Last anniversary to celebrate this week: Eighty years ago this month Carl D. Anderson, American physicist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, discovered the positron.
Who could engineer such a marvel as the Golden Gate Bridge, but a true geek? Chief Engineer Joseph Strauss conquered many engineering challenges to create the bridge, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.
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This year Geek and I may be celebrating one year of marriage, but Spiderman has been around for 50! That’s quite a run for Peter Parker as superhero and pop culture icon. Check out the above interview with Spiderman’s creator, Stan Lee. Also see this link for a look back at Spiderman and his wardrobe through the past 50 years. In this interview Dan Slott, current writer for Amazing Spiderman, plugs the big changes that will occur in the series at the end of this year.
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In celebrating Geek and my one year anniversary, I discovered a few other geek anniversaries that definitely deserve mention. Far more impressive than our one year is The Incredible Hulk’s 50 years, which were celebrated May 1 this year.
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One year of marriage today! It’s hard to believe that one year ago Geek and I stood in a beautiful church surrounded by family and friends, and promised to live out our love for one another for all the years to come. From the music our friends and family sang, played and composed; to the meaningful service led by our loving pastors; to the supportive presence of our families; to the cupcakes baked and decorated by our loved ones; to all of the work our amazing team of friends put into decorating and setting up—we were certainly surrounded by Blessings and Love that day. It was such a wonderful way to share with others the love we already knew, and to kick-off a life together. The wedding festivities that day ended by cutting into a cake topped by—who else?—Donatello and April O’Neil. (+geek cred)
All of the funny moments I’ve shared here, all of the joys, all of the fights, the changes, decisions, challenges and small sweet moments have wrapped up into one amazing first year of marriage!
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This weekend Geek and I enjoyed a trip to the movies. What struck me was not the exciting visual effects or the talented actors. What struck me was our trip through the parking garage.
Upon entering the garage, the machine that dispenses a ticket for your car also greets you in a metallic female-sounding voice. This odd attempt at hospitality always makes me giggle. But turning to the machine with a smile, Geek replied, “Why thank you so much! I appreciate it.” When I laughed Geek told me, “I want her to remember us kindly when robots rule the world.”
And there it is. The age old geek belief that robots will one day make a grab for power and rule us humans as overlords. We see it in movies, books, and—my personal favorite—music, likeFlight of the Concords”Robots” which takes place in “the distant future, the year 2000” (see above).
This belief is an actual theory, predicting that a “technological singularity” will occur at sometime in the future, likely in the 21st century. This singularity is the future point at which a greater-than-human superintelligence will be created through technological means. Since mere human intelligence won’t really comprehend the superintelligence, from this point on future events can be neither predicted nor understood. But it is likely that human existence as we know it will vanish. The term singularity was coined by Verner Vinge, a science fiction writer, and greatly popularized by Ray Kurzweil, a futurist, inventor, and top authority on singularity.
I learned more about this concept by taking the “Will robots rule the world quiz?” on Curiosity.com (Of course! Why wouldn’t there be an online quiz about this?). While the quiz didn’t give a definitive answer, it did leave me terrified and pretty much sure of a robotic takeover. I learned things like some robots are already being fitted with a skin-like covering to help them better replicate human facial features, which they are being taught to perceive and mimic (why are we helping them?!). And that the term “Artificial Intelligence” has recently been expanded to include not only robots and computers, but also electronic and digital devices—so when the takeover begins you cannot trust your iphone. And also that one of the hardest human abilities to replicate in robots is the way humans walk. Great, that’s comforting. Because to take over the world, you really need to walk correctly even though you are already generations of intelligence beyond human comprehension.
I will not laugh next time Geek thanks the parking drone.
The sequel to this year’s massively successful superhero team-up movie The Avengers is in good hands. The same hands, actually: Joss Whedon, the man behind Marvel’s hit flick, will write and direct the follow-up.
Sigh of relief!
The summer Olympics are in full swing, and with the games come the joys of endless sports coverage and an odd, familiar feeling of patriotism that stirs in the chest of even the most unpatriotic American. My Geek is no sports fanatic, so imagine my surprise when I came home to find him obsessively watching Olympics coverage for the second night in a row. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Really? You’re watching the Olympics again?
Me: But you don’t care about swimming. Do you even know anything about it?
Geek: You don’t know me at all, do you? I’m going to be watching the Olympics every day that they’re going on.
