

A couple suggestions from a quick crowd-source of the group right here: Keily and Maximilian both suggest "The Impossible," about the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and the stories of people trying to reunite with their families after the disaster. With my Volcanology background, I'm personally a fan of Dante's Peak: Despite some ridiculousness, it's a pretty fantastic portrayal of both the types of hazards we can experience in the Pacific northwest from our Volcanoes (if you take away water-suddenly-becoming-skin-meltingly-acidic), and a pretty accurate portrayal of the quirkiness of geologists (...all the ones that aren't Pierce Brosnon anyway).

A:

24hrs of Lemons was awesome! I want to do it again. I approached them about doing a tv show.


Q:

Never bored. too much to do.

A:

The heaviest, Og, is about 7 ms. Others are a few seconds, until you get to the actinides (103 and lower), where you start getting hours, days etc.

Edit: I am a fool and out by a thousand. I mean 7 milliseconds. Corrected.


Q:

You are a freak of nature "bobby"

A:

I'm afraid there almost certainly won't be. Video is quite expensive and difficult, and the video stuff never quite turned a profit. Thank you, though!


Q:

I always hear " we are due for magnitude X earthquake within the next Y years!" What is your official statement for X and Y? (Give me actual numbers!!!!)

A:

Do you have any favorite YouTube channels to recommend?


Q:

There's been more talk recently about the US returning to the Moon. What are your thoughts on this? Should we be keeping our sights on Mars? Or do you think the Moon would be a useful stepping stone?

A:

1)What are the chances of discovering a new element that is stable enough for the proton numbers to be registered?

2)How were the researchers able to identify certain particles as new elements while they have extremely short half lives?


Q:

I bought one of these after seeing an ad on Facebook and it has significantly improved the way that I poop. No matter where I am now that's not my home bowl, I need to find something to prop my feet up on, whether it's the garbage can, my backpack, or some other make shift squatter.

I keep insisting to my girlfriend that it's amazing, but she keeps insisting that it's just in the way and that she keeps scraping her ankles on it (I have no idea how, I never do). Can you tell her how wrong she is so I can show her later and gloriously bask in the triumphant victory?

A:

Do you maintain a buffer of comics that are ready but unpublished in case shit happens and you can't finish on time? How many days could you update without actually making any new comics, if you had to?


Q:

Hi Young handsome MF: it is challenging to get actual numbers, and it really depends who you ask. For general guidance, there is a 15% chance that there will be a damaging earthquake in the Pacific northwest within the next 50 years. The Cascadia Subduction Zone is probably the most well-studied when it comes to recurrence intervals, and there are still a lot of uncertainties in the ranges: from a 13-18% chance of a magnitude 8.0-9+ earthquake in the next 50 years.
It is challenging to make definite probablity statements, because they are based on understanding when previous earthquakes occurred... which are determined by deposits from tsunamis... over thousands of years.

...it's not like predicting the weather, that's for sure. It's important to understand that it is a hazard, and no matter what the probabilities are, it might not happen in your lifetime, it could also happen tonight, or three days/months/years from now, so get prepared.

https://pnsn.org/outreach/earthquakesources/csz Here is PNSN's list of what the usual recurrence intervals of faults are.

<EDIT: Didn't put my name...here it is!> -Brian

A:

Corridor Digital


Q:

In a perfect world, the Moon is a great place to learn and practice for going to Mars. But with limited funding, maybe directly to Mars is a better choice.

A:

1) For 119 and 120, pretty good. We have a good way to get to them, so I expect them to be discovered in the next five years.

2) There's a few ways. You can detect fission, you can detect radioactive decay, you can do mass measurements. The sensitivity of the detectors is astonishing.


Q:

(Carson) Yo Rizface’s girlfriend, you’re wrong.

A:

Normally yes, but it's been tough now that we had kids. Right now I'm a few weeks ahead, since we're starting our book tour.


Q:

Are you still building/making stuff? I see mentions on your Twitter of a comic, anything else? If you aren't, anything you would like to be doing?

A:

What should I do to become an astronaut?


Q:

What are you having for lunch?

