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Science of TRON

Listen to audio from the "Science of TRON" panel, featuring director Joe Kosinski, producer Sean Bailey, and science consultants Sean Carroll & John Dick. Learn More

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The Zombies Are Coming!

Zombies are all the rage these days, what with the bestselling Pride and Prejudice and Zombies; the pending release of Zombieland;and news that Max Brook's sci-fi classic, World War Z, is bound for the silver screen. But maybe it's time to call a halt to this never-ending battle with the Undead. Can't humans and zombies learn to get along and co-exist in harmony? According to a new paper by a group of Canadian epidemiologists -- no way, no how.

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.

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. 

Professor Zombie

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

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.

Prospecting Potter

When we tell you that there are teaching moments in every film that could get a conversation started about science, we really do mean every film. We can prove it too. We’re not afraid to put our money where our mouth is: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Here’s a film about magic that takes place in a fantastical land where anything seems possible and Muggle science feels misguided and trivial… or so you thought.

Inspiration in Ice

With Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs hitting theaters this weekend, we have a good example of a film that may play fast and loose with reality, but nonetheless serves to inspire kids to think about science. 

Comic-Con 2009: Science As a Double-Edged Sword

It's that summery time of year, when the sun is shining, vacations are pending, and over 125,000 science fiction fans are gathering in San Diego for the annual Comic-Con extravaganza. The Science and Entertainment Exchange will be there, too: we are partnering with Discover magazine on a Thursday evening panel, July 22, from 6 to 7 PM, on the science behind science fiction.

The Science of Storytelling

Everyone loves a gripping story, and anything involving family secrets seems to have particular power. The Star Warsseries was hugely popular not just for its eye-popping special effects and epic mythology, but also for its tangled familial relationships. Darth Vader is Luke's father? Leia is his sister? It's positively Dickensian in its intricate genealogical scope.

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