I – Im

I, Robot (film)

In Chicago circa 2035, US Robotics is a giant corporation that manufactures humanoid robots to serve the human consumers who buy them.  When a dead body appears on the atrium lobby floor one morning, it is deemed to be that of the chief robot designer, in an apparent suicide.  In this 2004 release based on Isaac Asimov’s celebrated book, Will Smith plays Detective Del Spooner, who doesn’t believe it’s a suicide.  Governed by his deep-seated mistrust of robots, he follows his suspicions, despite the famous Three Laws of Robotics, which declare above all that a robot must not harm a human being.  The dead man is Dr. Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell), who, we are told, wrote the Three Laws. (The Three Laws were actually written by Isaac Asimov, the author of the novel.)  Accompanied by Dr. Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan), whose job at U.S. Robotics is “to make the robots seem more human,” Spooner’s investigation leads him to interrogate one robot named Sonny (voiced by Firefly’s Alan Tudyk), who is more advanced than the standard robot, more “human,” and capable of profound questions like “What am I?”

 

I, Robot (book)

A 1950 collection of robot-themed stories by Isaac Asimov, published as one volume with the collective theme of “technology out of control.”  Rather than think of the robot like Frankenstein’s monster that would turn against us, which Asimov termed “the Frankenstein complex,” the author thought of the robot as a tool, like a car, which could be built to be safe. Some of the same characters show up multiple times in the collection, and in order to make the stories coherent as a single volume, Asimov added a frame story: the tales were all one character’s memories, being told to an interviewer.  Using her memories, the reader witnesses the entire history of robotics, but the other key element that ties the stories together is Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, the laws that would keep robots from being a danger to humans.  I, Robot inspired a 2004 film starring Will Smith.

 

IBM

See International Business Machines (IBM).

 

Icarus

Greek mythological character and son of the craftsman Daedalus, who created the Labyrinth, a huge mazelike prison on the island of Crete, for King Minos.  Though initially constructed to imprison the monstrous Minotaur, in order for the secret passage out of the Labyrinth to be kept secret, Minos imprisoned Daedalus and Icarus in a tower above his palace.  Over time, Daedalus managed to create two sets of wings by gluing birds’ feathers to wooden frames with wax.  He taught Icarus how to fly with them, warning him not to fly too high, where the heat of the sun would cause the wax to melt, nor too low, where the sea water could get the feathers wet, rendering them useless.  Together, they flew out of the tower, but once airborne, Icarus soon forgot his father’s warnings, and started flying higher and higher, until the wax started melting under the scorching sun.  His wings dissolved and he fell into the sea and drowned.  The area where he is said to have fallen is now called the Icarian Sea, and the nearby island of Icaria also pays tribute to this symbol of youthful impetuousness.

 

Icon

In the computer world, an icon is an image that represents an application, a capability, or some other concept or specific meaningful entity.  It is typically selectable, but an icon can also be a non-selectable image, such as a company’s logo.  Frequently, an icon is a hypertext link to another page or website.

 

Idea Men, The

Featured villains in the September 10, 1994 premiere episode of Ben Edlund’s Fox animated series The Tick, The Idea Men appeared with a plot to attack The City’s dam.  Lucky for the citizens that The Tick had just gotten off the bus, after recently being assigned to protect The City.  Running into – or crashing into – the moth outfit-wearing Arthur, who was fresh from being fired from his accounting job, The Tick finds an instant sidekick with whom to thwart the Idea Men’s evil plan (which is rather hard to understand with their masked mumbling!).

 

Identity theft

The fraudulent and illegal use of someone else’s identifying or personal information or documents (such as their credit card information or Social Security number), especially in order to obtain money or credit.

 

Identity thief

One who engages in identity theft.

 

Identity tourism

The process by which people assume an identity in the virtual world that is entirely different than their own.

 

Idle, Eric

Founding member of the legendary British comedy troupe Monty Python, Idle was born March 23, 1943 in South Shields, County Durham, UK.  He attended Pembroke College at Cambridge, earning a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature in 1965.  He became president of the Footlights Dramatic Club, touring with them in the 1965 show My Girl Herbert.  He next did a season in the Leicester Repertory Theater, then after moving to London, appeared in two TV movies for the BBC and started writing for BBC Radio’s I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again and TV’s The Frost Report.  In 1968, Idle began writing for a British children’s television show, Do Not Adjust Your Set, and while there, met future Pythons Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam.  Coming together with Graham Chapman and John Cleese, the newly-formed troupe completed four seasons of television’s Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969-73).  Following that successful run, Idle appeared in several stage productions, and produced and starred in the Python films … And Now For Something Completely Different (1971), Monty Python and the Holy Grail (75), Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979), and Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983).  A live performance of their television skits, Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, was released in 1982.

After Python, Idle created Radio Five, a comedy-music show for Radio One, then wrote and starred in two seasons of Rutland Weekend Television, which led to writing and co-directing the Beatles-esque mockumentary The Rutles: All You Need is Cash, which he made with Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels for NBC.  In 2001, a sequel, Can’t Buy Me Lunch, was made.

Idle has also been successful doing his own writing.  He published his first novel, Hello Sailor in 1975, and wrote his first play, Pass the Butler, which ran at the famous Globe Theatre for five months in 1983.  Other books include Rutland Dirty Weekend Book (1976), the audio book The Quite Remarkable Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat (1996), and the novel The Road to Mars (1999).  In 1991, the Idle-sung Life of Brian tune “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” became a hit single in the UK.

A familiar face and voice on the big screen, Idle can be seen in Yellowbeard (1983), European Vacation (1985), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), Nuns on the Run (1990), Splitting Heirs (1993) and Casper (1995), while his voice can be heard in the animated Transformers movie (1986), South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999), Shrek the Third (2007), as well as four episodes of The Simpsons.

Another Python-inspired project, the musical stage production Spamalot ran from 2004-2009, and won 2005 Tony Awards.  The soundtrack earned the show a Grammy, as well.  In 2006, Idle starred in, and recruited several Pythons to do cameos for, the stage production Not the Messiah (He’s A Very Naughty Boy), a musical “for choir, orchestra and sheep” based on Life of Brian in 2006.  During its tour, Idle appeared in every performance.  In the summer of 2014, the Pythons did what was billed as their last reunion show at London’s O2 arena.  Monty Python Live (mostly): One Down, Five To Go did very well, with the title referring cheekily to the 1989 passing of Graham Chapman.

 

Igor

Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s laboratory assistant, seen in several films over the years.  Even though he is never mentioned in Mary Shelley’s original novel, the character has become a familiar part of the Frankenstein story, thanks to Hollywood.  Though the 1931 original film Frankenstein featured a similar character whose name was Fritz, Igor has been portrayed on film by Bela Lugosi (credited as Ygor) in the sequels Son of Frankenstein and Ghost of Frankenstein (both released in 1942), by Marty Feldman in the 1974 comedy Young Frankenstein (in which he sarcastically pronounced his name “EYE-gor”), Kevin J. O’Connor in 2004’s Van Helsing and by Daniel Radcliffe in 2015’s Victor Frankenstein.

 

IGP

See Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP); Interior gateway protocol (IGP).

 

IM

See Instant message.

 

Imaginary number

The quantity ix, where x is a real number and i is the square root of –1.  The term “imaginary” probably originated from the fact that there is no real number x that satisfies the equation x2 = –1.  In engineering, the quantity i is denoted j, and is known as the j operator.  The unit imaginary number has some unique properties.  For example: As i is raised to higher natural-number exponents, the resultant cycles through four values:  i, –1, –i, and 1, in that order.  Imaginary numbers are used in engineering, particularly in electronics.  Real numbers denote electrical resistance, while imaginary numbers denote reactance.

 

Imeros

See Himeros.

 

Impact printer

A type of printer that operates by striking a metal or plastic head or needle banging against an ink ribbon to make a mark on the paper.  Impact printers include dot-matrix printers, daisy-wheel printers, ball printers and line printers.  Impact printers tend to be considerably noisier than non-impact printers, such as laser and inkjet printers, but are useful for multi-part forms, such as invoices, and for printing carbon copies.

 

Imperiex

Debuting in DC Comics‘ Superman # 153, the reputation alone of the star-spanning Imperiex (the so-called “Destroyer of Galaxies”) was enough to instill fear in the heart of Mongul the Second.  With Imperiex on a collision course with Earth, Mongul formed an uneasy alliance with Superman, so that he might suitably train the Man of Steel for deep-space combat, in order to put a stop to Imperiex’s destructive path.  Neither Mongul nor Superman realized that the foe they faced was merely a probe in the service of the true Imperiex, a decidedly larger and more powerful being whose attentions were focused on the Man of Steel.  Wielding the power of the Big Bang – which gives him many powerful abilities, such as energy absorption and manipulation, probe creation, powerful energy blasts that can one-shot beings such as Doomsday – once Imperiex has absorbed enough power, he can destroy and restart universes.  Determined to destroy the present universe to create a more perfect universe, Imperiex Prime sets out to annihilate planet after planet.  When Imperiex arrives at Earth, heroes and villains from around the world unite to fight him off.  Superman merges with Kismet and together, they manage to crack Imperiex Prime’s armor, but Kismet was killed during the attack.  Superman, with help from many other heroes, manages to send Imperiex Prime’s consciousness back 14 billion years, to experience the Big Bang firsthand. The instant before Imperiex dies in the explosion, he realizes that the flaw in the universe he had come to erase was himself.

Imperiex also appeared in the second season of the Legion of Super Heroes animated series as the main villain.  He traveled from the 41st century to conquer the galaxy.  Unlike the Imperiex in the comics, there isn’t anything cosmic about him.  The animated Imperiex was an alien raised in a gladiator lifestyle and over time, his body was modified by technology that allowed a perfect union of organic tissue and cybernetics.

 

Imperiex Prime

See Imperiex.

 

In real life

See IRL.