A:

I loved that you guys introduced a more aesthetically pleasing slim teak version of the Squatty Potty and ordered it. I was super not enthused that it had the image of a squatting person and your logo huge across the top of it. At $90 (I see now, the price has gone down to $60), it was also not cheap for me to have to spend an hour sanding it all off. Can you offer a version that has more discreet branding (like maybe the underside of the top?), even if you have to charge more for it? Because I and a lot of other people would buy more of them.


Q:

What is the likelihood that standard, automotive battery packs will be developed so that service stations can just swap out depleted units?

A:

I have a horror movie I'm writing now so I'm stoked on that at them moment.


Q:

NASA has minimum qualifications you can find on a website. So, being in one of those fields would be necessary to be a NASA astronaut. And then doing well in that field.

A:

I had fish and chips (I'm in the UK). Mushy peas on the side.


Q:

(Carson) That’s a good question! I’ll bring it up to our product development team and see what they think.

A:

This is a book about more mediumterm and longterm technologies, so we don't get into things like self-driving cars, ecars, solar panels, etc. Plus, those things are amply covered in other books.

So, we're not particularly well-read on that topic. Personally, I'd be in favor of energy beaming for electric cars. If we had that and autonomous cars, I'd just live in a trailer that never stopped moving.


Q:

When I was young watching mythbusters I always thought you and Kari Byron were a thing, were you guys together at some point?

A:

Hello Scott, what were you most looking forward to the very FIRST time you were going to space?


Q:

Who is the coolest scientist you have met and why?

A:

Any amazing testimonials as a result of your product?


Q:

(Zach) How do you have comic ideas every friggin day for over a decade now?

(Kelly) Is Parasite X from Metroid plausible?

A:

No, just good friends. She's like my lil sister.


Q:

The first two minutes and ten seconds, riding on the solid rocket motors.

A:

I had a BBQ and a beer with George Smoot. He was really funny - told me a lot about working on the Big Bang Theory and winning Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?. That was a pretty chill evening.


Q:

"bobby"

My favorite is this Haiku

Amazon Review 5.0 out of 5 starsLove this thing! ByWm. Jonathan Bradshawon September 23, 2015 Verified Purchase ---- Oh Squatty Potty, You fill me with endless joy, Yet leave me empty.

A:

I have a pretty strict schedule that involves a lot of reading. That seems to help.


Q:

What are your thoughts on the Mythbusters reboot? Do you think the show should have ended when Jamie and Adam left, or are you happy to see the legacy continue?

A:

What are your dreams for the space program in general?

How about one for the near future and one for a couple hundred years down the line?


Q:

Some strange elements tend to have properties that make them extremely difficult to study. For example, Copernicium has a half-life of only 29 seconds, and Francium would probably explode upon contacting the moisture in the air. How do you guys deal with it?

A:

Really enjoying the comics but there is one fatal flaw on the website and that is the navigation. Its basically impossible to watch old comics that are not the oldest without skipping through 100 pages. Maybe having a 6 month interval-led counter could help. Without the random function its a bell curve of inaccessibility basically where the oldest and newest are accessible but the rest isnt. Could this be changed?


Q:

I haven't really checked it out, but good luck to them.

A:

My dream would be for the government to allow NASA to continue on a single course and not change plans every 4-8 years. Long term, I think we should have an outpost on Mars and other places in the solar system.


Q:

With timing, the answer is 'very quickly'. Equipment is set up as close to the target as possible, down the beamline, so you extract the new atom and it goes straight into your experiment. You can do basic experiments (like running it along a temperature gradient, seeing if it forms compounds with things).

Also the more you produce, the more you can experiment on. Known decay chains mean that you can predict when an element will decay (alpha radiation, so losing a helium), meaning you can plan accordingly. 114 becomes 112 etc. That also gives you options.

A:

We're working on a way to sort by subject. Maybe we could add timespan as well!


Q:

Will there be more of the White Rabbit Project?

A:

NASA astronauts have been using the Soyuz to travel to the ISS and hopefully will be able to transition to the SpaceX Dragon in coming years. Do you foresee NASA's SLS program coming to fruition or is cooperation with the private sector the new future of space travel?

