Hey #DragonCon! I'll be wandering all over per usual, chatting about pretty rocks & catastrophic doom & science in fiction. Join me? Summary graphic of Mika's Dragon Con schedule, with panels divided by day and time. Details on those panels will come in the text of the following tweets.<br />
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The logo is a total eclipse with
Friday 10am: Sandbox Games as Fieldwork Simulators

I'm accidentally solo for this, so I'd love your examples of who else does crap like geologic surveys in Skyrim or frog-collecting in Zelda, or games like Stardew Valley that send you ore-collecting as a quest.
Friday 1pm Science & Engineering in Cosplay

You know I'm obsessed with how much STEM goes in to fashion. This is the fandom edition with @seelix & @StudentofWhim. Have questions on geometry in pattern design? Fav examples of incorporating microprocessors? Pls ping!
@seelix @StudentofWhim Friday 4pm Worst-Case Scenario Jeopardy

Game hosts are @M_F_Rose @tattoosandbones & @NoisyAstronomer as we challenge our audience to figure out all the best ways to destroy the world.

Logistics note: I'm still figuring out a better audience-buzzer system than last year. Help?
@seelix @StudentofWhim @M_F_Rose @tattoosandbones @NoisyAstronomer Friday 5:30pm: Apocalypse Again!

It'll be a hands-on (gigantic!) panel as @stevennovella @SkepticZone @Matt_Dillahunty Rox of Spazhouse, Charlie Kaufman & I sort out how to spot fakes, photoshops, & scams about irl disasters.
@seelix @StudentofWhim @M_F_Rose @tattoosandbones @NoisyAstronomer @stevennovella @SkepticZone @Matt_Dillahunty Saturday 11:30am Exploring Strange New Worlds

When your Star Trek landing party is me, @StudentofWhim @DrRubidium & @milkysa, you know we're going to get distracted by... pretty much everything.
@seelix @StudentofWhim @M_F_Rose @tattoosandbones @NoisyAstronomer @stevennovella @SkepticZone @Matt_Dillahunty @DrRubidium @milkysa Saturday 1pm: InSight: Mars Quakes - Seismic Signals & GeoPhysics

@milkysa @ScottWx_TWN & I tell story so far for our beloved robotic geophysicist Mars InSight.
@seelix @StudentofWhim @M_F_Rose @tattoosandbones @NoisyAstronomer @stevennovella @SkepticZone @Matt_Dillahunty @DrRubidium @milkysa @ScottWx_TWN Saturday 5:30pm Pre-Apocalyptic Party Planning

I'll be your host for this (all-ages!) adventure into how party planning can save your life, or at least make doom more fun.
@seelix @StudentofWhim @M_F_Rose @tattoosandbones @NoisyAstronomer @stevennovella @SkepticZone @Matt_Dillahunty @DrRubidium @milkysa @ScottWx_TWN Sunday 11:30am: Military Science Summit

Lasers & forcefields & faster than light travel & spacebattle tactics & more with @jess_cail @kevingrazier (and probably a big hunk of behind-the-scenes storytime if you give us an excuse!)
@seelix @StudentofWhim @M_F_Rose @tattoosandbones @NoisyAstronomer @stevennovella @SkepticZone @Matt_Dillahunty @DrRubidium @milkysa @ScottWx_TWN @jess_cail @kevingrazier Sunday 2:30pm: After the Snap: Would Humanity Survive?

What does disaster resilience & recovery look like in the Marvel universe? Would Thanos trigger cascading catastrophe?

It's time to dive in to doom with @terryrobinson @s2la_Tedd & @cegannon1
@seelix @StudentofWhim @M_F_Rose @tattoosandbones @NoisyAstronomer @stevennovella @SkepticZone @Matt_Dillahunty @DrRubidium @milkysa @ScottWx_TWN @jess_cail @kevingrazier @terryrobinson @s2la_Tedd @cegannon1 Sunday 5:30pm: Science Communication Fails

It's going to be a rotating dance of @ocaptmycapt @DrRubidium @VSJRecombinase & I reliving our epic fails, flubs, & cringe-inducing moments of when things did not go to plan. It's TIFU, SciComm edition
Licking Rocks refuses to thread nicely. It’s inexplicable, yet appropriate.

The @DragonCon app released its 2019 schedule, so find me in the Speaker’s list to get all this in one handy format. 💚 Screenshot of Dragon Con app highlighting Mika’s entry with description and calendar

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More from @mikamckinnon

Dec 26, 2021
The degree of rage I feel when someone flippantly declares getting COVID is inevitable and we should give up is beyond my ability to politely express.

It’s never too late to make things less bad. Like Climate nihilism, it’s self-destructive bullshit & I have no tolerance for it.
Science is an astonishing tool linking cause and effect, enabling us to create a path to any future we want.

It’s not easy! Untangling details can be lifetimes of effort to get right. But the harder part is picking a future, then doing the work.
It’s daunting. We need to do the work individually, but we also need our communities, governments, & everyone everywhere else to do the work.

But if we refuse to surrender to suffering?
If we keep struggling to do better?

We have infinite possible futures that are less bad.
Read 5 tweets
Mar 9, 2021
You know the rules:

Most vibrantly-coloured rocks are on the Do Not Lick list, but ALL rocks that are literally radiating are definitely on the Do Not Lick list.
> Record scratch

> Freeze frame of you, the protagonist, contemplating the pros and cons of licking a plutonium puck.

“You’re probably wondering how I got here. It all started when I was strolling around France...”


📷 Roberto Bosi Densely-packed crystals of a pale translucent tan spackled a
You pick up the hunk of densely-packed quartz crystals, intrigued by the spatters of matte black.

“Did you mould?!” you ask the rock incredulously. “No, no, that’s not quite right... what IS this?”

Read 15 tweets
Nov 21, 2020
I’m reading a lot of well-intentioned articles that make it clear how many scicomm peeps have no idea disaster risk reduction is a deep field with a lot of research into effective communication.

ProTip: Using fear & shame as motivation backfires when applied to public health.
I can’t write this article (or even thread!) right now as I’m under medical orders to drop my stress levels (ahahahahasob), but...

If you’re writing well-intentioned pieces trying to influence pandemic behaviour, please take some cues from disaster sociology research. It exists!
Fundamental premise:
Vanishingly few people make active choices they believe will endanger themselves or the people they love.

If they’re making “bad” choices, it’s a fundamentally different risk perception. Until you understand how & why, your argument will miss its audience.
Read 7 tweets
Nov 20, 2020
Gritty has found rocks.

They are all safe but boring to lick. It’s a solid selection of common crystals from a rock shop or museum gift store.

I do have a few questions.
If you go outside and pick up a stray rock, it’s probably quartz.

This looks like quartz. Quartz is an excellent oscillator that is piezoelectric & resonates well.

White sand is also quartz, and is near oceans.

Conclusion: Gritty can use quartz as a distributed spy network.
I have questions on this ID.

If it’s rose quartz, it’s about as fun as licking a window for flavour.

But it could easily be pink halite (like Himalayan rock salt!). If it is...? Lick it! Lick it moar!
Read 7 tweets
Nov 19, 2020
I’m stunned that we’re losing Arecibo.

Even if you don’t pay much attention to ground-based astronomy, you know this telescope from pop culture & movies. It’s somewhere special. nature.com/articles/d4158…
This article from just before the closing announcement is fantastic for the context of why Arecibo is so unique:
I just...

I know we’ve got a lot going on, especially with the mass casualty event scheduled shortly after US Thanksgiving.

But take some time to read the Arecibo tributes as they come out. They won’t be cheerful. But they’ll be heartfelt.
Read 6 tweets
Nov 14, 2020
Irregular reminder that landslides can behave like fluids.

(Thank you for all the pings!)
Landslides get weird when there really big, and can start behaving more like fluids than solids once they’re over the half million cubic meter mark.

...which was pretty much why I wrote a thesis once upon a time: io9.gizmodo.com/why-are-huge-l…
But technically landslide are fluid-like, not fluids.


Because they’re a mixed mess of materials that act differently when moving than when still. You can’t just sample a tree trunk, some peat, and water to figure out the rheologic properties (how it flows).
Read 9 tweets

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