It was a year of splendid science fiction, some pretty strange science...and a little movie called Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Somehow that dress made the cut too. These are the 100 most popular io9 posts from 2015, according to data from Google Analytics.
It’s difficult to conceptualize excessively large numbers, particularly when they pertain to human tragedies. But this highly-engaging animated data visualization by Neil Halloran makes WWII-related deaths all too comprehensible.
Pakistani nature photographer Atif Saeed managed to capture this stunning shot of a lion — just before it leapt at him.
James Van Der Beek and Katee Sackhoff star in Joseph Kahn’s (Detention, Toque) R-rated, NSFW Power Rangers short film. We did not think the Power Rangers could be this dark. We were so wrong.
Drop a basketball with backspin from a great enough height, and something rather interesting happens. In the video below, Veritasium’s Derek Muller explains the Magnus effect, and why the phenomenon can cause a ball with even a little spin to swerve so dramatically from its expected path.
In 1972, animal behaviorist John Calhoun built a mouse paradise with beautiful buildings and limitless food. He introduced eight mice to the population. Two years later, the mice had created their own apocalypse. Here’s why.
Science fiction and fantasy offer a rich legacy of great books—but that abundant pile of reading material can also be daunting. So sometimes, it’s easier to fake it. We asked some of our favorite writers, and they told us the 10 books that everyone pretends to have read. And why you should actually read them.
After a violent storm ripped through the Irish town of Collooney, locals were shocked to discover the remains of a 1,000-year-old skeleton hanging from the roots of a fallen tree.
On December 11, 1972, Apollo 17 touched down on the Moon. This was not only our final Moon landing, but the last time we left low Earth orbit. With the successful launch of the Orion capsule, NASA is finally poised to go further again. So it’s important to remember how we got to the Moon — and why we stopped going.
Deer aren’t the slim, graceful vegans we thought they were. Scientists using field cameras have caught deer preying on nestling song birds. And it’s not just deer. Herbivores the world over may be supplementing their diets.
It takes a lot of hard work to stay in shape, which is why it’s important to exercise on a regular basis. But it’s not always possible to remain active, and sometimes a few days off can turn into a more... extended hiatus. Here’s what happens to your body when you suddenly stop exercising.
The Perseids is my favorite meteor shower of the year, and this year is likely to be the best one in recent memory. Here’s when, where, and how to watch it—and just what is going to make this year so spectacular.
Wow. You thought you were done with new Star Wars trailers after the recent, amazing one we just had? Think again. Disney has released an international cut of the trailer—one that is packed with new shots and dialogue.
The dishwasher! The perennial optimization problem. Even the chronically untidy have been known to harbor strong opinions on efficient loading technique. But did you know dishwasher manuals actually include photos and illustrations of ideal rack layouts? (Be honest – did you even realize your dishwasher had a manual?)
A rift is tearing the internet apart. And it’s the question of what color this dress is. Society has been split into the white/golds and the blue/blacks. Thankfully some people have stepped up to explain, scientifically, what color this goddamn dress is.
Guess what? Neill Blomkamp was working on a secret Alien project that included Sigourney Weaver reuniting with Corporal Hicks, and the concept art is gorgeous. But now it’s dead, or was never going to be made in the first place, and I’m just going to scream “PROMETHEUS” into a pillow all day until I pass out from lack of air.
Twenty years ago, this puzzle appeared on a test administered to top-tier math students from 16 countries around the world. Only 10% of test takers got it right. In the U.S., only 4% managed to provide a correct response. Can you find the “simple” solution that so many intelligent students missed?
Thursday afternoon, GQ Magazine revealed photos from their latest issue featuring Trainwreck star Amy Schumer in joking, sexual situations with Star Wars characters like C-3PO and R2-D2. Friday, Lucasfilm responded and not in kind.
“Slim by Chocolate!” the headlines blared. A team of German researchers had found that people on a low-carb diet lost weight 10 percent faster if they ate a chocolate bar every day. It made the front page of Bild, Europe’s largest daily newspaper, just beneath their update about the Germanwings crash. From there, it ricocheted around the internet and beyond, making news in more than 20 countries and half a dozen languages. It was discussed on television news shows. It appeared in glossy print, most recently in the June issue of Shape magazine (“Why You Must Eat Chocolate Daily,” page 128). Not only does chocolate accelerate weight loss, the study found, but it leads to healthier cholesterol levels and overall increased well-being. The Bild story quotes the study’s lead author, Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D., research director of the Institute of Diet and Health: “The best part is you can buy chocolate everywhere.”
I wish I had something clever or profound to say about the first photo of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker taken in 30 years, or about it being the first time we’ve ever seen Luke wearing traditional Jedi robes. But I don’t. My stomach is full of tiny Star Wars-obsessed butterflies and I’m just really, really happy right now. Enjoy.
I’m serious. Mad Max: Fury Road should not exist. It should never have gotten made. It certainly shouldn’t be as awesome as it is. And yet somehow, against all odds, this impossible cinematic masterpiece is in theaters right now, in defiance of reality itself.
If Sir Christopher Lee had just been a movie star, he would still have been an icon. But the late actor, who passed away last week, had an amazing life even beyond his incredible body of work. Whether you’re still lamenting his passing or unsure why his death is such a loss, here’s 22 reasons why Christopher Lee will always be a legend.
Last year, NASA’s advanced propulsion research wing made headlines by announcing the successful test of a physics-defying electromagnetic drive, or EM drive. Now, this futuristic engine, which could in theory propel objects to near-relativistic speeds, has been shown to work inside a space-like vacuum.
It’s tough to be a superhero. Not only do you have to drop everything and get into a brawl at a second’s notice, but you’re frequently misunderstood. Superheroes’ personal lives are a mess — especially their sex lives. But it gets worse. Here are 10 superheroes who are physically unable to have sex. Ever.
The most famous archaeological relic in the world has been damaged during a botched cleaning attempt. After being knocked off, the blue and gold braided beard on King Tut’s burial mask was “hastily” glued back on with an inappropriate adhesive, damaging the item even further.
Well, this is just brilliant. Racist adverts promoting hatred against Muslims are currently being run on buses in San Francisco - but someone has started covering them up with anti-hatred messages from Marvel’s première Muslim superhero, Ms. Marvel.
Sometimes you can learn more from a bad movie than a good one. And certain atrocious films have become cultural touchstones, influencing generations of creators and spawning endless memes. So here are 10 really awful science fiction and fantasy movies that everybody should watch at least once.
The letter S appears nowhere in the word “dollar”, yet an S with a line through it ($) is unmistakably the dollar sign. But why an S? Why isn’t the dollar sign something like a Đ (like the former South Vietnamese đồng, or the totally-not-a-joke-currency Dogecoin)?
The arguments over Black Widow have gotten ugly. Last night, Joss Whedon quit Twitter, with an image that pointed the blame at Twitter haters. But there’s a real issue with Black Widow, and her role in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and it’s worth talking about. It’s worth talking about it like adults.
Unlike a certain companion animal that will go unnamed, dogs lose their minds when reunited with their owners. But it’s not immediately obvious why our canine companions should grant us such an over-the-top greeting—especially considering the power imbalance that exists between the two species. We spoke to the experts to find out why.
Here’s a question you’ve probably asked at some point in your life. Most likely you’ve asked it in passing, while parked in seat 22A on a flight to... wherever: What’s with that little hole in the airplane window?
Tonight’s episode of Key & Peele was pretty geeky overall—there was a long sequence about Game of Thrones. But the penultimate Key & Peele also included a fricken brilliant running gag about Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos.
Ocean conditions in the Pacific Ocean are increasingly suggestive of a potent El Niño event later this year. While that might seem like good news to the water-starved regions of the United States, the resulting torrential rains could be exceptionally hazardous.
New Horizons is racing to Pluto so quickly, we’re literally learning new things every single day. Exploration is a true planet-wide “Today I learned...” moment: we now know what makes up Pluto’s atmosphere, what makes up its ice cap, and exactly how big it is.
By now, you’ve seen David Ayer’s Twitter reveal of Jared Leto’s Suicide Squad Joker. But have you seen all the memes inspired by his, uh, eye-catching take on the classic villain? Here are the best we’ve seen ... so far ... along with some other visually inventive reactions.
How will Marvel’s Phase Three movies manage to top the spectacle of Phase Two? We just got our first glimpse at D23. Marvel just showed us the first footage from Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange—the latter of which hasn’t even started filming yet.
Here it is — the second teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VII. In which Luke Skywalker monologues about his family, and its powerful connection to the Force. And we glimpse how much things have changed since Return of the Jedi.
More than 60% of Americans still wash their laundry in warm water. It’s a practice that’s as costly as it is environmentally unfriendly. What’s more, it doesn’t make our clothes appreciably cleaner. Here’s why you should make the switch to cold water.
Oh my god. Today’s issue of Star Wars #6, written by Jason Aaron, contains a surprise that changes one of the series’ main characters completely — a change that, thanks to the new Disney mandate that everything is 100% official, is now Star Wars canon. Get ready to have your mind blown.
The first Batman v Superman trailer arrived a few days before it was set to premiere at a special IMAX event on Monday. And what we get seems to be an all-fronts attack on Superman from the press right on to an eye-glowing, voice-growling Batman. UPDATED with official HD trailer.
Star Trek fans have been curious for years about the Battle of Axanar, the decisive turning point in the war against the Klingon Empire. And now, a new unofficial movie will show what really happened at Axanar, and how Captain Garth triumphed. Here’s your first image from Star Trek: Axanar, exclusively at io9!
They’re called Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but some of the are mightier than others. We’ve broken down all of the official Avengers — minus a few too recent to judge — to determine who should be assembled first when evil strikes.
Recently, the Star Wars fanbase took time off from freaking out about The Force Awakens to freak out over a rumored ban on merchandise depicting Princess Leia’s “Slave” outfit from Return of the Jedi. Many words about the matter have been said since—a lot of them pretty good!—but leave it to Leia herself to put it best.
The first trailer for The Force Awakens announced to the world there was a brand new Star Wars villain. We then learned his name: Kylo Ren, owner of the ominous, hilted red lightsaber. A second trailer followed, and immediately we were greeted by the face of Darth Vader. The obvious question was, “Why?”
The Deadpool movie is currently filming in Vancouver, which means scads of photos are pouring from the set, revealing fun spoilers for all die-hard fans. This included one incredibly great look at Ryan Reynold’s’ new character face for Wade Wilson beneath the Deadpool mask.
Behold a smart phone game so clever/horrifying we’ll probably never play it. Night Terrors is a game that puts ghosts into your home. Never use your phone again!
Is there a persistent Internet argument that you’re just sick of responding to? Don’t have the energy to explain the problem with the argument for the billionth time? These comics can help, countering those troublesome arguments with a few words and pictures.
With the release of yet another time travel movie this week (Terminator Genisys), it’s time for us to look back at the great time travel movies of our past. Here are all the major time travel movies ever, ranked.
Disney announced the cast for what could be the most comic book character-loaded Marvel movie yet. Captain America: Civil War will have (as it stands now) up to 16 comic book characters in its cast. It’s almost the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe — well, besides Thor and Hulk.
Jurassic World is now on track to beat the box office records of both Avengers films, and it has a shot at beating Avatar. This is terrible, awful news for anybody who loves movies. Not because Jurassic World is a horrible movie—it’s actually pretty fun. But because this means a lot more pandering sequels.
The final act of Interstellar was a bit of mess, packed with feel-good mystical pseudoscience that was out of place in a sometimes glorious space opera. It turns out that ending was all director Christopher Nolan’s idea and that Jonathan Nolan’s original script called for a more straightforward—and darker—ending.
The latest trailer for The Force Awakens is here! While we’re still trying to calm ourselves down, there’s plenty of discussion to be had about all the goodies we can find in all this new footage. Join us once again as we go on a spoiler-and-speculation-laden dive into the latest scenes from a Galaxy far, far away.
Here’s a Shot-by-Shot Breakdown of All the Goodies in the Final Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer
If you’re like us, you’re still recovering from the amazingness of the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. It’s so incredibly filled with good stuff, we just had to go through and pick it apart frame by frame.
You’ve seen the trailer and basked in its glory. It’s huge-cast, heroes-fighting-heroes glory. Now it’s time to slow down and figure out what it all means. Spoilers in the form of references to rumor and theory ahead.
Young people, right? They like young-people shit, like YouTube videos, Instagram selfies and crazy hair. If you hate young people but want to pander to them for some reason—like, if you have loathsome, foul-smelling stepchildren—you can always take them to see Jem and the Holograms.
The official one-sheet poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens just dropped, and it’s glorious. It’s also loaded with new details, including our first glimpse of the rumored planet-killer superweapon.
The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan is one of the most popular book series of all time. So you’d think the first episode of a TV version would air with massive fanfare... so why did the pilot air in the middle of the night instead? We reached out to the producers and found out why. Now updated with more info!
It is often said that Tolkien had only finished 1/3 of his life’s work before he died and looking through all his books and notes shows much truth to that. Virtually nothing was written about what happened in the east of Middle Earth during the events of Tolkien’s work, though from what we do know, it indicates something big was happening there.
These photographs of Yellowstone National Park by Dave Lane are so gorgeous it’s difficult to believe they’re from real life.
