The Big Wide Water World

This morning I became aware of the Up-Goer Five Text Editor.  The editor was inspired by this XKCD cartoon that explains how the Saturn V rocket works using only the ten hundred words people use most often.

XKCD and scientists go together.  And so many have now used this editor to write about research.  There is even an archive for these short essays.  Some are quite compelling and elegant.  I especially like this one about the Boltzmann equation.   So I tried myself:

I study hot water coming out of cracks in rocks at the bottom of the big wide water world.  How hot? How fast? How much?   I study with a water car that a computer makes follow track lines. The numbers from the water car go into a computer to answer the questions.

Why do I do this?  Stuff in the hot water helps animals live without the sun. When the rocks at the bottom shake and break, the moving of the water changes and the stuff in it. Then the life of the animals change.

Kind of like Tom Swift explaining things.

What is disturbing is that many very important words to oceanographers are not in the top ten hundred words.  Not ocean.  Not sea.  Not salt.  Astronomers have stars, space, and time.  Mathematicians have numbers and lines.  Computer scientists have bits and computers.  Life isn’t fair!

4 Responses to The Big Wide Water World

  1. Tim says:

    Well done. I wish there was something better than “water car”, but I couldn’t think of anything. Some other words that might help oceanographers:


  2. Ron says:

    I’m thinking you misrepresent the good fortune of mathematicians. We won’t get very far with numbers and lines. My guess is, we have it worse than you.

  3. Leslie Karst says:

    Before I stopped working, I wrote the papers for the people who decide who’s right when other people don’t agree or are fighting about something. These papers I wrote told the deciding people which way I thought they should decide. Before writing these papers, I would read the long books with really small writing that explain which way the deciding person should (or could) decide.

    I’m really glad I’m not working anymore, because it’s way more fun doing other things–like reading books with big writing that are about fun things, and lying in the sun, and eating and drinking–than writing those boring papers.

  4. ramcduff says:

    Before I stopped working, I fixed things that broke at apartments. Like if the water went to the floor out of the thing we sit on to shit, that was bad and must stop! I would fix it by pushing a thing to make the water go down the shit-thing instead of on the floor. People were happy when I fixed their things.

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