I’m re-reading Sweep of the heart and wanted to ask a question regarding the source of one of the philosophies mentioned in the book- Tessidect’s principle (the one about love). Did the authors invent it, or is it rooted in some real-life philosophy? I like it very much and would like to explore the concept a bit more if it exists.
We made it up. Successful writers all work differently, but we all share a wonderful talent. Once we learn the bare minimum of fundamental knowledge about a subject, we can sound like total experts. We are excellent at bullshit. Hehe.
The discussion between Nycati and Prysen Ol is, however, rooted in the work of Nicolas Gisin. You can read it about it here: Does Time Really Flow? Apropos of nothing, what is that chair Mr. Gisin is sitting in? That seems like an awesome chair.
The chaos theory and fractals in Gunmetal Magic, is that real?
Yes, that is a thing. How Chaos Theory Works.
Why did you need to compare human and gorilla shoulders?
We weren’t comparing so much as studying the adaptation of human shoulder to throwing. The image just happened to compare a human shoulder to that of a primate.
Our maximum throwing range with an Olympic javelin, for example, tops out at about 100 meters. Even an average person can throw a baseball to about 20 meters, or roughly 60-70 feet. We also throw things at great speeds. Major league baseball players routinely clock throws of 90 mph. Chimpanzees outmuscle us many time over in terms of raw strength, but they can barely manage a 20 mph throw.
We wanted to know what made us so good at throwing. Here is a light article about it: Why Gorillas can’t throw fastballs.
Being a writer makes you learn all sorts of random things. Like right now, my google history is all about canalized genetic traits and vellus hair. In a few months, I will promptly forget all of it to make room for new things we have to learn for the next book. So if you ask me how many molars tigers have a couple of years from now, I will look at you with a really dumb look on my face and you’ll probably decide I’m a fraud.
PS. Two molars. Also tiger eyes glow white. Cool, huh?
this is why science is so cool and so humbling. what we don’t know that we don’t know yet is something I ponder from time to time. clearly it’s magic until proven otherwise 😉
Donna A says
I know right?! Sometimes at night, I look at the sky and stars and it really smacks you in the face how tiny we all are. And then you think about what we know, and don’t know and used to think we knew but know differently now and might know differently tomorrow; and then think how do we actually know what we think we know and how are we even thinking it and is it even actually possible to ever know anything that isn’t inside our own heads and then I have to go and sit down with a cup of tea and watch Love Island before having a nervous breakdown at the tenuous awesomeness of life.
I approve of this message 😺
Good to know about tiger molars and the white eyes. Your dedication to details and research makes you one of my favourite authors.
Now I have philosophical topics to ponder in my “down” time. 😀
tiger eyes glow white…good to know. I would not want to be the person who first discovered this fact.
I learn so much from you guys. I am also doing a reread of the innkeeper series. How did you come up with the idea for the koo-kos?
Moderator R says
It was too long ago, the origin spark (cluck?) is lost.
From this and other blogs, you mention researching specific scientific principles and factoids purely in relation to current work. Do you also general just… browse for science facts? More to my point: Do you have any periodicals, podcasts, tv shows, or blogs/sites you might recommend for random science fun facts?
Moderator R says
House Andrews usually just research a topic at hand until a scientific paper shows up 🙂.
But The Unexplained with William Shatner is always fun.
Hi Elizabeth, check out Atlas Obscura (“our mission is to inspire wonder and curiosity about the incredible world we all share, articles on the website cover a number of topics including history, science, food, and obscure places”)
Also Randall Munroe’s xkcd.com and What If? series offer fun, understandable commentary on various scientific topics
p.s. make sure you hover over the xkcd pages, they hide more information on the drawings that you only see that way
Making things up that seem real is an awesome talent. You just need to believe in what you are saying and be able to do so without giggling. I do not do it often but when I do I can get away with so much. Knowledge is power.
Glowing White eyes is cool! I believe most animals eyes glow red in the dark
Not just red and white but also blue, green and yellow. It all depends on the critter. Apparantly walleye also have white eyes in the night, although I can’t quite imagine how that was determined!!
Mimi, you are fortunate that you learned about walleye through some form of reading about (if I’m incorrect feel free to “smack” me for my assumpution)
Unfortunately, I can attest that yes, walleye fish eyes glow white at night. Why do I know this? Because my ex was a fishing/hunter maniac. Before children, I spent many late nights on the lake in summer (mosquitos, what fun, NOT!) catching walleye, bass and other assorted fish.
Frogs – in case anyone is curious – eyes glow red, don’t ask where the little froggies went after being discovered. Keep your innocence and buy frog legs at the local grocery store.
Your assumption is quite correct, although I did have a traumatic experience as a child involving a large walleye thawing overnight in the kitchen sink… As I remember it was very tasty once thawed and cooked!
