Hi everyone! I'm Dr. Dante Shepherd, and there's a good chance you know me best as a guy in a labcoat with a chalkboard. I've run my chalkboard photocomic Surviving the World (a.k.a. STW) daily for five years, and recently started a second webcomic, PhD Unknown with art by Joan Cooke.

I'm also a chemical engineering professor working on developing STEM experiments for grades K-12 with science educators of all levels.

Right now, I have a Kickstarter campaign to make STW page-a-day calendars with help from Topatoco and Make That Thing - and if we hit our goal by midnight tonight, every backer getting a physical reward will also get a set of STW coasters as well. UPDATE: looks like we met our initial goal! Woo!

I'll be answering questions for a while today, so feel free to ask whatever you'd like about STW, raptors, engineering, science, or anything else! Thanks!

proof: http://survivingtheworld.net/AMA-Proof.gif

UPDATE: Trying to answer as many as I can, you kids have overwhelmed me with the number of questions!

FINAL UPDATE: Ok, I've been answering questions pretty much non-stop for almost four hours, I think I need to call it quits. Might check back and answer a few questions here and there later on, but otherwise, thanks to all of you for participating and for your great questions! I hope you continue to enjoy STW and everything else.

Let me finish on this final note: if you are a K-12 educator in the STEM fields (including home-schooling parents) and have some interest in trying to incorporate new experiments into your curricula, check out Science the World and let me know if you're interested. My research group will be working on a number of different aspects and would like to do what we can to help you and your students.

Thanks everyone! You rock. Sedimentary.

Comments: 816 • Responses: 77  • Date: 

DaMudkipper270 karma

If I have twenty apples, and Johnny has thirty five apples, what is the probability that raptors will spawn out of the ancient city of Pompeii and reveal to us the secrets of life itself.

Please be as descriptive as possible.

DanteShepherd587 karma

You and Johnny simultaneously drop your apples just right onto the weakest ridges aroudn Pompeii. The lost city cracks open to reveal a horde of feathered raptors, who were somehow perfectly preserved throughout time. Before you get a moment to take in the wonder of these dinosaurs before you, you and Johnny are devoured. In your last moments of thought, you think you can piece together what the secret of life may be, but it is obscured by the more deafening thought of AHHHHHHHHHH MY BONES

CallMeSobriquet174 karma

Fugacities.

Why? Fucking whyyyy?

DanteShepherd115 karma

I don't know either! I'd probably have been better at teaching Thermo II if I did!

937150 karma

I'm convinced that there are only 5-10 people in the entire world that actually understand fugacity.

DanteShepherd108 karma

I would buy and wear a Fuga City State Penitentiary jumpsuit if any ChemE started making them.

silkyalbatross59 karma

I'm convinced that anyone who says they understand fugacity makes up words until everyone else just goes away.

protesteddevelopment66 karma

My roommate always acted like I was a stupid person for not understanding fugacity. Fuck you Frank.

DanteShepherd180 karma

What the hell, Frank.

catdogs_boner115 karma

How fast do I need to throw a grilled cheese sandwich in order for it to cook itself before it lands? I must know.

DanteShepherd226 karma

Kid, I'm just a chemical engineer. I'll tell you what type of chemicals NOT to cook it in (here's a hint: hydrofluoric acid is nasty nasty stuff!), but you may want to ask a physicist for a faster answer. I don't have my textbooks one me.

bluemesmera104 karma

Hi Dante! I love STW. Your quirky and intelligent sense of humor makes me not weep for the fate of the world. A couple of questions:

1) Do you usually do several STWs at once, and just release them over the week? How do you maintain such a high rate of content generation?

2) One of my best friends just got hired at his first job as a high school physics teacher. What sorts of suggestions do you have for someone just starting out as a teacher in the STEM field? Any good/funny stories to share from your days starting out as an instructor?

Thanks for everything you share!

DanteShepherd115 karma

Thanks for the kind words!

1) The past three years I've more frequently made one each day, but back at the beginning (and for the past month, too) I've made a bunch all at once, just because I had limited access to the bigger chalkboards. It partly depends how many ideas I've taken time to prepare ahead of time.

Content generation isn't that difficult if you're paying attention to the world around you! People you interact with, articles you read, discoveries you make, off-topic thoughts that bounce around your brain - they're all good material to build from and to be inspired by!

2) If you're starting out in the STEM field, try to keep a grasp on current science research - what I've found more than anything else is that students need examples and applications of the science theory before they can establish any personal understanding of the material. The stronger their grasp on the subject matter, the more interested they become in science. So always try to have a few good examples or applications ready in relation to the topic at hand in the classroom.

xukidinmn97 karma

What did you write your dissertation on? Is that work still relevant to the research you do now?

DanteShepherd194 karma

My dissertation was on developing thin film two-tiered polymer networks to be used as lubricant films on micro- and nano-scale devices. I was able to produce some of the lowest friction coefficients ever recorded for dry films, and at one point was in talks to use it with a pharmaceutical company that makes syringes. I don't do any of that anymore, unfortunately - but I love teaching and get to do that for several classes each semester, so I don't mind.

ididntknowiwascyborg77 karma

That is freaking awesome. As someone who uses syringes several times daily, I am both impressed and relieved that people think about this stuff.

DanteShepherd147 karma

Did you know that syringes need lubricant, and the standard industry practice is to just rub them in silicone oil? SERIOUSLY. It then can get injected into you or interact with the medicine in the syringe . . .

ThatGuyYouKindaKnow65 karma

Lubricant on nano-scale devices you say? Surely you had people making the obvious joke here!

DanteShepherd83 karma

You have no idea.

ToAzT70 karma

Did you think your comic would get so big?

DanteShepherd122 karma

I made STW for the first year with basically no readership - which was fine, because I started it for more of a creative outlet than for readership. Then the readership just jumped in size all on one day, and I'm shocked and humbled that as many people read it as they do. I don't think I realized how well it was known until my ChemE students claimed to have recognized me within five minutes of my first day of teaching last fall.

I'm still bewildered that so many people read STW, but if they enjoy it, I'll keep doing it.

Companion35570 karma

Do you ever hang out with Randall Munroe?

*edit: typo

DanteShepherd114 karma

I have never met Randall. I've only heard positive things about him. I have a feeling I would feel so outclassed in terms of everything that I wouldn't make very good conversation.

BrainyChipmunk58 karma

Do you clean your own chalkboards between lessons, or do you have a staff that does this? As someone who hates writing residue, I appreciate it.

DanteShepherd102 karma

I clean my own chalkboard - I've used a squeegee before when I had access to a really nice slate board, and that worked great. More recently I use a combination of eraser and my labcoat to clean it - mainly because the current board I have isn't anywhere near real or imitation slate, and water only serves to ruin it. The zen of chalkboard erasing is a kind of meditating if you can do it right.

xukidinmn52 karma

Over the years in your comic, you have created lots of interesting pseudo-formulas. Have you ever had a reader calculate any of these values in a particular situation? I am particularly fond of the EoS (Enjoyment of Shower) quantity.

DanteShepherd126 karma

Yes, some people have! The problem with the Enjoyment of Shower equation in particular was that it had no upper bound on the shower temperature, if I remember right. So you could have a shower at 500000000000000 degrees and it would be the greatest showed ever, never mind that you would have died just by stepping in past the shower curtain.

DaMudkipper50 karma

I also have a second question for the T.A.

What is the answer to the question: Woof woof, bark, woof.

DanteShepherd80 karma

Awoooooooooooooooooooooo

NixonWasaG57 karma

Werewolves of London!

DanteShepherd47 karma

Awooooooooooooo!

xXJanitoXx41 karma

love your work! this comic is my homepage and i make it a ritual to check it every day.

how true is The Shepard Principle in regards to STW?

DanteShepherd56 karma

ANYTHING is creepy if you do it long enough. STW is five years old, but it was plenty creepy to start off.

DownWithTrumpets22 karma

I can't find a link describing the Shepard Principle - could you help out?

VeryFrank40 karma

Do you sometimes like to sit back and watch videos to relive the good ol' days?

DanteShepherd58 karma

How dare you. You are a monster.

SoonerRed39 karma

What do you think we can do to encourage more young women to enter the sciences?

DanteShepherd72 karma

I think in some cases it just requires better / more interesting science earlier on. Some studies have shown that people will lose interest in science starting in the fourth grade - which is right when they start getting introduced to scientific concepts, so there must be some kind of disconnect for a lot of these students. For women in particular, I've taught classes where well over half the ChemE students were women - and the opposite as well, unfortunately. I don't think there's an easy direct answer, but I do think we can improve the experiments so that young scientists can relate to the material better, and help prevent them from developing distaste for the subject.

Yakra38 karma

My name is Chad, and you have made my life exceedingly difficult.

What did I do to deserve this?

DanteShepherd66 karma

You could have changed your name, you know. I'm just out there preaching the good word and making sure people know to be wary of you.

finstergrrrl37 karma

so how freudian is your slip?

DanteShepherd48 karma

Oh, I look DAMN GOOD in that slip.

I may or may not have told everyone in the room that I wanted to sleep with them, when dressed up in that costume.

sethendra33 karma

I... I... Didn't know you were in chemical engineering! High five for being in the same field! Woooo!

DanteShepherd39 karma

Woo! Internet quantum high five!

mrsubguy31 karma

How much time do you spend in a week thinking of ideas for the comic?

DanteShepherd49 karma

Sometimes I can spend upwards of six hours trying to hammer out an individual idea for a comic. Sometimes it comes to me in three seconds. There's no rhyme or reason to how it works.

steaktruck71 karma

that's what i keep telling my girlfriend

DanteShepherd77 karma

HEY-OHHHHH

wolverine631 karma

Your comic about chemistry career paths actually helped me re-think my non-pre-med chemistry major and go with engineering, which I was already considering. I'm a senior now, and although it's been tough, I can say I actually enjoy my engineering course material, now.

Also, GO SOX!

DanteShepherd44 karma

That was actually one sent in by a ChemE and a chemist. I think it's interesting how little chemistry that chemical engineers actually do. It's a little sad, too - most ChemEs don't realize how little there is until it's too late to drop out or change majors.

CyZumwalt24 karma

How do you feel about classes like "How Things Work" and cable television "science simplified" TV shows? Do you think simplifying science is a helpful way to draw in the science-phobic or a damaging dumbing-down of students?

DanteShepherd46 karma

I think you should always be able to simplify what you can do with science. Every scientist should be able to explain their research in 25 words or less to any audience, be they colleagues or kindergartners. Every scientist should be an educator, not an 'ambassador for science', whatever the hell that overly passive phrase means. So anything that gets science out there is helpful if it gets more people to understand what scientists are trying to accomplish.

notsoobviousreddit23 karma

Hi. I just want to thank you for not spoiling the Red Wedding scene of Game of Thrones. I saw your facebook post a few moments before the episode (europe time difference) and I knew sth was up, but still. Thank you for not spoiling. That means the world to us TV-only dumbasses.

DanteShepherd52 karma

I don't get why there needs to be animosity between the two sides. I think book-first readers wouldn't be jerks if there weren't people purposely being snide in outright rejecting the books. There's plenty of room for enjoyment all around.

notsoobviousreddit11 karma

You should do tutorials on how to make the faces you make on your pictures.

DanteShepherd15 karma

You stretch your face enough and keep your eyes as wide open as possible. BAM. You can make any face I make.

echoesinthenight23 karma

Does your fascination with velociraptors stem from a childhood velociraptor related trauma?

DanteShepherd59 karma

My fascination with raptors stems from one guy my freshmen year of college doing raptor impressions all year. He then transferred out, so I started doing them. My fascination definitely stems from accidentally getting a guy suffering from Lyme Disease paranoia to raptor with me and watching him tackle some poor innocent guy who just happened to be walking along.

Lineov21 karma

Dante, I've been reading since my friend introduced me, (about comic 15 or so) and while I'm sorry that I haven't been keeping up with the homework I have to ask;

Where does your inspiration come from and who actually takes the pictures?

DanteShepherd24 karma

I've taken almost every picture on a self-timer. That's part of why I tried playing with taking blurry images early on.

Inspiration comes from everywhere! You've just got to realize you're living in the world and keep your eyes open.

Warlizard19 karma

You're like a clever version of the 4-panel cringe pics.

DanteShepherd35 karma

Thank you?

