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4:03 AM
Q: Why are minimum viewing guides considered off-topic?

N.SoongI just don't quite understand why we consider a question about minimum viewing/reading guides as being off topic. Consider the following: Point 1 In our Tour we say that one of the categories that is acceptable is 'Franchise/series reading or viewing order'. Now, granted, that is a difference...

Q: Ghosts in Harry Potter

Bob the zealotMoaning Myrtle could go through anything you can name, but makes physical contact with water in her toilet, and can turn on taps. Why's that? What can ghosts touch and what can't they touch?

Q: Should explanations of closures be mandatory?

N.SoongI was on here just now posting another question and it struck me how many questions there are on here about 'why was this question closed'. It got me to thinking: should we make it mandatory for people who vote to close a question provide the reason for it. Now I know this already happens in so...

2 hours later…
5:52 AM
@ScienceFiction&Fantasy Whatever they want to touch. (In other words, whatever is needed for the story).
2 hours later…
7:38 AM
Q: Why didn't they use the invisibility cloak while on time travel?

hims056In The Prisoner of Azkaban movie Harry and Hermione used Time-Turner to save Sirius. After advising them to use Time-Turner Dumbledore remind them "you must not be seen". If it was a vital law to use Time-Turner, why didn't they just use the invisibility cloak to hide themselves while they were o...

8:32 AM
Q: Do you recognize this book series?

user30780read a book series in 2009, can not remember the title of the book nor who wrote it. i remember it started with two males driving at night through the country, they pull over and walk into a paddock, spot a cave and walk into it, (from here i'm unsure if both disappear or just one of them) any wa...

9:12 AM
I am extremely annoyed and disgusted by @alexwlchan... he keeps answering each and every question. He has got enough rep now, can't he leave the easy ones for me??
he answered the question on taking the clock while time travelling too... ;(
ughhh. Can some mod please put up an answer ban on him?
9:35 AM
@AwalGarg If it makes you feel any better, my answer rate is likely to drop significantly in September when I start a full-time job.
9:48 AM
Q: What is the definition of true love?

EleanoreIn 'Once upon a time' series there is the myth of true love. Rumplestiltskin declares himself really interested to it: I'm a fan of true love, dearie. And more importantly... what it creates. since it is the strongest magic of all: Love... is the most powerful magic of all - the only ...

10:07 AM
Worldcon 2014 program is up, since yesterday.
Looks great.
It's my first Worldcon.
10:31 AM
@lisardggY I've been to 2, 1978(?) and 1998.
@Donald.McLean So you'll go again in 2018?
@SQB Who knows.
It's in London this year, which makes it much easier for me to get there.
And in 1978 I was busy being conceived. :)
In 1978 I was 4.
...my parents were still dating.
10:44 AM
Yeah, yeah, make fun of the old guy. Don't worry, your time will come.
@Donald.McLean The MILFs loving liberal veterinarian, right?
11:23 AM
A: Who is the eponymous Jedi in Return of the Jedi?

SQB Luke: I am a Jedi, like my father before me. Palpatine: [angrily] So be it... Jedi! This is the crucial moment when Luke fully claims his heritage and asserts his Jedihood. Before that, Jedi didn't exist anymore. The few remaining after Order 66 were in hiding or had died since (Obi-Wan ...

Mere speculation netting me +200 rep and a 'Nice answer' badge.
11:58 AM
Q: What is hyperspace in Stargate like?

BubbaIn the Stargate franchise, what is hyperspace supposed to be like ? By that I mean, is the hyperspace reality/ universe like hyperspace in Babylon 5. Is it a "open" reality/ universe where ships can fly in one direction stop & fly in another direction or even park in hyperspace. Or do the hyperd...

12:28 PM
Q: Is Dr. Nefario supposed to be Gru's father?

ShisaI've seen this theory floating around and they usually cite both having very similar noses Dr. Nefario dancing with Marlena (Gru's mom). However, is there any actual canon material (such as commentary or interview) material hinting that Dr. Nefario is Gru's father?

@alexwlchan Pssh. I write 90% of my answers while at my full-time job.
@SQB No! The sight of blood makes me sick.
Q: Why did Melisandre not die by the poison in ACoK?

PrisonMonkeysIn the prologue of A Clash of Kings, Maester Cressen tries to assassinate Melisandre with a cup of wine poisoned with the strangler. Melisandre seems to be aware of the poison and offers him to spill the wine, but Maester Cressen insists. She then drinks most of the wine, but leaves some for Maes...

12:59 PM
Q: What was the Robot Defense Act going to do?

phantom42In Robopocalypse, as Congresswoman Laura Perez learns about and encounters what appears to be malfunctioning robots, she prepares to introduce The Robot Defense Act. Her daughter, Mathilda is attacked/approached by her Baby-Comes-Alive doll, which warns Mathilda that the Robot Defense Act won't ...

1:44 PM
Q: What was the original ending of “Rinkitink in Oz”?

MJDL. Frank Baum wrote Rinkitink in Oz around 1905, sometime between The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz, but we know that as originally written it had nothing to do with Oz. But Baum couldn't get it published as it was, so around 1915 he wrote a new ending, with Dorothy appearing late in the ...

2:04 PM
Q: Iron Man v/s Hulk

LipeeI've been thinking about, and I've read spin off stories that talk about who would win in a fight: Iron Man or the Hulk? Iron Man has technology and speed on his side, but the Hulk has brute strength and would be able to reach the height Iron Man does (as shown in the Avengers when the Hulk scale...

2:18 PM
Q: Extent of Nightcrawler's teleportation

Kyle KanosMy 5 year old son has been garnering an interest in Marvel superheros and is a particular fan of Spider-Man. I recently showed him the Marvel Super Heroes Storybook Collection (Amazon link) where it discusses, among many others Nightcrawler in the new X-men. I managed to explain Nightcrawler's ab...

2:57 PM
@Donald.McLean You're not alone! I was alive in 1978 :D
Comment of the week:
I'm so tempted to add this scifi.stackexchange.com/users/976/dvk to the list... — Richard Jul 17 at 19:09
@ScienceFiction&Fantasy - “Love is a serious mental disease.” - - Plato, Phaedrus
3:19 PM
Yes, it was 1978.
The 36th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), also known as IguanaCon II, was held August 30–September 4, 1978, at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix, Adams House, Phoenix Convention Center, and Phoenix Symphony Hall in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Despite the name, this was the first "IguanaCon". The original committee chairman was Greg Brown, who served for the first eighteen months of the convention committee's existence; he was replaced for the final six months prior to the convention and during the convention itself by Tim Kyger. Gary Farber was the de facto vice-chairman as well as director ...
2 hours later…
5:20 PM
Q: Graphic novel about a space traveler in a falcon-type ship with an amulet and a large earthworm

John HarlowThere was a black and white graphic novel from the 70s about a young space traveler who flies in a falcon type ship. He comes to a planet carrying an amulet that is missing what was inside. He meets a large earthworm that leads him into the center of the planet. I've been trying to find this b...

@DVK If love is a mental disease, I'd gladly stay ill, rather than give it up :D
(Because I'm a mushy ol' girl like that!)
@DVK I'm with @Slytherincess on this one.
5:41 PM
Q: Why are communications merely jammed?

phantom42In Robopocalypse, Archos and his army of "Robs" predictably blocks communications between the humans. With this completed, thus turning the tide of the war. Since the groups we follow through the book are scattered across the globe, we can infer that Is there a reason I've overlooked a...

I'm pleading for help on a math problem. There are four Hogwarts Quidditch teams. How many actual games would be played, where each team played each of the remaining three teams only once during the school year? I can't even begin to compute this.
@Slytherincess Classic 4 choose 2. The answer is 6.
If there are 4 teams?
@Slytherincess Yes.
I don't understand :/ It seems like it would be a little more -- wouldn't each team have three matches? (Haha, this is making me think!)
5:46 PM
Would you like me to explain how to compute that?
@Slytherincess 4 teams: A, B, C, D - Matchups: AB, AC, AD, BC, BD, CD
Please, if you have the time and don't mind. Thanks :)
Each team plays three matches. Any more, and there would be a repeat.
So, if you add that up, would that not be twelve?
No, each team is present 3 times.
The way you're thinking of it, you would have AB, AC, AD, BA, BC, BD, etc... but in that case, A would play B twice.
5:49 PM
And there are four teams. Four teams showing up three times isn't twelve matches?
I'm thinking ...
Gryffindor vs Hufflepuff is the same match as Hufflepuff vs Gryffindor.
Or rather, it's the same matchup.
Okay, I understand now. Yeah, that makes sense.
I was counting each match twice, not once.
If you wanted to find all possible combinations, then yes - 12 matches. If you wanted to find all possible unique combinations, then 6.
So, you have a set containing 4 unique items (Hogwarts houses), and you want to compute the number of unique pairs that can be made (games where each house plays every other house). In general, if you have a set of N unique items (N = 4 in this case) and you want to calculate all sets containing M items (M = 2 in this case).
The formula for N choose M is N! / (N!) (M - N)!
What is the exclamation point?
5:54 PM
Where the exclamation point is the "factorial" operator. Factorial normally applies only to whole numbers (numbers greater than or equal to 1).
1 factorial is just 1
2 factorial is 1 time 2
3 factorial is 1 times 2 times 3
4 factorial is 1 times 2 times 3 times 4
and so on
Hmm, interesting. What kind of math is this?
I learned this in probability/statistics.
So 4 choose 2 is 4! / 2! (4-2)! = 1*2*3*4 / 1*2 * 1*2 = 6
5:57 PM
I took Statistics :/
@Slytherincess It's more probability theory than statistics.
You could use it to compute the chance of having a winning lottery ticket, for example.
I honestly think my professor gave me a mercy pass in Stats. It was required for my degree, I went to all the professor's office hours, I had a tutor twice a week ... I had to go a whole extra semester just to take that one d*mn class! I worked really hard, but it might as well have been Chinese for all I understood :))
@Slytherincess Yeah, I was lucky in that I have a natural affinity for math up to a certain point, plus my dad had taught me some statistics in high school. When I had to take it for my AA, it used to drive the other students crazy - I lost my book in the first week, never took notes, and always got the highest grade in the class.
English is where my strengths lie, but an English degree is about as useful as a Denny's place mat. I can write and write and write -- one year I wrote 480,000 words. I also did well in Biopsychology, which was a pretty tough class -- the actual science portions of a psych degree are pretty challenging.
@Slytherincess Most of my childhood I struggled with English, but the teacher for my JR/SR years in high school helped a lot, and about the time I hit 30, my writing started to improved too. Bio and psych are some of my weakest areas.
6:16 PM
Did you like to read as a child? Biopsych is pretty scientific -- it's the study of the brain and how it works, and how (and where) different disorders affect the brain.
@Slytherincess Yes. I've been a huge reader all my life.
@Donald.McLean Same here. I don't read now as much as I used to, which I miss. I'm sure it'll pass, though.
@Slytherincess There was a time, from when my kids were born up until they graduated from high school where I just didn't have as much time to read.
@phantom42 - I know what you mean. My job requires me to use my brain about 50% of the time.
6:30 PM
@SQB - Whereas my canon-referenced answer has netted me precisely 100 rep (of which zero went onto my rep score).
@Slytherincess The formal name for this sort of question is “combinatorics”. It’s part of probability.
@alexwlchan Not exactly. Combinatorics is USED in probability theory, but not part of it. There are aspects of combinatorics that are NOT used in probability theory.
Do I get extra kudos for convincing someone to un-accept my answer? scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/64016/…
@Donald.McLean As a kid, I traveled the world while I traveled the world. I fear today, the reading of novels is becoming a lost art.
6:45 PM
@MajorStackings How so? Perhaps my view is skewed since many, if not most, of the people I know all read novels.
@Donald.McLean I haven't seen a kid under 40 read a paperback book in far too long.
@MajorStackings - Paper? I can't remember the last time I read a dead tree book
@Donald.McLean Of course, my mistake.
A month out from maths, and already I’m making silly mistakes. Ah well.
@MajorStackings Two of my three children (all under 40) are voracious readers, and most of their friends are also voracious readers.
My former coworker has 2 kids (like.. 4 and 7?). They both read primarily paperbacks.
6:51 PM
@alexwlchan I took two combinatorics courses in college - nasty hard, but great fun.
If I ever get stranded in the mountians, my dead tree media will kindle a fire a lot better than your Kindle will.
@MajorStackings I'd have to come and collect your lost selves from the mountains :))
@phantom42 My kids and their friends mostly read Iphones. I'm not sure how they are able to walk from place to place without bumping into something.
@MajorStackings I see a lot of people reading books on their phones on the metro. I don't get it. It's fine for an article or something relatively short, but an entire book just seems crazy to me.
Read 20 words. Swipe. Read 20 words. Swipe. Read 20 words. Swipe.
@phantom42 And where's the sense of accomplishment? I enjoy watching my bookmark advance as I progress through the book.
@Slytherincess Bring beer....
7:25 PM
@phantom42 - The trick is to get yourself a nice reader and a decent phone. Aldiko offers a range of viewing fonts and sizes. It scrolls smoothly and is super-easy to read on.
Oh, and my phone has thousands of books on it, basically everything ever written by every author I've ever enjoyed.
Q: How many ship were in the Conquest Fleet worldwar serie