Spider eyes glow magenta. You usually need a pretty strong light compared to the eye to see the color of eye shine at a distance, otherwise it all looks white. a headlamp is good enough for spiders. This is really useful if you don’t like spiders and are walking in an area with big ones at night.
And must agree Nicholas Gisin’s chair does look good and more important comfortable.
Maria Schneider says
I learn a lot about places I’m writing about by searching online for photos. I only live four hours from Albuquerque and five-ish from Santa Fe, but wouldn’t you know, I did NOT visit Fairview Cemetery in Alb on any of my visits! And now my current WIP needs to describe the front entrance. (Some of the actual tombs I made up. I could use actual tombs because that info is online as well, but the guy they buried alive who digs his way out… well, I’m not going to name an actual grave.)
For my Moon Shadow series, I did hike every single hike in the books. And the one near Los Alamos was really that steep/bad. I wasn’t sure we were going to make it back up that mountain because the trail wasn’t marked and we were way off of it.)
For one of the hikes, my SIL wrote me about 4 years after the one book came out and said, “I thought you made that place up!” She and her husband had to visit the hike (Tent Rock, NM. WONDERFUL hike. A couple of the books feature that gorgeous place, although you may not see certain creatures out there. Then again, who knows?) There are two other hikes in and around Santa Fe that I need to peruse for the current WIP on that series. For now I’m relying on sat pictures!!!
Louis L’Amour famously said he hiked all of his books all over the West, leading to strange water holes etc. I tend to believe him, but YMMV.
Tigers eyes glow white. Hun. Do we have any tiger shifters we know from KD excepting Dali? I can’t recall Tiger shifters being a known ‘thing’. Although didn’t Curran eat a white (semi divine) tiger? When he was juicing himself up to help Kate pre Dragon conflict? Me: disappearing down a rabbit hole of reading to find the elusive Tiger in KD, ROFL. I totally would do that too!
Thanks for sharing your process and random factoids. As a reference librarian, I find the learning of random facts a very satisfying part of my life.
Inga Abel says
I just read Darwins principle „Adapt or die“ in a book (a womens-assasins-ream on their retirement cruise) and it was like a brain-tapeworm wriggling… the the „AHA!“- moment, when I realised I read it in your book!!! 🤣🤣🤣
Maud talking to Helen about a sign above a Karhari-Village. Lightbulb moment!
Thank you for a lot of those moments!!!
Greets from Switzerland!
Killers of a Certain Age? Was that the book? It was a whole lot of fun!
Big Mike says
Apropos of nothing, what is that chair Mr. Gisin is sitting in? That seems like an awesome chair.
Yes! If anyone can identify that chair please share with the rest of us. “Awesome” just barely begins to cover it.
Moderator R says
Yep, keeping my eyes on it, hopefully someone knows!
Edit: I think I’ve found it, it’s the Peter Opsvik Duo balance rocking chair https://www.opsvik.no/works/industrial-design/duo
Yes!!! Mod R for the win!
Way to go Mod R! 👏🤸♀️👏
Try before you buy. I saw a similar concept chair in a store & tried it out because the description of the health benefits sounded interesting. After about 5 min., my legs from the knees down started to go to sleep. Major pins & needles when I got out of it.
I love random factoids. They keep me young. As long as you’re still learning your not getting old…at least that’s my theory.
Urgh! Spelled the first you’re right, missed the second.
Fun as usual! I’ve always considered myself a fount of really useless trivia, but you guys have me beat! I always have to go look up various terms you throw out like vellus hair, hehe. I don’t know much about chaos theory, but fractals are amazing. They’re found all over nature and the images are just wow.
I do not know if I am or ever will be truly capable of expressing the delight I feel when reading your blogs, reading your books or being counted as one among the BDH. From the very depths of The Library – Thank you!
Marcia Sundquist says
that cool about the Tiger, it just like finding out that snails 🐌 have teeth that are all square, 😆 lol.
Patricia Schlorke says
I learned about the very basics of fractals in one of my biostatistics classes. After a while my eyes got crossed because there were so many fractals in one place. 🤪
When I was taking another stats class, I learned about graphing in at least 3 dimensions. Most of my classmates had problems seeing the graph in 3-D, but I was able to see it. My eyes didn’t cross.
This is why you guys are my fav authors. Many times Ive stopped to see if its your authoring genius or if something is based in reality somewhere. The OLeary cow blew my mind when I researched it. Then my youngest came home talking about it. I am not American but my kids are so I had no idea it was a topic covered in school for 3rd graders. Of course I didn’t share the book with him, but maybe when he’s older
Some fun science facts.
All mammals have eyes designed for low light conditions. That’s why you can tell where the ceiling joins the wall in the dark.
All vertebrates can taste sour. Other tastes might be lost due to evolution, such as certain obligate carnivores losing sweet or herbivores losing umami. But sour is a survival trait, whether you need sour because you can’t internally produce Vitamin C, or you need to avoid acidic conditions.
Fish are animals. Yes, I realize that is a really basic fact. Doesn’t mean that I didn’t get into an argument with my sister about it, where I had to Google it to prove that fish are animals.
Cori R says
In addition to the article linked on gorillas and fastball, Real Science did a great explainer video on this same topic asking with many other nifty things about our abilities.
On YouTube, you can find this at https://youtu.be/cI6aFO8svqA or it’s on Nebula as well.
Melisa M. says
Super interesting blog!!! Thanks for that!
Fun blog post. My favorite science series is the Voyage of the Continents at yhe moment.
Thank you for sharing that! I love learning new things. 😁
Bill G says
Very cool, indeed. Thank you!
“Why did you need to compare human and gorilla shoulders?”
Who, where, and what? 🙂
Moderator R says
We got a few clues in a post a while ago 🙂 https://www.ilona-andrews.com/2023/research-and-tiny-dogs/
Thank you 🙂
My question from yesterday disappeared, possibly because it was slightly off-topic, or else because I posted immediately after working on tax documentation for several hours, and neglected to run the wording through any mental filters. I’m extremely sorry; that was genuine curiosity, and not even a negative mood, but the brain was shutting down rapidly. In either case I will be more mindful about monitoring this condition in the future.
Moderator R says
No worries 🙂. Hope the tax document was successful!
Thank you! Submitting today; fingers crossed!
Ken Hughes says
Do tiger eyes “glow” if there’s no light, or is it that they *shine* by reflecting light that catches them? (The backs of cat eyes are mirrored, so that light that doesn’t catch inside the eye right bounces back out and gives that cat a second chance to see. Feline nightvision 101.)
Actual glowing eyes seems more like it would be limited to supernaturals — ones that are NOT worried about being spotted in the dark.
Mariana Chaffee says
hi, I think, from what I could see of it, that Nicholas Gisin’s chair is an ergonomic kneeling chair with back support. Also arm rests. A web search will tell you something, although I couldn’t find that exact one. I think the original (and much simpler) design was from Peter Opsvik, in 1979, and is made by Varier Balans.
Moderator R says
Thanks Mariana, I think I found the right one 🙂, it’s the Peter Opsvik Duo balance rocking chair from 1984 https://www.opsvik.no/works/industrial-design/duo
Kat (cat?) in NJ says
Glowy tiger eyes, very cool…
I always learn so much from your postings! 🐯💕💕
One of my favorite things about HA’s worlds are their nods to fake (and sometimes real) academic theories. I love how Hidden Legacy has a whole field of Arcane Engineering and theories on alternate universes taught in school because of the presence of magic. Or the Post-Shift resonance theories in the Kate Daniels Universe, and absolutely the ‘magic is science we just don’t understand yet’ premise of innkeeper. It just makes sense to me that academics in these magic worlds are just as dedicated to discovering and explaining the mysteries of the universe as we are.
Moderator R says
I luuuuurve the Law of Bronwyn from Sweep of the Blade! And one of my flexes is that I exchanged emails with Bronwyn herself – Prof Bleakley, an evolutionary geneticist and House Andrews fan!
As someone with a deep love of random facts, this post makes by brain tingle in a very good way. I just like to know a little about a lot. And just the interesting parts. Now I’m going to be looking if any of these infos pop up in books. Love this <3 would love more fact posts
This discussion brings to mind Arthur Clarke’s third law, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Happy π Day!
I wish I could forget canalization. Outside of my grad work in genetics, it was used to try to trick my brain into thinking my painless right foot is my left foot, by use of a mirror. And another theory, is that there are waves of tech versus magic. Or at least the beliefs. While the dark ages occurred in Europe, the Asians were busy with tech. Before the dark ages, there were technological advances. Afterwards, the same. And there were overlaps: Alchemy. I don’t want to move into religion. My hubby’s undergraduate BS was in History of science, and I took a course with Dr. Lindberg who really was a captivating speaker. Of course, Clarke’s Three Laws: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Here’s my weird question: if the lamassu only achieve the third form one way how was Desandra’s baby born with orange scutes/scales? Warrior form seemed to induce her labor but doesn’t seem to be the answer. The babies were fighting but the other one wasn’t born with an injury and there was no talk of sacks being broken or cannibalism being instinctual… and I’ll be quiet now.
Karen R says
I guess tigers prefer the rip-and-tear method of eating over the grind-and-reduce method used by those of us with many more molars.
Exploring the writing process for us non writers is great fun. Many thanks for the continued exploration.
You’ve shared before that you two spend unbelievable amounts of time on research and it clearly shows in your writing which helps make your books amazing to read.
I loved learning that you made up some cool sounding theories!
Diane D says
Definitely cool! Human curiosity ftw!