Nothing Like a Little Research to Make the Time Go By

One of the reason I like writing speculative fiction is it gives me another reason to learn new things.  I’m a naturally inquisitive person to start with—that’s probably why I got into science as my day job—and I like to browse sites like Wikipedia for amusement.  Doing research for stories I’m writing helps to focus what might otherwise be aimless reading. 

Here’s a few of the interesting things I’ve learned over the past few months while doing research for stories I’m writing:

Closed timelike curves don’t necessarily violate causality.  (Also see the Novikov self-consistency principle).

You can get an atmospheric diving suits that will keep a diver at one atmosphere of pressure, thus eliminating the potential of decompression sickness, e.g., the bends.

A keffiyeh is a traditional arabic head scarf to protect the head from the sun.  I’d always seen the headwear on people like Yasser Arafat, but I’d never know what it was actually called.

Molecular gastronomy is a type of cuisine.  To make it requires some equipment more common to scientific laboratories than kitchens: centrifuges, distillers, syringes, and liquid nitrogen.

There are five elements in the Japanese philosophy called Godai: air, earth, fire, water, and void.  These are found symbolically in zen gardens and Buddhist architecture.

The Battle of Huế was one of the longest and deadliest battles of the Vietnam War.

Has anyone else learned anything interesting recently?

About D. Thomas Minton

Writer of speculative fiction
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1 Response to Nothing Like a Little Research to Make the Time Go By

  1. Colum Paget says:

    I find stuff all the time, but I do find that, for me, ‘research’ can become an excuse to indulge a wikipedia habit without acutally producing any writing.

    The discovery that the snapping shrimp lives in eusocial colonies and has a sonic weapon so powerful that it causes air-bubbles to produce a mysterious flash of light as they collapse in its wake was probably the most remarkable thing I’ve recently found on wikipedia.


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