Science blogging

Cthulhu.Science

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Info -- Last year I started a blog about science from science fiction that is becoming science fact. The post subjects go a little broad, but that's the idea. It's focused on Lovecraft, but not exclusively. I thought short takes with links to scientific papers would be great. But I find myself unable to find my format.

My short forms don't feel like enough to me. And the long form results in multiple references and may be too involved.

Help me find a happy place.
So here are two versions of the same post
Short Form
________________________________________________________________________


The Phases of Water

1675196473019.png

Fig. 1: Schematic phase diagram of crystalline ice phases inspired by Bartels-Rausch et al. Salzmann et al. and Huang et al.



In primary school we all learn about the three phases of water – Ice, water, vapor. Of course we were not told the whole story. Scientists have been on the everlasting hunt for new ice Phases. Apparently we have been very fortunate. Ice-IX was developed about the time that Kurt Vonnegut published Cat’s Cradle.



And now, at Ice XIX we await the results from the discovery of the newest phase-state of water.

New, longer form

Should we fear ICE-IX?
1675196484727.png


In 1963 Kurt Vonnegut published Cat’s Cradle, introducing the world to ICE-IX and the idea that scientists were madly searching for ways to reorganize the Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms in water molecules. In the story the goal was to find an ice that wouldn’t melt at normal temperatures so that a military general might throw a sample into the mud and freeze the ground to drive tanks over.

In fact, ICE-IX does exist; it was discovered in 1968 and exits under high pressure as a tetragonal crystal lattice but without the properties of Vonnegut’s ice-nine. It forms by cooling Ice III; it has an identical structure to Ice III other than being hydrogen-ordered. (1)

In Cat’s Cradle ICE-IX had a melting point of 114 degrees F (46 c). The 1968 ICE-IX was super cooled. Then Harvard got involved. As published in 2007:

A form of Vonnegut’s Ice-IX was “created” by Harvard researchers recently through a computer simulation that shows how it might be possible for water to remain frozen at body temperature. They showed how a layer of diamond, coated with sodium atoms, kept water frozen indefinitely at up to 108 degrees Fahrenheit. The technique only works on a very thin layer of water—a few molecules thick—to successfully keep the ice structure intact. (2) (3)

Naturally we are assured that this is just a computer model. And the super-hot ice will remain a microscopic layer when it is successfully created.

And then there is ICE-VII, created in 2017 at Stanford University.

… there is an exotic form of ice dubbed "ice VII" that physicists can create in the laboratory. It's harmless in terrestrial conditions. But on an ocean world like Jupiter's moon, Europa, it could behave just like Ice-Nine under the right conditions, freezing an entire world within hours…

Our work shows that ice-VII forms in a very unusual way—by popping into existence in tiny clusters of about 100 molecules and then growing extremely fast, at over 1,000 miles per hour," (4)

Not to worry, they tell us, unless you currently live on or plan to visit a far-away world.

So the scientific investigation continues. January 4, 2021 saw the report of ICE-XVII (5). May 26, 2021 saw the publication of ICE XIX (6).

And to what end we might ask. Nobody seems to have a clear answer to that. So far, the earth hasn’t frozen over, and the labs assure us that they are not playing with proverbial fire?



(1) Vonnegut’s Ice-Nine and Superionic Ice

(2) Vonnegut’s Ice-Nine and Superionic Ice

(3) https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/...d=DE265C41564A2D20E52DD3409D11D32E?sequence=1

(4) Weird water phase “ice-VII” can grow as fast as 1,000 miles per hour

(5) Novel Science: What's cooler than being cool? Ice-nine. - Scienceline.

(6) The everlasting hunt for new ice phases - Nature Communications
 
My goodness, this is so far over my head that it aches. This is really putting the SCIENCE into science fiction. I am quite sure that the longer form is better. I began to understand what was going on in that one. The solitary graph communicated nothing to me. It was only when I had the background of the second set of illustrations that I began to figure out what was really being illustrated in the first graph.

But I suspect that I am not the target audience for this Science Blog. My university degrees are in the social sciences, not the physical ones, so take what I say with a major grain of salt.

@Cat's Cradle is the Curt Vonnegut book where you got you Avatar handle from? I was thinking you were some kind of yoyo enthusiast.
 
What are your goals? Is this more for your own personal enjoyment, or are you trying to build a platform for other science-minded fans of Lovecraft?

Personally, I love the idea here and, coming from a scientific background myself, I do appreciate a good citation or three. But I also know how much time it takes to do this type of writing and cross referencing. You don't want it to become a burden that takes away from something else.
 
I found the discussion of Ice-IX and the comparison to what was in the story Cat's Cradle was quite interesting. I would omit the two diagrams, though. They never seem to be referenced and provide a (somewhat intimidating) distraction to the reader. I would also stop before the references to Ice-VII and then Ice-XVII and Ice-XIX. They seemed like a different topic and probably deserve a fuller discussion. One thing that I felt was missing was an explanation of the naming convention. The Roman numerals make me think there are a multitude of types of ice, but the diagrams seem to have a lot of missing numerals.

I think the approach of comparing Science Fiction science with actual science is an interesting approach. I would certainly be interested in seeing more short form discussion like this.
 
:) @Parson, I love Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, it's one of my favorites by him. But I am embarrassed to admit that I chose my Username in a panic while joining the site. I couldn't think of a decent name, and I always enjoyed the string-figures game when I was young, and somehow that became my name here. But I am a Vonnegut fan. (The avatar picture is my favorite kitty, Audrey, who sadly passed a few years ago.)

I'm also a poor hand at the yo-yo. My mom told me that, in the 1930s, she witnessed a travelling yo-yo expert who came to her small, rural town and put on an exhibition for children, hoping to sell the toys to them, or their parents. Always aspired to that level of proficiency, but often just ended up injuring someone with my attempts.
 
My goodness, this is so far over my head that it aches. This is really putting the SCIENCE into science fiction. I am quite sure that the longer form is better. I began to understand what was going on in that one. The solitary graph communicated nothing to me. It was only when I had the background of the second set of illustrations that I began to figure out what was really being illustrated in the first graph.

But I suspect that I am not the target audience for this Science Blog. My university degrees are in the social sciences, not the physical ones, so take what I say with a major grain of salt.

@Cat's Cradle is the Curt Vonnegut book where you got you Avatar handle from? I was thinking you were some kind of yoyo enthusiast.
Thanks for the input. The point of the blog is to be accessible to everyone that likes Fiction. My brother said of the first one (especially the link that goes straight to a scientific paper) that it was pretty heavy --- But my brand (as it is) is to make light of heavy things.
 
What are your goals? Is this more for your own personal enjoyment, or are you trying to build a platform for other science-minded fans of Lovecraft?

Personally, I love the idea here and, coming from a scientific background myself, I do appreciate a good citation or three. But I also know how much time it takes to do this type of writing and cross referencing. You don't want it to become a burden that takes away from something else.
The goal is to speak to all fans of Lovecraft.

I enjoy science blogs. And then I see a post that makes me think of something I've read -- I saw an article on ICE-XIX and suddenly Vonnegut! I'm hoping to convey the delight and surprise that I experience when I see these scientific papers.
 
I found the discussion of Ice-IX and the comparison to what was in the story Cat's Cradle was quite interesting. I would omit the two diagrams, though. They never seem to be referenced and provide a (somewhat intimidating) distraction to the reader. I would also stop before the references to Ice-VII and then Ice-XVII and Ice-XIX. They seemed like a different topic and probably deserve a fuller discussion. One thing that I felt was missing was an explanation of the naming convention. The Roman numerals make me think there are a multitude of types of ice, but the diagrams seem to have a lot of missing numerals.

I think the approach of comparing Science Fiction science with actual science is an interesting approach. I would certainly be interested in seeing more short form discussion like this.
Thanks for the thoughts. Naturally the diagrams are intimidating -- The upper one was from the article that struck my fancy. It was the simplest diagram from that paper. That paper was about ICE-XIX. I thought the lower one less intimidating, while the simplest from that paper.

And here is me thinking that the crazy diagrams were inviting. I can see how they might have the opposite effect.
 
my brand (as it is) is to make light of heavy things.
That'd be a great tagline for your blog "Making light of heavy things"
I'm hoping to convey the delight and surprise that I experience when I see these scientific papers.
You're not alone. A lot of us know that excitement. I think that's a great goal, and if you're inclined to share your blog url, I'll add it to my reader.
Thanks for the thoughts. Naturally the diagrams are intimidating -- The upper one was from the article that struck my fancy. It was the simplest diagram from that paper. That paper was about ICE-XIX. I thought the lower one less intimidating, while the simplest from that paper.

And here is me thinking that the crazy diagrams were inviting. I can see how they might have the opposite effect.
I liked the diagrams, but if you're going to use them, it might be helpful to do a little hand-holding. Maybe start with the simple liquid/solid/gaseous phase change diagram for water we all learned in grade school. Then, readers can look at the complicated one and recognize it as a slightly more detailed version.

As for figuring out the best format for you, that's allll you, dude. Do what makes you happy. Personally I like the longer format, but like I said, that takes a lot longer and over time these entries could become cumbersome. Maybe try to have the best of both worlds by exploring a topic in small installments, so you eventually hit all the points you want to make, but each post is short, manageable, and easily digestible?

Just spitballin' here.
 
The goal is to speak to all fans of Lovecraft.

I enjoy science blogs. And then I see a post that makes me think of something I've read -- I saw an article on ICE-XIX and suddenly Vonnegut! I'm hoping to convey the delight and surprise that I experience when I see these scientific papers.

My favorite story by Love is The Color of Space of which, ive reread it a number of times, it never loses it power . It had three film adaptations. Die Monster Die 1965 staring Nick Adams and Boris Karloff , This is at best a lose adaptation of this story , a closer version is the The Curse staring Claude Akins and Will Wheaton 1987 , It's not a great film , a bit slipshod production but it does have some pretty good scare moments , The more recent Nichols Cage version The Color of Space 2019 is quite good and more than does justice to Lovecraft's story. There is a book sequel to Lovecraft story The Color out of Time by Micheal Shea , it's a good book but not great.
 
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My favorite story by Love is The Color of Space of which, ive reread it a number of times, it never loses it power . It had three film adaptations. Die Monster Die 1965 staring Nick Adams and Boris Karloff , This is at best a lose adaptation of this story , a Closer version is the The Curse Staring Claude Akins and Will Wheaton 1987 , Its not a great film , a bit slipshod production but it does have some pretty good scare moments , The more recent Nichols Cage Version The Color of Space 2019 is quite good and more then does justice to Lovecraft's story. There iia a book sequel to Lovecraft story The Color out of Time by Micheal Shea , it's a good book but not great.
And so when I came upon the article titled: Impossible Colors and Where to Find Them what could I do but jump?
That resulted in a blog post that looked like this:

Impossible Colors – Right Here on Earth.

An experiment was first conducted not in June of ‘82 as described in Colour Out of Space, but a century later during 1983. In a lab, professors were able to induce their subjects to see “Forbidden or impossible colors.” These are colors your eyes can’t perceive because of the way human eyes work. And yes, the experiment proved to be reproduceable, as was done in 2006.

  • Crane, Hewitt D.; Piantanida, Thomas P. (1983). “On Seeing Reddish Green and Yellowish Blue”. Science. 221 (4615): 1078–80.
  • Hsieh, P.-J.; Tse, P. U. (2006). “Illusory color mixing upon perceptual fading and filling-in does not result in “forbidden colors””. Vision Research. 46 (14): 2251–8.
_______________________________
And again, I'm not certain if I truly convey the joy I felt when I happened upon the article.

This is the writing nudges I'm hoping to find. Is this post accessible, not accessible, missing a certain spark?
 
That'd be a great tagline for your blog "Making light of heavy things"

You're not alone. A lot of us know that excitement. I think that's a great goal, and if you're inclined to share your blog url, I'll add it to my reader.

I liked the diagrams, but if you're going to use them, it might be helpful to do a little hand-holding. Maybe start with the simple liquid/solid/gaseous phase change diagram for water we all learned in grade school. Then, readers can look at the complicated one and recognize it as a slightly more detailed version.

As for figuring out the best format for you, that's allll you, dude. Do what makes you happy. Personally I like the longer format, but like I said, that takes a lot longer and over time these entries could become cumbersome. Maybe try to have the best of both worlds by exploring a topic in small installments, so you eventually hit all the points you want to make, but each post is short, manageable, and easily digestible?

Just spitballin' here.
I appreciate the spitballs.

I've overthought this to frustration and I'm happy for all angles and perspectives to help get me out of the corner I've put myself in.

My first plan was to try to have quick quippy blogs only. But over time I've been thinking that maybe some are short and quippy and others simply require more space. And others still may benefit from a series of posts.

Just, here, today, reading feedback I realized that my goal is to transfer the joy I experience when I make obscure science/fiction connections to everyone -- Does this post convey that joy?! needs to be my central thought.

Thanks for all the feedback.
 
I like science articles and have a bit of physics background.
  • The short form article was not informative or fun for me. The phase diagram (lacking a legend or context) was very uninformative for me.
  • I liked the longer form article better. I enjoyed the description of this strange form of viral ice and the connection to a Vonnegut story. The crystal structure diagrams, lacking legend and context, were a distraction for me as was any discussion other than the viral nature of the ice.
I would suggest making the post strictly about this strange form of ice and expanding a little on the world covering bits. That, I believe, will be a very gripping article, especially with the hook of connecting it with an SF story.
 
Info -- Last year I started a blog about science from science fiction that is becoming science fact. The post subjects go a little broad, but that's the idea. It's focused on Lovecraft, but not exclusively. I thought short takes with links to scientific papers would be great. But I find myself unable to find my format.

My short forms don't feel like enough to me. And the long form results in multiple references and may be too involved.

Help me find a happy place.
So here are two versions of the same post
Short Form
________________________________________________________________________


The Phases of Water

View attachment 99396
Fig. 1: Schematic phase diagram of crystalline ice phases inspired by Bartels-Rausch et al. Salzmann et al. and Huang et al.



In primary school we all learn about the three phases of water – Ice, water, vapor. Of course we were not told the whole story. Scientists have been on the everlasting hunt for new ice Phases. Apparently we have been very fortunate. Ice-IX was developed about the time that Kurt Vonnegut published Cat’s Cradle.



And now, at Ice XIX we await the results from the discovery of the newest phase-state of water.

New, longer form

Should we fear ICE-IX?
View attachment 99397

In 1963 Kurt Vonnegut published Cat’s Cradle, introducing the world to ICE-IX and the idea that scientists were madly searching for ways to reorganize the Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms in water molecules. In the story the goal was to find an ice that wouldn’t melt at normal temperatures so that a military general might throw a sample into the mud and freeze the ground to drive tanks over.

In fact, ICE-IX does exist; it was discovered in 1968 and exits under high pressure as a tetragonal crystal lattice but without the properties of Vonnegut’s ice-nine. It forms by cooling Ice III; it has an identical structure to Ice III other than being hydrogen-ordered. (1)

In Cat’s Cradle ICE-IX had a melting point of 114 degrees F (46 c). The 1968 ICE-IX was super cooled. Then Harvard got involved. As published in 2007:

A form of Vonnegut’s Ice-IX was “created” by Harvard researchers recently through a computer simulation that shows how it might be possible for water to remain frozen at body temperature. They showed how a layer of diamond, coated with sodium atoms, kept water frozen indefinitely at up to 108 degrees Fahrenheit. The technique only works on a very thin layer of water—a few molecules thick—to successfully keep the ice structure intact. (2) (3)

Naturally we are assured that this is just a computer model. And the super-hot ice will remain a microscopic layer when it is successfully created.

And then there is ICE-VII, created in 2017 at Stanford University.

… there is an exotic form of ice dubbed "ice VII" that physicists can create in the laboratory. It's harmless in terrestrial conditions. But on an ocean world like Jupiter's moon, Europa, it could behave just like Ice-Nine under the right conditions, freezing an entire world within hours…

Our work shows that ice-VII forms in a very unusual way—by popping into existence in tiny clusters of about 100 molecules and then growing extremely fast, at over 1,000 miles per hour," (4)

Not to worry, they tell us, unless you currently live on or plan to visit a far-away world.

So the scientific investigation continues. January 4, 2021 saw the report of ICE-XVII (5). May 26, 2021 saw the publication of ICE XIX (6).

And to what end we might ask. Nobody seems to have a clear answer to that. So far, the earth hasn’t frozen over, and the labs assure us that they are not playing with proverbial fire?



(1) Vonnegut’s Ice-Nine and Superionic Ice

(2) Vonnegut’s Ice-Nine and Superionic Ice

(3) https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/41384103/77619 PhysRevERapidComm_76-020501.pdf;jsessionid=DE265C41564A2D20E52DD3409D11D32E?sequence=1

(4) Weird water phase “ice-VII” can grow as fast as 1,000 miles per hour

(5) Novel Science: What's cooler than being cool? Ice-nine. - Scienceline.

(6) The everlasting hunt for new ice phases - Nature Communications
My vote's with the longer form, especially so when sci-fi story science is discussed too.
 
That'd be a great tagline for your blog "Making light of heavy things"

You're not alone. A lot of us know that excitement. I think that's a great goal, and if you're inclined to share your blog url, I'll add it to my reader.

I liked the diagrams, but if you're going to use them, it might be helpful to do a little hand-holding. Maybe start with the simple liquid/solid/gaseous phase change diagram for water we all learned in grade school. Then, readers can look at the complicated one and recognize it as a slightly more detailed version.

As for figuring out the best format for you, that's allll you, dude. Do what makes you happy. Personally I like the longer format, but like I said, that takes a lot longer and over time these entries could become cumbersome. Maybe try to have the best of both worlds by exploring a topic in small installments, so you eventually hit all the points you want to make, but each post is short, manageable, and easily digestible?

Just spitballin' here.

My Blog URL


You'll see I haven't added anything new since last fall. And the last couple, coming back from the "Necronomicon" -- get it Lovecraft convention in Providence RI were a bit of a low.

I came to this site on Sunday hoping to get my groove back and I hear it knocking on the door.
Thank you everyone for the wonderful support.
 
My Blog URL


You'll see I haven't added anything new since last fall. And the last couple, coming back from the "Necronomicon" -- get it Lovecraft convention in Providence RI were a bit of a low.

I came to this site on Sunday hoping to get my groove back and I hear it knocking on the door.
Thank you everyone for the wonderful support.

The Plutonian Drug by Clark Ashton Smith This drug if taken enables the user to see the imitate future . The way the user of this drug perceives the future like still frames of a motion picture . You can find the story complex and online at The Eldritch Dark Website
 

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