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6 Amazing Plots from Bill Nye Fan Fiction

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Today is Bill Nye’s birthday—and to commemorate the occasion, we delved into the sometimes steamy (let's just say Doc Brown is involved), always wacky world of fan fiction based on everyone's favorite science guy. (We tried to keep it clean, but you might want to avoid sharing these stories with younger readers anyway.) In the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson's character in Jurassic Park, hold on to your butts—it's about to get weird.

1. The Thing With the Soda Bottles

In this Bill Nye/Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog mash-up, Bill—who is Dr. Horrible’s uncle—somehow manages to stop a rogue tornado, no thanks to Captain Hammer.

"Bill Nye?" Captain hammer laughed, putting his (strong) hands on his (slim, manly) hips. "That geezer? I didn't know he was still around. Does he still do the thing with the soda bottles?"

That was the last damned straw. "Bill Nye is a genius," Dr. Horrible snapped, getting into Captain Hammer's face and absolutely not wondering why Captain Hammer smelled like lilacs. "That man is a ninja of science and you will show some respect."

2. Bill Nye’s Disastrous Wedding

Bill is all set to marry the lady of his dreams—Jill Hurl, the science girl—with his best friends by his side. And all is going according to plan … until Jill asks Bill to take her last name, and Harry Potter shows up.

He made his way down the aisle, with several of his friends in the seats. There was his favorite poster of Albert Einstein on the left; on his right, the color spectrum; and of course, ahead of him was his best man, the glass beaker. He whispered to the beaker, "I never could have gotten this far without you, buddy." The beaker stood motionless, a tie with blue bubbles on it wrapped around its neck.

3. Bill Nye Disobeys the Laws of Gravity

In this short cautionary tale, Bill learns about the perils of ignoring gravity by leaning his chair back too far.

Bill didn't want to obey the script for once. He wanted to tip his chair back really far, and at the same time not have it fall. Bill tried to tip his chair back, and he was putting his hands behind his head. He was just about to fall backwards and get a concussion! Bill stopped himself and grabbed the table in front of him, but he pulled the table into the air…

4. Bill Nye And Dance Dance Revolution

Kids are starting to lose interest in science, so Bill tries to get them into it again by writing songs and forcing one of his band members to play Dance Dance Revolution.

"And you guys like sound, right? Y'all listenin' to ya iPods and EmPeeFree playas... listening to music and radio plays! Hey, I like music too! In fact... WE like music! That's right! We're so hip, we even have a camrecorder showing live footage from one of our backstage arcades and using it as a background! Hit it, Jerald!"

Just then, Bill whipped out a microphone, Amy jumped behind a piano, Moe got out his snare drum, and that one other girl we can't remember played a shark. They jammed out to a classical piece they made up called "We're still cool" and as they sang and played that tune, the last band member had to start his part.

5. Bill Nye: The Episodes Not Released To Children

This three-chapter epic features Bill screwing up experiments—and scarring his young audience members in the process. So much so that his assistants are replaced by a narwhal and the audience becomes a sea of Harry Potter cardboard cutouts. Also, Michael Jackson makes an appearance.

"Now any volunteers for our next experiment?" said Bill into the audience.

Silence.

"How about you Daniel Radcliff?" suggest Nye pointing to one of the cut outs in the audience.

"No? It's okay- don't be shy-" said Bill dragging the cut out on set.

He placed it in a chair.

"Now just act natural as I demonstrate." said Nye, "Now- as I was saying the second law: is that there is an opposite but equal reaction for every action, so as I drop THIS anchor onto Daniel Radcliff's head, observe the reaction!"

BANG. The anchor hit the cardboard Harry square on his forehead as the cutout snapped in half and the anchor created an indent on the floor.

6. Bill Nye the Not So Science Guy

Bill is retired, and enjoying it—until he gets a mysterious phone call.

In the dingy living room, by the old stone fireplace, Bill Nye (the science guy) was roasting marshmallows and bacon on a wrought-iron poker, and sipping on a cup of hot chocolate. He grinned and sighed, his wrinkles stretching, "Ah… This is the life! Bacon, marshmallows and a delicious, non-alcoholic beverage! No more slime, dead bugs, fecal matter…basically no more work-" his splendid thoughts were rudely interrupted by the ringing of his ancient telephone.

BRIIING! BRIIING! BRINNG-

Bill pouted sadly and dragged himself to the phone, smattering angrily like an elderly lady. "Hello? Bill Nye here." He was a little impatient; the caller didn't say anything right away. "I said, hello!" He was now angry. His right eye twitched; a vein grew on his temple.

"Seven days…" said the raspy voice on the other end.

Happy 57th birthday, Bill!

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Why Adding Water to Your Whiskey Makes It Taste Better
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Don’t ever let people tease you for watering down your whiskey. If they’re true aficionados, they’ll know that adding a splash of water or a few cubes of ice to your drink will actually enhance its natural flavors. But how can something as flavorless as water make a barrel-aged scotch or bourbon taste even better? Chemists think they’ve found the answer.

As The Verge reports, researchers from the Linnæus University Centre for Biomaterials Chemistry in Sweden analyzed the molecular composition of whiskey in the presence of water. We already know that the molecule guaiacol is largely responsible for whiskey’s smoky taste and aroma. Guaiacol bonds to alcohol molecules, which means that in straight whisky that guaiacol flavor will be fairly evenly distributed throughout the cask. Alcohol is repelled by water, and guaiacol partially so. That means when a splash of the water is added to the beverage the alcohol gets pushed to the surface, dragging the guaiacol along with it. Concentrated at the top of the glass, the whiskey’s distinctive taste and scent is in the perfect position to be noticed by the drinker.

According to the team’s experiments, which they laid out in the journal Scientific Reports [PDF], whiskey that’s been diluted down to 40 percent to 45 percent alcohol content will start to show more guaiacol sloshing near the surface. Most commercial whiskey is already diluted before it's bottled, so the drink you order in a bar should fall within this range to begin with. Adding additional water or ice will boost the flavor-enhancing effect even further.

As for just how much water to add, the paper doesn’t specify. Whiskey lovers will just have to conduct some experiments of their own to see which ratios suit their palate.

[h/t NPR]

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Gray, George Robert; Hullmandel & Walton; Hullmandel, Charles Joseph; Mitchell, D. W / Public Doman
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Animals
DNA Tests Show ‘Extinct’ Penguin Species Never Existed
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Gray, George Robert; Hullmandel & Walton; Hullmandel, Charles Joseph; Mitchell, D. W / Public Doman

Science is a self-correcting process, ever in flux. Accepted hypotheses are overturned in the face of new information. The world isn’t flat after all. Disease isn’t caused by demons or wickedness. And that Hunter Island penguin? Yeah, apparently that was just a figment of our imaginations. Researchers writing in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society say the remains of one supposed species are in fact a “jumbled mixture” of bones from three extant species.

The bones were unearthed in the 1980s during the excavation of a prehistoric trash heap on Tasmania’s Hunter Island. Two scientists named Tets and O’Connor argued that the remains were different enough from other penguins to constitute their own genus and species, one which must have died out during the Holocene epoch. The proud potential penguin parents dubbed the apparently extinct bird Tasidyptes hunterivan, and that was that.

Except that this is science, where no story is ever really over. Other biologists were not satisfied with the evidence Tets and O’Connor presented. There were only four bones, and they all bore some resemblance to species that exist today. Fortunately, in 2017, we’ve got ways of making fossils talk. A research team led by Tess Cole of the University of Otago used DNA barcoding to examine the genetic code of each of the four bones.

“It was a fun and unexpected story,” Cole said in a statement, “because we show that Tasmania’s ‘extinct' penguin is not actually an extinct or unique penguin at all.”

Snares penguins dive into the water.
Snares penguins (Eudyptes robustus).
Brocken Inaglory, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

The bones were “a jumbled mixture of three living penguin species, from two genera": the Fiordland crested penguin or Tawaki (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) and the Snares crested penguin (Eudyptes robustus), both of New Zealand, and the Australian little fairy penguin (Eudyptula novaehollandiae).

“This study shows how useful ancient DNA testing can be,” Cole said. “Not only does it help us identify new but extinct species, but it can help us rule out previously postulated species which did not exist, as in this case.”

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