Oct 22nd 2017 by _Ged • 44 Questions • 279 Points
Together, we wrote a book called "Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything." It's a big nerd-out about a bunch of future tech, along with weird stories and fun facts. An NPR review said it "feels like a slightly drunken lecture by a couple of enthusiastic professors."
Ask us about the book, parasites, cartooning, or this one research project where they found that students will obey robots that come bearing cookies.
Do you have a cool nickname like silver dragon or something like that ?
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.
Aw no! I'm late to the party... and I know what the blue man group does to late arrivals. Think they'll notice?
What are your favourite examples of people using Excel for unusual things?
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?
Has podcast sponsorship given you guys a good ROI? How has it compared to returns on other forms of advertising/marketing?
Will there ever be a revival of SMBC Theater?
Also, you're awesome!
No, but it would be awesome if it was silver dragon.
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
One of my favorites support requests contained a business justification of "this issue is delaying the space shuttle launch". -Ben[Microsoft]
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.
(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.
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.
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...)
(bobby) Yes, I am actually answering from our shitty private jet.
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.
What's the biggest mistake (or regret) thats happened within development?
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?
Its only a 7 minute video and it explains it better then i can.
Taking out u/Clippy_Office_Asst -Michael[Microsoft]
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.
Was it always going to be the Blue Man Group? Was there ever a discussion about being a different color?
Why can't the auto-scientific notation default be disabled?
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.
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.
Yo Brock, i hope you are doing well man!! Sunscreen does help when i apply it every 30 minutes. I really hate putting on sunscreen though.
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]
My general recollection is that Russian food had a lot of mayo, so I'm going to go with that one.
(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...
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.
If you were to do a Blue Man Group movie....Who would be the lead actor?
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.
Were there any instances where they weren't able to successfully recreate the new element after making the claims?
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?
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)
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.
(jason) think of all the extra yoga time you now have
I may take you up on that one day...
Do you ever engage in promiscuity whilst still in makeup?
Asking for a friend.
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.
What would you say was the greatest site to visit, in your personal opinion?
Does this device do anything to help treat/prevent hemorrhoids?
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
About 20/250 in both eye. My right eye is a little better then my left.
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]
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.
(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.
I live down the street from a bakery that makes them. $3 a piece and worth every penny.
How large is the Excel team compared to the other product teams (ie. Word, PowerPoint, Access, etc.)?
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?
Wow that is very intriguing. I've never seen that before so No.
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!
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?
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.
Hey Zach, what do you think you'd be doing if SMBC hadn't taken off?
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]
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.
(Carson) Of course! We actually worked with Lori on the release of our latest video.
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.
What is the best way to beat an Exodia Deck?
- What does the Squatty Potty do that a regular step stool would not?
- My husband is not on board the Squatty Potty train. Might a collapsible version be made in the future?
Hey Zach, I love your comics.
Was it tough growing up with that last name though?
Some days, but fortunately they let you out of the Microsoft Archives some days and we get to see you around campus. -Ben[Microsoft]
"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
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.
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()
Which element do you find to have the most unexpected properties?
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
Was the "red button" always a feature in the smbc website? If not, when did it start?
Word has some basic formula capabilities ...
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!
(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/
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."
As someone who doesn't know a whole lot about albinism I have a couple of questions! 1. What are some of the ups and downs of albinism? 2. Is anything other than your skin, hair and eyes affected by albinism? 3. How is it having so awesome hair?!
Thanks for doing this and have a great day! :3
How can we cheer Phil up?
Really apologise to ask you such a silly question, but how does this have no electron shells? Amazing AMA btw!
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?
So how nihilistic/cynical are you in real life? Or is it all just theoretical?
Thank you! Down: many vision problems, burn easily, some social difficulties, school work, Up- cool hair, thick skin(can take any insult)
In order to get Couath / Collab working, we had to deprioritize playing Doom in Excel. Maybe an Add-in will be made? - Michael [Microsoft]
As someone writing for a chemistry mag, I know this is weird. Have a look at this link.
(Carson) Soon we'll be coming out with our brand new religion, Poostafarian. That should help you reach poo nirvana.
This is pretty close to autobiographical: http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/the-consolation-of-philosophy
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.
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?
Why didn't you say "maybe you've tried our stool that helps you get your stool out easier"?
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.
They're all good dogs, brooks.
(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
Yeah, sorry, we need to fix that. Meantime, you can always ask https://www.reddit.com/r/SMBCComics/
What's the best way for me to become the 'Excel Guy' at work?
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?
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.
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?
1. do vlookup and pivots 2. ???? 3. profit as the Excel Guy
I hope so! It's certainly going to be available worldwide.
(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
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.
Can we tell poop stories on here?
A long time ago, not very far away, I analyzed my Halo 2 data in Excel and it was popular for 15 mins.
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.
(Carson) I'm genuinely curious what you're wanting to use it for now.
I refuse to get this joke.
How did you pay for 36,000 miles of travel ?
We meet up with him at The Max pretty regularly.
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 book advance. :)
(Jason) We offer the 2.0 Squatty Potty.. It comes with a 7" base and a topper that increases to 9". Cheers Bill
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
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?
What would you most like to tell us that no one has asked about?
The philosophy in your comic seems pretty broad and insightful to my cretin mind. What do you read/watch/smell/eat for inspiration?
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.
(Carson) No one asked how my poop was this morning. It was great!
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.
Is it true that the Excel logo is an X (and a small L) instead of an E, to avoid this?
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?
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
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.
The Excel logo has been an X and an L longer than these other products have been around. -Eric[Microsoft]
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.
(Carson) That's the only place to be when asking the Squatty Potty team a question. It allows you to channel your inner poop.
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.
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?
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?
I tried making some puerco pibil for my family and it didn't turn out well. The meat was very tender but it was way too sour
Could you please cheer me up? I'm sad
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]
Well, JINR does produce its own brand of vodka (I have a bottle)...
(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.
Cheer up - one day you'll be dead and then you'll stop doing so many things wrong.
If you don't mind me asking, what happened while you were in China before being adopted?
How do you do your quick changes?
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?
If someone find a new element, can they name it after themselfs?
My son has a birthday coming up. Can we hire the unicorn for entertainment and dessert?
that helps, I suppose
I lived in an orphanage with other orphans. I liked it there but i had no clue there was an outside world.
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]
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.
"Bobby" Dookie is incredibly busy. I'll ask his agent for you.
Also, tonight's failed dinner is tomorrow's pie.
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.
Who came up with the unicorn poop idea? Is there a story behind it?
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?
No, i can get pretty pink though.
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.
(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.
Yeah. A few times I've actually drawn the same idea twice. What's really weird is how similar they end up being.
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?
Is there any movement towards a portable Squatty Potty?
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?
There are no dumb questions if you are trying to learn. I get a lot of eyes but i cant see peoples facial expressions. I have thick skin so i can take whatever is tossed at me(i probably wont see it lol). I like personality over physical beauty so i wouldnt know.
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.
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.
Have you ever considered Blue Man ASMR? Y'all are so good with sounds already, I'm sure you could put something weird and wonderful together.
Should have called it the Pop-A-Squat.
Your comic has one of the most diverse casts of characters within it. Was this a conscious decision of yours to do?
I dont know my biological parents.
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.
Do you like tactics/strategy games like XCOM? Or tabletop RPGs like DnD?
do you think you'll expand to working with food products that make things more... regular?
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.
(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.
No randomizer. Just, try to keep things various.
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?
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?
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)
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.
(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!
Similarly, the only reason I bathe is to hygiene signal.
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?
(Carson) There's that one cookie cutter shark that can supposedly cut holes in submarines. Absolutely terrifying.
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.
Who was your biggest inspiration in creating this glorious masterpiece?
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.
(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.
It's a goal of mine during the next five years.
Hello, great AMA! Just wondering what is the average stability time for some of the newly discovered elements?
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?
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?
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.
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.
I'm sure I'll do it eventually. Just a matter of time...
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.
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.
I had fish and chips (I'm in the UK). Mushy peas on the side.
(Carson) That’s a good question! I’ll bring it up to our product development team and see what they think.
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."
Any amazing testimonials as a result of your product?
Will there be a Starpocalypse Season Two?
— Somebody who bought Starpocalypse Season One, and wants to buy Starpocalypse Season Two.
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.
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.
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!
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?
How do you feel knowing you've taken so much money from me? I have monocles, Augie, Sciences and bibles, now soonish, at least one choose your own adventure in physical format plus the rest in digital??? I hope awesome, cause I enjoyed it all and hope to continue enjoying it! Thanks for everything!
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.
Feels good man.
(for real though, thanks - people like you make the weirder projects possible)
Which lab do you think was unlikeliest to discover and which one felt like it was inevitable? Why?
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?
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!
We're working on a way to sort by subject. Maybe we could add timespan as well!
If there was a Zachy-treat (or Kellyy-treat), like a small piece of food one could use to teach you tricks, what would it be?
Teach me, please.
Have you ever been to CERN? I'm going there on a school trip in March and would love to know more about it.
No, it's on my list. I've been to JINR, the Russian answer to CERN.
Are you excited for the search for element 119 starting in December?
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.