Society’s underdogs, the world’s innovators, and yet the largest receivers of headlocks, back signs, and wedgies: nerds have always been punished for simply knowing too much. Alas, the nerd herd is making a comeback: Bill Gates is richer and more popular than the prom king and prom queen combined, thick-framed glasses and tight, short pants are actually fashionable with hipsters, and science is becoming more revered with technological advances towards eco-friendly methods and output. Though computer jargon, math-related jokes, and quotes from space-related shows always seem to leave a bad taste for those who just don’t get it, their toys and inventions have captured our imagination, interest, and even our necessity. Just think about how often you use Google. Today, we honor geeks, past and present, with classic geek toys as well as some of the lesser known ones!
How does the Drinking Bird work? Nothing that physics and some gas laws can’t explain. After wetting the bird’s beak and placing it upright, dropping pressure from a cooling temperature in the bird’s head causes it to be filled with forced methylene chloride (the liquid) from the higher pressure in the belly. As it fills, the bird becomes top-heavy and takes a sip. Vapor from the belly displaces the liquid from the head and back into the bottom, bringing it back into its standing position.
The Drinking Bird later became responsible for the near-explosion of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant.
A Butterfly in a Jar? Seems more cruel that geeky. It’s simple science, we tell you! Using three AAA batteries, a thin wire connected to the butterfly and attached to the lid activates with a slight motion to the lid. Tap it one, two, or three times, and observe the uber-realistic fluttering of the robot butterfly. It’s magic in a jar, really. Check out the video for some childlike giggles!
Yes! Nerdom at its most visually spectacular! The Plasma Ball— also called a Tesla ball, plasma globe, or awesome– uses trapped gases like neon and a high-energy electrode in the center to display vivid nebulas throughout the container and even more so when touched. Your finger or hand attracts the flow of energy with a glowing white lighting streak, a warm sensation accompanying the show. Perhaps not a super complicated geek toy, but the hypnotic purple and blue lights within the simple structure just keep our attention like nerds at a nerd convention (commonly called Comic-Con).
Another virtually fascinating geek toy, the Levitron utilizes two opposing magnets to “levitate” one object over another– in this case, a small Earth over a flat surface. What’s incredible about this science toy is the planet’s ability to maintain its height and rotate along its axis! The LED lights along the base just highlight the space in between that seems to deny gravity altogether.
Some nerds prefer a stripped-down sort of entertainment, toys that retain an integrity that some high-tech gadgets can’t capture. That’s what the Wind Up Gear Box Series is all about: the mechanical basics of toys, a gear and a key without all the fluff of fur, paint, or plastic. Take a gander at Le Pinch below, one of over twenty wind up toys that perform basic functions like dancing, rolling, jumping, and crawling.
Geek toys, toys for tots, brain teasers, we just love toys of all sorts. And who are we to judge what geeks are into, be it Star Wars, Star Trek, or something else with the word “star”. Strap on your finest pocket protector, iron that white polo shirt to a crisp, and feel the power of brain power against all the Ogres of the world!