Posts Tagged geekyness

I’ve Been Ambushed!

Dragon*Con has snuck up on me like a kitteh ninja. I am completely unprepared. And there’s a major change in plans: the Goddess and the lizardlings are staying home. I’m going all by my lonesome. So if you see a dumpy geek with scraggly facial hair wandering around looking lonely it’s probably me. Actually, that description probably applies to a large number of DC attendees. Never mind.

I’ll probably be hanging around the Skeptrack panels, hoping to run in to some of y’all that I only know electronically. The Goddess wants me to run into Gareth David-Lloyd and give him a big kiss from her. Somehow I don’t really see that happening.

So, who else is going? Let me know or else I’ll be walking up to random strangers and say, “Hey, I’m the CyberLizard. Do you read me?” That could get awkward. Then again, there will be grown men wandering around in Pikachu costumes hitting on scantily clad super heroines.  That gives me +20 on my Normality saving throw!

At least I'm not this guy
At least I’m not this guy…
...hitting on these girls
…hitting on these girls

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How much does a kilogram weigh?

Talk about a no-brainer: it weighs a kilogram, duh! Ah, but it’s not as simple as that. For time, it’s easy to figure out.  The second is the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom (official BIPM definition). See? Easy-peasy!

Once we’ve defined time, we’ve got the wonderfully constant speed of light to help us sort out distances. The metre is “the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1⁄299,792,458 of a second”. Simple-pimple.

A computer-generated image of the International Prototype Kilogram (“IPK”).

A computer-generated image of the International Prototype Kilogram (“IPK”).

So, how much does a kilogram weigh? Up until recently, scientists were satisfied that this cylinder made of a platinum-iridium allow was THE kilogram. This as been the big-boy of weights since 1889. Unfortunately, there’s a hitch: it’s weight is changing. Bad idea, to have the object that forms the world’s basis for determining all weights change. Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig would be destroyed, for crying out loud!

Well, those wacky scientists, they just loves them some numbers. Even more, they love constants that represent numbers. Constants, by their very nature, don’t change. Hence their consistency. If they can figure out a way to define a kilogram in relation to one of those consistently constant numbers, we won’t have to worry if the mass of a little shiny chunk of metal loses (or gains) mass.

Since weighing the kilogram against another mass contains all the same pitfalls that have led to the current dilemma, the brilliant boys and girls over at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD, have set physicist Richard Steiner the task of calibrating the kilo against a concrete constant, namely Planck’s constant. NPR had a neat article on this morning chronicling the herculean effort being made out in a racoon-infested shed in Maryland to nail down the kilogram.

I won’t spoil the surprise and tell you how it turns out. Go read the article to find out how this nail-biter turns out.  Perhaps if they are successful, the United States will finally switch to the metric system. Sh’yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt!

(via NPR)

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Total Nerdgasm!

How is it possible that I missed this?!? This is my new favorite video EVAR!!! Al Yankovic is a GOD and jrdmovimkr can totally be Jesus for this kick-ass video!

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This totally gave me a stiffy…

… and I don’t care who knows it.

I. want. this. system.

24 256GB SSDs RAID
6TB storage
Custom 800Mhz FBDIMM RAM (4GB)
2 quad core QX9775 processors

2GB/second data transfer!!!!11!!1!!eleventyone!!1!
Opens MS Office (ALL of MS Office) in 0.5 seconds

*drools all over keyboard*

My first thought after watching this: I want to see Linux on this motherfucker!

I love you, Geekologie

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I’m not insane!

Well, I might be, but this proves that I’m not the only one who thinks about these things (I can’t figure it out, either 😉 )

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Storm Talk

There is an amazing wealth of subjects out there to be geeky about. For a small subset of geeks, asking about the weather isn’t just making small talk; it’s an invitation to launch into a detailed analysis of the “thermodynamic properties of tornadic and nontornadic RFDs.” Um, okay… I’m sure that makes sense to someone out there.

This dude I know named Matt Grzych (don’t even bother trying, it’s pronounced “grish“) has just started a cool little blog called “Storm Talk“. He’s got some sort of sick fascination with spinning clouds, a.k.a. tornadoes. I’m a Florida boy; I love hurricanes, but tornadoes scare the shit out of me. Some sort of left over paranoia from childhood. Anyway, this guy will actually go chasing after tornadoes and the insane storms that produce them. Per his profile, “Rear flank downdrafts continue to interest me… so there may be lots of RFD talk in my blog. ” All right! I’m interested in rear flanks… What’s that? …I’m being told that he’s not referring to boodies. Shoot! And I was all excited to read the papers he’s published on them!

Anyway, head on over and check out the sciency coolness of some bad-ass storms at Storm Talk.

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Pencils and graph paper and dice, oh my!

I’m a geek. About this fact we are all in agreement. But sometimes I feel like I’m failing in upholding the standards and values of true geekdom. Wil Wheaton is a geeks-geek who has never lost the faith. I got re-hooked onto his blog recently and this article he did about playing D&D made me totally miss my crystal dice set. I haven’t played a good old-fashioned pencil-and-paper RPG in way too long.

Wil got to play in a campaign of Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition with Gabe and Tycho from Penny-Arcade and Scott Kurtz from PVP and, to top it off, Chris Perkins from Wizards of the Coast was the DM! Dude, I would have given my left nut to be in that party (especially since I’ve already had two kids and aren’t looking forward to more). Even better than all that, he got to play a new unreleased character class. Man, why do washed up former child actor geeks get all the opportunities? jk Wil, I love ya’, in a totally platonic man kind of way. Did I mention that my wife[1] once got your autograph at a convention, but had you sign the back of Marina Sirtis’s head shot ’cause that’s all she had? I’m just jealous.

My kids better learn to read soon, ’cause I’ve got shelves full of RPG goodness just waiting for them to be able to fill out a character sheet and not put the dice in their mouth. I’ll bet the boy could calculate THAC0. I can hardly wait…[2]

[1] She wasn’t my wife at the time, this was back in high school. She was just my best friend then.

[2] Aren’t footnotes cool? I decided to figger ’em out. Now I can be all cool and geeky with references to stuff. As if I were writing something that wasn’t completely pointless 😛

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