Weekly Nerd News: January 21


by Britt Franklin

Have you  fallen behind on your nerd news? Don’t worry; we’re here to help! Here  are a few stories to bring up at the water cooler this week:

· Holy dough, Batman! The original Batmobile sold for over $4 million at  an auction on January 19 in Scottsdale, AZ. The one-of-a-kind car hadn’t been up for grabs since customizer  George Barris purchased it for dirt cheap from Ford in 1965. It was  then transformed into the well-known vehicle seen in the television  series starring Adam West. The Batmobile was sold for one of the highest  bids on a Hollywood car since the 2010 sale of the Aston Martin driven  by Sean Connery in Goldfinger.

· More details were revealed on Disney’s Infinity platform  that combines collectible figurines with a virtual world. Similar to  Skylanders, players use a physical representation of the character to  enter the universe from which it came by placing it on a game pad. The  first wave will include familiar faces from Pirates of the Caribbean, Monster’s  Inc.,  and The  Incredibles. Infinity will be available on XBox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, Wii-U  and Nintendo DS. Because data in saved in the figurine itself, cross-console  gameplay is possible.

· Honda unveiled its Gear concept at the Montreal International  Auto Show. The hatchback design is a double-hitter of old school and new school,  and like the Toyota Scion, is fully customizable. Not many details have  been released besides its outer shell, but should the Gear make it to  market at the estimated low price point, it could be Honda’s next big  hit for young drivers. What do you think of the design?

· Satellite photos by the European Space Agency show  that a river may have once run through Mars. Scientists discovered a riverbed on the red planet, called Ruell  Vallis, that is nearly 1000 feet long; and in some places, almost 1000  feet deep. Running water is believed to have flowed during the Hesperian  period, betweeen 3.5 and 1.8 billion years ago.

· Physics students at the University of Leicester conducted  a study that debunks the images of near light-speed  travel we’ve grown accustomed to through film. While the stretches of starlight created when the Millennium Falcon  reaches top speed are what we’d love to see, the reality isn’t quite  as eye-catching. The study, called “Relativistic Optics Strikes  Back,” states that instead of beams, hyperspace travelers would  see a disc of light, the brightest point in the center. In addition  to the appearance, the students found that radiation could be an issue  and the pressure would be unbearable. Think this will have any impact  on space travel depicted in movies?

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