1)INTOXICATING MOVIES: INCEPTION
While not strictly science-related, I saw Inception last night and had to post about this smart, gorgeously shot movie that will satisfy your desire for popcorn action thrills as well as provide some more deeply nourishing food for thought. If The Matrix, 2001 or Blade Runner hold any fascination for you, get your butt into a theater to check out Christopher Nolan's latest. I won't give away any other details from the film because you should see it without knowing too much about it, but I'll just add that Nolan (The Dark Knight, Memento) continues to remain one of my favorite filmmakers.
2)ONLINE SHOWS: JOE GENIUS
If you don't feel like hoofing it to the theater for your entertainment, check out Joe Genius, the new online show from Revision3. As described by their PR materials, "Joe Genius highlights home-grown Newtons who experiment, tinker, and yes, blow stuff up in the name of science. And it's all caught on tape! Join [comedian] Jonah Ray as he whizzes through these geniuses' most epic failures and thrilling successes -- and of course, the science behind it all."
The show features online vids from citizen scientists and students - some that go well, others which go horribly wrong. The first episode focus on chemistry, and includes such experiments as mixing rubbing alcohol and chlorine, concocting homemade rocket fuel, and an endeavor titled "watermelon versus liquid nitrogen."
Much like G4's new show It's Effin' Science, the show approaches science like an extreme sport, accompanied by comedic commentary. I am curious about the very last line of the show, which states that the show is "brought to you in part by the National Science Foundation"...interesting...will let y'all know when I find out more...
3) PBS'S HISTORY DETECTIVES
The PBS show History Detectives traces the history, mythologies and family legends behind found objects. This year, as part of the 8th season space-themed premiere, the show made a direct interactive pitch to viewers to help solve the mystery of whether or not a miniature piece of collaborative art was snuck aboard the Apollo 12 space mission, possibly created by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and others. It's a story of collaboration between engineers and artists, cryptic telegram messages and the fascination with getting a teeny bit of oneself up into space. The show's producers ask the public to help solve the mystery here and over 170 viewers have already done so.
[Source: Cynopsis Digital]
4)NSA GEEKY AFTER DARK
Many folks get through the hot summer by heading out to the pool club. The folks at the NSA have a different idea of how to blow off steam. A post on Wired's Danger Room blog details how NSA staffers get down & dirty after work. Turns out that hacking at top levels during the day isn't enough for these guys - they continue their exploits in 12 different "Learned Organizations" after the work day is done. From the Wired post:
Most of the clubs revolve around cryptoanalysis, communications analysis and language translation. Which is pretty much what employees at the NSA do from 9 to 5 — and, it seems, still shell out $15 in annual fees to do on evenings and weekends, too. But at least on evenings and weekends, snacks are involved...
The clubs offer more than chips & dip. In addition to the work they do, the Crypto-Linguistics Association (CLA) has an International Cookbook; the KRYPTOS Society has an annual literature contest; and the Crypto-Mathematics Institute (CMI) has a fondness for word puzzles.
I'd love to sit in on a meeting of the Pen & Cursor Society (P&CS), which sponsors “creativity seminars,” where members are invited to “explore childhood memories,” “break rules!” and “fertilize the garden in which you grow ideas.” I'd even bake some killer cupcakes if they'd let me come play, but alas, the clubs are only open to NSA Staff.