G – Gm

Gadget
An interactive application, such as a search bar, stock market readout, calculator or calendar.  Also known as a widget.  See Application.

 

Gaiman, Neil

Neil Gaiman was born in Hampshire, UK, where he grew up reading the works of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, James Branch Cabell, Edgar Allan Poe, Michael Moorcock, Ursula K. LeGuin, Gene Wolfe, and G.K. Chesterton.  He began his writing career in England as a journalist.  His first book was a Duran Duran biography that took him three months to write, and his second was a biography of Douglas Adams, Don’t Panic: The Official Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion.  Violent Cases was the first of Gaiman’s many graphic novel collaborations with artist Dave McKean.  Their series Black Orchid was published by DC Comics.  The groundbreaking and award-winning 75-issue series Sandman followed, collecting a large number of US awards in its run, including nine Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and three Harvey Awards.  In 1991, Sandman became the first comic ever to receive a literary award, the 1991 World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story.

Gaiman writes books for readers of all ages, including collections and picture books for young readers: The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish (1997); The Wolves in the Walls (2003); M is for Magic (2007); Interworld, co-authored with Michael Reaves (2007); The Dangerous Alphabet (2008), illustrated by Gris Grimly; the Greenaway-shortlisted Crazy Hair (2009), illustrated by Dave McKean; Blueberry Girl (2009); and Instructions (2010), illustrated by Charles Vess.  Originally considered too frightening for children, his book Coraline went on to win the British Science Fiction Award, the Hugo, the Nebula, the Bram Stoker, and the American Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla award.  Odd and the Frost Giants, originally written for 2009’s World Book Day, has gone on to receive worldwide critical acclaim.  The Wolves in the Walls was made into an opera by the Scottish National Theatre in 2006, and Coraline was adapted as a musical by Stephin Merritt in 2009.

Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere (1995), Stardust (1999), the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning American Gods (2001), Anansi Boys (2005), and Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett, 1990), as well as the short story collections Smoke and Mirrors (1998) and Fragile Things (2006).  His first collection of short fiction, Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions, was nominated for the UK’s MacMillan Silver Pen Awards as the best short story collection of the year.  American Gods has been released in an expanded tenth anniversary edition, and there is an HBO series in the works.

Gaiman wrote the screenplay for the original BBC TV series of Neverwhere (1996); Dave McKean’s first feature film, Mirrormask (2005), for the Jim Henson Company; and co-wrote the script to Robert Zemeckis’ Beowulf.  He produced Stardust, Matthew Vaughn’s film based on Gaiman’s book by the same name.  He has also written and directed two films: A Short Film About John Bolton (2002) and Statuesque (2009).  An animated feature film based on Gaiman’s Coraline, released in 2009, won a BAFTA (The British equivalent of an Academy Award) for Best Animated Film, and was nominated for an Oscar in the same category.  A Gaiman-scripted 2011 episode of Doctor Who, “The Doctor’s Wife,” inspired the Times to describe him as “a hero.”  Among many other honors for his work, Gaiman is the first author ever to win both the Newbery Medal and the Carnegie Medal for the same book, The Graveyard Book.

A prolific creator of works of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics, and drama, Gaiman now lives in the United States near Minneapolis.  See Adams, Douglas; DC Comics; Doctor Who; Eisner, Will; Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, A; Tolkien, J.R.R.

 

Galactica 1980

Taking place thirty years after the events of the series Battlestar Galactica, the fugitive starship fleet finally reaches its legendary destination: the planet Earth. But Commander Adama discovers that the planet Earth in 1980 is not technologically advanced enough to help them battle the Cylons.  Indeed, by coming to Earth, the Galactica has inadvertently exposed the helpless planet to attack by the android Cylon race, which is bent on planetary conquest and human eradication.  Therefore, teams of Colonial warriors are covertly sent to the planet to work incognito with various members of the scientific community, hoping to advance Earth’s technology.

