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106 Doctor Who episodes uncovered in Ethiopia featuring William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton

A group of dedicated Doctor Who fans tracked down at least 100 long-lost episodes of the show gathering dust more than 3,000 miles away in Ethiopia. It was feared the BBC ­programmes from the 1960s – featuring the first two doctors William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton – had vanished for all time after the Beeb flogged off a load of old footage. But after months of ­detective work the tapes…

J.J. Abrams apologizes for overusing lens flare: ‘I know it’s too much’

“I know I get a lot of grief for that,” Abrams admitted. “But I’ll tell you, there are times when I’m working on a shot, I think, ‘Oh this would be really cool… with a lens flare.’ But I know it’s too much, and I apologize. I’m so aware of it now.” The director tells Crave that he showed his wife an early cut of Star Trek Into Darkness, “and…

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Can the multiverse explain human history?

Where did this idea of parallel universes come from? Science fiction is an obvious source: in the 1960s, Captain Kirk met his ‘other self’ in a Star Trek episode called ‘Mirror, Mirror’, while Philip K Dick’s novel The Man in the High Castle (1963) imagined an alternate world in which the US was a Nazi puppet state. Since then, the idea has become mainstream, providing the image of forking paths…

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In Which The Geekiness of My Kids Surpasses My Own

A former student of mine who often wore a Star Trek VI T-shirt was trying to make an annoying person go away, so when he spoke to her, she said “Servant, attention!” in Goa’uld. When I paraphrased this story to my son, he immediately said, “Jaffa, kree!” Then he said something in Goa’uld that he translated as “You have come here to destroy me” (from the movie, he said). My…

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Mars Curiosity rover sings ‘Happy Birthday,’ dares Earth to collect royalties

  One year ago today, NASA’s Curiosity rover touched down on the surface of Mars and began studying the planet. The rover may be lonely out there on its first birthday, but it won’t go entirely without celebration: NASA has repurposed Curiosity’s soil analysis system to play the tune of “Happy Birthday to You” out loud for all of Mars to hear. Though the analysis system doesn’t include a loudspeaker, it does…

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I’m enjoying “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars” more than I expected

I didn’t expect a pseudo-Elizabethan rendering of Star Wars to be great literature, but the R2 soliloquies add an unexpectedly amusing new narrative layer. So far, I can say the “Chorus” character is overused, too frequently walking onstage and delivering lines of exposition that ought instead be woven into the expanded dialogue between the characters. An Elizabethan drama was a medium for the spoken word, and having a narrator walk…