John Brecher / msnbc.com
|Night-vision goggles can teach kids important scientific lessons about, um, the electromagnetic spectrum?
Plenty of gift guides point you to high-tech gadgets, but how many point you to nuclear-powered toys?
How many guides rely on the geeks themselves to tell us all about the good stuff? And how many offer actual goodies for the best ideas?
For the eighth year in a row, we're presenting holiday gift suggestions for the science-minded, and we're depending on you to deliver.
Here's how it works: You submit your ideas for geeky gifts as comments below. Next Wednesday, we'll offer up a selection of the most promising ideas, and you'll get to vote for (and comment on) your favorite.
The top vote-getter as of 3 p.m. ET Dec. 10 will win ... drumroll, please ... a signed copy of my just-published book, "The Case for Pluto." Unless you have the book already, or just would prefer something else. In that case, you can choose between these coffee-table books: "Hubble: Imaging Space and Time" by David Devorkin and Robert W. Smith, "Planetology: Unlocking the Secrets of the Solar System" by Tom Jones and Ellen Stofan, or "Apollo: Through the Eyes of the Astronauts."
When you make your suggestion, emphasize the link to the science involved. For example, there are lots of oddball techie gifts out there, but what we're looking for is the Higgs boson plushie you can hide in your particle-collider pop-up book. There are lots of cool iPhone apps, but we want to hear about the app that puts a planetarium in your palm. There are lots of gifts for geek kids, but we're interested in the magic wand with a Van de Graaff generator inside.
Gizmodo gets it in these roundups of gift ideas for space geeks and science nerds - although if you have suggestions for science books, there's an app for that already. As usual, Wired.com's GeekDad already has a voluminous roundup of gift suggestions, including my personal favorite, the EyeClops night-vision binoculars. You can get them in a premium package with the "Modern Warfare 2" video game, but I'm afraid shooter games just aren't my thing.
Here are some of the best places for the things we're talking about:
- Edmund Scientific: The granddaddy of all scientific stores.
- Educational Innovations: This stuff looks too fun to be educational.
- Robot Snob: Check out their gift guide. Dinobots for dino geeks!
- Sheldon Shirts: Don't need to be a fan of "TBBT," but it helps.
- ThinkGeek science toys: The sweet spot for science thingies.
- Xkcd store: Where you can find last year's winning geek gift.
And here's where you can find our geek gift guides from previous years:
I hope all this is enough inspiration for you. Now it's your turn: Leave your gift suggestions for science geeks in the comment box below.
Join the Cosmic Log team by signing up as my Facebook friend or following b0yle on Twitter. And pick up a copy of my new book, "The Case for Pluto." If you're partial to the planetary underdogs, you'll be pleased to know that I've set up a Facebook fan page for "The Case for Pluto."