DaveTheRoper18 karma

Would you ever consider growing a beard?

DanteShepherd16 karma

There's only one reason I'll grow a beard. I did it about a year ago. Who knows, maybe I'll do it again in the future.

ersatzUnsane18 karma

Great comic - always a treat Dr. Shepherd. My 11-year-old son excels at science (he recently received a perfect score in the science portion of Virginia's standard test) but he is damned by being born to parents who have not fared well in the STEM disciplines (but we've got the arts and humanities covered in spades).

Anyways, couple of questions: How would you recommend young children approach long term projects such as one for a science fair? Teachers seem extremely inflexible with what makes an appropriate project. Also, what resources would you recommend for curious, analytically minded children?

DanteShepherd23 karma

Hey, good for your son!

I think young children, if they come into proposing a project with enough idea of what they want to do and the science behind it, then many teachers will go along with it. I did a centrifugal force project by measuring the time and velocity it took Hot Wheels cars to go around a loop, and my teacher didn't want to let me do it because 'centrifugal force' wasn't a thing. But I presented enough and it changed her mind.

So get your son to read about what current research is doing and discovering, and that might help inspire him to what he personally wants to do, AND give him the support to get his teachers to support him, too. Plus, it might rub off on you in terms of what you know!

peckerbrown17 karma

Would you have the success you do if you didn't wear a Red Sox hat?

DanteShepherd24 karma

Maybe? I think it adds to the general image, though. And it was part of my daily uniform as a grad student.

sincerelyshebeast16 karma

How many lab coats do you own?

(long-time fan here, so glad that you're doing an AMA!)

DanteShepherd42 karma

I don't even own one, technically. The lab coat I wear is one I stole from a grad student colleague in my research group when I was at Cornell. It wasn't until later I discovered he had been using it with HF, which now terrifies me.

I_Am_Thing210 karma

HF is terrifying for sure

FlusteredByBoobs7 karma

HF?

DanteShepherd26 karma

Hydrofluoric acid. You get it on you, it doesn't stop eating away at you until it reaches the calcium in your bones. Even drops of it are hazardous. Run like the dickens if you hear someone is using it.

ninjuh112414 karma

  1. How do you keep coming up with new material on a daily basis?

  2. Is StW something that's well known at Cornell? Do your students/colleagues read it?

  3. Why Velociraptors? Why not T-Rex's or Pterodactyls?

  4. Can you acknowledge my existence?

DanteShepherd15 karma

2) STW was not well known at Cornell at all. It might be now, for all I know. I'd gladly go back and give a STW talk if I was invited. 3) Because I'm not tall enough to be a T-Rex and I can't fly like a pterodactyl. Not even like a chaos pterodactyl. 4) Hi!

the_nutcracker12 karma

WHAT'S THE FIRST STEP WHEN YOU DO A MATERIAL BALANCE

DanteShepherd16 karma

SET A BASIS!

eille_k12 karma

How do you Photoshop your beard on so nicely?

DanteShepherd15 karma

PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE

tworavens12 karma

Hey Professor! Several questions for you. Answer them (or not) in whatever order you wish:

1) What has been the general response to Science the World? Have there been more educators or researchers that have wanted to work with you? 2) What was your expectation for your page-a-day calendar kickstarter, and have you been pleased or dismayed by the difference between that and the actual response (if any)? 3) Do any of your professional colleagues know about your work on the comic? If so, what is their opinion? 4) Related to (3), have any of your professional colleagues seen any of your velociraptor impressions, and if so what did they think?

Keep up the awesome!

DanteShepherd14 karma

1) Response to Science The World has been very positive! My group will be trying to work with teachers/educators all across the U.S. and in other countries, too. It will certainly be a continuous work in progress, but I'm hopeful it makes a decent contribution to the STEM field. 2) I've been pretty amazed by how well the calendar has done so far, partly because I know most of my readers are college students and are probably too busy sleeping during the summer to actually read what the internet is telling them. 3) My professional colleagues never discovered STW while I was at Cornell, and never discovered it while I did my postdoc. But because my students knew about it, everyone now knows about it - thankfully, it's all been positive! I get the weird feeling that if my colleagues had known about it, I wouldn't have gotten my position, but now that they do, it might help me keep it. 4) I'm sure they will see a raptor impression at some point.

