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March 2012 Archives

Grace Hopper and UNIVAC

Grace Hopper, programmer and developer of the first compiler, and UNIVAC

It's almost the end of March, which means Women's History Month is almost over, too.

We know you won't forget women in science and technology the other 11 months of the year because you're a geek and you get it. But we've just dedicated our $1,000 March donation to the National Center for Women & Information Technology just be sure everyone else remembers, too.

NCWIT

The National Center for Women & Information Technology focuses on getting girls into computer science while they're in grade school by building a learning community with alliances around the country, sharing research on the IT workforce, and getting the message out that:

  • Girls comprise 46% of Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus test-takers, but only 19% of AP Computer Science test-takers.
  • Women hold 56% of all professional jobs in the U.S. workforce, but only 25% of IT jobs.
  • In 2009, just 18% of undergraduate Computing and Information Sciences degrees were awarded to women; in 1985, women earned 37% of these degrees.

We're big believers in educating young geeks and celebrating women in science and math, so we're happy to support NCWIT's work with our donation.

Need more inspiration to support the budding geek girls in your life? Perhaps our (edited here for brevity) list of our favorite women thinkers will help:

  • Ada Lovelace, became world's first computer programmer when she wrote an algorithm meant to be processed on Babbage's analytical engine
  • Amalie Noether, laid the groundwork for theory of relativity and revolutionized the theories of rings, fields, and algebras
  • Hypatia of Alexandria, head of the Platonist school at Alexandria and prominent mathematician
  • Marie Curie, pioneered research on radioactivity (a term she coined) and discovered polonium and radium
  • Maria Gaetana Agnesi, philosopher and mathematician who wrote the first book discussing both differential and integral calculus
  • Annie Jump Cannon, astronomer and creator of the Harvard Classification Scheme, the first serious attempt to organize and classify stars based on their temperatures
  • Rosalind Franklin, X-ray crystallographer whose work on DNA made Watson & Crick famous
  • Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, one of the first examples of science fiction ever written
  • Grace Hopper, one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer and developer of the first compiler for a computer programming language
  • Stephanie Kwolek, polymer chemist and inventor responsible for Kevlar
  • Jennifer Pinkham, Kate Kirby, and Daria Akers, members of the ThinkGeek codemonkey team who do not have Wikipedia pages... yet

Who is your favorite woman thinker, past or present? We're always looking for more lady geeks to add to our list!

Futurama's pilot aired thirte--ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD.

It's been a busy week. Batman got pulled over, we had to practice our bike parkour, and there were the teddy bear experiments. However we had time to share a bunch of li--ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD.

Links from the Twitter, Google+, and Facebook 'verse:

Mandatory dance break. (YouTube)

You wouldn't want to bump into this "painting"--it's made of 500,000 fish hooks. (Yoan Capote)

This is what a graphing calculator built in Minecraft looks like: Insanely awesome. (YouTube)

Skyrim + Adventure Time = Dovahfinn (deviantArtist radiostarkiller)

JJ Abrams built a wall around the Star Trek 2 set. (Blastr)

Elderly villans are kind of sad. (Behance)

15 examples of Hunger Games nail art: May the odds be forever in your fingernails (Buzzfeed)

So. Here's a Dalek stalking the Queen. Not even a little bit photoshopped. (BBC)

What'd you do this weekend? 'Cause Batman got pulled over in Silver Spring, MD. Awkward. (CBS Washington DC)

New 1st law of motion? A bulldog chasing a ball tied to itself will stay in motion... forever. (YouTube)

How to explain cell division via text message. (Tumblr)

In case you forgot that our spaceship is pretty incredible: Perpetual Ocean by NASA (Flickr)

Happy Birthday Nathan Fillion! (Charity: Water)

Shocking new research. Teratogenic Effects of Pure Evil in Ursus Teddius Domesticus. (Twitter: @CStross)

NASA Goddard posted some lovely photos from their 5 suborbital sounding rockets fired early on March 27th from Wallops, Virginia. (Flickr)

Want to turn the Space Needle into an Angry Birds slingshot? Fine, but you really should fire it. (Laughing Squid)

Ridiculous bike parkour is ridiculous. (YouTube)

Hunger Games-themed wedding doesn't seem auspicious, but it's pretty. (Style Me Pretty)

This is your skull on books. (Colossal)

Best photobomb ever. Get your hankies, folks. (YouTube)

Cycles attached to these railings will be removed--especially if posted by mitochondria. (Twitpic)

Maryland Batman is revealed! He is Lenny B. Robinson & he brings superhero cheer to hospitalized kids. (Washington Post)

Hope you had less trouble getting out of bed this morning than this great dane. (YouTube)

From Albus to Zabini, illustrated Harry Potter alphabet. (@MikeBaboon Twitter)

Ow ow ow, pop art is cool, ow ow ow. (Google+)

Good news, everyone! Leela has been installed in the bathroom. (Google+)

Watch out for the exhaust port... (Tumblr)

On March 28 1999, Futurama aired its 1st episode, Space Pi--ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD! (YouTube)

A little afternoon inspiration... and space. (YouTube)


Signal boost! Here are some links from our Twitter, Google+, and Facebook friends that might be interesting to look at:

Dethlehem says: If you RT our Kickstarter, we'll LARP outside of TG HQ. Challenge accepted. (Dethlehem Kickstarter)

Gah! Two hours lost to the hypnotoad again.

TimmyBerus

We're a little weird here at ThinkGeek.

You know this. Heck, we've shown you a little of our weirdness before. You seemed to really like this peek into our collective geeky psyche, so we're going to do it again.

Our victim this time: Christian, Graphics DesignNerd and That's What She Said aficionado.

Christian, daww.

What does Christian do? All of our awesome packaging design is Christian's fault. The fonts, feel, and visual swankiness of our site are also Christian's fault (mostly). The sudden dance parties? Well. That one was mostly Zack's fault, but Christian is always up for a dance party.

Leia with blaster

Leia is on her guard at the door, brandishing her blaster threateningly. When Christian is busy, none shall enter.

Slave Leia

However when Christian closes his door, she apparently changes into something more...comfortable. Oh my.

Typeface

This explains how quickly he finds the utterly perfect typeface. Also, we kind of need one of these posters for every room now.

Pillows

What she said, we don't know. However, she did say it. Humorously. (Hint! This is the beginning of a trend. Read on.)

Guitars

El Jefe, eh?

Tauntaun

A familiar face that was Christian's idea entirely. Yes, really!

shelves

Speaking of things that are Christian's fault...

Yep. Everything on those shelves. He's something of a mastermind.

badrobot

Christian keeps interesting companions.

alice

If Alice Cooper asks you if you're ready to rock, the answer is always "YES."

treesaid

The trend. It continues!

(That's what tree said!)

hustle

We're...not sure what this means. Perhaps it references Christian's tendency to start dancing randomly? Hrm.

r2

The greatest doorstop in the galaxy.

Wow

Ah, the quintessential Christian. Bug-eyed and slightly crazed.

...

We have a confession. This post has been written with a tinge of wistful sadness. You see, Christian has left ThinkGeek to seek his fortune on the west coast. So this post is kind of a way to remember all of the art, the jokes, the dance parties.

We'll miss your mad genius, dude.

P.S. All of these photos are also links to the many videos Christian starred in. Do yourself a favor and click. You won't regret it.

Smocks! We need smocks!

Ms. Stover's class needs some chair socks--and apparently a cleanup crew!

What's geekier than helping students stuff their brains with delicious knowledge? Not much.

We're helping our friends at DonorsChoose.org bake up some awesomeness in the classroom again, but we need you to make it happen.

Here's how you can help:

  • Donate any amount to DonorsChoose.org between 12 noon EST on Friday 3/23 and Friday 12 noon 3/30. UPDATE: The window for entering to win $100 has closed, but you can continue to double your donation through 4/6!
  • Use the code THINKGEEK at checkout.
  • Your donation will automatically be doubled.
  • That's right. We will help you be twice as cool, with only a few keystrokes required on your part.

But wait, there's more.

If you donate to DonorsChoose.org using the code THINKGEEK at checkout in the specified time frame, you will also automatically be entered to win one of three $100 ThinkGeek Gift certificates.

To sum it up:

  • Help kids get the stuff they need to learn.
  • Have that help doubled.
  • Potentially win $100 of ThinkGeek loot.

It's win-win for everyone. So what are you waiting for!? Donate!

Me Gusta Coffee

There is no such thing as too ma...n...Blooooorrrrfsplat!

It is...Talk Like...Shatner--Day. We must...gather the links FROM last week. For you.

Links from the Twitter, Google+, and Facebook 'verse:

Introducing... (YouTube)

Evolution of the moon. You'll want headphones for the bombardment. Trust us. (YouTube)

New Doctor Horrible!? Must. Restrain. Glee. (Wired)

Eep. Wield those umbrellas carefully, folks! (13WHAM)

Problem? (YouTube)

Full-screen this, turn the sound up, put your headphones on, and enjoy the trip. (YouTube)

Press 6 6 6 8 56 8 56, 3 3 3 2 56 8 56 8 56 to play the imperial march? (Reddit)

El wire = Instant TRON. (Instructables)

Dude the chihuahua meets his match? (YouTube)

Michael Bay will be directing a new TMNT movie. Please say that there will be pizza and Cowabungas. (Guardian)

Look for it. We'll give you a minute. (Imgur/Reddit)

"The fastest way to a boy's heart is between the 3rd & 4th rib w/ a sharp arrow!" (College Humor)

How to wield a lightsaber: Lesson one. (YouTube)

The Doctor gets a new companion soon!? (The MarySue)

I'm gonna let you finish, but first...let me tweet that for you. (LetMeTweetThatForYou)

Whoa. Haptic ferromagnetic tattoos so you can feel who's calling your mobile phone? Nokia might be working on that. (AltPress)

You might have too many books if... (My Modern Met)

Which do you think is faster: 1989 movie Batmobile vs 1966 TV Batmobile? (YouTube)

In case you missed it, there's this new Ridley Scott film called Prometheus you should maybe get excited about. Time to speculate until June 8! (YouTube)


Signal boost! Here are some links from our Twitter, Google+, and Facebook friends that might be interesting to look at:

@Alpheus125 said: My first game! Keep in mind that I've been working on it for a month. (Kickstarter)

Auditorium 2: Duet. (Kickstarter)

Cosplay costume sale! Whee! (Hero Fashions on Etsy)

Did you hear Shatner's voice in your head while reading the link descriptions? Good. Our work here is done.

Cannot...handle..the...awesome...

Why is today International Talk Like Shatner Day? Because it is both William Shatner's and Captain Kirk's birthday!

In their honor, we are holding a contest--and it involves this mask. (PDF download warning!) Just click to download and print. You'll need to supply your own scissors, and a word of warning--you might attract some interesting alien species if you wear the mask for long.

Keep an eye on our Twitter, Google+, and Facebook feeds today for photos from fellow Kirk-a-likes!

P.S. We're posting our favorite photos here. Keep refreshing for new Kirkfaces!

EDIT! We have our winners! Direct your jealousy to these geeks:
Melissa L. and her eCommerce team.
Joshua H., who brings the swankiness.
Kristin S., Classic Tactical.

Congratulations, winner-types! We'll email you to verify your information before gathering the loot to send to you.

Mar
21
2012

You are all hilarious

Tis the season!

Week-before-last we challenged our Smart Masses to a test of speed and skill for a totally random prize.

What we didn't know was that we were the real winners. You see, we added a question to this contest.

"Extra credit! Have you ever pulled off a good prank? Tell us."

Whoo boy, did you tell us. Your answers were so good that you had us sputtering in laughter at the most inopportune moments.

We can't keep these stories to ourselves. We must share the best of them with you right now.

Brace yourselves.

Rik T. - A most generous prankster

I was visiting my father in law who is an avid wildlife photographer. He was setting up all of his gear for a shoot when I subtly placed an (empty) Camera Lens Mug down near his assortment of actual lenses. I waited juuuuust long enough for him to be half looking in my direction when I bumped it and sent it falling to the ground. His stream of profanity and dive to try and catch it from about 12 feet away was amazing. When I picked it up, I calmly told him that I appreciated his concern, but it was empty and nothing spilled on his gear. I gave it as a gift as a way to apologize for the heart attack I had no doubt induced.

Amanda W. - The bacon always knocks twice

I passed out your Bacon Jelly Beans at work one day. Those who ate it without giving it a little sniff first, well... let's just say I've never seen facial expressions quite like that before. People were so desperate to get the taste out of their mouths, they were spitting the bean out into their hands, spitting in the garbage can, and wiping their tongues with kleenex.

My sister-in-law, 14 at the time, thought it was actually pretty good -- until 3 hours after supper when she burped and screamed, ""EEEWWW!! I still taste that jelly bean!"

Elyse H. - U Mad?

A couple of years ago, I acquired a couple of evil-trons. I just placed them on the fridge and dreamed of opportunities to use them.

The following summer, I moved to a new apartment, and while setting up my tower, I heard the "click of death" coming from the hard drive. I panicked, shut down the tower, and went to MicroCenter and bought a replacement "just in case". I come back home, and before I have a chance to turn the tower back on, I hear the click. Took a while, but I finally traced the click to the evil-a-tron chilling in a box filled with kitchen stuff. At least I now have a back up hard drive thanks to unintentionally pranking myself!

Meghan D. - Duct tape truly is good for everything

I have both the evil-tron and the annoy-a-tron, but the evil tron seems to be the one that gets the most rises out of people. I had a co-worker who was CONVINCED that there were rats in the walls. I let the other 5 people working in the room with us in on the prank, and set the evil-tron to the scratching noises. She got so freaked out that she ended up duct taping the wall sockets shut and putting mouse traps around them. It was really hard for the rest of us to play along, but we pulled it off.

Rory G. - Devilish in his ingenuity

I bought a pair of Annoy-a-trons a couple of years ago. I cleverly hid one in my buddy's office, and drove him crazy with it for a couple of days. Then I moved the Annoy-a-tron to a place where he could more easily find it... and find it he did. BUT... I also hid a second one in his office at the same time. So, just as he thought the problem was escalating (twice as many "chirps"), he had about 2-3 minutes of sheer joy after finding the first one... followed by the crushing defeat of the second one going off.

Bug Girl - Helping people make...friends.

I've not used any of your stuff to prank anyone, but I have put insect pheromones in someone's hat. This surrounded them in a cloud of "interested" male moths.

Have you managed better pranks than these fine folks? Tell us in the comments. After all, April Fools day is coming up fast, and we could always use some inspiration that doesn't involve insect pheromones.

EDIT!  Twitter smart masses chime in!

@Lunachique - Promoting Synergy

 Know that rubber gasket that prevents the doorknob from hitting the wall?  I'm duct taping an air horn to it in boss' office!

@MrETwit - Tech based glee

I changed a roommates icon and home bar to look as if he was running 640x480. Drove him crazy trying to fix his resolution.



Tawshi and Wash

Geek Love.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 update: Sadly, we need to update the blog post at this time. Late last night, Wash passed. Our thoughts are with Tashi, who could not have said it better: Wash "stepped into his own TARDIS to start his next adventures." <3


Do these two look familiar?

You may remember Wash and Tashi from our blog post in December. There have also been a lot more posts around the geekosphere about them recently.

There is a reason for that.

The geek community has rallied around Tashi and Wash ever since the news that two of our own were struggling with the reality of terminal brain cancer. It's been inspiring and uplifting to see and to take part in. However that support has become more urgently needed.

We were recently pointed to this Regretsy post which featured a letter from Tashi explaining how Wash's condition has deteriorated, along with a request for a TARDIS-shaped urn.

Our geeky hearts broke.

Based on Tashi's most recent blog post it seems like they already have plenty of TARDIS urn designs to go through. However, we still wanted to help.

Linked in that Regretsy post was a Fundly fundraiser intended to gather money to help Tashi and Wash with all of the expenses that come with end-of-life care. Now, this isn't an official charity and seems to have been started by a caring friend, but we wanted to boost the signal anyway. It's the least we can do.

Tashi, Wash. We're thinking of you.

You're in our hearts. Like the best sort of parasite ever.

Buy one shirt, get another half off

It's the weekend. Spring is coming. You need more shirts.

This weekend only, you can buy one t-shirt and get another t-shirt for 50% off.

Here are the details:

  • This awesome deal does not apply to the following items: Things that are not t-shirts, including but not limited to hoodies, jackets, interactive shirts, and satellites.
  • You can buy as many t-shirts as you want. Half of them will be 50% off. All of them will be 50% cotton. Maybe.
  • The cheaper of the two t-shirts will be always the 50% off one. So it is written. So it shall be done.
  • This deal will only exist between the hours of 12:00am on March 17th until 11:59pm on March 18th. Eastern standard time.
  • If anything unnatural or incongruous happens, remember: A wizard did it.

That's all, folks! Feel free to bug us if you have any questions, however. We're always up for conversation and/or debating the physics of the Force.

Me Gusta Coffee

Me Gusta Caffeine.

It's Thursday. The end of the week is in sight, but your enthusiasm for work wanes despite the upcoming respite. Don't worry. We can help.

Take a break. Watch some videos. Dance along with George. Watch your reticence melt away like ice in a mug of coffee.

Links from the Twitter, Google+, and Facebook 'verse:

Cooler than a monkey wearing a tuxedo made out of bacon riding on a cyborg unicorn... (Happy Place)

Me Gusta Coffee. (Nerdalicious)

Meet Ratatouille, the snowboarding opossum. (YouTube)

I can taste...eternity. (Cryptocurium)

Darth Vader. On a unicycle. In a kilt. Playing the bagpipes. (YouTube)

George Takei is sexy, and he knows it. (YouTube)

A great eye, lidless, wreathed in flames! (Tumblr)

You get nothing! Good day! (YouTube)

We're going Back! Back where, Doc? To the future! (YouTube)

IRON MAN. (Comics Alliance)

Putting Mario on anything makes it instantly cooler. (Etsy)

Superhero math. Yep, that just about sums it up. (Matt Can't Draw via Deviantart)

Batnails! (Kayleigh OC via Deviantart)

For your Pi making needs: The Apple Pi (Instructables)

Also: The U.S.S. Enterpi (Instructables)

Yes. THIS. (YouTube)

Jean-Luc Picard's 5 leadership lessons, according to Forbes (Forbes)

The Wampug is back--this time in a live-action re-enactment of the Hoth attack. It's kind of horri-dorable. (YouTube)

We present to you: the pussycat organ. (YouTube)

Some kick-ass heroines for your afternoon perusal. (The Mary Sue)


There. Did you enjoy that break? Good. Now get back to work!

Mar
14
2012

Happy Pi Day!

Guitardis!

TimmyStein waits not-so-patiently for his serving of pie.

Today is Pi Day!

Every year on Pi Day, ThinkGeek holds a pie bake off in honor of our favorite mathematical constant and the birthday of our favorite physicist, Albert Einstein. This means lots of pie, and funny wigs. At least for Timmy.


Here's a sampling of our Pi Day pies, pre-devouring.

Guitardis!

The first savory pie: Guinness Meat Pie with a puff pastry crust.

The recipe:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Half a small onion, minced
  • minced garlic (however much you want!)
  • 8-9 ounces ground beef
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp brown gravy powder
  • Half cup frozen mixed veggies
  • Half can Guinness
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 24 puff pastry shells

Directions: Heat olive oil in a pan and stir in chopped onion. Saute until onion is softened. Stir in ground beef and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add in tomato paste, gravy powder and mixed veggies, stir to mix. Add Guinness and let it simmer over low heat until the gravy is thickened. (Add a little more gravy powder if it's looking watery.) Drink remainder of the can of Guinness. Remove from heat.

Bake puff pastries as indicated on the box.

Assemble: Fill each puff shell with a half tbsp of meat filling and top with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle some black pepper on the top.


Guitardis!

The second savory pie: Pulled Pork. Yes. there is pork in there!


Guitardis!

A preliminary verdict on the savory pies? NOM!


Guitardis!

Time for sweet pies! First up: S'mores. Mm.


Guitardis!

Cadbury Cream Pie. This pie? Made with hand-whipped cream. Our copywriter monkey is both talented and determined.


Guitardis!

Pecan turtle chocolate goodness!


Guitardis!

Shoofly! There were rumors of a bit of kosher salt in this, to mix the savory and sweet. Very nice.


Guitardis!

Pistachio Mustachio. It's green. Also: Delicious.

You'd like a recipe for the Pistachio Mustachio pie? Well okay!

  • One box of Jello pistachio instant pudding
  • 2 cups of cold whole milk
  • One small tub of cool whip
  • Oreo cookie crust - premade

Using a hand blender or a whisk, mix the pistachio pudding mix with 2 cups of ice-cold milk into a large bowl until the mix is dissolved. The pudding will be quick set. Fold in the entire tub of cool whip. Pour the creamy green goop into the crust shell and refrigerate until you're ready to go. If it's not quite set after an hour, pop it in the freezer for a bit before serving.


Guitardis!

Mid-pie-nomfest. We asked everyone to make their happiest nom face, but the power of pie was too hard to resist.


Guitardis!

Timmy finally gets to dig in! A secret: He seems to prefer the savory pies. We suspect that the closeness of pork to bacon convinced him.


Guitardis!

The voting begins! Which pie do YOU think should win?


Did you have a Pi Day celebration? Were there pies? Tell us about them in the comments.

We need something to read to keep ourselves from falling into a post-pie food coma. Eeergh.

Edits, we have them!

You've requested recipes via Twitter, and in the comments. So without further ado, we present the top two requested recipes:

Cadbury Cream Egg Pie With Oreo crust

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 Cadbury Cream eggs, plus 4 ounces chocolate chips, melted over a double boiler
  • 1 cup Marshmallow Fluff
  • 2 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 1 pre-made Oreo cookie crust
  • mini Cadbury Cream eggs as garnish (optional)

In medium saucepan combine a half cup cold water and gelatin; let stand 1 minute. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and remaining water. Beat in melted Cadbury Eggs, chocolate, and marshmallow fluff. Chill until mixture mounds when dropped from spoon (20 minutes or so). Fold in whipped cream. Mix until fully incorporated. Plop into crust. Spread evenly and decorate with tiny Cadbury Eggs. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve cold.



S'mores (Via Pixelated Crumb)

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 16 whole graham cracker rectangles)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted

Chocolate Filling

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 bag of large marshmallows (you'll only need about half of the bag)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).

n a medium mixing bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until evenly coated. Press mixture into a 9 inch pie plate (I used a shallow pie plate and didn't need all of the crumb mixture). Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until fragrant. Keep the oven running.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together cream and milk. Warm over medium-low heat. Add in chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted and is smooth. Slowly add the whisked eggs and mix until smooth.

Pour the chocolate filling into baked pie crust. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until chocolate filling is set and does not move when pie is lightly shaken. Remove from oven.

Using kitchen shears, cut marshmallows in half. Place halves in concentric circles over the top of the pie until it's covered.

Set oven to broil. Place pie under the broiler and lightly toast the marshmallows. This can take anywhere from 1-5 minutes, so watch those marshmallows very closely!

Chill the pie in the refrigerator to set for at least 2-3 hours.

To serve, spray a knife with non-stick cooking spray and cut the cold pie into slices. While the pie can be eaten cold, it's really best when slightly warmed. Heat the pie slices in a microwave for 8-12 seconds before serving for the best results. Drizzle with chocolate sauce, if desired.


Enjoy the Pi!

Thanks, Michelle and Andy!

We know we're in the right place when the first words we hear are "OMG IT'S TIMMY!"

Have you ever been to a place and had the feeling of being surrounded by geek?

Not just geeks--that's any session waiting line at Comic-Con--but the actual, palpable embodiment of geekiness itself? We like to think we have that here at TG HQ, and we've experienced it at places like NASA Goddard, Luna City Arcade (sniff), and w00tstock.

We've got a new one to add to the list: TechShop San Jose, a magical place we visited recently. (Thanks again, Andy and Michelle, for the warm welcome and tour!)

If you're not familiar with the concept of TechShop or its 5 locations in the US, it's pretty simple. It's a hackerspace set up like a gym, but for geeks, and with equipment that's much more useful (and dangerous!) than a stairmaster.

Your monthly membership dues get you access to lots of tools and machinery--like a CNC milling machine, laser cutter, CNC waterjet, and 3-D printer--that would be difficult to come by on your own, and staff to teach you to use them without hurting yourself. They also have storage space, meeting rooms, and computer workstations with all the 2- and 3-D modeling software you need to get started, not to mention a community of makers for inspiration.

So it's pretty much a wonderland of awesome people who use awesome tools to make awesome stuff. We can get behind that--and we REALLY want one in our corner of northern Virginia, too!

Some highlights of our tour included:

Makerbot!

Sparks indicate awesomeness is happening.

No tour is complete without a handmade lightsaber...

...and a lasercut Millennium Falcon schematic

...or a tiny cardboard TARDIS.

So if you're in the San Jose area or have a TechShop near you, check it out and tell them that they really, really need to build one in Fairfax, Virginia! 11216 Waples Mill would be an excellent location, in fact; we have this parking lot out front that's practically wasted space.

Free Shipping!

Happy Unbirthday! Have some free economy shipping!

The details:

  • Only economy shipping to the contiguous US, Canada, and Australia is free. (More on what qualifies for economy shipping and here are more details on the offer.)
  • Your cart total has to be at least $40, but can be more than that.
  • The shipping discount will happen automagically, and will show up on the last order screen. No need for codes.
  • This free shipping offer will only exist for a limited time, to be nullified at the Overlords' whim, so get in while the getting is good.

That's it! Feel free to bug us if you have any questions, however. We're always up for conversation!

Guitardis!

GuiTARDIS: Rocking through time and relative dimension in space.

At 23 links, this week's roundup is comparatively short, so feel free to sneak in a click-fest while your boss isn't looking. She won't mind. Really.

Links from the Twitter, Google+, and Facebook 'verse:

Take one part Dance Central, one part Star Wars. Shake. Strain through a Kinect, and serve. (YouTube)

The Simpson's nod to the Game of Thrones opening. Watch it quickly before it gets taken down! (YouTube)

They really did it! The Mario + Portal hybrid exists! (Stabyourself)

Hogwarts is going up for sale. Just so you know. (Mail Online)

Tiny goats in sweaters hopping about. You're welcome! (YouTube)

Apparently burns from lightning strikes are incredibly beautiful. (The Daily What)

Wear a lab coat: Be perceived as more intelligent. It's called "Enclothed Cognition" (Science Direct)

The Most Astounding Fact of the Universe according to Neil DeGrasse Tyson (YouTube)

You need more creative insults, Spider Brains! (YouTube)

Presenting: the GuiTARDIS. (Arthur Yet Lew via Facebook)

Guitars not your style? Check out the Doctor Whokelele! (Flickr)

WAKE UP! (YouTube)

Today's space weather forecast: partly geomagnetic w/ chance of satnav & power grid interference (NASA)

Swarms of unusual things. They're eerily beautiful. (Thomas Jackson Photography)

Cloaking field engaged. And yes, we're posting this video just so we could say that phrase. (YouTube)

THIS IS MADE OF PAPER. Click through to see the insane detail! (Visual News)

Great photos of Steve Jobs' former home. (Web Urbanist)

Today in Geek History: "The Father of Video Games," Ralph Baer, is born in 1922. He invented the first home gaming console--you may know it as the Magnavox Odyssey released in 1972--and he's absolutely charming in this video. (YouTube)

Orca. Watercraft. (YouTube)

Running speed of this DARPA-engineered robot: 18 MPH. Average sprinting speed of human: 12-15 MPH. You do the math. (YouTube)


Signal Boost! Stuff from our fans on Twitter and Facebook that you should look at:

Dethlehem needs your help funding their next tour! Geeky metal is so worth it. (Kickstarter)

If you're local to Charlottesville, go have some fun and help some fellow Geeks get back on their feet. (Jefferson Theater)

Jesh is a video game that involves punching and a sardonic sense of humor. Watch the video. You wont regret it. (Kickstarter)

Hope that you didn't get into trouble by indulging in all of that mind-melting entertainment. See you next week, Smart Masses.

Pi-tiles!

In this kitchen, Pi Day is every day!

March 14th. Pi Day. Albert Einstein's birthday.

Pi-Einstein day.

It's nearly time.

Don't you worry. We're here to help you prepare.

Let us begin by going over the most important of the Pi-Einstein day traditions:

  • The baking of the pies. Pi Day began with pies, and continues with pies to this day. We suggest holding pie bake-offs and/or eating contests.
  • The wearing of the Pi. Either in t-shirt form or by something a little more subtle, like wearing a bracelet whose beads represent the numbers of Pi.
  • Our favorite physicist's birthday. We usually celebrate this by putting candles on one of our pies and singing Happy Birthday in a charmingly off tune manner.

We are, of course,  gearing up for our own 2012 Pi Day bake off celebration feast, and some of our secrets are too good to keep to ourselves. We must share them.

First: Mini pies are tastier pies. To help, we present you with The Personal Pie Factory. Remember to grease the wells before you put your pies in, and to carve a Pi symbol just so in the middle of each pie. It's the festive thing to do.

Second: A good recipe is key. We can't give away everything (how would we win the contests otherwise) but a couple of tips: A tablespoon of vodka in a pie crust will make it really flaky. Also, we love Chow for recipe ideas and inspiration.

Third: To create the proper Pi ambiance, listen to Pi music, and display Pi-Einstein gear. We have a few humble suggestions.

Are you feeling the Pi Day spirit yet? It's still a week away, but we might have to start baking early. After all, one cannot have too much Pi (or pie).

