Can't seem to get my mind off of you. Back here at home there's nothing to do. Now that I'm away; I wish I'd stayed; la la la de da de la!

Ok, how many of you just went, "Mmmmm...Belinda Carlisle....."

Oh. Just me? Uh, ok, I guess.

Simpsons! Meet the Simpsons! They're a modern nuclear family. From the, town of Springfield, they're the model of dysfunctionality. (is that a word?'s my post. I can make up words if I want)

Cartoons and dinosaurs. Who doesn't like cartoons and dinosaurs? If you raised your hand, you can leave. I'm sorry, but I didn't say 'Simon Says', so if you raised your hand......

Seriously though, cartoons and dinosaurs are a large part of a small child's entertainment. And when they are combined into cartoon dinosaurs, they are even better. But it's not just kids who like cartoons and dinosaurs. Plenty of adults do too. And some of those adults are fairly well respected.

Take Gary Larson. For all you young'uns out there, Gary Larson was the creator of 'The Far Side' comic strip. (stop the argument right now. Comics are a form of cartooning). By far, the most popular subjects for The Far Side were cows, scientists and dinosaurs. Larson used these as subjects because he liked them. And cows, scientists and dinosaurs all liked The Far Side. Well, if cows could read and dinosaurs were still around, they would like The Far Side.


The dinosaur that marge is riding up there is one of the Stegosauria. The Stegosaurus is the one most people think of, but in reality, there were several species. One of the things they all had in common, though, was the spiked protrusions at the end of their tails. This spiked protrusion has a name. It's called the Thagomizer.

And that's where Gary Larson comes in. In 1982, Larson drew a Far Side comic where a caveman was lecturing several other cavemen. He is showing a picture of the rear half of a stegosaur, and pointing at the spiked end of it's tail, he says "And this end is called the Thagomizer.....after the late Thag Simmons."

Proving that there are fans of the comics in Every walk of life, it's now common usage amongst scientists to call it the Thagomizer. Institutions such as The Smithsonian Institute, The Dinosaur National Monument and the BBC all use the term Thagomizer when talking about the pointy end of a stegosaurus.


But Thagomizer isn't the only term that's used in science that found it's origins in the comics. There is also 'Shmoo'. In microbiology a shmoo is a bulge on a haploid yeast that is created as a result of a pheromonal reaction to another yeast cell wishing to reproduce. In fact, the act of matin in haploid yeast is called 'shmooing' because they resemble the shmoo.

Biologists studying echinoderms use the term shmoo to refer to the blob-shaped larva found in some sea urchins.

And in particle physics, a shmoo is an instrument used to survey high energy cosmic rays.


But, where did shmoo come from? In 1947 the comic strip hero Lil' Abner found a valley full of shmoo. He led them out into Dogpatch where the shmoo were able to provide for all the simple country folk who lived there. Until the evil rail baron hired 'shmooicide squads' to exterminate every last one of them.

We also have 'The HSK'. The HSK is short for 'The Horrendous Space Kablooie'. In 1992, realizing that The Big Bang Theory was a horrible name for an event of that magnitude, none other than Calvin himself suggested to his best friend Hobbes that the name be changed to the Horrendous Space Kablooie. And because there is universal respect for the wishes of Calvin, many scientists have taken to informally calling it that. it's even made it's way into books, newspapers and university lectures.

I could go on and tell you all about the scientific accomplishments of cartoons like The Simpsons, (found the Higgs Bosun 12 years before CERN), or Futurama, (too many to list), but you all know about those. I just thought that you'd like to have some ammunition in your arsenal for when someone makes a snide comment to you for reading comics. (because, admit all do in some form...)


Stay tuned for tomorrow when I'll be back with another theory that you'll swear can't be real, but actually is.