Airing 10 episodes between January and May 1980, the show’s cast featured Lorne Greene (reprising his original Galactica role of Adama), Barry Van Dyke and Kent McCord.

 

Galactus

Sole survivor of the universe existing before our own, beyond good and evil, and forced to destroy entire worlds to survive, Galactus first appeared in Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four #48 in 1966, and had his origin story told in Super-Villain Classics #1 in 1983.  He has been known as Maker, Devourer of Worlds, Eater-of-Worlds, and Ravager of Worlds, and is perhaps the most feared being in the cosmos.

Untold billions of Earth years ago, he was born the humanoid Galan on the planet Taa, a wondrous paradise of scientific and social achievement; however, his universe was in its final stages, with all matter plunging towards a central point, collapsing into a new “Cosmic Egg,” a sphere of disorganized, compact primordial matter.  Galan, a space explorer, discovered a radiation-plague threatening all of Taa.  He convinced a handful of remaining survivors to die gloriously by flying a ship into the blazing cosmic cauldron.  The others were killed by the intense radiation, but Galan was filled with new energy and saved by the Phoenix Force of the dying universe.  With the creation of our universe, the Cosmic Egg eventually condensed into stars and planets.  Reborn as Galactus, he drifted inert for billions of our years, while new life began to populate the universe.  The starship crashed on an unnamed planet, where Galactus emerged as raw energy.  Launching his ship back into space, the being ejected its lifeless companions into the void.  He created a suit of armor to harness and regulate his awesome energies, then transformed his ship into an incubation chamber, where he spent countless centuries evolving into his current form.  Eventually, his craft again fell into orbit around another planet called Archeopia.  Years later, when interstellar war spread into that space sector, the Archeopians’ unidentified enemies mistook the incubation craft for a weapon, and fired upon it.  Emerging unharmed, Galactus swiftly slaughtered invader and defender alike, then consumed the life-energies of Archeopia, with only a small fleet of Archeopians managing to escape.  This was to be the first of many worlds that would perish for Galactus’ hunger.  Surveying the destruction he had wrought, Galactus decided to create a world to outshine any other in existence.  Though it took millennia, Galactus completed Taa II, an immense ship engulfing the entire Archeopian system, which he made his new home.

Galactus initially went centuries between feedings, seeking out uninhabited worlds that could support life; but he gradually hungered more frequently, and began consuming inhabited worlds if he could find no others. He rationalized his actions by deeming himself a higher being, a belief made easier after learning of a prophecy that he would eventually compensate for all his destruction.  Lonely, Galactus created a being in his own image; however, while Galactus was content to survive, his creation craved conquest.  The creation, becoming known as Tyrant, battled his creator, but Galactus eventually triumphed, banishing Tyrant to parts unknown. Since then, Galactus has used many mindless servants.  Eventually, the world-devourer realized it was more efficient to send a herald to seek out worlds for him.  His first herald was eventually cast out and imprisoned, presumably due to its corrupt and violent nature, but when Galactus threatened to devour the planet Zenn-La, he was persuaded by native Norrin Radd to spare it, in exchange for Radd becoming his new herald.  Galactus transformed Radd into the Silver Surfer, suppressing his morals so that the Surfer could lead Galactus to inhabited worlds.

Although Galactus is usually represented in humanoid form, each sentient being perceives him having a form resembling that of his own race; humans see him as humanoid and Skrulls as Skrullian.  See Fantastic Four; Marvel Comics; Radd, Norrin.

 

GalaxyQuest

In this 1999 sci fi comedy, the cast of a once-popular Star Trek-like television series tests their actual spacelegs after aliens approach them, believing that they are, in fact, their television personae and that they can help them defeat a tyrannical alien force in another solar system.  Directed by Dean Parisot, the film stars Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman and Sam Rockwell.

