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August 2011 Archives

So many comments!

It's time for another monthly $1,000 donation!

If you've been following along since January this year, we pledged to donate $1,000 each month to a worthy charity. So far, we've given to: Child's Play, DonorsChoose classrooms, Red Cross, Autism Speaks (and we're working with ASAN now), Kids Need to Read, Make a Wish Foundation (plus a little something for Simon), FIRST, and some side projects along the way, like our boxes of borked stuff, which is on-going.

For August, we dipped back into the Charity Suggesterator to see what causes were top of mind for you guys. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation garnered many votes, and some very heartfelt comments:

"The CFF gives people (mostly kids) like my daughter, Triana, hope that one day we might have a cure for this genetic condition that will eventually kill them. They've been instrumental in doing the research to make better medications and treatments."
--Shanna F.
"Reason: Because my 2 year old daughter Mia was born with Cystic Fibrosis and I want her to be able to outlive me."
--Larry B.
"My cousin Johnny died at a very young age from this disease. He was in his late teens. He was a HUGE star-wars geek, and his death was a devastating loss to our whole family. So if you could help out in any way so we can help other children like Johnny. Please help them so they can help others."

And when we asked our Twitter and Facebook friends for their opinions, we got lots of positive feedback--and more suggestions for future giving, which is always helpful. (Thanks, guys!)

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Thus we are happy to make it official and name the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation our $1,000 August charity.

Our donation will go towards research and hopefully the eventual cure of this chronic, inherited disease that affects 70,000 children and adults worldwide. CF is caused by a defective gene that makes the body produce an unusually thick mucus, clogging the lungs and obstructing the digestive system from breaking down and absorbing food. The median age of survival is the mid-30s, but the CFF works to extend that statistic into the 40s and beyond. We hope our donation helps!

Thanks again to everyone who chimed in from our tweet and Facebook post earlier this week. If you didn't get a chance to log your future suggested charity, please use the form below. And just so you know, we're working on a few special partnerships for September and October, so those two months may be off the table. More on that soon!


Mi bosco de sequel

This is not the door you are looking for!

Timmy is a codemonkey, not a guardmonkey.

Some of you might remember our issue with would-be infiltrators attempting to enter ThinkGeek HQ via our side door that we plastered with "This is not the door you're looking for. You can go about your business." and "DO NOT ENTER".

The signs did not work. We realized that the reason for this was because the strangers attempting to invade us were likely looking for the Social Security office around the corner and might not be English-speaking. This brought up a quandry. We, at best, speak maybe two or three languages (English, Klingon, Quenya) and could not adequately translate these signs. At least not without a lot of work. So we crowdsourced it!

You guys are impressive. Seriously. We recieved over 800 translations in 251 languages, including all the major ones you'd expect as well as: 1337, Anagram, Astromech Droid, Base 64, Binary, Elvish, Hexidecimal, Huttese, Judoon, Klingon, LOLcats, Morse Code, Na'vi, Pikachu, Pirate, R'lyehian, Rick Astley-ese, robots.txt, Samuel L. Jackson, Shriiwook, Squirrel, Swedish Chef, Undead, and Yodese.

Ever since we put up the new sign (well over a foot long) the confused stranger quotient has dropped almost to nothing, and we have you to thank! So thanks, chuckleheads and translators! Our uninterrupted days are all because of you!

As a special bonus for those who requested it, we have a PDF of the new sign for your own personal stranger-deflecting. You can download it in tabloid form and letter form-- now with updates as of Wednesday, August 31. Enjoy!

We tried our best to choose the most agreed upon translations, but if you see any mistakes, please let us know in the comments or email the correct translation to replybot at thinkgeek dot com, and we'll get them fixed.

Thanks again translators!

Last year's screening of Wrath of Khan at Crystal City. And yes, that's a tribble.

We figured it would be easier for our stalkers if we just put all this information in one place. You won't even need binoculars.

So here is where we're gonna be in the next few weeks. Hope we'll bump into you either online or IRL--and yes, Greedy McFreestuff, there will be goodies available at all three!

Monday, August 29, 7:00pm ET
Crystal Screen, Arlington, Virgina

We'll be watching 2001: A Space Odyssey under the stars on Monday night in Crystal City. It's the last movie of their outdoor season, and it's a humdinger. If you come out, we'll probably be seated near the front so stop on by to say hello, or just wait until you get bonked in the head with airborne freebies. Care to guess what one of the flying objects will be?

Tuesday, August 30, 3pm ET
Ustream Mini Show of Awesome

After we broadcasted the Timmy costume reveals back in July, we realized it had been awhile since our last Ustream. And that should change. So this month we're going to run a short, 30-minute show at 3pm ET on Tuesday, August 30. We'll show a few items that are new to the site as well as some that will be a sneak preview; talk to one of our product designers; perhaps entertain a special Jello guest; and we'll answer your questions. (Got questions? Add 'em to the comments below!) We'll record the show so you can watch it later if you miss it live, but you will have to be watching at the time to win free mystery things.

Friday, September 16-18
InterventionCon, Rockville, Maryland

Have you ever wondered why we don't tweet on the weekend? Our panel with Sara Mitchell, one of the voices behind NASA Blueshift, would be a great time to ask. Carrie Gouldin (that is me) will talk about social media and how we try not to suck at it. InterventionCon hosts a wide array of discussions and internet meme-osity and even if you don't want to talk about Facebook or Twitter, you'll find something that interests you! Hope to see you there.

Is there something else going on in our Virginia, DC, or Maryland area? Let us know in the comments and we'll see if we can work it in!

UPDATE 8/30 5:24pm: During the UStream Mini Show of Awesome we announced a brief contest for our watchers, where they had to email us with the answer to a question (Name three of the office dogs!) and whoever got it right first won the pile of random stuff pictured to the right.

Well Wyn won fair and square! Congrats Wyn! You've won a pile of loot!

A huge thank you to everyone who showed up to watch the UStream and was with us at Crystal Screen! It's always a blast hanging out with you guys!

Yeah, I'd have that look of awe, too.

Chell? Is that you?

This week's link roundup is so full of Portal goodness that we can practically feel the crackling electricity in the air around us. Either that or it's a side effect of Tuesday's earthquake. Regardless, we're highly entertained.

Links from the Twitter and Facebook 'verse:

Portal: No Escape. An amazing live action short film by Dan Trachtenberg. (YouTube)

Best wedding photos EVER. Scroll down. Trust us. (Mlkshk)

Time to tweet "I'd love a million dollars!" (Shankman.com)

Where's Wall-E? Also, Squee at all of the robots! (Imgur)

We'll be at the Crystal Screen in Crystal City, VA on the 29th to see 2001 - A Space Odyssey. Locals, join us! (Crystal City)

How to make a LOL Shield, as instructed by super awesome Sylvia! (YouTube)

TikiDalek: IN-E-BRI-ATE! IN-E-BRI-ATE! (Cory Doctorow Flickr, GruntZooki)

Watch Brent Spiner imitate Patrick Stewart with stunning and hilarious accuracy. (YouTube)

TRON. Duct tape. How could this go wrong? (Watch until the end!) (Vimeo, Ryactive)

Check out this incredible shade illusion. Mind. Boggling. (YouTube)

This creepy puppet dances better than we ever could! (YouTube)

That logo looks...familiar. (BoingBoing)

If only this wasn't a parody! We'd totally fly out there. (MyGreenLake)

Click. Enter your home town. Move map. Ooooh! (Rorschmap)

And the most amusing parent award goes to: This Guy! (YouTube)

What students don't know. (Inside Higher Ed)

A most elaborate Portal Proposal. This is incredible, folks! (YouTube)

So we had our first Earthquake at TGHQ on Tuesday, which was both scary and fun! Of course, our friend Bad Astronomer found a way to let us watch the earthquake ripple across the U.S. (Bad Astronomy at Discover Magazine Blogs)

GameStop opened Deus Ex boxes, removes free game code. (ArsTechnica)

This. Is a GOURD. (Flickr user Calabarte)

Cat Tree, Warp Nine. Engage! (Imgur)

And finally, to make your day complete: A tortoise cart. (YouTube)

That's all of the links we have for this week, adventurers! Stay safe out there.

Meet Guillaume! Fun fact: He hates photos.

It's time to experiment subject entertain Guillaume, our French codemonkey, with another movie night!

If you're not aware of Operation Guillaume, here's the quick rundown. Way back in January 2010, we set upon American-geek acculturizing Guillaume, our newly-hired French codemonkey. He was already a geek, of course, but our favorite part of our meetings--the part where we quote movies and try to out-funny one another with pop culture memes--wasn't really impressing him. We had to fix that.

