Some Criticisms of the New Cosmos

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

I watched the premiere of the new Neil de Grasse Tyson-hosted version of Cosmos tonight on Fox. The goal was to update the science of Carl Sagan’s show — we have learned a lot in the last 30+years — and present it in as entertaining way as possible. Tyson says: “The goal is to convey […]

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Eight Science Fiction Tropes of Convenience

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

There are a number of tropes that I see popping up over and over in science fiction, even though they are not very scientifically plausible and border on the impossible given our current understanding.  They are used and will continue to be used, especially in movies and tv, because they’re very convenient.  I find it […]

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Should the Big Bang Theory have a Mission? Should Science Fiction?

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

A friend sent me a link to an article at Physics Today about The Big Bang Theory.  The premise of the article was to ask if the comedy could do more than make people laugh, and to propose it could educate them at the same time.  Here is the lead: Could scientists help the cause […]

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How to Deal with the Irrational: The Wisdom of Sitcoms

Friday, November 5th, 2010

I was relaxing last night after my talk, after a dinner party at the University President’s house, and was catching 30 Rock, one of the more clever sitcoms out there in an age of the declining sitcom. One of the characters (Liz Lemon played by Tina Fey) had a problem with her father, and her […]

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Ten Mainstream TV Shows or Movies that are Science Fiction or Fantasy “Light”

Friday, June 18th, 2010

A few days ago I blogged about mainstream stories that I thought could be categorized as light versions of fantasy or science fiction.   To qualify, the stories had to fail to reflect reality in some fundamental way without being obviously science fiction or fantasy.   When that failure was over-the-top and great liberties are taken with […]

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The Top 10 Space-Based Science Fiction Series ever on TV (with Poll)

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

There are a bunch of good lists concerning science fiction tv over on wiki.   I tend to post a lot about movies, but this time I want to post about space-based science fiction series on tv.   It always seems like there’s at least one decent one, and sometimes more than one.   I’m going to take […]

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Critiquing the Astrophysics of the Big Bang Theory Song

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

The Bing Bang Theory Theme Song – Bare Naked Ladies Our whole universe was in a hot dense state, Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started. Wait… The Earth began to cool, The autotrophs began to drool, Neanderthals developed tools, We built a wall (we built the pyramids), Math, science, history, unraveling the mysteries, […]

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The Big Bang Theory on TV: A Step Forward or Backward?

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

The issue of the TV comedy, The Big Bang Theory, came up in comments earlier this week. Pros: the show is funny and gets its science and geek culture very correct. Here’s a scene about the problem with teleportation: Cons:   for the most part, the characters are stereotypical nerds who lack social skills, dress oddly, […]

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MIND MELD POSTED: The Most Realistic (and the Most Ridiculous) Uses of Science in SciFi Film and TV

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

This new Mind Meld post is over at, of course.   Be encouraged to go read all the responses over there and leave comments.   Here was my response: I haven’t watched a lot of recent TV shows, or seen every movie that’s come out. I’ll focus on some of the serious movies and TV shows […]

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Problems with Heroes

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

I’ve been a big fan of comic books since I was a kid, and most make little sense when viewed from a scientific perspective.   That’s fine.   I let that axe rest years ago.   They’re a particular type of modern, urban fantasy and I can happily enjoy them as such, as long as they enjoy some […]

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