It’s no secret that pop culture is a good reflection of the times—an era’s collective values, social climate and most pressing issues are woven into its movies, music and literature. But a new study shows an oddly specific connection between the entertainment and economy of any given decade, as reported by The Atlantic. We’re not saying the Billboard charts are the new Nasdaq or anything—but it looks like what’s in our wallets has more to do with what’s on playlists than we thought.
Tag: Science (1-10 of 94)
Today, Google celebrates what would have been the 115th birthday of Percy Julian, a chemist whose research led to chemical birth control and immune-suppressing medications.
Julian was born in Alabama on April 11, 1899, at a time when his city of Montgomery didn’t provide public education for black students post-middle school. Despite this, Julian persevered and ended up both attending and excelling at Indiana’s DePauw University. He later returned to the university to work on synthesizing plant products into medicine, where he found much success; some of his accomplishments include creating a synthetic cortisone to inexpensively treat arthritis and discovering a treatment for glaucoma.
Julian received many honors in (and after) his lifetime, including being the first black chemist to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He passed away in 1975.
So here’s the situation: On Monday, word broke that Kate Mulgrew — best known these days for playing Red on Orange Is the New Black – is the narrator of an upcoming documentary called The Principle. Spoiler alert: The principle is that contrary to Copernicus and, you know, centuries of documented science, the sun revolves around the Earth.
This is notable for several reasons, including but not limited to these:
'Cosmos' then and now: The 'personal voyage' of Carl Sagan, the Hollywood cool of Neil deGrasse Tyson
Like reboots of most anything, be it the Star Trek film franchise or the Hannibal television series, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (premiering Sunday, March 9 on Fox) does not require familiarity with its original incarnation to be appreciated and enjoyed. Yet comparing the two shows, and their first episodes, is instructive. The first Cosmos, broadcast on PBS in 1980, had a different subtitle: “A personal voyage.” The person implied was the viewer — all of humanity. It was also the creative intelligence behind the series, astronomer and astrophysicist Carl Sagan, who died in 1996. His widely watched series explored all of creation, and expressed all of himself — his mind, his heart, his hopes, his fears. Sagan wanted to use popular culture to evangelize science, exploration, and a worldview that was infinitely bigger than the world itself.
Inspiration for the series sprung from disappointment. In 1976, Sagan, then a member of the Viking Lander Imaging Team at NASA surveying Mars with robots, was dismayed by the lack of attention given to their historic, important work by the news media. At the time, the cultural narratives about space focused on the question of alien life and hospitable planets, and Team Viking couldn’t support reductive storylines about little green men or interplanetary manifest destiny. But Sagan was convinced the public was hungrier for knowledge — and more capable of appreciating complexity — than the press assumed. In the companion book to Cosmos, Sagan wrote: “I was positive from my own experience that an enormous global interest exists in the exploration of the planets and in many kindred scientific topics — the origin of life, the earth, and the Cosmos, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, our connection with universe. And I was certain that this interest could be excited through that most powerful communications medium, television.”
The good news: Researchers have found the first fossilized mosquito still engorged with blood.
Don’t rejoice just yet, Jurassic Park fans. (In other words, hold on to your butts.) The bad news? The tiny insect has no traces of dino DNA.
Dale Greenwalt, a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution, discovered the fossil — the first of its kind– which has been preserved in a piece of shale in Montana for 46 million years. But because of its age, the fossil is unlikely to contain anything relating to dinosaurs. (Remember: the park was an adventure 65 million years in the making.) Plus, DNA doesn’t survive this long, and the researchers have no idea from where the blood came.
Google’s going green today to honor a natural woman: Maria Sibylla Merian, a scientific illustrator born April 2, 1647. (She doesn’t look a day older than 360!)
Merian is best known for the illustrated text Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium, which she published in 1705 after spending two years in the Dutch colony of Suriname with her daughter Dorothea (and, somewhat scandalously, without a male companion!). The book included illustrations of both insect life cycles and the plants on which they lived, giving many Europeans their first extensive glimpse at the New World’s botanical and entomological features. Her work garnered several important fans, including Russian emperor Peter the Great. She died in Amsterdam in 1717, two years after suffering a stroke that left her partially paralyzed.
Celebrate Merian’s life today by browsing through a few of her gorgeous prints, not swatting any flies, and eating some pineapple — which the illustrator once described as “the most outstanding of all edible fruits.”
The web giant celebrates the tech pioneer’s 197th birthday with an image of “the enchantress of numbers” writing the first computer algorithm beside machines she helped design that were considered forerunners to the modern computer. READ FULL STORY
'Firefly: Browncoats Unite' reunion tonight: Why Joss Whedon's cult classic has endured for a decade
Some television shows blaze bright and fade quickly. Others ignite and burn for years. Joss Whedon’s Firefly did neither. The sci-fi opus barely sparked during its 11-episode run on Fox in 2002, yet produced a uniquely vibrant afterglow, nurtured by stalwart fans, as well as new fans who continue to discover the series on DVD and cable. To celebrate the cult classic’s 10-year anniversary, Science will air a reunion special tonight called Firefly: Browncoats Unite, which brings together Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, and more for a conversation (moderated by this reporter) about the show’s origins and legacy and where the series might have gone had it continued. READ FULL STORY
Hunger Games fans, are you unsatisfied with this ho-hum world full of naturally occurring animals? Well, never fear! According to a New York Times article, the books’ symbolic mockingjay — the Capitol-flouting hybrid of a mockingbird and the fictional jabberjay spy bird — isn’t inconceivable. “The tools needed to modify organisms are already widely dispersed in industry and beyond. Do-it-yourself biology is growing,” writes James Gorman. He cited Freeman Dyson of the Princeton-based Institute for Advanced Study (former home to Albert Einstein), who “envisioned the tools of biotechnology spreading to everyone, including pet breeders and children, and leading to ‘an explosion of diversity of new living creatures.'”
The chance to hear the mockingjay’s rebel song got us thinking: What other fictional animals would we like to see made real? Read on for a few of our ideas, then share your own. READ FULL STORY
- 'Rush Hour,' 2 more pilots ordered by CBS
- 'Chicago P.D.' role for 'Shameless' alum
- Emma Watson as 'Beauty and the Beast' Belle
- Sam Smith's 'Stay With Me' = Tom Petty cash
- Dropkick Murphys vote no on pol using song
- Chris Weitz in as 'Star Wars' film writer: Report
- Cosby accused by ex-film exec Cindra Ladd
- 'Birdman' wins Best Cast at SAG Awards
- Nick Jonas + Ryan Murphy's 'Scream Queens'
- 'Mission: Impossible 5' moves to July 31
- Tom DeLonge: 'I'm not leaving Blink-182'
- 'X-Men' TV series? Fox in early stage talks