A pocket protector is a sheath designed to hold writing instruments and other small implements, such as slide rules, while preventing them from damaging the wearer’s shirt pocket (e.g., by tearing or staining by a leaky pen). The pocket protector is designed to fit neatly inside the breast pocket of a shirt, and may accommodate pens, pencils, screwdrivers, small slide rules, and various other small items. A flap overlapping the pocket exterior helps to secure the pocket protector in place. The pocket protector was invented during World War II by Hurley Smith while he was working in Buffalo, New York. He was awarded US 2417786 for the device on March 18, 1947; the patent was filed on June 3, 1943. A competing claim for the invention is from Long Island plastics magnate Gerson Strassberg around 1952. Strassberg was working on plastic sleeves for bankbooks. One day he placed one that he was working on into his shirt pocket while he took a phone call. When he noticed it there, he realized it would make a great product. Originally fashioned from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), pocket protectors were first marketed toward corporations as branded promotional fare. However, a more general market for the product soon arose, made up of students, engineers (prominently mechanical), and white-collar workers in sundry fields. The accessory has become part of a “nerd” or “geek” fashion stereotype, probably because of its association with engineers or students.
William Ford Gibson is an American-Canadian speculative fiction novelist who has been called the “noir prophet” of the cyberpunk subgenre. Gibson coined the term “cyberspace” in his short story “Burning Chrome” (1982) and later popularized the concept in his debut novel, Neuromancer (1984). In envisaging cyberspace, Gibson created an iconography for the information age before the ubiquity of the Internet in the 1990s. He is also credited with predicting the rise of reality television and with establishing the conceptual foundations for the rapid growth of virtual environments such as video games and the World Wide Web. Having changed residence frequently with his family as a child, Gibson became a shy, ungainly teenager who often read science fiction. After spending his adolescence at a private boarding school in Arizona, Gibson evaded the draft during the Vietnam War by emigrating to Canada in 1968, where he became immersed in the counterculture and after settling in Vancouver eventually became a full-time writer. He retains dual citizenship. Gibson’s early works are bleak, noir near-future stories about the effect of cybernetics and computer networks on humans—a “combination of lowlife and high tech”. The short stories were published in popular science fiction magazines. The themes, settings and characters developed in these stories culminated in his first novel, Neuromancer, which garnered critical and commercial success, virtually initiating the cyberpunk literary genre.
Andrew Stuart “Andy” Tanenbaum (sometimes referred to by the handle ast) is a professor of computer science at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He is best known as the author of MINIX, a free Unix-like operating system for teaching purposes, and for his computer science textbooks, regarded as standard texts in the field. He regards his teaching job as his most important work. In 1987, Tanenbaum wrote a clone of UNIX, called MINIX (MIni-uNIX), for the IBM PC. It was targeted at students and others who wanted to learn how an operating system worked. Consequently, he wrote a book that listed the source code in an appendix and described it in detail in the text. The source code itself was available on a set of floppy disks. Within three months, a USENET newsgroup, comp.os.minix, had sprung up with over 40,000 readers discussing and improving the system. One of these readers was a Finnish student named Linus Torvalds who began adding new features to MINIX and tailoring it to his own needs. On October 5, 1991, Torvalds announced his own (POSIX like) kernel, called Linux, which originally used the MINIX file system but is not based on MINIX code. Although MINIX and Linux have diverged, MINIX continues to be developed, now as a production system as well as an educational one. The focus is on building a highly modular, reliable, and secure, operating system. The system is based on a microkernel, with only 5000 lines of code running in kernel mode. The rest of the operating system runs as a number of independent processes in user mode, including processes for the file system, process manager, and each device driver. The system continuously monitors each of these processes, and when a failure is detected is often capable of automatically replacing the failed process without a reboot, without disturbing running programs, and without the user even noticing. MINIX 3, as the current version is called, is available under the BSD license for free at http://www.minix3.org.
Bob Budiansky is an American comic book writer, editor, and penciller, best known for his work on Marvel’s Transformers comic. He also created the Marvel character Sleepwalker and wrote all 33 issues of that comic. Budiansky worked at Marvel Comics for approximately 20 years. He is responsible for much of the writing of the original Marvel Transformer comic, and conceived the names of most of the original Transformers, including Decepticon leader Megatron, Autobot medic Ratchet, and Decepticon Ravage. He also wrote the vast majority of the descriptive “tech spec” biographies printed on the Transformers toy packages that Hasbro produced in the 1980s, giving each figure unique personality quirks. After a long hiatus from the Transformers mythos, Budiansky scripted a new adaptation of the original 1986 The Transformers: The Movie for IDW Publishing in honor of the film’s 20th anniversary. Budiansky is also a penciller. He drew the final years of the Johnny Blaze/Zarathos version of Ghost Rider, including drawing the majority of Ghost Rider covers from 1978 to 1983. From 1983 till 1996, Budiansky was on staff at Marvel as an editor. During this period, Budiansky oversaw such titles as Fantastic Four and Daredevil and the Spider-Man Clone Saga.
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who discovered the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics. He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”. Near the beginning of his career, Einstein thought that Newtonian mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. This led to the development of his special theory of relativity. He realized, however, that the principle of relativity could also be extended to gravitational fields, and with his subsequent theory of gravitation in 1916, he published a paper on the general theory of relativity. He continued to deal with problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which led to his explanations of particle theory and the motion of molecules. He also investigated the thermal properties of light which laid the foundation of the photon theory of light. In 1917, Einstein applied the general theory of relativity to model the structure of the universe as a whole. He escaped from Nazi Germany in 1933, where he had been a professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences, and settled in the U.S., becoming a citizen in 1940. On the eve of World War II, he helped alert President Franklin D. Roosevelt that Germany might be developing an atomic weapon, and recommended that the U.S. begin similar research. He taught physics at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, New Jersey, until his death in 1955. Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers along with over 150 non-scientific works, and received honorary doctorate degrees in science, medicine and philosophy from many European and American universities; he also wrote about various philosophical and political subjects such as socialism, international relations and the existence of God. His great intelligence and originality have made the word “Einstein” synonymous with genius.
Jacque Fresco, is a self-educated structural designer, architectural designer, philosopher of science, concept artist, educator, and futurist. His interests span a wide range of disciplines including several in philosophy, science, Architecture and engineering. Fresco writes and lectures extensively on his view of subjects ranging from the holistic design of sustainable cities, energy efficiency, natural resource management, cybernated technology, advanced automation, and the role of science in society, focusing on the benefits he thinks they may bring. With his colleague, Roxanne Meadows, he is the founder and director of an organization known as The Venus Project, located in Venus, Florida. In contemporary culture he has been popularized by three documentaries, Future By Design, Zeitgeist Addendum, and Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, His Venus Project has been inspirational worldwide, especially to activists.
Dave Eggers is an American writer, editor, and publisher. He is known for the best-selling memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and for his more recent work as a screenwriter. He is also the co-founder of the literacy project 826 Valencia. Eggers began writing as a Salon.com editor and founded Might magazine, while also writing a comic strip called Smarter Feller (originally Swell) for SF Weekly. His first book was a memoir (with fictional elements), A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000), which focused on the author’s struggle to raise his younger brother in San Francisco following the deaths of both of their parents. The book quickly became a bestseller and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. The memoir was praised for its originality, idiosyncratic self-referencing, and for several innovative stylistic elements. Early printings of the 2001 trade-paperback edition were published with a lengthy postscript entitled, Mistakes We Knew We Were Making.