1)Flicks: SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED
"My calibrations are flipping pinpoint."
This week in "Off Hollywood: The Five Best Indie Movies To See This Month," Leonard Maltin recommends a few quality flicks which you probably won't see advertised on huge billboards or via a tie in with your local fast food joint. Included in his round up is SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED, which hits theaters June 8th.The film was inspired by an actual classified ad placed by a man seeking a compantion for time travel, and won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Colin Treverrow and written by Derek Connolly, it follows three cynical magazine employees as they look for the story behind the classified and discover supermarket clerk Kenneth, who believes he's solved the riddle of time travel and intends to depart again soon.
I haven't seen the movie yet, but I can only imagine that Kenneth would be inspired by the announcement from a group of physicists at CERN in Sept. 2011 that they had seemingly detected neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light. While the scientists were careful not to draw any overall conclusions about the results of their experiment, if it turns out to be true, it could change the way we think about time travel.
-For an overview of the experiment, check out "Neutrinos and the Speed of Light - A Primer on the CERN Study" by Brian McLaughlin.
-For a more detailed breakdown of what this announcement means (or doesn't!) for time travel: "Faster-Than-Light-Discovery Raises Prospect of Time Travel" by Stephanie Pappas.
2)Web series: SCIENCE OFF THE SPHERE
Tubefilter.com just did a write up about this web series featuring chemical engineer and NASA astronaut Donald Pettit exploring and presenting “fantastic physics that can only be demonstrated in micro-gravity"...which is a lot easier to do when you are hangin' out on the International Space Station!
You can find the entire series on Physics Central's YouTube channel. Too lazy to click over and choose a video to start with? Here's one of my trippy favorites, in which Pettit uses his computer speakers to test the behavior of corn starch, a non-newtonian fluid, in the weightless environment.
3) Welcome Home, Dragon Capsule
"Looks like we got us a Dragon by the tail!"
I got a little misty (or should I say Musk-y?) when Space X's Dragon capsule headed back to Earth last Thursday. As the first privately developed ship to make a round trip to the International Space Station, I found myself filled with hope and awe for our future in space (now if I could only get over my claustrophobia problem...damn those suits...). In a piece in the Chicago Tribune, mission director John Couluris said:
The ability to get to (the) space station on our first time, to not only rendezvous but then to berth, transfer cargo and depart safely are major mission objectives. We would call that mission alone a success.
Here's a video of the historic consummation.