Word Porn: Science that sounds like poetry

Luminiferous Aether

lu·mi·nif·er·ous e·ther
adjective + noun
In the late 19th century, luminiferous aether or ether, meaning light-bearing aether, was the term used to describe a medium for the propagation of light.


Passive Margin

pas·sive mar·gin
A passive margin is the transition between oceanic and continental lithosphere which is not an active plate margin. It is constructed by sedimentation above an ancient rift, now marked by transitional lithosphere. Continental rifting creates new ocean basins.


Probability Amplitude

prob·a·bil·i·ty  am·pli·tude
In quantum mechanics, a probability amplitude is a complex number used in describing the behaviour of systems. The modulus squared of this quantity represents a probability or probability density.



agreement or compatibility between opinions or actions.
the recurrence of similar sounds, especially consonants, in close proximity (chiefly as used in prosody).
the combination of notes that are in harmony with each other due to the relationship between their frequencies.
plural noun: consonances



the rigid outer part of the earth, consisting of the crust and upper mantle.



(okay, I conjugated this one out of thin air)

The act of resonating.



Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated or interact in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently – instead, a quantum state may be given for the system as a whole.



the chemical element of atomic number 76, a hard, dense silvery-white metal of the transition series.
symbol: Os


Uncertainty Principle

un·cer·tain·ty prin·ci·ple

the principle that the momentum and position of a particle cannot both be precisely determined at the same time.


Spectral Decomposition

spec·tral de·com·po·si·tion

“Spectral Decomposition unravels the seismic signal into its constituent frequencies, which allows the user to see phase and amplitude tuned to specific wavelengths. The amplitude component excels at quantifying thickness variability and detecting lateral discontinuities while the phase component detects lateral discontinuities.” (OpendTect.org)


Equivalence principle

e·quiv·a·lence prin·ci·ple

a basic postulate of general relativity, stating that at any point of space-time the effects of a gravitational field cannot be experimentally distinguished from those due to an accelerated frame of reference.

Writing Prompt Round-Up #1


Bonus prompt! What is happening in this picture? An Afternoon Haunting

Fiction & Drama

“We’re just going to have to wait.” He said, standing against the endless blue sky, running his hands through his wavy hair.

A disfigured man, a fashionista, and a DJ on the run.

You lost your job, and then your home, you have no where else to go, and little to no money, how do you keep your family safe and fed?

A young man learns he is dying of a disease, a disease he has potentially given to many people he has loved, what does he do?

A man gets badly injured on the job, as they struggle to survive, his wife becomes addicted to his medication.



You are a lowly tavern wench but the Prince keeps coming to your bed, for lovemaking and advice on matters of state.

You see a dragon while hunting in the mountains, you try to tell your village but they do not believe you.

The Blue Sisters of Amongood, protectors of the ancient maps.

The four treasures of the Tuatha De Dannan: a sword that always kills, a spear that always hits it mark, a stone that proclaims the king and a cauldron that heals any wounds.

Snow white and prince charming lose their castle to a bad mortgage deal and have to move in with the dwarfs. Grumpy is not happy about it at all…

A demon and an angel walk into a bar…



You are standing in your back yard happy as a clam, when you realize the crickets and frogs have suddenly gone silent.

Everyday a man puts wildflowers on the same three graves.

Whenever you drive by the place your loved one died, your car malfunctions.

Every night, just before you go to sleep, you hear someone calling your name…

A high schooler mentions to her friends about a scary dream she had, when it comes true, she has no more friends.

You are driving home. The fog becomes so thick you are forced to pull over. When you get out to look for the road again, you lose your car too…

A nerdy software developer mistakenly ends up at a vampire bar.



A trail of blood through the snow.

You go outside on a snowy winter’s evening and notice footprints in your yard. Following them, they lead all the way back around the house and stop at your front door.

You pull up to a traffic light during rush hour on a bridge, you hear faint screaming that seems to be coming from the gully below.

A man comes home to find a sheet of plastic over his living room floor with a chair in the middle of it. A length of rope and a roll of duct tape sit next to it.

A young woman running away from an abusive family, a bank robber & a bounty hunter.

A Beach for Dying



Your zeppelin crash lands in Algonquin territory.

The Pirate Queen of Air Fleet Five

A Victorian woman invents an engine that runs off air, but no one will listen to her since she is female. She decides to dress up like a man…

The Flying Bathtub: Two young children and an old retired pilot create a hot air balloon and strap it a bathtub in order to escape the Germans in a steampunk WWII.



You and a partner are professional diversionists. People hire you to make distractions, diversions etc.

You are at a swanky party, soiree, thingy, you’ve just had an explosive, uh, visit to the toilet, but there happens to be NO TOILET PAPER. What do you do?

Write about the most awkward moment of your life. Rewrite it until the prose itself is so awkward, it makes you shiver just reading it.


Sci Fi

Grey Aliens are just humans who have been born in space.

A large solar flare shuts all electronics off for exactly 8 minutes. What are the consequences?

Take a cultural myth, urban legend or fairy tale and give it a scientific explanation.

A bomb goes off in a populated city. When you analyze it you find it is made from non-terrestrial minerals.

A linguistics student finds an ancient clay tablet that clearly describes a colony on mars.

You meet someone who claims to be eight thousand years old.

Your characters are on a lengthy mission into space. When they return they crash land near the city of Armana, toward the end of  the reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten, the year 1333 BC.

An amateur scientist discovers the secret to immortality. When he publishes it, someone makes an attempt on his life.

You volunteer for the first one-way ticket to Mars.

Space gypsies, vagabonds who travel in their spaceships from space colony to space colony, planet to planet, grifters, or a homeless family in space.




The Pauli Exclusion Pricinple & Science Fiction: A Ramble

CYA: I am NOT a physicist, this is just the stuff of dust motes from an overreaching mind. Time Travel and Alternate Universe Touristing are dangerous and should not be attempted at home!

The Pauli Exclusion Principle

So if you’re an accidental nerd like me, you’ve probably heard the Pauli Exclusion Principle being thrown around in sci fi forums, in works of science fiction themselves, or used as a pseudo cultural law concerning Time Travel. It is most noted as a reason you cannot make contact with your future/past self in time travel epics.

Relatively recently, it was also used in the TV show FRINGE as the hinge science, yes, I just did that, which (apparently) explained the melding & or collision of universes, which of course was the main conflict, and what drove the entire series forward. The blatant name dropping was accompanied by a neat little visual of two snow globes colliding, the ultimate result, we were told, was that only one universe could survive, because of you know, that incredibly complicated thing we talk so easily about: the Pauli Exclusion Principle.

However, as we’re about to learn, it is most often misused, and no, if you found your future self and shook her hand, you would not implode, or the universe would not end. At least, not because of the Pauli Exclusion Principle. It might happen for other reasons…

First, what the hell is the Pauli Exclusion Principle? According to the Gods of Wiki:

The Pauli exclusion principle is the quantum mechanical principle that two identical fermions (particles with half-integer spin) cannot occupy the same quantum state simultaneously. In the case of electrons, it can be stated as follows, It is impossible for two electrons of a poly-electron atom to have the same values of the four quantum numbers (n, , m and ms). For two electrons residing in the same orbital, n, , and m are the same, so ms must be different and the electrons have opposite spins. This principle was formulated by Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli in 1925.

Yeah, don’t worry, I got lost at Fermions too…


Unless you are a Quantum Mechanics groupie, all you need to know about the Pauli Exclusion Principle is that no two electrons can ever be in the same quantum state.

This of course has been translated to: you can’t have two of you or else KABLOOM! Bad shit rains down from the heavens and hits the proverbial fan.

You can purchase this wonderful print  here

You can purchase this wonderful print here

However, there are major holes with this theory, so here we go:

1. This is assuming that if you are a time traveler (or a tourist from another dimension) then the “other” version of you is exactly the same matter as you are. So far, besides some kind of esoteric metaphysical philosophical bridge (which I’m okay with, by the way) there is no science to back this up. As far as I can tell, you two, while being genetically identical (maybe), the molecules of your bodies are independent and unique.

