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Tag: Science (11-20 of 94)

PopWatch Confessional: What obscure movie errors have driven you to distraction?


It’s happened to all of us: You’re happily coasting along watching a movie you’re thoroughly enjoying, when up pops a glaring error that zaps you out of the movie and has you fuming to your friends as you exit the theater. At which point, you realize you were the only person to notice this so-called “error,” and all your friends think you’re a crank who totally missed the point of the movie and wish you would just shut up about it already.

The difference between you and Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is that the famed astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York was actually able to do something about it. Upon seeing Titanic in the theater, Dr. Tyson became incensed after Kate Winslet, delirious and nearly frozen in the black Atlantic Ocean, looked up at the night sky and saw the wrong set of stars for that specific time and place. Apparently, astrophysicists can tell you exactly what the night sky looked like in the North Atlantic in the wee hours of April 15, 1912, and that’s exactly what Dr. Tyson did. He sent a letter to James Cameron. Five years later, he cornered Cameron at an event and lodged his complaint once more. A few years after that, he brought it up again at an intimate dinner party with Cameron. And now, this Wednesday, Titanic will be hitting theaters in 3-D, with no other alterations to the film except that now, Rose Dawson will be looking up at the same stars those doomed Titanic passengers saw that fateful night. (You can watch Tyson recount his entire story here.)

This is such a specific complaint, it got me thinking: What nagging movie goofs only seem to bother me? READ FULL STORY

Ashton Kutcher is headed to space! Somewhere, Lance Bass is crying.

Ground control to David Bowie — now we’re dealing with a real space oddity: Sir Richard Branson announced via his website on Monday that Ashton Kutcher had become the 500th “astronaut” to reserve space on his Virgin Galactic spacecraft, which will blast off… soon. The exact date has not yet been set. SpaceShipTwo is still in the midst of free-glide flight tests, giving us plenty of time to speculate on what AshtonStar Galactica will actually be like.

Now, keep in mind, Kutcher won’t be the only celebrity on board. Stephen Hawking will also be taking the suborbital tour, which will launch Kutcher and co. 50,000 feet into space, giving them a full zero-gravity experience and a dazzling view of Earth that most of us plebs only marginally experience at IMAX theatres, or EPCOT. The price tag for this madcap adventure? $200,000. A pretty hefty sum for those of us in the 99%, but a total steal for Lance Bass, who just couldn’t cough up the $20 million he needed to fly to the international space station back when boy bands still mattered. READ FULL STORY

Speaking of golden globes, horse fly with shiny butt gets named after Beyonce

Let’s pretend for a quick, brilliant moment that you’re Beyonce. You’ve just given birth to your first child, who’s already breaking Billboard records and has the acceptably eccentric celebribaby name of Blue Ivy — so you’ve got that going for you. But you’re also in the middle of a bad-PR mini-scandal involving the hospital’s handling of the security surrounding the delivery of said infant, threatening to tarnish even a smidge what should be a blessed, beautiful event.

And then someone names a horse fly after you.

Specifically, Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae, a rare fly native to Australia, that has been so christened because its hind quarters are filled with dense, gold hairs. That may make the insect sound visually appealing, but, well, it’s not:  READ FULL STORY

Snooki, Michele Bachmann top 'Bad Science List'

The Sense About Science (SAS) campaign has named Jersey Shore doctor of grain liquor Snooki and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann as two of 2011’s worst offenders of Bad Science. Bachmann went on TV to tell a story of a Tampa woman who claimed her daughter had become “mentally retarded” from an HPV vaccine, and Snooki — well, Snooki’s sort of a science experiment gone wrong in so many (and some delightful) ways that I’d like to give her scientific claim its own paragraph. Let it breathe a little, like seamen amidst a gust of sea air.

“I don’t really like the beach. I hate sharks, and the water’s all whale sperm. That’s why the ocean’s salty.”

The untethered inclusion of “I hate sharks” in there is almost poetic. Think about it for a few seconds. NO, I’m just kidding, don’t hurt yourselves. READ FULL STORY

Punkin Chunkin 2011: Rooting for Team Chunk Norris, obviously

It’s Thanksgiving, which means the return of Punkin Chunkin, the annual event that finds backyard “engi-nerds” building homemade contraptions to see who can hurl a pumpkin across a cornfield the farthest. MythBusters‘ Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, and Tory Belleci host this year’s TV special, airing tonight at 8 p.m. ET on both Discovery and SCIENCE. If the first time you heard of this kind of competition was on last night’s Modern Family, know that the real event is in its 26th year.

We endorse rookie catapulters Team Chunk Norris, if not for their name, then for the proud father who walks around wearing chain mail, carrying a sword, and saying things like, “$200,000 worth of engineering degrees, and this is what they do” and “I shall slay them if they lose.” Meet the team in the clip below. READ FULL STORY

'The Big Bang Theory': Howard Wolowitz, grown-up? Plus, Wil Wheaton returns, and Data's with him!

For four seasons on The Big Bang Theory, Howard Wolowitz has rarely been much more than a charmingly skeezy horndog mama’s boy with a fetish for skin-tight day-glo trousers (and a cluelessly homoerotic relationship with his best friend Raj). Even during his courtship of and eventual engagement to the sweet Bernadette Rostenkowski (gesundheit), Howard’s changed his ways by mere microns. So it was startling and refreshing in equal measure to witness the man grow emotionally in this week’s episode by a full centimeter, possibly even two. And all it took was the promise of a trip to space! READ FULL STORY

Lair of the Kraken discovered in Nevada desert, says exuberant paleontologist

The Kraken occupies a curiously prominent place in modern popular culture. In just the last few years, the giant ship-devouring sea monster has popped up in two major films — the horribly successful Pirates of the Caribbean 2, the successfully horrible Clash of the Titans remake — and a twisty fantasy thriller, to say nothing of the beast’s memorable cameo in God of War II. But rarely is the question asked: Could the Kraken be real? If you believe Professor Mark McMenamin of Mount Holyoke College, then the answer is: Yes, absolutely! McMenamin claims to have discovered the lair of a 100-foot-long Kraken in Nevada (which was underwater some 215 million years ago). Mind you, there’s no Kraken body; the dig site revealed nine fossilized ichthyosaurs, previously thought to be the biggest baddest fish in the prehistoric sea, and something even bigger and badder must have killed them, right? Hence: Kraken. READ FULL STORY

'The Big Bang Theory': Raj gets a girlfriend! Who he can talk to!

As happy as I was to see Raj Koothrappali finally land himself a girlfriend on this week’s The Big Bang Theory, even if for one episode, I’m a tinge surprised it’s taken his friends over four seasons to realize they needed to fix Raj up with a deaf woman. Well, really they need to get him into some comprehensive therapy for his selective mutism — some hypnotism wouldn’t hurt either. But, still, finding someone who physically can’t hear Raj’s romantic verbal diarrhea seems like a pretty obvious notion to me.  READ FULL STORY

'The Big Bang Theory': Amy Farrah Fowler's top 10 moments

When discussing Thursday night’s new episode of The Big Bang Theory, I could explore the growing friction between Bernadette and Howard as the betrothed couple navigate whether their wedded bliss will be spent under the caustic and oft-constipated gaze of Ma Wolowitz. I could marvel at how much childlike fun Sheldon seemed to have playing with his new model train set, and how much a conductors hat suits him. I could bemoan the fact that Raj was virtually MIA, or, for that matter, that Penny had scarcely anything to do other than scarf down the final dumpling at the start of the show.

Instead, I think it best to focus completely on one Amy Farrah Fowler, since her slow-burn kooky courtship of Leonard Hofstadter utterly dominated the episode. So brilliantly, Emmy-baitingly played by Mayim Bialik, Amy asserted herself as a major comic force on tonight’s Big Bang, so much so that I suspect a few of you will be spending your time on the message boards complaining that there was much too much of her. I will not be joining you. Nope, I adore Amy. Forthwith, in chronological order, here are my top 10 favorite Amy moments from “The Pulled Groin Extrapolation”: READ FULL STORY

'The Big Bang Theory': Raj and Penny resolve their hook-up, and Amy makes another pass at Sheldon

After ending its Emmy-nominated fourth season with arguably the most controversial episode in the history of The Big Bang Theory — namely, Raj and Penny getting drunk and getting it on, in Leonard’s bed — the show roared back tonight in fine style with two back-to-back episodes to launch its fifth season. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD! In the first episode of the night, “The Skank Reflex Analysis” writers crafted a sneaky way to please both fans who thought Penny and Raj’s horizontal mambo was a plot twist too far, those who thought it was just funny, and those rare Pennaj ‘shippers who desperately want these too to finally see what they have together. How to put this? READ FULL STORY

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