This Week in Geekdom

Hope everyone's having a great weekend thus far. After a supremely excellent, but very busy, few weekends we're back on our regular posting schedule for This Week in Geekdom.

Let's start off with some science!



Yesterday was the 146th birthday of Frank Lloyd Wright. Here's a bracket-style breakdown of some of his most famous and beloved building designs. Which is your favorite?

In related news, this week the Connecticut state senate passed a bill that denies the title of First Powered Flight to the Wright brothers and instead grants it to Gustave Whitehead. The controversy surrounding which individual (or individuals) is deserving of this title is nothing new but, since the release of the Wright brothers' rather shady contract with the Smithsonian, the debate has been given fresh fuel. 

Late last week the Earth was bombarded with an intense array of solar radiation. While this wasn't ideal for telecommunications, the radio-magnetic storm produced some of the most vibrant, dramatic instances of the aurora borealis we humans have been lucky enough to see? Didn't get a chance to glimpse this amazing phenomenon? Check out this incredible time-lapse video of the event as viewed from Crater Lake National Park.

Ever suspected that those hyper-up energy drinks don't actually do a whole lot more than just plain old caffeine? Turns out, you were right.

We know that compulsions can have profound impacts on human behavior, but have been at a loss as to why they occur and how they function at the neurological level. This week, researchers at MIT released the results of their recent study, in which they were able to completely block the exhibition of compulsive behavior in mice.

What will the Antarctic look like without ice? National Geographic has put together this interactive site to illustrate exactly that.

Refining petroleum creates a lot of waste products, one of which is a heaping helping of sulfur. This week, scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory revealed that this elemental byproduct doesn't have to be a useless one. Read here for the details on how they transformed this second-hand sulfur into battery fodder that outperforms standard lithium-ion batteries.

Since the introduction of the personal tablet computer, journalists and analysts have proclaimed that the personal computer would soon be a thing of the past. Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan took to the stage this week to proclaim what we already knew: the PC isn't dying; poorly run companies who have a profound disconnect with their customers are dying.

File this one under: Things to Buy When I Win the Lottery. The most comprehensive computer workstation technology can bring us to date.

Got an extra $21,500?
The ancient Romans knew a thing or two about what made for excellent building materials. UC Berkley students are in the midst of trying to discern what made the concrete of these ancient architects withstand the test of time and what they could still teach us today.


Cosplayer and anthropologist extraordinaire Emily composed this eloquent, spot-on commentary about some of the disturbing attitudes that con-goers frequently bear towards cosplayers. Unfortunately, the interactions Emily describes are depressingly common. By shining a light on this dark patch of the convention experience is a first step towards addressing this prevailing issue.

Making a full-body suit of armor is up there in the hierarchy of Impressive Feats of Cosplay (alongside building deployable wings or anything involving robotics). Check out the handiwork of C. Rob, who crafted an entire set of Tony Stark's Mark IV armor from cardstock!


Microsoft's introduction of its forthcoming Xbox One console fostered a lot of confusion, and a lot more indignant rage, specifically from gamers who don't feel like regularly dropping $60 USD on titles that they could otherwise buy used. The company released the following this week in an attempt to clarify their stance on used games. Warning: it's still pretty hackle-raising and the Xbox One is still not going to be backwards compatible. 

In what is surely not a coincidence at all (cough cough) Microsoft then cancelled its scheduled post-press conference at the upcoming E3 convention.

If, by chance, you were one of those intrepid, masochistic individuals who gave your hard-earned monies to Goldhawk Interactive and the latter's effort to recreate the challenging grind of the original X-COM you were finally rewarded with early access to the alpha. While I've been building bases and mourning the losses of my soldiers, Rock, Paper, Shotgun has put together a short video reviewing what we've seen of the game so far.


As mentioned earlier this year, DC is desperate for your attention. The publication giant announced this week that they would be introducing DC2, a series of choose-your-own-adventure titles. While the concept of choose-your-own adventure is fairly kick-ass when applied to pulpy books, the guys over at the Gutters do a great job of illustrating the likely course this latest DC misadventure will take.


Are you still downtrodden after bearing witness to the Red Wedding? Does hearing the Rains of Castamere bring about shudders or tears? Fear not, the helpful staff at io9 compiled a list of fun things that viewers can perhaps look forward to (provided the show even attempts to remain in line with the books).

Steampunk, time travel, and a hit man from the future. This is the basis for a new web series from Star Trek writer Jimmy Diggs called "the Crypto Historians."

As always, best wishes for an excellent week ahead!

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