Tellus Initiative Presents: Q&A with Dr. Winifred Eurus
A special mini episode where Dr. Eurus answers your questions from social media. Questions sent in by listeners on Tumblr and Twitter.
Tides was written by Jesse Schuschu and directed by Jesse Schuschu and Ayla Taylor. It was produced by Ayla Taylor and edited by Bridge Geene. Art by Sarah Durst.
Dr. Winifred Eurus is played by Julia Schifini.
Tides is the story of Dr. Winifred Eurus, a xenobiologist trapped on an unfamiliar planet with hostile tidal forces. She must use her wits, sarcasm and intellectual curiosity to survive long enough to be rescued. But there might be more to life on this planet than she expected.
Find us at www.tidespodcast.com and follow us at @tidespodcast at Twitter or Tumblr. You can support our show at patreon.com/tidespodcast.
Eurus: Hello, this is Dr. Winifred Eurus. I am here right now looking at some questions from the public that Tellus sent along with the mission. I think I was supposed to send back answers to these, like, a week or so after we left, but I got sidetracked, and forgot about it. And it’s just something that they do, I guess for PR purposes or something like that. But, they are questions for me, and I am going to answer them . . . because I have nothing better to do. Okay . . .
Okay, we'll start with the first question, which is: "Dr. Eurus. . ." Oh, come on, okay, it says:
"Dr. Eurus, fuck marry kiss kill with your coworkers."
You want me to do what? No. No no no. Okay, contractually I'm obligated so. . . Here I go: kill. Kill kill. Kill. Kill. Marry. Kill. There, are you happy? Jesus fucking Christ.
Okay. A better question:
"Dr Eurus, do you have any schematics for your suit? If so, will you share them?"
Look, I’m not an engineer. I know just about enough about this suit to wear one, I guess? If you’re looking for an idea of what it looks like and how it works, imagine halfway between a hazmat suit and the stillsuits from Dune. There’s a fairly efficient water reclamation and waste processing system to improve survival outcomes in situations like my own. Still, I lose some water in my breath and my . . . my solid waste, so I still have to drink. It’s not a space suit, so it’d be no good in a vacuum, but there is an internal computer system and I can play Minesweeper with the head’s up display. Not that I do. The battery is limited, charged by photovoltaic cells in the outside skin of the suit, and I need it to regulate the internal temperature. So: in summary, wonderful miraculous technology that keeps me from dying, but doesn’t do anything fun. And itches like hell.
"Why did you decide to go into space?"
Xenobiology and astrobiology are fields you can only really study in space. I can make theories and write papers and run simulations, but that only goes so far. I went into space because there are aliens there. Literal aliens. Come on. How is that even a question?
"Dear Dr. Eurus, what is your favorite sea creature on any planet, and why?"
Sea hares, specifically Aplysia californica. Not only are they a useful model organism for studying the neurobiology of learning and memory, but they’re adorable. They look like what they eat! It's very very cute!
"Hey Dr. Eurus. do you have a favorite coworker?"
You guys are obsessed with my coworkers! Melissa Wang and I get along great. Honestly the rest don’t give her much competition when it comes down to it.
"To Dr. Eurus What mythical sea monster do you wish were real? Why?"
And that's from Katie. Katie, thank you for signing your name. Everyone else has been extremely rude in that regard.
And thank you for asking an actual interesting question for once. If I had to pick one out of my top ten favorite mythical sea monsters, it would have to be mermaids. It’s the whole package - top half, beautiful human torso; bottom half, beautiful fish tail. The creature as a whole is a fascinating puzzle of anatomy. There’s so many things I’d want to figure out. What’s the path their evolution took to result in something that looks like that? Is it convergent evolution, or a subspecies of hominid that’s gone the way of seals and dolphins and re-adapted to the sea? How has their society developed in an underwater environment, without fire as a tool? What do their scales feel like? Do they . . . do they smell like the ocean? Ahem.
Actually, an ocean fact for you: seals are just dog mermaids.
"Hey Fred, I was wondering if you could give us people back on Earth any fashion tips - be it Earth or Fons fashion?"
Okay. That's a weird question.
For Earth fashion: oversized sweaters and leggings work in a surprisingly large variety of situations and time periods. Sweaters keep you warm in that cold microbiology lab and you can keep things up the sleeves. Leggings also double as pajamas, workout clothes, napkins, formal attire and can be worn for days at a time no matter what your mom friend says or how disapprovingly she looks at you.
For space fashion: bulky environment suits are all the rage on Fons this year, and if you’re in with the right crowd, slime is making a comeback.
"What are Dr. Eurus's favorite flowers?"
Sweet peas, a ctually. Lathyrus odoratus.
"Her favorite pastime?"
That's easy. Reading, studying, jogging. That's about it.
"Dr. Eurus, what do you do to relax?"
I’m always, and almost never, as relaxed as it’s possible for me to be. That said if I’m not working I like listening to music while thinking about work.
"If you could live in any period of human history, what would it be?"
