Hulu is Judging Me

For those of you who may not have read it on The Magical Buffet’s Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ pages (Technically it’s Rebecca Elson on Google+, but where I go so does The Buffet.), on the 19th I went in for gallbladder surgery and my recovery has not exactly been going to plan. I knew that despite getting to go home the same day as my surgery, that it was going to take time to recover, but I seem to have picked up the worst side effects of surgery. It took about 5 days to fully shake off the effects of the anesthetic, so those days were spent nauseous on the couch, and I also appear to have lost the ability to sleep. The longest block of sleep I’ve had since the surgery was 4 hours, and since apparently that was so huge, I wasn’t able to get any additional sleep during the day.

I’ve always been awful on no sleep, now add in surgery and the anxiety of wondering if the surgery is actually going to help me, and to say I’m a useless wreck is being generous. I’m crying while writing thank you notes, walking into walls, and just generally being a volatile pain in my poor husband’s ass.

Because of this I haven’t been publishing anything on The Magical Buffet. Or writing anything for The Magical Buffet. Or really doing any emails or anything for The Magical Buffet. Essentially, I’m petrified to think what I would be like interacting with the world at large. Just ask my friends and family who haven’t heard anything from me since I had the operation. I can only assume that this situation will improve, but until then I’m going to be pretty erratic with regards to The Buffet. I just didn’t want you guys to worry that something was wrong with the site. Merely with its publisher.

I do have a few thoughts I wanted to share before I sign off.

I have regrets that I didn’t ask the surgeon to sew me up so that my scars would look like gun shot wounds. My husband tried to cheer me up by telling me they might pass for knife wounds, but seriously, I would’ve had to have been attacked by the world’s wussiest knife. I pondered the idea of having been shanked with a shiv, but selling a knife wound is hard enough. A knife wound AND prison time? I think not. I guess my dreams of a “Thug Life” tattoo across my potbelly will have to go unfulfilled.

Also, given my weakened mental state, passing the time has been pretty pathetic. I have a HUGE stack of awesome looking books that publishers sent me for reviews and/or interviews, but I can’t focus enough to really give them the attention they deserve. That same lack of focus means the movies in my Netflix queue are remaining unwatched. However, I don’t really have any energy to do anything, so I am kind of stuck in front of the television.

That said, a while back we got rid of our cable package so our household runs on Netflix, Hulu, and Hulu Plus. But again, I don’t really want to watch anything new because of my lack of focus and also, whatever I watch I want to be familiar enough that I might potentially take a nap while it’s on. So Netfilx has been primarily streaming some Rebecca staples; like “Mythbusters”, “Top Gear”, “Monster Quest”, “Futurama”, and “No Reservations”. Thanks to Hulu Plus and our Playstation 3 there has also been a lot of “Family Guy”. Annoyingly though, there are some things that you can only watch on your computer instead of streaming through the PS3, but it’s no big deal because we have our laptop set up to play on our television. Yay! With that setup I decided to rewatch the entire run of the television show “Three Sheets”, a show that follows entertainer Zane Lamprey as he travels the world drinking. Hulu’s description is, “Can you say ‘I’m buying’ in 12 languages? Embark on this international drinking tour with comedian Zane Lamprey who takes you around the world to master the local drinking customs.” It’s fun, and many countries feature rum.

Overall it’s been nice to be curled up on the sofa replaying all the episodes, but after three hours of nonstop play you get this message:

Need a Break? You have been watching for more than 3 hours.

No Hulu, I don’t need a break. If I ever recover my goal is to become a functional alcoholic. Don’t judge me.

Well, hopefully I haven’t embarassed myself with this little update and more so I hope that The Buffet will be back up and running like it’s usual self soon. It just requires me to get back to my usual self first.

As always, thank you all for all of your support!

Canada, the Rum Lover’s Playground?

Readers may have noticed quite the gap between when I published my review of the book “Tea Leaf Reading for Beginners” and my interview with Magic the Cat. That’s because my husband and I hauled our asses to the farthest reaches of Nova Scotia, Canada for a wedding. While there I got to attend a big ol’ seafood boil that got me a plate piled high with lobster and crab along with tasting a red and white wine both made by one of the people in attendance. And although I did not get to try poutine while I was there, I did get to try mozza fries which is the same thing except the cheese curds are replaced with mozzarella cheese. Awesome! However despite how delicious all of those things were, there was one tasting that surpassed all others.

Rum. And not just any rum, Havana Club Rum from Cuba. With Cuba being the home of the mojito I’ve always wanted to try a mojito with Havana Club Rum. Imagine my surprise when I saw it came in varieties besides white or silver! I visited a local liquor store and of course checked out their rum selection. The guy working found it quite humorous that I was so excited about seeing a bottle of Havana Club Rum that I insisted on taking a picture of it! For those of you who don’t know, the United States has a trade embargo on Cuba which means that you can’t buy Havana Club Rum in the U.S. and also that I couldn’t buy a bottle to bring home with me. Many Canadians offered lots of suggestions for getting the illicit rum home with me, but as of late I’m pretty well convinced I’m one of the unluckiest people shambling around so I didn’t want to see what happens if you get caught at the border with Cuban rum. Fortunately my friend Greg, of What Greg Eats, bought a bottle for me to try while I was visiting. It was surprisingly smooth with just a touch of a burn at the finish, and it made an amazing Rum and Coke.

So as to not go home empty handed I opted to buy a bottle of Smuggler’s Cove Dark Rum. It’s from the Glenora Distillery which was right in the area we were visiting. When in doubt, buy local. At a glance I suspect it is going to be comparable to the Kraken Black Spiced Rum I have. They have a similar color and aroma. I haven’t had a chance to try it because I was vacationing with a failing gallbladder that hasn’t been removed yet, and I pressed my luck good and proper with the wine and Havana Club Rum, so this one can wait until after my surgery, which is (gulp) tomorrow.

10 Questions with Magic the Cat

It’s hard to believe, but I met Deborah Blake virtually all the way back in September of 2008 when I interviewed her in anticipation of her book “Everyday Witch A to Z”. The rest as they say, is history.

Of course as time passed I learned that the real creative spirit, the person behind the celebrity that is “Deborah Blake”, is actually her cat Magic. After careful negotiations I’m proud to say that I’m finally able to bring you an interview with a fantastic author, and the real celebrity. That’s right, I give you 10 questions with Magic the Cat: Queen of the Universe.

1. How did you first meet Deborah Blake?
I was stuck in this stupid cage with my mom and my siblings. Deborah came to see us at the shelter and thought she was going to take just my brother home. I politely but assertively informed her she had to take me too. (And mom, of course.) So now we all live with her. What kind of a plan is it to get ONE kitten, anyway?

2. When did you realize that she needed your assistance with her writing?
When she was writing the second book, “Everyday Witch A to Z”. There was a LOT of stuff in that book; she clearly needed help. And she had “Ask Onyx” letters for her—it was obvious that someone needed to answer the “Dear Magic” letters!

3. How many books have you assisted her with so far?
That I’ve gotten credit for? Three: “Everyday Witch A to Z” (2008), “Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook” (2009), and the one we just finished writing, “50 Rituals for the Everyday Witch”. But really, I help her with everything she writes, even if my name isn’t mentioned. Somebody has to keep her on track, or none of us would get fed!

4. I’ve heard that Deborah has just sent her sixth book to Llewellyn Worldwide for review. Can you tell us a little bit about what to expect and the part you played in its creation?
Meow! I love the new book! It was my idea, in fact. She was trying to figure out what to write next, and I whispered in her ear that she should write a book of rituals for a year of magical practice. [She thinks it was her idea though, so don’t tell her.] There are 50 rituals in all, including 12 New Moons and 12 Full Moons, all 8 Sabbats, and some rituals for celebration (weddings and such) as well as the practical application of magick (you know, prosperity, love, and all that).

