JournalistWe’re two reporters who just spent a year investigating prostitution and sex trafficking on New Orleans’ most famous tourist attraction: Bourbon Street. AMA!
Oct 23rd 2017 by NOLAnews • 44 Questions • 67 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.
What would you do differently if you had your time as PM over again?
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!
As I said just before, I'd be less trusting of some of the folks I worked with.
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.
I also work in the Baton Rouge area as a dancer. I've blacked out a lot of my personal info but here is a link to a picture of my dancers license there
What's the meaning of life?
Hi Mr Rudd,
Do you think there should be a Royal Commission into the NBN debacle to hold those accountable?
What properties would be predicted for elements around that neutron number?
When your viral videos are released do you just sit back and watch the dollars roll in?
Follow up: what is your smbc theater buddy James Ashby up to nowadays?
Kevin: I'm happy to speak to anyone who works in this industry and has concern about the series or would like to challenge what we reported. Feel free to email me at [email protected]. My phone number is also tagged on the stories.
Yes. Abbott and Turnbull have so far got away with blue murder on this. The cost to the taxpayer as a result has been beyond belief.
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!
(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.
Hi Kevin, what suprised you most about life as PM and the roles it entailed?
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?
The GFC. It meant we had to work 16 hour days just to survive.
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.
Has conducting this investigation changed your opinion regarding the legality of prostitution?
Can you share an inside joke that you guys have?
Has your perspective on Australian politics changed from your recent time in the United States?
PS miss you!
so what is it, mayonnaise or mustard?
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.
Emily here: The reporting led Kevin and I to people with a spectrum of opinions on the legality of prostitution. Some that we spoke to, like those with Woman with a Vision, and Professor Laura Murphy, were quite adamant that not all prostitutes are victims and especially, that not all exotic dancers are victims. Those sources cautioned us against rules or laws that they believe seek to moralize on behalf of women who are perfectly capable of making their own choices. However, other sources, like Jim Kelly, speak to the danger of strip clubs as a gateway to forced prostitution. While I refrain from describing my own opinion on the legality of prostitution, I can tell you that I found there were many valid points on all sides of the issue and those for and against the legalization had strongly held, genuine positions.
Yes. What I see in the US, UK and Australia is the Murdoch empire harnessing the forces of the far right in every country. It is a national and international disgrace.
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.
Hi Mr Rudd,
Are you as disappointed with the state of current politics as we are? Where constant blame games are played instead of actual problem solving? Where each side picks on each other instead of focusing on policies? Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us btw!
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?
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!
Yes. But the Murdoch media don't provide a fair platform for a policy debate on the future. Their interest is to conduct personal campaigns against individual labor politicians.
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...
How deep does the rabbit hole go in terms of media moguls influencing policy?
Is there a reasonable solution to get the NBN back to a standard that Labor proposed and started, or are we going to be held back for another 10 years+?
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
Murdoch's fox news network in the United States is one of the biggest reason for the emergence of Trump. Murdoch also campaigned in support of Brexit in Britain. Murdoch's control of 70% of the Newspapers in Australia is a major problem for us all.
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.
Do you still hit up Yarralumla Turkish Pide when you are in the area?
ORNL bonus points for radioactive frogs
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?
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?
Not only do I visit for a kebab when I'm in town my son Marcus has been one of their biggest customers in history.
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!
What made you change your stance on marriage equality to a yes? How did it come about and who/what made the realisation real for you?
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?
If you go to my website you will see a 3000+ word essay written in 2013 well before I returned to the Prime Ministership on why I had changed my position.
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.
Why do you think the NBN, a $50B nation wide project, has barely been covered or properly discussed in the media?
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?
Please read the transcript of my interview with Leigh Sales on Monday night.
"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.
Hi Kevin, In your opinion, what's the best decision you made as PM?
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?
To intervene radically in 2008 to stop Australia from falling into a deep economic recession.
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."
Kevin, What's your favourite flavour of meat pie? Love you heaps
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?
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
Kevin, why did you wait until your autobiography was being released before telling us what you really think about Murdoch's involvement with the LNP in ruining the NBN?
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.
I have said this many times before publicly. It's just, surprise surprise, the Murdoch media weren't keen on printing it.
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/
I still have my Kevin 07 tshirt. Can we be real life best friends?
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?
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.
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.
(Jason) We offer the 2.0 Squatty Potty.. It comes with a 7" base and a topper that increases to 9". Cheers Bill
KRudd, big fan of your cats Mei Mei and Qing Qing on instagram. What do you say to all those cat haters out there who think dogs are the superior pet?
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?
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
The philosophy in your comic seems pretty broad and insightful to my cretin mind. What do you read/watch/smell/eat for inspiration?
The truth is we have almost always had dogs and cats together, and if they can get on together, surely cat lovers and dog lovers can get on together.
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) That's the only place to be when asking the Squatty Potty team a question. It allows you to channel your inner poop.
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.
That wasn't the question. Your answer made it look like you haven't given much thought to the gay scene and gay sex trafficking. The question wasn't "Is there gay sex trafficking?" The question was, "How are you going to stop sex trafficking enforcement from being used to oppress members of the gay community and gay events?" Morality laws have a long history of being used to prosecute LGBT people. That's what this question is about.
How did you get to our planet and what do you want from us?
What do you think is the way forward for the ALP and central-left politics in Australia and other western nations?
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?
What would you most like to tell us that no one has asked about?
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.
From Emily: (Still wordy, but here's my crack at your challenge) Pimps tend to recruit prostitutes who are vulnerable, some of them who have been subject to sexual abuse or other abuse in their past, so that they can better control them. While many women in the sexual labor industry start out working for a pimp on their own free will, they can become manipulated into what is legally considered sex trafficking: being coerced, forced or tricked into having sex for money, often times turning over part of all of their earnings to the pimp. Some say French Quarter strip clubs have been used by pimps as places to recruit girls and for women who work for pimps to find customers. Sometimes the illegal sex work occurs inside the clubs.
The capitalist project has to be adjusted in order to provide a bigger slice of national income to lower and middle income Australians.
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) No one asked how my poop was this morning. It was great!
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.
Nearly ten years on from your Sorry speech, what do you feel has changed for Indigenous Australians over that time? How do we get to constitutional recognition?
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
Aboriginal education has improved in many areas, and we now have many young Aboriginal kids at our universities.
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.
Why did you cop out of taking an ETS to a double dissolution election when you were killing it in the polls?
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
We had already had our ETS legislation knocked over in the senate twice by then. By the time Gillard and Swan had conducted their coup in June 2010, there was still time to call a DD. Gillard had opposed one from the get go.
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.
When you're right in the middle of it, do you have the urge to try to rescue the women yourselves?
What can you agree on as your favorite soup?
Hi Kevin. Who's idea was the Kevin 07 campaign? It was absolutely brilliant in design!
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?
Kevin here: Thanks for this question. It gives me an opportunity to talk about the difficulty of reporting on sensitive topics, including victims.
A "rescue" is not as simple as you might think. For example, I never spoke to victims while they were being trafficked. That's really law enforcement's job and service providers like Covenant House.
In most cases, when I came across victims they were either in recovery or nearing the end of their recovery process. And even getting those interviews was extremely difficult.
At the start of this investigation, I knew it was extremely important to actually talk to victims. So that was where the major effort focused in the first few months of the reporting process. In two cases, I had identified victims willing to be interviewed, but they ended up deciding to return to "the life" before I had the chance to set up the interview.
In a third case, I interviewed a victim who returned to the life. She is quoted in the story. Covenant House has not been able to reach her.
Having personally met this woman, and knowing her story, it took a huge emotional toll knowing that she was no longer safe. But you learn as you report on human trafficking that service providers develop coping skills that allow them to do good work while also constantly being disappointed that they weren't able to help someone. But especially where this crime is concerned, the fact that there's not a lot of success stories doesn't mean they are deterred from continuing to provide the help.
I learned a lot from Covenant House and other service providers in that respect.
A combination of Tim Gartrell, the then national secretary of the ALP, and the late Neil Lawrence.
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.
Have you considered all of the women and their families you are hurting by doing this? So many women make a living through the dancing industry. Your attack on strip clubs is going to cost many women their jobs as well as a means to provide for their family. Strict regulations on strip clubs only forces sex work to go underground. You will be putting more women into unsafe situations. Do you honestly care about sex workers?
