// Category Archive for: Science and Technology

Today in Pop Culture: Can We Trust the Robots?

Published on January 25th, 2016 in: Science and Technology, Science Fiction, Today In Pop Culture |

By Jeffery X Martin

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A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Some readers may recognize the above conditions as Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics. They were first published in 1942 and they formed the basis for all of his stories about robots (and there were a lot).

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Today In Pop Culture: The First Snuff Film

Published on January 4th, 2016 in: Movies, Science and Technology, Today In Pop Culture |

By Less Lee Moore

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There have been many alleged snuff films over the years. The term, defined as movies during which an actor is either murdered or commits suicide, was coined by Ed Sanders in The Family, his 1969 book about Charles Manson. However, there has never been any verifiable evidence of a snuff film existing. When you expand the scope outside of human mammals, things change drastically.

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Today in Pop Culture: Let’s All Go to the Movies

Published on December 28th, 2015 in: Movies, Science and Technology, Today In Pop Culture |

By Jeffery X Martin

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The year is 1895. At the Grand Cafe in Paris, France, two brothers are showing off their latest invention. It’s a strange-looking contraption–boxes and a crank all precariously perched atop a wooden tripod. The brothers, Lumière by name, call their odd machine a cinematograph. It is a combination camera, printer, and film projector. And at the Grand Cafe, the crowds have come with money in hand to see moving pictures of the city they live in, the City of Lights.

It is December 28 and, on this day in pop culture history, the ritual of going to the movies was born.

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SXSW Movie Review: Unfriended

Published on March 27th, 2015 in: Current Faves, Film Festivals, Found Footage, Horror, Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews, Science and Technology |

By Brad Henderson

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Please Note: This review was written after seeing an unfinished version of the film during SXSW on March 13, 2015.

It seems that computer screen horror is catching on rather quickly and I’m not sure how I feel about it. In the past couple years we’ve had The Den and Open Windows; in both films the actions is presented through a computer screen. The Den worked to an extent and was creative for the most part, but Open Windows didn’t work out because it was so silly. . . well, to me anyway.

Unfriended has the same presentation but it works. Like Open Windows, it runs in real time and that’s one of the main things that works. Our story is told through a Skype chat between five friends who hold a secret. During one of their chats they are introduced to another visitor. They are unsure who this person is and try to get rid of this unknown entity, but remain unsuccessful despite multiple attempts. Soon they realize this person may be someone that they know from their past who is dead set on terrorizing them.

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McBusted: Desperation And Tenacity In The Music Industry

Published on May 9th, 2014 in: Music, Science and Technology, The Internets |

By Martin Hollis

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In a break from my normal oeuvre, a couple of weeks ago I went with my other half to see the “supergroup” (a term I am perhaps exaggerating here) McBusted, formed of McFly and Busted, both of whom enjoyed success in the UK a decade ago. Whilst I knew what I would expect as to the venue (faceless stadium) and the clientele (a mix of tweens and 30-somethings reliving their student days), what really stood out to me was the way in which this concert exemplified the current mass-music scene in the UK.

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Pop Science: In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up, Top Arguments In Bill Nye’s Science vs. Creationism Debate

Published on February 28th, 2014 in: Over the Gadfly's Nest, Science and Technology |

By Jesse Greener

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The overwhelming consensus by scientists is that the Earth is experiencing human induced global warming, and there is strong evidence pointing out that the sixth mass extinction on the Earth is underway. Yet somehow, there is disbelief about the measurable fact that temperatures are rising and weather patterns are changing, not to mention disbelief that humans have anything to do with it.

On the leading edge of this kind of denial are the 46 percent of Americans who believe in creationism. We are talking about believing that the Bible is literally correct. This means accepting that the Universe is 6,000 years old, that the Ark was actually built by Noah and his family (from which all terrestrial life on Earth traces its origins), and Adam and Eve and the whole nine yards. Leading this crusade, if I may, is Ken Ham, curator of the Creationism Museum. You may remember Ham and his museum which were featured previously in Bill Maher’s documentary Religulous. (You can watch the entire movie if you get bored with this review)

Earlier this month, Bill Nye “The Science Guy” traveled to Ham’s home turf in Petersburg, Kentucky to debate. You can read play-by-play reviews of the debate and you can even watch the whole thing yourself. (Warning, it’s two hours plus in length.) Reviews were mixed. On the one hand, Nye was condemned for giving creationists a platform, whereas others such as Phil Plait thought it was high time that the “educated masses” recognized that creationism and its anti-science foundations need to be taken seriously and confronted.

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DVD Review: Plus One

Published on January 17th, 2014 in: Current Faves, DVD, DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews, Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews, Science and Technology |

By Less Lee Moore

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Admittedly, I haven’t been keeping up with teen movies lately, but Plus One is way better than the ones I remember from decades past.

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Arrow: Fighting Crime the Bill Gates Way

Published on December 12th, 2013 in: Current Faves, Science and Technology, TV |

By LabSplice

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A few weeks ago, in search of a television show I could marathon that didn’t require too much brainpower, I decided to give Arrow a chance. The CW show is the sexy retelling of The Green Arrow, a character from the DC comic universe who fights crime with only his wits, a bow and arrow, and a multibillion dollar corporation that was bequeathed to him by his late father. It looked like a soap opera with action sequences. It looked dumb as hell.

It looked perfect.

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Assemblog: August 30, 2013

Published on August 30th, 2013 in: Assemblog, Comics, Movies, Science and Technology |

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Our beloved editor is typing her fingers to the bone, blogging for TIFF 2013, but that doesn’t mean you can’t check out all the great new stuff on Popshifter this week!

The Internet lost its hive-mind this past week when it was announced that Ben Affleck had been cast as Batman in the sequel to Man of Steel, but Paul makes a great case for why it doesn’t matter at all; Melissa gets greasy with Lux Interior; Chelsea gets ethereal with The Copper Gamins; new contributor Tim shines a spotlight on the venerable Pere Ubu; Brad goes into the light with his review of Fire in the Sky; Less Lee provides her recap of FanExpo Canada 2013; and finally, I start a new Waxing Nostalgic series and offer an essay about when movies were movies, not digital presentations.

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DVD Review: Fire In The Sky

Published on August 27th, 2013 in: DVD, DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews, Horror, Movie Reviews, Movies, Science and Technology, Science Fiction |

By Brad Henderson

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“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”
—Arthur C. Clarke

In 1975, Travis Walton was abducted by aliens, and his abduction is one of the most well-known close encounters in history. Not only was a film made out of it, but those who conducted tests and the officers that were involved have also said it was not a hoax. This was due to the results of polygraph tests taken by those who witnessed the abduction.

In 1993, a film was made that scared the freaking crap out of me: Fire in the Sky. I was nine at the time of its release, and it has stayed with me to this day. If my memory serves me correctly, I saw it at the theater and again on a late night showing on HBO. I think being alone and watching it on HBO was what really did me in.

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