H – Hm

Hacker

A person who uses computer programming skills to “hack,” or to (typically illegally) gain access to and sometimes tamper with, information in a computer system.

 

Hadouken

From the Japanese Ha Dou (wave or surge) and Ken (fist, technique, attack), in the Street Fighter series of “beat ‘em up” games, it is a manifestation of one’s ki, or life energy.  In this case, in a fireball-like form.  Exhibited by characters such as Kenshiro (or “Ken”), Ryu, Sakura, Akuma, Dan (to a lesser extent), and so on.  In the true Street Fighter canon, it is said that the temperature can be anywhere from a “cold bath” to a “hot bath,” in which the heat of the hadouken plays a small part in the damage aspect.  It is the actual force of the energy that does that damage, so it acts like an incredibly hard punch.

 

HAL 9000

The all-seeing computer from Arthur C. Clarke’s 1968 novel 2001: A Space Odyssey (and the subsequent film version), which was made into a successful Hollywood film directed by Stanley Kubrick in the same year.  Depending on a reader or viewer’s opinion, HAL is either the hero, the villain, or the victim of the plot.  “HAL” stood for “Heuristically programmed ALgorithm,” which meant that the computer had the capability to learn for itself.  Designed to control all settings for a long space journey on a ship that houses several scientists kept in suspended animation for the trip, plus a small crew, the ship Discovery travels from Earth to Jupiter, to investigate a strange phenomenon. However, before they reach Jupiter, HAL shuts off the life support for all the suspended scientists, killing them.  When the two crewmen realize this, they plan to shut HAL down and return to Earth, but HAL learns of their plan, and sees to the death of one of the crewmen, shutting the other outside in one of the ship’s pods.  The surviving crewman, risking his own life, re-enters the ship in order to shut HAL down.  What is suspected at the end of the film, and subsequently shown in its sequel, 2010, is that HAL’s programming was tampered with, giving it contradictory orders with no means to determine which set of orders is correct.

 

Halo

Developed by Bungie, Halo is a successful series of sci-fi games, responsible for revolutionizing the console first-person “shoot ‘em up” genre.  Assuming the role of the elite UNSC Spartan soldier known as the Master ChiefHalo: Combat Evolved (the first game in the series) quickly drops the player onto a mysterious alien ringworld.  As the Chief, your objective is to uncover Halo’s terrible secrets and fight back against mankind’s sworn enemy, the Covenant.  Battling on foot and in vehicles, both inside and outdoors with a vast array of Human and Covenant weaponry, players may battle solo or cooperatively with a friend, or engage in intense shootouts in split-screen multiplayer combat.

 

Hamill, Mark

Born in California on September 25, 1951, Mark Hamill’s father was in the U.S. Navy, so he grew up all over the world, from California to New York to Japan.  After Hamill graduated from high school overseas, his family moved back to the U.S., and he enrolled at Los Angeles City College, where he studied drama and theater arts.  The young actor appeared on several TV shows in the 1970s: The Bill Cosby ShowThe Partridge FamilyCannon and Night Gallery, to name a few.  In 1972, Hamill landed a recurring role as Kent Murray on General Hospital, which carried him into 1973.  After making a living though a respectable string of smaller roles in TV movies and series, Hamill won one of the lead roles in the family drama Eight Is Enough in 1976. The show represented a big break for the actor, but another role would end up being the break of a lifetime.  However, before the Eight Is Enough pilot ever aired, he landed the part of Luke Skywalker in George Lucas’ sci-fi epic Star Wars (later reffered to as Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope).  The actor dropped out of the TV show to hit the big screen.  Star Wars was released in 1977 and immediately grabbed the world’s attention, making instant stars of all the lead actors.  Luke Skywalker was the linchpin of the entire story, and Hamill, along with co-stars Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, was thrust front and center into stardom.

After 1983’s Return of the Jedi completed the original trilogy, Mark concentrated on theatre, and appeared in several Broadway plays, including The Elephant Man, and Amadeus. His most challenging role was the one he originated, that of Tony Hart in Harrigan ‘n Hart. He sang and danced in that role, and garnered a Drama Desk nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. He also did several off- Broadway plays. While the 1980s and 1990s were not hugely successful times for Hamill as an actor beyond the Star Wars trilogy, a recurring theme would begin to emerge in his filmography and put him soundly back on the map: voice-over work. Through Hamill’s work in animated series, films and video games, he made a strong comeback, with his voice talents appearing in series such as Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1994), Superman (1997) and The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest (1996-1997).  Playing villains became his specialty, and he regularly inhabited characters such as Hobgoblin, The Joker and Gargoyle. The Black Pearl, a five-part graphic novel Mark co-wrote with Eric Johnson, was released on 18 September 1996. It has been adapted to a screenplay.  With more than 250 roles to his credit, Hamill took to the screen once more as Skywalker in 2015’s Episode VII: The Force Awakens.  Mark Hamill has been married to Marilou York since 1978. They have three adult children: Nathan, Griffin and Chelsea.

 

Hancock

In this popular sci fi film, once-revered superhero John Hancock has become a public joke, due to his alcoholism and clumsiness.  Though he has saved many lives, he has also destroyed a lot of property, costing the city millions every time he goes into “action.”  When he saves the life of PR expert Ray Embrey, the thankful executive believes he can restore Hancock’s image as a true superhero.  He brings the anti-hero home for dinner and introduces him to his son Aaron, who is a big fan of Hancock’s, and to his wife, Mary, who for some mysterious reason, doesn’t want Hancock anywhere near her or her family.  As Hancock sobers up and gains a new look and image with Ray’s help, he comes to realize that he knows Mary, and eventually, his past comes back to him, with explosive results.  The 2008 film starred Will Smith, Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman.

 

Hanlon’s razor

A corollary of Finagle’s Law that states “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity,” it is a particular favorite saying of hackers, probably due to their experience of environments created by well-intentioned but short-sighted designers.  It is claimed that Hanlon’s Razor was coined by Robert J. Hanlon of Scranton, Pennsylvania, but a curiously similar remark (“You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity”) appears in Logic of Empire, a classic 1941 sci fi story by Robert A. Heinlein, who calls the error it indicates the “devil theory” of sociology.  Heinlein’s popularity in the hacker culture makes plausible the supposition that “Hanlon” is derived from a phonetic corruption of “Heinlein.”  A similar epigram has been attributed to William James, but Heinlein likely got the idea from Alfred Korzybski and other practitioners of general semantics. Similar epigrams have been attributed to William James and, with little evidence, Napoleon Bonaparte.

 

Hapta-god

See Odin.

 

Harbard

See Odin.

 

Hard disk

See Hard drive.

 

Hard disk drive

See Hard drive.

 

Hard disk recorder

See Digital video recorder (DVR).

 

Hard drive

The location within a computer where the data is located.  It houses the hard disk, where all the files and folders a user has saved are magnetically stored.  A typical hard drive is only slightly larger than your hand, yet can hold over 100 gigabytes (GB) of data.  The data is stored on a stack of disks that are mounted inside a solid encasement.  These disks spin extremely fast (typically at either 5400 or 7200 revolutions per minute (RPM), so that data can be accessed immediately from anywhere on the drive.  The data on a hard drive is “durable,” meaning it stays on the drive even after the power supply is turned off.  The term “hard drive” is actually short for “hard disk drive.” The term “hard disk” refers to the actual disks inside the drive.  However, all three of these terms are usually seen as referring to the same thing: the place where your data is stored.

 

Hard sci fi

See Hard science fiction.

 

Hard science fiction

A science fiction subgenre that concentrates on relating stories from a correct scientific perspective and an attention to technological detail.  Other common themes are well-researched arguments that are tied to hard sciences and an inclination for militaristic masculine values.  This being said, the subgenre has two major characteristics: 1) a varying degree of flexibility given to help the story make sense.  Some speculative element of science or technological advance that hasn’t happened in real life as of yet; and 2) rigorous attention to scientific detail and the logical repercussions of accepting the first characteristic.

In other words, hard science fiction will enable a “scientific wish list” element, such as time travel or traveling at warp speed (speed of light), but everything else included in the story will be a scrupulous, realistic description of what a world with such a scientific gain would look like.  It will explain every step in great detail, and expand on the scientific gains in technical terms.

Some famous books in the hard science fiction genre are Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot and Arthur C. Clark’s Fountains of Paradise.  Also known as “Hard sci fi.”

 

Hardware

The physical components that make up a computer: the mechanical, magnetic, electronic and electrical devices comprising a computer system, such as the central processing unit (CPU), keyboard, mouse, disk drives and monitor.  Put simply, hardware is the collection of computer parts that you can see and touch, as opposed to the software, which consists of the functionally invisible data and programs that are made usable by the hardware.

 

Harem anime

A genre of anime in which the protagonist (typically male) has multiple love interests at the same time.

 

Harley Quinn

See Quinn, Harley.

 

Harpy

Creatures in Greek and Roman mythology, usually represented as foul creatures that are part-woman, part-bird, harpies are mentioned in the writings of Virgil, Homer and Hesiod, among others.  They are sometimes connected with the powers of the underworld, such as in Dante’s Inferno, where they appear in the Forest of the Suicides, ripping limbs off disfigured trees that are the souls of those who have killed themselves.  Harpies have also been used in literature as the personifications of destructive winds, as in Homer’s Odyssey.

 

Hate-Monger

First appearing in Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four #21, The Hate-Monger was a physical genetic clone of Adolf Hitler, the former leader of Nazi Germany and instigator of World War II.  Years after the death of the Führer at the hands of the original Human Torch (per the Marvel storyline), Hitler’s scientists, led by the brilliant biologist Arnim Zola, created clones of their leader.  Using Zola’s brain pattern-imprinting device, they psionically transferred their dead leader’s memories, personality, and actual consciousness into the clones.  In one such clone, disguised as The Hate-Monger, Hitler used a Nazi-designed Hate Ray to spread mindless hatred around the world.  His first major attack was in the small southern country of San Gusto, where he bombarded the people with his ray, turning the country against itself.

Later, against the Fantastic Four, The Hate-Monger tried to turn a double-dose of his Hate Ray on the Human Torch, which would have killed him.  Instead, Invisible Girl snuck up behind him and spoiled his aim.  He hit a pair of his soldiers instead, and the soldiers turned on him and shot him. The Fantastic Four and Nick Fury soon cleaned up the last of the soldiers and revealed the seemingly dead Hate-Monger as Adolf Hitler. But Hitler’s mind had already transferred to a new cloned body, and he later continued his quest to rule the world.  The Hate-Monger, who appears incapable of dying, transferred his consciousness several times, going up against Marvel’s greatest heroes, and a few of its villains, as well!

 

Hawking radiation

Based on the black hole thermodynamic theories of Jacob Bekenstein, and therefore sometimes called Bekenstein-Hawking radiation, it is a theoretical prediction from British physicist Stephen Hawking that explains thermal properties relating to black holes.  Traditionally, a black hole is thought to draw all matter and energy in the surrounding region into it, as a result of its intense gravitational fields.  However, in 1972, Israeli physicist Jacob Bekenstein theorized that black holes should have well-defined entropies, as well as emissions of energy.  In 1974, British physicist Stephen Hawking worked out the exact theoretical model for how a black hole could emit black body radiation.  In a simplified version of the explanation, Hawking predicted that energy fluctuations from the vacuum causes the generation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs near the event horizon of the black hole.  One of the particles falls into the black hole while the other escapes, before they have an opportunity to annihilate each other. The net result is that it would appear to someone viewing the black hole that a particle had been emitted.  Since the particle that is emitted has positive energy, the particle that gets absorbed by the black hole has a negative energy relative to the outside universe.  This results in the black hole losing energy, and thus mass by Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.  Smaller primordial black holes can actually emit more energy than they absorb, which results in them losing net mass.  Larger black holes, such as those that are one solar mass, absorb more cosmic radiation than they emit through Hawking radiation.

Hawking radiation was one of the first theoretical predictions which provided insight into how gravity can relate to other forms of energy, which is a necessary part of any theory of quantum gravity.  Though Hawking radiation is generally accepted by the scientific community, there is still some controversy associated with it. There are some concerns that it ultimately results in information being lost, which makes physicists uncomfortable.  Also, those who do not actually believe that black holes themselves exist are naturally reluctant to accept that they absorb particles.

 

Hawking, Stephen

Stephen Hawking was born on the 300th anniversary of the death of Galileo, January 8, 1942, in Oxford, England.  At an early age, Hawking showed a passion for science and astronomy. Early in his academic life, Hawking, while recognized as bright, was not an exceptional student.  During his first year at St. Albans School, he was third from the bottom of his class.  But Hawking focused on pursuits outside of school: he loved board games, and he and a few close friends created new games of their own.  During his teens, Hawking, along with several friends, constructed a computer out of recycled parts for solving rudimentary mathematical equations.

Hawking was also frequently on the go. With his sister Mary, Hawking, who loved to climb, devised different entry routes into the family home. He remained active even after he entered University College at Oxford University at the age of 17.  He loved to dance, and also took an interest in rowing, becoming a team coxswain.  Hawking expressed a desire to study mathematics, but since Oxford didn’t offer a degree in that specialty, Hawking gravitated toward physics and, more specifically, cosmology.

By his own account, Hawking didn’t put much time into his studies, but in 1962, he graduated with honors in Natural Science, and went on to attend Trinity Hall at Cambridge University for a Ph.D. in Cosmology.  At age 21, while at Cambridge, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”  While Hawking first began to notice problems with his physical health, occasionally falling or slurring his speech, he didn’t look into the problem until his first year at Cambridge in 1963.  For the most part, Hawking had kept these symptoms to himself, but when his father took notice of the condition, he got his son to a doctor.  For the next two weeks, the 21-year-old college student made his home at a medical clinic, where he underwent a series of tests.  Giving the Hawkings the diagnosis, the doctors said that in a very simple sense, the nerves that controlled Stephen’s muscles were shutting down.  Doctors gave him two and a half years to live.

Not long after he was released from the hospital, Hawking had a dream that he was going to be executed.  He said this dream made him realize that there were still things to do with his life.  Still, the most significant change in Stephen’s life came when he fell in love.  At a New Year’s party in 1963, shortly before he had been diagnosed with ALS, Hawking met a young undergraduate named Jane Wilde. Despite Stephen’s later diagnosis and prognosis, they were married in 1965.

In a sense, Hawking’s disease helped him become the noted scientist he is today. Before the diagnosis, Hawking hadn’t always focused on his studies. “Before my condition was diagnosed, I had been very bored with life,” he said.  “There had not seemed to be anything worth doing.” With the sudden realization that he might not even live long enough to earn his Ph.D., Hawking threw himself into his work and research.  While physical control over his body diminished (he would be forced to use a wheelchair by 1969), the effects of his disease started to slow down.  In 1968, a year after the birth of his son Robert, Hawking became a member of the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge.

The next few years were a fruitful time for Hawking.  A daughter, Lucy, was born to Stephen and Jane in 1969, while Hawking continued with his research.  A third child, Timothy, arrived 10 years later.  In between their births, he published his first book, the highly technical The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, in 1973.  In 1974, Hawking’s research turned him into a celebrity within the scientific world when he showed that black holes aren’t the information vacuums that scientists had thought they were.  In simple terms, Hawking demonstrated that matter, in the form of radiation, can escape the gravitational force of a collapsed star.  “Hawking radiation” was born, and the announcement sent shock waves of excitement through the scientific world.  Hawking was named a fellow of the Royal Society at the age of 32, and later earned the prestigious Albert Einstein Award, among other honors.  Teaching stints followed at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California, and at Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge.  In 1979, Hawking found himself back at Cambridge University, where he was named to one of teaching’s most renowned posts, dating back to 1663: the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.  Unfortunately, Hawking’s ever-expanding career was accompanied by his ever-worsening physical state.  By the mid-1970s, he could still feed himself and get out of bed, but virtually everything else required assistance. In addition, his speech had become increasingly slurred, so that only those who knew him well could understand him.  In 1985, he lost his voice for good following a tracheotomy. The resulting situation required 24-hour nursing care for the acclaimed physicist.

It also put in peril Hawking’s ability to do his work, until a California computer programmer developed a speech computer program that could be directed by head or eye movement.  The invention allowed Hawking to select words on a computer screen that were then passed through a speech synthesizer.  At the time of its introduction, Hawking, who still had use of his fingers, selected his words with a handheld clicker.  Today, with virtually all control of his body gone, Hawking directs the program through a cheek muscle attached to a sensor. Through this program, and the help of assistants, Hawking has continued to write at a prolific rate.

In 1988 Hawking, a recipient of the Commander of the Order of the British Empire, catapulted to international prominence with the publication of A Brief History of Time.  The short, informative book became an account of cosmology for the masses.  The work was an instant success, spending more than four years at the top of the London Sunday Times‘ best-seller list. Since its publication, it has sold millions of copies worldwide, and been translated into more than 40 languages.  In 2001, Hawking followed that book up with The Universe in a Nutshell, which offered a more illustrated guide to cosmology’s big theories.  Four years later, he authored the even more accessible A Briefer History of Time.  Together, Hawking’s work and pursuits articulated the physicist’s personal search for science’s Holy Grail: a single unifying theory that could combine cosmology (the study of the “big”) with quantum mechanics (the study of the “small”) to explain how the universe began.

Hawking’s quest for big answers to big questions included his own personal desire to travel into space.  In 2007, at the age of 65, Hawking made an important step toward space travel. While visiting the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, he was given the opportunity to experience an environment without gravity.  Over the course of two hours over the Atlantic, Hawking, a passenger on a modified Boeing 727, was freed from his wheelchair to experience bursts of weightlessness.

While famous in scientific circles worldwide, Hawking has also enjoyed forays into popular culture, including guest appearances on The SimpsonsStar Trek: The Next Generation, a comedy spoof with comedian Jim Carrey on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and even a recorded voice-over on the Pink Floyd song “Keep Talking.”  In 1992, Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris released a documentary about Hawking’s life, aptly titled A Brief History of Time.  In 2007, Hawking and his daughter Lucy published a science book for children called George’s Secret Key to the Universe.

In September 2010, Hawking spoke against the idea that God could have created the universe in his book The Grand Design.  Hawking previously argued that belief in a Creator could be compatible with modern scientific theories.  His new work, however, concluded that the Big Bang was the inevitable consequence of the laws of physics and nothing more.  “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,” Hawking said. “Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.”  The Grand Design was Hawking’s first major publication in almost a decade.  Within his new work, Hawking set out to challenge Sir Isaac Newton’s belief that the universe had to have been designed by God, simply because it could not have been born from chaos.

Hawking made news in 2012 for two very different projects. It was revealed that he had participated in a 2011 trial of a new headband-styled device called the iBrain. The device is designed to “read” the wearer’s thoughts by picking up “waves of electrical brain signals,” which are then interpreted by a special algorithm, according to an article in The New York Times. This device could be a revolutionary aid to Hawking and others with ALS.  Also around this time, Hawking showed off his humorous side on American television. He made a guest appearance on The Big Bang Theory, a popular comedy about a group of young scientists.  Playing himself, Hawking finds an error in the theoretical work of physicist Sheldon Cooper (played by Jim Parsons).  Hawking earned kudos for this lighthearted effort.

In 2014, Hawking, among other top scientists, spoke out about the possible dangers of artificial intelligence, calling for more research to be done on all possible ramifications of AI.  Their comments were inspired by the Johnny Depp film Transcendence, which features a clash between humanity and technology.  In November 2014, a film about the life of Stephen Hawking and Jane Wilde, The Theory of Everything, was released, starring Eddie Redmayne as Hawking.  In July 2015, Hawking held a news conference in London to announce the launch of a project called Breakthrough Listen.  Funded by Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner, the project was created to devote more resources to the discovery of extraterrestrial life.

 

Hawkman

The original Hawkman, created by Gardner Fox and Dennis Neville, was archaeologist and historian Carter Hall, who discovered a dagger with a crystal blade.  He falls into an unconscious state and starts dreaming of himself as the ancient Egyptian prince Khufu.  Khufu was opposed by Hath-Set, a priest of the hawk-god Anubis.  Hath-Set captured Khufu and his spouse, Shiera, then had them sacrificed using the crystal blade, and Khufu swore he would come back and take revenge.  Carter Hall learned that he was the reincarnation of Khufu, and discovered that a “Ninth Metal” could negate the effects of gravity, allowing him to fly.  With his newfound ability, Carter fought crime in a hawk-inspired costume, the large wings of which helped him control his flight.  Hawkman also wielded medieval weapons, procured from the museum he worked at, to help his fight for justice.  The character debuted in January 1940 in Flash Comics #1, which was published by All-American Publications (one of three companies that would later combine to form DC Comics).  In Flash Comics #24, Shiera Sanders became Hawkgirl and fought alongside Hawkman.

The actual invention of Hawkman was perhaps through a bit of plagiarism or “inspiration,” as there was a resemblance between Hawkman and a race called Hawk-people in the Flash Gordon comics.  After the first three issues of Flash Comics, Sheldon Moldoff took over as artist, and made Hawkman a more popular character with his new detailed drawing style.  Moldoff was later replaced by Joe Kubert, who decreased the amount of detail in his depictions of Hawkman.  Flash Comics #104 was the last issue for the publisher, but Hawkman would continue appearing in All-Star Comics.  At this time, Hawkman was popular enough to be liked, but not popular enough to earn his own series.  In 1951, however, it seemed as if Hawkman had disappeared for good.

At the behest of Julius Schwartz at the dawning of comics’ Silver Age, changes came to Hawkman debuting in The Brave and the Bold #34.  Though similar to the Golden Age Hawkman in appearance, powers and methodology, his origin was changed, as was his identity.  What had been Carter Hall was now Katar Hol, a member of the winged police force of the planet Thanagar.  Unlike other character reinventions of the same era, Hawkman’s suit went largely unchanged, but “Ninth Metal” was now called “Nth Metal,” and to avoid confusion between the two versions of Hawkman, it was decided to end the Justice Society of America in Last Days of the Justice Society, which saw the members placed into a limbo where they fought off Ragnarok.  Thus, Carter Hall from the Golden Age was gone, and the Silver Age versions carried on for a few decades before getting rebooted in Hawkworld.

Released in 1989, Hawkworld was illustrated by Tim Truman.  This reboot included a darker feel to the comic, which now dealt with subject matter such as societal corruption, racism and imperialism.  The costumes were redesigned somewhat, with most of the Thanagarian’s wings now made of metal.  Drug addiction was also addressed, as the new Katar Hol was dependent on them early in the new storyline.

Because there was no clean transition from the Silver Age tales, it was later revealed that the Silver Age Hawkman was actually Fel Andar, a separate character.  When the original Hawkman came back, Fel Andar went back to Thanagar.  It solved the problem of Hawkman’s absence, but it was seen as unsatisfactory and confusing.  This confusion would lead to a number of reboots over the next several years.  Eventually, Hawkman gained a new series, but it went poorly, compounding the confusion of the previous series.

