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Geekdom

NYU Student Seeks to Reclaim the Word ‘Hacker’

DaniGrantTwitterProfilePicThe media coverage began in earnest with a June 26 item on TechCrunch. It continued over the July 4 holiday weekend with a Business Insider feature by Rebecca Borison.

Expect more such articles as word spreads about NYU student Dani Grant‘s (pictured) efforts. Through her expanding website Hackers of New York, she is seeking to realign the term “hacker” with innovation rather than interruption. From the BI piece:

The site is modeled after the popular blog Humans of New York and aims to portray the diverse and unique individuals involved in the tech community. Grant interviews random people in the greater tech community and publishes their picture along with a quote or two from the interview.

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New York Magazine Writer Crashes Silicon Valley Mating Call

Great angle.

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Following much outcry about Bay Area startup Dating Ring’s very public attempts to herd in eligible east coast women and match them up with fully employed San Francisco men, Maureen O’Connor convinced event organizer Lauren Kay to let her crash the party. From her New York magazine piece, hilariously headlined “I Got Shipped to California to Date Tech Guys:”

One-hundred twenty-nine donors and $10,222 later, plans were in motion. Fifteen lucky women were selected to make the trip; each would go on two “curated” dates selected and planned by the Dating Ring.

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J.J. Abrams Set for MIT Media Lab Sit-Down

J.J. Abrams (Felicity, Lost, Star Trek) has done thousands of interviews. But chances are very few of the people he has been interrogated by possessed credentials on the level of MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito.

Ito, who will interview Abrams tomorrow as part of the Lab’s 2012 “Conversation Series,” currently sits on the boards of the Knight Foundation, The New York Times Company, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and several other equally august organizations. From his truly humbling MIT mini-bio, there’s also this:

In Japan, Ito helped establish and later became CEO of the country’s first commercial Internet service provider. He was an early investor in more than 40 companies including Flickr, Six Apart, Last.fm, Kongregate, Kickstarter and Twitter.

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Matt Groening: ‘If Life in Hell Were Still in LA Weekly, It Would Probably Have Kept Me Going.’

When Matt Groening retired his weekly “Life in Hell” comic strip in June after 32 years, it was running in just 38 papers, down from 380 in its heyday. The low circulation numbers were a big part of why Groening threw in the towel, but as the cartoonist explains to Editor & Publisher, being cut out of his hometown paper was of special consequence:

It was particularly aggravating that I wasn’t being printed locally in Los Angeles. “Life in Hell” was cut out of LA Weekly, along with other cartoons.

I’d draw the strip, send it out, and wouldn’t see it reprinted anywhere. If “Life in Hell” were still in LA Weekly, it would probably have kept me going.

The LA Weekly dropped “Life in Hell” in 2009 as a cost-cutting measure. Cutting the strip saved the paper $18 a week.

Read the full interview, conducted by Rob Tornoe, at the Editor & Publisher website.

Nerdist Heads to Comic-Con with New Ownership

Nikki Finke got the jump today on some very exciting news for the ebullient gang at Nerdist Industries. The website and affiliated operations have been acquired by early investor Legendary Entertainment:

My sources say huge comic book fan Thomas Tull will be stepping up his existing early investment in Nerdist and actually making an all-out acquisition. But co-owner Peter Levin (my pal) wouldn’t do a deal that stripped him and the other co-owner Chris Hardwick of autonomy for the editorial business. Now they will report to Legendary Entertainment COO Tim Connors.

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Chris Hardwick Set for Epic Star Wars Lightsaber Relay

This Saturday, July 7, something called Course of the Force will kick off at the Santa Monica Pier. For charity, various participants will walk or jog a specially made Hasbro lightsaber all the way down to San Diego in time for Comic-Con 2012, passing it from one participant to another Olympics torch-style in quarter-mile increments.

The event is a collaboration between Lucasfilm, Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist empire and Octagon. Hardwick and various co-hosts will broadcast the southbound progress at nerdist.com, and to frame the Make-a-Wish Foundation benefit trek, there’s also this cute short filmed at Industrial Light & Magic:

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LA Times Technology Writer Awarded Knight Fellowship at Stanford

The recipients of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships have been announced, and of the 20 journalists who have been selected, one of them is a local. That would be David Sarno, technology reporter for the Los Angeles Times business section.

The John S. Knight allows recipients to pursue their ideas for innovative journalism at Stanford during the 2012-13 academic year. Sarno will work on creating “video tutorials showing journalists how to quickly build touchable, 3-D computer graphics for news.”

Other fellowship recipients from the golden state include Andrew Donohue, editor of the Voice of San Diego, Mary Aviles, editor of the EFE News Services in San Jose, and Kevin Weston, a new media entrepreneur from Oakland.

LA Times Announces Hero Complex Film Festival Schedule

The LA Times’ Hero Complex Film Festival just announced the schedule for its third annual iteration at the Downtown Regal Cinemas at L.A. LIVE. The festivities kick off May 18 with a screening of Dawn of the Dead. Director Zack Snyder will be there for a zombietastic night with Walking Dead writer/creator Robert Kirkman.

The festival will close May 21 with a night with comic book legend Stan Lee. Other highlights include a screening of A Clockwork Orange followed by a discussion with Malcolm McDowell. There will also be Robocop.

Full schedule after the jump.

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Hero Complex Gets Its Own Geek Show

The LA Times Hero Complex blog is getting its own show on YouTube. Hosted by Times pop culture writer Geoff Boucher, Hero Complex: The Show will run on Nerdist’s soon-to-be-launched YouTube channel and will feature interviews on all things geek and/or nerd. Among other guests, Ridley Scott will be on the show to talk about Prometheus and Leonard Nimoy will also make an appearance to discuss long life and prosperity.

The Nerdist Channel makes its YouTube debut on April 2, while Hero Complex: The Show will premiere the week of April 9.

Press release after the jump:

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Happy Palindrome Day, Los Angeles!

Today’s date is 11,02,2011, making the date a rare palindrome – meaning it reads the same forwards and backwards. Aziz Inan, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Portland, spoke with the Los Angeles Times about what makes today’s date special:

Inan, who has taken on the discovery of palindrome dates as a sort of hobby, explained that there will only be 12 eight-digit palindrome days this entire century.

In addition to the automatic awesomeness of a date being a palindrome, Inan points out that Wednesday’s date is extra special because it is 1001 x 11 x 1001, or the product of a mathematical expression in which both sides are almost mirror images of one another.

Inan has discovered more amusing mathematical patterns in the date, which he shares in an article about the subject for the University of Portland’s student newspaper The Beacon.

We’re perfectly happy to celebrate today with music instead of math. The song “I Palindrome I” by They Might Be Giants, which includes word, letter, and musical palindromes, is after the jump:

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