Archive for Geek Culture & Tech

Solar flare

Solar flare, along with the Earth for scale.

Via io9


Mathematics of Your Eyelash Length

From io9:

You can fake longer lashes with mascara, a curler, or extensions, but a new study suggests that the actual length of your lashes has already been set by a biological ratio. Plus, there’s also a pretty good mathematical reason to lay off those extra long extensions.

So what is the formula? The length of eyelashes on all 22 species of mammals studied was 1/3 of the width of the eye. To get to that formula, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology used two methods: First, they hit the American Museum of Natural History to start measuring all the eyes and lashes that they could.

[Read rest of article]


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What does your horoscope say for 2015?

This is 100% scientifically accurate.

Via BoingBoing

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The best and the worst of the 50 books I read in 2014


I am so happy that I finally managed to reach my yearly goal of reading 50 books. I read almost 25,000 pages of science fiction and fantasy in 2015. Shit, I’m such a geek. Ladies and gentlemen… my own personal Hugo Awards for books I read this year.

The Best Three Books I Read in 2014

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Simple, beautiful book that everyone should read. It made me cry.

A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
Super amazing book, beautiful plot, genius science.

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
This series should be a classic. It’s very well written, the characters are so rich, and the plots are fun.

The Worst Three

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

The Elric Saga by Moorcock, Michael
So dull.

Among Others by Jo Walton
I hated hating this one, because I love Jo Walton’s articles.

Books I Couldn’t Complete

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
I’ve never been able to finish any of his books.

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Sorry, Ray! This was awful.

Biggest Disappointments

Shards of Honour by Lois Bujold
I’ve heard so much about the Vorkosigan Saga and I was so excited to read it… unfortunately, the books are crap.

Gateway by Fredrik Pohl
It could have been a very good book, but it was empty.

Gardens of the Moon by Erikson, Steven
I’ve been looking forward to this one for years.

Most Creative Plot

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Beautiful book!

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
I really enjoyed this classic — scary, fun, and fast-paced.

A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
Loved this one.

All the Books I Read in 2014

  1. The Book of the New Sun by Wolfe, Gene
  2. Flowers for Algernon by Keyes, Daniel
  3. Sunshine by McKinley, Robin
  4. The Road by McCarthy, Cormac
  5. The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1) by King, Stephen
  6. Magician's Gambit (The Belgariad, #3) by Eddings, David
  7. Cat's Cradle by Vonnegut, Kurt
  8. Shards of Honour (Vorkosigan Saga, #1) by Bujold, Lois McMaster *
  9. Queen of Sorcery (The Belgariad, #2) by Eddings, David
  10. A Fire Upon the Deep (Zones of Thought, #1) by Vinge, Vernor
  11. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Clarke, Susanna
  12. A Deepness in the Sky (Zones of Thought, #2) by Vinge, Vernor
  13. Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, #1) by Butcher, Jim 
  14. Among Others by Walton, Jo
  15. First Lord's Fury (Codex Alera, #6) by Butcher, Jim 
  16. Cursor's Fury (Codex Alera, #3)  by Butcher, Jim  
  17. A Spell for Chameleon (Xanth, #1) by Anthony, Piers
  18. Captain's Fury (Codex Alera, #4) by Butcher, Jim  
  19. Princeps' Fury (Codex Alera, #5) by Butcher, Jim  
  20. Academ's Fury (Codex Alera, #2) by Butcher, Jim  
  21. Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2) by Gabaldon, Diana *
  22. Outlander (Outlander, #1) by Gabaldon, Diana *
  23. Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1) by Erikson, Steven
  24. The Gods Themselves by Asimov, Isaac
  25. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Brooks, Max
  26. Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle, #1) by Paolini, Christopher
  27. Eldest (The Inheritance Cycle, #2) by Paolini, Christopher
  28. Brisingr (The Inheritance Cycle, #3) by Paolini, Christopher *
  29. Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle, #4) by Paolini, Christopher
  30. The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, #1) by Fforde, Jasper
  31. Cryptonomicon by Stephenson, Neal
  32. The Martian Chronicles by Bradbury, Ray
  33. The Elric Saga Part I (Elric Saga, #1-3) by Moorcock, Michael 
  34. The Magicians (The Magicians, #1) by Grossman, Lev
  35. The Magician King (The Magicians, #2) by Grossman, Lev
  36. The Magician's Land (The Magicians, #3) by Grossman, Lev
  37. Taliesin (The Pendragon Cycle #1) by Lawhead, Stephen R. 
  38. The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1) by Dashner, James
  39. The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3) by Dashner, James
  40. The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, #2) by Dashner, James
  41. Merlin (The Pendragon Cycle, #2) by Lawhead, Stephen R. 
  42. A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1) by L'Engle, Madeleine 
  43. Arthur (The Pendragon Cycle #3) by Lawhead, Stephen R. 
  44. The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1) by Abercrombie, Joe 
  45. Before They Are Hanged (The First Law, #2) by Abercrombie, Joe 
  46. Last Argument of Kings (The First Law #3) by Abercrombie, Joe 
  47. Prince Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #11) by Anne Rice
  48. The Andromeda Strain by Crichton, Michael 
  49. Gateway (Heechee Saga, #1) by Pohl, Frederik 
  50. Darkover Landfall (Darkover #1) by Marion Zimmer Bradley

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Astronomically Accurate Twinkle, Twinkle

The only sort of nursery rhymes that my kids are gonna hear.

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The Sun As You’ve Never Seen It Before

NASA recently published this beautiful image of the sun. It’s the most sensitive shot ever taken in the high-energy X-ray range of the spectrum.

main image

Look at the beautiful days:


zoom 2

This is really cool because the new telescope has the potential to capture hypothesized nanoflares — smaller versions of the sun’s giant flares that erupt with charged particles and high-energy radiation. Nanoflares, should they exist, may explain why the sun’s outer atmosphere, called the corona, is sizzling hot, a mystery called the “coronal heating problem.”

The corona is, on average, 1 million degrees Celsius, while the surface of the sun is much cooler at a measly 6,000 degrees Celsius. It is like a flame coming out of an ice cube.

Here’s the direct image link.

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