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Dead Geek Icons Hitchhiking Across USA 52

pacopico writes "The Register has a mammoth story on a weird art/technology project. An artist has created five life-size wooden figures of Silicon Valley pioneers such as Hewlett and Packard and Intel founder Bob Noyce. These figures are supposed to hitchhike around the country and make their way from the East Coast to Silicon Valley. They're outfitted with GPS tracking systems, and you can watch them move via the web. It's all part of the ZeroOne art and science festival taking place next week in San Jose."
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Dead Geek Icons Hitchhiking Across USA

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  • Beautifully weird (Score:4, Insightful)

    by York the Mysterious ( 556824 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @03:32AM (#15851259) Homepage
    This is a beautifully weird idea. It serves no real purpose except to have some fun and see what happens.
    • Re:Beautifully weird (Score:5, Informative)

      by Madcowz ( 904786 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @04:20AM (#15851350)

      This is just such a fantastic idea. We all love the excitement & intrigue of a journey, and sending these wooden people out on their own with only the hope that the public helps them on their way must be both exciting and slightly nerve racking for the artist. Almost like a father letting his children free to roam.

      It reminds me of [] where you set a book free by giving it to someone or leaving it on a bus or train (don't try this with a plane, they are a little jumpy about this) and the idea is that someone picks it up, reads your note and enters the details on the site. You can then track your book's journey.

      I wish this art project all the best and love the juxtaposition of materials used in its construction
      • Re:Beautifully weird (Score:5, Interesting)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @07:33AM (#15851662) Journal
        This is absolutely OT, but you mentioned leaving books on a train. Twice in the last several months, distracted, I left a library books on a subway. Now I live in Chicago, where although people are pretty decent, the law of "finders keepers" is held sacred. In both cases, when I went to the library to man up and pay for those lost books, the librarian told me that the book had been returned. I was on a train line that is not particularly close to a library branch. The idea that someone out there, probably two different someones, would be decent enough to tote a stranger's book to the library without thought of reward or even thanks amazes me and warms my heart. It's actually made me behave a little differently in the same situation. I found a really nice cellular phone on the back seat of a cab the other day. The menu language was set to Spanish, not one I speak, and I went through considerable hassle to call the various people on the contacts list and after 8 calls I finally found out who owned the phone, a man from Washington D.C. I got his address and FedEx'd the phone to him. Before the library book incident, I might not have gone through the trouble. Decency can be viral, apparently.
        • Right on, that's awesome.

          I wonder if the person who found the book actually took them back to the right library, or just took them to A library? I know where I live (western Canada), librarys are networked and share books.

          I lost a wallet once with over a hundred bucks in it. Got a phone call from the police a few days later. Wallet was there with all the money present. Maybe people aren't so bad after all...
        • Re:Beautifully weird (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Last weekend, somewhere in the Netherlands, I entered a train, saw a mobile phone on the seat I was going to take. Without much thinking I took it, walked back to the train doors, and shouted rather loudly to the hundred or so people who had just left the train, "HAS ANYONE FORGOTTEN A MOBILE PHONE?" Some very happy guy came running back :-) Went back quickly after given it to him, since I didn't want that good seat to be taken (it wasn't).

          I did it rather absent mindedly (I was reading an Economist article

    • "I don't know what I like, but I know what art is"

      This IS art. I wish I'd thought of it!
    • Apparently Jack Kilby, the inventor of the Integrated Circuit, upon which
      ALL computers rely, was left out. Pity.
      • "Apparently Jack Kilby, the inventor of the Integrated Circuit, upon which
        ALL computers rely, was left out. Pity."

        Didn't Kilby and Noyce sort of both invent the IC at the same time? Except Kilby was at TI, and not in Silicon Valley, which seems to be the unifying theme of this project.

        The Silicon Valley connection is the only reason I can see for the inclusion of Lee de Forest.

        • Bingo! Unitron nailed it. Along with the 2 other artists, we argued into the metaphorical night about which five we should celebrate. We looked long and hard ( no Ron Jeremy reference intended ) for a non-white, non-male Silicon Valley pioneer but the tide of the times, early 20th century, didn't permit it. One of the many reasons we picked Noyce and not Kilby was he died before the Nobel was awarded, but mainly it was the Valley connection. DeForest, same reason, prevailed. But also he was a pioneer in
  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @03:58AM (#15851319) Journal
    From TFA: Many of you CEOs and top engineers out there are no doubt wondering - am I willing to be made out of wood? Well, you might not have any choice should Mike Mosher, Julie Newdoll, Jim Pallas and Mario Wolczko hear of your accomplishments.

    Given Mr. Ballmer's accomplishments as a CEO and now Acting Chair-man, he's sure to be nominated for the honour. It would be a waste of good wood however, one feels, given his bulk. Would a Wooden Chair be a good enough substitute?
  • by SensitiveMale ( 155605 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @04:03AM (#15851331)
    So Penthouse letters can get a few entries.

    "Dear Penthouse Letters, I know you'll never believe this, but I was driving to work, when I saw Ron Jeremy hitchhiking. After I pulled over to the shoulder, I could see he was VERY excited to see me, a 5' 10", 140 lbs. blonde woman with huge breasts, and my bi-curious Asian girlfriend Mia, who just had breast augmentation surgery as well. We had just opened up a second bottle of tequila when "wooden" Ron, in more ways than one!, got in the back seat with Mia.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 05, 2006 @04:22AM (#15851353)
    "Did you see a sign that said Dead Geek Transportation? No? Do you know why you didn't see a sign that said Dead Geek Transportation?... ...BECAUSE THERE IS NO SIGN! Now put that wooden cutout back on the side of the road so we can have a little room in the back seat again."
  • "We tried to pick people that were really on the ground floor of developing Silicon Valley," said Newdoll. This conflicts with the story of RealDoll, who claimed it was on the ground floor at the time.
  • Hitchhiking (Score:5, Funny)

    by Schmig ( 225893 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @05:59AM (#15851527)
    I hitchhiked the length and breadth of Ireland as a teenager. In other for these inanimate hitchers to have a genuine experience, drivers should live up to their obligations and:

    - Inaudibly admonish/curse at them through the windshield.
    - Stop 10 feet away and then wheelspin away at the last moment, veering wildly.
    - Swing planks of wood out of the passenger window at high speed in an effort to decapitate the hitchers (I made the mistake of hitching outside Limerick City *once*).
    - Drive them to some mountainous vista, stop the car, and lecture them for 1 hour about the end of the world (I made the mistake of taking a lift from a Jehova Witness *once*).
    - Make signs indicating that they are going in impossible directions (i.e. taking a left turn off a precipitous 12 mile mountain pass).

    It's a dead practice in Ireland now, which saddens me. Anyway those hitchers should NOT make it to wherever they're going. For one thing, they can't duck.

  • It's just a matter of time before the FBI shows up at somebody's house, to retrieve the hitch-hikers, and finds that Noyce has spent a week as a coat rack, that packard is now at the door, acting as a "greeter", and hewlet is now an integral ocmponent in the drunken game of "throw the NASCAR cap on fancy-pants' head"
  • While I agree these guys should get more recognition, this is a mighty weird way to do it. Here's some ways they might appreciate: (1) Build a 20 times size working HP 200 Audio Oscillator (HP's first product)-- Tubes the size of phone booths. Variable capcitors that could slice a whole cow... 20-ton transformers. 5Kw pilot light. (2) Take up a collection to shoot their ashes into space. (3) Start a really good HP museum.
  • Does this remind anyone else of the garden gnomes that get snagged and photographed around the world?
    • It reminds me of the Belgian "Garden Gnome Liberation Front" or something like that a few years ago, that would steal gnomes from gardens and set them free in the wild. At least that was what police assumed when they found about 50 stolen gnomes together in a forest. (This is a vague recollection of some small news item some years back, no accuracy at all is claimed)
  • Is a 'Dead Geek Icon' something I can have on the screen of my PeeCee and when I click it a geek somewhere dies?

    Or is this 'Icon' in the correct sense: a small framed work of art from eastern Europe somehow associated with a dead geek?
  • The Hitcher (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @09:47AM (#15851982) Homepage Journal
    In the early 1990s, I picked up a weird old guy, with long hair/beard and fingernails but exremely clean, in the late dark of night in the Santa Cruz (CA) mountains. He wanted a ride to the beach, so I took him over on my way home. He was pretty quiet at first, but as we passed the airport on US1 outside Half Moon Bay he started talking aircraft. And movies - he knew all these backstories from the "Golden Age", up until the mid 1960s. When we got to politics, he muttered "Nixon" and clammed up again. I dropped him off and lost him in the dunes near the pier. He was the most articulate and most fastidious bum I ever picked up, so I thought about him from time to time after that.

    Boy was I surprised to see Leonardo Di Caprio playing him in a movie [] on cable this Spring.
  • What? No towel jokes yet? Slashdotters must be slacking.
    • But did you REALY want to read that many towel jokes?
      • Only the well-written ones. About 80% of my posts in some way reference Adams's material, but I attempt at least to create a fitting paraphrase, rather than directly quoting. Perhaps if someone wrote something like: "Hey, you sass that hoopy cardboard cutout? Now there's a frood that knows where his corrugation is.", it'd be worth a few +1 Funny mods, as oppose to -1 Boring...
  • After reading the title, I thought for a brief moment that real zombie geeks were actually outside and walking..

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes