582 – Agora (2009)

spacetime coordinates: Alexandria, Egypt. 391 – 415 A.D.

Agora (Spanish: Ágora) is a 2009 Spanish English-language historical drama film directed by Alejandro Amenábar and written by Amenábar and Mateo Gil. The biopic stars Rachel Weisz as Hypatia, a female mathematician, philosopher and astronomer in late 4th-century Roman Egypt, The story uses historical fiction to highlight the relationship between religion and science at the time amidst the decline of Greco-Roman polytheism and the Christianization of the Roman Empire046b6e5aa20b3508ae444795bb34e496The set used in the film is meticulously historically authentic, showing a blend of Greek, Roman, and Egyptian architectural styles that would have been fitting to the time period,  but the costumes are anachronistic. Hypatia’s age in the film is also inaccurate; most scholars believe she would have been in her 50s or 60s at the time of her death, but the film portrays her as a young woman. Irene A. Artemi, a doctor of theology at Athens University, states that “The movie—albeit seemingly not turning against the Christian religion—is in fact portraying the Christians as fundamentalist, obscurantist, ignorant and fanatic”. Similarly, the atheist historian Tim O’Neil remarks: “Over and over again, elements are added to the story that are not in the source material: the destruction of the library, the stoning of the Jews in the theatre, Cyril condemning Hypatia’s teaching because she is a woman, the heliocentric “breakthrough” and Hypatia’s supposed irreligiosity.” (read more: Historical accuracy)

saint_cyril_of_alexandria

Cyril of Alexandria

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329 – Contact (1997)

spacetime coordinates: 1990s New Mexico // Florida //  Puerto Rico // Washington, D.C. // Wisconsin // Hokkaido

contact posterContact is a 1997 American science fiction drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis. It is a film adaptation of Carl Sagan‘s 1985 novel of the same name; Sagan and his wife Ann Druyan wrote the story outline for the film.37696-1920x1200contact 1Jodie Foster portrays the film’s protagonist, Dr. Eleanor “Ellie” Arroway, a SETI scientist who finds strong evidence of extraterrestrial life and is chosen to make first contact.

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What Happens If China Makes First Contact?

As America has turned away from searching for extraterrestrial intelligence, China has built the world’s largest radio dish for precisely that purpose. (read more)

“No civilization should ever announce its presence to the cosmos. Any other civilization that learns of its existence will perceive it as a threat to expand—as all civilizations do, eliminating their competitors until they encounter one with superior technology and are themselves eliminated. This grim cosmic outlook is called “dark-forest theory,” because it conceives of every civilization in the universe as a hunter hiding in a moonless woodland, listening for the first rustlings of a rival.”