5. Is your writing with Deborah collaborative process or do you each work independently?
We definitely work together; she’d be lost without me! I usually sit on the top of the desk (if possible with my fuzzy butt right in front of the monitor) or on her lap. In fact, as she types this for me (my paws don’t work all that well on the keyboard) I am sitting on the desktop. You know, right on top of the notes she thought she needed to use. Snicker.

Magic the Cat hard at work.

6. Do the other cats in the household ever contribute to the creative process?
No. Not at all. I’m the only creative one in the bunch. So I should get all the catnip. Just for the record.

7. Do you feel you’re a role model for other cats, and if so, how to do you handle the responsibility?

Well, yes—yes I do. And it is quite the burden. I need extra food just to keep my strength up. And treats, of course. I think all the people who read my (and Deborah’s) books should send me treats.

8. If my readers want to see and hear more from you, where can they go?
I have been trying to get Deborah to give me my own Facebook page. But for now, they will have to check me out at Deborah’s website www.deborahblakehps.com and blog http://deborahblake.blogspot.com or on her accounts on Facebook and Twitter.

9. Now that book six for Llewellyn is nearing completion, what other projects can my readers look forward to?
Well…she did just start on a new super-sekrit project…but I’m not allowed to tell what it is. Really, my lips are sealed. Unless you have treats. Oh, hey—is that a treat? Okay, it might have something to do with goddesses. But that’s all you get out of me. Unless you have another treat…

10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question.
Okay. Here’s my question: do you think black cats are really bad luck? Or just so good looking that everyone is jealous of them?

Everyone is jealous of them, obviously.

About Magic the Cat and her Owner Deborah Blake:
Deborah Blake is the author of “Circle, Coven and Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice” (Llewellyn 2007), “Everyday Witch A to Z: An Amusing, Inspiring & Informative Guide to the Wonderful World of Witchcraft” (Llewellyn 2008), “The Goddess is in the Details: Wisdom for the Everyday Witch” (Llewellyn2009), “Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook” (July 2010) and “Witchcraft on a Shoestring” (September 2010). She has published numerous articles in Pagan publications, including the Llewellyn Almanacs and her ongoing column in Witches & Pagans Magazine. Her award-winning short story, “Dead and (Mostly) Gone” is included in the Pagan Anthology of Short Fiction: 13 Prize Winning Tales (Llewellyn, 2008). She is represented by agent Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency.

When not writing, Deborah runs The Artisans’ Guild, a cooperative shop she founded with a friend in 1999, and also works as a jewelry maker. She lives in a 100 year old farmhouse in rural upstate New York with five cats who supervise all her activities, both magickal and mundane.

Magic the Cat (full title—Magic the Cat, Queen of the Universe) is one of Deborah’s five cats, but the only familiar and writer among them. She is black, which contrary to popular belief is actually lucky. She loves seafood, fruit of all kinds (especially raspberries and blueberries), and prefers to eat off of Deborah’s plate whenever possible. She is the reincarnated spirit of an Egyptian Pharaoh’s daughter, which is why she loves fruit and doesn’t believe that ANY of the rules apply to her.

Learning to Love Tea….and Their Leaves

Anyone who has read The Magical Buffet for a while knows that I love food and drink. When the opportunity presents itself to review a book that could potentially give me ideas of new things to eat or drink, I always go for it. And that is why I was thrilled that Llewellyn Worldwide sent me a copy of “Tea Leaf Reading for Beginners: Your Fortune in a Tea Cup” by Caroline Dow for me to take a look at.

There are a lot of books out there about tea leaf reading. For instance I own a copy of the second printing of “Tea Leaf Reading” by William W. Hewitt that Llewellyn published in 1992. My discerning teenage eye choose it because of the pretty gypsy woman peering into a tea cup on the cover. “Tea Leaf Reading” is a fine book. Total truth in advertising. Looking to learn about reading tea leaves? Try “Tea Leaf Reading”! However Caroline Dow gives you tea leaf reading and so much more!