Tracking for my of signed copy of your book says it's out for delivery! I look forward to that when I get home today. Saw you speak in Gainesville, FL last year and greatly enjoyed it.


Q:

Undergraduate student here. How did you get into academic journalism? I really want to pursue a career as a science researcher and journalist, but was wondering what launched you into the field in the first place?

A:

Hey! Just wanted to say I'm a huge fan. Loved the earlier comics in all their geekery but I have to wonder if you've given much thought to smaller social structures like polyamorous relationships and such.

But the real question: how much of the earlier strips dealing with raising kids do you find yourselves seriously tempted to do?


Q:

Ask Netflix. It's a bummer, because we were so happy with the way the show turned out, but a lot of people didn't even know we had a new show.

A:

To the low earth orbit, it will be private companies—non-government companies. I hope the SLS program continues. NASA's often challenged when we change administrations, they sometimes change our plans.

Enjoy the book!


Q:

Got bored, wrote an article for my trade mag. They gave me money. I liked money.

Seriously, the best way to get into it is to start writing. Make a blog, get on social media. Start engaging with other science communicators (there are loads of great ones out there). It spirals from there.

A:

I've occasionally done jokes about poly couples, but I'm not exactly sure how much humor potential there is there?

It's funny - I was told after having kids that jokes about being mean to children seem less funny. I've had the exact opposite experience.


Q:

Aside from basic needs, what is the best thing you have ever bought?

A:

What are the biggest general misconceptions surrounding space travel and/or living in space?


Q:

What are the differences in labs across the world ? And also can you name all the countries please ?

A:

For your viewing pleasure

r/childrenfallingover


Q:

I just bought an iPad pro with Procreate sketch. I can't put it down.

A:

That you get to space by launching straight up. You get to space by going really fast and getting out of the atmosphere, which causes us to fly a much lower trajectory than you might think.


Q:

Sure! US, Japan, Germany and Russia are the main four. I've also been talking to labs in Switzerland, Poland, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

The labs are all very reflective of their countries. The US are very laid back, the German lab is really hard to find but very cool (they've modernised the new building with glass sides); the Japanese lab is very close to Wako City, so it's got an electric vibe, although it was ridiculously hot when I was there. The Russian lab is cold, and very much as you'd expect for a lab that was built during the 1950s.

A:

I am SO already there.


Q:

When you signed up for MythBusters did you know it would be so painful or hazardous?

A:

Assuming being in space for a year was similar to a military deployment, upon coming home, did you ever miss the rhythm of being in space? Were there any mental challenges to being fully independent again? Thanks for bringing science down to our level both during, and after your NASA career.


Q:

Was it easy to get permission for entry into all the labs ?

A:

Hi Zach,

I don't think I really have a question, but your comic with the guy dressed in Victorian garb being banned from the Ren Faire still makes me laugh. I have it up in my office.

So, question.... Uh.... Make more history jokes?


Q:

I blame myself for that. I really need to learn how to say no.

A:

Yes, and yes. Very good questions. A lot of similarities to military deployment.


Q:

Some were easier than others. Some I just asked, a few I had to submit all kinds of details beforehand to do security. And of course international visas for journalism, which can take a bit of paperwork.

A:

I dooo need to do that. Haven't had as much time to read history lately.


Q:

If you had a time machine where would you visit?

A:

Hello! Thanks for doing this AMA! As a person who is terrified of catching every airborne illness on a plain old domestic flight, I'm curious as to whether there is some sort of long-term quarantine process before heading off to the ISS for virus incubation periods to expire? If not, how do you guys avoid getting sick? Or is it just a matter of accepting you're all in this together, cooties and all?


Q:

Which lab do you think was unlikeliest to discover and which one felt like it was inevitable? Why?

A:

What is your inspiration to make comics about the more obscure subjects?


Q:

The Jurassic Period.

A:

Yes, generally a week to ten days. Works most of the time. There have been cases of people, though, carrying the cold virus to space.


Q:

Inevitable is hard to say, but the best chance is between RIKEN in Japan and JINR in Russia. The Japanese team starts in a month, the Russians a bit later, but the Russian approach might have the better chance. The Japanese team won't stop until they discover a new element though, so I wouldn't rule them out!

A:

I mostly write in response to what I'm currently reading. So, if the topic is obscure, it's probably because I was reading some weird book recently.


Q:

What did it feel like when Kari was 'mind controlling' you? Did it hurt?

A:

I saw the picture and thought, “What’s Phil Collins got going on?”


Q:

If you're a science journalist then can you tell us how important Rick & Morty is to the field of science?

A:

Will rated: "Not as in depth as I would have liked. And the jokes are weak."

What would you say to Will? (*I am not Will)


Q:

It hurt like hell! Funny, but painful.

A:

Sussudio


Q:

They brought back that damn sauce, didn't they?

A:

Depth: Most people have actually said we're more in-depth than typical pop-sci. Given then we're covering each area in 10k words or fewer, I don't think we really could go more in depth without having stacks of equations or something. But, if Will wants more depth, there's what one reviewer called a "gratifyingly large" bibliography.

As for the jokes - Will is scientifically incorrect. The jokes contain references to both poo and butts.


Q:

Did you ever get back at Scottie for the wagon bike jump?

A:

How bad is the satellite pollution around the earth from up there? Do you see any projects or initiatives to clear it out?


Q:

Wow! great to see Super Heavy is getting some coverage! Can you share some cherished moments you had when talking to the scientists?

A:

No, but I do get to torture Kari from time to time.


Q:

There's a lot of space junk up there, but you don't see it. There are initiatives to clean it, but that will be a challenge.

A:

Some of the stories they have are crazy. Transporting giant magnets through war zones, being bugged by the KGB, trying to ship this highly radioactive material via commercial airliners and it ending up going back and forth over the Atlantic several times.

I think it's the small stuff, though. Once I was going out of a building in Berkeley, and a tour guide was talking about Glenn Seaborg (one of the most famous element creators), and was saying in this wonderful Californian accent 'So, like, this guy Seaborg? His name is an anagram of "Go bears!"'. It's moments like that you can't script - why you need to go and visit people and see the world.

And I guess sports are a big deal at UCB. :D


Q:

Were there ever any myths you wanted to test but never got around to it?

A:

How many hours did you spend working on average?

Greetings from Germany!


Q:

Any advice for aspiring journalists/ science journalists? (How do you find stories, how worthwhile is grad school, and how likely am I to be able to find a job in science communication upon graduating college?)

And how long have you had to research and write the book?

A:

Going over the Niagara Falls in a barrel. Obviously I would get to build a super barrel out of space age materials.


Q:

I would say 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.

A:

I'm still researching. Ask me when I'm done!

Advice... start doing sci comm now. A lot of countries have competitions, meet ups, tweet-ups. Get involved as soon as you can. The UK has Fame Lab and Bright Club, for example.

Also start a blog. Get writing. Talk about what interests you. Build a community. That kind of social interaction is invaluable to learn good writing, particularly in science, and in impressing potential employers.


Q:

I love everyone from Mythbusters, but you, Kari, and Grant seem like great friends in real life. You are a joy to watch together! Thanks for the good times!

How many times a day at the shop did you think to yourself, "I have the best job on Earth and I'm one of the five luckiest mofos alive!"?

A:

I’ve often wondered if astronauts get nervous spending so much time living in the ISS? I mean you’re there for extended periods of time in this amazing structure with so many moving parts and to me it seems like there is so much that could go wrong at any given time, all while looking down on earth.

Thanks for doing good this, I can’t wait to read your book. People have been living up there for a long time now and that’s amazing and I don’t think it gets talked about enough.


Q:

Could heavy elements 118 and higher be created during kilonovas like the one that happened earlier this week? I read that elements like gold, platinum and uranium were created during this event. would it even be possible to detect them if they were created?

A:

I would think that to myself several times a day.


Q:

Any nervousness, if you want to call it that, for me, was always associated with the bad stuff that can happen to the people you care about on Earth.

A:

Yeah, that was really cool as I was at GSI the day after the event (and of course we've just had the Nobel prizes for gravitational waves).

