By | archive, contest, news

The SCQ is pleased to announce that the winner of the last book was Alex Roger’s “Astro I Reference Notes.” To keep things rolling a little bit, we would like to present the next book up for grabs. This one is called “Follow the Line Around the World” by Laura Ljungkvist.

We think every reader should submit just for the possibility of owning a book who has an author with such a marvelous last name.

Anyway, like before any kind of submission will do, and please send on your good material to (deadline is October 15th).

About The Science Creative Quarterly

Castigat ridendo mores.


By | archive, contest, creative


(image source)

O.K. So the deal is that it’s the holidays – and soon the whole merriment parade will be kicking into high gear. This includes a number of things that I bet many households end up going through. Things such as:

1. the strategic maneuvering of the mistletoe locale.

2. watching the antics of nasally sounding claymation elves,

3. arguing over the relative merits of putting raisins in the stuffing,

4. real tree, fake tree, or no tree.

5. debating the necessity of the feature length Grinch movie,

6. figuring out what did “my true love give to me” on the eleventh day?

And 7, that opportunity for all of us to play the role of an amateur architect – (drum roll please) the building of the gingerbread house. Usually, the directions taken here, tend to veer towards one of two extremes: (1) a somewhat childish semblance of four walls, a roof, and a freakish amount of candy, or (2) you think you’re Martha Stewart or something.

So let’s instead try a different tact. Here, we’re looking for your take on a “sustainable” gingerbread house. Rules are found at, but basically the premise in a nutshell is: apply sustainable building design practices to a gingerbread house.

Anyway, Dave S. has set up a Flickr site to collect entries, and we’re hoping to see some spectacular houses. Spread the word – we have a few prizes to give out, but really, the process is the thing you see.

About David Ng

David (@ng_dave) is Faculty at the Michael Smith Labs. His writing has appeared in places such as McSweeney's, The Walrus, and also as an occasional blogger at If you're looking for a graphic for your next science talk, he encourages you to check out his blog,


By | archive, contest, web experiment

Data obtained November 13, 2007

It seems obvious to most people that iPods are a ubiquitous part of culture. But for folks like myself who also look after a website, the notion of an iPod contest is just as pervasive. A good indicator of this is to simply google a few pertinent terms. In fact, when I did that with the phrase “Win an iPod” (in quotes) I was actually returned with an astounding 2,000,000 hits.

More enlightening, is if you narrow down the search to limit the term mentioned within the last week (2570 results), or even the last 24 hours (498 results). In fact, there is even a site that tries to aggregate current iPod contests (link), listing about 125 such contests that are active.

Just to rehash the details of our iPod giveaway – we’re hoping to coerse folks to link to our truth experiment, and that, in a nutshell, is all there is to entering our iPod contest. The truth, more or less, encompasses some excellent social justice, social equity, and scientific items that I think the vast majority of reasonable people would agree with. Included also are a few non-sequitur statements, just to mix things up a bit, primarily added to play into the oddness that is web dynamics. The goal, of course, is for our list of truths to climb up the google rankings (we were #6 on at time of writing).

Anyway, it’s pretty clear that this type of contest is not an original idea. So the question that begs asking is: why play with ours? Therefore, herein lies some web research on some of the nuances of the ubiquitous iPod contest, and how why ours in particular is worthy.

- – -



We’re essentially giving away a 30G video iPod, which granted is a generation back, but is still more or less on par with a smaller memory size video iPod Classic. Looking at the top 20 results for “win an iPod” under the 24 hour parameter, we have: 3 iPod Touches, 1 Video iPod, 9 iPod Nanos, 3 iPod shuffles, and 2 instances where the iPod didn’t appear to be specified. We’re easily in the top half of that list.

- – -



We’re just looking for a link. Basically, all you have to do is copy-paste some code (<a href=”″>truth</a>) – this doesn’t even require any need to think about composition, about what to write etc. Also no personal details are needed, although if you win, you would of course at some point, need to pass on your address. We plan on using google and technorati to track who linked to the truth, and if you want to play it safe, you can always email us at

Seriously, our contest is so easy compared to the others. If we focus on the top 20 hits again, entering involves the following instructions:

“signing up and making one sale”

“subscribe to our email letter”

“obtain the most sales in one month”,

“win some kind of Warcraft tournament after paying a $20 submission fee”

“answer three quick questions”

“update your personal account details”,

“participate in a webcast”

“send us your details” (easily the most common)

“respond intelligently to a post”

“tell us what you think”

”win an iPod Touch by paying $600!” (??)

“submit a letter”

” provide your name, email, country and a few other bits and pieces”

”compete in a cricket pool”

“send in a testimonial”

- – -



The process to win our iPod ultimately enables our truth experiment to climb up the internet rankings. This way, we’re creating a teaching anecdote which can shed light on things such as global warming, IPCC reports, Millenium Development Goals, the Intelligent Design debacle. All good stuff in my mind.

I was actually surprised at how trivial the contests in the top 20 were. Participate in a cricket pool? Compete in a game of Warcraft? Leave your particulars to what is essentially the world of commerce? So much for social justice.

- – -

Anyway, in case you missed the details of the contest – they are short and sweet. They entail giving the iPod (a new unopened white 30G video iPod) to some random person who chooses to link to the truth before December 13th, 2007. We’ll be using primarily or google to track linkage, but if you fear missing out, please send us a note at On the 14th, we’ll figure out some random way of choosing a winner, and will then courier the iPod immediately – should make a nice little Christmas bonus.

The code: <a href=”″>truth</a>

Click here to see the truth.

Good luck!

About David Ng

David (@ng_dave) is Faculty at the Michael Smith Labs. His writing has appeared in places such as McSweeney's, The Walrus, and also as an occasional blogger at If you're looking for a graphic for your next science talk, he encourages you to check out his blog,