Director Andrew Stanton and production designer Nathan Crowley talk about Mars, John Carter, and building a 100-year-old science fiction universe
By Becky FerreiraPosted 03.16.2012 at 1:30 pm 4 Comments
John Carter is a movie that has that has taken exactly 100 years to reach theatres, and not for a lack of trying. Edgar Rice Burroughs first published A Princess of Mars--the book upon which the movie is based--in March 1912, as a serial in the pulp magazine All-Story. His ideas would soon come to influence so many major science fiction works of the 20th century that John Carter inevitably has to compete against the story's own offspring. We talked to director Andrew Stanton and production designer Nathan Crowley about the making of the film, and why science fiction is always invisibly handcuffed to society.
Last month, scientists confirmed the widespread presence of small amounts of water on the moon. This landmark finding was followed by NASA's crashing its LCROSS probe into a crater in the lunar south pole, generating data which is currently being analyzed to determine the extent of water present around the impact site. Water extracted from the lunar soil could be used to sustain life and to generate rocket propellant. PopSci.com spoke to Ed Ethridge of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, who has been studying how microwaves could be used to extract water from lunar soil.
Being a know-it-all is usually a bad thing—unless, that is, you really know your sh*t. In the case of Peter J. Bentley, PhD, and the author of The Science of Why Sh*it Happens, nothing could be more true. His new book dives into the science behind ordinary occurrences, focusing in particular on the everyday mishaps— from slipping in the shower to breaking a bone. Beyond writing books, Bentley, a computer scientists and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University College of London, spends most of his time studying the capabilities of fault-tolerant snake robots, computer networks with artificial immune systems, growing neural networks in electronics, and being an overall brainiac. PopSci.com caught up with him to see how he knows so much about, well, everything.
Isabella Rossellini returns this month to the Sundance Channel with a new set of episodes of her Green Porno series, which focuses on the mating habits of the animal kingdom. The very short films are set in a post-Muppet landscape of bright colors, simple sets, and massive paper costumes. The sequences are designed to be simple and punchy, to carry well on the Internet, mobile devices and other iterations of "the third screen."
This season moves from the insect world to the water, and includes a whale, a starfish, a limpet, and an anglerfish (although not all at once -- that would break with the scientifically accurate nature of the program).
Over the last century, science and religion have been like oil and water: They just don't mix. Scientists and people of faith seem to disagree about everything, particularly when it comes to hot-button issues like evolution and stem cell research. But not everyone thinks the two groups should be so polarized. John Polkinghorne, a theoretical physicist who worked at Cambridge for 25 years before becoming an Anglican priest in 1982, has spent his career trying to bridge the divide.
In only four short years since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, fashion designer and self-proclaimed nerd Diana Eng has appeared on the hit game show Project Runway, co-founded the Brooklyn-based hacker collective NYC Resistor, and studied biomimetics at the University of Bath in the UK.
Ghosts, poltergeists, and telepathy, oh my! Can these phenomena be explained by science? A group of researchers at the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory believed so and strove to explain the unexplainable. Plus, a PopSci Giveaway!
During the early 1930s, Duke University went against the grain and opened a parapsychology lab. J.B. Rhine, who actually coined the term parapsychology, along with his colleagues sought to uncover the truth about various phenomena using scientific methods. In Unbelievable, author Stacy Horn chronicles the decades of research done in the lab.
PopSci.com's Catherine Schwanke recently spoke with Horn by phone to discuss her new book, and the unbelievable.
Plus: Got a question for Stacy Horn? Ask away! We've devoted a forum to your queries here. Ms. Horn will answer as many of your questions as possible, also in the forum, during the week of March 22-27.Feeling lucky? Leave a comment (any comment) below. Ten commenters, randomly chosen on March 31st, will win a free copy of Unbelievable
On the roster of 1990s cartoons, Captain Planet was definitely towards the top of the list. In the show, which was the world’s first animated eco-cartoon for children, the five “Planeteers” called Captain Planet to action by combining their powers: Earth, Water, Wind, Fire, and Heart. In a whirl of cartoonish smoke and sparkle, a caped Captain Planet would appear proclaiming in a thunderous voice, “By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!” Powerful and environmentally-friendly, Captain Planet entertained viewers until 1996. On February 25th, Captain Planet returns on the new Mother Nature Network (MNN), at a time when the battle between the environment and pollutants is more dire than ever.
Barbara Pyle was the Co-creator & Producer of Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Since then, she has produced more than 35 films, winning over 75 awards, including the world’s most prestigious environmental honor, the United Nations Environment Programme’s Sasakawa Environment Prize. In 1988, Barbara was named one of the first United Nations GLOBAL 500 Laureates. Both awards were received “for outstanding achievements in protecting the global environment.” This is what she had to say about the return of her favorite television show and its online revival.
Katherine Richardson is atypical. This American oceanographer is thriving at the University of Copenhagen, where she serves as Vice Dean of Science. In the genteel worlds of academia and northern Europe, she’s a straight-talker who doesn’t mince her words--uttered with a hearty Massachusetts accent.
Stevie Wonder, a voracious consumer of technology, wants manufacturers to make their products accessible to everyone.
Twenty-two-time Grammy winner Stevie Wonder has created new sounds, even genres, by absorbing and reshaping every musical and audio technology he's encountered.
"He's always the first," says Lamar Mitchell, one of Wonder's technology assistants. "He was the first one to have a sampler…He was one of the first guys messing with drum machine technology." The distinct sound of Wonder's 1972 blockbuster hit, Superstition, came from a novelty piano/electric guitar hybrid instrument called the Höhner Clavinet. "It was meant to be an electric harpsichord," said Mitchell. "And then something happened when Stevie got it."
Though blind, Wonder has mastered the visually-oriented personal computer—both PCs and Macs.