Yes, “Tea Leaf Reading for Beginners” gives you everything you need to know to start attempting to read tea leaves. Part two of the book is an ample section on interpreting symbols, although Dow also encourages practice and intuition to determine what symbols mean to you personally. And let’s face it, that is the bulk of what most books about tea leaf reading are, a big ol’ glossary of symbols. Let’s take a look back at my “Tea Leaf Reading” book from the 90’s. It is 226 pages long with pages 25 to 205 being a glossary. I’m not complaining, I’m just pointing out what you can expect from most tea leaf reading books. “Tea Leaf Reading for Beginners” is 288 pages long with the glossary of symbols being pages 131 to 246. That leaves 128 pages of other stuff!

So what can you find in those other 128 pages? Tons. Of course there are the nuts and bolts of how to set up a reading, but there is also information about different types of tea, cups and saucers, herbal infusions and decoctions, tips for cooking with tea, suggestions for pairing different teas with food, ideas for tea parties and more! The first part of this book is so inspiring! I dare you to not be excited about tea after reading it!

Yet what I love best about Dow’s “Tea Leaf Reading for Beginners” is her overall attitude to the practice of reading tea leaves. It’s an event. It’s a magical experience, filled with wonderful stories. I’d say it’s theater, but I fear the jaded among you would then assume it’s a sham. It’s divination with a floor show. It’s a reason to get together with others and enjoy some tea.

Caroline Dow’s “Tea Leaf Reading for Beginners” is for those who want to learn to read tea leaves, but also for those who just want to learn to love tea.

Geek Year in Review: Year One

Guess what folks? It has been one year of the “Geek Month in Review”! I’m so pleased that at least once a month there is a place for comics, science, games, technology, and other geeky things to live here on The Magical Buffet. And if the comments and website views are to be believed, many of you have been amused by this now one year old tradition here on the site too. Sure, I poke fun at the volume of 3D printer or Doctor Who stories John opts to include most months, but at the end of the day….I knew a whole heck of a lot about 3D printers before they showed up on The Colbert Report…..and doesn’t everyone love Doctor Who?

So happy birthday to the “Geek Month in Review”!

By JB Sanders

Writing the Geek Review article has been a lot like sharing links with my friends — with less “seen it” than real life. I read a lot, and frequently come across the oddest little news items. Putting them together into one article has been really a lot of fun — it’s much different than blasting one link across FaceBook. When you see them all pushed up into one place like that, grouped together, it’s a far more surreal and yet somehow pleasant experience.

I think I’m going to call it my Museum of the Geeky Weird. I’ve found some really interesting Curiosities (to me, anyway) and glommed them together into my own Cabinet*. So, please, wander the exhibits, press your nose against the glass, and whatever you do, don’t feed the monkeys.
Below are the best of the best, or what I thought were the most endurably interesting of this past year.

* If you want to know what I mean, a link.

Behind the Scenes Photos
From little movies like Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Other shots:
• How they did the Empire Strikes Back text crawl (you’ll be surprised).
• A shot of Alfred Hitchcock, Tippi Hedren and some birds.
• A shot inside the giant alien spacecraft in Alien.
• A picture of Max Schreck lounging creepily. (Bonus geek points if you know the Other Movie this ties into, all too eerily.)
• Really, why are you still reading this blurb? Click on the link already!

This is How Science-Fiction Becomes Reality
Austrian scientists have developed a new way to do what rotors on helicopters and airplanes have done before now. Heck, their flying machines don’t even need wings. They produce thrust by using rotating turbine-like blades, and because those blades can be adjusted, the D-Dalus can produce thrust in any direction, 360 degrees. It’s also fine with rough weather and nearly silent.

The Amazing Transforming Apartment
Anyone else reminded of Bruce Willis’ guy from Fifth Element? Watch what this guy packs into 24 square meters:

Concrete Tent
Brilliant, simple idea. Ship a canvas tent that’s been impregnated with concrete, put it up with an air blower, dose it with water and in 24 hours, you have a permanent concrete structure. Awesome!