Also, we like watching movies.

So with our readers' help in choosing movies, we've shown Guillaume Princess Bride, Ghostbusters, Shaun of the Dead, The Trouble with Tribbles, Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, TRON, Office Space, and last but not least, Star Wars Ep IV over the last year and 8 months.

But what next? We've whittled down the top suggestions from our poll, and we'd like you to help us choose the final candidate for the next screening.

Oh, and... We'll be at Crystal Screen in Crystal City, Arlington, VA on Monday August 29th to see 2001: A Space Odyssey. We'll have some freebies on us--some of them kind of obvious--so we hope you'll stop by and say hello!

UPDATE 8/25 10:15am: Ferris Beuller's Day Off has a very narrow lead over Young Frankenstein! Mel Brooks fans, you better step up before it's too late.

Update 8/31 7:05pm: The winning movie for this screening is (Drumroll, please!) YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN! We'll subject Guillaume to this masterpiece tomorrow night, along with bushels of crabs from our favorite local crab place. Congrats to everyone who voted for this Mel Brooks classic, and thanks for helping us brainwash educate our favorite French codemonkey!

NOTE: Guillaume has already seen Indiana Jones: Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Planet of the Apes (the original), and Monty Python's Holy Grail--though they were dubbed in French. We may revisit those classics at a later date.

The more you know!

A meteorite burns up upon atmospheric entry, courtesy of @Astro_Ron

After finding so many awesome links about robotics, static electricity and SETI this week, we're inspired to do SOMETHING with all of these rogue components laying around. Perhaps we should build Timmy a real mech suit?

Links from the Twitter and Facebook 'verse:

Wheatley cosplay puppet! Watch the magic happen. (Furincosplay at Blogspot)

3D movies proven to cause headaches. Eep. 2D glasses for all? (Guardian)

If looks could kill. (YouTube)

Please tell us that your password is not Correct Horse Battery Staple now? (XKCD)

Star Wars characters are going to be featured on the actual currency of Niue! (Telegraph)

Galaxy class starships? I only live on fixed-gear space stations. (HipsterStarTrek.Tumblr)

Savory, Salty, greasy...desserts? (Sweet-Station)

There's a MarioKart reference in here somewhere. (NPR)

A dog/porcupine hybrid? (YouTube)

Jodie Foster helps SETI in it's efforts to bring the Allen Telescope Array back online. Thank you, Jodi! (LaTimes)

But will they call it "Moogle"? (Wired)

What a Shooting Star looks like from space. Wow. (@Astro_Ron on Twitter)

The best Comic-Con proposal ever. Seriously, wait until the end, it's worth it. (YouTube)

8-Bit dance party! WOO! (YouTube)

Creepy robot head squawks lyrics in your general direction. (NewScientist)

If the TARDIS landed in a 70's disco (and its chameleon circuit was working), this is what it'd look like. (How to be a Retronaut)

27% of companies track employee social media use; 71% block it at work. (Social Times)

Best beer billboard bever (AdWeek)

Fanbois just need a hug (ArsTechnica)

Solitaire win sculpture!? (Skrekkogle)

Thanks for joining us on this inspirational and slightly creepy journey through the internets. If you see Timmy in a giant robotic suit, wave!

This is his Mutant Jello inspection NASA bunny suit

It finally happened: the Mutant Jello is down!

Sometime between 7pm ET on Friday, August 12 and 8am ET on Monday, August 15, the Mutant Jello liberated itself from our door.

I'll pause here so you can pull on your hazmat suit and tape up your windows and doors.

Here's the backstory for those who haven't been following the dark, seething progress of the Mutant Jello the last 112 days.

For April Fool's Day, we fake-launched an Edible Gummi iPhone Case, and even though it wasn't really available for purchase, it was really mocked up by Hans, one our Geek Labs engineers, so we'd have something for the product shot. To create the case, he mixed three parts Jello to one part water, and when he was done, he dumped the extra into a bowl and stashed it in the fridge.

3 weeks later, on April 26, Hans came by the social media and t-shirt monkeys' office and as a joke, plopped the extra Jello out of the bowl and slapped it onto our glass door. Ha ha, we thought, and waited for it to slide down the glass.

To our horror, it did not budge--until this weekend.

