Archive for Geek Culture & Tech

The Most Epic Picture of Wearable Technology

From io9:

By the 1990s, Ryan shows, wearable tech meant cyborgs. A group of self-proclaimed cyborgs started MIT’s Borg Lab, (all Star Trek references intended). Thad Starner (far right in the picture), now a manager on the Google Glass project, along with a group of his colleagues, began experimenting with what he called “‘the real personal computers’—as opposed to PCs.”



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The UAE Space Agency

Finally growing past creating the world’s tallest hotel, the world’s biggest hand-washing events, and largest indoor billboard (GRR!), the UAE today announced one of the most amazing, uplifting announcements I’ve heard in years.

The announcement makes me so happy I have a lump in my throat. Ladies and gentlemen, it might not sound like much to you, but to me, this is the silver lining in a really bad storm — the first Arab space agency. It is something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. And with plans as soon as 2021.

Where do I apply?

space



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Yusra, the Amazing Palestinian Woman Who Found One of the Earliest Human Records

From io9:

Yusra was one of the many women from the villages of Ljsim and Jeba in the Wady el-Mughara region of Palestine who became part of Dorothy Garrod’s excavation team. Yusra was the most expert, her work deeply valued by Garrod. She stayed with the project through its full six-years, acting as excavation fore(wo)man – her trained eyes alert to stone tool and bone fragments.

Garrod encouraged Yusra to come study at Cambridge, and Yusra seemed eager to do it. In 1932, she found the famous Tabun-1 Neanderthal skull. Roughly 100,000 years old, it was an incredible find because most of the cranium and some of the facial features were intact. As Herridge notes, this would have been a career-making discovery for any other paleontologist. But for Yusra, a Palestinian woman without a college degree, it wasn’t even enough for history to remember her last name:

Excavating at et-Tabun, alongside Jacquetta Hawkes, Yusra spotted a tooth. That tooth led to a crushed skull – one of the most important human fossils ever found.

Discoveries like hers are a once-in-a-career (and often career-making) event for a palaeontologist – just thinking about it makes my heart race.

Despite this, Yusra never made it to Cambridge. History intervened. Ljsim and Jeba were destroyed in 1948, and – as of 2010 – the Palestinian component of Garrod’s team untraceable. I haven’t even been able to discover her surname.

It’s unclear what happened to Yusra, and it’s tragic that we know so little about this citizen scientist who changed the way we understand human history.

Read All Article



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1969: Niagra Falls Without Any Water (Seriously)

It turns out I have another amazing reason other than Woodstock to travel back to 1969… to see Niagra Falls without any water.

Seriously. Imagine that in 1969, some engineers turned off Niagara Falls. They did it to clean up the area and to check for structural integrity, basically tuning this:

Into this:

Environmental design blog Mammoth explains the context:

For six months in the winter and fall of 1969, Niagara’s American Falls were “de-watered”, as the Army Corps of Engineers conducted a geological survey of the falls’ rock face, concerned that it was becoming destabilized by erosion. During the interim study period, the dried riverbed and shale was drip-irrigated, like some mineral garden in a tender establishment period, by long pipes stretched across the gap, to maintain a sufficient and stabilizing level of moisture. For a portion of that period, while workers cleaned the former river-bottom of unwanted mosses and drilled test-cores in search of instabilities, a temporary walkway was installed a mere twenty feet from the edge of the dry falls, and tourists were able to explore this otherwise inaccessible and hostile landscape.

Read all story on io9



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I want this dress

moon dress

By someone called Ana Locking, whoever she is.



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Roba’s Top Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Review: Part 2

A few months ago, I reviewed the top ten books based on NPR’s 100 Top Fantasy and Science Fiction books. This is part two in my review of science fiction and fantasy books to read.

You can read my review of the first ten here.

12. The Wheel of Time 

By Robert Jordan

Rating: Kinda Boring

Topic: Philosophy (Good versus evil)

For such a sweeping, huge work of fantasy, this series is actually horrible. I’ve read lots of epic fantasy novels and “The Wheel of Time” just isn’t epic. I found myself doing a lot of skimming.


13. Animal Farm

By George Orwell

Rating: Kinda Boring

I did not enjoy this Orwell classic, but maybe that’s just me. As much as I love fantasy, I can’t get past the block of talking animals. It also reminds me too much of a horrible English teacher I had in 4th grade. Did you enjoy this book?


14. Neucromancer

By William Gibson

Rating: Avoid

Topic: Digital life, cyberpunk

For someone like me who really, really relates to the Internet, I am still amazed that I absolutely hated this book. It reads like a cheap Danielle Steel novel with sci-fi elements.


15. I, Robot

By Isaac Asimov

Rating: Must Read

Topic: Robotics, politics

I mentioned this in my first review, but nothing and no one in the world makes me happier and more content that Isaac Asimov. When I’m reading Asimov, I forget I’m alive. For those of you who watched the movie, the movie has nothing to do with this amazing book. Asimov was a lover of technology and a visionary in the field of robotics, and the stupid movie turned that around. Read “I, Robot”, it will make you fall in love with robotics too.


16. Stranger in a Strange Land

By Robert A. Heinlein

Rating: Worth Reading

Topic: Philosophy, Politics

I am guilty of not being a huge fan of Heinlein. From the big three, it’s Asimov I adore. While “Stranger in a Strange Land” is absolutely genius, it is dull to read. You should read it, because it will make you think though.


17. The Kingkiller Chronicles

By Patrick Rothfuss

Rating: Must Read

Topic: History

While Rothfuss isn’t really famous and even though I ABSOLUTELY DESPISE reading a series that hasn’t yet been completed, this is one of the best epic fantasy series’ I’ve ever read in my life. It’s amazing how Rothfuss makes everything so alive and so animated… you devour his words, ideas, well-researched plots, and dynamic characters. Very strong recommendation.


18. Slaughterhouse Five

By  Kurt Vonnegut

Rating: Avoid

Topic: WW2 History

I don’t understand the fascination with this book. It’s so terribly written I could barely force myself to complete it.


19. Frankenstein

By Mary Shelley

Rating: Worth Reading

Topic: History, Psychology, Robotics

One of my first sci-fi novels and one of the first sci-fi novels in history too, Frankenstein is worth reading if only for the historical relevance.


20. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

By Philip K Dick

Rating: Worth Reading

Topic: Politics

While I am not sure I enjoy Philip K Dick’s writing style, this book is haunting in concept. The movie “Bladerunner” was based on it and it will make you think for sure.



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