Geek Month in Review: January 2012

By JB Sanders

Ring in the new year

Ghost Village
I don’t know how geeky this is, but it’s High Ranking Weird. UK Ministry of Defense evacuates a village in England and uses it for pre-Normandy Invasion training. Except the village is still “abandoned” today.

Long Exposure
Photography using long exposure times can be interesting, but usually that time is measured in seconds, at most minutes. Here’s a picture of Toronto with a 365 day exposure:

Random Band Names
I don’t know what the point of this website is, other than the obvious, but it’s cool and geeky, no doubt. John Scalzi, renown scifi author and blogger extraordinaire has created/helped with/designed (?) a random band-naming web thing:

Spiderman Silk
Scientists are genetically modifying silk worms to produce something more like spider silk, which is stronger than steel.

Money quote from the scientists, when asked about concerns that the modified silkworms might escape into the wild: “It’s hard to see how a silkworm producing spider silk would have any advantage in nature.”

Around the World in 5 Minutes
Guy quits his job, grabs his camera and travels around the world, taking pictures. Watch an amazing set of time-lapse photos from his trip.

D&D 5th Edition
Yes, Wizards of the Coast is talking about a new edition of the venerable RPG. Woo!

A real, available-now 3D printer that you can buy off-the-shelf, fully assembled (or as fully assembled as any printer ever is when shipped). Also, they use corn-based plastics which are fully biodegradable, so when you’re done with your doohickey, just toss in your compost heap. Still, it’s $1800 (not including shipping, I presume).

See the CES overview of it here:

And the company’s website here:

One Camera, One Picture, Infinite Focus
Imagine taking a picture, just one, and from that picture being able to refocus on anything in the picture AFTER you’ve taken it. Sound like someone drank a little too much something and then watched that scene in Blade Runner over and over again? Well, not quite. By “refocusing”, I don’t mean having an infinite zoom ability — just the ability to focus on something in the foreground or the background using the same image data. How does it work?

I’ll let the good folks at Ars Technica explain:

Oh, and a real consumer product appeared at CES this month, with a target date later this year to bring out a real product.

Want to see it in action, go here:

Digital Rug
The latest in interactive fabrics — now in a rug!

Apocalypse Later, Surf Now
It’s stunning what you can do with a waterproof camera and some digital effects software. And a boatload of talent, of course.

The Serial Killer Formula
Not a way to write novels or movie scripts. Actual scientists have developed a theory about when a serial killer is likely to kill next, or indeed in some way why they kill. Read on for the math and the neuroscience.

How to Format Your Text for Gibbering Madness
You just know this has to involve Cthulhu in some fashion, and it does! The following are the instructions for how to typeset any text so it looks like it was written by a madman.

Stuff You Don’t Know About Firefly
Infographic describing a whole bunch of fun facts about Firefly you probably don’t know:

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: