Create Your Own ‘Kaiju’ in the July 7th Google Doodle

Image: Google.com
Image: Google.com

The July 7th Google Doodle gives props to cinematic history, offering up a game to celebrate Eiji Tsuburaya’s 114th birthday.

Perhaps you’re wondering, “Who is Eiji Tsuburaya?” That’s a very good question.

Tsuburaya is the father of kaiju movies, featuring the giant monsters that crush cities, destroy shipping ports, and wreaks havoc throughout Japan.

Everyone has seen evidence Tsuburaya’s work, from the multiple reboots of the Godzilla movies, to the Power Rangers movie, even to (one of my favorites!) Beastie Boys’ ‘Intergalactic’ music video!

Upon hitting the “Play” arrow on the Doodle, you will enter Eiji Tsuburaya’s studio and be given 10 tasks to help him make his movie. Glue together sets, string actors up on harnesses, and help the puppets stomp out vehicle and tank props. I haven’t been very good at the game, and to do the whole thing you need 3-4 minutes of time as each task loads up. But you could the team who put it together had a great time honoring this cinematic pioneer.

Google Doodle, John Venn Birthday, and Cuteness: Venn Diagram Go!

Image: Google

Google’s doodle is truly celebrational today with logician John Venn’s 180th birthday’s doodle.

Most of us learned about Venn diagrams in school: logical and geometric illustrations of overlaps and differences between class memberships. The colorful and playful doodle that we enjoy today offers a game of selecting two categories to compare. Google combines them and shows the surprise commonality between them, all in adorable cartoon style. Select carefully and you might find a familiar singing astronaut!

The Google Doodle team reports that they wanted to imbue the doodle with the nostalgia of our school days. They also reference circles in the design repeatedly. The look is both nostalgic and charming and the mechanism is fun.

John Venn taught at Cambridge, where he developed Venn diagrams, a system of using the degree to which circles (each representing a class of things or ideas) overlap to indicate how much the classes have in common. If there is nothing in common, the circles have no overlap. The more commonality, the larger the overlapping areas. Venn also did further work on logic and probability, and also invented a machine to bowl balls for cricket practice.

venndoodle2
Example of Google’s Venn diagram. (Image: Screen capture of Google doodle by K. Moore)

I imagine John Venn thought his diagrams would never look this cute, much less in a mere 180 years!

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Google Doodle

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Google Doodle
Image: Google

The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who is just around the corner, and Google is celebrating with one of the most amazing Google Doodles, ever!

For those of us in North America, you may not yet see this doodle that will both entertain, and maybe horrify… You know, if you, too, as a child, had nightmares that involved Daleks.

But, thanks to the magic of TARDIS, I mean time zones, if you head on over to Google New Zealand, you can play with the Doctor Who Google Doodle, now!

Complete with the first 11 Doctors, well-known Doctor Who sounds, and an almost Pac-Man-must-escape-the-ghosts-feel, you must complete a series of puzzles/tasks before the Dalek exterminate you.

Allons-y before this doodle regenerates into the next one!

Celebrate the 216th Anniversary of the First Parachute Jump with Today’s Google Doodle

GoogleDoodleParachute
Image Capture: Patricia Vollmer

Airborne all the way!

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 216th birthday of the first parachute jump. Go to Google.com right now (on October 22nd) and play the little game, guiding the parachute man to a safe landing with your right and left arrow keys.

The first jump with a parachute happened in October 1797, when Andrew Garnerin leapt from a hot air balloon with a non-rigid chute. Today, those non-rigid chutes are a critical part of modern technology, from landing Soyuz space capsules to bringing Fearless Felix Baumgartner’s Red Bull Stratos jump safely to success.

Click the magnifying glass in the lower right after the game and you will get a search about the first parachute jump.

I was able to land my little guy with an elephant…in a zoo I believe. Comment below and tell us what you’ve seen on your own Google Doodle airborne adventure!

Google Doodle Celebrates Foucault’s Pendulum

googlefaucault
Screen capture by Cindy White

Google is celebrating the birthday of French physicist Jean Bernard Léon Foucault today (September 18) with an interactive Google Doodle featuring his most famous invention, the Focault pendulum. A truly elegant scientific device, it demonstrates the rotation of the Earth via a constantly swinging ball and a ring of pegs, each of which is knocked down in succession as the planet changes position. You can play around with the sliders to change how quickly time passes or see how different latitudes affect the pendulum’s arc.

Focault’s other notable contributions to science include an experiment in 1850 which measured the speed of light, the discovery of eddy currents (also called “Faucault currents”), coining the term “gyroscope,” and devising a test for reflecting telescope mirrors that is still used today. For more background and history on Focault, click on the magnifying glass on Google’s home page.

On a personal note, as a kid growing up in L.A. I have fond memories of watching the impressive, mesmerizing Focault pendulum at work in the rotunda of the Griffith Park Observatory and listening to my dad explain the scientific principle behind it. To this day, it’s still one of my favorite places to visit in the city. So, thank you Léon Foucault and Google for bringing it all back to me with this lovely tribute.

Google Doodle Celebrates 66th Anniversary of Roswell

Screen grab of Google.com

Sixty-six years later, there are still questions about the Roswell incident. What exactly was the object that crashed to Earth in Roswell, New Mexico?

The United States Armed Forces first said it was an experimental surveillance balloon, but other reports stated that a “flying disc” was recovered on July 8, 1947. In another version, the “flying disc” became a weather balloon. The story disappeared into relative obscurity until Major Jesse Marcel came forward in 1978, saying that he believed the U.S. military had recovered an alien spacecraft and subsequently covered up the story. This revelation has led to theories and official inquiries and provided lots of fodder for both UFO researchers, conspiracy theorists, and skeptics. Might there be alien remains hidden in Area 51?

In today’s interactive Doodle, Google re-imagines the crash, putting a cute little alien on the ground—alive and well—in Roswell. Can you find all the puzzle pieces? (I’m still looking!)

 

Today’s Google Doodle: A Tribute to Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak was a national treasure. I meant (and still mean) every word of this post I wrote when he passed away last year. So I got a little choked up this morning when I saw today’s Google Doodle in honor of what would have been his 85th birthday. It’s pretty brilliant, and it’s wonderful to see how his legacy is regarded. Sometimes, Google, you amaze.

Just in Time for Memorial Day*: Enjoy the 2013 Doodle4Google Winner

Doodle4Google
Image: Google

*I understand that Memorial Day technically isn’t meant for those servicemembers still living. But we all know that a lot of attention is given to our currently-serving military members around Memorial Day and I’m merely pointing out the proximity on the calendar between the release of this doodle and Memorial Day. Per Wikipedia, “Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, living or dead.”

A Wisconsin 12th grader is singlehandedly bringing millions of people — especially military spouses, military children and servicemembers — to tears. For her winning 2013 Doodle4Google contest entry, Sabrina Brady wholeheartedly deserves the $30,000 scholarship, new Chromebook and $50,000 technology grant to her school that come with winning the 2013 Doodle4Google competition.

I’ve been in both of those characters’ shoes and this art brought me to tears. Many times I’ve stood pier-side waiting as my father returned from 6- to 9-month Navy deployments. In 2009, I got to enjoy my sons’ hugs after many months away in the Middle East for my own deployment.

I’m in tears now as I copy and paste the image into this post.

In addition to the moving message, Miss Brady’s art is wonderful. I love the shadows of each of the characters.

For the Doodle4Google contest, students in grades K-12 submitted Google Doodle art that applies to an annual theme. This year’s theme was “My Best Day Ever…” and Miss Brady’s entry commemorated the day her father returned from Iraq after 18 months away from home. She was 10 years old at the time.

The other four national finalists earned $5,000 scholarships. One winner was chosen from each state. Read more about the winning entry and see the finalists’ pieces here.

Are you interested in entering? Stay tuned, in January the new competition and theme will be announced.

Celebrate Atari Breakout’s Anniversary with Today’s Google Doodle

Screen Capture: Patricia Vollmer
Screen Capture: Patricia Vollmer

It’s not where you think it might be. Search in the standard Web Search and it’ll be a list of posts (such as this one) about the Google Doodle. Instead, select the “Images tab in the upper left“, input “atari breakout” and wait a second. Don’t forget to turn up the volume!

Hint: Keep your mouse pointer inside the area, the paddle will stop responding if you drift outside the black area.

Happy 37th anniversary to the Breakout video game. I fondly remember this game on my family’s Atari 2600. And who remembers Super Breakout? It was the highlight of my day when I could get the little ball to stay up on the top space, where it could easily rack up the points!

What’s your high score? I’ve gotten 517 so far…

Google Doodle Celebrates Leonhard Euler’s Birthday!

Google Doodle for Leonhard Euler
Google Doodle for Leonhard Euler

Today we, along with Google Doodle, celebrate the birthday of Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler (1707-1783). Euler completed work in astronomy, physics, and mechanics, but he remains most famous for his work in mathematics. Continue reading Google Doodle Celebrates Leonhard Euler’s Birthday!

Google Doodle Celebrates Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori Google Doodle
Image from google.com (August 31, 2012)

Today Google honors the occasion of education pioneer Maria Montessori’s 142nd birthday.

Montessori, an Italian physician and educator born in 1870, devised a method of education based on human development. She did extensive work with inner-city and institutionalized children; the Doodle reflects her innovative ideas in practical, hands-on learning activities for the very young. Today, these ideas are applied in Montessori schools around the world and have influenced countless teachers, day-care centers, and homeschoolers, and even iPad apps.*

As a homeschooling mother, I’ve borrowed many of her ideas over the years, especially her nifty trick for teaching a preschooler how to put on her own jacket and her thoughts on involving children early and joyfully in household tasks.

Here’s my favorite Montessori quote:

“Supposing I said there was a planet without schools or teachers, study was unknown, and yet the inhabitants—doing nothing but living and walking about—came to know all things, to carry in their minds the whole of learning: would you not think I was romancing? Well, just this, which seems so fanciful as to be nothing but the invention of a fertile imagination, is a reality. It is the child’s way of learning. This is the path he follows. He learns everything without knowing he is learning it, and in doing so passes little from the unconscious to the conscious, treading always in the paths of joy and love.”

*Tam and Tao in Numberland, another Montessori app by Les Trois Elles, is on sale for $2.99 now through Thursday. GeekMom Kristen gave it high marks.

Google Celebrates Marie Curie’s 144th Birthday

The anniversary of the birth of scientist Marie Curie has been celebrated with a Google doodle.

Today, November 7th, marks the 144th birthday of one of the most famous female scientists of all time. Marie Curie was a physicist and chemist, and is best known for her pioneering work in the field of radioactivity. Google has dedicated their doodle today to her.

Marie Curie was born Maria Salomea Sklodowska in Warsaw, Russian Poland, on November 7, 1867. She was the daughter of well known teachers and was the youngest of five siblings. At the age of 24, she followed her older sister to Paris where she attended university. Two years later she had received her degree in physics and the following year received her mathematics degree.

During her studies at the Sorbonne, she met her future husband Pierre Curie, while they were both studying the properties of magnetism. During their marriage, they had two incredibly talented daughters. Pierre and Marie Curie worked tirelessly to research radioactivity, a term that Marie coined herself. Using Pierre’s invention to detect free electrons, the electrometer, the two discovered and named both polonium and radium.

In 1906, Marie was devastated by the sudden tragic death of her husband. Following Pierre’s death, the Sorbonne made Marie the first ever female professor and granted her her husband’s teaching position.

Marie Curie later became the first person to ever be granted Nobel Prizes in two different scientific fields. In 1903, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for her work in the field of radiation. In 1911, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for her studies of radium and polonium.

On July 4, 1934, after years of working with unprotected radioactive elements, Marie died of aplastic anaemia, a bone marrow condition caused by her prolonged exposure to radiation. In 1995, Pierre and Marie Curie’s remains were transferred to the Panthéon in Paris. She became the first (and so far only) woman to be placed in the Panthéon based on her own merits.

If there were ever a historical GeekMom to aspire to be like, it would be Marie Curie.

Google Turns 13!

Image: Google.com

“Hmm, I’m not sure…Google it!” is a phrase I utter probably on a daily basis. Obviously, as a writer for GeekMom, I’m a nerd, a geek, a brainiac; what ever you want to call it and as such I tend to be the go-to gal for everyone in my office whenever they have a question. For instance,

“What’s that thing called that the Monopoly guy wears on one eye?”
“Ask Cindy!”
“A monocle.”
“Told you she’d know.”

But I’m not omnipotent and so when I’m stumped I go to Google.

Today, my favorite search engine (and so much more) becomes a teenager. Google was founded in a basement in California in 1998 and 13 years later it’s the super-company it is today. By the age of 13 I cut my own hair,  wore a bicycle chain bracelet and way too much glitter on my face. At the age of 13 Google has brought forth Android-powered phones, Google+, Gmail, Google Chrome, Google Maps and a slew of other things. At this rate I wouldn’t be surprised if they took over the world one day. And as long as they stick to their unofficial motto “Don’t be evil,” that’ll be just fine by me.

Enter Borges’ Labyrinths Through a Google Doodle

By this time, you probably all received Google’s tweet, saw today’s Doodle on Google’s homepage, as well as read the post by Chloe Albanesius on PCMag, or this other one by Alison Flood on The Guardian.

So good posts, actually, that we hardly need another one. But Jorge Luis Borges wasn’t afraid of huge bibliographies, and I really like the idea of Google paying homage to him.I hope that will be an occasion, for all of us arounf the Web, to read him again, for that’s the only true way to remember a writer.

If you haven’t read The Aleph and Other Stories, you should find time to immerse yourself in these stories. You will find the time, actually: that’s one of Borges’ deepest magic.

That’s, basically, shamefully basically, a book about stories. How stories live, and die, and shape the people who read them, as well as the ones who wrote them, and the books in which they are written.

That’s also a place, an intricate and labyrinthine place, where you will meet great characters, historical ones, mythical ones, imaginary ones, and stop being sure there’s a difference between them. You’ll meet Homer himself, the great scholar Averroes, Christian heretics, Nazi criminals, Babylonian Kings, and Asterion.

You don’t know who Asterion is? Please don’t look for him on the Web. You would uncover him, of course, and deprive yourself of the pleasure of reading “The House of Asterion”, one of Borges’ stories dearest to me.

Read it, and the other ones.

And if you ever come to visit me in Geneva, pay a visit to Borges’ grave in the Cimetière des Rois (Cemetary of Kings, not exclusively Babylonian ones). It’s one of the most peaceful and gracious cemetaries I ever saw.