This Week in Geekdom



Happy weekend everyone! I know it's probably more than a little sad, but I've started the countdown to Gen Con 2014 already. Safe travels to everyone making their way back from the con! As mentioned yesterday, I'm in the process of parsing through notes from everyone who was on the ground in Indianapolis these past four days and will summarize all the vicarious goodness for you all next week. In the meantime, on to This Week in Geekdom!

TV

We talked yesterday about one of the big geeky TV events of the week, but Heroes of Cosplay is hardly the last offering the Syfy network intends to make to its nerdy constituents. Fangasm is another "docu-series" (i.e. reality show) in the vein of Heroes of Cosplay but the latter's forthcoming replacement will focus on "all aspects of fanboy and fangirl culture." Right. Seven contestants...err...cast members are pitted against one another as they intern for Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo and vie for opportunities to work for Mr. Lee full-time once the show wraps up. The show will grace the airwaves on Tuesday, September 24th.

Science/Technology

One of the biggest technology stories of the week came to us courtesy of Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla. Mr. Musk produced images of his proposal for a "Hyperloop", a high-speed pseudo-train composed of lightweight pods. Pods within the Hyperloop would be capable of attaining speeds of up to 760 mph (1223.1 kph), allowing passengers to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in only 35 minutes. Check out some of the images from the proposal here.

The latest issue of the journal Nature Communications contains findings from a research team based at the University of Pittsburgh that was able to cultivate human heart tissue in their lab, then coaxed the tissue to beat of its own accord.

Ever wanted to build your own centrifuge ('cause who doesn't?)? All it'll cost you is $50 USD in materials according to these guys.

Maryland-based energy start-up Redox Power Systems produced this prototype of their dishwasher-sized solid oxide fuel cell. The company claims that their methane-powered cell can operate at 80% efficiency at a relatively competitive price when stacked against conventional energy sources.

Owning one of these may also up your supervillain cred
Ok, so it's the year 2013 and flying cars still aren't a widely available thing. Would you be willing to settle for a personal jetpack?

100,000 Earthlings, the GIR included, have signed up for the Mars One Project, essentially a one-way trip to the Red Planet. Here's a brief rundown of just what these intrepid individuals hope to be a part of.

Remember a few weeks back when we talked about Google's attempt to bring the internet to every nook and cranny on the planet with a flotilla of wi-fi producing balloons? Here's a breakdown of just how many UFO sightings were blamed on this endeavor. 

Tuesday's full moon was, in fact, a blue moon. Say what? But there's only been one full moon in August! Ah, astute observation. Here's the explanation behind this somewhat convoluted concept.

In another knock against the usefulness of diamonds, a team of chemists at Rice University have developed synthetic carbyne which, if perfected, could be the strongest known material. Here's how these scientists were able to reproduce what had previously been relegated to interstellar space.

Do you use Windows? Was your PC acting a bit...odd this week? Turns out, that might not be due to your antivirus software expiring.

SpaceX had a straight out of Kerbal Space Program moment on Wednesday when they launched their new "Grasshopper" rocket, turned it sideways, then brought it back down to Earth. See for yourself here.

Fastest commute ever.
Games

This week was fairly heavy on new titles for consoles and PCs alike. Saints Row IV was one such eagerly anticipated release. Here's PC Gamer's take on the latest installment of that franchise.

Another of this week's prime releases was Space Hulk, the PC version of the beloved board game of the same name set in the Warhammer 40K universe. Normally astute game news producer Rock, Paper, Shotgun caused something of a kerfuffle immediately following the release with their less-than-flattering review of the game (despite claiming that it was 'Game of the Year' material during the beta) that may or may not have missed the mark. Read here to decide for yourself.

Payday 2 hit the market on Tuesday and already appears to be a worthy successor to its forebear.

At this point, we've all seen and heard video games being scapegoated for a plethora of societal ills, health ailments, and tragic events. Just how is this negative narrative shaping video games as a whole? The Wall Street Journal sought to find out.

On Thursday, Kalypso Media announced that their much adored Tropico franchise will get a new installment in 2014.

In another blow to EA, several major collegiate football conferences have pulled their logos and other likenesses out of future incarnations of the NCAA Football series. The move doesn't impact licensing rights for individual schools within the conferences, but it does make for an additional legal headache for EA.

Archeologists unearthed proof that nerds have been creating and playing board games for millennia. The recovery team, based in Turkey's Ege University, found these intricately carved tokens estimated to be 5,000 years old.

Activision Blizzard caused a buzz on the interwebs this week by unveiling a new multiplayer mode for Call of Duty: Ghosts. The developer also confirmed that the game will also feature the option to play as a woman. Check out the full details of the announcement here. 

Movies

New looks at the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie! (includes a peek at Nova Prime)

Another entry in the "shut up and take my money" category: this Metroid fan film attempting to obtain funding via Kickstarter.

Speaking of fan films, Star Wars: Smuggler's Run may have just taken the bar and hurled it into to the stratosphere.  Not only is this 22 minute flick an impressive feat in itself (using an operating budget of $10,000 USD and taking 14 months to produce) but it used the original Star Wars sets. Oliver Thompson, I salute you.

General Awesomeness

The entirety of the comics multiverse in infographic form. <rushes to find a retailer of this book>

What kind of D&D character would you be? This rather thorough (129 questions) survey aims to provide you with the most accurate answer to that question.

Bummed out that Breaking Bad is going off the air? Lego now has a way for you to capture the essence of your favorite TV show in plastic brick form (i.e. the best form).

As always, best wishes for the week ahead!

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