Brewtown12 karma

Do you wear your ballcap when lecturing? I really hope you do....

DanteShepherd13 karma

A colleague mistook me for an undergrad at the end of last fall, and I wasn't even wearing my hat then. So I DEFINITELY don't wear it now in the classroom.

PledgeTurnPrestige11 karma

Hello Dante, and thanks for the AMA. Any tips to become better in Organic Chemistry?

DanteShepherd32 karma

Just keep suffering, just keep suffering, just keeping suffering . . . Everybody sing!

DownWithTrumpets11 karma

Hi Dante, I love the photocomic - been a fan for years, thanks for the laughs, and the ones that make us go "hmm".

I've got a couple of questions. Or maybe, question-sections?

  • How did you get started? What made you think it would be a good idea to make funny faces in a labcoat while speaking to an audience like a 1920s silent film?

  • Do you ever think about the future of the photocomic, or are you taking it day to day? Can you see yourself ending it one day, or getting bored? Or taking it to a new level?

  • Finally, do you have any funny stories about your co-workers and/or students, in relation to the photocomic? Have they discovered you independently and come to ask you what the hell you were doing? Has anybody ever walked in on you posing like a dinosaur in front of a chalkboard and thought you were mental?

Thanks again, and thanks for doing the AMA!

DanteShepherd19 karma

1) I had written a one-act script that I really liked (although it's too closely based off of some people for me to share it now) and it wasn't going anywhere, so I kept trying to figure out ways to rework it. Eventually, after discovering comics online like QC, and reading something Brian K Vaughan wrote about making photocomics when he couldn't find an artist, I settled on photocomic format and put myself into one of the roles from the script. The first 100 or so comics have a lot that was cannibalized from that script. 2) I might end it someday, but I don't know when that would be. If I was told I had to stop it to keep my position, I would stop it that day. But I probably wouldn't get bored with it, just feel like it was time to end. 3) A janitor once walked in while I was writing the words 'sex tape' on the board. That was hard to explain.

360walkaway11 karma

Holy crap, I thought you were just some guy who made funny graphs on chalkboards. Had no idea you are a professor.

DanteShepherd24 karma

I know! It surprises me, too.

Dewey_Defeats_Truman10 karma

[deleted]

DanteShepherd25 karma

1) Cats would make for a great resource I mean solar energy is the real answer. We just need to figure it out and make it more viable. 2) Almost any animal. Raptors are extinct. Even an orange could beat a raptor these days.

TheGreyBlur10 karma

How long until 3d printing will be able to print organic material?

DanteShepherd20 karma

As soon as someone realizes they'll be able to scream IT'S ALIVE after they finish a print job.

king_krimson9 karma

You knew this was coming :

Would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses or 1 horse sized duck?

Bonus points for the science!

DanteShepherd121 karma

Why do I have to fight them? That's what I've never understood about this question? Why can't we just befriend them and then have the most amazing carriage rides or flights over the city? Why do we have to be enemies with everything we come across? WHY DO YOU PERSIST IN MAKING HUMANKIND OUT TO BE MONSTERS, REDDIT?

sonorousAssailant9 karma

Think you want to come back to AggieCon next year?

DanteShepherd8 karma

I'd certainly be interested! It was a fun time.

TreeLovesHugs8 karma

The proof is correct. I am, indeed, questioning your PhD.

That being said, thanks for STW. (: I've seen them, I've enjoyed, and I never really paid attention to who made/did them. Now I know. :D

DanteShepherd9 karma

Thanks for the kind words!

TreeLovesHugs6 karma

No problem-o. (:

Thanks for assisting in my procrastination while at work.

DanteShepherd24 karma

By procrastinating, you're potentially improving your drive when you are working, so really, I'm assisting your work output. Tell your boss to cut me in on a slice of the profits.

trevbot7 karma

How much of your time does your comic take up in your life?

Is it like a second job with all required obligations?

Does it feel burdensome at times, or is it just something you love to do?

Thanks for all the great posts, I share them widely!

