AUGUST 22, 2005

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Remember: three more SCQ parts to get your piece in and win an iPod!
<details, sort of, here>

Also, now you can win a really (really) big book.
<details here>


Early in human history, a great divide occurred. Some - we mean writers - began writing hieroglyphics and posting stories on their websites. Others - we mean scientists - began making ruthless observations about the world. Inevitably, the writers and the scientists grew apart, and now we have the poet vs. the physicist; the blogger vs. the biologist. It is true that the divide between science and the arts runs deep, but we hope to do our part to bridge that gap. However, we realize that this is no easy task, and are aware that it may take at least a couple of weeks to fully reunite the sciences and the arts. In truth, there are pessimists among us who suggest a time scale closer to a full month.

We think that there are many ways to bring science and literature together. For example one might write stories about Albert Einstein or a molecule; compose poetry on a myriad of elegant observations. We could also try to write using some scientific pattern for device. For example the Science Creative Quarterly may invite stories that have even numbers playing a pivotal role. In this example, we would revel in stories that focused on love squares, but not love triangles. Overall, we would love to see scientific ideas providing some backbone to the fiction, and we want to offer this constraint as a gift to you.

So how’s about this...

The Science Creative Quarterly is currently seeking character driven stories which show the evolution of a character [1]. But get this - evolution means many things to many people. For example a story could be modeled on S.J. Gould’s punctuated equilibrium. Imagine a plot with great and rapid change from one stage of existence to the next. Doesn't that make you tingle? Besides, you probably have been meaning to write a story along that line for some time[2].

In any event, Darwin, Dawkin or our friend Louie would also work and also stand a good chance of getting past our intern - perhaps even our head editor. We, of course, will strive to showcase only the good, realizing that our readers are highly literate, shrewd and, I’m pretty sure, the folks who came up with the whole idea of evolution in the first place.

1. This idea is kind of inspired by a group of brilliant writers who constitute a group of writers known as Oulipo. They came up with models of literature based on constraints, many of a mathematical nature. You should Google Oulipo.

2. For fun, let's also say that you have until November 28th, 2005 to submit your story. Winner wins a hardcopy copy of Stephen Jay Gould's "The Structure of Evolutionary Theory" a book that is sure to impress the science and non-science savy if only because it is over fourteen hundred pages long and weighs only a little less than a newborn baby.

by Stephen McNeil

The biotechnology community has been taken aback by a sudden and aggressive attack by an organization calling itself Humans for Bacterial Suffrage (HuBS). The group claims that an insidious culture of what it calls "eukaryotic oppression" is enslaving trillions of bacteria, subjecting them to perverse genetic experiments, and exploiting their labour in the execution of profitable biochemical reactions.

By Bethany Lindsay

For mammals in the northern regions of the world, global warming must seem a little more real than it does to humans below the Arctic Circle. In 2004, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment released a report called Impacts of a Warming Climate that revealed dire and immediate consequences of climate change for species ranging from polar bears to seals [1].

By P.Z. Myers

We need to appreciate beer more. Alcohol has a long history in human affairs, and has been important in purifying and preserving food and drink, and in making our parties livelier. We owe it all to a tiny little microorganism, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which converts complex plant sugars into smaller, simpler, more socially potent molecules of ethanol. This is a remarkable process that seems to be entirely to our benefit (it has even been argued that beer is proof of the existence of God*), but recent research has shown that the little buggers do it all entirely for their own selfish reasons, and they've been busily making alcohol that has gone undrunk by humankind for tens of millions of years.

by David Ng

Jack and Jill went up the hill.
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown.
And Jill came tumbling after.

First of all, we are not sure there’s enough clarity in this text. Scientific literature, in particular, should leave little room for confusion. Where exactly did Jack fall down? Into the well? A little ways down the hill? All the way down the hill? It’s just too vague. Worst still, we’re not convinced that the science conducted is of high enough caliber. I mean really, who would be stupid enough to put a well on the top of a hill? In conclusion, we feel that this manuscript should be rejected in its current state, but are not opposed to viewing a revised version in the near future.

By Rhea Tregebov

The Big Picture*

The man on the radio is speaking of his specialty
and passion, theoretical astrophysics. The interviewer
frets the big ones, wants to know what is there, on
the other side of the end of the universe. Wants
to know what it was was then before the Big Bang happened.
I've heard these questions before; heard my son, at seven,
brood over them, though not so much now as when he was five.

By Agnieszka Klimek, images by Jen Philpot

It is estimated that nearly 194 million people worldwide have diabetes. This is an increase from the 1995 global estimation of 135 million which was published in a World Health Organization study in 1998[1]. The International Diabetes Federation reconfirms that type 2 diabetes, which is the non-insulin dependent type, constitutes about 85% to 95% of all diabetes cases in developed nations and accounts for an even higher percentage in developing nations. Diabetes continues to affect increasing numbers of people around the world while public awareness remains low.

by John Baez

A minus 5 point starting credit.

1 point for every statement that is widely agreed on to be false.

2 points for every statement that is clearly vacuous.

3 points for every statement that is logically inconsistent.

5 points for each such statement that is adhered to despite careful correction.

By Angela Genusa

"The only depressing thing is that the representation is very small."
Christian Kell at the University of Frankfurt in Germany, on where the penis is represented on the brain's map of body parts. (New Scientist)

"Having a distinctive dog [an afghan] means that if we'd [ended up with] a dachshund we'd know that something funny had happened."
Gerald Schatten at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, one of the researchers who worked on a project that produced the world's first cloned dog. (New Scientist)

Found by David Ng

How Baseball Outfielders Determine Where to Run to Catch Fly Balls. (1995) Science 268:p569
In which we learn that apparently, there can be a scientific basis for 7 figured salaries. Next up, how to objectively judge figure skating.

Issue One

For those that prefer a print version, please download our beautiful pdf file.

(part i pdf)
(part ii pdf)
(part iii pdf)

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