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Pacific Rim fan blog run by a busy science nerd.
Specializes in (but not limited to) science-related and logic-related discussion and headcanons.
I think we only got to cover a mere FRACTION of topics to discuss about Pacific Rim. Which is GOOD, because I know there are folks who wanted to record tonight, but couldn’t for various reasons.
If you’re part of the commentary project, we’re shooting for another session, possibly Sat the 14th, 6-8pm EST. I’ll be shooting out some emails this weekend. If you are on the project and don’t have my email yet (and I don’t have yours) and you’re still game to record at some point, please shoot me an Ask.
It’s been a bit like herding cats (no one’s fault, this is a horribly busy time of year) and I’m very excited we’re finally starting to lay down tracks. I was worried we’d be spending the entire movie just ::internally screaming::, but we all actually do have some very interesting commentary to bring to the table; I’m excited to release the audio and companion website very soon. :)
I’ll post a followup when the raw audio is done encoding — we’ll also be doing some cleanup and whatnot due to a few technical hiccups. It’ll be like a rifftrack — you can listen along while watching your own copy of the movie.
I know we’ve only just scratched the surface - I kept all my points very short trying not to dominate the track, which means there are a lot of juicy details I didn’t address. (The extended versions are either already on this blog or will be coming when I get to write them up.)
And now that I know what recording these is like, I’m sorely tempted to try topic-specific tracks that do include all those details. One for physics, one for biology and chemistry, one for neuroscience and Jaeger programming (yes really) … alas, much more research and time is required to make that work.
Hello everyone, and welcome to my blog!
(I’m still in shock over this. O.O It’s an incredible honour.)
A few things you should know about me and this blog:
- As much as I love Pacific Rim and science, I cannot write science posts all day. Science posts also take time to write (and often research), even if the post is just reviewing an article. This means that this is generally not a high-post-volume blog. Please be aware of this, especially since
- I take questions through ask / submit! There are a few caveats though:
- It will probably take some time to answer your question, due to point 1 above.
- I try to keep this blog active even when I haven’t been able to finish an answer yet. Just because I’m making other posts doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about a question.
- Before sending in a question, please check whether it’s already been answered by me or Travis Beacham.
- Depending on the volume of questions I get, I may not be able to answer all of them.
- My answers are not official.
- I am currently extra-busy due to real-life time demands. This means longer lead times for questions and somewhat less activity than I’d like, but don’t let that deter you from sending in questions!
- I write for an audience with a very wide range of backgrounds, both in science and in general. I try to keep my writing accessible without being overly long-winded, but I am by no means perfect. Clarification questions are welcome, and constructive writing feedback is always appreciated.
- On occasion I make not-strictly-science(-or-STEM) posts. Please don’t be surprised.
- I cannot read every reblog of my posts. If you want to show me a particular reblog for any reason, send me a message. I also track my URL tag, #pacificrimscience, in case you want to show me a post.
I hope you enjoy this blog!
Bringing this back for my new followers.
It’s here. I haven’t posted very much on it yet, but at least it’s set up now.
Hi there! Love your blog, it's so much fun! :D I have a question about Kaiju Blue, if you or anyone else would like to hypothesize about it. We know it's kaiju blood, but other than being acidic and corrosive what would make it so toxic and stain-y? Does anyone have any opinions or hypotheses about the epidemiology of Kaiju Blue poisoning? What would it do to the body? According to MM&M "If Kaiju Blue is inhaled, the victim will begin to cough up a blue vapor." Thoughts anyone?
Hi, and thanks!
That’s actually quite a few questions! I’ll go through them individually.
We know [Kaiju Blue is] kaiju blood, but other than being acidic and corrosive what would make it so toxic and stain-y?
That could be due to any of a lot of chemicals; I can’t say for sure which ones are even in kaiju blood, but you may enjoy the K-Science discussion.
Does anyone have any opinions or hypotheses about the epidemiology of Kaiju Blue poisoning?
I’m not an epidemiologist (and I don’t have sufficient background to give it a good shot); anyone want to share some thoughts?
What would it do to the body?
We don’t know exactly what’s in kaiju blood, so any guesses at its effects on humans may well be incomplete. I’ll give it a shot based on what we do know, but anyone is welcome to help out.
As you mentioned, we know that kaiju blood is acidic and corrosive. Some acids are corrosive, so this combination makes sense. Even without exact chemicals, we can look at the effects of corrosive substances in general. The relevant European Union hazard symbol (source) is pretty clear about it:
Exposure to corrosive substances results in chemical burns (warning: linked page includes pictures of severe tissue damage). Wikipedia’s section on the effects of corrosive substances on living tissue gives us more details:
In addition, some corrosive chemicals, mostly acids such as hydrochloric acid and nitric acid, are volatile and can emit corrosive mists upon contact with air. Inhalation can damage the respiratory tract.
Read the whole description there if you’re curious; I only quoted part of it.
According to MM&M “If Kaiju Blue is inhaled, the victim will begin to cough up a blue vapor.” Thoughts anyone?
Coughing is pretty useful for getting things out of one’s airway. The catch is that it exposes other people to those things. The Precursors may well have designed the kaiju for that effect, especially since the vapor could easily be inhaled by others who might then start coughing themselves. (It depends on what’s in the vapor, but I don’t think it would be good for humans.) We know that kaiju are built to be as troublesome as possible, and I expect that to extend to after they fall.
[[several layers of indenting cut; click username link above to see previous posts with cut text]]
Yes, come join the K-Science party!
Oh, luminol. I’d been considering it just for the color and intensity, but it really doesn’t last long and would basically have to be constantly reacting with something else to produce that sustained bright glow the kaiju gave off, so that miiight not be the best option. That list of light-emitting compounds looks like it’ll be awfully handy!
I had also thought about a red tide parallel, and I like that idea a lot! The bioluminescence is about right, and red tides are actually horribly toxic and can cause respiratory issues and severe neurological symptoms including memory loss and paralysis in humans, and kill other marine species outright. I’ve been basing my theories on Kaiju Blue around those effects, but the reason behind both the blue glow and the production of toxins by the phytoplankton in question is poorly understood in real life, so your guess is as good as mine on the interdimensional alien front.
[[That’s what happens when you start a K-Science division. :)
For those who don’t know, the cut and partly cut posts can be accessed by clicking on the username links at the top.]]
While I was researching one of my previous answers I found some links that might be useful.
There’s a list of silicon compounds, although I don’t think it’s complete. As was previously mentioned, some of them do not play well with water, but others look interesting. (That idea about ceramic bones? Check out silicon nitride. It would be tricky to grow inside a kaiju, but for a lot of the cases we’ve seen the Precursors could have just printed it in.)
There’s also a Wikipedia article on hypothetical types of biochemistry which talks about a variety of different possibilities. Maybe this will spark some ideas? (Multiple element substitutions?)
Hm, the red tide thing is interesting, but when people say “red tides” they’re not always talking about the same thing - for example, the nasty kind down in the Gulf of Mexico, Karenia brevis, produces fairly potent neurotoxins, but is not bioluminescent. On the other hand although the “red tide” here in SoCal, Lingulodinium polyedrum, has been “associated” with certain toxins, they’re a thing that affects humans so little that people will intentionally go to the beaches at night during an intense bloom for the sake of the experience of swimming or surfing in the bioluminescent water.
But again the problem comes up that those things only bioluminesce upon “impact”, whether that’s by waves crashing or someone running across wet sand or whatever. Like, you can put them in a water bottle, shake it up, and the glow doesn’t even last as long as luminol would.
More bioluminescence speculations! (And also more here.) While we’re at it, do we know how long kaiju parts continue to glow for after a kaiju dies (and the reactions producing the bioluminescent chemicals stop)? I don’t think we have enough samples to match the decay pattern(s) to chemical rate equations yet, but even a rough idea of how long they take to stop glowing will let us eliminate chemicals whose reaction kinetics are very different from that.
In light of other recent posts, maybe we should also be speculating on kaiju neuroscience. Anyone up for trying to figure out their minimum nerve conduction velocity once the DVD comes out? (Although it might vary between kaiju, especially if the Precursors were experimenting with kaiju nervous systems. We can try anyway.)
Until now, I haven’t had a personal blog. Which means I’ve been using this as sort of a personal blog for the purposes of following people. I will be remedying this situation shortly.
This will not change the focus of this blog, but I will be reorganizing who I follow and on which account. There may be some delays in science posting while I prepare my personal blog, so please bear with me.
In the tags of this post I mentioned that there’s another point to be made about kaiju brains. So here it is, even though it’s not just about kaiju brains:
Both of a kaiju’s brains must constantly coordinate, and therefore must be linked, to get useful movement rather than the front and back trying to do different things (or other varieties of coordination messes). But if both brains have to approve of every action before taking it, the reaction time problem that required two brains in the first place comes right back. (Signals sent between the two brains are also subject to conduction velocity limits.) This means they can’t be using such an approval scheme for quick decisions like combat reactions. (Less time-sensitive decisions, like which runoff trail to follow, could be approved that way or even debated back and forth between the two brains.)
So they have to coordinate even though each one can initiate movements without waiting on approval from the other. Each brain finds out the other’s movement decisions only after they’ve been made and sent out through the kaiju’s nerves. To make this work, each one has to anticipate what movements the other might make and work with them.
Let me sum this up: there’s a neurological requirement for two linked brains that must constantly coordinate while also being able to anticipate and flow with each other’s movements just to move around. (One-brain fallback is possible (theoretically for kaiju, anyway) but both limited and very strenuous.) And the neurological requirement is a consequence of the size of the thing moving. Sound familiar? It doesn’t just describe kaiju…
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