Geeks Are Taking Over YouTube Next Week

YouTube is featuring a ton of great geeky stuff from August 4th - 10th.  A quick view of the video below shows geek heroes such as Bill Nye and Felicia Day. They also give a great definition of the word "geek":

"We're the biggest fans. We're curious about the world. We question what's possible" 

Being a geek is not just about playing video games, reading comic books, etc. It's about being comfortable with who you are and never letting the status quo change something that you believe in.

Check out all next week for some pic nerdery


Reefcasting The Google Chromecast

Google Chromecast bite pic.jpg

If you want to watch Netflix and YouTube on your television, you have a few options -  video game console, Blu ray player, smart TV, Apple TV, or Roku Box. Google has developed an alternative that is both more affordable and easier to set up  The Google Chromecast lets any iOS or Android device, as well as any computer running the Google Chrome browser, control video streaming on your television. For $35, it's a steal. Check out my video review below!

Google Glass & Dynamic Textbooks

Google Glass, an upcoming glasses / camera / internet hybrid, is finally in the hands of developers.  There are a few videos of people walking around and doing ... normal things, but the one that really caught my attention was this go kart race by Google's Josh Armour. This video shows off the smooth, high definition video that can be captured at decent speeds.

My imagination runs wild in terms of STEM education.  Imagine bringing a group of kids to a carnival and having a fun day of go karting. How about using a video editor to mark two points and time the distance between them, to calculate velocity? How about measuring the change in velocity between points to calculate acceleration?  Now imagine this with trains ... or roller coasters ... or airplanes!

How about having kids throw the ball around, and thing bring it back to class and examine the parabolic motion of a ball? How about showing that you can reasonably calculate the horizontal and vertical position based on how hard it was thrown and the time? This could also be used to show how equations are for ideal situations and that variables such as wind, humidity, etc can affect measurement. You don't even have to mention the term "projectile motion" for the kids to get it. - because it would be their own physical actions!

Opportunities are everywhere to teach our children how physics is represented in the world around us. This can all be done with current technology, but having the ability to easily create videos from our vantage points puts the stamp of personality that resonates heavily with the "me" generation reared on YouTube. Essentially, it's a dynamic textbook where the examples are tuned specifically to the student - a far cry from the stale books that bore most students today.

If technologies such as Google Glass can get into educator's hands and avoid the $1500 developer price, we all win.

Check out other cool Google Glass videos on Gizmodo!

This post also appears on This Week In Blackness.

Google Glass: Augment My Reality, Four Eyes

Robocop knows the law.

Robocop knows the law.

My favorite part of any movie that features a robot is when they show the robot's point of view. They usually show menus popping up with give further information on what the robot is seeing - someone's emotional state, directions to someone's place, etc.  The cool kids call it "augmented reality".

Google is stepping to the arena with Google Glass, which will be released later this year for consumers. It's essentially a pair of glasses that allow you to access the internet, take photos, and record video with your voice. Joshua Topolsky gives a preview of the device on The Verge. It looks great, but pricey - Google is only promising it will be "under $1500". Yeah ... hopefully it's not $1499. If you can't see the video below, please click here.

Google is expanding on a concept that has existed with other pieces of tech that I've tried. The iPhone Yelp app had an awkward mode where you hold up the camera and restaurants with Yelp reviews instantly appear, along with reviews and distances. If you can't see the video below, please click here.

My Nintendo 3DS came with cards that, when viewed through the 3DS camera, came to life and flew around on whatever background the camera was focusing on. If you can't see the video below, please click here.

I'm definitely looking forward to the release of Google Glass later this year.  I'm saving up now!

The Ultimate Science Fair? Google Me Baby

Google is holding its annual Science Fair, and we're all expecting to see submissions from the best and brightest. To support the contest, Google has released an amazing Science Pack that does an excellent job at explaining how you form a question and use the scientific method to test it. Check out a sample below:

A good scientific question is testable. That means you can conduct an experiment to answer it.
Avoid questions that are simply a matter of opinion. Don't pose a question whose answer can be found online or in a reference book.
Your question should be absolutely clear. The results of your experiment should answer your initial question.

These three points apply to many things outside of science. Our lives involve questions that benefit from having a structured approach to answer them. We're always "performing experiments" whether we are aware of it or not.

The best part of this fair? It's open to kids from 13-18, which is a great age to focus on.  Focusing on a younger age could possibly mean less complex projects, and an older age would invite bitter cynical folks like me to participate.  Yes, I would totally do it. In fact, that's the worst part of this, that I can't win ... I want to win!!!