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Tag: Science (41-50 of 93)

PopWatch Summer Movie Body Count: Tallying the carnage at the multiplex, starting with 'Iron Man 2'

iron-man-2-violenceImage Credit: Industrial Light & Magic/MarvelAhh summer. It’s about chillaxin’ at the beach — yeah I said “chillaxin’”…it’s Friday…I have a right — building bonfires in the backyard, and playing the ponies. Summer movies, however, are (to use the eloquent words of LL Cool J) “destruction! terror! and mayhem!” or at least explosions, shoot-outs, and garroting. And that’s why we here at PopWatch are instituting the official, scientific, and absolutely macabre Summer Movie Body Count.

Each week, Team PopWatch will pick one big-budget action flick, buy ourselves a ticket, and keep a running tally of how many folks buy the farm from the time the previews end till the time the closing credits finish rolling. We’ll count any confirmed deaths: folks who die on screen; folks whose deaths are verbally or visually confirmed (i.e. “Jane is dead!” or Jane’s hand arrives via U.S. Postal Service); or folks whose deaths can be estimated (i.e. a spacecraft explodes, and we’ll estimate how many folks were on board using our best pop-culture “measuring tools“). On Mondays, we’ll post our results — and keep a full tabulation of how many characters pay the ultimate price for your summer viewing enjoyment.

First up…Iron Man 2! Vote in our poll below, then come back Monday to digest (and possibly debate) our results!

'Big Bang Theory' recap: Evil Wil Wheaton returns

Big-Bang-Theory-WheadonImage Credit: Monty Brinton/CBSWhen Wil Wheaton first appeared on The Big Bang Theory last fall as an odiously underhanded version of himself, I predicted the former Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation would return to the show as Sheldon Cooper’s official Worst Enemy. I had no idea, however, that Evil Wil Wheaton would be this evil, widening his path of destruction to include not just Sheldon, but Penny and Leonard’s fragile romance as well.

Yes, it’s official: Penny and Leonard’s season-long courtship is seriously on the rocks. After Penny managed to pull off an unambiguous, post-coital reference to The Empire Strikes Back (just in time for its 30th anniversary, too!), Leonard was moved to attempt an unambiguous, post-coital declaration of love for her, i.e. “I love you.” Penny’s response: “Oh. Thank you.” Not good. READ FULL STORY

William Shatner hosts 'Weird or What' for Discovery

Today, William Shatner announced that he’ll host a reality show called Weird or What for the Discovery Channel in the U.S. and the History Channel in his native Canada. According to Variety, “It will examine and analyze some of the weirdest unsolved cases around the world — ranging from paranormal phenomena, medical oddities and bizarre natural disasters.” Shatner said the show would present science in a “light-hearted, jaunty way.”

I’m all for this because it reminds me of his Emmy-nominated documentary How William Shatner Changed the World. Granted, that was great because it told you definitively how Star Trek influenced the inventor of the cell phone, NASA’s chief propulsion engineer, a top neurosurgeon, and one of the brains behind QuickTime. (Watch cellphone inventor Martin Cooper describe the epiphany he had watching Captain Kirk talk on his Communicator after the  jump.) But as long as Weird or What poses theories that could possibly solve those cases, it should be worth watching… READ FULL STORY

'Big Bang Theory' recap: Sheldon wins award, loses pants

Jim-Parsons-pantsImage Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBSOn the one hand, it is fairly obvious that last night’s episode of The Big Bang Theory will be on Jim Parsons’ shortlist to send out for Emmy consideration, as well it should be. He fainted! He sang! He stripped! He ran the gamut of human emotions from joy to panic to abruptly intoxicated! I mean, just look at that photo — that is just empirically funny.