DanteShepherd17 karma

STW felt like it was entirely necessary up until I became a professor - I knew I wasn't doing the job I wanted to do (yet), so I needed STW just to feel more complete with what I was doing.

Now I don't feel like I HAVE to do it anymore, but I still get a kick out of trying to get people to laugh and think about things, so it's a nice diversion.

It can take up a lot of time, but who needs sleep? And people seem to enjoy them, so I'll keep making them.

escapist16 karma

Hey Dante,

I'm a chemical engineer about to finish my senior year and hopefully get into industry. Any advice from one chem.e to another?

DanteShepherd13 karma

You want to get into industry? Play off as many connections as you can. My networking is what got me my postdoc and my current position. It's stupid how necessary it is, but it will certainly help.

Don't worry about getting into a field you have some concern about - like petrochemical, for example. Even if you are an environmentalist, you could still approach that job with those concerns guiding you. Which could make you even better at your job!

Try to apply to positions that are related to fields you're interested in and in an area you're interested in living. Location is sometimes overlooked, but that foot in the real world will help keep you grounded.

I wish you the best of luck!

mattXIX6 karma

Hi Dante! I love STW and I'm so glad you brought back recitations. What was the the weirdest question you've ever received and what was the best (that you didn't publicly answer)?

DanteShepherd12 karma

I think someone once asked me how to remove a curse from a duck.

Therealbigpanda6 karma

[deleted]

DanteShepherd11 karma

The Maxwell Equations!

Are useless.

RantingLombax5 karma

Hey Dante, Big fan of yours. Based on your photocomic, I started one of my own. Is there any advice/tips you would give someone who's started one?

DanteShepherd10 karma

Find your own voice - find your own style. Don't just copy or imitate what every is out there. That's more important than anything else.

If you do good work, readers will come. Do it for yourself as much as doing it for them.

Herpmancer5 karma

You, sir, are a gentleman and a scholar. You do the city of Boston proud. Keep on keeping on.

If you could have any superpower, which would you choose, and why?

Also, is there any science-fiction you particularly enjoy reading or watching?

DanteShepherd10 karma

If you have superspeed, you technically have EVERY superpower, if you apply the science right. So I want superspeed. Now. Someone make this happen, please?

Do comic books count as science-fiction? They should.

juliefryy5 karma

Do your students recognize you? What about the other faculty in your department? What do they think of this?

DanteShepherd15 karma

My first class last fall all recognized me within five minutes. I realized that later on - but then they were incredibly touching at Halloween when everyone wore a hat and labcoat to class. Those were some great kids.

The other faculty for the most part know about STW, and seem to enjoy it? No one has told me to stop, but I think they enjoy that I do something like the comic.

AllThisPaperwork5 karma

Did you OR DID YOU NOT contribute a vocal to the "You Can Escape Your Fate" crowd-created song AND did it make it into the song?

BONUS: If it did make it in please locate the min/sec mark at which it appears.

https://soundcloud.com/hallelujahthehills/you-can-escape-your-fate-but

DanteShepherd5 karma

I did not contribute a vocal. I wanted to leave it to the readers and didn't want to pressure HtH to use my vocals over others. I loved how it came out, though - it's a very strange mix of everything. A lot like TMBG's "Fingertips".

T1mac4 karma

Do you ever wash and iron your lab coat?

DanteShepherd3 karma

Occasionally washed. Not often as I've needed to, I'm sure. Never ironed.

TPNigl4 karma

I just wanted to thank you for coming to our chemEcar regionals this year. Your inspiration for our glove based gas retention system on the car was amazing and hilarious all at the same time.

Guys, this dude/professor is amazing.

DanteShepherd5 karma

I'm glad we made sure that the middle finger wasn't the only finger that inflated! Stupid DQ based on obscure rules.

ohno_itsadragon4 karma

My question has been asked already so I'll just say I'm a huge fan, thanks for doing what you do :)

Edit: thought of another question. What do your colleagues/fellow professors think of the comic? Do they know? Are you leading a SECRET DOUBLE LIFE

DanteShepherd8 karma

Thanks for reading!

ryker8884 karma

What do you think is the most important thing for getting the younger generation of Americans (K-12) more interested in STEM fields? I am in a STEM field because I got introduced to it early on by my father who is a computer network engineer but what about the bright kids coming from a family that has no interest in anything STEM related or kids that may come from a "bad neighborhood" or any other situation that would hinder their interest in science or engineering?

DanteShepherd7 karma

I really think better experiments would help - particularly if we can blend in more of an inquiry-focus. Inquiry, meaning that the students get to design a lot of the experiment themselves set within the guidelines that we provide! You can do these experiments, too, for schools in different neighborhoods - one of the teachers I'm going to be working with has specified that the students cannot use anything that could potentially be used as a weapon - so you get the idea how challenging that could make things, but there's always a solution if we try enough different options.

katarokkar4 karma

Favorite Boston bar. GO!

DanteShepherd11 karma

Cask and Flagon.

I really haven't been to too many bars in Boston, my students are all too young to invite me . . .

TkT174 karma

How long/terrible is getting a PHD really? Is it worth it?

DanteShepherd12 karma

BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA maybe.

generalzee4 karma

What was the moment in the lab where you most feared your own godlike powers?

Also, huge fan of the comic from the early days! Thanks for making great entertainment every day of the week for so long!

DanteShepherd3 karma

I almost set the fume hood in my government lab on fire one day. That was bad.

dbbost3 karma

I'm currently a junior studying chemical engineering. What are your opinions of graduate degrees in the field for those hoping to enter industry rather than academia?

DanteShepherd3 karma

A master's degree can help, if your goal is to enter industry. A PhD can help, too, but you have to make sure you're studying research that can be directly related to some area of interest in industry.

notsoobviousreddit3 karma

Who would you invite for a guest comic on STW?

If you had to be invited for a guest comic, which one would you choose?

DanteShepherd8 karma

I would love to get Jon Allison to do one if he ever had the time.

Anyone who asks me, if I know of their work, I'd probably say yes. Does National Geographic have a webcomic?

VivaElRay3 karma

[deleted]

DanteShepherd7 karma

Can I make them small enough that I could hold them in my hand, and then domesticate them so I could have one as a pet? Let's focus on what I want out of the raptor before we focus on the weaknesses.

Slim302 karma

What is two times four?

DanteShepherd15 karma

Half of sixteen.

idiot_proof2 karma

No questions, I just want to say thank you for what you're doing on the comic, in the classroom, and for the raptors. Your raptor pope impression at Aggie Con was awesome!

DanteShepherd2 karma

Thank you!

ageeksgirl082 karma

First off, my husband and I love your comic.

So, how do you feel about t-rexes in comparison to velicoraptors? Also, how are your wife and daughter doing?

DanteShepherd2 karma

My daughter and wife are fine, thanks for asking! Although Cannonball is teething again, so none of us are sleeping.

T-Rexes are nice, but they're way too tall.

Thanks for the kind words!

garofalo2 karma

Oh man. I love your comic and I've been reading since about Lesson 300. Yours is one of only three comics in my news feed that makes me chuckle or laugh at least 9 out of 10 times (the others being Dinosaur Comics and Bug).

So here's a first question: How, when you're so busy teaching, researching, [ostensibly] writing, and everything else, do you find time for Surviving The World? Do the ideas just flow to you, do you have a formula for extracting humor from your busy life, or do you sit down and brainstorm the comics?

Also congratulations on cannonball (late, I know). I think your new-father jokes were some of your best material.

DanteShepherd4 karma

I don't sleep as much as I should. That's my answer to a lot of things, unfortunately.

Thanks for the kind words!

Bonnie832 karma

I've been reading Surviving the World since it started and I was wondering what made you decide to start it?

DanteShepherd3 karma

My brain was about to explode at the time. Too many creative ideas that were not able to be channeled into my science. It was a matter of self-preservation at the beginning.

MadnessDreamer2 karma

STW helped me through some dark places. So thank you for your humor and your ability to write on a chalkboard.

My question is this, who is your favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and why?

DanteShepherd2 karma

I'm an engineer. Obviously, it's Donatello.

shitty_horticulture1 karma

Oh that guy, you're quite cool.

What's in the pipeline?

DoctorDeath0 karma

What are your thoughts on DEATH.

DanteShepherd4 karma

I think she was a fascinating character that Gaiman developed in his Sandman series.