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Actor / EntertainerPhil LaMarr, Matt King and Tarol Hunt have some of the greatest voice actors in the universe and a plan, Ask Us Anything!

Oct 25th 2017 by maddking • 44 Questions • 235 Points

You may know Zach from his comic, SMBC. You may have heard of Kelly from media about this super-creepy parasite she co-discovered.

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.

Zach will be answering as /u/MrWeiner. Kelly will be answering as /u/sciencegal.

Proof: https://www.reddit.com/user/MrWeiner/

Q:

I have a question for Matt, Phil and Danielle... what's it like working with Tarol Hunt? I hear that he's so talented and handsome!

A:

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.


Q:

Was it always going to be the Blue Man Group? Was there ever a discussion about being a different color?

A:

What would you do differently if you had your time as PM over again?


Q:

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?

A:

Will there ever be a revival of SMBC Theater?

Also, you're awesome!


Q:

He's the most Canadian Canadian I have ever met.

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


A:

As I said just before, I'd be less trusting of some of the folks I worked with.


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:

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.


Q:

What about people like me who are perfect and don't have to act? How would we go about this?

A:

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...)


Q:

What's the meaning of life?

A:

Hi Mr Rudd,

Do you think there should be a Royal Commission into the NBN debacle to hold those accountable?

Cheers


Q:

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

A:

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


Q:

Act like you're not perfect.

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


A:

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.


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:

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.


Q:

How do you guys get over the self loathing of your own voice? It is a issue for me.

A:

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?


Q:

Do you paint "other" things blue besides whats visible?

A:

Hi Kevin, what suprised you most about life as PM and the roles it entailed?


Q:

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?

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:

Generally, you are the last person that hears your own voice. And you are getting the vibrations and bass from your voice passing through your body, so you have more bass in your ear than in a recording. The more you record yourself, the more you will pitch yourself to what you want to sound like than what you happen to sound like. Just as the more you work out the more you can target what you want to look like. So go get on a mic!

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


A:

The GFC. It meant we had to work 16 hour days just to survive.


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:

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:

What?

A:

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


Q:

Can you share an inside joke that you guys have?

A:

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!


Q:

so what is it, mayonnaise or mustard?

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:

BANG!

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


A:

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.


Q:

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

A:

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.


Q:

Awesome, thanks for answering! For some reason I'm really happy to know Futurama was recorded with the whole cast there at once. Which way will you all be recording Goblins, if you know?

I'm a huge fan of your work and Futurama is one of my absolute favorite shows, so I'm psyched to hear about this project. Thanks again and good luck with the Kickstarter!

A:

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


Q:

Aw no! I'm late to the party... and I know what the blue man group does to late arrivals. Think they'll notice?

A:

Do you still hit up Yarralumla Turkish Pide when you are in the area?


Q:

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

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:

Depends. GI Joe was always in a room with everyone. And until you've heard Kevin Michael Richardson go full improv you haven't lived. But Transformers for me has always been solo. Likewise video games operate in the clear a lot. And it can be weird because they are so vast. I had no idea what I was doing in Fallout 4 till I actually played the game.

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


A:

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.


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:

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


Q:

What's a good microphone and sound set up for VO on a budget?

A:

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


Q:

No one ever writes my name :(

A:

Mr Rudd,

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+?


Q:

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

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:

Just get a Blue Yeti and put a towel over your head. Set it for monodirectional and set the gain low. Put a pencil perpendicular over your lips if you have a lot of plosives in the copy.

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


A:

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.


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:

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


Q:

hi all! Congratuwelldone on Goblins! May I ask, how did Goblins go being from a comic to an animated project? Thank you! :~)

A:

Is it true that uber isn't in london because of migrant violence on women taking uber or is it because of that lacking of quality which isn't comparable to official london cab drivers that have taken the knowledge?


Q:

Do you ever engage in promiscuity whilst still in makeup?

Asking for a friend.

A:

Hi Kevin,

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?


Q:

ORNL bonus points for radioactive frogs

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:

I don't stop asking till people say yes. That's why I have 3 kids.

A:

I think neither are correct. It's true that TfL is concerned about Uber's record on safety, but there's lots of questions about assault statistics reported about Uber. How many allegations against Uber drivers result in charges? How many perpetrators are misidentified as Uber drivers? But Uber should give better reassurances about keeping passengers safe.

I don't think the Knowledge was a factor in TfL's decision. — Shona


A:

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.


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:

The original, like WarCraft III Illidan? Absolutely loved his voice in that!

A:

What did you guys do with Gavin Free?


Q:

Why do you think the NBN, a $50B nation wide project, has barely been covered or properly discussed in the media?

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:

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

A:

yessir.


A:

Please read the transcript of my interview with Leigh Sales on Monday night.


Q:

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.

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:

Pass

A:

What part of a show do you dread every night because it's uncomfortable, unpleasant, or whatever?


Q:

Hi Kevin, In your opinion, what's the best decision you made as PM?

A:

What is the best way to beat an Exodia Deck?


Q:

Hey Zach, I love your comics.

Was it tough growing up with that last name though?

A:

Sure! Whisperwhisperwhisperwhisperwhisperwhisperwhisperwhisper


A:

To intervene radically in 2008 to stop Australia from falling into a deep economic recession.


Q:

Black Lotus.

A:

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.


Q:

Mr. King, what was it like working on Frasier? :~)

A:

If you were to do a Blue Man Group movie....Who would be the lead actor?


Q:

What was your biggest regret as PM?

A:

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


Q:

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

A:

STORY TIMEEEEEE! Okay, so I had a ball on Frazier. David Hyde Pierce and I got along like gangbusters. I always bring my violin to set to stay creative but not overly dwell on my lines. David heard me playing and he's a crazy good pianist. I said, "Why don't we play a duet." and the net day he brought in a stack of Violin/piano duets that was 2 feet high. He made my day.


A:

Being a little too trusting of others :)


Q:

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!

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:

Now I'm wondering if Bowst got mixed up and said he wanted a square head in the Cursewalk when he wanted to look more heroic.

A:

How can we cheer Phil up?


Q:

Hi Kevin.

Has your perspective on Australian politics changed from your recent time in the United States?

PS miss you!

A:

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


Q:

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

A:

Dani. Hands down.


A:

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.


Q:

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

A:

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


Q:

Will the Kickstarter have a stretch goal where Tarol waxes his arms live on stream?

Please?

... also, a slightly more serious question for the whole team: who's your favorite [edit:] GOBLINS [/edit] character (so far)?

A:

Which one of you hooked up with my friend Amy in Reno like 10 years ago? Or is that one no longer in the group?


Q:

Kevin, What's your favourite flavour of meat pie? Love you heaps

  • Andy
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:

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.

A:

He's still crying about the last time.


Q:

They're all good dogs, brooks.

A:

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


Q:

Brando, DeNiro and Streep.

A:

Who is the most vocal of your group?


Q:

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?

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:

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?

A:

I'll go Billy West/Phil LaMarr/Jennifer Hale


A:

I have said this many times before publicly. It's just, surprise surprise, the Murdoch media weren't keen on printing it.


Q:

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

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:

B/c most of the time on VGs you're acting with almost no context, just excel spreadsheets of unconnected lines of dialogue. It's really difficult to create emotion and meaning on a line by line basis using nothing but your own imagination but that's what the good ones do.

A:

Who is taking these photos and how do I get that job?


Q:

I still have my Kevin 07 tshirt. Can we be real life best friends?

A:

Why?


Q:

Do you still see Screech regularly?

A:

Matthew Mercer is pretty insane at turning in great VG performances.


A:

Absolutely. I'm thinking of printing more T-shirts.


Q:

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.

A:

I refuse to get this joke.


Q:

It's fairly in line with the books. Book 1 "sorta" equals season 1, etc.

A:

Can we tell poop stories on here?


Q:

Is Abbott as awful in person as he is on TV?

A:

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


Q:

We meet up with him at The Max pretty regularly.

A:

Depends on the funding. If we get funded we can just keep going and going. But animation is SUPER expensive so we have to make all of our goals because we are seriously budgeted out.


A:

About the same.


Q:

A book advance. :)

A:

ಠ_ಠ


Q:

More than halfway. :)

A:

How do you do your quick changes?


Q:

What are your thoughts on Canada? Friend or Foe?

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:

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

A:

It's hard. But you just keep hammering at it trying to avoid your habits. I also use the IDEA archive to get as many English dialects as I can in my ear.


Q:

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.

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:

What's the plan?

A:

How did you get to our planet and what do you want from us?


Q:

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?

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:

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.

A:

Get funded. Make a show. Get stuff. Send it to you guys. Release the show.


A:

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.


Q:

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.

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 your plan better or worse than the Cylon plan?

A:

Should Pete Rose be in the Hall of Fame?


Q:

What do you think is the way forward for the ALP and central-left politics in Australia and other western nations?

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:

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

A:

Well if the Cavils wanted to erase humanity then they really failed. We're like roaches. Then the Cylons were really just winging it, which is weird for a robotic species. You'd think they had better metrics. I think we have a better budget, and we have Dani who I would put up against a Cylon on any day. https://imgur.com/a/uaXxm


A:

The capitalist project has to be adjusted in order to provide a bigger slice of national income to lower and middle income Australians.


Q:

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

A:

Cheer up - one day you'll be dead and then you'll stop doing so many things wrong.


Q:

What do you guys think of Redman?

A:

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?


Q:

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

A:

that helps, I suppose

Thanks


A:

Aboriginal education has improved in many areas, and we now have many young Aboriginal kids at our universities.


Q:

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.

A:

Also, tonight's failed dinner is tomorrow's pie.


Q:

What can you agree on as your favorite soup?

A:

I have to ask, how much do you miss The Chasers?


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:

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:

Quite a lot. With no Chasers and the loss of John Clarke there's a big hole in Australian political satire.


Q:

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.

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:

Do you guys have any other interests, aside from being blue?

A:

Hi Kevin. Who's idea was the Kevin 07 campaign? It was absolutely brilliant in design!


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:

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?


A:

A combination of Tim Gartrell, the then national secretary of the ALP, and the late Neil Lawrence.


Q:

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:

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:

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.

A:

Why did you cop out of taking an ETS to a double dissolution election when you were killing it in the polls?


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:

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


A:

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.


Q:

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.

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:

Does the carpet match the drapes??

A:

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???


Q:

What do you do for fun?

A:

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


A:

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.


Q:

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.

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:

G'day! Politics aside, what's your favourite thing about Australia?

A:

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


Q:

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?

A:

The beaches. Just extraordinary. Best in the world.


Q:

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.

A:

No randomizer. Just, try to keep things various.


Q:

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?

A:

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?


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:

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.


Q:

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.

A:

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


Q:

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

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:

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:

Do aliens exist? Haven't you met Tony Abbott.


Q:

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.

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:

Hi Kevin,

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?

A:

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


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:

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.


Q:

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.

A:

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


Q:

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?

A:

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


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:

We need to wait out the Trump administration and see what the next administration does. This guy is right out there.


Q:

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.

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:

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?

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:

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

A:

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.


Q:

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.

A:

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


Q:

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?

A:

What are you having for lunch?


Q:

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.

A:

Read the article I wrote on this in the monthly over one decade ago. My views on this have not changed.


Q:

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

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:

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?

A:

Who is the coolest scientist you have met and why?


Q:

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

A:

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.


Q:

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.

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:

whaling. How come Austrailia does not pressure Japan about their illegal "research" whaling in the antarctic?

A:

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?


Q:

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

A:

Good question. I took them to court. We won the case in the international court of justice. Turnbull has done bugger all since.


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:

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:

Kevin,

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?

A:

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?


Q:

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!

A:

Not really. But we should ban all foreign donations to political parties like I tried to do in 2009. The Libs opposed.


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:

Feels good man.

(for real though, thanks - people like you make the weirder projects possible)


Q:

How long do you give Turnbull and why?

A:

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


Q:

Would you be willing to do a strip (or series of strips) with Randall Munroe of XKCD fame? If so, what kind of format would they have? i.e. he writes, you draw/you write, he draws/you tell one story but each stick to your normal format /something else entirely..?

A:

Mid 2018. That's because the Liberals as a political beast do not have a history of being sentimental towards leaders about to take them over a cliff.


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 did a guest comic once! https://xkcd.com/826/

I'm always happy to work with anyone awesome, though I haven't had much time for full-on collaboration lately.


Q:

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

A:

Do you get mistaken for Randall Munroe (aka that xkcd guy) a lot? If so, how does it make you feel?


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 don't, actually. It's just a dumb joke :)


Q:

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

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:

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:

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


Q:

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

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:

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

A:

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


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:

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


Q:

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

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:

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:

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:

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.

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:

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:

For your viewing pleasure

r/childrenfallingover


Q:

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.

A:

I am SO already there.


Q:

What's your favorite element and why?

A:

I've always wondered, why is God in SMBC represented as a golden disk/pizza?


Q:

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.

A:

Mostly because I wanted God to be abstract. He's loosely based on the way they drew halos in Baroque art.


Q:

How generous is he with his vodka?

A:

What saith you to the very likely, and all but proven, accusation that you are, in actual fact, a robot? The world needs to know.


Q:

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

A:

01001000 01101111 01110111 00100000 01100100 01100001 01110010 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101


Q:

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

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

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:

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

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:

Is Bob Lazar right about this?

A:

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?


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:

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


Q:

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

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:

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

A:

Russell Crowe's salty accented tears.


Q:

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

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:

Since 1945? You must be very old.

A:

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


Q:

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

A:

Sure. I'd name it proclaimium.


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:

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.