Bigben59In the WorldWar serie how many ship were in the Conguest fleet? Reading the books you can see names like this " 127th Emperor Hetto" . Is this ship number 127 or the ship was name after the Hetto?

@MajorStackings It goes without saying! ;)
I own two eBooks -- a Jonathan Franzen novel (it's just terrible) and a book on the power of introversion!
I do have about 7600 pictures on my phone, though. I use it to talk to people, take pictures, and send emails. That's pretty much it. My husband lives on his phone.
7:52 PM
My phone is a backup reader. I have a Sony reader and an iPad as my primary readers.
From an interview with Simon Kinberg (writer on X-Men: DOFP):
> So I wouldn’t want to tell you one thing, and then six months from now you read somebody getting cast, oh because some focus group told them that this character was no good and it really is things change. Especially in Days of Future Past, the Quicksilver character was a young Juggernaut. When Bryan [Singer] came on, he thought the Juggeranut has already been exploited, and he didn’t think it was fresh enough.
8:33 PM
Q: Upto what level does Polyjuice Potion work?

Sachin ShekharI am researching the capabilities and limitations of Polyjuice Potion. What was already in my mind: Polyjuice Potion clearly changes external visible parts of body viz. skin, physic structure, hair. And, it clearly doesn't change internal organs like vocal cord (keeping voice same) and brain (ke...

8:43 PM
I continue to TOTALLY not get the scoring on SFF.SE. A relatively crappy answer of mine (Is Darth Vader really afraid of the Emperor?) keeps gathering upvotes to the tune of 20+. OTOH my Gibson't Burning Chrome one got 1 upvote and took a lot more time and effort to research and was better overall
8:53 PM
Q: What is the extent and nature of Nix's power in (the film) Lord of Illusions?

John OI'm not asking for an exhaustive list, or even a list at all. The man certainly thinks himself capable of causing some sort of doomsday or apocalypse, but the movie's onscreen portrayal of magic is much more mundane. Absent some sort of widespread existential crisis (billions of people just despa...

Q: Looking for the name of a scifi comic strip from a book-for-boys book

MooDuring the 1980s I received as a present a hardback comic book (of the typical Christmas style annals) that covered a whole raft of space stories, fact and fiction, including several episodes of a comic strip featuring a space cadet. The two stories I can think of involved three aliens (complete...

9:47 PM
@DVK I don't see why you need go beyond the obvious 1000-to-1 ratio between Star Wars fans and William Gibson fans. My top voted answer is to "What is Mr. Data's full name?", which basically required remembering an episode and doing a Google image search. There ain't no justice. Other SEs reward research a lot more often than pop culture sites like SF&F SE.
Q: How did Hydra get ahead-of-time technologies?

Sachin ShekharIn Captain America: The First Avenger, US military was shown to have normal weapons of WW2 time. Even Stark's aeroplane (which dropped Captain America in enemy territory) was of that time. Hydra was initially working for Hitler whom he later planned to overtake. If he initially agreed to work un...

10:09 PM
Q: Why does the T-1000 move slowly at times?

T-1000A few times in Terminator 2, the T-1000 takes its time, almost to the point of absurdity. For example, when it sees John and his mother at the top of the steel mill platform, it slowly ascends the stairs, allowing John plenty of time to escape. Obviously, the terminator is quite agile and fully c...


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