Original PC gaming miscellany

A compendium of meaningless facts from your favorite games

The derivation of Lamarr the Headcrab

Half-Life 2’s Dr. Kleiner owns a debeaked headcrab known as Lamarr, and when she’s in the process of escaping, he can be heard to mention: “There’s only one Hedy.” Hedy Lamarr was a highly successful Hollywood film actress, originally hailing from Austria. As well as playing seductive and passionate cinematic lead roles in the 1930s and ’40s, however, she was a technological genius to boot.

Specializing in communications, she came up with the concept of “frequency-hopping” in 1942, originally intended to make radio-guided torpedoes harder to detect. Sadly, this technology was too advanced for the times, and wasn’t integrated into US defense systems until 1962. Lamarr’s concept, however, provided the basis for today’s spread-spectrum communication - and is the foundation for mobile phone and wi-fi technology. No wonder a communications and teleportation expert like Kleiner holds her in such high regard.

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