FROM Stephen Asma
Avatar: Science Fiction Channels the Culture Wars On its way to becoming the top grossing film of all time, James Cameron's Avatar is already famous for more than its mind-boggling 3-D special effects. It's causing arguments about war and peace, religion, the environment and technology, race relations, patriotism and chain smoking. What is it about what some call a flimsy script and cartoon characters that transforms a sci-fi entertainment into a forum on real-world issues? We talk with critics and fans about the latest Hollywood blockbuster and its influence on culture worldwide.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.