On the other hand, on a whole this episode just didn’t quite come together the way it should’ve for me. Granted, as Sheldon-centric Big Bangs go, it wasn’t nearly as insufferable as “The Einstein Approximation” (i.e. Sheldon got stumped) or “The Bozeman Reaction” (i.e. Sheldon got robbed). And it did provide one of my all-time favorite Leonard/Sheldon exchanges:

Sheldon: I recently had a dream that I was a giant, but everything around me was to scale, so it all looked normal.
Leonard: How did you know if you were a giant if everything was to scale?
Sheldon: I was wearing size 1,000,000 pants. READ FULL STORY

Buzz Lightyear first man to walk on moon, say some children

pixarImage Credit: ©Pixar/DisneyIn advance of Britain’s National Science and Engineering Week, 1,000 primary and secondary school children were given a test asking them questions like, Who was the first man on the moon? One in 10 said it was Buzz Lightyear, the Tim Allen-voiced character from the Toy Story movies. Other responses included: Luke Skywalker, Sir Richard Branson, and Lance Armstrong.

“While some findings raise a smile, it suggests that school children aren’t tuned into our scientific heroes in the same way that they might be to sporting or music legends,” Dr. Pam Waddell told The Telegraph. And don’t forget actors! Her study also shows that while 70 percent of nine to 10-year-olds said they would rather win a Nobel prize for science than an Oscar, only 33 percent of 11 to 15-year-olds did.

This article made me remember several things:

• The kid in my third grade class who, when asked what country we lived in, responded “Keystone” because one of the local new affiliates had promos saying “This is Keystone Country”

• How I really liked a boy in sixth grade because he wore a turtleneck with dinosaurs on it, and how in freshman biology, I wrote a rap song about hawks to the B-side instrumental of “Parents Just Don’t Understand” for a project. I may still have chosen an Oscar, but did I not show some interest in science?

• How intimidated I was as a junior in college studying art history in London for a semester, eavesdropping on the little British children on museum visits answering their teachers’ questions more articulately than I could’ve… Knowing they’re not all that smart makes me happy. I’m not gonna lie.

Anything stupid or adorkable you said or did as a child that you’d like to confess now? The lines are open.

'Big Bang Theory' recap: One ring to rule them all

Big-Bang-Theory-ringImage Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBSSo, best episode of the season, right? Yeah, it was a smidge gimmicky to construct a Big Bang Theory story around the discovery of a genuine One Ring prop ring from The Lord of the Rings (ringy ring ring), but it easily netted a jackpot of full-body guffaws from this particular viewer, and I have a feeling most of y’all as well. Everyone in the cast had a showcase moment (or several), the story played beautifully off each character’s particular quirks, and Penny finally got to give Sheldon the knuckle sandwich he’s deserved for nigh on three seasons

It all started with a clever bit of we’re-a-fellowship-on-a-quest foreshadowing, namely Sheldon explaining to Leonard that in their “ragtag band of scientists with nothing to lose,” Sheldon is the Smart One, Howard is the Funny One, Raj is the Lovable Foreigner Who Struggles To Understand Our Ways And Fails, and Leonard is the Muscle. Hence why Leonard alone had to bear the burden of the box of geektastic tchotchkes they had just purchased for $60 at a local garage sale — a garage sale they discovered after following a man they thought was Adam West.

“Who’s Adam West?” asked Penny.

“Who’s Adam West?!” exclaimed Sheldon. “Leonard, what do the two of you talk about after the coitus?” (The coitus! Love it!)

Before Leonard could answer, Howard chimed in: “My guess is, ‘Hey, four minutes, new record!’” And immediately, I knew it was going to be a good night indeed. READ FULL STORY

'60 Minutes': Will America eventually run on Bloom Box? (Instead of Dunkin?)

Last night’s 60 Minutes featured a segment on the Bloom Box, a block of fuel cells you can fit in your hand that Bloom Energy CEO K.R. Sridhar says could power your whole house. (Or two European houses, or four Asian houses, you silly, consumptive American!) The “unusually secretive” company’s been around for eight years, and Google has been powering a data center on four Bloom Boxes for 18 months. After the jump — because we are so pathetic at science we can’t get the video to stop auto-playing — watch as Lesley Stahl becomes the first non-insider to peer into a refrigerator-size Bloom Box and emit a slightly hilarious, disappointed “Oh.” And tell us if you see yourself investing $2,000 for an energy innovation that might very well save the world…or at least contain the answers to Lost. READ FULL STORY

'Big Bang Theory' recap: Leonard and Sheldon (almost) break up over the Large Hadron Collider

Now that is more like it. After a string of episodes that were simply overloaded by Sheldon Cooper’s shenanigans, last night’s Big Bang Theory managed to tip the show’s balance back into rib-tickling equilibrium, and yet still keep the spotlight affixed on its breakout star. Leonard’s announcement that he would spend his Valentine’s day traveling to Switzerland to visit CERN and the Large Hadron Collider — which I would spend this aside explicating if I didn’t fully trust that anyone reading a recap of The Big Bang Theory is already intimately familiar with CERN and the Large Hadron Collider and/or is happy to click on Wikipedia links — left Sheldon thunderstruck after he learned Leonard planned to bring Penny, and not him. This led, inevitably, to the reemergence of the famed, and improbably slender, Roommate Agreement.

READ FULL STORY

Endeavour space shuttle launches, brings COLBERT its home

The space shuttle Endeavour had a gorgeous launch at 4:14 a.m. ET this morning from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The news footage after the jump is nice, but the crowd reactions captioned in the amateur video below fill you with the sort of awe James Cameron wrote about in his recent Washington Post op-ed piece supporting President Obama’s NASA budget, the sort of pride you feel every time you catch the end of Apollo 13 on cable. Endeavour’s 13-day mission will install the Tranquility node and its seven-window cupola permanently to the International Space Station. According to NASA, the Tranquility node will now house one of the station’s bathrooms and the equipment that converts urine into drinkable water, as well as its microgravity equivalent of a weight machine and the COLBERT (Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill).

You might recall that Colbert Nation, fans of Stephen Colbert’s Colbert Report, mounted a write-in campaign for the 2009 NASA poll asking what Node 3 should be named. Though “Colbert” won the poll (in which more than 1 million votes were cast) by a landslide, NASA opted to christen it Tranquility (the eighth most popular write-in). NASA did, however, offer the treadmill title as a compromise. We suspect Stephen Colbert will enjoy knowing that his namesake shares the node with that “toilet-to-tap” system.

READ FULL STORY

'Big Bang Theory' recap: Sheldon gets stuck trying to...er, he gets stuck...I just had it...

Much like Sheldon Cooper found himself impossibly stuck in last night’s The Big Bang Theory trying to puzzle out a physics conundrum, the show has, I fear, found itself a bit stuck in a conundrum of its own: How to keep its breakout character from overwhelming what has been a delightful, gut-busting ensemble show? Unlike Sheldon, however, it’s going to take a lot more than a quickie stint as Penny’s Cheesecake Factory quasi-co-worker for the show to elucidate this very real concern.

I don’t mean to oversell my frustration; this was still a pretty funny episode. Leonard, for instance, had a great opening line after noticing Sheldon’s frantic early morning behavior: “Penny, I told you, if you don’t put him in his crate at night, he just runs around the apartment.” And the show’s subplot — if you can call it that — involving Howard and Leonard taking their ladies out for a double date of disco roller-skating got off to a strong start with Raj’s lament that his buddies stole the idea from him: “No, it’s okay, I don’t have to go. I’m happy just to guide you and your ladies to suitable entertainment choices. I’m a walking brown Yelp.com.”

But beyond Howard’s insane lycra pants, the women’s mild embarrassment at their men’s boogie abilities (or lack thereof), and the inexplicably silly mini-scene at the end of the episode of Raj and Howard (those pants!) spinning in the rink, said subplot was rather thin in the plot department — more like a sub-distraction, or sub-digression. READ FULL STORY

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