Category Archives: Just geeky

Scientists Piece Together da Vinci’s Fingerprints

Anthropologists said they have pieced together Leonardo da Vinci’s left index fingerprint, a discovery that could help provide information on such matters as the food the artist ate and whether his mother was of Arabic origin. Aspects of his fingerprint apply to 60% of the Arabic population indicating his mother may have originated from that region.

The reconstruction of the fingerprint was the result of three years of research and could help attribute disputed paintings or manuscripts whose creators are under dispute.


Read details on MSNBC.

Geek Gift #4 – Is It Art or Breakfast?

Our fourth holiday gift recommendation for your geek family comes to us from Brookstone.

Breakfast-Art Image Toaster for US$60.

Bring the fun back into the most important meal of the day with the Breakfast-art image bread toaster! Turn your toast into a fun, festive work of art in just minutes! This breakfast-art picture-making electric toaster allows the kid in all of us to actually have fun with breakfast. Using fun image plates, this bread toaster leaves one of four playful heat imprints—a smiley face, birthday cake, sunshine or coffee cup—right on your piece of toast.

In time for the holidays you can also purchase additional art templates to leave imprints of a snowman, Santa, snowflake or a christmas tree.

  Toaster Art

Xmas Gift for Geeks #1

Each day the next several weeks I’ll post another geek gift idea. This first geek gift on our list i’ve seen advertised on one of my favorite sites (The Daily WTF) for quite a while, in fact it’s great for non-geeks as well! Here’s #1:

Sumo Lounge Omni

Don’t call it a beanbag. Kick back and chill on this super-sized pillow by Sumo. The Sumo Lounger Omni can be used as a lounge chair, crash mat, floor pillow, loveseat; the possibilities really do go on. Sumo Beanbags are made from space age rip-proof nylon and come filled with top quality Sumo Beads. Omni is 4.5′ x 5.5′ and it only weighs 18 lbs! Available in 7 colors, it’s in stock now at a special price of $129 through Christmas. 

   Sumo Chair

Dino Nest For Sale – Eggs Included!

Want to get your significant other a one-of-a-kind holiday gift this year? As one expert states – “Dinosaurs are hotter than ever. It is a very collectible market especially for higher quality specimens”.

Now’s your chance to pick up an exceptionally well-preserved 65 million year old fossilized dino nest. To top it off, it even has some eggs broken open exposing tiny dino skeletons inside!

The nest is going up on the auction block soon and expected to fetch a mere $200K. Get the details on Reuters News.

   Dino Eggs


Scientists Levitate Small Animals

Scientists have previously experimented successfully with levitating small amounts of liquid or solid such as iridium and mercury in an attempt to find a method of transporting or storing corrosive materials without allowing the material to physically contact the container.

Now they’re upping the ante to levitating live animals and bugs, including ladybugs, a spider, ant, beetle and a fish! They levitated each for about 30 minutes without many issues with the exception of the fish not fairing too well being out of water so long (they did try adding water to the space via a syringe periodically!).

 levitate_fish  levitate_ladybug You can read the details and view larger pics on LiveScientist.

CIA Revamps It’s Online Recruiting Site

The CIA is trying to dispel a few myths about the agency and trying to recruit more would-be agents at the same time.

They have a new personality test on their public site, as you take the quiz they dispel some of the typical misunderstandings people have about the agency. If you’ve ever worked with spooks before you know that they’re just regular ‘joes’ for the most part.

I took the quiz, the site analyzed my answers and told me my personaliy trait was more of a “Thoughtful Observer”. Some potential results included “Daring Thrill-Seeker”, “Innovative Pioneer” among others.

If you’re interested in looking at the job openings, go here and find the area of interest to you near the bottom of the page, or you can view all open positions.

 cia quiz


Mouse made of Rock

This has been making the rounds on other geek sites listing a Neko, a Russian design  studio as the creator of a mouse made of stone. Some are guessing it’s just polished rock as the outer shell glued onto plastic, but we can’t really tell until more information surfaces. I think it’s all plastic but would love find out it’s real rock.

I tried to find the original to link to or at least get some more information on Neko but failed. So you’ll just have to admire the nice photos below 🙂

Stone Mouse1   Stone Mouse2 

[Found on Make]

Mythbusters Take On The Unbeatable Biometric Lock

You probably heard about ‘lock bumping’ last year and how in a matter of seconds even a child could unlock a standard 5 pin tumbler lock.

Well the Mythbusters took on biometric locks, in fact they took on the claim by one manufacturer that their fingerprint scanning, heat sensing, galvanic skin response verifying, pulse detecting door lock has never been defeated. Check out the video of their attempt, we should all be afraid and live and work in bunkers.


James Bond is God


Yes, you heard it from me.  Ever since writer Ian Fleming created James Bond in 1952, every man’s dream has been to step into those superspy’s shoes and take out some bad guys, or foil some evil plot.  Through the cinematic history of Bond films, the character has stayed the same, even though several actors have played the part.

