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Amazing Minecraft Graphing Calculator

Posted by Josh Rothman  March 24, 2012 01:16 PM

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As you may have noticed, I've been really into the invention of the computer lately. So this basically made my morning: The evocatively named SgtGodswordBerserker has created a scientific graphic calculator entirely inside the game Minecraft, and can use it graph and solve equations!

For those of you who are not super-nerds, Minecraft is a massive and massively popular 'sandbox' game, developed by a Swedish programmer, Markus Persson, in which players wander around in a huge compuer-generated world and build things. In one mode, "Survival," you play as a sort of computer-world pioneer: the goal is to chop enough wood, gather enough food, and build a secure shelter before nightfall, when evil skeletons (and other evil creatures) attack you, like so (warning: some stress-induced profanity):

Then there's the "creative" mode, in which players can just mess around, building things, like Notre Dame, The Reichstag, Fallingwater, or the Starship Enterprise (built to scale). It's in this creative mode that Mr. Godsword Berserker has constructed his own graphing calculator. It's not his first massive project: you can check out his enormous analog clock, working scanner/photocopier, and functioning speedometer here.

They're pretty amazing creations, and they drive home an obvious-but-still-amazing fact: Everything your computer does is, on some level, physical. Computers can seem disembodied and magical -- but all that magic comes out of a bunch of on/off switches! As many commenters on YouTube have noted: It's only a matter of time until someone builds a computer in Minecraft which is capable of running Minecraft.

Bonus: More great Minecraft creations, including the Taj Mahal ("Even Shah Jahan couldn’t have imagined this would happen").

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

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Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.

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