Mmm!!

Pew Pew Pew!

Where would we be without the endless font of entertainment that is the internet? Bored? Hanging out in a library?

Okay, maybe the library thing is just us. Regardless, please enjoy clicking through all of the cool links that we've shared with you this week!

Links from the Twitter, Google+, and Facebook 'verse:

If you're not wearing curly-toed boots and poofy pants, you're just not fashionable. (i09)

In other fashion news: Cat Mullet (Cute Overload)

This may help us figure out why everyone loves Gamera. (Buzzfeed)

Here, have a picture of Clint Eastwood holding an armadillo looking pretty much exactly like Wolverine. (Tumblr)

Our brains are weird and awesome. (YouTube)

Everyone needs a 90's-montage melodica jam to brighten the afternoon. (YouTube)

Three words: Stained. Glass. TARDIS. (Craftster)

Some of these rejected Star Wars toy ideas made us chortle. (BoingBoing)

Quilts inspired by the LHC? These are relevant to our interests. (BoingBoing)

Try this and get back to us. (Sparkfun)

Sorry. Can't talk. Too busy staring at this awesome Demon Hunter cosplay. (Deviantart)

Modern moments as played out in minature on vintage watch faces. (YouTube)

Want juice now. Thanks. (YouTube)

Your moment of dorky beauty: Prismatica. (Vimeo)

A 3-minute Superman musical from the 70s. You're welcome. (YouTube)

SETI wants your Braaaaiiinnssss. (The Mary Sue)

For your moment of Zen: Minecraft Cat Fountain. (YouTube)

This is a great world because a cupcake ATM (ACM?) exists in it. (LAist)

It is a thing of steampunk'd, NERF beauty. (Deviantart)

That's a really nice fig...ure...Wait, that's a cake! (Between the Pages Blog)

The Fireflower: A Super Mario 3 airship rendered in LEGO. (Tumblr)

To turn a taxidermied badger into a musical instrument. It was one man's dream. He made it a reality. (BoingBoing)

We'd like to say something scientifically relevant here, but all we can think is: "WHOA, COOL!" (YouTube)

Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa built a LEGO model of the International Space Station. While ON the International Space Station. How unbelievably meta! (CollectSpace)

First, prosthetic limbs. Then, cybernetic enhancements? We can get behind this. (Wired)

Kinect-powered shopping carts. Creepy or not creepy? We can't decide. (The Verge)

The Walking Stick's lesson: Hold on. (NPR)

An epic mustache and even more epic ray guns. Is anyone else inspired? (Wired)

Take a deep breath, expanding your chest plate fully. Now relax into the stretch and reach up for your blaster....Gooood. (Etsy)

Valentine's days is over, but we just can't resist dorky expressions of love. Especially when they imply lightsabers and blasters. It's a weakness. (Etsy)

Folks. Country-fried bacon with country gravy on a STICK exists. It's like they extracted this straight from our dreams. (Chicago Reader)

Thinking about it, isn't the internet much like a really big library? Endless information, now with people to discuss it with! The future really is awesome.

A wall of loot!

Dear Australians: We have good news for you, too!

You might remember a blog post directed toward our Canadian geeks a few months ago revealing new economy shipping options. Were you feeling a little jealous when you read that?

Be jealous no longer.

See this? You'll have more of it in your wallet soon.

Our Palletmonkeys Julie and Michelle have been hard at work again, and have acquired economy shipping for you, our Australian geeks!

Here are the shiny details:

  • Economy shipping is only available on small orders under $100 for light things 4lbs (1.8 kilograms) or less, so you can't use it to ship a Wampa Rug on the cheap.
  • You can, however, order up a bunch of shirts and annoy-a-trons like you've always wanted.
  • There will be no tracking on these economically-shipped orders, so their arrival dates will be a happy surprise.
  • Your package will be delivered via Australia Post, and we've heard from our friends down-under that it's extremely convenient when compared to other methods.
  • It's pretty slow, but a LOT cheaper.

The basic message that we want to get across: We hear you. We know that shipping to Australia was painful and that's why we're offering this economy option. We hope it helps.

Enjoy your cheaply-shipped loot and let us know what you think! If you have questions, we'll find the answers for you.

Just don't tease us with Tim-Tams. That's mean.


Edit: We're currently working on re-enabling shipping via economy to Australian P.O. Boxes. Sorry about the confusion and the delay!