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Tag: Science (21-30 of 93)

Astronomers have officially discovered Tatooine

Tatooine has always been the coolest planet in the Star Wars galaxy — except maybe Nar Shaddaa, and if you’re the kind of person who is currently contemplating commenting “Nar Shaddaa was technically a moon!” then shut your face and also I love you. But now, Tatooine can also lay claim to being the only Star Wars planet that actually exists: According to The New York Times, NASA scientists have discovered a planet that orbits two different stars at once, which means that someone standing on the planet’s surface could feasibly stare pensively into the distance at a double-sunset (just like Luke Skywalker), and if you’re anything like me there are only two possible responses to this information: 1) “Truly, we live in a strange and wonderful universe,” and 2) “God, Science is so f—ing cool!”

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

Bus, do your stuff! A tribute to 'The Magic School Bus'


Seatbelts, everyone! When I was in elementary school, I used to long for the days when we’d pause our typical classwork to watch some type of “educational” programming. (Thank you, PBS, for those breaks from learning my multiplication tables. Twelves were hard!) And easily my favorite of these educational shows — perhaps only second to Reading Rainbow — was The Magic School Bus. I never much cared for science in school, but cram basic science principles into a TV show and wrap them with a super catchy theme song sung by the one and only Little Richard? Sold! READ FULL STORY

Andy Samberg will swim with sharks for Shark Week, probably not wearing this

Details for the 24th annual Shark Week — kicking off July 31 — are emerging. Today, Discovery announced that this year’s “Chief Shark Officer” Andy Samberg will host his own special with the working title Shark City. Per the network, “Samberg travels to the Bahamas and takes the plunge — literally jumping into the shark-filled waters to introduce viewers to a specific group of sharks that live off the shores of Nassau. They each have their own distinct personalities, quirks and feeding patterns. Learn how they size each other up, what they like to eat and what scares THEM.” That’s all the info I have, but if this is something like Shark Week regular Stuart Cove introducing Samberg to individual Caribbean reef sharks and revealing what he’s come to know about them over the years he’s led his underwater adventures, that could be totally fun. If you’re going to swim with relatively non-threatening sharks like that, you’ve got to give us something different, and finding out that this shark responds more to women in bikinis and has therefore earned whatever nickname is acceptable.  READ FULL STORY

Meryl Streep to play Marie Curie for World Science Festival

Meryl Streep will play Marie Curie in a special reading of Alan Alda’s new play, Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie. The cast also includes Amy Adams, Allison Janney, Liev Schreiber, and David Morse. Directed by Bob Balaban, the play anchors the World Science Festival’s opening night gala on June 1 at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center.

Radiance “explores the intellectual passions of the physicist/chemist most famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity, as well as her tumultuous private life marked by her strong determination to pursue both love and knowledge,” according to a release. Tickets to the event are on sale at www.worldsciencefestival.com/gala.

Read more:
Meryl Streep among recipients of National Medal of Arts
Meryl Streep channels Margaret Thatcher

Andy Samberg to host Shark Week. Can he top Craig Ferguson?

Today, Discovery announced that Saturday Night Live‘s Andy Samberg will host the cable channel’s 24th annual Shark Week this July. Samberg’s official title is Chief Shark Officer and comes with obligations to film on-air wraps for the week-long event and host a Shark Week special during which he may dive with the apex predators. He has to swim with sharks, right? I mean, we want to see the music video we assume he’ll shoot, too, but the host of Shark Week must get wet.

Samberg has big flippers to fill: Last year’s Shark Week, hosted by known enthusiast Craig Ferguson, was watched by almost 31 million people, making it Discovery’s highest rated to date. Ferguson swam with Caribbean reef sharks in the Bahamas during his special and his fear produced some great moments. READ FULL STORY

Karl Pilkington to be 'An Idiot Abroad' for another season. Cue Ricky Gervais' wonderfully maniacal laughter.

James Cheadle/Science Channel

Anyone who watched the first season of Science’s (formerly the Science Channel) travel series An Idiot Abroad learned two things: Karl Pilkington hates just about everything, and he in no way wanted to do this again.

Thankfully, with his trusty pals Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant producing, there was no way that was even an option for him. The network confirms to EW that the show, which sends Pilkington — a man with very, er, unique musings on life — around the world, would be back for a second season.

During the first season of An Idiot Abroad, Pilkington didn’t quite marvel at the seven wonders of the world the way a regular television travel guide — or a regular person, for that matter — might. Though, to be fair, he wasn’t given any five-star accommodations, as per Gervais and Merchant’s evil/genius planning. Still, whether or not Pilkington liked it (he didn’t), the show went on to become the channel’s highest-rated series to date.  READ FULL STORY

'30 Rock': The TGS woman-haters club

30-RockImage Credit: Ali Goldstein/NBCHere in its fifth season, TGS seems to have lost its way. You probably don’t even remember this, but TGS (formerly known as The Girlie Show) started as a show for women, starring women. As such, our dear Elizabeth Lemon believes the show should be “elevating the way women are perceived in society.” But it turns out, TGS can’t help but do the opposite. When Jenna ended up on the cool, feminist blog Joan of Snark, Liz discovered the post “TGS Hates Women.” (Note to all humans, JoanOfSnark.com doesn’t really exist. I tried it, and it only redirects you to this NBC page.) With Tracy gone to Africa, Liz thought the show was doing an even better job of featuring women. But all of their women-centric sketches ended with said women getting their periods. It was weird. Then, Lemon got her period and fired everyone. Maybe it’s time to rethink some things. READ FULL STORY

Jim Cantore reacting to thunder snow: The only thing about this storm we're not over

Yes, Chicago has gotten nailed by this latest winter storm, but in my eyes, the Windy City has one thing going for it: It’s got Jim Cantore. The Weather Channel has reporters bundled up all over the place, but Cantore is by far the most entertaining, as we were reminded again last night when he got surprised by thunder snow. Watch it below.

If you’ve been following this storm on The Weather Channel or your local news, describe the best moment you’ve witnessed. Also, confess the guilt you feel for being disappointed every time no one crossing the street behind a reporter falls. Karma — it’s why I’m working from home today. READ FULL STORY

Challenger disaster 25 years later: Where were you when you heard?

Image credit: NASA/AP Images

I was in seventh grade when I heard that the Space Shuttle Challenger had exploded over the Atlantic Ocean on Jan. 28, 1986. It was in Mr. Kottner’s science class at Irving Junior High in Berwyn, Ill. (just outside Chicago). I remember some friends I had at other schools got out of class to gather and watch the launch together on TV, but for whatever reason we didn’t at my school. It was probably a good thing — even after knowing the tragic outcome of that launch, it was horrifying to watch those people disintegrate into a plume of smoke on television news (over and over) that night. READ FULL STORY

NASA video contest: We endorse 'Captain Banana vs. The Evil Ghost Chili'

If you follow NASA on Twitter, you may be aware that online voting is now open for its Optimus Prime Spinoff Award Video Contest, which encouraged kids, grades 3 to 8, to create shorts about NASA technology that has been modified to go into products used on Earth. NASA considers Transformers’ Optimus Prime, who came to Earth from space, a great analogy for NASA technology transfer, which has resulted in “spinoffs” like, you know, “the heart defibrillator your grandparents might have [!], or the memory foam mattress you sleep on at night, or even the purified water you drink at your house.” Reading about the “spinoff” technology is genuinely fascinating, but watching kids ramble on about it, not so much. That is why we, if I can be so bold as to speak for my discriminating colleagues at Entertainment Weekly, would like to endorse “Captain Banana vs. The Evil Ghost Chili” in the 3rd-5th grade bracket. Watch it below.  READ FULL STORY

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