Think of it like this: two atoms can be hanging out right next to each other, in fact, these atoms are twins, or even the same atom from alternate universes, OR one atom is a time traveling version of the other atom, (oh goddess, my brain hurts) however you want to think about it, the two atoms are virtually indistinguishable from one another, and in fact, each atom follows the Pauli Exclusion Principle, and each has electrons in the exact same states as each other.

The Pauli Exclusion Principle deals with the electrons in a single atom, not the ones hanging out in the theoretical time traveling alternate twin atom sitting in the next seat over. So while the electrons in one atom can’t be in the same state, the electrons in the atom next to us CAN be in the same state.

Are you still with me?

2. The cells in your body decay at a such a rapid rate, even if the two of you were the exact same matter somehow metaphysically, you wouldn’t actually be the same matter physically, because the cells in our bodies literally replace themselves completely over 7 years, so as long as you travel back (or forward) with a 7 year difference matter has since (or hasn’t yet) been replaced. Follow me?

3. Furthermore, in order to actually accomplish this theoretical KABLOOEY KAPOW BADABOOM! You would still need some kind of spooky mystical quantum meld with the other version of you, because simply shaking Future Girl’s hand isn’t going to physically make any of your atoms share the exact quantum state as hers. Even touching, atoms, not to mention itty bitty little bastard particles like fermions, don’t necessarily share the “space” let alone their so-called quantum states. If you were able to somehow pull off this mystical quantum meld, the likeliest result is that one of you ABSORBS the other, or else you simply become one. Now here, you might be able to argue that the world from which the version of you that is absorbed hails from collapses, but then we’re into the many worlds theorem and it really doesn’t correlate with the Pauli Exclusion Principle, yet anyway.

In here somewhere is a pun about parasitic twins, cannibalism &  dimorphic biology, but whatever.



image0021The Pauli Exclusion Principle, is, essentially, used to explain the “capacity of the various electron shells and sub-shells” in atomic structure. It is highly likely that you learned about atomic structure in high school, also highly likely that you never actually took a moment to understand why atoms look the way they do. Don’t worry, I didn’t either. Here’s Pauli!

So Fermions are like little bastard particles that have odd, half integer spins. I know, I know, just bear with me. Fermions are different from Bosons, who have whole integer spins. So a fermion is 1/2, 2/3 etc. and a boson is 1, 0 etc. Now, here is where the little tricky dicks get trickier, because Fermions are only fermions because they follow the PAULI EXCLUSION PRINCIPLE! But Bosons DO NOT.

WHAT? My brain just exploded and it WAS from the Pauli Exclusion Principle. Call the presses.

Because all fermions somehow magically follow the Pauli Exclusion Principle, they cannot exist, or co-habitate the same quantum state at the same time. Huh? All I got from that is the poor little loners can’t share a desk while coworking….

Okay, lets break it down now: what this is really saying is that you can only have a maximum of 2 electrons in the same place at the same time and those guys have to have an opposite spin.

Right, now we’re getting somewhere usable.

200px-Stylised_Lithium_AtomSo actually, you CAN have 2 electrons in the same freaking place at the same freaking time, these electrons just have to be spinning OPPOSITE each other. But no other electrons can then occupy that state. Which, incidentally, is why atoms look the way they do, with little particles orbiting around the nucleus in “shells” that when viewed on a classroom chalkboard look eerily similar to the solar system, with planets and celestial bodies orbiting around the sun.

Yeah, when we think about it like that, it makes sense. Two planets can not be sharing the exact same orbit or else they’d be ONE PLANET not two. But what about this opposite spin shit? That still doesn’t make sense. There isn’t two Earths existing on the same plane and spinning opposite each other, right?


Or is there?

Dun Dun Dun….

And here, my friends, we come to the quantum mechanics mind &$%#.



Essentially, based on my peanut brain understanding, quantum mechanics is the underlying set of principles that are used to explain all quantum theory, whether they fall into physical “mechanics” or not.