Evolution of the Mutant Jello

We have observed the Mutant Jello over the last 112 days as it shriveled and lost moisture to the air, curling up at the edges and generally becoming more loathsome. It grew a kind of face with all the creases and cracks, and even the insects wouldn't mess with it. Because it was on the door, it was subjected to heat, cold, moisture, and movement; we were never gentle with it. Through it all, the Mutant Jello only grew more evil, and we feared it would achieve sentience and sprout legs--or tentacles--and begin its campaign to end humanity.

But sometime over this weekend it appears to have fallen off the door without any sense of self-preservation, smacking the door sill and leaving little pieces of itself (which have not yet multiplied or grown) and rolling under a nearby chair leaving a trail of brittle gelatin detritus. Now that we can get a good look at its belly, we can see it's still soft and gooey to the touch, except for a one inch margin around the outside. It is every bit as disgusting as we'd hoped.

Dorsal, lateral, and ventral views of the fallen Mutant Jello It seems to have fallen straight down, hit the door sill, then bounced and/or rolled under the chair

So we must ask ourselves, is it trying to lull us into a false sense of security by feigning helplessness?

Will it begin its next lifecycle phase and explode into a cloud of Mutant Jello spores overnight?

Was it the humidity this weekend that dislodged its death grip from the door, or was it a prime directive?

We may never know, but we remain vigilant and have moved the Mutant Jello to a box under my desk safe, undisclosed location for further study. In the meantime, we would like to reward @Jess_Dempsey for being the first to spot the Mutant Jello on the floor this morning via the Mutant Jello Cam.

As for our previous promise to ship the Mutant Jello to one random better who chose the correct date the Jello fell from the door, we're hoping for a little leniency; we might have some interesting plans for it, and we're not ready to give it up. However, we'd like to honor one Luke A. from Auburn, WA with a $100 gift certificate for guessing that it would drop sometime after May 16th. Luke, we'll email you shortly.

For the 3.3% of our gamblers who thought it would stay there forever, we're just as shocked as you.

So, since we don't want to give it up entirely, what do you think we should do next with the Mutant Jello?

Star Trek first airs on September 8, 1966.

It's that time of year when we start thinking about the next year again!

We're already working on our 2012 Custom Despair Calendar--the one that we fill with geeky holidays, facts, birthdays, and other miscellany worth remembering once every 365 days.

Generally we do this all by our little lonesomes, but last year we decided to do a major refresh and put the call out for you guys to submit ideas. That went so well that we're doing it again--and this year the bounty is to have your birthday printed up in our 2012 calendar!

So when you submit a holiday, date, or other geeky point in history with the form below by midnight ET on Thursday, August 18, you'll be entered to win having your birthday shared with the rest of the world, for good or bad. (Feel free to include what you want for your birthday. Hey, it works for us when we say it's Send ThinkGeek a Pizza Day.) If you just want to enter a date without telling us how old you are, that's fine, and if you have more than one date to add, just fill out the form multiple times.

Here are some examples of what we're looking for:

  • April 26, 2011: Hans throws mass of Jello at glass door at ThinkGeek HQ. Ask @thinkgeek if the Mutant Jello is still there.
  • August 19, 1921: Gene Roddenberry, the Great Bird of the Galaxy, is born.
  • September 19: Talk like a Pirate Day. Excited arrrr!
  • December 21, 1963: Daleks first appear on Doctor Who. EXTERMINATE.

UPDATE 8/22: ENTRY FORM IS CLOSED! Thanks to the over 450 of you who suggested a date (or dates, as the case may be). We've got them duly spreadsheeted and we'll pick our favorites for publication in our 2012 Despair Calendar. We'll notify our birthday spot winner as soon as the dates are finalized and the calendar is sent to print!

Nice bea..rd..?

Caaaake frooom Spaaaaaace!

This week's link roundup is the perfect balance of science and deliciousness. Which makes sense, because of all of the wondrous science involved in baking delicious treats. So please, enjoy these chemically balanced tidbits from around the intertubes.

