Week in Geek: Too much fun with Tesla Coils

Hopefully you remember Inspector Gadget as fondly as I do, especially the memorable theme song expertly recreated by these Tesla coils. You've probably seen your fair share of "singing" Tesla coil videos, but this one was too good for me to resist. Tesla coils were invented by their namesake Nikola Tesla, the pioneer of alternating current (AC) and the basis of our electrical grid today. Side note: check out this summary of Tesla's life and his contributions to our modern technological lifestyle, courtesy of The Oatmeal.

OK, back to the science. Tesla coils are modified transformers (electrical devices that can increase or decrease the voltage of their electricity supply) that produce much higher voltages than traditional transformers. This video walks you through the various components of a Tesla coil and how they work to produce the sparks you see. This increase in voltage can be used to transmit power wirelessly…or play the theme song from one of my childhood cartoon shows. These "singing" Tesla coils are further modified to control the voltage and frequency of the sparks emitted, thereby producing the "notes" you hear. As the Internet already knows, the possibilities are endless.

Here's some more geek to spark your brains for the week ahead:

The Simpsons has been secretly teaching you math. And you thought Lisa was the only smart one.

Beautiful interactive map of Scandinavia and the surrounding waters from 1539. Here there be sea monsters.

Spider found in the Peruvian Amazon slingshots itself at its prey. As if spiders weren't freaky enough.

Want to know what NASA's Curiosity rover has been up to on Mars? The New York Times has a day-by-day interactive.

CSI is about to get a whole lot more realistic with this technology to identify people from their reflections in a subject's eyeball. ENHANCE!

Speaking of eyes, these macroscopic photos of the eyes of different animals are other-worldly.

Forget flight trackers. For the nervous flyers among you--this website allows you to check your turbulence forecast.

Scottish scientists have recorded the world's longest echo…echo…echo…echo...

Fish might get their stripes as a result of a cat and mouse game their cells play during development.

Japanese scientists want to help clean up low-Earth orbit with an electrodynamic tether.

That's all the geek for now. See you next week!