10 great geek moments from 2013 (pictures)

Join Crave to relive the triumph of Batkid, the glory of David Bowie music in space, the world's biggest celebration of time travel, and more geeky highlights of the year.

Amanda Kooser
1 of 11 James Martin/CNET

Batkid saves San Francisco

It's hard to pick one geeky moment that defined 2013, so we picked 10 (11 if you count our bonus moment).

Batkid conquered classic Batman villains The Riddler and The Penguin on his way to saving a damsel in distress, a baseball mascot, and the entire city of San Francisco. He also conquered geek hearts the world over. Miles was the kid beneath the mask. Miles, who is 5 years old, is in remission from leukemia and wanted to be Batkid for his special Make-A-Wish Foundation day. Thousands of volunteers turned out to cheer the tiny hero onward.

2 of 11 Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Dad hacks wheelchair

A determined dad harnessed his hardware hacking abilities to modify a powered wheelchair to let his 2-year-old son Alejandro explore the world. A degenerative disease restricts Alejandro's movements to his toes and fingers, so his dad modified an $800 wheelchair bought on eBay to respond to those movements. This project combines maker skills and a family's love into one of the most meaningful hacks in recent memory.
3 of 11 Disney

Science makes a lightsaber

Lightsabers aren't just for wrinkly green aliens and guys in black capes. MIT and Harvard scientists created a previously unobserved form of matter by getting photons to bind together into molecules in what Crave's Eric Mack dubbed a "quantum bromance."

"It's not an in-apt analogy to compare this to lightsabers," Harvard Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin said in a news release. "When these photons interact with each other, they're pushing against and deflect each other. The physics of what's happening in these molecules is similar to what we see in the movies." And "Star Wars" fans everywhere cheered.

4 of 11 Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

'Cargo,' a zombie film benchmark

A short film from Australia called "Cargo" set a new high-water mark for zombie filmmaking. The film skips the dialogue and instead uses images and emotions to tell the story of a dad and his baby forging their way through the zombie apocalypse. It only takes seven minutes to watch, and it may leave you sniffling by the end. It also made Crave's list of five great zombie short films.
5 of 11 Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/AFP/Getty Images

Ben Affleck becomes Batman

In a polarizing announcement, Ben Affleck was tapped to take over the role of Batman, leading to reactions ranging from cautious celebration to petitions begging for him to be un-cast. Fans were more united in celebrating the announcement of a Superman versus Batman movie. Start placing your bets on who will win that one.
6 of 11 Josh Rowe/Super Awesome Micro Project

Lego car goes zoom

While most people are busy putting together tiny little Lego cars, Raul Oaida built a working full-size car mostly out of the tiny plastic bricks. The car took 20 months to put together and has the look of an old-school hot rod. It took more than half a million pieces to build, and ranks up there as one of the most spectacular Lego creations to ever be willed into existence.
7 of 11 Amanda Kooser/CNET

'Doctor Who' turns 50

Fifty years is a long time for anything, much less a science-fiction television show, but "Doctor Who" has endured over the years. The celebrations around the 50th anniversary sent fans into overdrive building costumes and indulging in geeky merchandise like Tardis rugs and sonic-screwdriver remote controls. That's me, a committed Whovian, dressed as the scarf-wearing 4th Doctor and attended a 3D movie screening along with a "Doctor Who"-villain buddy.
8 of 11 ABC/Craig Sjodin

Bill Nye dances with the stars

PBS super-nerd Bill Nye took his quirky sense of science onto the dance floor on "Dancing with the Stars." Nye may not have had the moves of Jagger, but he survived some awkward dance routines and a paso doble-induced injury and made it through a few eliminations before finally being voted off. Along the way, his plucky spirit and nerdy ways endeared him to audiences and expanded his public recognition in the non-geek world.
9 of 11 Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Veronica Mars, crowdfunding detective

More than 90,000 Kickstarter backers showed up to put their cash into funding a "Veronica Mars" movie, streamrolling the $2 million funding goal to the tune of $5.7 million. This was a triumph for both geeky girl detectives and crowdfunding. The finished film is scheduled to be released on March 14, 2014, almost exactly a year after the Kickstarter concluded. Put it on your geek calendar.
10 of 11 Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Chris Hadfield sings 'Space Oddity'

Mustache-sporting super-astronaut Chris Hadfield beamed his musical skills down to Earth from the International Space Station by recording a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" in zero gravity. The song served as a farewell to space before he returned to the blue marble below. It capped a magnificent run for Hadfield during which he showed us how to eat space spinach, recorded a space-to-Earth original song with The Barenaked Ladies, and just generally made everyone fall in love with space again. It's enough to make adults like me want to eat freeze-dried astronaut ice cream and book a spot at space camp.
11 of 11 The Asylum

Bonus geek moment: 'Sharknado'

Sharks. Tornado. Enough said.

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