Geek Month in Review: August 2011

By JB Sanders

Geeky in the heat…

Bubble Universes

More possible proof of parallel universes, now in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). It’s more than just math theory! Probably.

Fields of Light

Not an alien landscape on some distant planet, but an art installation using fiber optic lights.

Bavarian Tunnels

More than 700 odd tunnel networks have been discovered in Bavaria, most dating back to Medieval times. Almost nothing has been found in them, “almost as if they were swept clean”. Weird, huh?

A City Frozen in Time

For 37 years — since 1974. It’s the city of Nicosia in Cyprus, abandoned when the island was divided between Greek and Turkish parts. Wild photographs worth the stop-over.

Shadowrun, Anyone?

So some clever hackers have pieced together an interface to various cracking tools via the Microsoft Kinect — so that you can see the computer like a first-person shooter, and move around by simply waving your arms.

Mad About Metered Billing?

Welcome to 1886! Yes, back then people complained about telephone company shenanigans. Read up on the amusing details:

Smart Cast

For when you break a bone, and want the hi-tech treatment. The cast monitors the situation with your muscles, the bone’s healing progress and let’s doctors monitor everything in real-time (or later over a martini, if they want).

New Blade Runner Movie?

It could be good. They’ve got Ridley Scott directing it. What’s up in the air is whether it’ll be a prequel (blah), a sequel or just set in the same universe.

This Isn’t the Start of SciFi Movie

It really isn’t — it’s a real live news report. Here’s the headline: “Orange Goo at Alaskan Village Found to be Fungal Spores, Not Eggs”. I just can’t make up stuff that good.


So this 13-year-old kid uses the Fibonacci sequence and the pattern of leaves on trees to create a solar-panel array that is 20-50% more efficient than conventionally arranged arrays. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of this kid in the future — hopefully not as he ambles down main street in his death-ray equipped juggernaut armor.

All Pop-Culture Robots

Can you name them all? Not a quiz, just a giant picture of them all in one place.

Best Wedding Photos Ever!

Really, I’m not kidding. It’s a slow build, though. Scroll down the page slowly for best effect. (Alex, this one’s for you.)

Copper Man!

Ok, so not as exciting as it sounds, Copper Man is the name of the all-copper mannequin that US Army researchers used to gauge how well the standard flight gear insulated the crews of airplanes during WWII. Wacky, huh?

Weather Report from 1965

Or 1984, or 1384, or whatever floats your boat. Historical weather reports. Handy for those of you writing novels set in the past, rather than the future.

The Geek Zodiac

How could I not link to this? I’m apparently a Daikaiju (e.g. Godzilla, King Kong, etc).

Video Brings Portal to Life

I know, it sounds like I’m describing some kind of Lovecraft-inspired horror movie which is just a remake of a better Japanese horror movie, but no. We’re talking about Portal, the video game, and some fan’s amazing conversion of the portal gun idea into a tiny cinematic romp.

The Trans-siberian to Alaska Railway

Yes, this means a tunnel under the Bering Strait. Hooboy! Russia has set aside $65 Billion dollars for the project. Seriously.

Mindset of the Class of 1915

You may, or may not, be familiar with the Beloit College Mindset list, which is a big list of things the incoming freshman class has either always had, always known or never known in their lifetimes. Depending on your age, it’s a frightening and hilarious list. In answer to that, here’s a list of what the class of 1915 (the freshman class from 100 years ago) thought or knew:

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: