By JB Sanders
Early start for a warm month (well, it’s warm NOW).
RoboGames 2011, the worlds largest robot competition. Do I need to say more?
Ever wanted to teach your 4-year-old about electrical engineering and circuitry? No? Why not!? How about you show them about battery packs, LED lights and play-dough. Yeah, did you know that regular commercial play-dough can conduct electricity? Or that with a little work, you can make your own play-dough? With a slight variation of the recipe, you can even make a resistive play-dough to help create play-dough circuits. Very cool stuff.
First Legal Challenge to 3D Printing Repository
How long did you think we could go without a 3D link? The folks at Thingiverse, an open-source repository of 3D models and content, got a DMCA take-down notice because someone posted the CAD files for printing a Penrose Triangle. Read the details. (Tons of cool links embedded in the article on the subject of 3D printing)
And while I’m on the subject, some really amazing objects printed by a 3D printer.
Visualizing Fusion Propulsion
Using the designs from the Project Deadalus space propulsion project of the 1970′s, these folks put together an animation of how the system would and could work.
Commodore 64 Coming Out
Seriously. Again. Only this time, the guts are a LITTLE more powerful. Debuting 30 years after it first hit the market, this system (with the SAME exterior) includes a 1.8 Ghz dual-core processor, optional Blu-ray player and HDMI ports (for between $250-900). Crazy times, huh?
100 Classic Atari Games
It’s nostalgia month! Atari is releasing 18 titles from the arcade, and 82 from the 2600 on the iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) platform, including the free Pong. They’re also releasing something called the iCade, which is a fancy case for the iPad that turns it into an arcade-like device with a real analog (but now Bluetooth) joystick and giant mashable buttons. Yes, exactly like the ThinkGeek April Fool’s Day of 2010 — apparently Atari liked the idea so much, they’re having someone make it for them. $100.
How Much is Smaug Worth, Anyway?
And of course, look no further than Forbes magazine for that answer. The article is a behind-the-scenes (“showing a little ankle” as the author amusingly puts it) look at how Forbes goes about evaluating the “Fictional 15″, or the 15 richest fictional characters. It’s humorous and a little surreal seeing a mainstream discussion of what I would have thought was just a fan-boy discussion of relative fictional fortunes. Possibly the geekiest article I’ve ever linked to.
Tallest LEGO Tower
Bigger than any LEGO tower you built.
UFOs, For Real
Where’s Mulder when stuff like this comes out? The FBI has released a document under the Freedom of Information Act that describes an interview with an Air Force investigator in Roswell New Mexico, where he talks about captured flying saucers and aliens in shiny metallic suits. Yes, really. Go read it for yourself. While you’re there, take a look at the FBI’s FOIA archives.
Garden of the Future!
There should be an echo on that title. It’s called Aquaponics, and it’s a hybrid of various “green” technologies to make food on 1/10th of an acre (2600lbs worth). It’s like the utopian convergence of every hippy technology into one location: wind power, passive solar heating, grey water systems, hydroponics and fish. Lots of fish.
Origins of Language
Interesting application of biological methods (like DNA tracking) to linguistics.
Robots for “Sale”
Ok, so it’s an ad for a video game, but it’s got robots and a sarcastic ad-like voice-over. You be the judge.
Who Stole My Volcano?
A blog article about an interview with the man who was the production designer for such movies as “Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang”, “Dr Strangelove” and numerous Bond movies. The subtitle of the blog post is “Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dematerialisation of Supervillain Architecture.” Totally worth a read.
Sarah Jane Has Died
First Alfred last month, now Elisabeth Sladen, the actress who portrayed the character Sarah Jane Smith on Dr Who for over 40 years has passed away. There aren’t many actors who get to portray a character over that length of time, nor with such iconic strength that they stand the test of time so well. The BBC blog entry below quotes Steve Moffat (current Lead Writer and Executive Producer of current Dr Who) as saying that his son, when shown the old Doctor Who, immediately recognized the character of Sarah Jane and was surprised she hadn’t changed at all.
3D Scanner — Using Just Your iPhone
Some crazy guys at Georgia Tech have created an app for the iPhone that lets you make low-end 3D scans of objects (or your face!) just using the phone’s built-in front-facing camera. Also works on iPad 2 and iPod touch.
The First Theme Park
You know, it’s either this, or the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and there’s some dispute as to whether those Hanging Gardens even existed. Anyway, this is History Geeky. Vauxhall Gardens were outdoor public gardens, which charged an entrance fee, and were described thusly:
“The main walks were lit at night by hundreds of lamps. Over time more features and eyecatchers were added: additional supper boxes, a music room, a Chinese pavilion, a gothic orchestra that accommodated fifty musicians, and ruins, arches, statues and a cascade.”
If that’s not a theme park, I don’t know what is.
Brooklyn in LEGOs
So this NYC guy builds a replica of Brooklyn, entirely made out of LEGOs. And there are pictures. Do you really need more than that?
24th Annual Rube Goldberg Contest
First off, how did I not know about this? I feel cheated! Second, check out the video of the winning machine. Wow.
3D Photos of Earth, Moon and Mars
Plus some other random things. Requires those red/blue glasses.
All of Doctor Who in 6 Minutes
A light, and lightning-fast, overview of all of Doctor Who’s 47 years on television in 6 minutes. Fun!
What is IQ?
What does an IQ test really measure? Intelligence, or intelligence plus motivation. Spoiler: the study found that the more money offered to the test takers, the higher their resultant IQ score.
The Last Typewriter Factory Closes
To which pretty much everyone I know would respond: they still make those things?
Roads of Light
Solar-cells as paving stones, that is.
At least, in theory. Testing still to be done. A little bit bunker-like from the road (as you’d expect) but pretty open-air from the other side. It folds up to be pretty much completely sealed, including the drawbridge to the second-floor entrance to the house.
Pan-and-Scan Views of the Sky: 360
Full views of the night sky you can pan around to get a better look at. Feel free to ZOOM way the heck in, too.
Awesome Moon Video
And speaking of cool astronomy pictures, try this video of the moon, shot from Fenway park, with a fun guest interposed between the moon and the videographer.
John’s a geek from way back. He’s been floating between various computer-related jobs for years, until he settled into doing tech support in higher ed. Now he rules the Macs on campus with an iron hand (really, it’s on his desk).
RPG: Blue box D&D, lead minis, been to GenCon in Milwaukee.
Computer: TRS-80 Color Computer, Amiga 1000, UNIX system w/reel-to-reel backup tape
Card games: bought Magic cards at GenCon in 1993
Science: Met Phil Plait, got time on a mainframe for astronomy project in 1983
His Blog: http://glenandtyler.blogspot.com
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