And back he went to watching everything from the big events in swimming and women’s gymnastics, to basketball, equestrian events, and white water kayaking. This got me to thinking, geeks are no exception to those who are tuning in to watch the games. Of course, some geeks definitely qualify as sports nerds: You know, those guys and gals who know every stat for every player in the MLB, who organize the fantasy football league, or who shamelessly break all other commitments to watch March Madness regardless of who’s playing. But most geeks don’t fall into this category. I must give Geek a little credit, but I did just teach him what” fourth down” means this fall.
So why are the Olympics a perfect gateway into the sports world for the average geek? I’ll give you three reasons…
1) You don’t have to follow sports normally to know what’s going on in the Olympic Games. The ample media coverage of the Olympics allows for plenty of time to delve into the stats and history of each athlete in each sport. Even if you’ve never watched a basketball game or cared about men’s volleyball before, you can get up to speed in time to enjoy all the athleticism, drama, and nuance of every Olympic sport.
2) This year especially, social media and the internet are the way to follow the games, and this definitely gives the geek home field advantage. While everyone discusses how Twitter and the internet are the “new” way to get Olympic coverage, the geek has already been getting their top news this way for a decade or more.
3) You can become an expert in no time at all. Geeks love to be the experts on what they do, especially when it’s complicated. That’s why we come to them for IT support. And that’s why they play the board games and video games that they do. With a little of the research mentioned above and some focus on a more obscure event, suddenly a geek is one of the foremost experts on skeet shooting, trampolining, or badminton.
So grab your geek, a laptop, and an iphone and tune in for the most exciting summer games yet! You may be surprised at how much you learn from their new-found expertise.
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I could honestly go on and on about The Dark Knight Rises. The film created an all-inclusive epic and achieved closure to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Sadly my sister only gave me a page, so here I’ll compare the new characters in the movie to how they are usually depicted in the comic books, with a bit of plot analysis thrown in.
Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Bane was in line with what the comic books originally intended Bane to be: not only a terrifying physical presence (including a very visceral and deliberate reference to the KnightFall storyline in which Bane makes his first appearance), but also a cold, calculating, and brilliant mind. The voice, which critics had shown concern with, was easy to hear and discern. What really stuck out to me, however, was the tone of Bane’s voice. Bane didn’t sound at all like some sort of muscle bound wrestler. The closest comparison I could make is what many think Sigmund Freud’s voice would sound like. Bane’s voice also hearkens to the villain Hugo Strange, most recently used in the video game Batman, Arkham City. This reference would fit the early rumors that the Batman storyline Prey, which features Strange as the main villain, was an influence on the story of TDKR.
Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of Selina Kyle—aka Catwoman—also remained very faithful to her depictions in comics. Hathaway creates a Catwoman much in the vein of Robin Hood, though with quite a bit more sex appeal. Later in the film she also seems to channel a bit of Han Solo mentality: a roguish thief—despite protests to the latter—who is motivated by much more altruistic notions than simply money and self-gain. She provides a good counterpoint to many of Bruce Wayne’s idealistic notions and makes for a very interesting game of Cat and mouse (or Bat) throughout the film.
The returning cast all performs excellently in their roles. Michael Caine, as Alfred, steals the show on many occasions throughout the film. Gary Oldman also delivers a very impactful performance, in what I believe was less screen time than the previous two films. He remains the symbol that Gotham needs as a rallying point in certain parts of the film when Batman is absent.
Christian Bale’s portrayal of Wayne and Batman is again top notch. The material covered in the film allows him to portray a wider array of emotions and demonstrates the most growth of Wayne’s persona seen throughout the trilogy. Bane is known in comics as the one who finally broke the Bat, and Bale allows us to see the effects of Batman’s broken spirit and body, and the journey from that point. Of all three films I think this was Bale’s best performance as Batman, but even more so as Wayne.
The overall plot of the film was successful, coherent and logically led the audience from point A to point B. Other reviewers have suggested that the film went too fast and that Nolan needed to give the audience more room to breathe throughout the film. I think that the quickened pace of the movie’s plot only added to the tension and sense of urgency and danger throughout the film. Not to mention it helped make a movie with a fairly long runtime—bordering on three hours—to seem much less long than it actually was.
The film served as a good conclusion to Nolan’s Batman saga. It returned to and expanded some of the plot points used in Batman Begins, and developed the continuity of Nolan’s Batman story. It helped to make the villains in this film more personal enemies to Bruce, and overall enriched the Batman universe.
The Dork Knight is a self-educated comic expert and new contributor toGal Meets Geek.His expertise has been seen in such publications as The Torch.
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