Five Oscar-winning films that fail the Bechdel gender test

Think of some of the greatest films of all time. Now try to remember the conversations that women have in them. Can't remember? Don't worry, they probably just obsess over men.

(Getty Images)

It's hard being a movie. Somebody will inevitably dislike you—probably many people all at once.

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Culture & Religion

Decoding popularity: Why successful people don't try appealing to everyone's tastes

History is littered with thousands of things that tried to appeal to everyone and yet failed miserably. If you want true success, try to appeal to a core group.

Senior Editor of The Atlantic, Derek Thompson, boils down the science of popularity. He suggests that the best way to reach as many people as possible is to appeal to their inherent outsider nature. Since the cultural mainstream is so fractured, you have to understand that - at best - you're going to reach perhaps 3% to 5% of people. Because out of 240 million Americans, just 4% of that is 9.6 million people. Derek posits that perhaps creators shouldn't appeal to the masses. Instead, he suggests, they should appeal to the niche. Derek Thompson's latest book is Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction.

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Why Panpsychism Is the Jedi Philosophy

One of the stranger philosophies currently enjoying a renewal of interest is also that of your favorite group of magical space wizard monks. 

One of the most iconic elements of the Star Wars universe is the Force. That mysterious energy field that permeates the galaxy, which all lifeforms interact with but only a rare few can harness. It gives the science fiction series a mystical punch and serves to make our heroes a little more compelling. Not merely action heroes, they have a deeper connection to the cosmos they protect.

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Mind & Brain

Star Wars: Redemption, authoritarianism, and the appeal of darkness

Nobody foresaw that a science-fiction story about a moisture farmer's adventure with a rag-tag group of interstellar ne'er-do-wells would break box-office records for 40 years and redefine American storytelling. But this Harvard Law professor has a few ideas why it's stuck around.

George Lucas probably had no idea that Star Wars, his story about a moisture farmer going on an adventure, would change the course of storytelling. Memorable characters sure help set it apart from other science fiction, but Harvard Law professor Cass Sunstein has good idea as to why it's such a global phenomenon. The original trilogy, he states, has something in it for everyone in that it tackles some very human problems: redemption, authoritarianism, and the appeal of darkness. Cass Sunstein’s research is cited in The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals about Our Power to Change Others by Tali Sharot.

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The Cost of Blowing up the Death Star? The Biggest Recession in the Universe

This is not the outcome you're looking for.

The Death Star. Credit:Lucasfilm

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Surprising Science