The 100 Best Science Fiction Movies

GRAVITYWhat do you think are the 100 best science fiction films?

Time Out has a fantastic compilation of their 100 best sci-fi movies, as chosen by leading sci-fi experts, filmmakers, science fiction writers, film critics, and scientists.

There is little doubt that science fiction is big business in film making. Many of cinema’s summer blockbusters have science fiction elements in them, be that aliens, monsters, robots, superheroes, or even dystopian futures. But it’s not only blockbusters, as smaller indie films often have surprising science fiction elements to them.

Alongside the top 100 films, Time Out explore who voted for the films, why 1977 was the most important year for science fiction, and they give the lowdown on the most gruesome deaths in science fiction films.

There’s also a checklist of the top 100 films, allowing you to easily find out how many you’ve actually watched. For me, it’s just under half, which isn’t bad going. There are many older films which I haven’t watched, and really should get round to one day.

I think there are a few omissions from the list, with one that easily springs to mind being The World’s End. I also reckon District 9 and Gravity should both be higher up the list, but hey ho.

Do you agree with the list? Any films not on there that you feel should be? Onwards!

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Optical Illusions

blue_green_spiralEveryone loves optical illusions. If you don’t… well, I don’t have to finish that sentence because every loves optical illusions!

There are many awesome illusions floating around the web, and I’m sure you’ve seen the majority of them. Here, I shall be linking to a few that I find really interesting.

First up, the blue / green spiral illusion (Slate) shown on the left. Well, green spirals, as both the blue and the green are actually the same colour. It’s mindbendingly brilliant. We also have another colour illusion (Slate), this time with the colour appearing to change when the solid black lines are either horizontal or vertical. In fact, the background remains the same colour throughout.

Next up, we have two videos from New Scientist. The first is an impossible roof that defies gravity. The balls appear to roll up the roof to the centre! This is a great example of how viewing an object from a very specific angle can fool our brain. The second video shows how rapidly changing images of faces can make them appear grotesque when viewed in our peripheral vision. It’s actually rather freaky when you look at it!

Finally, we have a fantastic time lapse video of a large sculpture, entitled MÖBIUS (shown below). “Twenty-one large triangles animated by Melbourne, throughout Federation Square. MÖBIUS is a sculpture that can be configured into many cyclical patterns and behave as though it is eating itself, whilst sinking into the ground. The result is an optical illusion and a time-lapse of people interacting with the sculpture and moving through Melbourne’s landmark location throughout the day.” (Vimeo)

There’s also a behind-the-scenes making-of video, which is interesting to watch too.

Which is your favourite illusion from the ones here? Onwards!

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How To Find An Exoplanet

Exoplanets are tricky to find, so how do you go about finding them? MinutePhysics provides a clear and concise explanation on how to find an exoplanet, and it’s all to do with how much light the star darkens by when an exoplanet passes in front of it from our point of view.

The number of exoplanets has more than doubled in the past two years, with over 1800 being known to us today (compared to 786 in June 2012). I’m sure as our equipment gets more sensitive, we’ll be discovering even more in the years to come. Onwards!

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Dub FX – The Rain Is Gone

Dub FX – The Rain Is Gone.

As the current heatwave blasts across Britain, here’s a lovely song about the rain being gone, by the awesome Dub FX.

The sun has got his hat on, hip hip hip hooray! Onwards!

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Demo: The Movie

This film follows science teacher Alom Shaha as he goes on a journey to explore the use of demonstrations in science teaching. The film tells an interesting story and is primarily intended to encourage secondary science teachers to think about how and why they use demonstrations in their teaching. We hope that it will stimulate discussion amongst science teachers and others with an interest in science education about what constitutes ‘best practice’ with demonstrations.” (YouTube)

I posted the trailer for Demo: The Movie back in March, and I thought it would be a good idea to show the whole film here, following on from yesterday’s ExpeRimental post. In Demo: The Movie, Alom Shaha visits America. He performs some science experiments on top of a mountain and in the middle of a desert, talks to magicians in Las Vegas, and visits the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco.

Alom explores what it means to perform demonstrations, as well as differences between the teacher and the learner. It’s a wonderfully made film, and I love the little annotations for all the experiments (“Alom observing things” made me laugh).

Recommended watching. Onwards!

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ExpeRimental – Bringing Science Home

ExpeRimental, launching 17 July and brought to you by the Royal Institution, is a series of free short films that make it fun, easy and cheap to do science at home with children aged four to nine. Ignite a child’s natural curiosity and explore, question and test some of the fundamentals of science with our hands-on exciting activities.” (YouTube)

ExpeRimental is the new venture from Alom Shaha and the Royal Institution, and it aims to get young kids interested in science, to test and question what they’re seeing and doing. Alom wrote a piece over at The Guardian about his aims for ExpeRimental, and why he thinks it’s important.

If you have young kids, I would highly recommend giving this activities a go. Bring the science home! Onwards!

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The Axis Of Awesome – Phone$

The Axis of AwesomePhone$.

Many people have a love / hate relationship with their smartphones, especially Apple customers with their ever changing iPhones. This song by The Axis of Awesome exemplifies this perfectly.

You need it now. Onwards!

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