Guest Post: Math Movie Music

Let’s be real: Watching someone doing math is only slightly more exciting than watching metal corrode. That may be why we’ve never seen a naturalistic depiction of math in the movies; such a snoozer would show someone hunched over a desk or a computer for hours, maybe with a few coffee refills and bathroom breaks. […]

Debunking Hollywood: The Gordian Knot

I’ve often wondered who was the first person to tie a knot. Who was that ancient ancestor 10, 20, 100 thousand years ago who first wrapped a strip of animal skin – or maybe some fibrous vine – around itself and realized that it could hold itself together, even hold a person’s weight. Or hell, […]

The Chessmen That Conquered the World (of Cinema)

Last night I was watching the movie Brave. It’s the story of a Scottish princess with exuberantly curly red hair who doesn’t want to be married to some dumb scion of a clan just because their dads are allies. She shoots arrows. There are magic spells and lots of bagpipes.  It was a good thing […]

The Golden Notebooks: An Awards Show for Us

Dear TV Executives: I hear you’re desperate to get people to watch your channels in real time these days. Apparently I’m not the only one who waits for everything to come out on Netflix. As a result, I heard on NPR yesterday, you’re televising more and more shows that people prefer to watch live, like […]

Debunking Hollywood: Headshot

Last month, Erik took a hard look at a staple in Hollywood’s menu of plot devices: the knockout shot. Now we turn to a movie trope that hits a little closer to home. Our very own Sally needs your help in the investigation: Dear LWON readers, I’m a boxer with a problem: I can’t punch […]

“Reading Minds” with fMRI

Some of you, I suspect, have read in Time, Slate, NPR, Popular Science, Wired, or dozens of other news outlets that scientists have figured out how to read minds. I hate to always be the neuro–tech downer, but that claim is just false. Laughably false. That’s not to say that the study behind all of the commotion, published late […]

Talk to the Animals

For animal lovers, there may be no one more heroic than Dr. Dolittle, the title character of Hugh Lofting’s charming children’s books and Richard Fleischer’s schmaltzy movie (one of my childhood favorites). Dolittle’s patients are people, at first, until they get fed up with his growing number of house pets — rabbits, mice, pigeons, a […]