Now you can relive those dreams and watch the famous intros to those movies.  These intros are legendary in that many a singer have made their fame with the association of the movies.

Go!  Watch!  And remember…..

[Found via]

Mensa’s Holiday Gift Guide

Mensa is the organization that really does care about its members but especially its members lesser gifted friends and family. They have a Holiday Gift Guide to help you find that special something for your specially gifted ‘know-it-all’.

They’ve identified gifts for your brianiac child, food for your brain like chocolate sushi, cool gadgets, games and construction kits for gravity tools like a trebuchet ($29.95) and a catapult!

Of course they’ve got magic (though not Magic: The Gathering thank god) and IQ Tests. And last but not least, there’s the 365 Mensa Brain Puzzlers Page-A-Day Calendar for you to buff up that IQ. 😉

Microsoft Launches Social Networking Site for Devs

Microsoft recently launched a social networking site for IT pros called Aggreg8. The purpose of the site is to become a MySpace-like forum for developers to share scripts, tools, or best practices, or even to just connect with others within the profession.

Users can collaborate with fellow devs through existing workgroups, or they can create their own. Storage space will also be provided in the groups to allow users to post messages and files, and share events.

From Kevin Remde’s MSDN blog announcing the site:

Aggreg8 is a site for IT Pros to mix-n-mingle.  It’s like a “MySpace” (or a Windows Live Spaces) for IT Pros, complete with working groups on various topics that IT Pros get excited about.  You can setup a profile, join groups, enter posts, add favorites, share content, mix, mingle, and learn.”


Space Shuttle Computers May Not Gracefully Handle New Year Transition?

Wow, seems that as the shuttle Discovery is being hauled out to the launching pad to prepare for an early December launch, we learn that NASA has no idea what the on-board computers will do during a new year transition from Dec 31-Jan1.

They can not say with a high level of confidence that the computers will handle that transition gracefully, in fact there is enough worry that they are mitigating it by trying to ensure they land on New Year’s Eve. Or in case something happens and they need to remain in space ’till the new year, NASA is devising a strategy to hack together some procedures to work around the problem though they don’t indicate they know yet how they’ll do it. Here’s a quote to inspire confidence from a Discovery astronaut:

“We’ve just never had the computers up and going when we’ve transitioned from one year to another,” said Discovery astronaut Joan Higginbotham. “We’re not really sure how they’re going to operate.”


Billion Tree Campaign

Professor Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize laureate for 2004 and founder of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement, has planted more than 30 million trees in 12 African countries since 1977.  When a corporate group in the United States told Professor Maathai it was planning to plant a million trees, her response was: “That’s great, but what we really need is to plant a billion trees.

treesOut of that idea comes the Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign with a goal of combating global warming (assuming there really is global warming 🙂 ).

I have to be honest with you, I’m no tree hugger, but I really like this idea!

Happy Birthday Intel 4004

The chip that started it all is approaching middle age. Back in November of 1971, Intel publicly announced the world’s first customer-programmable microprocessor and started an electronics revolution that changed our world. For more details, here’s the wikipedia page on the i4004.


Produced: From late 1971 to 1974
Manufacturer: Intel
CPU Speeds: 740 kHz
Architecture: pre x86
Socket: 16 pin

Cup Communicator, A High Tech Throwback to String and Can

I found this interesting review on ‘we make money not art’ about combining the form and function of an old children’s toy with modern day walkie talkies. The site has a short interview with the creator of the Cup Communicator.

Its creator Duncan Wilson starts with a pair of small and simple walkie talkies, adapts them to his needs by disabling some of its functions, attaching custom controls and switches, reducing the battery size and finally changing the the configuration of everything else like the antennas, speakers and mics.

You lightly squeeze the polyurethane cup to activate the push to talk function and speak into the cup. The end of the rope (antenna) has a red LED that lights up to show you when you’re receiving an incoming signal from the other cup.

Cup1  Cup2

Ten Greatest Lego Creations

Working off of Andy’s earlier Halloween Lego submission, I came across this article on OddPeak about the ten best Lego creations they’ve come across.


Being a past Lego enthusiast myself, I find these creations very intuitave and enlightening.  Most of the constructions use or depict current technology, and are most impressive; considering they are built from what are mostly considered children’s toys!

Makes me wish I still had all my Legos from my childhood…

[found via OddPeak]

Fry’s online, finally

If you know about Fry’s you probably also know that to take part in the “Costco of the electronics stores”, you had to be lucky enough to live near one because the online presense was basically nill. No more, now Fry’s appears to have their complete store online and joining the ranks of other e-tailers.

My favorite online electronics store for everything from software to building out a new PC from scratch is NewEgg, now i have Fry’s to look to just in time for the holidays.

Check out the ExtremeTech article for details.