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Geek giggles: The top 10 Missing Links of 2005

So we're only half-telling the truth. We like to think these wacky tech-related stories kept our readers smiling longer than it takes to hit the delete button.

Are you sick of being a cubical coder? Well, it's probably better than being locked in a noisy data center.

Let's face it, our top wackiest tech-related stories of 2005 are barely related to IT, but they may put a smile on your face. site editor Matt Danielsson scoured the Web for the stories of the weird and what he came up with is worth at least a passing glance. And anyway, it could give you something to say at the office holiday party.

So, forget your job for a few moments. It's the holiday season anyway. Relax, take a break and have a chuckle on us. Hopefully these stories won't make you gag.

10. Some jobs really suck

Popular Science

So you really are a cubical coder? Well, it may not be glamorous, but it sure beats some of the jobs on Popular Science's list of worst jobs around. You could always be an orangutan-pee collector, a semen washer at a fertility clinic or a manure inspector. Now go finish your project.

9. Don't have great expectations when dating online

Associated Press

A judge has ruled that two women should be awarded refunds from Internet dating service Great Expectations after they attracted too few suitors. One woman was refunded $1,000 she spent for a six-month membership and the other woman was refunded $3,790 for a 54-month deal. Great Expectations argued that the Dating Services Law did not apply to its operation because it provides an Internet posting service. The dating service plans to appeal. Anyone run an Internet posting service? You must be rich.

8. Nerdcore rising


Like the sound of rap, but don't feel quite at ease with all the talk about guns, "hos" and drugs? How about rappers waxing lyrical about their clever encryption algorithms? Welcome to the brave new world of Nerdcore, the rapping flavor especially for geeks -- and it's on the rise. Digital gangstas from coast to coast are serving up new ill rhymes all the time, inviting fellow geeks to develop some 'tude along with the Java code. Word, yo!

7. Lawyer crowned 'rock-paper-scissors' champion

Canadian Press

Remember the rock-paper-scissors showdowns you'd do back in college to decide who got the last slice of pizza? Turns out it has become something of an international sport, recently attracting about 500 competitors to compete for the world championship title. The winner this year? A Canadian lawyer, who pocketed the $7,000 prize, along with the grand honor. Bet that'll woo potential clients.

6. Time travelers welcome at MIT


If you could beam back through time and visit an old version of yourself, would you? Or perhaps more importantly, what point in time would be the most suitable for a visit? A group of science geek students and professors at MIT decided to make the choice a bit easier by throwing a party for future time travelers, complete with a smoke-engulfed landing pad and live music to allow for a grand entrance. NEXT WEEK: MIT students mysteriously clean out every state lottery in the country.

5. Eggheads invent tele-petting


A team of researchers has finally achieved one of the most pressing needs society faces today: the ability to remotely pet a chicken. And before you start muttering about your tax dollars at work, take heart -- the project took place at the National University of Singapore. Rumors about a team at MIT trying to one-up the Singapore guys with a fully automated robot performing the remote chicken-petting have not been confirmed as of this writing.

4. Smart beer coaster orders refills

Now there's no need to pause for a beer refill, thanks to an invention by two German professors. A new beer coaster not only soaks up condensation and supports advertising, but also alerts the bartender when it's time for a refill. Andreas Butz at the University of Munich and Michael Schmitz from Saarland University came up with the idea while out drinking with their students. We're sure there was no shortage of students willing to participate in the testing for this project.

3. Cars get smarter about protecting us from ourselves


A patent application has been filed for a "smart" steering wheel that automatically tests a driver's alcohol level. If the driver is drunk, the car simply refuses to start. The inventor hopes that this feature will one day become standard on all vehicles. We're looking forward to having smart air vents that detect cigarette smoke. If triggered, it would reverse the airflow while sealing the cabin thus sucking out the oxygen until the harmful cigarette goes out. And let's not forget the smart car stereo system that not only refuses to play the latest "boy band," but also immediately shreds and discards the CD upon detection.

2. Smooth conversations with a Jerk-o-meter

Associated Press

Ever had a phone conversation where you felt you'd really benefit from a little gizmo telling you when you were being a jerk? How about having it judge the people you're talking to, urging you to hang up if they're not nice? Well, the Jerk-o-meter exists and has recently been through numerous MIT studies. There's even commercial interest for the product. Bet you can't wait to get official confirmation that your boss is indeed a jerk next time he or she calls.

1. Real-life, 18-foot "Mech" for sale on eBay

Neighbors having a noisy party again? Why not slip into your 18-foot, exoskeletal robot suit and see if hulking menacingly over their new Benz in the driveway will make that volume knob go way down in a hurry. Yes, it's for real. An Air Force mechanic in Alaska has spent the last couple of years building his own, fully functional 3,000 pound robot and was selling it on eBay. Opening price was a mere $40,000, plus $8,000 shipping.

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