Don’t effing worry about it, lets continue…

According to quantum mechanics, all electrons are both particles, AND waves. In fact, a father and son both won Nobel Prizes for their work in the subject, with one winning the prize for proving electrons are particles, and the other winning the prize some time later for proving that electrons are waves. Huh. So together, whether they wanted to or not (family rivalry much?) these nerds proved that electrons are BOTH particles and waves.

In more woo woo terms, every electron in the known universe appears to have some kind of a mystical mysterious witchy woo energetic soul twin, not exactly, but, oh well. They exist in the same freaking place (relatively) but they don’t actually inhabit the same exact space, because one is a particle and one is a wave. In one way, you can kind of (but not really) think of it as one being matter and the other energy.

Hmmm, okay, now we’re progressing. (Or are we!)



It’s all theoretical physics anyway, and if it sounds made up, that is because basically, it is. But it wasn’t made up out of nowhere. There was a lot of time and thought put into it before/as it was being “made up”. And most of it has been tested to some level or another.

However, know that we don’t know everything. Our scope of understanding is limited to our perspective, and by looking at things in only one way, we will never see the solutions that already exist.

Theoretical science is all about breaking the rules and then figuring out how to unbreak them. And Science Fiction has a huge part in that process. But we can’t break the rules unless we (somewhat) understand them first. Instead of just throwing out an established principle to explain away your story, try approaching it from at least a relatively logical stand point from the beginning.

The further you take your understanding of the science you will use in your story, the more developed your story will become. Besides, I postulate that by delving into the philosophical physics of quantum mechanics, you will probably discover a whole new world of possibilities than the one you originally started with!

PS >> while I’m new to the Fringe Phenomena, and I’m happy to take a stab at its hinge science, I also watched five seasons worth of episodes in approximately 3 weeks, which I think speaks for itself.


Know more than me about the Pauli Exclusion Principle (highly likely) then sound off below! Know some uses in literature pop culture where it was done successfully? Not so successfully? A visitor from another universe with deep insight and experience? Please share in the comments…

Writing Exercise: Horror Stories From Fairy Tales & Nursery Rhymes.

A dark and unilluminated sect of our psyche’s exists in the realm of scared little children. Why? Because our fairy tales and nursery rhymes are freaking horror stories! Seriously, almost all of our popular fairy tales have some sort of sick, sadistic or brutal seed somewhere in there, way back in the day.

You can purchase this wonderful print here.

You can purchase this wonderful print here.

For example, in one version of Sleeping Beauty, the princess is raped, and gives birth, all while in A COMA. Oh yeah, that isn’t scary at all. Totally family friendly.

As if a poisoned apple isn’t bad enough, in Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, Snow white is like, 9 or 16, depending on who you ask; the dwarves MAKE her work in exchange for their protection; and the evil stepmother queen eats the HEART and the LIVER she thinks is Snow White’s. Um, yeah, cannibalism we can deal with, but child labor laws aught not to be broken. Not to mention the pedophile prince. *shudder*

Children’s nursery rhymes and songs are just as terrifying. Ever heard of Little Bunny FooFoo? If you haven’t heard of him, it is because he’s dead, or a goon, or a viscous little shit standing over a pile of dead field mice. … boppin’ ‘im on the head.

How about that big bad, scary bee all these little kids are crushing? Hmmmm…I’m pretty sure the little Buddhist children would be appalled.

We can’t forget “The London Bridge is Falling Down.” Because, a childish reenactment of a bridge burning and collapsing and the possible reference to burying a virgin alive as a sacrifice is completely wholesome.

And of course, the rotten cherry on this disgustingly devious cake, we have “Ring Around the Posy” which is actually about the plague. :/

This is some seriously creepy shit, peoples.

As an acute sufferer of chronic writer’s block, I’ve come to learn the morbid truth: if you can’t write, research!

So for today’s assignment, pick a fairy tale, nursery rhyme, or children’s game, research the origins as far back as you can go, and it may take a time or two, but eventually you are going to find a bat shit crazy little nugget dripping in pure, unadulterated horror. Now you’ve found a story, go!