“Whiskey is for sipping, but water’s for fighting.” —Mark Twain
Today, March 22, 2010, is World Water Day, an initiative formed at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. As we head into Earth Day next month, no environmental issue carries more sociopolitical, economic and health ramifications than a clean and abundant supply of water. Some of the highest global morbidity and mortality rates are directly related to lack of access to clean water—both in contracting communicable diseases as well as agricultural impact that aggravates famine. At the heart of this discussion is a frenzied (and growing) thirst for bottled water; Americans alone bought more than 29 billion bottles in 2007. If you have long suspected that bottled water is not good for the environment, but only had a hazy notion about the specific consequences of the bottled water industry, Tapped, an Atlas Films documentary about to be released on DVD, will knock your socks off. The film expertly chronicles the insidious practices of bottled water companies and the dire consequences it has on our collective health, communities, environment, economy and policy in ways you never would have imagined. Our special World Water Day post under the “continue reading” cut.
“The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.” —Arnold H. Glasgow, American humorist
In today’s modern, fast-moving world, large telecommunication and media corporations are playing an ever increasing role in shaping the collective consciousness of society. This development might lead us to ponder what role, if any, traditional pillars of learning such as law, science, medicine, literature and art have to contribute to society. How does society absorb these contributions during the ongoing media (and social media) blitz that has transformed how we obtain, process and share information. More importantly, what influence do these contributions have upon society, and what influence does society reciprocate upon these institutions? For our last (and best) post of Science Week, ScriptPhD.com examines the relationship between science and society, and extrapolates social policy and pop culture lessons that could shape and transform that relationship in the future. Please click “continue reading” for more.
All right class, settle down, settle down. My name is Mr. Ross, but you may call me BR. Welcome to Pop-Culture Science 101. I know what many of you are thinking: “Science is boring; I just don’t get it.” I can understand those sentiments. But that’s only because of the ways you’ve been taught in the past. Today is going to be different. On this, the third day of the Science Week collaboration between ScriptPhD and CC2K, we decided to have a bit of silly fun and cover a couple of traditionally esoteric science topics from an angle I doubt any of you have considered before—pop culture icons. So get out your notebooks and pens, today’s lesson begins now! Please click “continue reading” for more.
He is one of the most popular and explosive (sometimes literally!) science columnists of our day. Since 2005, he has written the Popular Science blog Gray Matter. He has been willing to try virtually any chemistry experiment known to man, all in the interest of proving a theory and educating (and entertaining) a fortunate lay audience. He has created the most widely acclaimed periodic table ever, which has been replicated into posters, an actual table, playing cards, and now, a gorgeous full-color hardcover book. Who is this mad scientist I am referring to? Why, Theodore Gray, of course! For Day 3 of Science Week, ScriptPhD.com is thrilled to review his new book The Elements, an equal parts homage to chemistry and photography. Editor Jovana Grbić sat down with Theo in a candid, in-depth interview about his books, his favorite elements, and the responsibility science writers have to informing the public. More more content, please click “continue reading.”
We are living in the time of science fiction. Literally.
Think about it: both 1984 and 2001 have come and gone. And while 2010 may be a disappointment to those of you who were expecting flying cars and time machines, many of the devices we take for granted now can trace their origins in science fiction of the past. Countless lists have been compiled of sci-fi inventions (a few excellent ones can be found here, here, and here), and Editor Jovana Grbić spoke about the topic during a recent UCLA School of Film colloquium. So in this post, for Day 2 of ScripPhD.com Science Week, I’d like to take a look at a few examples of the scientific inventions that science fiction has bestowed us—and the ones they’re still perfecting for the future!
ScriptPhD.com is extraordinarily proud to present our first ever Science Week! Collaborating with the talented writers over at CC2K: The Nexus of Pop Culture and Fandom, we have worked hard to bring you a week’s worth of interviews, reviews, discussion, sci-fi and even science policy. We kick things of in style with a conversation with Professor Malcolm MacIver, a robotics engineer and science consultant on the SyFy Channel hit Caprica. While we have had a number of posts covering Caprica, including a recent interview with executive producer Jane Espenson, to date, no site has interviewed the man that gives her writing team the information they need to bring artificial Cylon intelligence to life. For our exclusive interview, and Dr. MacIver’s thoughts on Cylons, smart robotics, and the challenges of future engineering, please click “continue reading.”
The Hubble Space Telescope is the world’s first observatory that actually orbits—you guessed it—through outer space. Over the last decade, Hubble has captured some of the deepest and most detailed images of our universe. All those recent headlines about exoplanets: those discoveries come from Hubble. Scientists viewing pictures of light projected from stars over 13 billion years ago (almost at the origin of the universe): that’s Hubble, too. Hubble 3D documents the 2009 mission by the crew of the Shuttle Atlantis to make vital repairs to one of mankind’s most expensive, and significant, science projects. There would be no second chances. If the mission had failed, Hubble would be just another piece of junk orbiting above the earth, like my Direct TV satellite and Elvis’s body. The tension is real, the suspense extraordinary, and the imagery? Out of this world. And fortunately for terrestrial audiences, the entire mission was captured by the crew and director Toni Myers on some of the most breathtaking, brave film ever recorded. We are proud to make Hubble 3D an official ScriptPhD.com Editor’s Selection.
In 2006, The Discovery Channel, in partnership with the BBC, premiered the 11-part Planet Earth, the most expensive natural history mini-series ever filmed, and the first in high definition. It gave viewers a sweeping, intimate overview of the Earth’s diverse natural habitats. Yet long before Planet Earth premiered, plans were already underway for its follow-up opus, LIFE, which would focus on the animals, insects, and creatures that call those habitats home. The result, four years in the making, is historic television—never-before-recorded mating rituals, survival scenes, and brutal savagery. For the naturalist and the nature-lover, LIFE will, quite simply, change your view of life. After the “continue reading” cut, we preview the first few episodes and offer a rare candid interview with executive producer Mike Gunton. We are proud to make LIFE on Discovery Channel an official ScriptPhD.com Editor’s Selection.