Movies

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The Sound of Simulated Bombs

So, last week I idly wondered about the canonical falling-bomb whistle. The was originally intended to be a very short post just asking the question, but I got caught up in thinking about it, and it ended up being more substantial. And leaving room for further investigation in the form of, you guessed it, VPython…

Uncertain Dots, Episode 8

In which Rhett and I talk about Cosmos. What, you thought there would be another topic? We have contractual obligations, you know… Okay, there were some other topics like Battlestar Galactica (both versions), why so much of what’s on Discovery Channel and TLC sucks these days, the flawed astrophysics of Firefly, speculation about how those…

Nostalgia and the Next Generation

“Daddy, I wanna play with the robot dog!” “It’s not a dog, honey, it’s an Imperial walker. An AT-AT. A fearsome armored assault transport used to overwhelm the Rebel defenses in the battle of Hoth.” “…” “…” “…” “OK, fine, you can play with the robot dog.” We came down to my parents’ for Thanksgiving…

I’m doing a bit of work on an idea for physics outreach, which would involve tying a discussion of modern physics to science fiction stories. I have Opinions about this sort of thing, of course, but I also have readers who might think of things I don’t. So, let me throw this out to you…

Wanted: The Hoosiers of Science

I’ve been revising a chapter on collaboration in science for the book-in-progress, making an analogy to team sports. And it occurred to me as I was trying to find a way to procrastinate, that while science is a highly collaborative endeavor, most of the popular stories that get told about science are not. There’s no…

Over at Galileo’s Pendulum, Matthew Francis expresses an opinion that’s sure to get him in trouble with the Inquisition and placed under house arrest: Carl Sagan’s Cosmos isn’t all that: However, even taking into account the differences in TV between 1980 and 2013, the show is very slow-paced at times. I’m not talking about the…

Over at Tor.com, Kate has begun a chapter-by-chapter re-read of The Hobbit, and has some thoughts on Chapter 1. It’s full of interesting commentary about characters and literary technique, but let’s get right to the important bit: Physics! Kate mentions in passing in the post that the Hobbit style round door with a knob in…

I go back and forth about the whole question of scientific accuracy in tv shows and movies. On the one hand, I think that complaining “Explosions don’t make noise in space!” is one of the worst forms of humorless dorkitude, and I’m generally happy to let bad science slide by in the service of an…

Syncretic Pre-Schooler Blogging

We send SteelyKid to preschool at the Jewish Community Center in Schenectady, because when we looked at day care programs back in the day, they had the one we liked best. This is a mixed blessing in a number of ways– they close for a lot of religious holidays when nothing else closes, creating some…

And what happened then? Well, in Who-ville they say That the Grinch’s small heart Grew three sizes that day. And then the true meaning Of Christmas came through And the Grinch found the strength Of ten Grinches, plus two – Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas It’s nearly Christmas, so SteelyKid keeps demanding to…