Not sure if that particular event would produce superheavies, but in terms of detection, the best hope is actually looking at meteorites. Traces in olivine crystals and the like showing impacts of elements from billions of years ago can be measured, showing you the mass of what hit - and from the mass you can prove if a superheavy element existed before it decayed.


Q:

Do you have a desire to go back into making special effects for movies or non-educational TV shows (such as The Expanse, or the new Star Wars/Star Trek films)?

A:

Scott, were you able to share recovery stories with Misha Kornienko? Was your recovery similar to his?


Q:

What's your favorite element and why?

A:

I do miss model making. I was hoping that the old model shop was going to get some work in for The Force Awakens, but it never happened.


Q:

Not much. I think his reaction to gravity on return was similar to what I experienced.

A:

Before this, it used to be boron. Boron is weird.

Now, I'd probably say oganesson. It's really weird to personally know someone who has an element named after them on the periodic table (indeed, the only person alive with an element named after them). Yuri is also just a wonderful guy - really friendly and very generous with his time.

This is my first feature on him.


Q:

Where can we check out some of your sculptures/paintings?

A:

Hi Scott, I wondered what happens when/after you have to sneeze inside the space station? Also, thanks for your great contribution to mankind!


Q:

How generous is he with his vodka?

A:

torybelleci.com


Q:

Well if you don't cover your sneeze-hole, something's going to travel for miles and miles and miles.

A:

Very. We had a good night, and they gave me a bottle to take home.


Q:

Which was the hardest myth to get the insurance company/producers to let you actually test rather than putting a dummy in the situation?

A:

How has your space experience changed your outlook/beliefs in life?


Q:

Did you go to Cornwall where titanium (manaccanite) was discovered?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POphxfF7S0E

A:

There were many. When I fell through the awnings for an Indiana Jones myth they wouldn't let Adam do, but apparently I was expendable. haha! We used the same insurance company that insured Jackass.


Q:

Having a good understanding of the size of the universe, I find it hard to believe there's not life out there. Having said that, I don't think the aliens stopped visiting Earth once everyone got a camera in their pocket.

A:

No, I'm only writing about man-made elements (except technetium and promethium). I've been to Cornwall before, though.


Q:

Man Mythbusters steered me towards engineering, whats the most difficult thing you've had to build in your career??? Thanks!

A:

Okay first, have you ever been completely alone up in space or is someone always up there with you?

If you have been completely alone, for how long and how did it feel?

And if you haven't, are the few people that are up there with you enough to not make you feel lonely?


Q:

Is Bob Lazar right about this?

A:

Stoked you were influenced by the show. Hardest thing ever to build was probably the earthquake shake table. That thing was a beast.


Q:

Never alone. Correct, I've never been lonely. I was up there, at one point, for six weeks with two cosmonauts, and it was absolutely fine.

A:

No.


Q:

Will you please adopt me as your son and take me out to ice cream?

But seriously big fan I've been watching all your shows ever since I was a kid!

A:

Hi Scott! You're awesome. I was wondering, did you have any free time while on a mission in space? Did you get days off? What did you do with them? What was your favorite activity while in space?


Q:

Have you ever been to CERN? I'm going there on a school trip in March and would love to know more about it.

A:

LOL!


Q:

A couple hours every evening, and one day on the weekend. I liked taking pictures of the Earth. It's very beautiful.

A:

No, it's on my list. I've been to JINR, the Russian answer to CERN.


Q:

You're friends with joel zimmerman. Whats your favorite car of his that he either previously or currently owns?

A:

Hi Scott, thank you for your dedication to world-changing research. We need more people like you.

What are the top physiological and psychological issues you foresee space travellers facing as we take longer and more extended trips into space and to Mars?


Q:

Can a highly socially awkward and shy person become a (sports) journalist? Do you have colleagues who are? Tell us about them.

A:

The Nyanborgini


Q:

Physiological—radiation damage. Psychological—prolonged confinement.

A:

Yes, anyone can become a journalist. Social awkwardness and shyness are not boundaries, although most of the jobs do require attending press conferences. You just have to take a deep breath, pluck up some courage and ask.

One of the best shy journos I know is a numbers dork, so she does a lot of freedom of information requests and data journalism, ploughing through the stats to find the story. She's amazing at it, so her skills are really in demand. No awkward social bits required.