Links from the Twitter and Facebook 'verse:

NPR asks us to vote for the top 100 Fantasy and Sci-Fi titles...but lets us make only 10 selections. Cruel and unusual punishment! (NPR Books)

A Portal Space Core CAKE! (Flickr user Sharkhats)

The scientific process is logical, methodical and...What the? FFFFUUUUUU! (ElectronCafe)

This might be exactly how one dances to dubstep. (YouTube)

The Juno spacecraft, bound for Jupiter, totally carried three LEGO minifigs on board. Awesome! (NASA)

Well. They found the perfect ringbearer! (YouTube)

The Star Wars Universe is delicious and crunchy. (Metro Reporter)

Guess who is going to be on a panel at Interventioncon this weekend! (Interventioncon)

Boosting the signal: A fellow Whovian needs our help! (Weeping-Angel Tumblr)

Hair growing backward time lapse straddles the border of weird yet cool. (Vimeo)

A new Sci-fi movie got us all excited because at first it seemed that it was set in the Firefly universe. (The Westmorland Gazette)

Though as it turns out, we were all mistaken. Alas. (i09)

These severed head bowling balls aren't for sale, but they are disgustingly awesome. (Design Made in Germany)

Balloon fashion is oddly attractive. (YouTube)

So our DNA building blocks can be made in space...WERE they? Great question! (NASA)

Here, have a sanity break: Enjoy a song about D&D by Allie Goertz (YouTube)

May the Cumulus be with you! (Discover Magazine)

There was a giant solar flare on the 9th! Whoa. (Universe Today)

It's Perseid time again! Look to the skies Friday August 12th! (NASA)

The Dismayed face on the star being sucked into the black hole is the best part. (Geekcrafts Livejournal Community)

It's a penguin! It's a typewriter! it's a typewriter penguin! (Jemayer Tumblr)

100% Zen, 0% photoshop. (YouTube)

Mario and Luigi not only know how to jitterbug, but are apparently quite good. (YouTube)

Baby mouth-clops says WAKE UP! (BoingBoing)

Sorry about springing that last link on you. Perhaps you can find us a unicorn chaser? We...might need one.

Nice bea..rd..?

When one cannot grow a leonine mane, one compensates.

Welcome to our massive list of fascinating links from around the web, which we've hand picked for you over the course of the past two weeks. It's been quite the journey. We've braved heat, trans-continental travel, huge crowds of geeks, and yet the internet presented us with this bounty of entertainment to enjoy during the lulls in activity. This, my friends, is why we adore the intertubes and everyone who resides there.

So click through and be entertained! There are some great and wondrous things in this list. Things that you cannot unsee, and likely would not want to.

Links from the Twitter and Facebook 'verse:

Knights in armor smelled distinctly of BO. Ewwwww. (DiscoverMagazine)

Magnified cake sprinkles look like massive, delicious planets. (Carenalpert fine art)

Nine space stars who should have actually gone into space. (MSNBC)

Higgs Boson hints also seen by US lab. (BBC)

One wonders how much of this one could eat and still manage to get work done effectively. (Imgur)

Google Plus is trying to keep things civil...by removing anonymity. (Gigaom)

The world's 10 craziest sammiches. (Shortlist)

Video games as vintage pulp fiction novels. Stunning. (ComicsAlliance)

Our geeklings are plotting to take over the world, with Science! (Scientific American)

Shiro the cat loves baskets and hats. (Neatorama)

Leisure diving; the cool kid's version of planking. (Leisure Dive)

A Doctor Who themed bar in Brooklyn!? Road trip time! (Girl Gone Geek)

BatMath! (imgur)

BatDANCE! (YouTube)

We welcome our giant, fungal masters. (BBC)

Talk about an ecological way to despose of your own remains. Wow! (New Scientist)

And now for something completely different! CatBeard. (Catasters)

is this some sort of reverse Turing Test? (Slacktory)

What if our favorite video game characters looked like their voice actors? (Dorkly)

The Doctor has a posse. (Buzzfeed)

It's a tiny, knit Dalek in a plant! (Flickr)

Take a break from scavenging the wastelands to enjoy an ice cold Nuka Cola. You deserve it! (YouTube)

This joke is both funny and not funny at the same time. (Dork Tower)

Can you read twitter like the Matrix? The Pentagon wants YOU! (NY Times)

Ever wonder what 10,000 matchbox cars racing through a model city would look like? (YouTube)

Targeting ads to an audience of...monkeys? (Boston.com)

A Swedish guy tries to build a nuclear reactor in his kitchen. It didn't turn out so well. (Business Insider)

Slow down: Superhero Crossing. (Web Urbanist)

Illegally parked? CRUSHINATE. (Small World News Service)

It's a mariachi band serenading a delighted beluga whale. You don't see this sort of thing every day. (YouTube)

There, you've survived! Now don't you feel refreshed?