Do you guys have any other interests, aside from being blue?
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?
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?
Kevin: I thought about the safety of workers in the sex industry constantly in reporting this story.
Quite a lot. With no Chasers and the loss of John Clarke there's a big hole in Australian political satire.
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.
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.
G'day! Politics aside, what's your favourite thing about Australia?
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.
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.
Much has been made of the alleged story of the NBN being dreamed up on the back of an envelope. How did Senator Conroy & others actually communicate the concept to yourself and have it signed off?
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?
The envelope story is bullshit. The NBN was the recommendation of a committee of senior Commonwealth Treasury officials after 6 months examining all the financial, economic and technical options.
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.
G'day kev, are you aware that in schools all around this great country of ours you are viewed as a handball god? How do you feel about this and do you have intentions to hit the squares again any time soon???
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?
Yes I know I am seen as the handball champ of the Southern Hemisphere. In fact I have challenged one of our local schools here in Brisbane to a match on Monday.
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.
During the Howard years, the ALP struggled quite awhile in opposition. What do you believe were the reasons the ALP weren't able to return to office sooner?
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)
As I mention in my book, "Not For the Faint-hearted", Howard was a master of the politics of fear - fear of refugees, fear of muslims, fear of deficit. We weren't able to counter those arguments effectively.
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.
Do, aliens exist? I mean honestly, what's the harm. Less and less people are religious these days, you've got to know something. We all know that some debriefing said if you let the people know, that your secret service will make it very hard for you but seriously, we've got to know. lol
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?
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?
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.
(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.
Mr Rudd, how important is it we re-think our relationship with the US in its 'pivot towards Asia'? And should we be aiming to form an alliance with China at the expense of ours with the US?
Has any work gone into the detection of man-made elements in atmospheres of other planets?
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.
We need to wait out the Trump administration and see what the next administration does. This guy is right out there.
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.
(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.
You are a notable proponent of a Big Australia. What do you say to people who claim that extremely high population growth has lead to the housing affordability crisis and stagnant wages within a growing economy?
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?
Our government had a housing policy to reduce the cost of housing and to boost the supply of social housing. This government doesn't even have a housing minister.
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.
Neoliberalism is looking increasingly out of favour in many parts of the world, and both the UK and New Zealand labour parties have recently become much more critical of capitalism.
Do you think the Australian Labor Party should join them?
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?
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?
Thanks for the answer, I'd really like to read some serious fiction writing from you! Good luck with all those projects!
Read the article I wrote on this in the monthly over one decade ago. My views on this have not changed.
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.
I'm sure I'll do it eventually. Just a matter of time...
Dear Mr. Rudd,
I admire you overall because you are one of the few Western leaders who can actually speak in fluent Mandarin and understand Chinese culture. I wanted to ask you: with the rise of China in the world stage, as well as the election of Donald Trump as President of the US, what can we expect in the next 10 years as China moves on to be more prominent?
What are you having for lunch?
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.
The Chinese president has said he wants to shape the new international system with much greater Chinese input. The key challenge for all of us, is to ensure we still have a global rules-based system. And we need America to re-engage the world.
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."
whaling. How come Austrailia does not pressure Japan about their illegal "research" whaling in the antarctic?
Who is the coolest scientist you have met and why?
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.
Good question. I took them to court. We won the case in the international court of justice. Turnbull has done bugger all since.
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!
Do you feel that covert Chinese intervention through its citizen's in Australia, prominently through curricular groups within our Unis is a legitimate concern? And is it emblematic of the broader approach that the Chinese take to foreign affairs? Is China utterly uncompromising or do you think we can establish a truly effective and productive working relationship?
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?
What is the likelihood that standard, automotive battery packs will be developed so that service stations can just swap out depleted units?
Not really. But we should ban all foreign donations to political parties like I tried to do in 2009. The Libs opposed.
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?
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)
Kevin, I'm a member of the ALP, and want to enter politics (NSW). Any suggestions?
What are the differences in labs across the world ? And also can you name all the countries please ?
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.