We’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of GeekDad this month, and so we’ve been doing a log of digging through our history (over 30,000 published posts) and remembering some of the greatest hits. Can you believe we’ve had over 100 MILLION pageviews? It’s incredible!
We thought it would be fun to take a look at the most popular posts we’ve had over the years. Many of these are older, because back in the Wired days, if one of our posts went viral, it REALLY went viral. But that’s okay, we’re much happier now, and grateful that we can continue to bring you great geeky family content.
So here are, counting upwards to the most popular GeekDad/GeekMom posts of all time, are the top 20!
The geek in me can’t just play Candy Crush. Instead of merely wasting my evening, lining up pieces of brightly colored candy on the iPad, I also spend an inordinate amount of time thinking through the construction of the different levels. What makes a level frustrating vs. challenging? Which is more dreaded: multiplying chocolate pieces or multi-layered jellies? I threw these questions out there to the vast Internet, trying to figure out what was the hardest level of Candy Crush.
Geeks, as a general rule, are pretty easy-going. We like to think things through, so passionate confrontations aren’t commonplace for us. When we get well and properly provoked, though, watch out! We won’t stop talking until every last point that we can think of has been made at least twice. So, what do you say to provoke a geek? Glad you asked!
According to one expert, most common learning strategies are actually hurting our ability to acquire and retain long-term knowledge.
There are many, many laws having nothing to do with government that are useful to know because they tell you something about how the universe works. There are Newton’s laws of motion, the laws of thermodynamics, Boyle’s Law, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, among many. Most of these laws have been known for a long time, but it wasn’t until a mere 19 years ago that Godwin’s Law was written.
Even the best movies ever made leave unanswered questions in their wake. Some refer to these as “plot holes,” but why not give the filmmakers the benefit of the doubt? Maybe they had a perfectly reasonable explanation in mind, and simply… forgot to include it in the movie.
A little confession: I am not a morning person. In fact, I hate getting up before 9 a.m., and I’d probably sleep until 10 a.m. if I could. I’m not sure whether it was too many late nights during college, or if I’m a night owl by nature, but it’s far too often “late to bed, late to rise” for me. And I’m trying to fix it. There aren’t enough hours in the day for kids, hobbies, work, etc., and life’s far too short to spend in a sleepy haze. Here are 10 tips for how I get up at 6:30 a.m. every (ok… maybe not every) morning.
April 12th of this year marked 150 years since the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, starting the long conflict known as the American Civil War. This spring there have been special museum exhibits, battle reenactments, and plenty of news stories. Ken Burns’s Civil War series was rebroadcast. But these things were all pretty much expected. A surprise to me, however, is a new iPad app called The Civil War Today, put out by The History Channel. Open it up and it is a daily interactive broadsheet newspaper covering details of the war from that day, 150 years ago. Each day, there is a wealth of information including news stories, photos, letters, journal entries, battle maps, a quiz question, and more. Fantastically full of primary sources, this app will bring you an interesting, educational, and moving experience for the next four years.
Suffice to say, it’s an amusing, satirical look at the smartphone wars, circa 2009.
Now that Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure is out the big debate is which characters are the best to collect. My family each has a different approach to this. The kids want the ones that have the best weapons, I’m after a collection that grants access to all areas in the game and my wife seems to be drawn to the characters that look the best.
While you can complete the game with the three you get in the starter box, there are another 29 to choose from that not only unlock new areas but offer unique attacks and power ups. I’ve been trawling through the various stat lists with a fellow blogger (Steph Flemming) and have put together this Skylanders Character List. It gives a breakdown of the different characters benefits and shortcomings.
We are scarcely into the month of December, and I am already dreadfully tired of classic Christmas music and, for that matter, many of its more contemporary alternatives. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got Christmas Spirit™ to spare, but the relentless audio assault of this holiday-themed musical fare has long since crossed the threshold from seasonally appropriate and into the realm of the obnoxious. When I shop at my local department store, I am crushed by the melancholy weight of “Blue Christmas.” While I wait on hold, “Little Drummer Boy” incessantly pounds his way into my skull. At night while I slumber, “Donde Esta Santa Claus” plays in an endless loop over my horrifying (and inexplicably bilingual) dreams.
There’s obviously little wrong with the songs themselves, as they are classics for a reason. Instead the problem seems to lie with the limited aural palette from which we draw our Christmastime selections. Yes, Virginia, there is a wealth of other songs from which to choose.
As Geeks we are expected to have a certain set of skills that the majority of the population does not possess. This list is by no means complete, but I think it is a good sample of the skills required to be a true geek. I won’t pretend to have all the skills listed here. I even had to Google a few of them.
Like all good Geeks you should be able to utilize resources to accomplish any of these things. Knowing where to look for the knowledge is as good as having it so give yourself points if you are certain that you could Google the knowledge necessary for a skill.
