Comic-Con Video Posts!

The Science & Entertainment is proud to show you the full unedited video of our Comic-con panel. Just posted on Science Not Fiction. Watch brilliant minds of science and entertainment waxing poetic on all things SciFi. Jaime Paglia (co-Executive Producer of Eureka), Kevin Grazier (Battlestar Galactica and Eureka science adviser), Jane Espenson (Dollhouse, Battlestar, Caprica, and lots more), Ricardo Gil da Costa (science adviser for Fringe), and Rob Chiappetta and Glenn Whitman (writers for Fringe).

Dances with Dolphins

Fans of the old TV series Flipper might not know about Ric O'Barry, a one-time dolphin trainer who trained the two female bottlenose dolphins featured on that show. But that could change with the release this weekend of The Cove, a hard-hitting documentary O'Barry made with former National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyas about the "dolphinarium" market -- the worldwide trade in captive dolphins.

Science Fiction Covers the Universe, And Also Our Own Little Globe

Ever notice how often the alien spaceship lands in Washington, DC, or New York City rather than Paris, Beijing, or Rio de Janeiro? Since the big science-fiction blockbusters are Hollywood products, it’s not surprising that these films are U.S.-centric and it’s also true that Washington and New York are major world cities. Even if the aliens want to reach Earthlings via the United Nations that too requires a stop-off in Manhattan.

But CNN headquarters might be a better choice, because there’s a whole big globe out there becoming increasingly interconnected by more than the UN International Telecommunication Union, Internet, and 24-hour news cycle. International trade and finance, terrorism, global warming, job outsourcing, immigration – all of these are linking people and nations more closely. Like any other cultural product, science fiction must reflect this reality sooner or later.

The Double-Edged Sword

The Science & Entertainment Exchange co-hosted a panel discussion over the weekend in conjunction with Discover Magazine at San Diego Comic-Con. Bad Astronomer Phil Plait served as moderator for the event, which featured Jaime Paglia (Eureka showrunner), Kevin Grazier (JPL and technical consultant for Eureka and Battlestar Galactica) Rob Chiappetta and Glen Whitma (Fringe staff writers), Ricardo Gil da Costa (The Salk Institute and a consultant on Fringe), and Jane Espenson (Caprica showrunner).

G-Force: The Unauthorized Biography

With G-Force entering the market this week, an underdog to supplant the mighty Harry Potter, we at The Exchange immediately thought, "There's no science here." Then, we realized that in the scientific community guinea pigs have a special history, a centuries-old relationship. It's a little known tale of love, loss, and even triumph. So here it is: the true guinea pig, selfless helper of humanity.

Neither a pig nor from Guinea, these strange rodents evolved to maximum cuteness in the Andes. They immediately became popular as household pets upon their introduction to Europeans in the 16th century due to their relative low maintenance, good looks, and easy temperament - in other words: their high threshold for being abused by children without seeking revenge.

Finding Inspiration on the Moon (Yes, Another Moon Post!)

So, the Moon has been on my radar lately. Our lonely, pock-marked orbiter is pretty cool…even just to stare at. And I’m obviously not the only one who thinks so. The X-Change Files has already seen a couple of posts here on the subject. At the risk of posting redundancy, I wanted to get my blog in edgewise. 

Graphic Allure

We do a lot with film and TV here at the Science & Entertainment Exchange, but we also have a strong appreciation for the world of comics/graphics novels -- often a source of inspiration for the rest of the entertainment industry. So we were thrilled to learn, via io9, of a fabulous new webcomic, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.

Professor Zombie

In the last decade, there has been a resurgence in mainstream Hollywood of zombie projects.

Driving Rocket Ships and Talking with Our Minds

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing on July 19, 1969, and there has been a predictable flurry of reporting about the event. The New York Times asked me and a few others to recall our memories of the 1969 events, in which I recalled how enthralled I was as a 15-year-old, staying home from school to chart the entire missions, building scale models, and dreaming of one day perhaps being the first Canadian Astronaut.

An Amaz!ng Weekend

Magician and escape artist James Randi (a.k.a., The Amazing Randi) has had a long illustrious career in entertainment, including a stint traveling with Alice Cooper's Billion Dollar Babies tour in the 1970s. He has had an equally illustrious career promoting science and skepticism -- and "debunking" charlatans,a la Harry Houdini. (He broke Houdini's record for survival in a sealed coffin by 11 minutes in 1955.)

And his James Randi Educational Foundation -- now headed by Bad Astronomer Phil Plait -- sponsors The Amaz!ing Meeting, held last weekend at South Point Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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