Lost Pyramids Found
It’s not really news that infrared satellite imaging will reveal hidden structures. It’s certainly not news that Egypt has pyramids. What is news is that these researchers found 17 pyramids, over 1,000 tombs and over 3,000 ancient settlements, all previously unknown. Oh, and the city of Tanis. You remember that one, right? From the first Indiana Jones movie? Buried in the sands thousands of years ago, Ark of the Covenant? Yeah, that Tanis.

Squishy Circuits
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.

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.

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.

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!

Spacewar, 50 Years On
The venerable first video game, originally coded on a PDP-1, has been ported up to the web. It’s using the original Spacewar code, running on a PDP-1 emulator. Originally the emulator was running in Java; in the latest version it’s been ported to HTML5 tools. Enjoy!

In case you’re not sure what a PDP-1 is: Link

You’re Playing With Them Wrong
Because nothing you did as a kid was as awesome as these Star Wars Lego(tm) action shots. Seriously.

How Much Radiation?
Ever wonder how much radiation you can suck up and not have a problem? Want to see that comparison visually, with solid science behind it? Well, look no further than xkcd, not only a great comic, but purveyors of fine graphs and maps.

Analogies Can Be Graphs
Or is it metaphors. Anyway, great take on the graph.

Teenager Builds Solar Death Ray
And oddly, doesn’t burn down school. See the sun’s concentrated rays burn through concrete! Steel! Other stuff!

It’s Old, But Still Indecipherable
Remember the Voynich manuscript? That seemingly-old document written in a language no one can understand, and filled with unintelligble diagrams? Yeah, well, they know how old it is now, anyway: about the 15th century. Or 100 years older than everyone thought it was.

Underground Master Plan
And no, I don’t mean mole people invaders. The folks of Helsinki Finland are planning on expanding their city below-ground, forming a master plan that encompasses subterranean sea-water-cooled data centers, municipal swimming pools, coal storage, 60km of tunnels, the city-wide heating system, factories and whatever else “doesn’t need to be seen”.

Once Forgotten Caves Laser-mapped
A series of caves, now thought to be a sand-mine, were recently laser-mapped, providing smoke-like maps of their winding, twisty corridors. It’s thought the “caves” were a working sand mind in the 1700’s and were re-discovered in 1892. Some basements in Nottingham actually open onto the caves. Be sure to watch the movies — there’s a virtual fly-through.

Make It Better
Fun little typographic animation perfectly showcasing the geek’s need to fidget with things until they’re “perfect”. Plus it’s cool.

Voxels Make It More Fun
THere’s a new shoot-em-up video game coming to the Mac/PC world, and it looks like a game that escaped from 1984 and then was hit with the 3D wand. But cooler than I just made that sound.

Watch the demo video:

And read more details about it here.

Avoiding data charges in 1906
Text messages are hardly new to communications — just ask anyone who remembers 1906. Back then, it was called the telegram, and this farming equipment company came up with a great way for their customers to avoid additional charges for ordering: codes.

Fly-over of New York City
You’re expecting this to be some footage from 1982 or something, right? I mean, come on! Who can do a fly-over of NYC in this day and age? These guys, that’s who. In an RC airplane at 7am in the morning (when regular air traffic is light). And sure, the TSA and NYC police talked to them — but no arrests or nasty exchanges. Amazing!

Oh, and for the RC enthusiasts out there, a link to the setup they used:

Burning Liquid Sulfur: Blue Flames!
Ever wonder what a sulphur mine inside a volcano might look like? Wonder no more — awesome photos ahead!

Lego Antikythera Mechanism*
That’s right, you read that correctly. Combine the worlds best make-it-yourself toy (Legos!) with an ancient device discovered in clay jars in a shipwreck. What’s the result? Pure concentrated awesome! (thanks to Alex for the heads-up)

Twenty Thousand Terabytes Under the Mountain
Want the ultimate in data security? How about a Swiss nuclear-proof bunker in the Alps? Take a tour of the facility with Wired:

Here There Be RPG’ers
I just love me some maps. This is a beauty sent in by a faithful reader (Hi, Matt!). It shows all the RPG-related forums online, in good-old-fashioned hex-map format, where 1 hex equals 1000 members, and then organized into vaguely related islands. My favorite RPG country? The Sunken Ruins of Usenet (an ancient empire).

