Bill Nye: Humans Living on Mars is ‘Science Fiction’Bill Nye Will Become the Netflix Science Guy in April Bill Nye The Science Guy will be coming into the Geek/PC Mag offices tomorrow and we couldn’t be more excited. For most of us, this guy is the reason we ended up in our current jobs in the first place. He showed everyone how cool it was to be a nerd. He may have been the first person to encourage us to ask questions, a habit we never kicked. He was also much more than the host of a children’s edutainment show. In the years since Bill Nye the Science Guy went off the air, he’s become one of the world’s fiercest advocates for science, even in the face of seemingly overwhelming ignorance. The guy just wants to world to become a more curious, more understanding place.To prepare for The Science Guy’s upcoming visit, we thought we’d take a look at some of Bill Nye’s accomplishments over the years. He’s had a pretty crazy life. These are 11 of the coolest things Bill Nye ever did.View as: One Page Slides1. He Invented an Airplane PartBefore he became The Science Guy we all know, Bill Nye was a mechanical engineer at Boeing. While he was there, he invented the hydraulic pressure resonance suppressor tube used in 747 airplanes. What is that? Well, it’s also called a ripple dampener or a pulsation dampener. From what I can dig up, it minimizes the effect of vibrations that get introduced into the system. So next time you get to fly on one of those big planes, remember that Bill Nye is part of why you’re having such a comfortable flight.2. Quit His Engineering Job to Pursue Comedy… Because He Resembled Steve MartinBill Nye performing stand-up on Seattle public access television (Photo: Screenshot via YouTube)All through his college and early professional life, Bill Nye was told he was just like Steve Martin. Enough people thought so that Nye entered and won a Seattle Steve Martin lookalike contest. Soon, he was impersonating Steve Martin at parties, which led to him trying stand-up at local open mic nights. His wacky sense of humor got him a gig writing jokes for a radio host, leading him to quit Boeing and eventually join the cast of the Seattle late night sketch show, Almost Live!.3. Taught Seattle (and the World) How to Pronounce “Gigawatt”Bill Nye the Science Guy on Almost Live (Photo via KING Seattle)After Back to the Future came out, most people pronounced the word as “Jiggawatt.” Bill Nye first corrected a radio host’s pronunciation, which led to a regular call-in science fact segment on the show. Later, during a segment on Almost Live, he corrected host John Keister’s pronunciation of the word, and Keister replied, “Who are you, Bill Nye the science guy?” As we all know, the name stuck. Bill Nye the Science Guy became a recurring segment on the show, paving the way for his children’s television hit.4. Invented a Ballet ShoePacific Northwest Ballet dancers on Bill Nye the Science Guy (Photo: Screenshot via YouTube)Even long after his job at Boeing, Bill Nye remained a mechanical engineer. While filming an episode about bones and muscles, he visited the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Seeing 22-year-old women who’d had multiple foot surgeries got him thinking about how toe shoes hadn’t changed in centuries. He designed a shoe that included a toe box. The box enclosed and protected the dancer’s toe while providing more support along the sole. Nye’s invention made it safer and more sustainable for ballet dancers to perform en pointe.5. Taught Us About Static Electricity with the Rocking Wig of ScienceBill Nye the Science Guy: Static Electricity (Photo: Screenshot via YouTube)We all loved Bill Nye the Science Guy for its wacky humor, fast pace and unbridled enthusiasm for pure science. The coolest parts were when we got to watch Nye play around with science toys (all of which were named, “The X of Science”). During the episode on static electricity, he brought out the Rocking Wig of Science. He built up static electricity into a metal ball, then touched the ball to allow the electrons to flow through him. Since electrons are all negatively charged, they repelled and caused his ’80s hair metal wig (of science) to stand on end. It was even cooler when he used a second metal ball to direct the electricity off of him, causing his hair to fall and an arc to form.6. Created a Fire TornadoBill Nye the Science Guy: Chemical Reactions (Photo: Screenshot via Netflix)While most of Bill Nye’s experiments could be easily repeated by kids at home, the most exciting demonstrations were the ones that absolutely could not. That’s why the Chemical Reactions episode is one of the best. It’s filled with examples of science’s greatest pursuit: blowing stuff up. The coolest moment of the show was where he created a fire tornado with Full House’s Candace Cameron. Was there an easier way to explain how fire is a chemical reaction? Probably. But none as memorable as this.7. Treated Real Life Scientists Like Rock StarsWay Cool Scientist (Photo: Screenshot via Netflix)Every show featured a different “Way Cool Scientist” that helped explain the concepts being taught that episode, and showed us their real world applications. These segments really brought home the