 

Game Boy

First released on April 21, 1989 in Japan, the Nintendo Game Boy was the first big-selling portable gaming system.  Prior to the release of the Game Boy, several companies such as Mattel tried to develop their own lines of portable games and electronics, with little success.  Then Gunpei Yokoi created the Game and Watch series of handheld electronics for Nintendo, and still sought to find a way to make the video game experience truly portable.  The result was the Game Boy.  On its initial release, the Game Boy sold out its 300,000-unit stock in a matter of two weeks.  A few months later, it enjoyed similar success with its launch in the United States and around the world.  Even with its low-tech, monochromatic display, the Game Boy attracted fans with a library of quality games like Tetris and Super Mario Land, and its relatively affordable price, and other innovations such as the built-in networking Game Link port would later prove instrumental in its continued success.  Creative enhanced models such as the Game Boy Pocket in 1996, the Game Boy Color in 1998, the Game Boy Advance in 2001, the Game Boy Advance SP in 2003, and 2005’s Game Boy Micro have kept the Game Boy at the center of the ever-advancing gaming world.  See Mario Brothers; Nintendo Entertainment System.

 

Game of Thrones

Nine noble families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros.  The friction between the Stark, Lannister, Baratheon and Targaryen houses, as well as the remaining great houses of Greyjoy, Tully, Arryn, Tyrell and Martell, leads to full-scale war.  All while a very ancient evil awakens in the farthest north.  Amidst the war and political confusion, a neglected military order of misfits, the Night’s Watch, is all that stands between the realms of men and icy horrors beyond.

The popular HBO series, based on George R. R. Martin’s best-selling novels, debuted in April 2011, despite the fact that Martin has not concluded the book series yet.  According to Martin, he has notes to follow in order to continue and conclude the series, should he die before he finishes it.

 

Gamer

A person who enjoys and participates in games, particularly in reference to online or role-playing games.

 

Gamgee, Samwise

This stout-hearted Hobbit is a gardener to and loyal friend of Frodo Baggins in J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic adventure The Lord of the Rings.  When Gandalf chooses him to accompany Frodo on his quest, Sam makes a simple promise not to lose his master and friend.  This unshakable companion keeps his word, even into the desolate, ashen landscape of Mordor and almost certain death, as Frodo travels there to destroy The One Ring and its dark and dangerous power.  Throughout a series of perilous situations, Sam stays by Frodo’s side, making sure his master was safe.  When Frodo realizes that the evil of the Ring would consume the Fellowship if they continued journeying together, he decides to continue to Mordor alone, but Sam, figuring out his plan, accompanies him.  Upon meeting the creature Gollum, who professes devotion to Frodo’s quest, Sam is instantly and stubbornly suspicious of his motives, and keeps a close watch on the stranger.  After escaping an Orc party, Frodo was willing to give up and die right as he lay, but Sam was determined to go on. Leaving most of their belongings behind, Sam picked up Frodo and carried him up to Mount Doom.  At the Crack of Doom, Gollum leaped onto Frodo and bit off his finger, falling into the Fires with the Ring.  As Mordor begins collapsing around them, Gandalf and the Eagles flew down and saved them.

Sam wakes up in Ithilien, to be reunited with Gandalf and the rest of the Fellowship.  They attend Aragorn’s coronation, where Sam was shocked to see that it is the one he knew as Strider who wears the crown. The hobbits stay for Aragorn’s wedding to Arwen, but soon feel the pangs of homesickness, and began their journey back.  Upon reaching their Shire, they find it destroyed by Saruman and his men.  Together with Merry, Pippin and many other hobbits, they raise the Shire to fight, and win the last battle of the War of the Ring.

After the Battle of Bywater, Sam marries his darling Rosie Cotton.  They move into Bag End with Frodo, and their first daughter Elanor is born on the first anniversary of the Ring’s destruction.  Later, when Frodo’s sorrows catch up with him, he passes over the sea with Bilbo, Gandalf, Galadriel, and Elrond.  Sam and Rosie live happily with their thirteen children for many years, but after Rosie passes over before him, Sam also goes over the sea, having lived to be the last of the Ring-bearers.

In the big-budget Hollywood trilogy of Tolkien’s adventure, Samwise is portrayed by Sean Astin.  See Aragorn; Gandalf; “One Ring, The”; Orc; Tolkien, J.R.R.

 

Gamma rays

Scientifically speaking, gamma rays are rays that feature the smallest wavelengths and the most energy of any wave in the electromagnetic spectrum.  They are produced by the hottest and most energetic objects in the universe, such as neutron stars and pulsars, supernova explosions, and regions around black holes.  On Earth, gamma waves are generated by nuclear explosions, lightning, and the less dramatic activity of radioactive decay.  In the Marvel comic universe, gamma rays were responsible for transforming Dr. Bruce Banner into The Hulk during an accidental exposure.  See Banner, Dr. Bruce; Marvel Comics.

 

Gandalf

Gandalf is one of the most powerful Maiar, or lower angels, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece The Lord of the Rings.  According to the tale, about one thousand years after the Third Age began, the Istari (wizards), who were all Maiar, appeared from across the sea.  There were five of them: Saruman, Gandalf, Radagast, Alatar, and Pallando.  They came in the form of old men and were ranked according to their power, with white being the highest level. Most inhabitants of Middle-earth believed Saruman to be the most powerful, but when Cirdan the Shipwright welcomed Gandalf at the Grey Havens, he saw that Gandalf was indeed the most powerful and gave him Narya, the Elven Ring of Fire.  Gandalf chose a wandering life, helping those in need of aid, never living in one place for long.  He was the only wizard who took a peculiar interest in hobbits, whom the others thought to be lazy and unimportant creatures.

After Frodo volunteered to take the One Ring at the Council of Elrond, Gandalf decided to lead the Fellowship.  The Balrog in Moria was awoken when Pippin foolishly threw a stone into a well, and the whole Fellowship fought the horde of orcs that followed the monster.  The companions fled to the Bridge of Khazad-dum, where Gandalf remained alone on the bridge to fight the Balrog.  When the creature dared to cross the abyss, Gandalf broke the bridge with his staff, and the Balrog fell into the chasm.  As it plummeted, it wrapped its whip about Gandalf’s legs and pulled the wizard down with it.  The two were locked in deadly combat as they fell, and though Gandalf finally threw down his enemy, the wizard also passed away.  After being mourned by his companions, he later reappeared, having been sent back to finish his task in Middle-earth.

When life returned to him, Gandalf the Grey (now Gandalf the White), gave Saruman the chance to aid him and his companions, upon seeing the flooded grounds of Orthanc.  After Saruman refused, Gandalf broke the wizard’s staff, casting him out of their order.  Gandalf presided over the council of the Captains of the West, and came up with the idea of a diversionary battle.  The Last Battle began, and when Gandalf saw the forces of Mordor halt as the will to fight drained out of them, he leapt onto the back of Gwaihir, who had just arrived with many other Eagles, and flew to Mount Doom, where he rescued Frodo and Sam from being consumed by the fiery streams of lava.  At Aragorn’s coronation, Gandalf had the honor of placing the crown on Aragorn’s head.  Following Théoden’s funeral, he rode off to have a long conversation with Tom Bombadil.  Years later, when his time came, Gandalf took the ship to his ancient home in Valinor, and was never again seen in Middle-earth.

Gandalf, whose name means “Elf of the Wand,” has many aliases: Gandalf the Grey, Gandalf the White, the Grey Wanderer, the Grey Pilgrim, Mithrandir, Tharkûn, Incánus, Gandalf Greyhame, Stormcrow, Lathspell, the Grey Fool, the Enemy of Sauron, the White Rider, and Olórin.

In the big-budget Hollywood film trilogy of Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit films that followed it, Gandalf was portrayed by Sir Ian McKellen.  See Aragorn; Elf; Middle-earth; Tolkien, J.R.R.

 

Gates, Bill

The famed entrepreneur, born on October 28, 1955, in Seattle, Washington, began to show an interest in computer programming in his early teens.  While in prep school, a Seattle computer company offered to provide computer time for the students. Bill was fascinated with what a computer could do, and spent much of his free time working on the terminal.  He wrote a tic-tac-toe program in BASIC computer language that allowed users to play against the computer.  Lakeside School was also where Bill met future partner Paul Allen.  The two became fast friends, bonding over their common enthusiasm with computers.  On one occasion, Gates and Allen had their school computer privileges revoked for taking advantage of software glitches to obtain free computer time from the company that provided the computers.  After their probation, they were allowed back in the computer lab when they offered to debug the program.  During this time, Gates developed a payroll program for the computer company the boys hacked into, and a scheduling program for the school.

In 1970, at the age of 15, Bill Gates went into business with Allen.  They developed “Traf-o-Data,” a computer program that monitored traffic patterns in Seattle, and netted $20,000 for their efforts.  Gates and Allen wanted to start their own company, but Gates’ parents wanted him to finish school and go on to college, where they hoped he would work to become a lawyer.  Bill graduated from Lakeside in 1973, scoring 1590 out of 1600 on the college SAT.  He enrolled at Harvard University in the fall, originally thinking of a career in law, but throughout his freshman year, he spent more time in the computer lab than in class.  Gates remained in contact with Paul Allen, and in 1974, Gates joined Allen at Honeywell.  During this time, Allen showed Gates an issue of Popular Electronics magazine featuring an article on the Altair 8800 mini-computer kit, made by a small company in Albuquerque, New Mexico called Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS).  After the two demonstrated a BASIC software program that would run their computer, Allen was hired at MITS and Gates soon left Harvard to work with him.  In 1975, Gates and Allen formed a partnership they called Micro-Soft (dropping the hyphen less than a year later), which was a blend of “micro-computer” and “software.”

Microsoft was also busy writing software in different formats for other computer companies.  The 23-year-old Gates placed himself as the head of Microsoft, and in 1978, it grossed $2.5 million.  He personally reviewed every line of code the company shipped, often rewriting code when necessary.  In November 1980, Gates quickly impressed IBM, who was looking for software that would operate their upcoming personal computer (PC) and approached Microsoft.  Gates convinced them that he could meet their needs, then he quickly bought an operating system that was developed to run on computers similar to IBM’s PC.  He made a deal with the software’s developer, making Microsoft the exclusive licensing agent (and later, full owner) of the software, but failed to mention the IBM deal during negotiations.  The company later sued Microsoft and Gates for withholding important information, but meanwhile, Gates adapted the newly purchased software to work with the IBM PC.

Between 1978 and 1981, Microsoft’s growth exploded, and in 1981, Gates and Allen incorporated Microsoft, with Gates being appointed president and chairman of the board, and Allen named executive vice-president.  By 1983, Microsoft was global, and had an estimated 30% of the world’s computers running on its software, but in that same year, Paul Allen was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease and resigned from the company.  In 1986, Bill Gates took Microsoft public with an initial public offering of $21 per share.  Gates, who held 45% of the company’s 24.7 million shares, became an instant millionaire at age 31.  Over time, the company’s stock increased in value, and split numerous times, and in 1987, Bill Gates became a billionaire.  Since then, Gates has been at the top, or at least near the top, of Forbes magazine’s annual list of the top 400 wealthiest people in America.  In 1989, Microsoft introduced Microsoft Office, which bundled office productivity applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel into one system, and by 1999, with stock prices at an all-time high and the stock splitting eight-fold since its IPO, Gates was worth over $101 billion.

With his company poised as a virtual monopoly on operating systems for PCs, it was not long before the Federal Trade Commission began investigating Microsoft for unfair marketing practices.  Throughout the 1990s, Microsoft faced a string of Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department investigations and charges.  At one point, Microsoft faced a possible break-up of its operating systems and software development divisions.  Microsoft defended itself, saying that such restrictions were a threat to innovation. Eventually, Microsoft was able to settle with the federal government and avoid a breakup.

On January 1, 1994, Bill married Microsoft executive Melinda French in Hawaii.  Their first daughter, Jennifer, was born in 1996.  Following his wife’s influence, Gates studied the philanthropic work of Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, and in 1994, Gates and his wife established the William H. Gates Foundation, which was dedicated to supporting education, world health, and investment in low-income communities.  In 2000, the couple combined several family foundations to form the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They started out by making a $28 billion contribution to set up the foundation.

Bill Gates stepped down from the day-to-day operations of Microsoft in 2000, turning over the job of CEO to college friend Steve Ballmer, who had been with Microsoft since 1980.  Gates positioned himself as chief software architect, so he could concentrate on what he was most passionate about, while remaining chairman of the board.  Over the next few years, his involvement with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation occupied much of his time and even more of his interest. In 2006, Gates announced he was transitioning himself from full-time work at Microsoft, to devote more quality time to the Foundation. His last full day at Microsoft was June 27, 2008.  In February 2014, Gates announced that he would be stepping down as chairman of Microsoft, in order to move into a new position as technology adviser.  See Computer; International Business Machines (IBM).

 

Gateway

Beginning with only a $10,000 loan guaranteed by his grandmother, a rented computer and a three-page business plan, Ted Waitt founded Gateway (originally Gateway 2000) in 1985 in a Midwestern farmhouse.  In 1993, it entered the Fortune 500 and went public, eventually moving its stock to the New York Stock Exchange in 1997.  Featuring its farm-inspired cow-spotted boxes, Waitt’s company became one of the most successful PC companies in the U.S.  By 2004, it was No. 3 in US market share, behind Hewlett-Packard and Dell, and had 25% of the retail PC business.  Also in 2004, Gateway acquired eMachines, one of the world’s fastest growing and most efficient PC makers.  However, Gateway was slow in entering the business of selling PCs to enterprises, a formula which drove most of the growth at their competitor Dell for many years.  Gateway tried to diversify by moving into consumer electronics, but the profits were poor and this decision only hurt the firm’s margins.  By 2007, Gateway was in such poor shape that Acer was able to buy it for $710 million.  See Computer.

 

Gateway 2000

See Gateway.

 

Geek Chic

The dress, appearance and culture associated with computing and technology, regarded as stylish or fashionable in certain circles.

 

Gen-X

See Generation X.

 

Generation X

The generation following the “Baby Boomer” generation.  Depending on the source, Generation X is defined as those born between 1966–1976 or 1965–1984.  Members of Generation X, often referred to as “Gen-X,” “Gen-Xers,” “latchkey kids” or “the lost generation,” are often described as cynical, skeptical, or disaffected.  Known as the generation with the lowest voting participation rate of any generation, Gen-Xers have also been exposed to lots of daycare and divorce, but are also arguably the best-educated generation (with 29% obtaining a Bachelor’s degree or higher), and, having grown up during the age of computers, they also have an increased understanding of technology.

 

Genga cel

Meaning “original image” in Japanese, it is the term for the refined key frame images that the key animators (or “gengamen”) draw to show important parts in the motion of a cel sequence. Some people use the term “genga” to refer only to the very nice images drawn by the animators, but others use the term to include the very rough drawings and layouts, as well.

 

Gengamen

See Genga cel.

 

Genie

See Jinn.

 

Geoffrey of Monmouth

Geoffrey, the source of a great deal of the world’s medieval legends, is traditionally known as a Welshman, born somewhere in the region of Monmouth around 1100.  It is believed that he became a Benedictine monk (if not the actual prior) at Monmouth Priory, but this is a possible misidentification with a contemporary (Prior Geoffrey the Short of Monmouth).  By 1129, Geoffrey had become a secular Austin canon at the Collegiate Church of St. George at the castle in Oxford.  He was a tutor there for at least the next twenty years.  In about 1136, Geoffrey set about writing his Historia regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), but it is uncertain if this was a straight translation of an “ancient book” or if it contained considerable embellishments.  Geoffrey utilized material from British legend and folklore, as well as Latin accounts of the Britons, but treated all his sources with great imaginative freedom.  Historia includes many mythical monarchs (including King Lear), with the climax of the work being Geoffrey’s inventive retelling of a glorious reign of King Arthur Pendragon and his gallant victories over the invading Saxons and the hostile Roman Empire.  It is said that his uncle and tutor Uchtryd made Geoffrey the Archdeacon of Llandeilo or Llandaff when Uchtryd became Bishop of the latter around 1140.  By 1150, Geoffrey appears to have come into the possession of further source documents concerning his original subject: the bard, prophet and madman Myrddin Wyllt, who would eventually become known as the legendary wizard Merlin. Unfortunately, the information in these documents did not line up with his Historia.  In order to clarify his work without losing face, Geoffrey wrote the Vita Merlini (Life of Merlin), a 1,500-line Latin poem which, while correcting many events, gave his central character – Merlin, a legendary Welsh prophet and prince – an impossibly long lifespan, which later added to his mythos.  Geoffrey’s work Prophecies of Merlin appears to have been a series of ancient Celtic prophecies which, at the request of Alexander of Salisbury, Bishop of Lincoln, was translated into Latin, perhaps with some additions of his own.  As with all his works, Geoffrey hoped the prophecies might bring him a lucrative preferment in the Church, and he used its dedication to ingratiate himself with Alexander, Bishop of his local diocese.

In the years following Geoffrey’s death (in Cardiff sometime in 1155), his Historia became widely, though not unanimously, accepted as factual and influenced serious historians of the Britons and the English for centuries.

 

Ghost in the Shell

A 1995 full-length anime film directed by Mamoru Oshii and based on the manga created by Shirow Masamune.  In the year 2029, the world has become very information-oriented, and humans are well-connected to the network.  Criminals have reached a sophisticated stage by hacking into the interactive network.  To combat this, Section 9 is formed, consisting of cyborg police officers with incredible strengths and abilities that can access any network on Earth.  A female cyborg cop and her partner hunt a mysterious and powerful hacker called the Puppet Master.  See Anime.

 

Gibbons, Dave

Born April 14, 1949, Gibbons broke into the British comics industry by working on horror and action titles for both DC Thomson and IPC (International Publishing Corporation, also known as IPC Magazines Ltd).  When the 2000 AD comic line was set up, Gibbons was brought in as an Art Director.  He also drew one of the original strips in “Prog1,” Harlem Heroes, as well as the occasional Future Shock.  After the first year, he began illustrating Dan Dare, a cherished project for Gibbons who had been a fan of the original series.

He was also known, by sight but not by name, to readers of the short-lived IPC title Tornado. Much as 2000 AD was “edited” by the alien Tharg, Tornado was “edited” by a superhero, Big E, who also worked on the magazine in his alter-ego, Percy Pilbeam.  These characters appeared in photos within the comic, and both Big E and Pilbeam were portrayed by Gibbons for the entire 22-issue run of Tornado before it was subsumed into 2000 AD.  After leaving 2000 AD, Gibbons became the lead artist on Doctor Who Weekly/Monthly, drawing the main comic strip for most of the issues from #1 until #69.  Gibbons was one of the British Comic talents identified by Len Wein in 1982, and was hired to draw Green Lantern for DC Comics.

He is perhaps best known in the U.S. for collaborating with Alan Moore on the 12-issue limited series Watchmen, now one of the best-selling graphic novels of all time.  Moore’s meditation on superheroes in an antiheroic age was perfectly completed by Gibbon’s precise and detailed art, usually drawn in a regular nine-grid pattern.  He is a winner of the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for 1988 (Best Writer/Artist: Watchmen [DC] – with Alan Moore), 1995 (Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team) and 1998 (Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team).

Gibbons’ most recent complete work is a 2005 black-and-white graphic novel, The Originals, which he scripted, as well as drew.  Published by Vertigo, the work is set in the near future, but draws heavily on the imagery of the Mods and Rockers of the 1960s.  His current projects include the DC Comics six-issue limited series The Rann/Thanagar War (which ties into the recently released seven-issue Infinite Crisis limited series) and Green Lantern Corps: Recharge.  Gibbons also provides the cover artwork for Albion, the Wildstorm six-issue limited series plotted by Alan Moore and written by his daughter Leah and her husband.  See DC Comics; Doctor Who; Green Lantern; Infinite CrisisWatchmen.

 

Gigabit

A measure of storage capacity and data transfer, equal to 1 billion bits.  See Bit; Data transfer rate.

 

Girls of Old Town, The

In Old Town, the ladies are the law.  Among the sleazy bars in the part of Frank Miller’s Sin City that no cop ventures into – to do his job, anyway! – a truce was made between the cops and the prostitutes: The cops back off, and the ladies take care of their own brand of justice.  They can be a man’s greatest fantasy, or his darkest nightmare.  It all depends on how you treat them.  The Girls of Old Town were portrayed on the big screen by Rosario Dawson and Alexis Bledel, among others.  They appeared in Sin City (2005) and its sequel Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (2014).  See Miller, Frank.

 

Given

In mathematics, and in particular geometry, used as a noun for a known element to a problem.

 

Gladwell, Malcolm

New Yorker staff writer since 1996, Gladwell’s research and work attack popular understanding of bias, crime, food, marketing, race, consumers, and intelligence.  He is a popular lecturer and bestselling author with topics like cookies, pasta sauce, serial killers, steroids, and jobs-you-never-knew-existed.  Referred to as a “freelance cool-hunter” and “a sort of pop-R&D gumshoe,” Gladwell has a reputation for investigating fads and emerging subcultures.  He has published four books: The Tipping Point, which began as a New Yorker piece, applies the principles of epidemiology to crime (and sneaker sales); Blink examines the unconscious processes that allow the mind to “thin slice” reality, and make decisions in the blink of an eye; Outliers questions the inevitabilities of success and identifies the relation of success to nature versus nurture.  His latest work, What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures, is an anthology of his New Yorker contributions.  See 10,000-hour rule; Outliers.

 

Global Positioning System (GPS)

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite navigation network that provides continuous, real-time, three-dimensional worldwide positioning, navigation and timing.  The network of satellites now used for GPS was originally placed into orbit by the U.S. Department of Defense, with the first GPS satellite being launched in 1978.  Originally intended for military applications, the government made the system available for civilian use in the 1980s.  A full constellation of 24 satellites was achieved in 1994.  GPS satellites circle the earth at speeds of roughly 7,000 miles per hour and transmit their signal information to the Earth, where GPS receivers take this information and use triangulation to calculate the user’s exact location.  A GPS receiver calculates its position by a technique called satellite ranging, which involves measuring the distance between the GPS receiver and the GPS satellites it is tracking.  Essentially, the GPS receiver compares the time a signal was transmitted by a satellite with the time it was received.  The time difference tells the GPS receiver how far away the satellite is.  Gathering distance measurements from a few more satellites, the receiver can determine the user’s position and display it on the unit’s electronic map.  Once the user’s position has been determined, the GPS unit can calculate other information, such as speed, bearing, trip distance, distance to destination, and more.  While certain atmospheric factors and other sources of error can affect the accuracy of GPS receivers, overall the data is extremely accurate, thanks to the GPS system’s parallel multi-channel design.

Outside of travel navigation, GPS’s other applications in natural resource management include inventory and mapping of soils, vegetation types, threatened and endangered species, lake and stream boundaries, and wildlife habitat.  GPS has been used to aid in damage assessment after fires, floods and earthquakes, to map archaeological sites, and for infrastructure (streets, highways and utilities) mapping, management, and planning for future growth.  Engineers use GPS for surveying when building roads, bridges and other structures.