June 26th, 2012


Wrong use completely for one of these tags

Fourth Street was a Fourth Street! Yay Fourth Street! I seem to have gotten only homeopathic quantities of some wonderful people I like, but Fourth Street is so full of wonderful people I like (and not, alas, full of infinite energy sources for me) that it's very hard to avoid this outcome. And it was still a very good Fourth Street full of wonderful people I like.

And now I am home and resting and have sold a novelette, "The Radioactive Etiquette Book," to Analog. So yay go that! It's a madcap interplanetary comedy of diplomacy, complete with aliens and wayyyy too many moving parts, so I'm glad I got all the moving parts sorted out to editorial satisfaction. Hurrah!

Olivia and the Experiments: a Kickstarter Guest Post

Mary Alexandra Agner is doing a Kickstarter that has me all excited, possibly because of the Lego Millikan Oil Drop setup but mostly because it's Mary. It's a chapbook of linked stories about a girl scientist doing famous experiments. Today, for your reading pleasure, we have an in-character interview with Olivia. If you like her, support her in her science work! Or, more realistically, support her creator's art and Kickstarter. Go Mary go!

1) When did you get your robot?

Two years, five days, and 12 minutes ago. I had broken my doll, Froggie, trying to dissect her and Mom was too sick of the smell of formaldehyde to get me another. Aunty Peg saved the day by sending Bot, who doesn't care so much if I peek at his insides. There was a whole card with just LEDs blinking randomly and I figured out how to program it to blink different colors depending on Bot's distance from objects!

2) What experiment design do you think would be hardest to convince your parents to let you replicate?

Anything too big to fit in my room, I think. They don't like it when I tear up the back yard. If I can clean up after it, then I think it will be okay. Disposing of hazardous waste might be hard, so something small and not to dangerous, I guess. Bummer.

3) What part of your summer experiments do you most wish you could take back to school with you?

Sometimes I keep small pieces of whatever I'm working on in my pockets or my purse. If I had to shave something down or clip wires, I'll carry the extras around just to remind me that I can figure things out. There's the Internet, the library, people I know, and me! But I like the banana clip or burnt-out resistor to wrap my hand around to remind me that I am creative. Sometimes at school it's hard to figure out how everything relates back to science, even though all the teachers tell me it does, so that's when my little creative bits make a difference.

4) Has the weather ever interfered with one of your experimental parameters in an unexpected way? (humidity, electrical discharge...?)

Last summer I had managed to convince a couple of girls from school to measure the Earth's circumference with me like Eratosthenes did, er, mostly. There was a lot of whining about how hot it was and why weren't we playing in the shade and all, but it clouded over just at noon! So we couldn't measure the elevation of the sun and they went off to do something else and made fun of me for a while. Sokay, though, since they really wanted to talk to me about the transit of Venus this year and they thought I was kinda cool since I already knew stuff.

5) When you're not doing your experiments, what do you do for fun?

Geocaching! I get to go hiking (fav thing number 2) with my GPS (fav thing number 1) and no one looks at me funny! Mom and Dad went with me just last weekend and it was great. We picnicked (barbecue! fav thing number 3) and my Dad stopped and sketched some of the woods (he's a muralist) with me and Mom and my GPS in them.