Read by the Light of the … Trees?
Scientists have found a way to use gold nano-particles to make tree leaves bioluminescent. Interesting, but what if you turned that into a large-scale civic project to replace street lights with trees that GLOW?

The science.

The mind-bending thought experiment.

Fishing in a Manhattan Basement
It’s a surrealist picture of an actual life event: in a stream bubbling through the basement of a building in Manhattan, this guy caught a fish. It’s a bit like a scene from an unlikely urban fantasy novel.

Map of Online Communities
What if there was a map, like you get at the front of your better fantasy books, that showed the online communities sized to their relative daily bandwidth? That would be one of xkcd’s wonderful virtual maps. I should have one of these things in every monthly article.

It’s All Tommy Westphall’s Fault
This isn’t new, and it isn’t terribly October-y, but BOY is it geeky. If you’re just about to watch St Elsewhere on DVD for the first time or something, look away now, because I’m going to ruin it all for you. Follow along with the crazy, will you? At the end of the TV series St Elsewhere, the last scene has an autistic boy (Tommy Westphall) shaking a snow globe with a miniature version of the hospital in it. The scene right before that had snow falling on the hospital. And the two other characters in the room with Tommy idly wonder what the boy sees in that snow globe. So the obvious interpretation from this is that the WHOLE series has just been inside Tommy’s head, kind of like a giant “and then she woke up” moment.
Weird, but that’s not the Crazy part. See, several characters from St Elsewhere made cross-over and/or cameo appearances on other TV shows (e.g. Homicide). So that means, by some Law of Contagion, that those series are ALSO all in Tommy’s head, or meta-fictional (fiction within fiction). Cross-eyed yet? Wait, there’s more. If you assume that:

A) St Elsewhere was all in Tommy’s head, and
B) any TV series where a St Elsewhere character also appeared is ALSO in Tommy’s head

Then it logically follows that

C) any characters on a B tv show who themselves appear on another tv show is … yes, you guessed it, in Tommy Westphall’s head.

Which makes like 90% of TV shows in the same damned virtual imagined autistic universe.

Don’t believe me? Take a look here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Westphall
or
http://home.vicnet.net.au/~kwgow/crossovers.html

The big picture, for those who need the visual
And download the PDF for the full explanation of all the crazy connections.

It’s like a Unified Conspiracy Theory for TV.

Evolution of the Geek
How could I pass this up? It’s a biological evolution flowchart showing how the “geek” has evolved over time, from head-biting to Elite Geekdom.
(For those of you opposed to evolution, just assume that the first geek sprang forth from the forehead of the chicken-biting guy and leave it at that.)

How Good is Your Geek Movie-Fu?
No, not another mindless multiple choice quiz-of-the-week. Not a quiz at all. Just a seriously great bunch of t-shirts with extraordinarily obscure references to some great movies. Man, wish I was getting a cut from these guys. Note: mouse-over the t-shirt to see where the reference comes from, then smack yourself in the head for not remembering it.

Making Stop Motion Animation With Light
Take an iPad, add some custom software to generate animation frames for you, and then a custom app on the iPad to show the frames as you move around. Result? This:

When Computer Keyboards Were Made Like 1950’s Cars
You know, with steel. There are people who swear by their ancient, clunky keyboards and will get violent if someone tries to take them away. And when your keyboard is, in fact, made of steel (NOT plastic), that’s a problem.
But there are different brands of “my favorite keyboard”.

There’s Ancient Apple

The Intentionally Retro

And the King of Keyboards, the IBM Model M Thunkmaster. So you KNOW when you’re typing:

The SciFi Airshow
So, it’s like an air show, only all the “planes” are scifi space vehicles. (It’s not real, though.)

Gore Factor Five!
I know, Dragon Age: Origins has been out, like, forever. The review I’m linking to is even months old. But it’s so damn funny, who cares?!

Best. Map. Ever.
Or even, all maps ever made of the earth, the stars and the universe in general, smushed together. Found out about this amazing map by seeing it on TED, and if you don’t know about the TED talks, I’m sorry. You’re about to have a lot of your free time sucked away by amazing speakers and mind-blowing technology.

See the talk about it at TEDTalks:

And then see the software that makes up the map:

About John:
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).

Geek Credentials:
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

Geek Month in Review: July 2011

By JB Sanders

Fireworks Time!

Need a Post-Apocolypse Movie Location?
Then just fly on down to the Big Easy and check out the former Six Flags New Orleans. All this destruction was a result of 1 month of brackish water (averaging 7 feet deep) and then leaving the front gate of the park open for a few years. Seriously, it’s only been six years, not 100 like these pictures make it seem. Yikes.

Bionic Glasses
For real, people. These glasses sample what the person is seeing (or should be able to see) and figures out what’s there by interfacing with a computer in their pocket. Not an “in 5 years” product, a real thing right now.

Print Your Own 3D Chocolate Creations
CAD it, then have it made of chocolate. Mmmmmmmm, chocolate.

The Cartilage Car Fuels Itself
It’s 3D-printing and weirdo concept cars of the future all in one. The car was created using the 3D-printing technique, and the composite artificial material most closely resembles cartilage, which makes the car nearly impervious to impacts. It also creates it’s own biofuel. How? Algae reservoirs (with LED’s for night-time production) in the places in the artificial cartilage body that would otherwise be bone marrow in a creature. Freaked out with the scifi yet?

Psychedelic Light Paintings Using Your Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
How often are we going to be able to use a headline like that? See these long-exposure photos of Roomba-mounted LED lights. It’s MUCH cooler than that sounds.

Star Trek Geeky
I would like to posit that this app is one of the most geeky things in all Geekdom. We’re talking an iPad app that not only looks and acts like it’s out of Star Trek (NG, but still), it also is an an interactive encyclopedia of Star Trek lore.

Food Photos by a Science Geek
See cake sprinkles, chocolate cake, sugar, pineapple, and blueberries (among many other things) through the lens of an electron microscope. Yes, that means everything is very small.

New Evil Dead Movie!
Bruce Campbell has confirmed that there is a new movie in the works.

A Ship So Big…
It needs it’s own zip code? This beast will be 6 times larger than the largest US aircraft carrier. Let that sink in a moment. Six times bigger than those nuclear-powered floating islands. Check out the illustration showing one of those liquid natural gas carriers (with five giant domes on deck) docked next to it.

Looking for that Ideal Island HQ?
For a mere $750,000, this island fortress (circa 1850) could be yours. Comes complete with island. May require some upgrades. Cable-car permit included.

Super Yacht
When super villains build their super-yachts, this is what they wish they looked like. It’s got it’s own escape sub, a missile defense system, an anti-papparrazi laser and a pool that turns into a disco.

Spatially Impossible Hotel, Cheap
So someone was building a level for Duke Nuke’em based on the Overlook Hotel from the movie the Shining. Cool, right? Well, they noticed that there were parts of the hotel, as portrayed in the movie, that were just impossible. They mentioned this to a film professor, and the result is a walk-through of the unworkable.

Wait, Monopoly Can Be Fun?
Ever wonder why a game invented in 1930 is still around, even though everyone agrees it’s boring and takes too long? Here’s why: the house rule in practically everyone’s house has been to ignore one of the fundamental rules of the game, making it … you guessed it, slow and boring. Seriously.

It’s Weather — No, It’s Music — No, It’s Sculpture!
Artist takes weather data, translates it to a musical score and then into sculpture. See it to believe it:

Prime Numbers are Everywhere
Not just a weird movie concept. See why a 13-year life-cycle is a useful tool.

About John:
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).

Geek Credentials:
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