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Gifts for the Geek Home

A home should be an expression of who you are. Sure, when you're young and broke, your room or apartment might be an expression of who your parents or the people who donate to Goodwill are, but gradually you collect items that express your personality, whether you receive them as gifts or purchase them yourself. If you are a technologically oriented geek, there are plenty of manufacturers and vendors catering to your tastes in home decor.

Interactive LED Dining Table

Windell Oksay of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories built a dining room table with 448 LEDs inside. The lights respond to movement on and above the table surface! No, not a motion sensor, but light sensors that detect shadows and respond appropriately by activating LEDs in those areas. This is a one-of-a-kind project, but if you are handy you can make your own with the extensive documentation of the project as your guide. Take a shortcut by buying the LED panel kit.

Motherboard Picture Frame

Recycling is not only environmentally-friendly, it can make a statement. The Motherboard Picture Frame states that you know what motherboards are all about -even if you don't! Buying one is much easier than recycling your own, but the motherboards are recycled from somewhere.

Geek Clock

This geeky clock was posted all over as "the clock only geeks can read." That's not quite true, as those of us of a certain age learned to read an analog clock by its angles, so no numerals are necessary. However, the formulas used in place of numerals on this clock face will display your geekiness for the world to see.

A Clock that Spells

Here's a clock that is easy for anyone to read, but the mechanism that displays it is something else. Christiaan Postma designed it to mechanically spell out the time.

I put together more than 150 individual clockworks and made them work together to become one clock.  I show the progress of time by letting the numbers be written in words by the clockworks. Reading clockwise,  the time being is visible through a word and readable by the completeness of the word, 12 words from "one" to "twelve".

Watch how the clock face changes here. Unfortunately, it's an artwork that is not available to purchase.

Galactic Hitchhiker's Towel

Never be caught without your towel! Express your inner hitchhiker with this utility towel, complete with the number 42. No need to explain to science fiction fans.

CRT Light Fixture

As you move from cathode ray tubes to LEDs, recycle your CRTs into light fixtures!

Fractal Art Quilt

Rose Rushbrooke makes gorgeous art quilts with intricate designs, including a collection of fractal patterns she designs and hand quilts. I was particularly taken with this quilt displaying a pattern based on the Mandelbrot set. A quilt like this will impress everyone, but particularly anyone who recognizes how the intricate pattern came about.

Enter Doormat

What do you do at someone's doorstep? Enter! This doormat says just that, but it looks like a huge computer key. Another available doormat resembles the "home" key.

Icon Pillows

If you're going to have throw pillows around, make them conversation starters, like pillows in the shape of familiar computer button icons, such as RSS, Mac OSX, subscribe, iTunes, and even chat balloons.

Social Networking Pillows

Display your loyalty to your favorite social networking site with a throw pillow your friends will recognize -or if you have no loyalty, use them all! Etsy seller Craftsquatch makes them in Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and other flavors, including a generic email pillow.

Mini Disc Pillows

Your geeky life isn't restricted to the internet, however. This pillow comes in the form of a floppy disc, which you might find fun to explain to younger visitors.

Elemental Refrigerator Magnets

Teach your kids about the periodic table as you hang their artwork on the refrigerator, or just show off with the Periodic Table Magnet Set. Use as a complete table, or detach individual magnets as you please.

Temperature Sensitive Tiles

Line your bathroom with tiles that react to heat like a mood ring! These temperature sensitive glass tiles go wild in a hot shower or when washing dishes. They even make awesome floor tiles that respond to bare feet.

See also: Video Game Furnishings for Your Home.

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Live Smarter
Your Dresser Is a Serious Tipping Hazard. Here's How to Fix It
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When it comes to household safety, we’re used to potentially hazardous items being clearly labeled. Hair dryers come with warnings not to use them in the shower; volatile cleaning products implore us not to drink them. But some of the most significant items carrying actual mortality rates are largely ignored: common living room or bedroom furniture.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 30,000 people were treated in emergency rooms from 2014 to 2016 as a result of furniture tipping over on them. Children are at particular risk of being injured or worse when they attempt to climb a dresser or TV stand. As Consumer Reports points out, these items do not have to conform to any universal manufacturing standard and can easily become unstable regardless of their weight, cost, the child’s weight, or other variables. Injuries are also seen when children tug on the furniture or attempt to climb inside the drawers. Since dressers are often in a child's bedroom where they can play unsupervised, the potential for an accident is high.

In testing performed by Consumer Reports, no one brand or style stood out as being inherently safer than the others. So what can consumers do?

An illustration of a child climbing a dresser
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One easy solution is to avoid putting televisions on top of these dressers, since they pose a high risk of falling on top of a child when the dresser is moved. More importantly, child safety advocacy groups advise that adults use anchoring systems for furniture in danger of tipping over. These kits are available via mail order or in retail stores and come with straps that are connected between the furniture and two wall brackets. If weight is applied to the front of the dresser, the straps will keep it from falling over.

Some furniture comes with these kits, or with L-shaped angle brackets. Both are effective, but included straps can often be plastic that degrades over time—they should be nylon or steel. If not, you should opt for a third-party kit.

Advocacy groups have found that a lot of consumers are either unaware these kits exist or find them difficult to install. But it's a relatively easy procedure so long as you secure the anchor into a wall stud and not into drywall, where it will be too loose to stand up to a weight-bearing load. For brick or masonry walls, it’s best to hire a professional. If you’re renting and have been told not to drill into the wall, consult your landlord—it’s likely they’ll agree to waive any restrictions to make for a safer living space.

[h/t NPR]

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Design
These Unique Benches Are Made From Yogurt Cups and Plastic Bags
Courtesy of Studio Segers
Courtesy of Studio Segers

When sent to a landfill, some plastic waste will sit there for centuries before breaking down. The Belgian design firm Studio Segers has found an alternative use for the plastic containers some people throw away by re-purposing them into innovative outdoor seating. This modular bench spotted by design milk is made from used yogurt cups, butter tubs, and plastic bags and is 100 percent recyclable.

Commissioned by the recycling company ECO-oh!, the H-bench consists of slender, plastic components. They come with or without backrests and are available in dark gray, medium gray, light gray, pastel green, pastel blue, and beige. Snap three of them together and you have a chair. Keep adding pieces to build a snug love-seat or a bench long enough to fit a crowd.

Recycled bench.
Courtesy of Studio Segers

The seat is designed to be customized to suit the user’s taste. Chair backs can face one way or alternating directions; the bench can feature multi-colored stripes or a uniform shade; one side can have seat backs while the opposite end is built for laying down.

The makers didn’t skimp on quality to make their product sustainable: The H-bench is made from plastics called polyolefins, which means it's durable enough to stay strong and vibrant even in harsh outdoor conditions. Get a closer look at the smart design in the video below.

[h/t design milk]

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