Geek Month in Review: November 2012

By JB Sanders

Turkey time!

What’s Your Blood Type?
It’s the new “What’s your sign?”, at least in Japan. Several popular books have promoted the idea that blood type determines personality, with about the same scientific validity as the horoscope (perhaps less!).

Necronomicon in Academia
The blasphemous (and fictional) book of the Chtulhian mythos has popped up in an odd context — review by an academic. The article is also wonderful for links to various Necronomicon-related websites, including the Miskatonic University site, and a link to the paper discussing the phenomenon of the “believers” in the Necronomicon. Yes, there is nothing so weirdly fictional that a group can’t come to believe a complete fiction is really true.

Is YouTube Making Us Smarter?
Short answer: mostly yes. Long answer: see the IDEA channel video below. Basically, if you can avoid looking at dogs riding on turtles long enough, you can find a video to teach you just about anything on YouTube. So: yes.

Because Kirlian Photography is Always Cool
Stop by to see some photographs that use high-voltage electricity to make amazing pictures of flowers. No PhotoShop used, seriously!

Balloon Bag End
File this under the crazy mis-use of balloon technology. This total fanboy has used his balloon-shaping skills (you know, like with balloon animals) to create Bag End (Lord of the Rings) in his living room. And it looks pretty good.

Fabricating Nature
Interesting start-up in Norway whose aim is to create software modeling tools that will let 3D printers duplicate nature. Rather than concentrating on surface maps or voxels, they focus on natural structures.

Top 10 Places to Survive the End of the World
Some of which have been featured in previous Geek Reviews, but bear repeating. Not sure about #10, but I guess the country (Switzerland) as a whole might be a swell spot to start with.

Pictures: Repairing the Lower Manhattan Internet
Read about, and see pictures of, the massive job which is repairing the internet in Lower Manhattan after Hurricane Sandy.

Self-Filling Water Bottle
Another win for bio-mimicry. It pulls moisture out of the air to fill it with water.

Largest Statues in the World
Quick, what’s the tallest statue in the world? You’re thinking either the Statue of Liberty (US) or the Christ the Redeemer (Brazil), right? Wrong, both counts.

Wedding Rings for Geeks
So, you’re in the marrying mood, your significant other is a geek, and you just don’t want to go with the run-of-the-mill simple gold band, right? Try one of these on for size. Included are: the Stargate portal ring, the mobius strip ring, and your choice of one of the elvish rings (there are five in the picture, but I have to assume two of them are duplicates). Plus many more.

Caldera Floor Rising in Yellowstone
You know, the one above the super-volcano. I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about.

Island Missing
Seriously, authorities in Australia report that an island some geologists went out to investigate is missing. And not just “global warming” underwater missing, either, but simply not there. It’s not clear that the island ever really existed.

Castle For Sale For £200,000
But don’t get your hopes too high. It’s being billed as a “unique fixer-upper opportunity”. That means ruins, boys and girls. Still, at the small asking price, you tack on another £1 million for “renovations” and you’ve got a real fine home.

Help the UK Crack This Code
So, builders in England find a dead bird up a chimney in Surrey with a capsule attached to its mummified leg. It looks like a coded message circa World War II, but after a few weeks, no one has cracked it. See the message and a video about it.

Solar System Simulator
Get a picture from any angle and any spot in the solar system (from space, anyway). It’s the JPL’s solar system simulator!

Which Bond Villain’s Plan Might Have Actually Worked?
Fascinating article exploring which of the various James Bond villains would have actually gotten away with it, you know, if wasn’t for that crazy kid in the tuxedo.

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