GeekDump #15: 11 May 2009

Nearly a month since the Geek last Dumped, but I've been saving up some goodies for you all.

The first one is less geeky and just plain creepy, but I'll justify it with the science background. Cracked author David Dietle wrote an article on February 14, 2010 titled 6 Man-Made Natural Disasters Just Waiting to Happen. The final item on the list (#1) was the Chernobyl and The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant. While the former is rather obvious (the quick fix the Soviets made in the 1980s won't last forever), the latter is a Japanese facility that produces more energy than any other nuclear plant. Dietle raises concerns over some falsified reports and some toxic waste leakage, but the main concern was the fact that it sits right over a fault line that seems to be growing. Of course, the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake disrupted other plants, most notably the Fukushima facilities that have everyone worried, but it's still a rather eerie prediction.

So, everyone's been singing Ding Dong the Evil Witch is Dead for the past week. I personally don't take pleasure in the death of anyone, even that monster, but I do feel relief and satisfaction that justice has prevailed. Some people celebrate victory in different ways, such as the creation of a map for Counter Strike: Source that recreates the Abottabad complex. Naturally, anyone attempting to play it will be spammed by requests to change the map back to cs_dust or cs_office, but it's still cool.

The people who know me best know that I'm a huge fan of the Metal Gear series, and I hold a special place in my heart for the cardboard box disguise. That said, there are still limits to the kitsch and utility of such camouflage... even in Japan, the world's fountain of strangeness, a Coke vending machine disguise seems rather silly. For one, I don't think you're going to fool anyone but a retarded toddler, but more importantly, are you going to carry such a thing around with you every day?

Speaking of practicality, there is a zombie-proof house in existence (I think, the photos don't seem like mock-ups, but the article doesn't say where it was built). It features a lovely modern look, with a concrete core and floor-to-ceiling glass panes to let in natural light. When threatened, the concrete panels (seemingly rather thick) and steel shutters can close up to seal the entire house into a giant cube of stone. When turtled up, the only possible entrance is through a second-floor door, which is accessible only via a draw bridge. The pool, of course, is undefended, so keep your weapons close by when bathing. I'm rather disappointed to not see any mention of generators, water purifiers, or provisions for storing/growing food, because a basic tenant of zombie apocalypse survival is that you need to survive indefinitely once you create a safe zone.

Portal 2 was released, and were it not that my home computer is still broken, I'd have played it a dozen times and had plenty of awesome stuff to post. But alas, I'm trying to keep myself pure until I can get a new laptop and actually play it, so I've been actively avoiding the memes. I did, encounter one that doesn't spoil anything: Portal Tetris.

When I first started taking a medication that listed "priapism" as a side effect (and a rather stern warning), I was pretty freaked out at first. However, that was an oral prescription, and turned out not to be an issue. Even in my most unintelligent days, I never would have come up with the idea of using cocaine on my penis. Nor would I have ignored the symptoms of painful sex/erection and blood clotting for three days, precisely because the fellow who did wound up losing johnson, legs, and nine fingers from gangrene. The fact that such a warning had to be published is sad, even if it was 1988.

Disney once had an issue on some of its rides, especially Splash Mountain: guests would ride it and flash their breasts (or other body parts) at the point of the ride where a camera would snap souvenir photos. It takes some knowledge of the rides and impeccable timing, and became a problem enough that the park began having employees screen the photos for such naughtiness before displaying them on the preview screens near the purchase kiosk. Last week, Disney said that ten year screening would end, claiming that it was rather rare, but I suspect it was because paying an employee minimum wage to check for boobs was an expense they didn't want to pay (a NSFW website called Flash Mountain proves that some employees were keeping copies).

Brian Clevinger, the author of the late 8-Bit Theater and currently Atomic Robo, wrote an article recently. H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds was pirated for years in the United States, and when it was first legally printed, the pirating caused such a demand for the book that it sold far better than it could have otherwise. Hearst saw the popularity of the story in Great Britain, and published it without permission in Cosmopolitan (the same magazine that publishes a new groundbreaking sexual method every month for the past several decades, and suggests that anything a man does is proof of an affair), and re-serialized it for the Boston Post with several significant changes (again, without Wells's permission). He even wrote a sequel (Edison’s Conquest of Mars) that Wells wanted no part in and didn't receive a dime for. But despite all that, he banked in when the book was published. The thesis is that fighting pirates will usually make you lose, but allowing the pirates to contribute quickly and conveniently will usually convert them into paying customers.

I feel like I may have posted this before, but can't find it, so forgive me if this is a duplicate. The Departments of Defense and Veteran's Affairs have collaborated to make a mobile app specifically for vets with PTSD. It's free at iTunes, and will be free on the Android Marketplace soon.

http://www.catsthatlooklikehitler.com/. 'Nuff said. Also: whoops, If Someone Actually Iinvented the Hoverboard, the real motivation for killing Aeris, drunk driver rams murder crime scene while masturbating, can your pet detect earthquakes?, anime, talk about "force feedback", the surfing trooper, and the bacon contest (I like the guitar). Play Give up, Robot, Soul Brother, and Amateur Ninja. I'm also going to plug Total Nerd Move, which records your embarrassing geekery for all time.

One of the fondest memories I have of my childhood is reading Calvin and Hobbes. Even though I was sad that the strip went out of production, I have to understand that reclusive author/artist Bill Watterson wanted to end on a high note (before it inevitably decayed, as all good things do) and be free of corporate influences. He recently released his first artwork in 16 years, a painting of Petey Otterloop from Richard Thompson’s comic strip Cul de Sac (worth noting because there is a coincidental resemblance to Calvin). It was donated to Team Cul de Sac's fundraising project for Parkinson’s disease research. It's good to see that Bill is still doing what he loves, even though I'm sad he isn't sharing most of it.

The spinning headline is a device used by TV shows and movies, usually animated comedies, to deliver a punch line (or, before it became a cliche, actual plot) by showing a newspaper (or magazine) spinning up to the screen with a relevant headline. Often, the paper is displayed only long enough for the viewer to read the headline, and any other text or images go unnoticed unless the viewer can pause. Luckily for us, this list exists to document the many many secondary jokes made when episodes of the Simpsons use this device.

Of course, no good post is complete without videos:

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