Blog Tags

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

technology

Subscribe to technology

Goats in the Machine

The new film, The Men Who Stare at Goats, is based on the book by Jon Ronson detailing a weird military research project involving psychic warriors, LSD, astral projection and the like. But while the movie might be fiction -- and highly amusing fiction at that, thanks to stellar performances by the cast -- there really is a historical record of both the Army and the CIA experimenting with LSD and other hallucinogens as possible "incapacitating chemical agents."

Warp Drive: We're Not There ... Yet

One of the Star Trek franchise's most enduring legacies in science fiction is the fictional "warp drive" technology that enables faster-than-light travel. It's not the kind of thing that can be achieved with conventional rockets, but that doesn't mean it's entirely outside the realm of scientific plausibility. In fact, there's a long tradition of physicists writing speculative technical papers suggesting ways in which a warp drive or hyperdrive might come about.

"District 9" Takes a Lesson From Tesla

Director Neill Blomkamp's sci-fi film, District 9, is getting rave reviews for its gritty, hard-edged depiction of a futuristic world where stranded aliens are being evicted from one dismal slum and forced to move to another -- when all they really want is to get the mother ship back up and running so they can return home. Among the the more useful alien technologies is an "energy weapon" based on a Tesla coil.

The Science of Special Effects

During our ramblings around YouTube, we came across this marvelous compendium showcasing the evolution of special effects in film since 1900, beginning with The Enchanted Drawing, and ending -- of course -- with the amazing anti-aging Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Who knows what the visual effects wizards will come up tomorrow?

 

 

Home Smart Home

Fans of SyFy's Eureka are already familiar with the "character" of S.A.R.A.H. (Self Actuated Residential Automated Habitat), a literal "smart house" build inside an abandoned fallout shelter that serves as the residence of Sheriff Jack Carter.

S.A.R.A.H. is an AI that can open and close the hermetically sealed doors, control internal lights and temperature, and make sure Jack has a nice cold beer on tap and a tape of the latest baseball game when he gets home from a hard day's work. In a pinch, she can diagnose injuries and compare current DNA samples against samples on file.

Virtual Science in Second Life

We all remember the frisson of delight when we watched The Matrix for the very first time, and thrilled to this incredibly convincing on-screen depiction of a truly virtual world. Gaming has cashed in on the explosion in computing power and networking capabilities to create highly realistic, nearly immersive playing fields.

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.

Poetry in Motion

What do Happy Feet, Polar Express, the Lord of the Ringstrilogy, Beowulf, and The Strange Case of Benjamin Button have in common? They are all films that employ the latest advances in motion capture technology -- or rather, what was cutting-edge in motion capture back in 2007, when those films were first being made. Scientists continue to come up with breakthrough technologies to make Hollywood's special effects even more magically convincing.

Science Fiction and Future Predictions

With Terminator Salvation - a film on which The Science & Entertainment Exchange did a consult - hitting theaters this weekend, it’s hard not to get excited about watching John Connor staving off the impending destruction of humanity in the fourth installment of the franchise. But, let's not completely take this action film at face-value. The latest Terminator movie releases in a very different era than did its predecessors. Starting in 2007, robots actually did start carrying guns in Iraq. More and more, we are outsourcing risky combat assignments to machines.

Pages