Category Archives: Comics

Vampire Aristocrats, Young Blood, Eternal Youth

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In the study of longevity, researchers turned to a macabre and shocking experiment called parabiosis where two animals are sewn together. It turns out that if you connect an old mouse to a young mouse, the old mouse grows young again. Nobody likes animal research (and content warning, obviously, this will be gross but not explicit). But, for now, understanding biology means we need to study live animals. And this study revealed something important, even if it sounds like some weird vampire stuff. This essay is also available in YouTube form.

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I made some AI generated comics. Is that ethical?

YouTube video version of this essay

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I’m a scientist and I want to communicate science with comics. I tried a bunch of ways to make a comics, and the MidJourney AI was my favorite. I tried conventional image software, collage software, I hired freelance artists, and generative AI. The fact is: making good art takes skill, time, and effort. Some art seems simple, but if people love it, it’s almost certainly a product of a lot of hard practice. AI is a shortcut. It uses other peoples’ art to generate higher quality comics than I can make, without me having to do the practice.

Is this ethical?

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A comic with a scientist in 4 stages of the scientific method in a circle.

Brief: New Channel Announcement, the OTHER scientific method, Links

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I’ve been making comics with the new generative AI Art software. I put up a video all about it on my new channel for long form video essays. You can check out the whole video on the topic over at PeterAllenWrites (link). I do have concerns about the ethics of AI-generated content, but I can also see the value of AI art for science communication. As an example, I made this comic about the scientific method, as performed in real life.

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The hazards of cuddles

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Some solutions to common problems are worse than the problem. This conversation with my wife did, in fact, literally happen. I made the comic as part of my experimentation with MidJourney for an upcoming video essay. I started doing these comics out of a desire to communicate science. I can’t say that this particular example is very science-rich. Still, I think the idea of using jokes and comics to communicate science is useful.

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An act of self-deception

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Thanks to XKCD, I have been paying more attention to hand dryers. Randall Munroe points out (via aircraft-towed aerial billboard) that the hand dryer feels cold because the water on your hands is evaporating. That’s true even if the air is quite hot. But that’s the best-case scenario with hand dryers. I’ve run into plenty that definitely do not have warm air. And I’ve also encountered empty paper towel dispensers that I thought were touchless blower hand dryers and waved my hands around wildly under them. My frustration has become art by way of MidJourney. Let’s talk about placebos.

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