Recently, I turned my coach’s eye on the trailers for Brave and The Hunger Games, so it’s only right to continue the series with the third major upcoming film to feature archery as a plot point. Both of those posts were well-received; folks from Pixar posted my comments on Twitter, and the story was one of the most popular on GeekDad that week. This one is probably not going to be so well-received: I expect I’ll be called a lot of unflattering names and told to get a life. Hopefully, if you liked it when I praised the first two movies, you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt while I do otherwise to this one.
Aside from my complaints about the archery, I’m sure The Avengers is going to be great. I think the personality clash between the snarky-arrogant Tony Stark and the haughty-arrogant Thor is going to be electric, Captain America’s man-out-of-his-time angst will be compelling, and the Hulk will finally be the tortured hero-monster we all knew he could be. That collapsible bow Hawkeye is toting looks pretty cool, and if it were possible to actually make it work, I’d love to have one. I’m sure Jeremy Renner’s performance as Hawkeye will be great on a character level — he’s an engaging performer and perfect for the role. The movie looks very good. It would be even better if Hawkeye were shown as capable of keeping up with the big boys when it comes time to get out the weapons.
One thing that every geek can do is quote their favorite geek-culture media, whether it’s movies, books, television, theater or music. The GeekDads have tried to compile a list of such quotes for your enjoyment. This list is certainly not definitive. Indeed, it’s only the beginning! Feel free to add your own (clean) ones in the comments below.
There’s this video, which at least a dozen people have forwarded to me, is circulating the Internet at the moment purporting to “demolish every Hollywood myth” about archery and “prove that Hollywood archery is not historical.” Since apparently hundreds of sites have uncritically repeated its many preposterous and unsupportable claims, with the result that many people have asked me about it, I thought I should offer a detailed analysis.
The question really comes down to three separate categories; (1) the claims made in the narration; (2) the trick shots shown, and (3) Andersen’s actual archery ability.
We’ve recommended a number of movies to the GeekDad readership, and we’ve cautioned you against a few. This time around, we’re giving you a list of geeky films that should have appealed to us, should have made us drool with geeky joy, but turned out to be duds. These are movies that, if you missed them, then lucky you! And make sure not to show them to your kids – they’ll thank you when they’re older.
William Yuan, a seventh-grader from Portland, OR, developed a three-dimensional solar cell that absorbs UV as well as visible light. The combination of the two might greatly improve cell efficiency. William’s project earned him a $25,000 scholarship and a trip to the Library of Congress to accept the award, which is usually given out for research at the graduate level.
At GeekDad we are committed to helping you raise geek generation 2.0, and we believe few things that you do are more important than reading to your kids early and often. The social science is in, vocabulary is a major predictor of cognitive development in your children. Reading to them is a great way to get them using the language centers of their brain. Plus some of the best times we have had with our children have come while watching their eyes glisten as Harry looks in the Mirror of Erised or listening to their giggles as they discover the joys and absurdities of Shel Silverstein’s poetry. Reading aloud to your kids can be a blast.
So what books should geeks be reading to their kids? What books are essential to the geek experience? Well, that depends on the parent, and that depends on the kid. Some kids can handle the long slog to get Frodo to Rivendell where The Lord of the Rings finally takes off and becomes a rollicking adventure; many kids (and adults) cannot. So rather than creating a single list of recommended books, we decided to let members of the GeekDad team create the list of books which they enjoyed reading to their hatchlings as they progressed through their beta period. Consider these the staff picks at your own personal geek library
Those of you who have been following GeekDad for a while may remember the original version of this list. It was published back in the Wired days and was inspired by an article on the BBC News website where a kid was asked to swap his iPod for a Walkman – with predictable results! I thought that the Walkman was just the tip of a very big iceberg so I rallied the GeekDad troops to think up some more and within no time at all we had a list of over 100 Things Your Kids May Never Know About.
The rest, as they say, is history… The post quickly went viral over Twitter and Facebook and was easily GeekDad’s most popular post ever and, as it was posted near the end of the month, the most popular post on wired.com for two months running, clocking up over a million page views. The producers of the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire even took a bit of it to use as one of their questions.
When I was a kid, we played outside with the other kids in the neighborhood with most of our free time. We also made the most of recess at school. We kept ourselves quite occupied without any of today’s modern technologies. Listed below are some no-tech games that you may have enjoyed as a kid. I sure did. Some can be done indoors. Some can be done by yourself or with just one friend. But most of them are best when done outside with a group of people. Also, most of these games can be changed or improved by making up your own rules. Use your imagination!
Whether you braved the crowds for Black Friday (or Thursday) or are getting your mouse-clicking finger ready for Cyber Monday, you’re probably somebody who appreciates a good deal. As usual, we’re running our own selected list of holiday gift guides as well, and we hope that you’ll support the fine folks who send us nifty things to review.
But most of us can’t afford everything—hey, that’s why I write reviews!—so here’s a list of toys that’s intended to make your shopping list shorter. It’s not new—many of you probably saw this the first time around, but I hope it still helps you take a little breather from the crazy marketing that assaults us this time of year.