Note: This article is authored by Randy Jennings from the convention floor at Star Trek 2014 Las Vegas. He’s attended and reported on numerous ST and Comic conventions worldwide. Follow Randy at his tumblr
This year’s high level of cosplay, at the largest dedicated Star Trek convention, was a great hit for one and all. Creation Entertainment, the company running the convention, put an added emphasis on cosplay this year, most likely with the growth of cosplay itself as well as various reality TV shows high lighting the cultural phenomenon. Saturday marked the best day to see and be seen as cosplayers showed off their hard work for the attendees plus for that night’s costume competition.
Here we enjoy convention favorites Paul “Spock Vegas” Forest and the ever lovely Joanie Frerichs. Both appeared in numerous costumes throughout the convention and were always happy to pose with fans for photo ops.
The Borg Collective was more than represented by an awesome drone, 7 of 9 in serious need of a shave, our Queen, and Data on the verge of finding himself in the Hive.
The Nibirans were out in force as they proudly represented their primitive yet fierce people for all to see. Later on Karl Urban was kind enough to bless a Nibiran baby at the behest of the village elders.
Sadly the annual zombie crawl of Red Shirts resulted in Garrett Wang being devoured immediately after this picture was taken. RIP Harry Kim.
These fantastic and hand crafted costumes from The Wrath of Khan demonstrated the attention to detail and hours of hard labor put in by these two cosplayers.
The highlight of the night was the highly competitive yet friendly Costume Competition. With close to 2,000 cosplayers taking attending the convention on Saturday, Creation Entertainment had to make the first logical cut by not allowing “regular Starfleet costumes” in the contest. That afternoon, there was first round of the costume contest where the 100 plus contestants were reduced to a more manageable 42. Because of a tie vote amongst the judges, there were two 1st prize winners portraying Balok from the original Star Trek Series and a great Borg queen with her drone. This photo shows some but alas not all of the dedicated cosplayers who made it into the Saturday’s final round.
In a short Q&A interview with Forbes Magazine, Chinese-American astronaut Leroy Chiao advocates embracing China, rather than shunning it, in the new space race to Mars . He also talks about the recent spying charges USA and China are batting back and forth and what that should mean wrt better cooperation in space.
Leroy also touches on the current Russia/USA relations and gives a little insight into the impact it’s having on the shared space exploration efforts onboard the International Space Station.
I totally agree with Leroy on the China+USA collaboration to get to Mars. We’re both highly motivated countries regarding space exploration. China in particular may be willing to foot more of the $$$/RMB cost if there’s more sharing of technology between us. I think we stand a better chance of pulling off this huge effort working together, rather than in isolation.
Check out Leroy’s personal site with videos he’s appeared in, links to his op-eds and more.
As the climate warms and sea ice retreats, the North is changing. An ice-covered expanse now has a season of increasingly open water that is predicted to extend across the whole Arctic Ocean before the middle of this century. Storms thus have the potential to create Arctic swell – huge waves that could add a new and unpredictable element to the region.
A University of Washington researcher made the first study of waves in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, and detected house-sized waves during a September 2012 storm. The results were recently published in Geophysical Research Letters.
Klingons, Andorians and Vulcans will be joined by humans as fans from around the world beam into Las Vegas on July 31-August 3 for the world’s largest Star Trek Convention. This decade long tradition in Las Vegas, is expecting over 15,000 attendees to convene at The Rio Suites Hotel.
With over 105 celebrities making appearances over four days, Creation Entertainment is putting on the biggest Star Trek convention yet. Besides all the great actors and actresses, they’re hosting themed parties at night including Saturday night the Nevada Pops Orchestra will be on hand for a Salute to the Music of Star Trek.
NASA is hosting two panels on the topics of “Living in a Crowded Universe” on the findings that we’re not the only solar system in the universe and “To Boldly Go” which addresses NASA’s vision for deep space exploration.
Tickets are available, you can get them at the door or online @ www.creationent.com
I’m pleased to let you know that Randy Jennings will be providing coverage for Geeknews.net from the Star Trek convention this week hosted by Creation Entertainment in Las Vegas. He’s our beat writer on the convention floor.
Good luck on the convention floor, Randy, and just one special request….if you see any Gorn, my brother Pat would love to see those pics
Here’s a great explanation of how the human eye works, and explains some of the odd effects you may have known – our blind spots and being able to view the optic blood vessels.
From our friends at Viking we have an infographic that dissects Smart Watches. It’s just incredible what we can do with technology today when you think about this Smart Watch phenomenon and the experiences it lights up in such a tiny package.
Geekiness and casinos go hand in hand. Most geeks have an aptitude for numbers and an instinctive understanding of probability, as well as the ability to make rational decisions instead of incorrectly assuming that if they’ve had a bad run, “their luck is about to change”. This understanding most likely comes from many years of playing video games. As much as we like to curse Dark Souls, we understand that the game is just a set of code — it isn’t deliberately out to get us, and the only way to change the outcome is to change what you are doing.
If you want to apply your video game skills to casino gaming, then there are a lot of different options that you can try. Poker is the most obvious of the games for geeks, since based on true skill and not chance but if you fancy trying your luck, there are a lot of ways that geeks can have fun at an online casino.
Casino Games for Geeks
Let’s take a look at some of the best casino games for those of us who are more geek-inclined.
Perhaps the best geeky game at Full Tilt Casino is blackjack. There are a lot of different versions, including single-player and multiplayer variants. European blackjack is a good starting point if you’re new to the game and ss you gain experience you can try more fancy versions, such as the double-deck blackjack variant. Blackjack is one game where a skilled player has a chance of beating the house. If you learn the rules and learn to keep track of the cards that you’ve already seen, you can do well over the long haul.
Roulette is a thrilling and dramatic game that everyone should experience at least once in their life. Check out the European-style roulette tables at the online casino to see what everyone is talking about.
Those with geeky inclinations can perform well at the table, if they subscribe to the theory that mathematical probability could give you the edge over the house.
Slot machines are a lot of fun to play, especially if you can find an online video slot machine with a theme that you like. There are themed slot machines based on everything from your favourite bands to TV shows, movies, superheroes and ancient mythology. Video slot machine games can have a huge number of paylines, awesome graphics, high-quality sounds and in some cases interactive segments.
The best thing about slot machine games is that you can drop in and out of them as you please. If you enjoy playing video games and want something that you can mess around with on your phone or on your computer during your lunch break, then slots are a good choice. They are simple, fun and can pay out well if you get lucky. What better way to spend your time?
Those who like to study games will also suggest that there is a way of predicting which symbols will appear on which line. Once again, the geeks amongst us could find a way to succeed.
These are just a few of the games that can be played online where studying patterns, counting cards or employing the science of probability might just give you an edge over the house.
Scientists Create Shatterproof Phone Screens [MDConnects]
Too many of us are carrying shattered phones because screens we can’t afford new screens. However, scientists from the University of Akron may have discovered a solution to save fragile phones their dilapidated doom.
World first: Australian solar plant has generated “supercritical” steam that rivals fossil fuels’ [ScienceAlerts]
A solar thermal test plant in Newcastle, Australia, has generated “supercritical” steam at a pressure of 23.5 mpa (3400 psi) and 570°C (1,058°F). CSIRO is claiming it as a world record, and it’s a HUGE step for solar thermal energy.
Big Bang blunder bursts the multiverse bubble [Nature]
Premature hype over gravitational waves highlights gaping holes in models for the origins and evolution of the Universe
How El Niño temporarily slows the Earth’s rotation [arsTechnica]
The El Niño Southern Oscillation is a major source of year-to-year variability in Earth’s average surface temperature and, it turns out, its rotational velocity.
Engineers build nanomotor that can fit inside a human cell [ScienceDaily]
Engineers have built the fastest, smallest and longest-running nanomotor to date. The nanomotor is capable of drug delivery on a nanoscale. One day, nanomotors could lead to the development of tiny devices that seek out and treat cancer cells.
Check out the best deals for gadgets, gearbest cool gadgets [GearBest]
Great deals on Android Phablets, Phones, Tablets, tons of A/V gear and more.
To celebrate the life and work of Douglas Adams, as we must always do on May 25, we should all make an effort to be better, cleverer people, taking the words of one of his finest, noblest characters as direct inspiration: Marvin the Paranoid Android.
