Geek Month in Review: May 2013

Summer is coming.

Insect-like Robots
Very cool, and also little weird. Like every movie with a robot insect secretly watching someone.

47 Words That Might Not Exist
Ok, to be accurate, the book they were originally found in might not exist. Or at least the poor folks at the Oxford English Dictionary can’t find the book. It’s called “Meanderings on Memory”, published around 1859 and it appears to be the source of around 47 words in the English language. If, that is, it actually exists.

Island for Sale
In Scotland, mind you, one of the Summer Isles. It’s inhabited, so you’ll have neighbors, and it does have features (e.g. a post office and a cafe).

What Ancient Statues Really Looked Like
A little ultraviolet light and we can see that the ancient Greeks and Romans had …. really bad taste. Seriously, take a look. Scientists and art historians have used ultraviolet light to find what paints were used to cover those classic statues we all just assumed always looked like that. And it turns out that they were often a little … garish.

80,000 Applicants, 4 Positions, 1 Job: Mars
So remember that Mars One project I linked to in a previous Geek Review? No? Well, to sum up, there’s a Dutch company that plans on creating a permanent human settlement on Mars in 2023. They’re picking their permanent Mars residents out of a giant pool of online applicants, and they plan on making the selection process of the Final Four into a reality show to pay for the whole expedition. It’s so crazy, it just might work. Anyway, here’s an article talking about it, with a new version of the Mars One intro video.

Glow-in-the-Dark Trees
Really. Several enterprising scientists have a Kickstarter campaign going to fund glowing trees that will replace street lights. All the energy will come from regular old photosynthesis. Yes, we’re in the future now.

Their Kickstarter campaign:
Them answering questions on Reddit:

The Periodic Table Song
No, not the Animiacs. Didn’t they do a periodic table song? No? Well, I’m including their version of the Nations of the World song anyway. Also, damn! I’d forgotten how crazy that Animaniacs song is.

Nations of the World (Animaniacs):

Amazing Subway Stations
And the reason this article is in the Geek Review? Because half these places, which are “just” subway stations or train stations, resemble some retro future come to life. Check out the 1970s retro future, the 1980s retro future and the steampunk retro look.

Science-Fair Teenager Invents Super-Capacitor
It can lead to being able to charge a cell phone in 20-30 seconds, or an electric car in 30 minutes. Kids these days!

Plant Entombed in Ice Comes Alive
From the “wasn’t this an episode of the X-Files?” uh, files, scientists found a plant encased in ice during the Little Ice Age (about 400 years ago), and got it growing again. How neat is that? At least until they unearth the Killer Plant.

You Think That’s a Big Ship?
Nope, this one is. It’s the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, the largest ship in the world, at least it will be once it sets sail. It’s capable of carrying 18,000 20-foot shipping containers. Yeah, that’s a lot.

Warm Up the Cloning Tanks!
Scientists poked a frozen mammoth corpse and got viscous blood! Yup, it’s just a matter of time.

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: