While the sprogs were hanging out at the aquarium with the Grandparents Who Lurk But Seldom Comment, my better half and I went to see a 3-D IMAX screening of Avatar. My big concerns going in were that all the 3-D IMAX goodness would make me motion-sick, and that if that didn't get me, then the story by James Cameron might make me lose my lunch.
Archive for the 'Movie review' category
I've mentioned before that I grew up in a family that was fairly captivated by the U.S. space program, especially the Apollo program that brought humans to the Moon. But as impressive as those manned missions to the Moon were, what did the Apollo program accomplish? Where are our moon-bases?
Orphans of Apollo, a documentary film by Michael Potter, explores what one group of space exploration enthusiasts did when NASA's commitment to the space age seemed to falter. By the mid-1970s, the Apollo program that put Americans on the moon was done, with two planned Apollo missions cancelled. The U.S. had beaten the U.S.S.R. to the moon and brought back some moon rocks for study but what, really, had been accomplished? Had the moon landings left a lasting impact on human culture that was more than superficial?
The impact was anything but superficial on a generation of kids whose imagination was captured by the Apollo program. As these kids grew up, dreaming of a human future in space, NASA's visions and priorities shifted. This generation that assumed space travel and exploration almost as an American birthright felt orphaned by the American space agency.
But, as Orphans of Apollo tells it, a group of them found each other and started figuring out how to get a foothold in space. If NASA couldn't establish colonies on the moon or manned space stations, maybe the private sector could.
I've been noticing a little spike in traffic from search engine searches on "Luk Van Parijs" (about whom I have blogged here and here and here and here).
So of course, I wonder: why the sudden spike in interest? Has there been a new development since the Office of Research Integrity "final action" on Van Parijs's research misconduct? Is he applying for jobs and getting Googled? What's the story?
Americans for Medical Progress has produced a new DVD titled Veterinarians - Speaking for Research. (You can get your own free copy at the Americans for Medical Progress website.)
You might consider this DVD a follow-up of their previous DVD, Physicians - Speaking for Research (reviewed here). However, the two are pretty different, perhaps suggesting some differences not only in the intended audiences for the DVDs (veterinarians vs. physicians) but also in the concerns of the segments of the public each set of professionals is likely to encounter.
In this post, I'll first discuss Veterinarians - Speaking for Research. Then, I'll examine some interesting ways it differs from Physicians - Speaking for Research.
Randy Olson's newest film, Sizzle, bears the subtitle, "a global warming comedy". To my mind, it delivered neither the laughs nor the engagement with the issue of global warming that it promised. Maybe this is just a sign that I fall outside the bounds of Olson's intended audience, but perhaps the biggest question this movie left me with was who precisely Olson is trying to reach with Sizzle.
The other day I received a DVD made by Americans for Medical Progress called Physicians - Speaking for Research. (They indicate on their site that the DVDs are free for the asking.)
This is a DVD aimed at physicians, rather than at research scientists or the general public. However, the aim of the DVD is to help physicians to be better at communicating with the general public (primarily their patients, but also their family members and neighbors) about the role animal research has played in medical advances upon which we depend today, and the continued importance animal research will continue to play in medical progress.
In other words, this is a resource prepared with the awareness that groups like PETA have spent a lot of time communicating their message directly to the public, while scientists and physicians haven't made much of an organized effort to communicate their views on animal research to the public, nor even to think hard about precisely what that message might be or how to communicate it most clearly to laypeople. The DVD puts communication (dare I say it, framing) front and center.
On this blog I occasionally note a major motion picture that is (tangentially) related to ethics in science, not to mention seeking your advice on my movie-viewing decisions (the votes are running 2 to 1 in favor of my watching Flash Gordon; if I do, I may have to live-blog it).
Today, I'm going to give you an actual review* of a DVD whose subject is ethical scientific research.
Because you ought to have options when planning your weekend!