Geek Girl: Its Official, Snooki Isn’t A Scientist!
A gingerbread house that’s a Transformer, your genes like certain perfumes and more.
-Lucia Peters and PJ Gach
It’s really here, the end of the year! Where did it go? Well, this year will hopefully be much better than last year for all of us- unless, of course, the Mayans were right. But as Lucia pointed out in a previous Geek Girl column, that hoopla was just a marketing tactic.
This week we’ve got an MRI machine that plays “Smoke On The Water,” Snooki topping a 2011 list (what else is new?), a movie that was filmed on a phone, and other cool news.
Transformers: Gingerbread in Disguise
See this gingerbread house? It looks pretty standard, right? Well, don’t be fooled—this is no ordinary gingerbread house. You see, this gingerbread house… is a Transformer. For real. Super creative Canadian Brian Hall created his Gingerbreadtron using an Arduino Uno board for programming and six servo motors. The house itself is, in fact, made of real gingerbread and candy; he attached the edible bits to a cardboard frame via the clever application of icing. And yes, Brian ate it later, though he notes that it was a little tricky to pull away from the cardboard.
But lest you’re concerned that this truly astonishing example of gingerbread architecture and ingenuity has been lost to the ages, have no fear: Brian videoed the house in action. Check it out in all its transforming glory here:
Neat-o, right? Now that’s what I call a happy geeky holiday!
The First Feature Filmed Entirely On A Smart Phone
By now you’ve probably seen the commercial for a digital camera that was filmed with a digital camera. Director Hoomnan Khalili did one better, he filmed an entire movie on his smart phone, the Nokia N8. The film Olive stars Gena Rowlands and it tells the story of a little girl who changes the lives of three people.
Khalili turned off the auto-zoom and auto-focus features on his phone. He then taped two 35 mm lens to the phone. He also used a toy helicopter for overhead views. He taped the phone and the lenses to the helicopter to get it to work, Pretty cool.
Here’s the behind the scenes video:
The movie only cost $500,000. According to Digital Journal, he first tried to get funding from Nokia, but was turned down. Chris Kelly, the former Privacy Officer of Facebook gave him the money to film it.
The movie was filmed in only five weeks. Khalili wanted to get it into Sundance, so after filming was finished, he had only nine days to edit it. “We didn’t leave room even for an accidental sick day,” Khalili told the LA Times. “If anything had gone wrong it would have thrown everything off.”
The result, it not only made Sundance, it’s now showing at a movie theatre near you. If you’re curious to see what it looks like, here’s the first five minutes. Khalili is trying to raise $300,000 to via Kickstarter promote the movie nationwide.
Own a Piece of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles History!
If you grew up in the ‘80s (or even if you didn’t), odds are you are—or, at least, were at one point—a huge Ninja Turtles fan. With an enormously successful cartoon series, several live-action films, and a somewhat misguided live-action television show, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise was beloved of children everywhere. But what not all fans of the Turtles media bonanza might know is this: The heroes in a half-shell weren’t initially conceived of as a form of children’s entertainment. Comic book artists and writers Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird teamed up together to create the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 1984, and the resulting comic… well, let’s just say that it ain’t kid stuff. It is, however, awesome.
But hey, if you already know all this trivia about the Ninja Turtles and have dreamed of one day owning a piece of Turtles history—your moment has come! Kevin Eastman is auctioning off the entire contents of his art studio on eBay, a haul which includes his drawing table and chair, some 600 DVDs, original art, action figures, rare t-shirts, and much, much more (you can check out a video tour of the studio here:
Even better, some of the proceeds will be going to the Hero Initiative, a non-profit geared towards helping struggling comic creators by providing “emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work.” The chance to own a piece of comic history while simultaneously helping out a good cause? Priceless. Though if you want to put a price on it, as of Wednesday, the highest bid was at $5,450 US dollars. The auction is running until Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9pm PST, so hurry and place your bids now! Turtle power!
Your Genes Smell… No, Really They Do!
If you’ve ever wondered why you may love one perfume, but everyone else around you can’t stand it, you can now blame your genes.
“It’s really hard for many people to find that perfect perfume for themselves,” August Hammerli told Fox News.Hammerli presented a paper to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology on how genotypes determine what scents are desirable to an individual. He went on to say that, “Many people judge in terms of packaging and marketing and not what smells they like. Our idea was to bring biology into this question and ask: Can we determine what perfume scents a person would like based on their genotype?”
A previous study determined that MHC genes (we all have them) are the ones that determine whhicht odors are amazing, wonderful and delicious to an individual and which ones you cannot stand.
Hammerli’s team used 116 male and female volunteers to test his theory. They all smelled 10 different scents, including cinnamon, rose and moss. A big winner of the test was the scent of tolu-it smells like vanilla. tolu comes from a South American balsam tree. One of the scents that didn’t get a lot of votes was vetiver.
There’s a chance that the study may be expanded to find out exactly what perfumes can attract members of the opposite sex to each other. Previous scent-attraction studies include the “Sweaty T-Shirt” study where women were asked to rate the attractivenes of the scent of a T-shirt that contained someone’s body odor.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Love Potion Number 9 starring Sandra Bullock, it looks like that premise-you spray on a fragrance and Voila! You’re incredibly attractive to other people may come true!
And the Least Scientifically Competent Celebs of 2011 Are…
…Drumroll, please… Snooki and Michelle Bachmann! Congratulations, you two!
Surprised? Yeah, we weren’t either. According to Reuters, The Sense About Science (SAS) campaign named Snooki and Michelle as the top offenders on their annual list of the year’s worst abuses against science. The reasoning behind Snooki’s inclusion is perhaps fairly obvious: At one point, Snooki claimed that she didn’t like the beach because she hates sharks, as well as because “the water’s all whale sperm. That’s why the ocean’s salty.” Um, Snooki? Not so much. Said marine expert and oceanographer Simon Boxall, “It would take a lot of whale sperm to make the sea that salty.” What do you know? It really IS safe to go back in the water!
The reasoning behind Michelle Bachmann’s inclusion, however, is a little less benign. Bachmann, you’ll recall, used a television appearance to tell the story of a Florida woman who said an HPV vaccine that protects against cervical cancer left her daughter “mentally retarded.” Not only is this not true, but even worse, Bachmann may have caused some serious damage. “It’s tempting to dismiss celebrity comments on science and health, said SAS’s managing director, Tracey Brown, “but their views travel far and wide, and, once uttered, a celebrity cancer prevention idea or environmental claim is hard to reverse.”
Also included in the list was singer-songwriter Suzi Quatro, who claimed that all illnesses start in the colon; this, she said, was why she takes a daily colon cleanser. “The colon is very important in some diseases,” said gastroenterologist Melita Gordon, “but it is certainly not the cause of all illnesses. Sore throats do not come from your colon; they are caused by viruses that come in through your nose and mouth. Taking ‘colon cleansers’ has no beneficial effect on your throat—or on your colon.” So you may want to lay off the colon cleanser, Suzi. Just sayin’.
It’s True! Anyone Can Play “Smoke On The Water”
Even if you can’t play the guitar, you can play the opening lines of Deep Purple’s classic Rock anthem, “Smoke On The Water.” It’s one of the easiest song openings to learn because it’s only, like what, three notes?
Boing Boing via Tobias Gilk via MRI Metal Detector Blog found an audio recording of an MRI playing that song. Some MRI technicians got together and programmed a machine to play it. The music starts at 0:18 seconds.
Happy New Year! We wish you a fantastic one and we’ll see you next week.
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s associate editor.
PJ Gach is Senior Editor: Style + Beauty at BettyConfidential.