Two familiar men in black suits are back in theaters on May 25, 2012, and this time, more than aliens are involved. In this released trailer for Men in Black 3, J discovers K has been dead for 40 years. With the help of a small device and a jump from the Empire State Building, J travels back in time to find some answers to K’s mysterious death.
Time travel is a popular storyline in television and film (Back to the Future, Lost, The Time Traveler’s Wife, to name a few). It is also a frequently requested subject for science consulting. But is it possible? Or even plausible? Well, we have some good news and we have some bad news.
Some things are impossible because they violate fundamental laws of the universe, as far as we know. The theory of relativity says that neither matter nor information can travel faster than light. Matter because an object reaches infinite mass at the speed of light. (Though the recent measurement of neutrinos apparently traveling faster than light remains to be explained, most physicists suspect it reflects a subtle error, not an overthrow of the theory of relativity.) Information because that would reverse the order of cause and effect for some observers, effectively enabling time travel and violating everything we think we know about how nature operates. Other things are impossible, or at least extremely difficult, because of practical or engineering limitations rather than fundamental ones.
I wish I had a sexy story to explain why I began to study romantic love. But my interest most likely stems from the fact that I am an identical twin. Long before I learned about the nature/nurture debate in college, I was busy examining how my sister and I were alike. This fascination then transformed into a life-long drive to understand human nature – all those traits we share as human beings. Among these predispositions is our penchant for romantic love. Indeed, I have come to believe that humanity has evolved three different brain systems for mating and reproduction: the sex drive, romantic love, and feelings of deep attachment. Sometimes these brain systems work in symphonic harmony to sweep us to the altar. Sometimes they work at cross purposes instead. You can lie in bed at night and swing from feelings of deep attachment for one person to feelings of intense romantic love for another. No wonder the ancient Greeks called romantic love the “madness of the gods.”
“You have to talk to your kids.” Always solid advice for any parent, however when this “word to the wise” comes from a cyber crime investigator for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who specializes in breaking up online child pornography rings, this simple statement can resonate in ways far greater than face value.
Park City, Utah – Filmgoers perhaps unaccustomed to the mercury in the teens and, if you are a Los Angelino, to good quality public transit, made the annual trek to Wasatch County for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival from January 20th to 29th. Among the program highlights is the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Prize for a feature film that focuses on science or technology as a theme or depicts a scientist, engineer, or mathematician as a major character. Past winners have included Sleep Dealer, House of Sand, Obselidia, and Another Earth.