This Week in Geekdom



We're getting so close. Tomorrow the countdown to PAX East will stand at a mere 10 days. While the costume is coming together quickly, progress has met with a few cat-related delays. Having never costumed with a kitteh before, the experience of receiving the uniquely feline brand of 'help' during the process was entirely novel. Related aside: Serenity-cat loves all things plastic and has formed a surprisingly strong attachment to the plexiglass base of the Transistor sword. We're not sure if this is some latent form of cat pica or if she really enjoyed her previous life as what we assume was a goat.

In any case, on to the week in geekdom!

Science/Technology

The single biggest tech story of the week was Facebook's acquisition of would-be virtual reality hardware-maker Oculus Rift for the tidy sum of $2 billion USD. The response to this purchase was nearly instantaneous and rippled across the interwebs from the epicenter of Oculus' original Kickstarter page. The creator of Minecraft reacted by nixing plans to bring the game to the Rift, but that's been the only official cancellation thus far. Will Facebook spell ruin for Oculus? It's anyone's guess at this point.
The potential successor to Would You Like to Play a Game of Chess?

 Any mention of advanced artificial intelligence is often paired with some iteration of the Turing Test, but the storied exam may only be one of several definitive gauges offered by the British mathematician. Behold Turning's less-well-known, but beautifully rendered, conclusions regarding natural pattern formation.
 


After three years of hibernation, the Philae lander has been reactivated in order to begin its next mission. What mission you say? How about landing on a comet.


Mozilla got a new CEO this week and not everyone was pleased by this news.


Artificial life is <that> much closer to becoming reality. Thursday's edition of the journal Science featured this story about the creation of the first wholly synthetic eukaryotic chromosome. 

Speaking of artificial life, researchers at MIT have created materials from synthetic sources that act like living surfaces.The so-called hybrid materials were based on the structure of E. coli bacteria and can do everything from emit light to conduct electricity.




This month's paradigm-affirming discovery of the gravitational waves stemming from what is believed to have been the Big Bang fostered fresh speculation concerning the possibility that our universe is but one of several in a lattice-style multiverse. How is that possible? Ethan Siegal explains.


The search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been at the forefront of global consciousness for the past four weeks. While the search for the plane has been frustrated by myriad factors, the science behind the hunt has gone unchanged for nearly two centuries.


Also in the realm of disturbing ongoing news stories is the Turkish government's crackdown on social media. This is the latest account of what's going down for Turkish users of Twitter and YouTube.

TV/Movies

After months of speculation, AMC has officially confirmed that they will be creating a companion series to the insanely successful tv version of Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead. Details are sparse at this point, but AMC seems confident about a 2015 release date for the new show. Exciting news, but not nearly as anticipated as tonight's season finale.



Games

Curious about the Firefly MMO? Check out this interview with the CEO of Quantum Mechanix Interactive.


On Thursday, Nintendo confirmed that it would be amongst the other AAA publishers that would not be attending PAX East this year. The Wii-maker didn't offer any official reason as to their no-show.


Comics



General Awesomeness

There's building a sand castle and then there's this. It took four years of trial and error, but the end result was ideal for the artist/researcher duo of Vik Muniz and Marcelo Coelho as they perfected the technique of engraving images onto single grains of sand. See the detailed account of their painstaking technique here.


Thursday was the birthday of one oh-so-handsome-and-charming captain. Happy belated birthday Nathan Fillion!
 
 

Add this to the Fan Generated Material That's Better Than The Real Thing file: the movie the Need for Speed re-created in Grand Theft Auto IV.
 
As always, best wishes for an excellent week ahead!

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