The Science and Entertainment Exchange has lurched into the early 21st century by starting its own blog, the X-Change Files. They’re going to have a weekly “column” rotating between Lawrence Krauss, Matt Parney, Jennifer Ouellette, Sid Perkowitz, and Jerry Zucker. So you know where to go for your regular dose of science and entertainment goodness.
Jerry Zucker and his wife Janet Zucker deserve a great deal of credit for turning the idea of the Exchange into a reality. More importantly, for a twelve-year-old such as I was at the time, The Kentucky Fried Movie was a major event in modern cinema. So I was pleased to see that the title of Jerry’s post (“I’d Like to Thank the National Academy”) was the same one that I had used when I gave a talk at the NAS annual meeting. Not that either one of us should be overly proud of that particular line.
Also, he gets away with saying stuff like this:
The really great thing about these scientists is that because their brains are exactly two-and-a-half times the size of the average person’s in the movie business (although in fairness, that also includes talent agents), they are actually more creative and therefore much better at coming up with science-related ideas for movies than our so-called “creative community.” I don’t mean to offend anyone but as much as I loved Slumdog Millionaire, it’s no Viagra. Often, science gets tacked on like wallpaper in a story, but when it’s really integrated into the narrative it can take things in surprising new directions. And thanks to the Exchange and the National Academy of Sciences, research just became much more fun.
That thing about the brain sizes is what they call “creative license.” But it’s deployed in the service of making a good point! Scientists are good at coming up with ideas, and it would be great if a closer relationship between science and Hollywood helped some of those fun ideas percolate into the wider culture. (My giant brain scoffs at giving specifics about how this will actually happen.)