Here’s an example of those lessons from BBC America:
A ‘Can Do’ Attitude:
Arthur: “Marvin, any ideas?”
Marvin: “I have a million ideas. They all point to certain death.”
Trillian: “Marvin… you saved our lives!”
Marvin: “I know. Wretched, isn’t it?”
Marvin: “I’ve calculated your chance of survival, but I don’t think you’ll like it.”
What do you think of the current trend to take risks in your games? To some, an annoyance that they can easily ignore to a point or avoid. To others, a welcome addition to enhance play and add that uncertainty into the your game that may produce a reward or a lemon!
One example is the character “Kadala” within the game Diablo 3. With your hard earned blood shards from completing Nephalem Rifts, you may bet with her for rare and exotic pieces of gear for your characters. Most times you get ordinary gear, but sometimes your bets are rewarded with coveted Legendary or Set pieces of gear that make you even stronger. Another example is WoW’s Black Market Auction House, where you can bid your in-game gold to purchase anonymous packages, that when won, can contain anything of value. Maybe a pet or mount, or if you’re unlucky, a stack of turnips!
Then, there’s the people that enjoy nothing but betting. They go straight for the gold, leaving no stone unturned and hoping for untold glory. Gambling sites are nothing new, but they provide that rush to win big, or go home from the comfort of your own home. Who needs the smoky atmosphere, the constant jangling of thousands of bells and whistles from the other slot machines around you? Speaking for myself, I prefer the comfort of my own computer chair, a cold coke by my side, and the background music of my choice while playing a favorite themed slots game online.
Are you adventurous enough to try it out? Can you sweat through a loss and get back on your feet to try again and win it big? Let’s see if you’re telling the truth. Try my usual hang out, Casino Midas, it’s slick, has tons of features, friendly and fun games. If you’re not rolling in the gold and begging for more later, then you’re not trying hard enough!
Jane Austin, a game theorist? Oh yes, apparently she was exhibiting in her stories some of the traits we value in game theory today…and this is 100+ years before the concept became science.
Michael Chwe is an associate professor of political science at UCLA whose research centers on game theory and, as he puts it, “its applications to social movements and macroeconomics and violence — and this latest thing is about its applications maybe to literature.”
The literature in question? The novels of Jane Austen. Chwe discovered that Austen’s novels are full of strategic thinking, decision analysis, and other tools that would later come to be prized by game theorists like those as the RAND Corporation just after World War II.
I was asked recently what I and my friends like to do in our spare time, so I thought I’d write a top ten list of some of the fun geeky things you can do in your spare time. Most of these don’t require any money, so try them out and let us know what you think! I’ve included a URL for each, so you can check them out.
#10 TV/Movies - Who doesn’t like a good movie or TV show to get the juices stirring? Whether it’s Sci-Fi, Supernatural, Horror or Thrillers, a good show is a great way to spend time! IMDB
#9 Games - I have a lot of geeky friends, and let me tell you, there is nothing more satisfying than a good game to have fun in. Board games, video games and even card games are favorites among many. For video games – Steam For board games – BoardGameGeek
#8 Comics/Books - Waaaay too many to name! A good read is a good read. Simply put. Immerse yourself in another universe to take your mind off your troubles! For books - GoodRead’s Geek Books For Comics – Den of Geek
#7 Gambling - Yes, I said it. Who doesn’t like to take a risk with a chance of great reward?? Lot’s of casino games out there. Here’s a favorite superhero game of mine – Marvel Jackpot
#6 Cons - Attending a good Con can be a otherworldly experience – truly! ComicCon, DragonCon, GenCon and Star Trek conventions are going on the world around all year long. Check your schedule, and choose a good Con to attend for some great fun with your friends! Geeky247 Events and Cons
#5 Baking - Yes, baking. I have met many a cake and cupcake artist that have made some pretty spectacular pieces of art with food. What kind of baked goods would you want for your birthday? How about a World of Warcraft themed cake? Or Super Mario cupcakes! Take a tour of this place - Geeky Chef Too many options!
