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12 Christmas Cards Sure to Geek Up Your Holiday Spirit

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It might be a little late to order Christmas cards to send out to your friends and family, but you’ve still got plenty of time to enjoy the great art and creativity in some of the geekiest holiday cards out there.

1. Phone Home

This card is not only high tech, but it also just might be the most expensive card out there (at least, the most expensive not adorned in precious jewels). Surprisingly, the price isn’t due to a mark up—this is a DIY card design. The price instead comes from the iPhone nestled inside the card. Sure, you might not want to send one of these to your dentist, but it would be one heck of a way to present an iPhone if you already planned on giving one as a gift anyway.

2. Playing Games

Instructables user bradsprojects created another interactive, tech-based, DIY card, only this one won’t break the bank if you make one for more than a few people. The video game is pretty rudimentary, but any fan of old school games will still appreciate the classic appeal of moving a dot to avoid obstacles.

3. Godzilla's Anatomy

If you love both anatomy and Godzilla, then you’ll certainly appreciate these cards by artist Brad McGinty. Of course, if you prefer great fiction stories, then you’ll love the tale Brad created to help sell these delightful designs:

A few years after my Grandfather returned from the war he decided to start a greeting card company. Armed with one terrible idea and no artistic ability whatsoever, he turned to someone he had met during the war for help, a young Japanese solider he had shot in the face named Haruo. My grandfather spoke no Japanese, and Haruo spoke no English, so how they actually got together is beyond me or anyone else in my family. The idea involved creating American-style greeting cards for both the Japanese and the American markets.

Even if you have no interest in buying the cards, it’s worth reading the rest of the story over at his site.

4. Grumpy Card

Only a few short months ago, Grumpy Cat stole the internet’s heart with her permanently sour scowl. Her owner has since created a website so she can share her cat's delightful expressions with the world. To help support her kitties, she added a shop that included these great Christmas cards. Unfortunately, they’re already sold out, but maybe you die-hard Tard fans will have better luck getting cards with your favorite grumpy kitten next year.

5. It Must Be Italian

It’s rare for a family photo holiday card to end up this amazingly geeky, but Amanda Earles of Candid Moments Studios managed to bring A Christmas Story to life in her fantastic family photo card this year.

6. The Most Beautiful Card in the Room

Any Flight of the Concords fan will recognize the great “present” pun in this card, showing one of the band’s famous meetings. Creator Elliot Quince did such a great job with the card that Rhys Darby, aka Murray Hewitt, even tweeted the card to his followers.

7. Call the Doctor

I don’t know what the Doctor did to this Dalek to get him to serve cocktails, but whatever the plotline behind this Doctor Who Christmas special, I want to know the whole story. If you like the art and humor of these cards, but you aren’t really a Whovian, don’t worry: artist AliciaMB has also created Christmas cards themed after Star Wars, The Avengers, The Hunger Games, and more.

8. Nice Nose

Chewy the Red Nosed Wookie might not be as famous as Rudolph the Reindeer, but he’d do a lot better when it comes to helping you guide a Millennium Falcon across an asteroid belt. Of course, Etsy seller CastleMcQuade has plenty of other geeky holiday cards available for those who aren’t too into Star Wars (including a fantastic It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia design) as well as plenty of other Star Wars Christmas cards.

9. Hoth-Hoth-Hoth

For a more classic holiday card look with a Star Wars twist, look no further than these Hoth-y Holiday cards by Etsy seller Mike Goes Geek that depicts a classic Hoth scene in the iconic Rankin/Bass claymation style.

10. Left 4Christmas

If you simply loved Left 4Dead 2, then share that adoration with those closest to you with these adorable cards designed by artist Alexandria Neonakis and available in the Valve Store.

11. Sea Unicorn

Everyone loves narwhals—after all, they are like unicorns of the sea, and with this great holiday card by Etsy seller castornpollux, you get to see how the rare, majestic creature likes to decorate for Christmas.

12. Venn Out

Is any list of geekery truly complete without a Venn diagram? If you answered “no” with a resounding decisiveness, then you’ll certainly love these Venn diagram cards by Etsy seller BisforBrown that depict “what we wish you” this holiday season.

If you happened to order or send out any geeky holiday cards this year, tell us about them in the comments, or even better, share the pictures with us!

For 12-12-12, we’ll be posting twenty-four '12 lists' throughout the day. Check back 12 minutes after every hour for the latest installment, or see them all here.

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Thomas Quine, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
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Weird
Take a Peek Inside One of Berlin's Strangest Museums
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Thomas Quine, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Vlad Korneev is a man with an obsession. He's spent years collecting technical and industrial objects from the last century—think iron lungs, World War II gas masks, 1930s fans, and vintage medical prostheses. At his Designpanoptikum in Berlin, which bills itself (accurately) as a "surreal museum of industrial objects," Korneev arranges his collection in fascinating, if disturbing, assemblages. (Atlas Obscura warns that it's "half design museum, half horror house of imagination.") Recently, the Midnight Archive caught up with Vlad for a special tour and some insight into the question visitors inevitably ask—"but what is it, really?" You can watch the full video below.

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Courtesy of Nikon
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science
Microscopic Videos Provide a Rare Close-Up Glimpse of the Natural World
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Courtesy of Nikon

Nature’s wonders aren’t always visible to the naked eye. To celebrate the miniature realm, Nikon’s Small World in Motion digital video competition awards prizes to the most stunning microscopic moving images, as filmed and submitted by photographers and scientists. The winners of the seventh annual competition were just announced on September 21—and you can check out the top submissions below.

FIRST PRIZE

Daniel von Wangenheim, a biologist at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, took first place with a time-lapse video of thale cress root growth. For the uninitiated, thale cress—known to scientists as Arabidopsis thalianais a small flowering plant, considered by many to be a weed. Plant and genetics researchers like thale cress because of its fast growth cycle, abundant seed production, ability to pollinate itself, and wild genes, which haven’t been subjected to breeding and artificial selection.

Von Wangenheim’s footage condenses 17 hours of root tip growth into just 10 seconds. Magnified with a confocal microscope, the root appears neon green and pink—but von Wangenheim’s work shouldn’t be appreciated only for its aesthetics, he explains in a Nikon news release.

"Once we have a better understanding of the behavior of plant roots and its underlying mechanisms, we can help them grow deeper into the soil to reach water, or defy gravity in upper areas of the soil to adjust their root branching angle to areas with richer nutrients," said von Wangenheim, who studies how plants perceive and respond to gravity. "One step further, this could finally help to successfully grow plants under microgravity conditions in outer space—to provide food for astronauts in long-lasting missions."

SECOND PRIZE

Second place went to Tsutomu Tomita and Shun Miyazaki, both seasoned micro-photographers. They used a stereomicroscope to create a time-lapse video of a sweating fingertip, resulting in footage that’s both mesmerizing and gross.

To prompt the scene, "Tomita created tension amongst the subjects by showing them a video of daredevils climbing to the top of a skyscraper," according to Nikon. "Sweating is a common part of daily life, but being able to see it at a microscopic level is equal parts enlightening and cringe-worthy."

THIRD PRIZE

Third prize was awarded to Satoshi Nishimura, a professor from Japan’s Jichi Medical University who’s also a photography hobbyist. He filmed leukocyte accumulations and platelet aggregations in injured mouse cells. The rainbow-hued video "provides a rare look at how the body reacts to a puncture wound and begins the healing process by creating a blood clot," Nikon said.

To view the complete list of winners, visit Nikon’s website.

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