Geek Month in Review: August 2012

By JB Sanders

Ah, the dog days…

007 Through the Years
Ever wonder what the highest grossing James Bond film is? Or which one it is, adjusted for inflation? Wonder no more!

Extreme Danger Through Kid’s Chemistry Sets
Isn’t it too bad that chemistry sets (intended for kids) don’t include cyanide, uranium dust (not kidding), or pure iodine (lethal at 2g).

Diving Suit of Nightmares
If this thing doesn’t freak you the hell out, you’ve been looking at Giger art for too long. Special bonus, this diving suit was made in 1882. Seriously.

Spray on Skin Has Reached the Present
Doctors have begun using “spray on skin” to treat long-term skin ulcers (which are notoriously hard to deal with) as a test of the technology. Yay, spray-on-skin!

All US Presidents Except One Related to English King
And I’ll go ahead and spoil the surprise ending for you: Martin Van Buren. Yeah, apparently every US President is descending from old King John. Who’d have thunk it?

Just Roll a d12 and Shut Up
Need an idea for your fantasy RPG session? Stuck for inspiration in your epic fantasy novel? Just curious what the hell I’m talking about? Roll 1d12:

LEGO™ Serenity
There’s a fan of the show, and then there’s this. You just have to click and go look at the pictures. It’s more awesome than I can say.

Stealth Salvage Barge For Sale
No kidding, this Cold War “ship” was designed to retrieve wrecks (like, say, a Soviet submarine) from the depths. Get your radar-proof salvage barge!

How Big is Infinity?
Great animated explanation from TED talks about how big infinity really is. Warning: Math content. Some heads may explode.

Uh, Anyone Else Thinking Mothra
Scientists have discovered that there has been a dramatic increase in the rate and type of mutations in the butterflies in and around the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Ghost Towns of China
China has a HUGE labor force, and sometimes they’re given things to do to keep them busy. Like building cities. Empty cities.

Stop-Motion Animation Still Going Strong
Now with 3D printers! Apparently the folks behind the movie Para-norman are making it using old-fashioned real-life figures, only they’re stepping it up using 3D printers. Because the 3D printers are comparatively fast, they can also use them for things like facial expressions.
Be sure to check out the image gallery.

2500 year old Hipster Tattoos
See the hipster chick — I mean, Siberian Princess and her mythological beast tattoos. It’s history AND tattoo art.

It’s a Terrible Pun AND a Useful Tool
What is it? It’s the Giger counter. It’ll make more sense if you click on the link and see the pictures.

Largest Map Ever
Well, it may not physically be the largest map ever, but it’s large in terms of what it covers: everything visible in our universe. Which is a lot. Check out the 3D fly-through tour, with links to the full data set. Did anyone else know that there’s a 3D button you can press on YouTube videos? I didn’t.
The video is a fly-through of a part of the map. Keep in mind as you watch it that those things you see whizzing by are GALAXIES (not stars or solar systems).

What if Futurama Was Real?
Then the characters would look more like these drawings this fan did. Or 3D renders. Or whatever they are. The Bad Astronomer has a NSFL* warning on these, so beware.


Real Hover-bikes in the Works
Not kidding. Hopefully not an internet hoax (is there an abbreviation for those?). They plan on having them out by 2014. Yes, there’s prototype video.

Teaser? Short? Preview? Who Cares, It’s Got Death Robots!
As it turns out, this is a preview of an upcoming scifi movie about the problems with arming your robots. And maybe not properly reformatting your hard drives before re-using them.

Tesla’s Lab Saved
Interview with the comic book artist who raised money to save Tesla’s lab. Bonus points go to the mention of Tesla’s earthquake machine, which had to be shut off with a sledgehammer to prevent it taking out the whole block.

Cool, chilling scifi near-future short film. Coolest part of all? It’s a student-made project. Keep that in mind as you see all the Hollywood-quality graphics and effects fly by. STUDENT-made.

Now Everyone, Jump!
What if everyone on Earth jumped up in the air and came down again, all at exactly the same time? SPOILER: pretty much nothing. The guy at xkcd explores this in detail, on one of his What If? articles.

Your Favorite Songs as Sculptures
Don’t even know if they used a 3D printer. These folks took the sound waves produced while playing certain songs and transformed them into 3D sculptures.

Handy Chart: Shakespearean Insult Kit
You can make “goatish fly-bitten giblet” or “vain fool-born clot pole”. Just tons of options.

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: