Geek Month in Review: February 2014

More ice and snow…

How Was the Expedition?
Found in the antarctic hut of explorer Captain Scott, left there over 100 years ago, was a clump of cellulose nitrate negatives Shackleton took of his expedition. See the developed pictures!

Blue-light Zombies
The City of Los Angeles is changing their sodium streetlights for LED ones — huge savings on energy, right? Well, yes, but it will seriously mess with filmmakers doing street shots in LA — the LED lights are heavily blue-tinted, as opposed to the amber of the sodium lights.
Then there’s the possible effect of LED lights on sleep and attention-span, leading to insomniacs wandering the streets.

Lighter Than Water, Stronger Than Steel
Welcome to the new age of material science, brought to you by Science! and 3D printing. Oh, and lasers.

Not This Earth
Here’s a roundup of “the most unusual alternate history novels ever written”, or in other words, here’s a list of popular alternate Earth novels.

Storm Photos That Make You Want to Run for the Basement
Crazy great photos, obviously taken in the midwest, of some storms as they really start to get going.

Vertigo-Inducing Photos of the Crumbling Remnants of the Soviet Union
See some crazy (CRAZY) urban explorers as they go that extra mile to climb to perilous heights on old industrial USSR stuff, and take photos of it all. Pretty breathtaking. Also some pretty awesome shots from underground parts, too. Warning: if you get vertigo easily, hold onto your chair.

Super-Geek Shroud
Hand-stitched portrayal of all 6 episodes (however much we might wish it to be only 3) of the Star Wars saga on a shroud, now selling for $20,000 to a gallery in LA.

Buildings That Might Have Been
Take a look at this article and then imagine if some of these buildings had actually been built. We could have visited the giant wall-like building in Chicago, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, clad in plates of etched copper. Or visited the observation deck on the mile-high skyscraper The Illinois (another Wright project). Or seen the hollow pyramid-buildings, sheltering gardens and expressways. There’s even a Civic Center that combined all transportation into one place: trains, cars, and even airplanes, landing on the top level.

Joker Armor
And no, not that modern junk — Medieval Joker armor. You have to see it to believe it. Creepy as heck.

7th Grader Builds Braille Printer With LEGOs
Kid uses $350 worth of LEGOSs to build a printer that does Braille, and what the hell was I doing in 7th grade? Reading, I think. Maybe a video game or two. Holy crap.

Voynich Manuscript Decoded??
One of the most mysterious and baffling manuscripts ever penned may have begun to be deciphered. The Voynich manuscript has tantalized scholars for centuries. If the professor in question has actually got a handle on the document, it will be huge.
Check out the Wikipedia article on it for the skinny on what the Voynich Manuscript is.

How Big?
Want to see a quick discussion of how big the universe is? It’s like an animated bit of Cosmos. Then they start talking about the multiverse, parallels worlds with different laws of physics, and it all just combines to make your head explode. But in a fun way.

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: