Put the Sci in your Fi—Enhance your Image Enhancement

Rachel M Brick

Hello everyone! Welcome to the first Put the Sci in your Fi post of 2019! This is a particularly special entry because it’s the first guest article for this blog topic! So, without further ado, I’m super stoked to introduce illustrator and graphic designer Alex Ferri Land (check out her website for some adorable art). With a decade of experience in the gaming industry, her post will highlight common misconceptions about image analysis as well as discuss the limitations of technology and what alternative options exist.

Enhance your Image Enhancement

The usual offense:

Our Detective / Cop / Space Captain has their game changing surveillance footage / photo / screen Display up. Somewhere in that image is some crucial bit of information. But it’s so small! If only they could see that tiny piece of the picture more clearly…

They zoom into the spot and see a blurry close-up of…

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The end of 2018: A year in review

Rachel M Brick

Wow, I can’t believe this is the third “Year in Review” post I’m writing on my blog! To continue this little tradition, which was inspired by my friend’s blog post, I wanted to take a little time and space to reflect on 2018 and emphasize to myself how much (or little) I accomplished this year. I started doing this to force myself not to obsess over things I didn’t do, but to think of the milestones I’ve hit and my achievements this year.

New year 2018 change to 2019 concept

Of everything in 2018, I’d like to highlight the following:

  • Launching my new thread of blog posts, “Put the Sci in your Fi“, and posting seven entries in that series over the past year. Seven might not seem like a large number, but for the amount of time required to research each topic and fact check everything, I’m happy with what I’ve put out so far…

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Put the Sci in your Fi — Kill the Character, Cure the Disease…Or Don’t

Why I love this author’s writing and mind – she questions, learns about the topic, and explains in a scientifically accurate manner. Her stories and blogs bear a greater semblance to scientific reality. And that in my opinion enhances the story. And these blog posts help everyone who wants to write sci-fi. Sherlock Holmes told John Watson – you see, but do not observe. This author is the antithesis of that statement, and everyone must follow her writing adventures!

Rachel M Brick

Hello everyone, and welcome to another installment of Put the Sci in your Fi! I’m sure any sci-fi enthusiast has come across this trope, whether it’s in video games or books or TV show/movies, and that is: If you have a disease, plus an immune (usually human) character, that person will be sacrificed by the end to provide a cure and save the rest of humanity from the dastardly plague.

As a writer and reader, of course I understand why this approach is often taken. It’s dramatic, it creates tension and an ethical dilemma, and if a beloved character is sacrificed for “the greater good,” it pulls the reader’s heartstrings. But the scientist in me always whines that this isn’t scientifically sound, that it’s a huge waste of a valuable and limited resource, that there are other, more creative (and perhaps less obvious) ways where you can save the character and

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Put the Sci in your Fi — Getting Personal: The Realities of Life in STEM

Hows life for a typical scientist in the STEM field, especially in the life sciences? Read the experiences of a real scientist who did her PhD in the stem (pun intended) cell field.

Rachel M Brick

Hello everyone, welcome to another entry of “Put the Sci in your Fi”!

For this month’s post, instead of talking about superpowered animals or lab equipment, I thought I’d talk about the people who do the work with that equipment—the scientists. Recently, I came across this question on Quora: “What are the harsh realities about getting a PhD?”

water help This might be a little on the nose. It’s also an actual picture from my actual lab, so…

And the more I thought about it, the more I felt it might make a good “Put the Sci in your Fi” post. Not because it offers information on lesser known scientific research or gives an inside view to how a lab is typically set up, but because perhaps it can help an author create a more authentic fictional character dealing with the every day grind in the STEM field (that’s science, technology…

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Put the Sci in your Fi – Real Life Superpowers—The Naked Mole Rat

Check out the amazing ‘superpowers’ of the naked mole role. Was a very informative read for me!

Rachel M Brick

NMoleRat72-2 The Naked Mole Rat – image courtesy of Alex Ferri Land

Hi everyone, welcome to another “Put the Sci in your Fi” post! Today, we’ll be continuing the discussion of real life superpowers with the naked mole rat.

If you’re new to this line of posts, the previous topic discussed the tardigrade and what superpowers it had that could be useful to the sci-fi world. But, what on earth is so great about the naked mole rat? It looks like a sausage with giant buck teeth, after all. It lives strictly underground in East Africa, and can’t even go outside without being baked to death in the desert sun. Where does its superpower come in?

Well, a little digging reveals that the naked mole rat might just be the tardigrades of the rodent world—they boast a cornucopia of survival mechanisms, including pain resistance, aging resistance, hypoxia resistance, and cancer resistance. 

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Chicken Chapli Kebab Recipe

Check out this chicken kebab recipe I wrote for my friend’s blog!

Rachel M Brick

Hey everyone! For this next recipe post, I’ve invited my friend, Soumya Nanda, to contribute a guest post. Below is his recipe for his delicious chicken kebabs. Perfect for a weekend spent by the grill! Enjoy!

This recipe is one of my favorite side dishes – chicken chapli kebab. It is a famous dish in Pakistan and northern India. You can make it with ground chicken, lamb, or beef. It is also very healthy, with no oil added to the kebabs. Although I love eating it, buying chapli kebabs from restaurants can get very expensive. Since I know how much the ingredients cost, I wanted to give it a try at home. It was surprising extremely easy to make and yes, delicious too! One can easily buy “kebab masala” (spices) packet from a store and just mix the contents of the packet with chicken and onion and make it. But…

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Put the Sci in your Fi – #4 – Real Life Superpowers—Tardigrades: Just Add Water

Read this amazing post about the superpowers of tardigrades, or water bears!

Rachel M Brick

Science fiction and superhero stories are filled with people who have extraordinary abilities. People who can heal, who can walk through walls, survive vacuums, see perfectly in the dark. It’s quite a glamorous affair, especially when the characters jump off the page and onto the silver screen.

There are real animals on Earth, though, that do possess superpower-like qualities, many of which are specialized traits that have evolved as survival mechanisms. This post will delve into just one such creature: the tardigrade.

Tardigrade-Clear Hello! My name is Tardigrade! (Image courtesy of Alex Ferri Land)

The tardigrade is a microscopic aquatic invertebrate with four pairs of stubby legs. First discovered in 1773 by German zoologist Goeze, over 900 species have since been discovered around the world, and it seems only recently have researchers begun to decipher the molecular mechanisms that allow for this “extremophile” to survive the harshest of environments.

Now…

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