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  • Source of Questions?

    Where Do These Questions Come From?

    I have three main ways of coming up with questions:

    1. Surfing for questions.
    2. Something hits me.
    3. Followers suggest them.

    If my list of questions is getting a bit thin, I might spend a little time on Wikipedia clicking the “random article” link until I see something interesting.  While this is not my preferred method, it is, frankly, the way I’m getting most of my questions right now.  I am hopeful that this will change as I get more Twitter followers and they start suggesting more questions.

    I often read about science, especially natural science as I observe nature first-hand in my frequent hikes.  If I’m reading about an animal, plant, or geological formation that I saw out in the woods and something about it strikes me as a good question, I’ll add it to my list.

    And as my following on Twitter grows, people are beginning to suggest questions.  Sometimes they suggest them directly, and sometimes accidentally.  If someone’s answer (whether correct or not) triggers another thought, I might use that as a question.

    Wherever the idea for the question came from, I try to use questions that are neither too easy nor too obscure.  If I’m doing one of the above things to generate questions, and I think of something I already knew and that I think many science geeks will know, I add it to my list.  But only if I think somebody will know it, and if I don’t think everybody will know it.

    I’ve seen “science trivia” Web sites that list the most inane questions.  Maybe they’re okay for 8-year-olds or for people who are utterly ignorant of science, but those are not the people I’m trying to engage here.  I want to ask questions that will make people really think about the natural world (including life, geology, astronomy, and the entire realm of natural science).

    I do hope you enjoy the challenge and the stimulation.

    And if you have an idea for a question, tweet it to http://twitter.com/sciencetrivia.

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