#4 Cosplay - No it’s not just for Halloween. I’ve seen some pretty elaborate costumes in the past, some of them better than the originals! Whether you like Furry, or dressing up like your favorite superhero, a costume is a labor of love for those that like to wear them. Check out some awesome cosplay here! Trendhunter – Geeky Costumes
#3 DIY – Do it yourself? Why not? Your imagination is the limit when it comes to solving problems, and many a geek minded person have done just that. Most DIY projects are not costly and just take time to piece together. Why buy a laser pointer, when you can build one from the parts from an old CD drive? DIY.org
#2 Beta Testing - You know you want to get your hands on that latest game! Plenty of companies are looking for experienced gamers, casual players, and even total noobs to try out their newest software. Jump on the bandwagon and get your game on! Check out Centercode and sign up to be a beta tester today!
#1 Create a blog - Shameless plug here. Writing a blog can be extremely fulfilling, and a great way to share your latest exploits with your family and friends! Lots of ways to begin a blog, why not try here? WordPress
So these are just a few of the plethora of activities you can immerse yourselves in when you’re not too busy at the 9 to 5 job! Do you have a favorite activity? Why not tell us about it?
Tiny, Logical Robots Injected into Cockroaches [Popular Mechanics]
Scientists have built robots that mimic cockroaches and even implanted electronics to remote-control these bugs. Now researchers have devised DNA nano-robots that prowl around inside cockroaches, the first time such DNA robots have found use in living animals.
DNA origami nano robots could one day carry out complex computer programs in the human body, helping to deliver cancer-killing toxins only to cancer cells while leaving the rest of the patient unharmed, according to their paper in Nature Nanotechnology.
Another day, another advance in 3-D printing technology.
Doctors in the Netherlands report that they have for the first time successfully replaced most of a human’s skull with a 3-D printed plastic one — and likely saved a woman’s life in the process.
Those night-vision devices used by hunters and soldiers may soon get a lot smaller — small enough, in fact, to be built right in to contact lenses.
From the Navy Times:
Night-vision goggle technology has become more effective, streamlined and nimble in the past 10 years. But what if you could ditch that bulky headgear and pop in a pair of night-vision contact lenses?
It may sound like science fiction, but such dime-sized, lightweight optics may be possible in the future, thanks to researchers at the University of Michigan who have created a material that absorbs infrared rays at room temperature and translates them into an electrical signal, much like a silicon chip works with visible light inside a digital camera.
Black death was not spread by rat fleas, say researchers.
Evidence from skulls in east London shows plague had to have been airborne to spread so quickly.
You can learn a lot from a tooth.
Molars taken from skeletons unearthed by work on a new London railway line are revealing secrets of the medieval Black Death — and of its victims.
This week, Don Walker, an osteologist with the Museum of London, outlined the biography of one man whose ancient bones were found by construction workers under London’s Charterhouse Square: He was breast-fed as a baby, moved to London from another part of England, had bad tooth decay in childhood, grew up to work as a laborer, and died in early adulthood from the bubonic plague that ravaged Europe in the 14th century.
Until recently, there hadn’t been formal studies to prove which foods would reduce anal gas expulsion (aka farting). The intent of recent research is to document the causes of extreme flatulence, flatulence-free foods and bacteria in the large intestine where the gas is generated.
Spanish researcher Fernando Azpiroz bolsters our scientific knowledge on passing gas. He published two new papers, one published in the journal Gut in June 2013, and the other just published to Neurogastroenterology and Motility. In his most recent paper, he documents how different diets affect flatulence.
It’s a good read, but you may prefer the summary, so i recommend you go to Real Clear Science for a great overview.
Though it doesn’t feature real gameplay, this is a pretty cool trailer for the game Evolve. This trailer is titled “Happy Hunting” and features the cover of Danzig’s Mother, performed by Lissie. The music aligns well with the atmosphere in the trailer.
Here’s more action…
My favorite supervillian, Dr. Horrible, is making a return after 5 years!
Entertainment Weekly caught up with the creator and director of the webseries, Joss Whedon, and asked him what’s the latest update on making progress to a long awaited sequel. Here’s a snippet of his reply, head on over to EW to read the full story:
“We know we have spoken publicly about a sequel in the near distance and our passion to create it, and I promise we have not been insincere. Horrible is still one of our favorite creations by humans who were also us. We have many songs written and the plot outlined, but needless to say, we’ve been busy…” –read the rest @ EW’s blog.