Assessing Avatar

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ScienceBloggers liked Avatar, but that hasn't stopped them from picking the science apart from the science fiction. On The Scientific Indian, Selva wonders how communication between the humans and their avatars could take place inside the "vortex," when all other kinds of transmission are disrupted. PZ Myers on Pharyngula lauds the detailed flora and fauna imagined for Pandora, but laments that the natives ended up looking so safely human in an otherwise alien world. On Greg Laden's Blog, Greg turns a critical eye to the film's anthropological undercurrents, comparing the representation of the Native American-like Na'vi to the Westernized military-industrial villains. And on The Frontal Cortex, Jonah Lehrer discusses the real-life brain activity of film viewers, explaining that auditory and visual immersion inhibits the logical faculties of the prefrontal cortex in favor of pure sensorimotor processing. For this reason, Lehrer holds Avatar to be a paragon of the cinematic medium.

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