message that science was cool, and could lead to some pretty fun jobs when we grew up. Bill Nye probably created more future scientists than anyone else with these segments.8. Helped Invent a Sundial Used on Mars RoversArtist rendition of Spirit Mars Rover (Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell University)Bill Nye continue making valuable contributions to science and engineering even after his show. When NASA designed the technology used on the Mars Rovers, Bill Nye assisted in the development of a sundial the rover would use to calibrate its cameras. The MarsDial was used on the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, inscribed with the phrase “Two worlds, one sun” and “Mars” written in 22 different languages.9. Calmly Debated Countless Climate DeniersBill Nye on Tucker Carlson (Photo: Screenshot via YouTube/Fox News)Every time someone wants to argue whether or not climate change is a thing, Bill Nye is the one cable news channels call to go over the science. Why? Well, even though he isn’t a scientist himself, he does know a lot about it. (That’s what makes him a Science Guy). He is constantly learning and adding to his knowledge base, so whenever someone wants to argue that humans have no effect on the planet, he’s their to call them on it. This does have the unfortunate side effect of obscuring the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change, but it does ensure that working climatologists don’t have to put up with these distractions. So they can focus on, you know, trying to make sure we don’t cause our own extinction.10. Explained the Difference Between Sex and Gender (and that There’s a Spectrum)Bill Nye Saves the World: The Sexual Spectrum (Photo: Screenshot via Netflix)Bill Nye’s new Netflix show, Bill Nye Saves the World is essentially Bill Nye the Science Guy for an older audience. The result can be hit-and-miss, but one segment provided a much-needed service to people who can’t quite seem to get the concept of gender identity through their heads. Just like he’s always done, Nye broke down the difference between sex, gender, attraction and expression into simple terms. Using a toy abacus as a metaphor, he explained that none of those things are binary. There are areas in between. Again, simple stuff, but there are still some people (in Nye’s target audience) for whom it needed to be said.11. Made Kids and Adults Fall in Love with ScienceBill Nye the Science Guy: Chemical Reactions (Photo: Screenshot via YouTube)Scientist or not, this is the most valuable contribution Bill Nye made to the field. When he was developing his science show for kids, he originally planned to focus on the mechanical applications of science. It was Carl Sagan who told him to focus on pure science, rather than technology, in order to get kids excited. The advice worked. Bill Nye sparked kids’ curiosity and encouraged us to ask questions about how the world worked. That curiosity stayed with us into adulthood. To this day, Bill Nye continues to encourage kids and adults to keep learning about the world. He remains one of science’s most enthusiastic advocates, and continues to show us all just how fun it can be.Got questions for Bill Nye, contact our sister site PC Mag and get them asked on air tonorrow.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target
Hands-On: ‘Stranded Sails’ Is a Relaxing Farm Sim AdventureHere’s an Hour of Incomprehensible ‘Death Stranding’ Gameplay Much like last year, 2018 is starting off strong with a slew of kick-ass games. One of the biggest titles is Capcom’s Monster Hunter: World. The infamous beast-slaying franchise has garnered a large audience in Asia, but the same can’t be said of the West. With Monster Hunter: World, the series is poised to reel in a larger, more global audience. It’s a great example of how a series can change just enough to entice new users while still pleasing its long-time supporters. This is a Monster Hunter for everyone.Monster Hunter: World takes place in “the new world.” As a member of the Fifth Fleet, it’s your job to explore this vast, virgin land. This isn’t your only objective, however. An enormous, mountain-sized leviathan called Zorah Magdaros has made landfall in the new world and you must discover why. The setting allows for the introduction of a variety of new creatures to hunt. The story has a great sense of adventure that makes every discovery immensely exciting.Since Monster Hunter: World is built for current-gen systems, the developers can introduce mechanics that help bring the world to life. The environment is no longer just a backdrop. Savvy players can use their surroundings to incapacitate prey in a number of unique ways. These include trapping monsters in vines, blinding them with light from fireflies, or making them step on poison plants. Yes, you can simply strike monsters until they die. However, there is a great deal of satisfaction in using the world around you to complete hunts.Seeing two (or more) monsters fight each other is a perfect example of the dynamic world in action. There were numerous times where I’d face off against a monster only for another beast to jump into the fray. In other instances, my prey would wander into another