 

HDTV

See High-definition.

 

Head crash

A catastrophic event to a computer user’s data, a head crash occurs when the spinning hard drive platter touches the read/write head, which are normally kept separated by a very thin cushion of air.  This can be caused by dust particles, and the crash itself can spray more dust and debris onto the data platter, rendering it useless.

 

Head-mounted display

A computer display device you wear on your head, most head-mounted displays (HMDs) take the form of a helmet or a set of goggles.  Designed to put a game player right in the midst of the action, most models feature a monitor that stays in front of players’ eyes, no matter where they turn their heads.  Most HMDs have a monitor for each eye, which gives the images depth and a more real look.  Though some older models use cathode-ray tube (CRT) displays, liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors are more compact, lightweight, efficient and inexpensive than CRT displays, and therefore are more common.  A few HMD models use other display technologies, though they are very rare. Other display technologies include: electroluminescent display; electrophoretic (EP) display; fiber-optics display; field emission display (FED); light-emitting diode (LED) display; plasma display; vacuum fluorescent display (VFD); and virtual retinal display (VRD).  There are many reasons engineers rarely use these display technologies in HMDs.  Most have limited resolution and brightness, several are unable to produce anything other than a monochromatic image, and some, like the VRD and plasma display technologies, might work very well in an HMD, but are prohibitively expensive.

Many head-mounted displays include speakers or headphones so that it can provide both video and audio output.  Almost all sophisticated HMDs are tethered to the VR system’s CPU by one or more cables, because wireless systems lack the response time necessary to avoid lag or latency issues.  HMDs almost always include a tracking device, so that the point-of-view displayed in the monitors changes as the user moves his head.

 

“Headlights”

A word that described how children referred to women’s breasts in the comic books of the 1940s and ‘50s, according to Dr. Fredric Wertham, author of The Seduction of the Innocent, a book that influenced the post-1950s comic book censorship movement and the formation of the Comics Code Authority.

 

Heart Breaker Series 1373

The model number for a disposable assassin in a comic series called Scud: The Disposable Assassin, created by Rob Schrab.  In the world created by the series, weapons can be purchased out of vending machines, and the most popular weapons are intelligent robots that will kill a specific target, then self-destruct.

 

Heinlein, Robert A.

Robert Anson Heinlein was born on 7 July 1907.  After Robert was born, his family moved from Butler, Missouri to Kansas City, where he grew up with a love of astronomy.  By the time he entered Kansas City’s Central High School in 1920, Heinlein had already read every book on astronomy in the Kansas City Public Library.  He read all the science fiction he could get his hands on beginning at the age of 16.  Particular favorites of his were Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, Olaf Stapledon, H.G. Wells, and the first series of Tom Swift books.  Heinlein entered the Naval Academy in June 1925, graduated 20th in a class of 243 (but ranked fifth in academics) in 1929, and was commissioned with the rank of ensign.  Following a tour on the Lexington, Heinlein was assigned to the destroyer U.S.S. Roper in 1932. The Roper was a smaller vessel than the Lexington, and consequently less stable.  The constant rolling of the destroyer caused Heinlein to be seasick much of the time, and late in 1933, he contracted pulmonary tuberculosis as a result of his weakened condition.  When he finally recovered in August 1934, he was retired with the rank of lieutenant, junior grade, medically unfit for service.

Heinlein attended classes at UCLA for several weeks, then left college to take up politics.  In 1938, he ran as an EPIC-endorsed candidate for the 59th Assembly District seat (Hollywood).  The failed campaign was a pivotal event of Heinlein’s adult life.  In October 1938, he was broke with a new mortgage to support, and he had been crushingly and humiliatingly rejected in his second choice of career, when Thrilling Wonder Stories announced a policy encouraging submissions from new and unpublished writers.  Over a four-day period in April 1939, Heinlein wrote the story “Life-Line.”  The writing was somewhat stiff, but Heinlein recognized that it was head-and-shoulders above the usual offerings of Thrilling Wonder Stories, so he sent it instead to John W. Campbell Jr. at Astounding Science-Fiction.  By the time “Life-Line” appeared in the August 1939 issue of Astounding, Heinlein had sent half a dozen more stories to Campbell.  Five were rejected, but Campbell did buy “Misfit,” as well as his first longer effort, “Vine and Fig Tree,” which was published as “If This Goes On” in 1940.  By February 1940, Heinlein was able to retire the mortgage on his Laurel Canyon home, but would write science fiction only as the spirit moved him.  He set an “up or out” policy for himself, vowing that if ever he began to slip from the top place in reader ratings or in payment rates, or if he began to collect rejections, he would get out then, leaving while still at the top of his game.  In mid-1951, Campbell did reject a story that Heinlein considered a fairly important work, and Heinlein took this as a sign.  He quietly retired, fiddling with his favorite hobbies, photography and masonry.

However, Heinlein could not stay retired.  Campbell accepted a revised version of the rejected story, published later under Heinlein’s original working title, “Goldfish Bowl.”  He finished Beyond This Horizon on December 6, 1941, only one day before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.  Heinlein immediately applied for active duty, but was rejected for medical reasons.  However, a Navy buddy was in charge of the Materials Laboratory at the Naval Air Experimental Station at Mustin Field near Philadelphia, and he wanted to take on Heinlein as a civilian engineer.  In the weeks before his appointment came through, Heinlein finished “Waldo” while living on John Campbell’s couch, as well as “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag.”  Its appearance in Unknown Worlds in October 1942 was the last of his prewar fiction.

In 1945, Heinlein was approached by a Philadelphia publisher to do a “boy’s book.”  The publisher turned down “Young Atomic Engineers.”  Atomic rockets and rogue Nazis on the moon were too “out there” for his line.  Heinlein’s new agent took the manuscript to Scribners, and it was scheduled for release in 1947 under the title Rocket Ship Galileo.  After relocating to Colorado, he finished working with Alford “Rip” van Ronkel on their “spec” screenplay for Destination Moon.  Heinlein started writing Red Planet in 1948, his third juvenile for Scribners.  His 1948 script for Destination Moon was purchased by George Pal and scheduled for production in the summer of 1949.  Robert was hired to do technical direction, and the Heinleins duly set off for Hollywood.  Though the production was delayed as the script was re-written several times, Destination Moon is considered the first modern science fiction film.  It was nominated for an Academy Award in three categories (Art Direction, Set Direction and Special Effects), and won the Oscar for Special Effects.

Heinlein’s next book, Farmer In The Sky, was serialized in Boy’s Life magazine under the title Satellite Scout before the book was released.  Among the contracts that came in while they were building in Colorado Springs was a television adaptation of his second juvenile for Scribner’s, Space Cadet, into the television series Tom Corbett, Space Cadet.  Heinlein did no scriptwriting or consulting for the series. Since that network was not carried by the local television markets, he did not even see the show until years later.

In 1956, Heinlein was given his first Hugo, the award given by science fiction fans at the annual World Science Fiction Convention, for Double Star, which had been published in 1955. He wrote Starship Troopers, with a strong anti-communist message, and the story was serialized as Starship Soldier in The Magazine Of Fantasy And Science Fiction in October and November 1959. The book was released the next month, and earned Heinlein his second Hugo Award.  His next manuscript, the incredibly long story The Man From Mars, was eventually edited down to 160,000 words, and was published in 1961 as Stranger In a Strange Land.  In 1962, it earned Heinlein his third Hugo Award.

The first years at the Bonny Doon house were occupied by other matters than writing. A new series of collections appeared, culminating in the 1967 omnibus of the Future History stories, The Past Through Tomorrow, which had been in the works since 1963. In 1967 he also won his fourth Hugo Award, for The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.  On July 20, 1969, the day men from Earth first set foot on the moon, Heinlein was a guest commentator (along with Arthur C. Clarke) with Walter Cronkite on this historic occasion.

In January 1970, I Will Fear No Evil was in the initial stages of cutting when Heinlein developed a perforated diverticulum and peritonitis.  Recuperating took the better part of two years. During this period, Heinlein gave a few interviews, but it was not until 1972 that he went back to writing, when he started Time Enough for Love.  He was awarded the first SFWA Grand Master Nebula Award in 1975.

At the end of 1977, Heinlein had a Transient Ischemic Attack, a brief blockage of blood to his brain that can be a precursor to a cerebral stroke. A CAT scan ruled out a brain tumor, but the flow of blood to his brain continued to decrease.  A heart catheterization for angiogram revealed that his left internal carotid artery was completely blocked, too high for surgery. A carotid bypass operation restored oxygen flow to his brain.  As soon as he was able to work, Heinlein started writing The Number of the Beast. An abridgement was published in Omni Magazine, and the advance paid by Fawcett/Columbine was a record-breaking $500,000.

In 1981, Heinlein had to give up all non-writing work.  Friday appeared in 1982, and was immediately hailed as a return to the master storytelling of his adventure-writing days.  On Heinlein’s 80th birthday, June 7, 1987, Putnam’s published what would be his last novel, To Sail Beyond the Sunset. On May 8, 1988, Heinlein died peacefully during his morning nap.

 

Hellboy

The central character in Dark Horse Comics’ storyline and Hollywood films alike, Hellboy is a powerful demon with a twist.  His mother Catherine Tanner-Tremaine was born an heiress to a tobacco merchant in East Bromwich, England in 1681.  Catherine’s parents died when she turned 19 and for the longest time, she had lived alone in her home painting.  Catherine would later end up being obsessed by German literature and had often dreamed of spirits and magic. She eventually came to own an important collection of different magical objects, one of them being Dr. John Dee’s fabled magical box.  She was able to summon a high-level demon and took him as a lover.  With her soul lost she did everything she could have to gain it back, but marrying a minister and giving money to charity wasn’t good enough, and she ended up dying out of grace.  When she died, her demon lover promised that within her body still remained their unborn son.  She laid dormant until her child was summoned forth by the “mad monk” Grigori Rasputin in 1944.

What started as a plot by the Nazis to start Armageddon turned into Earth’s salvation.  Their secret program called “Ragna-Rok” delved into the occult, to seek out supernatural power to help the Germans win World War II.  They called on the dark powers of Rasputin, whose true desire was to use the demon summoned to destroy all life on Earth.  Opposing them was a group of American Rangers who were being aided by Professor Trevor Bruttenholm of Blackfriar University.  When something went wrong with the summoning, a small demon-like boy appeared in East Bromwich, England. The Rangers and particularly Professor Bruttenholm took the boy in, dubbing him “Hellboy.”  Hellboy was raised in America in secret, by the organization that would become the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.). During that time, Hellboy grew to become healthy, tough, strong, and, contrary to Rasputin’s plan, dedicated to protecting Earth from paranormal.  He quickly grew in reputation as the go-to guy when things went wrong.  His exploits became well known, and he has been welcomed by humanity as a great asset to our world.

At 7’0”, 400 lbs., with yellow eyes and fire-red skin, and an over-sized right hand made of stone, Hellboy is quite the formidable opponent, even if his natural demonic horns were filed down!  He is much stronger and more physically durable than an ordinary human. He can be damaged like any living thing, but he is possesses a healing factor that allows him to recover from wounds at an incredible rate.  In the films inspired by the comic, Hellboy is impervious to fire, but in the original comics, he was not.  Hellboy also ages differently than humans, physically appearing to be much older than he really is.  His rapid physical maturation is in contrast to his physical rate of aging, which seems to be much slower than normal. Throughout the sixty-year span of his life, Hellboy seems to have ceased to age ever since reaching physical maturity.

In addition to his natural skills, Hellboy has access to many weapons and artifacts that allow him to battle supernatural enemies.  His main weapon of choice is his sidearm, dubbed “Samaritan.”  The bullets he uses are often filled with holy water, silver, or other items that aid in battling otherworldly creatures.  With these devices, coupled with his natural abilities, Hellboy is a formidable opponent.

In 2004, Hellboy arrived on the big screen, portrayed by Ron Perlman, and in 2008, Hellboy II: The Golden Army was released.  He is also the star of video games Hellboy: Asylum Seeker and Hellboy: The Science of Evil.

 

Hellraiser

 

Created by two horror masters, Hellraiser was written by Clive Barker and featured Wes Craven’s 1987 directorial debut.  It is the dark tale of a mysterious Chinese puzzle box that, once opened, draws the one who opened it into Hell to suffer unspeakable punishment.  Featuring the central demon character known as “Pinhead,” Hellraiser was a hit with horror fans, and spawned no less than seven sequels.

 

Henshaw, Hank

A major character in DC ComicsThe Reign of the Supermen maxi-plot, Henshaw appeared in 211 issues of several comic lines, including Adventures of Superman, Supergirl and Green Lantern Corps.  Originally a brilliant scientist, Henshaw was forever transformed when he and his friends encountered a freak radiation storm returning from space.  The radiation affected the machinery of the vessel, and it crashed far from its intended target. When the four explorers had freed themselves from the wreckage, Steve had become living radiation and Jim’s body had been destroyed and reformed out of debris from the ship and the surrounding area.  Hank’s wife Terri seemed to be fine, but Hank himself could feel radiation sickness beginning to eat away at him.  They traveled to Metropolis in search of a LexCorp facility that they could use to treat their mutations, but were confronted by Superman.  Things were eventually worked out, but by then, the radiation’s effects on Hank had begun to show.  His flesh was falling off his bones, and he was obviously close to death.  Terri also started exhibiting symptoms, beginning to fade from existence.  Steve flew into the sun and Jim killed himself, but Hank came up with a plan to fix Terri, only to die before he could use it.  Superman was able to save Terri before she completely disappeared.

Sometime later, Hank returned in a new form.  While his physical body had died, his consciousness had turned to energy and transferred into the machine on which he had been working.  He was able to form it into a robotic body that he could use as a transport.  He found Terri, but his appearance disturbed her greatly, and Henshaw decided it would be best for him to leave Earth and continue his hunt for knowledge elsewhere.  Henshaw found his way to Superman’s birthing matrix, and made it his new body so he could travel space again, absorbing the knowledge of the universe in the process.  Superman found him and tried to stop him, but Hank escaped.

Cyborg Superman’s origin has been retold a number of times, with the character narrating and making slight changes each time.  Since he is clearly insane and hates Superman, wrongly blaming him for the deaths of his friends, some story details are obviously false.  Henshaw believed that Superman was responsible for his loss of humanity and that he had banished Hank from Earth.

Created by Dan Jurgens, Hank Henshaw made his first comic book appearance in Adventures of Superman #465 and was involved in major story arcs Reign of the Supermen and Destruction of Coast City.  Cyborg Superman would briefly appear in the Marvel Universe in the Green Lantern/Silver Surfer crossover, in which he destroys a planet once saved by Silver Surfer in an attempt to recreate War World.  He would also play a role in the Superman/Terminator crossover.  He would play a role in yet another Marvel crossover, this time with the Superman/Fantastic Four and in their quest to stop Galactus.

 

Hergé

Born Georges Proper Remi in Brussels on May 22, 1907, Hergé (pronounced AIR-zhay, the French pronunciation of “R.G.,” the reverse of Georges’ initials) was prone to art from his earliest years.  His parents had only one way to make him keep quiet: give him a crayon and some paper.  In 1926, his parents let him pursue drawing, and by 1928, he was drawing for the newspaper Le Petit Vingtième.  He drew The Adventures of Flup, Nenesse, and Pousette and Cochonnet, but in the 11th issue, Hergé debuted Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, and thus began what would become The Adventures of Tintin.  By September 1946, the character will appear regularly in the Belgian weekly Tintin.  In 1948, the French edition of Tintin appeared, published by Georges Dargaud.  1950 saw the opening of the Studio Hergé, where little by little, as many as a dozen collaborators would gather.  In 1973, Hergé won the St-Michel Grand Prize at Brussels, for his lifetime achievement in art, and in 1979, the 50th anniversary of the creation of his beloved Tintin character is marked around the world by many celebrations and events, including a traveling exhibition, “The Imaginary Museum of Tintin”; a medal bearing the images of Tintin and of Hergé, engraved by Gondard and struck by the Hôtel de Monnaies, Paris; and a Tintin stamp, published by the Belgian post office.  On January 17, 1979, Hergé received a Mickey from Walt Disney Co.  This was the first time the statuette had been offered to anyone since the 1966 death of Walt Disney.

But by the summer of 1980, the first symptoms of leukemia were diagnosed late, and on March 3, 1983, Georges Remi died in the Saint-Luc clinic in Brussels, after a week in a coma.  In 1984, Steven Spielberg bought an options on the cinematic rights of Tintin, which would eventually lead to the 2011 release of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.

Herr Starr

 

The story of the life and death of Jesus Christ is well-documented and well-known. According to the comic book line Preacher, however, the story we know is a lie.  What happened was this: on the cross, Jesus was fed a soporific drug to put him in a deathlike coma.  He was taken down from the cross and secreted away.  His body was tended to, his wounds were cleaned, and after a few days, he awoke.  The story of the resurrection was put forth as a way to distract people from the real Son of God, so that he would be allowed to live in peace.  He married a woman named Mary and had several children.  He died in actuality when he was 43 years old, run down by an offal cart.  His offspring were still considered part of the divine lineage, and a group immediately sprang up to protect them. This group came to be called The Grail, and their purpose was to make sure that the blood of Christ was neither watered down nor polluted.  Unfortunately, this meant a prodigious amount of inbreeding.  Over the next two millennia, the Grail grew both in size and in power, and by the 20th Century, they were a global superpower, hidden in the shadows.  They held the reins to all the nations of the world, and could exert power on the leaders of the world’s most powerful governments. And they had a plan.

The plan was simple: to start a nuclear war in the year 2000.  The first volley is fired on January 1st, and within two weeks, the world is in chaos.  Nations are disintegrating, uniting and breaking up, and the ultimate destruction of mankind seems to be inevitable.  This is where the Messiah is introduced.  He exerts his divine power, and war is averted.  A new era of humanity begins, ruled by God-Kings … and the Grail.

Formerly the Sacred Executioner, later the Allfather, Herr Starr turned the Grail into his own personal weapon of revenge.  Starr had wanted to replace the real Messiah with Jesse Custer, who was tall and handsome and who actually did have a divine power.  Custer wouldn’t go along, and in a struggle, scarred Starr’s head for life.  Starr went from wanting to use Custer in his plans for Armageddon to simply wanting to kill Custer out of revenge.  His plans eventually led to the utter decimation of the Grail’s military forces to the point where Starr was only able to put together a force of about two dozen men to take down Custer.  The rest of the Grail’s resources, the deep cover operatives, simply ignored Starr’s order.  Finally, Starr ordered the death of the Grail ruling council at le Saint-Marie, and lost most of his men before finally killing Jesse Custer.  Mere moments later, Starr himself was killed by Custer’s girlfriend Tulip.  Thus, the Grail was destroyed.

 

Hibernation

A power-off computer mode that preserves the last state of the computer.  When hibernate is activated, the contents of memory are written to storage on the hard drive, and the computer is turned off. When turned back on again, the previous memory state is read from storage, and all applications appear exactly as they did the moment hibernate was triggered.

Hibernation is not to be confused with sleep mode, during which the power is on, but the screen and hard disks are turned off.  Hibernation is an actual powering off of the machine. Although restoring from hibernate is faster than a cold start, coming out of sleep is immediate. Turning the computer back on from either mode eliminates having to reload all applications and data.

 

High-definition

A television display technology (also known as high-definition television, or HDTV) that provides many more than the standard number of scanning lines per frame, for a much sharper picture quality that is similar to 35mm movies, and sound quality similar to that of a compact disc.  HDTV and standard definition television (SDTV) are the two categories of display formats for digital television (DTV) transmissions, which are becoming the standard. HDTV generally uses digital rather than analog signal transmission, and one of HDTV’s most prominent features is its wider aspect ratio (the width to height ratio of the screen) of 16:9, a development based on research showing that the viewer’s experience is enhanced by wider screens.  HDTV pixel numbers range from one to two million, compared to SDTV’s range of 300,000 to one million.  In terms of audio quality, HDTV receives, reproduces, and outputs Dolby Digital 5.1.  Some television stations have begun transmitting HDTV broadcasts to users on a limited number of channels. New television sets will be either HDTV- or SDTV-capable, with receivers that can convert the signal to their native display format.

 

Highlander

1986 sci fi thriller written by Gregory Widen and directed by Russell Mulcahy, in which a 16th Century Scot, played by Christopher Lambert, learns he is a member of an immortal race, born to fight each other for an enigmatic “prize.”  The film also starred Sean Connery as Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez and Clancy Brown as the Kurgan.

 

Himeros

In Greek mythology, Himeros (also referred to as Imeros) was the god of sexual (erotic) desire. Some versions of the myth state that when Aphrodite – the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation – was born from sea foam, she was greeted by the twin Erotes, Eros and Himeros.  Other versions say that Aphrodite was born pregnant with the twins and birthed them as soon as she herself was born.  According to Hesiod’s Theogony, the pair were the offsprings of Aprhodite and Ares, and they remained her constant companions, acting as agents of her divine power.  Himeros was typically depicted as winged youth or child, but at others times, he appeared as one of a triad of love gods with Eros and Pothos (representing Love and Passion, respectively).  Himeros is also associated with the Graces and Muses.

 

History of Violence, A

 

Originally published by DC Comics through Paradox Press (under Paradox Graphic Mystery) in May 1997, A History of Violence tells the suspenseful crime story of small-town soda shop owner Tom McKenna, a family man who becomes an instant media celebrity when he thwarts a robbery by wanted murderers.  McKenna’s newfound fame draws the attention of a group of merciless mobsters who have been looking to settle a score with him for over 20 years.  Now, as the killers descend upon his town, the Brooklyn native must relive his past and face the actions of his youth as he attempts to salvage the life he has built and keep his family out of harm’s way.

A History of Violence was writer John Wagner’s first attempt to establish himself in the American comics industry.  Vince Locke’s unique line-artwork was able to translate the dark and noir nature of the graphic novel and its intrigued plot.  In 2005, it became an Academy Award-nominated film directed by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen.

 

Hit points

In video games, a measurement of how much life or health a character or object has.  When attacked or “hit,” a certain number of hit points are lost, and the more powerful an attack is, the more hit points it takes away. When healed, hit points are added back on.  When a character or object’s hit points equal zero, it is dead or defeated.

 

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The

Originally written and broadcast as a 12-part radio series on the British Broadcasting System in 1978, Douglas Adams’ novel concerns the exploits of Arthur Dent, an average British citizen who gets caught up in a myriad of space adventures when his house, and then the Earth, is demolished.  With no planet to call home, he is left to hitchhike through space with his friend Ford Prefect, whom he thought was an out-of-work actor, but who is really a researcher for an intergalactic guidebook.  Adams’ wildly popular novel inspired several sequels, a television series, a stage production, and, more than twenty years after its original publication, dozens of websites created by devotees who could not get enough of its bizarre universe.