Geek Month in Review: May 2015

By JB Sanders

May flowers!

We Are Truly in the Future
Let Pancake Bot draw whatever shape you want your pancakes in, then cook them for you.

What Do Tree Rings Sounds Like?
Oddly ethereal. See scientists take tree rings and treat them like they’re special long-playing vinyl.

The Forgotten Pyramids of Meroe
Along the Nile, in the Sudan, there are some 200 pyramids left — not by the Egyptians — but by the Meroitic Kingdom. They’re not as big but they are very cool looking. In fact, I suspect some of the artists drawing tombs in various fantasy games over the years saw these.

Cube inside a Cube inside a Cube
Which is not not the remarkable part — no, because any idiot with a 3D printer and the right file can make one of those. This guy did it with a block of aluminum, some hot glue, and a lathe. Not a CNC reduction machine. No! An honest-to-Pete lathe — spinning in circles, crank-controlled, and computer-free.

Artificial Lava
Want to experiment with lava flows, but live in upstate New York? Melt some basalt and make your own!

The Quiet Zone
Imagine a place with no cell phones, no radio broadcasts, not even any microwave ovens (unless they’re in a Faraday cage). That place is the Quiet Zone, an area of 13,000 square miles that is forbidden by law from having any radio interference.

3D Interactive Map of the Universe
Yup, time to break out your holoprojectors. It’s a full 3D map of the known universe and you can monkey around with the view.

Hyperloop Test Track in the Works
The Hyperloop is a train, set in a near-vacuum tube, which — if the theory proves correct — could travel faster than an airplane. Yes, Elon Musk, super-villain in training (or a hero using the villain playbook, which one is unclear) is making another of his wacky ideas a reality. Giant pneumatic tubes could some day criss-cross the country, or even under the oceans. If you’re wondering why anyone would want to use or build something like that, let’s lay down the travel times: Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes. Yeah. Anyway, they’re actually building a test track now.

How to Make Stackable Edible LEGOs
Want to build amazing structures or spaceships (spaceships!)? LEGOs. Want to be able to eat them after the inevitable fiery comet of doom? Look no farther.

Micro-Living Pod
It’s a super-tiny house that can accommodate up to 2 people, runs off wind and solar, and even collects its own rain water in a cistern below the living space. Looks like a futuristic egg, but the interior is actually kinda cool. Coming in 2016.

Wait, the thing has its own website:

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: