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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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Space
Look Up! The Orionid Meteor Shower Peaks This Weekend
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October is always a great month for skywatching. If you missed the Draconids, the first meteor shower of the month, don't despair: the Orionids peak this weekend. It should be an especially stunning show this year, as the Moon will offer virtually no interference. If you've ever wanted to get into skywatching, this is your chance.

The Orionids is the second of two meteor showers caused by the debris field left by the comet Halley. (The other is the Eta Aquarids, which appear in May.) The showers are named for the constellation Orion, from which they seem to originate.

All the stars are lining up (so to speak) for this show. First, it's on the weekend, which means you can stay up late without feeling the burn at work the next day. Tonight, October 20, you'll be able to spot many meteors, and the shower peaks just after midnight tomorrow, October 21, leading into Sunday morning. Make a late-night picnic of the occasion, because it takes about an hour for your eyes to adjust to the darkness. Bring a blanket and a bottle of wine, lay out and take in the open skies, and let nature do the rest.

Second, the Moon, which was new only yesterday, is but a sliver in the evening sky, lacking the wattage to wash out the sky or conceal the faintest of meteors. If your skies are clear and light pollution low, this year you should be able to catch about 20 meteors an hour, which isn't a bad way to spend a date night.

If clouds interfere with your Orionids experience, don't fret. There will be two more meteor showers in November and the greatest of them all in December: the Geminids.

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science
11-Year-Old Creates a Better Way to Test for Lead in Water
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In the wake of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, a Colorado middle schooler has invented a better way to test lead levels in water, as The Cut reports.

Gitanjali Rao, an 11-year-old seventh grader in Lone Tree, Colorado just won the 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, taking home $25,000 for the water-quality testing device she invented, called Tethys.

Rao was inspired to create the device after watching Flint's water crisis unfold over the last few years. In 2014, after the city of Flint cut costs by switching water sources used for its tap water and failed to treat it properly, lead levels in the city's water skyrocketed. By 2015, researchers testing the water found that 40 percent of homes in the city had elevated lead levels in their water, and recommended the state declare Flint's water unsafe for drinking or cooking. In December of that year, the city declared a state of emergency. Researchers have found that the lead-poisoned water resulted in a "horrifyingly large" impact on fetal death rates as well as leading to a Legionnaires' disease outbreak that killed 12 people.

A close-up of the Tethys device

Rao's parents are engineers, and she watched them as they tried to test the lead in their own house, experiencing firsthand how complicated it could be. She spotted news of a cutting-edge technology for detecting hazardous substances on MIT's engineering department website (which she checks regularly just to see "if there's anything new," as ABC News reports) then set to work creating Tethys. The device works with carbon nanotube sensors to detect lead levels faster than other current techniques, sending the results to a smartphone app.

As one of 10 finalists for the Young Scientist Challenge, Rao spent the summer working with a 3M scientist to refine her device, then presented the prototype to a panel of judges from 3M and schools across the country.

The contamination crisis in Flint is still ongoing, and Rao's invention could have a significant impact. In March 2017, Flint officials cautioned that it could be as long as two more years until the city's tap water will be safe enough to drink without filtering. The state of Michigan now plans to replace water pipes leading to 18,000 households by 2020. Until then, residents using water filters could use a device like Tethys to make sure the water they're drinking is safe. Rao plans to put most of the $25,000 prize money back into her project with the hopes of making the device commercially available.

[h/t The Cut]

All images by Andy King, courtesy of the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

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