creature’s territory and get into a turf war with it. This can help in taking monsters down quicker, but you must be careful not to bring the wrath of the opposing beast on you. When monsters begin to brawl, it’s best to hang back, sharpen your weapon, and enjoy the kaiju-on-kaiju action. As Ken Watanabe’s character says in 2014’s Godzilla: “Let them fight.”With so many different types of monsters to slay, the game provides a nice variety of weapons for players to use. These range from sword and shields, buster swords, hammers, and lances. Some weapons like switch axes and gun lances have two different modes. Certain weapons deal massive damage but take longer to strike. On the flip side, weapons that strike fast don’t take much energy from monsters. With so many tools of destruction to choose from, it’ll be hard for players to not find something they like. A training area gives users a place to try each of the game’s weapons and see which fits their playstyle best.If you want to successfully complete missions, you’ll need decent armor and weapons. At first, the game only offers leather or chainmail armor and some basic weapons. As you progress, you’ll have access to increasingly better gear. Every armor part (head, chest, legs) has a unique look depending on the monster it comes from. The same is true for weapons. You can either have a matching set of armor or mix and match different pieces. It depends on the stats you want or the look you desire. Both weapons and armors can be upgraded beyond their base stats by using Armor spheres or materials found in the world or from monsters.Monster Hunter: World‘s core gameplay loop consists of killing monsters, using their parts to craft better gear, then facing tougher monsters to craft even better gear — so on, and so on. Repeatedly hunting the same type of monster for parts may sound monotonous. However, this activity never actually gets boring, especially given the dynamic nature of the game. There is a great deal of satisfaction derived from getting all the pieces necessary to craft the armor and weapons one desires. Moreover, you must attack specific parts on beasts to get certain parts. This gives each repeated hunt a sense of purpose.Monster Hunter: World features several different locales to explore. From forests, deserts, swamps, coral reefs, mountainous terrain, and more, there is no shortage of interesting locales to visit. As you would expect, every location has its own set of monsters to slay and environmental hazards to avoid or exploit. None of the areas are connected to each other, but they are immense; featuring a great deal of routes and hidden passageways. Curious players will almost always find something worthwhile, whether it be crafting materials or new monsters to kill.One can certainly have a good deal of fun playing solo. However, completing quests with others is where the game truly shines. There is no greater feeling than taking down a particularly nasty monster with a squad of hunters. The game adjusts the difficulty level depending on the number of players in a party (a maximum of four). This ensures teams can’t obtain an easy victory through sheer numbers. Playing with others is also nice for whenever you or an ally needs to grind for monster parts. It certainly removes any potential tedium from such an activity. I was personally able to find and craft some truly impressive gear thanks to teaming up with friends and random players. It is to your benefit to play online as much as possible.Monster Hunter: World features a number of graphical options on PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. Users can choose between favoring resolution, frame rate, or graphics. The high-resolution option is for those with 4K TVs who want the most detailed textures possible. Enhanced graphics lower the resolution to 1080p but offer better shadows, lighting, and environmental effects. Higher performance unlocks the framerate. This lowers the graphics slightly, but provides a smoother gameplay experience. No matter which graphics setting one chooses, they’ll enjoy a gorgeous looking game across the board (even on the base PS4 and Xbox One).As a person who never particularly cared for Monster Hunter, I am pleasantly surprised by how much I’m enjoying Monster Hunter: World. I emphasize “enjoying” because there’s so much content I’ve still yet to see. Even as thorough as this write up is, it doesn’t do justice to the sheer amount of content Capcom was able to squeeze into the game. Monster Hunter: World is the culmination of everything that has been introduced into the franchise over the years. The result is an exceptional experience that will easily bring in new audiences while pleasing the current fanbase. Monster Hunter: World is without a doubt the year’s first must-have title.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target
Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Geek Pick: Shure MV88+ Is An Excellent, On the Go Microphone KitGeek Pick: Amazon Smart Plug Puts Alexa in Your Walls Stay on target The most powerful weapon in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is, of course, any shield, because once you get the timing right you can parry Guardians’ beams and destroy them really easy. But besides the shield, the most powerful weapon in the game is the Ancient Arrow, shot by literally any bow. It’s a big ancient science grenade tied to a stick, and it does absurd amounts of damage to anything it hits. And you can buy one from ThinkGeek.The Breath of the Wild Bow and Arrow Replica Set is exactly what it sounds like: a replica of a bow and arrow from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Specifically, it’s the Traveler’s Bow, the modest but functional go-to Link can use whenever he can’t find Ancient or Royal Guardsman equipment, and the Ancient Arrow.These are plastic props, but really detailed ones that let you get a much closer look at Link’s gear than you could in the game itself. The Traveler’s Bow is elegant but nondescript, with very elf-like flair like silver-and-greenish-turquoise accents around the grip and deeper blue-green accents near the string. It looks really nice, even if it’s plastic and not resin, wood, or metal.The arrow is the start of the set, or rather the arrowhead is. It’s a big, bulky, downright silly mishmash of Guardian parts haphazardly tied to a completely ordinary arrow, and we can see it in all of its glory in molded, painted plastic form. If you look closely at the bundle of cord affixing the arrowhead parts to the shaft, you can see a plain arrowhead strapped in place. Link’s crafting is just him tying junk to other junk!The arrow lights up, too. The translucent blade is ringed in blue LEDs, and the yellow circles on the body of the arrowhead has amber LEDs that also light up. A button on the base of the arrowhead turns the lights on and off. It doesn’t make any noises, but it still looks nice.The bow and arrow set also comes with a Sheikah wall mount. It’s a brown plastic plaque with clear arms to hold the bow and arrow horizontally, with an embossed eye in the middle.It all looks fun, but there’s a caveat: You can’t draw the bow or shoot the arrow. The string is held in place with pegs mounted on the ends of the bow, and neither the string nor the bow itself have enough bend to actually let you pull the string back. The arrow is also absurdly front-heavy, so you wouldn’t be able to fire it at anything, anyway. But what matters is that it looks nice!The Breath of the Wild Bow and Arrow Replica Set are available for $79.99 from ThinkGeek. And if you want something a bit less expensive and more battle-ready, the foam Master Sword is on sale for $12.99.
NASA Makes Ultima Thule ‘Pop’ in Artsy 3D ImagesNew Horizons Snaps Sharp Images of Ultima Thule’s Surface Stay on target What’s more rock-and-roll than an interplanetary space probe?Queen lead guitarist Brian May this week announced plans to release a musical tribute to NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft.On Jan. 1, 2019, the ship will visit the most remote world ever explored by humankind: “(486958) 2014 MU69,” also known as Ultima Thule.At the same time, May will debut a fresh solo track (appropriately titled “New Horizons”) from the Goddard Space Flight Center.The song—May’s first official solo single in more than two decades—is the guitarist’s personal tribute to NASA’s ongoing mission.“This project has energized me in a new way,” May said in a statement. “It’s been an exciting challenge to bring two sides of my life together—astronomy and music.”Known chiefly for his contributions to one of the greatest bands of all time, May is also an acclaimed scientist.After graduating from Imperial College London with a degree in physics, he began working toward a PhD. But when Queen hit it big in 1974, May abandoned his doctoral studies to become part of musical history.Brian May’s “New Horizons” track will debut Jan. 1 (via BrianMay.com)He returned to Imperial College in the fall of 2006, and completed his PhD some 37 years after it began.May has since served as Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University for six years, had an asteroid named after him (52665 Brianmay), and co-founded global awareness campaign Asteroid Day.Earlier this year, New Horizons lead scientist Alan Stern “threw down the glove,” asking May to compose a theme for Ultima Thule, to be played as the probe reached its far-flung destination.“I was inspired by the idea that this is the furthest that the Hand of Man has ever reached,” May said. “To me, it epitomizes the human spirit’s unceasing desire to understand the universe we inhabit.”Launched in 2006 as part of NASA’s New Frontiers program, New Horizons completed its objective—perform a flyby of Pluto—in 2015, and has been cruising through the Kuiper Belt, more than 3.7 billion miles from Earth, ever since.May’s “New Horizons” track celebrates the mission’s 12-year journey, and includes a message from the late Stephen Hawking, congratulating the team on their successful rendezvous with Pluto three years ago.Listen for the song’s global premiere, broadcast live on Jan. 1 at 12:02 a.m. EST—the moment the historic Ultima Thule encounter is confirmed.More on Geek.com:‘Beam’ Your Support To New Horizons Ahead of Historic FlybyNASA Reveals Data Breach, Employees’ Personal Information at RiskYouTuber Builds Glitter Bomb Trap That Farts on Package Thieves