Huh. I get the feeling I’d be annoyed by a lot of time periods. But if I could change my self as well I’d like to be one of those naturalist monks, growing pea plants and illuminating manuscripts. I like the romance of the Age of Discovery, but realistically it would be a sort of slow intellectual torture to be without my equipment.
"Favorite vacation spot?"
Actually, surprisingly, anywhere with a beach, but particularly the Mediterranean.
Okay. The best answer to the three wishes question, barring wishing for more wishes, is to wish for things you want but don’t want to put the effort into. So, I wish I could draw perfectly freehand because it would be useful in the field; I wish I had a perfect memory and could retain and analyze any amount of information given to me; and also that I could fly because COME ON. Who doesn't want to fly?
"How did you get this job, and what do you actually like about it?"
Um. I got this job because I’m frankly the best one for it, and I like it because it’s the best job for me. Honestly, that was a little insulting. Not gonna lie.
"What is your favorite thing about Stevens?"
Huh. He, ah, no, that's not it. He's kinda. . . nope not that either. He. . . has . . . passable handwriting. Yeah, we'll go with that.
"What is the coolest thing you've seen either in space or on Fons?"
"What's your zodiac?"
I am an Aquarius. No jokes about that please.
"What’s the best color on Fons?"
That's interesting. There're actually a few of the worms are a beautiful iridescent purple, which I think means they’re poisonous. Uh, probably equally as poisonous to me as everything else. The gas giant Volturnus is kind of a hypnotic swirly orangish brown, which I guess is nice.
"Where do you see yourself in 5 weeks?"
Causing a hot water shortage on the Stribog, hopefully.
"Do the suit get sweaty?"
I think so. It’s actually getting a little hard to tell. I think I’m starting to slowly meld with the suit. It definitely wasn't meant to be on this long.
"Which of the marine life would you most like to keep in a home aquarium? Which would you most like to feed Stevens to?"
So, unfortunately most of the organisms wouldn’t adapt well to an enclosed environment, though there are small arthropod-like animals living in among the rocks that wouldn’t be too hard to capture, I guess if I tried. But in the sea there’s a large variety of fish, some big and some small, and smaller ones might be able to live in captivity. It would take a lot of trial and error, since I don’t think anyone has tried to raise Fonsian fish as pets yet. And there’s the issue of getting them food they can eat, determining the proper ways to care for them - honestly it sounds like way too much of a hassle for me personally.
And as for the second part, you know, I still haven’t gotten a good look at the feeding behavior of those birds. . . but that is tempting.
"Who would you have play you for the Fons Documentary reenactment scenes?"
Listen. There will be no reenactment scenes in the documentary, just detailed notes read aloud by me over a slideshow of very informative images. And if we really really need to reenact anything, I can do my own stunts.
"What was the interview like for coming to Fons?"
Actually, it was very polite and professional. I personally acted aloof and left abruptly after fifteen minutes. Because of course, they were going to offer me the job after that.
"Like, how big is the wave?"
Honestly, I don’t know, maybe send me down a ruler sometime and I'll take some time to really, really measure it out. Real answer for a sec. It varies due to longitude, season, and the local topography, but is generally several hundred but under five hundred feet high. So, when Volturnus and the star align with Fons in between, it’s significantly shorter; when the opposite occurs and the star and Volturnus are aligned on one side of Fons, the wave is correspondingly taller. That’s not accounting for the gravitational effects of other objects in the system like Juturna, another moon of Volturnus, though the gravity of the gas giant is strong enough that these only affect the tides when their orbits coincide.
Next question. Someone asks:
"Are you okay?"
Man, I don’t know.
Uh, lighter question.
"What’s your favorite cartoon?"
You know, I was always kind of a sucker for the old Scooby Doo TV show. I was always more of a Velma than a Daphne though.
"I have no internet, how do you recommend passing the time?"
How did you send this, friend, if you have no internet? Flipping over rocks, collecting leaves. But I do that even when I have the Internet, so. . .
Someone asks, for the last question.
"Should I get a college degree?"
I’m not qualified to make life decisions for you. I have college degrees. Now I'm stranded in space. So make your own decisions! Jesus!
And that is all of our questions from Tellus Initiative. Thank you, I guess, for sending them. It was a brief moment of . . . entertainment, I guess. So. . . we'll chat soon.
Tides was written by Jesse Schuschu and directed by Jesse Schuschu and Ayla Taylor. It was produced by Ayla Taylor and edited by Bridge Geene. The voice of Dr. Eurus is Julia Schifini. Special thanks to Sarah Durst for designing our cover art.
We would also like to thank everyone who sent in questions for this mini-episode! We’d love to do another one of these at the end of the season, so keep engaging with us on Twitter and Tumblr @tidespodcast. There, you can hear all about what we’re up to in between episodes, show announcements, and of course, ocean facts.
If you like our show and would like to help us keep making it, you can support us on Patreon at patreon.com/tidespodcast. Your pledge can unlock bonus content like this, as well as bloopers, director’s commentary, and more! Thank you so much for listening - we’re halfway through the season now and your support has meant the world to us. Seriously. Thank you.