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History and hard science.

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03032008_onemillionyearsbc.jpgIn the New York Post today, Sarah Stewart watches the trailer for “10,000 B.C.” with the Museum of Natural History’s Ross MacPhee. Crushingly, it seems there are some historical inaccuracies in this film about a fetchingly dreadlocked caveman fighting saber-toothed tigers and pyramids in order to rescue Camilla Belle and her prehistoric color contacts.

David Hambling at Wired is also directing the unforgiving gaze of Mother Science to the blockbusters — part 1 of his “How to Stop a 500-Foot Monster” piece, inspired by “Cloverfield,” was popular enough to spawn a follow-up part 2 garnered from reader feedback:

There were a few suggestions for the Active Denial System or “pain ray.” This shows the right kind of instincts: against sci-fi monsters, a sci-fi ray gun feels about right. Unfortunately, the depth-of-penetration problem is even more severe here, as it is carefully designed so that the beam only goes through about 1/64″ of skin. In fact this is one of the ADS’ selling points, that it will only have surface effects. I have previously described some of the more unusual tests of the Active Denial System, including experiments with military dog teams , but I don’t think they ever tried it on anything larger. It’s highly unlikely you could get any sort of a reaction from a very thick-skinned monster without redesigning the system from the ground up using a beam with a longer-wavelength.

Juliet Lapidos at Slate looks into whether or not a human could become magnetized enough to erase tapes, à la Jack Black’s character in “Be Kind Rewind.”

And this post wouldn’t be complete without a nod to the conspiracy-tech stylings of Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard, whose speculations on September 11th in an interview from last year have been resurrected for all to contemplate. From Variety: “It was a money-sucker because they were finished, it seems to me, by 1973, and to re-cable all that, to bring up-to-date all the technology and everything, it was a lot more expensive, that work, than destroying them.” The actress goes on to suggest the moon landings might not have taken place, which one would think would rule out the ability of anyone to treat these remarks (or, for that matter, Cotillard’s general thought processes) with any seriousness. But no — the subsequent uproar has driven Cotillard into retreat, dispatching her lawyer to deliver with the following comment: “Marion never intended to contest nor question the attacks of September 11, 2001, and regrets the way old remarks have been taken out of context.” (From the Telegraph.)

[Photo: Way historically accurate: “One Million Years B.C.,” 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation, 1966]

+ 10,000 B.S. (New York Post)
+ How To: Stop a 500-Foot Monster (Think Missiles, Not Bombs) (Wired)
+ How To: Stop A 500 foot Monster, Continued (Wired)
+ Can a Man Become a Magnet? (Slate)
+ Cotillard shares her Sept. 11 views (Variety)
+ Marion Cotillard U-turns on 9/11 conspiracy (Telegraph)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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