Q:

Who inspired you to get to where you are now?

A:

Being in Micro Gravity ... Wearing a Full Fledged Space Suit, How much weight can you actually notice/feel of the suit?


Q:

What chemical cocktail (if any) would Dr. Jekyll have to drink to turn into Mr. Hyde in real life?

A:

My dad. He was very creative and loved helping me with what ever crazy ideas I had. He still does.


Q:

You can notice the mass when you try to move or stop.

A:

Russell Crowe's salty accented tears.


Q:

Hi Tory!!!! Im a huge, huge, HUGE fan! You're one of my all time favorite tv heros, I would really like to know when you Kari and Grant will be returning to television- if you are! I miss you guys so much and I was so sad to hear that there wont be a season 2 of White Rabbit Project (I loved the show!) Will you ever be doing a show like that again?

A:

I've spoken to him about this as well, but how did you pull off getting a phone call/song from John McDermott? Did you have many other famous callers?


Q:

Are you excited for the search for element 119 starting in December?

A:

Thanks! Yeah it's a bummer about WRP. We have some shows in development so hopefully we'll be back soon. We miss you guys!


Q:

He's a friend of a friend, and it was great having him sing for us in space.

I didn't have many other famous callers. Bryan Cranston and Vince Gilligan were two folks I talked to on this mission.

A:

Tentatively. I'm not sure it's going to be immediate, so I'll be more excited when the first ping happens. Personally I expect to see more progress in 2019 than the first RIKEN run.


Q:

Do you sometimes go back and rewatch episodes of mythbusters and laugh at your own antics?

A:

How often would you do space walks? Was there always something to fix up there while you did them? Thanks!


Q:

Since 1945? You must be very old.

A:

No, but watching some of the stunts I did I do think, "What the $%&* was I thinking?"


Q:

The frequency of space walks vary. I did three in the span of a couple of months. My previous flight, I was there for six months and didn't do any. And yeah, there's almost always something to fix.

A:

I was frozen in a vault along with my wife and infant son. One day I'll get to MIT.


Q:

What's your favourite fruit and why?

A:

Hello!

Are you aware of the new supercomputer installed on the ISS? Do you have any opinion on this upgrade/experiment and how would better computing have helped you during your time on the ISS?


Q:

Would you walk 500 more, just to be the man who discovered just one more?

A:

Mango. It just is.


Q:

I am not familiar with that, but I will look into it.

A:

Sure. I'd name it proclaimium.


Q:

What did you have the most fun building/fabricating for mythbusters?

A:

What are your interests now? Would you ever consider working for an organization like The Planetary Society? Or work for a private company like SpaceX?


Q:

I belong in a co-ed chemistry Fraternity and one of my (dead) brothers is Glenn T Seaborg, can you tell me something interesting about element 106 Seaborgium?

A:

One of my favorite builds was the rocket surfboard. Figuring out how to attach 200 rockets and have them go off in stages while staying on for the ride was the best!


Q:

I spend a lot of time doing public speaking, and I just wrote a book which was a lot of work. I hope, when it comes out tomorrow, people will like it. yes, I would consider all of those things.

A:

Seaborgium is pretty interesting because we've started actually looking at its chemistry. There's a neat video on it here.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the element is that its naming was in the middle of the 'transfermium wars' - arguments between the US and Russians as to who discovered which element, and what elements could be called. It was almost called rutherfordium - which is now element 104, which was almost called kurchatovium. The whole naming of the element is an amazing story.


Q:

What would you say is the best food you had during all your time on the ISS?

A:

The granola with milk was my favorite.


Q:

Hi Scott,

Thanks for doing this AMA. How was it emotionally and mentally to be away from earth for that length of time? Was it considerably different than your previous experiences in space?

A:

It was different, because it was over twice as long. But I think I was well prepared for it. But it was still a challenge.


Q:

Hey Scott! I read a few days ago that your body is having a readjustment period after coming home. I thought it'd be terrifying to know something is going on with your body and no doctor on earth could really help. What's the worst part of the readjustment and are you feeling better?

A:

I'm feeling much better, and we have great medical care. Our doctors were right there along with me, if I needed them. The worst part was the swelling in my legs. That was the most disturbing.


Q:

I'm an engineer at SpaceX. Would you ever consider making the one way trip to Mars?

A:

Absolutely not. I would need the return ticket. Would you?


Q:

What's your favourite sandwich to make?

A:

I don't make sandwiches, I only eat them. Anything from a New York deli.


Q:

Are you a fan of GOT and if so were you able to keep up while in space?

A:

I wasn't until I got to space and binge watched the whole series twice.


Q:

What star constellation is now your favorite to look at after being in space for so long?

A:

It's a toss up between Orion the Hunter and the Big Dipper, because those are the only two I know.


Q:

Hello Scott, thanks for doing this.

I am curious: What does a weightless exercise regime look like?

A:

We have a resistive exercise machine that mimics weight very well. We have a treadmill and a stationary bicycle. And we exercise every day...well, I exercised six days a week.


Q:

Did u really grow 2 inches? Can u come again to DC after Nov? I will be in military training and I will miss you!

A:

I stretched an inch and a half. And upon returning to Earth, I instantly scrunched back down to my normal height of 6 foot 7.


Q:

What were your responsibilities during take-off and landing?

A:

On the space shuttle, I was the pilot and then the commander. So a lot of responsibilities for operating the vehicle. On the Soyuz, I was more like the copilot to the copilot—a glorified passenger.


Q:

Does being up there give you any kind of emotion that most of us will never understand? Like a euphoria sort of feeling? Anything simply unexplainable?

A:

I would say that orbital perspective I talked about in one of the previous questions is what most astronauts experience.


Q:

Hi scott, thanks for doing this.

My question was originally in Interstellar, but do you ever think about how you are a few feet away from nothing? Do you ever feel trapped?

A:

No, I never felt claustrophobic or anything. But you do feel detached from Earth and realize you're not coming back any time soon.


Q:

Did you see anything strange up there? Like UFOs.

A:

No. However, sometimes stars or even space junk as it passes through the horizon, the atmosphere can make it look suspicious.


Q:

Hello Mr. Kelly, You're an inspiration for me and my science career!

What would be the one thing during your year in space that Gave you An "Aw" moment, anything which you never imagined to see or happen?

Thanks!

A:

The whole thing is a big "aw" moment. Just absolutely incredible.


Q:

Hi Scott! So from everything I've read astronauts go through extensive training for years, were there any times when you found yourself without any training on how to handle something or unprepared for what was going on?

A:

No. Most cases, I felt over-prepared.


Q:

Any chance for someone living in a country with no plans for space exploration be in the space industry?

A:

Absolutely. There's a lot of opportunity out there, even if your country does not currently have a space program.


Q:

You've mentioned space has a smell, does it have a sound?

A:

No. In space, no one can hear you scream.


Q:

Oh, I just thought there might be solar winds or debris or something.

A:

A lot of debris out there, but in space there's no medium for sound waves to travel.


Q:

What planet is most interesting to you? And how hard is it to be an astronaut or a person who gets to go to space?

A:

Earth.


Q:

Sir, thank you so much for being such a great role model for children and representative for America on an international scale.

Where is the best place in the world to view space, in the way that space is viewed while in it? How much do you believe space travel will increase in the decades to come? Finally, what’s the most unexpected thing on Earth that brought you joy upon your return?

A:

A really dark place with no pollution. I think we are on the cusp of some pretty exciting advances in space travel. The first dog I saw was the most unexpected thing.


Q:

What did you miss the most about gravity while in orbit?

A:

The fact that it holds everything down.


Q:

How truly, utterly, indescribably awesome is space? Like on a scale from one to ten.

A:

It's an eleven!


Q:

Are dreams any different in space?

A:

I wrote down a lot of my dreams, and I have them in my book, which comes out tomorrow! Definitely vivid space dreams that I don't really have on Earth.


Q:

When someone says they would "have sex with an alien", aren't they just saying they would "have sex with an animal from a different planet"?

A:

Seems logical, I guess.


Q:

Awesome video about what happen when u cry in space, did u got scare up there?

A:

No. Nor did I cry.