Geek Month in Review: May 2012

By JB Sanders

April showers bring …

Forgotten Bookmarks
So this guy works in his family’s used book store, and comes across the strangest things people have stuck in between the pages of the books. As the site puts it: “It’s happened to all of us: we’re reading a book, something interrupts us, and we grab the closest thing at hand to mark our spot. It could be a train ticket, a letter, an advertisement, a photograph, or a four-leaf clover.” Fun and weird site.

Underground Park
With sunlight! They pipe it in.

Leonardo Da Vinci: Still the Man
There’s a new exhibition of Leonardo’s anatomy drawings going up this week, and it led to discussions of how accurate those drawings are, 500 years later. The answer? Pretty damned accurate. As one professor of clinical anatomy put it: “Leonardo’s image is as accurate as anything that can be produced by scientific artists working today.” See comparisons of Leonardo’s drawings vs computer renderings of 3D CAT scans.

Cool Things to do With Sand
And a Kinect 3D camera and a projector. The setup uses the Kinect camera to detect the height of the sand, and then calculates and projects a topographic map right on the landscape. Plus you can add in virtual water features, as well. Worth the watch.

Testing Mars in an Ice Cave
An Austrian ice cave, to be specific. Scientists tested a variety of things, including walk-about suits, robots and 3D cameras.

Now That’s a Ring
So this guy, a man who should be inducted into the Geek Hall of Fame, forges his own wedding ring. Sure, that’s fine, you say, nice craft skills. The guy has a forge in his own garage, cool. Now, for the Hall of Fame part: he forges his own wedding ring — out of a meteorite.

Bionic Eye Powered by Light
Who needs those nuclear-powered bionic eyes? This one is powered by light! Extra-clever bit: natural light isn’t powerful enough to drive the eye, so they use “eyeglasses” as light-concentrators to boost the power.

Wi-Fi Blocking Wallpaper
So French researchers have come up with a wallpaper that, with conductive ink using silver crystals, blocks wi-fi and only wi-fi signals — cell phones and other radio waves are fine.

More info on the tech here:

2D Printed Loudspeakers
That’s right — not 3D, but 2D. Speakers which are printed using special inks onto paper. The uses are cool and terrifying (as with all good new scifi innovations): newspapers that shout at you, or wallpaper that plays soothing symphonic tunes. You want surround sound? How about the wallpaper IS your speakers?

Moon Throw
You have to be a real astronomy nut to blow $400 on a moonscape-themed throw blanket, but man, it does look really cool. (Tip o’the Hat to the Bad Astronomer for posting this link & photo.)

Monolithic LEGO iPhone Charger
Fan-made 2001: A Space Oddyssey diorama and iPhone charger. Yes.

What Friction?
Kid in Germany solves centuries-old problem posed by Isaac Newton, the one about figuring out the path of a projectile under the effects of gravity — including air resistance. Yup! No frictionless void for this kid.

Zombie-Proof Condos Sell Out
Yes, that’s the exact headline of this article. Isn’t that just exactly the headline you want to read? These former nuclear missile silos have been converted into luxury condos, with a pool, movie theater, library, fitness room and their own independent power (solar and wind!). For only $2M, they were a steal, too.

Be sure to poke around their website and see conceptual drawings, debris-cleaning photos and some of the amenities planned.

Ice Berg Flips
Not a sight you see every day, unless you live in the right places, I guess.

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: