Geek Month in Review: October 2013

By JB Sanders

Fall is here.

Fun Victorian Phrases
For those linguistic geeks among us, here’s a review of a Victorian slang dictionary. It brings such fun phrases as “suitable for electioneering purposes” (referring to an egg that’s gone bad, for “the exercise of projecting them at antagonistic candidates”), or “bags o’ mystery”, referring to sausages.

20 Trivia Bits On the X-Files
So, to make some of us feel old, the TV show The X-Files premiered 20 years ago. In honor of that, some random trivia bits about the show and its creators.

Every First Edition of the James Bond Novels
Ian Fleming’s seminal novels all in one virtual place. In full color, with original covers. Pretty nifty.

Cube Robots
Ignore the stupid headline — while they are “self-assembling”, it’s only in that the cubes can be told to arrange themselves together in groups, not actually build new robo-cubes. Still, they’re pretty neat.

Fearsome Galloping Robot
When the robot wars come, this will have been your preview. Or at some point we’ll get mechanical, robotic horse-racing. Either way.

Printing a Satellite
Times were, you had to build those communications (or spy) satellites by hand, took years, and cost millions. Nowadays, we’re aiming to just print those suckers whole cloth.

Why the Number 1729 Matters — Futurama!
Apparently Futurama has mathematicians on their writing staff, and as you probably already know, the slip sly (and not so sly) math references into every episode.

For the full rundown on math in Futurama

What a Strange Place Memory Is
Read about the man who stopped being able to make new memories. He could recall his past, up to a point, but everything after that stopped happening for him. Tragic, but also one of the foundation rocks of our understanding of the brain and how memory works.

Remember the Game Myst?
Yeah, or Riven? The same creators are back and the screenshots are crazy. This time, they’re using kickstarted to fund the project, instead of finding a traditional publisher. Check it out.

Aliens in 2001: A Space Odyssey
Yup, we almost had actual, walking-around aliens in the movie, until Carl Sagan talked Kubrick and Clark out of it.

NASA’s Pumpkin-Carving Contest
Yup, rocket scientists carving pumpkins. You know this is gonna be good. Yes, there’s a video.

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: