This Week in Geekdom

And, boom, this week has already gone up in smoke. It seems that a few tidbits got buried amidst all the fracas surrounding last week's goings on, so let's get all caught up. You guys may have noticed that the pacing of posts slowed a bit in the past couple of weeks. Well, there's a reason for that and, for once, it doesn't involve the workish Elder Hydra. On Monday I defended my master's thesis, passed, and am now reveling in this whole free time business. Bonus: it was the GIR's birthday on Tuesday. Yay! 

The past seven days also comprised the single biggest week ever for the Care and Feeding of Nerds. We averaged over 150 new unique readers every day and had three consecutive days wherein the "Most Hits in 24 Hours" record was broken for three successive periods. It's super exciting and all thanks to you guys. Here's to building on that momentum and moving on to even bigger and better things!


(This was actually slated to be on last week's review) On September 4, Dark Horse Comics released The Star Wars #1, the first in a new graphic series based on the rough draft of George Lucas' original screenplay for Episode IV. The title is well-executed and features the robust, ambitious art style that Dark Horse has become known for. The actual story has more than a passing familiarity for most of us, but the differentials between the title and the movie are manifold and are arguably why you'd pick up the comic in the first place. Though there are some eye-rollable moments of self-promotion (General Skywalker is drawn as a thinner, better-postured Lucas), those aren't enough to derail the comic itself. It'll be very interesting to see how the rest of the series turns out.   


This past Friday gave fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender (i.e. the only Avatar) what they had been patiently waiting with the premiere of the second season of The Legend of Korra. If you missed it, you can watch the hour-long debut in its entirety here.

20 years ago as of this past Tuesday a deeply skeptical redhead got her assignment to work alongside a conspiracy theorist who just wanted to believe. Here's an excellent summation of the ongoing legacy of the X-Files.


On Thursday, the scientific community gathered together for the one night wherein we all agree to stop taking ourselves so seriously and hand out the annual Ig Nobels. This year's highlight included an international team of researchers who sought to parse out the physiopsychological effects of "beer goggles." Check out the winning study here and a list of all the other winners and their respective projects here.

He's arguably responsible for the internet, bioinformatics, digital TV, and information theory, but he remains largely unknown. Here's the story of Claude Shannon, Jr., the greatest genius no one has heard of.

Computers and the codes that drive them are things most of us live with, but don't understand terribly well. Google aims to fix this with Raspberry Pi, a credit-card sized computer designed to help kids and curious adults learn not only the physical workings of a PC, but the basics of coding as well all for just $35 USD.

Speaking of Google, it seems that some big-name car companies are trying to beat the software giant to the proverbial punch and come out with their own self-driving automobile. Daimler, the power behind Mercedes-Benz and Smartcars, announced that it hopes to have hands-free cars street ready and available for purchase by the year 2020. 

Physicists at Cornell University have successfully created what is being touted as two-dimensional glass. The compound, only two atoms thick, is so fragile that the force of your breath would shatter it. Go here for a video overview of the research and the painstaking process involved in 'growing' super-thin structures.

Monday's edition of the Onion caused mathphobics to collectively cringe with the former's proclamation that Math Teachers Introduce 27 New Trig Functions. The cringing would likely have manifested as a far stronger reaction if readers knew that the article was at least partially rooted in truth. Warning: there will be math.

As a celebratory tribute to the official announcement that Voyager 1 departed our solar system, two groups of astronomers at the European Southern Observatory released this image of what may be the best three-dimension map of our galaxy made to date.

Scientists have long debated what, precisely, caused the mass extinction of Wooly Mammoths, alternately blaming a lack of timely evolution following the end of the Ice Age and overhunting by humans. What if neither actually ended up being the cause

The latest edition of the journal Physical Review Letters may give Newtonian physics a bit of a jolt. Inside the volume, a team of three French and one British researcher describe their methodology for measuring the gravitational constant G and, if they are right, how the approximation we've been using to date may be incorrect.

Also featured in the above mentioned issue of Physical Review Letters: If conventional theories are accurate, the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang. However, what researchers still cannot grasp is exactly why it seems that some portions of the universe are expanding at a different rate than others. The 'Hubble Bubble' may offer us some clarity on the matter. Here comes the science.

Does it seem as though mosquitos are just naturally drawn to you? If so, this invention may restore the dusk-time outdoors to you.

General Awesomeness

Friday the 13th turned out to be a fortunate day for Steve Sansweet and the staff at Rancho Obi-Wan as the nonprofit museum was officially recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the single largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia

Junichi Matsuzaki is not an electrical engineer, just a tinkerer with a passion for restoring old electronics to their former glory. This is the story of this intrepid hobbyist who refuses to see good vintage pieces be consigned recycling centers.

Fancy yourself an adept at cracking codes? Always thought of yourself as good superspy material? The British government would like to put those thoughts to the test with this open call for codebreakers.

There are over 6,000 languages currently being actively spoken on Earth. Think you know all of them? Prove your linguistic recognition acumen with this test.

As always, best wishes for an awesome week ahead!

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