Um, I can’t even report this news without it being a spoiler for those who know certain things about the Game of Thrones TV show, the A Song of Ice and Fire book series, or even just one pertinent behind-the-scenes fact. Do not read unless you want news that could destroy one of GoT’s most popular fan theories.
Good news, everyone! JJ Abrams killed Jar Jar Binks (probably). Also, Vanity Fair has Star Wars: The Force Awakens set pics with lots of new information, including what’s behind the main villain’s mask, a brand new space pirate, and much, much more.
We constantly get our hopes up for upcoming movies... and then they let us down. It’s easy to get sucked into the hype cycle, as people talk up their projects — but sometimes, you can tell just from the way people talk about a film that it’s probably not going to work. Here are eight key phrases that usually indicate danger.
If there’s two things fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series can agree on, it’s that 1) author George R.R. Martin is weaving an incredibly dense tale where far more happens (and has happened) than what’s just on the page, and 2) that no character is safe from GRRM’s murderous pen.
Star Trek broke new ground by having a spaceship without fins and rockets, and by consulting with the RAND Corp. on its design. And the Enterprise is indeed a beauty. But the Federation’s coolest starship isn’t flawless, by any means. Here are the 10 biggest design flaws in the U.S.S. Enterprise.
As has been the tradition for Suicide Squad thus far, David Ayer’s tweeted the first full-on cast photo, with pretty much everyone (save the Joker and Amanda Waller) in costume. UPDATED: Now with a look at Deadshot’s full costume.
The Game of Thrones TV series has been a remarkably faithful adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series so far, but that will change when season 5 debuts on April 12th. But not every alteration from the books is a bad thing! Here are five storylines from the novels we won’t miss at all.
Pixels reminded us all just how shitty an actor Adam Sandler can be. But it’s worse than you probably realize. As a star, and also as a producer, Sandler has created a string of horrible, vapid comedies that have helped make us all dumber. His movies are “films,” in the same sense that colonoscopies produce films.
Some terrifying cults are so well-known they can be described with a single word: Manson, Waco, Jeffs, Jonestown. Others may not be as iconic—at least in America—but still provide plenty of nightmare material.
Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones was brutal — and not just because it once again featured intense violence, much of it involving rape. It was also just insanely ruthless, in the sense of tearing through major plot points at a crazy pace. Spoilers ahead!
For every Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Daniel Craig, there are a dozen would-be action stars who tried to get their movie careers off the ground, but couldn’t quite manage it. Here are 15 actors who thought they could punch, shoot and leap into stardom, but reality had other plans.
Now that Ant-Man is out, Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is over. This slate of six movies began with Iron Man 3, and included some bold experiments (Guardians of the Galaxy) as well as huge upheavals. Now that it’s over, where do all our favorite characters stand? Let’s get you up to speed for Phase Three.
Have you been angered by the Discovery Channel recently? Maybe for its completely erroneous Megalodon “documentary,” or its disgusting, botched “man eaten alive by anaconda” stunt? Well, then you’re probably a decent person. You also might be Rich Ross, the new president of the Discovery Channel.
What’s hitting the big screen this year? Basically, everything. Luke Skywalker, James Bond, the Terminator, Velociraptors, all the superheroes. But there are also some great surprises, like a movie based on a beloved Nebula-winning novel. Here are the 67 science fiction and fantasy movies you need to know this year.
You don’t realize just how crappy most action movies are, until you see something like Mad Max: Fury Road — a movie in which there are no “action scenes” because the action pretty much never stops. And the film’s constant sense of violent motion is in the service of incredible imagery and transcendant moments.
Admit it. You’ve always wanted to know whether farts can carry germs.
Details on the live-action Masters of the Universe movie have been scarce to say the least, but the Senior VP of Production at Sony/Columbia Pictures, DeVon Franklin, just tweeted this extremely impressive picture of He-Man’s steed Battle Cat. What could it be other than concept art from the movie?
I’d been looking forward to this for months: Force Friday, the big reveal and release of the first toys from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I’d previously lined up for toys from Episodes I, II and III—and VII was going to be no different. But this Force Friday was a truly awful experience.
The third and final trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is here. Now, before you watch, take a deep breath, make sure everything is quiet, and get ready, because it’s fantastic.
This is no ordinary Buddha statue. As the CT scan at the right clearly shows, there’s a mummy concealed inside!
It’s good to know that people are focusing on what’s really important. Local governments in a few different U.S. cities and towns have looked past the problems of homelessness, crumbling city services and displacement, to tackle the real crisis: people are putting up tiny “take a book, leave a book” libraries.
As an adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, the Game of Thrones TV series will always be compared to its source material. Given how beloved the books are, the show can usually only match them, more often falling short. But there’s one way that the show is kicking the books’ collective ass.
It’s starting to be the saddest time of year. This fall saw a slew of new TV shows, but nowadays there’s just too much television to keep track of. And as winter comes, fall TV shows get mown down like wheat. Sometimes, cancelation is a mercy. But here are 11 shows that died just as they found their feet.
Back To The Future turns 30 this year — and this fall, Marty McFly arrives from the past. And a new book travels back and reveals a wealth of info about this legendary film. We read We Don’t Need Roads by Caseen Gaines and dug up 11 things you never knew about Back to the Future.
If you were obsessed with television 20-odd years ago, then you probably have a soft spot in your heart for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the show that introduced the Japanese Super Sentai series to American audiences with an all-American cast (whenever the helmets were off.) And it’s hard to believe that original cast has never done a convention together.
While there’s been many rumors circulating about just who is fighting who in the next Captain America movie—but newly emerged promotional art has given our first look at just who is standing with Captain America or Iron Man in Marvel’s impending superheroic dustup. There’s even a surprising face or two... spoilers ahead!
To be fair, this is actually a new TV spot, not a full trailer. But something tels me that really won’t bother you much when this unbelievably amazing new batch of footage kicks your ass. You don’t believe me? Go ahead and watch.
We need science more than ever, yet many people find it hard to get accurate information about the scientific method and its achievements. Making things more difficult, their misconceptions about science are often driven by logical fallacies, or errors in deductive reasoning. Here are eight of the most common anti-science fallacies.
Seriously, I’m asking, because I don’t know the answer. It’s not that the jokes aren’t funny—some of them were super funny, although last night’s series premiere was definitely hit and miss. It’s more that this whole concept is just wrong for the freaking Muppets. And then there’s Miss Piggy. Sigh.
Some tropes are so ingrained in Medieval-inspired fantasy stories that it’s tempting to think that they represent real aspects of Medieval life. But often these stories are just reinforcing myths and misconceptions about life in the Middle Ages.
In 1872, 12-year-old Jesse Pomeroy was briefly sent to reform school after brutally attacking several children. After his release, “the Boy Fiend” progressed to murder. A new book takes a look at this unusual case, one of the first to bring the insanity defense — and all its complications — into the public eye.
When George R.R. Martin released A Game of Thrones in 1996, he helped to change the game with his grounded approach to fantasy tropes. At the same time, people sometimes talk as though Martin was the first to bring realism to epic fantasy. So here are 10 other authors who were doing “gritty” fantasy before Martin.
Science fiction has rocked cinemas for a century, and the genre has produced many undisputed classics during that time. But which movies are essential viewing for anyone interested in the genre? We broke down the 50 must-watch science fiction films.
Lysergic acid diethylamide used to be everywhere. LSD played a huge role in shaping pop culture in the 1960s, and in the 1980s everyone lived in fear of LSD-laced temporary tattoos and acid-popping Satanists. But nowadays, you rarely hear about it. What happened?
Two things, guys: 1) This was an especially brutal, infuriating episode of The Walking Dead, so consider this your extra-special spoiler warning (although if you haven’t been spoiled already, you soon will be); and 2), I’m beginning to think Rick’s plan to herd the zombies out of Undead Gorge wasn’t a very good plan at all.
Remember that 8-year-old girl who receives small objects from crows in return for feeding them? Well, her parents are now facing a $200,000 lawsuit accusing them of running a large-scale feeding operation out of their backyard.
Last week’s “Force Friday”* wasn’t just about the release of new Star Wars toys. It also heralded the start of “Journey To The Force Awakens,” a planned series of stories detailing the 30 years between Return of the Jedi and the new film. Here’s everything we know so far about the formative years of Disney’s new Star Wars canon.
Winter hasn’t arrived yet on Game of Thrones, but there’s still a bit of “winter of our discontent” going on. Season five veered way off George R.R. Martin’s road, with shall we say mixed results. Here’s how to get Thrones back on its game.
Seppuku, a highly ritualized form of suicide that involved cutting one’s own stomach, was once part of the bushido samurai code, and considered an honorable way to die and, until the 20th century, was quite common. So what happened? Why did this practice die out?
One in ten Americans takes an anti-depressant drug like Zoloft or Prozac. These drugs have been shown to work in some patients, but their design is based on a so-called “chemical imbalance” theory of depression that is incomplete, at best.
Two different groups of scary fanatics went on a rampage in the latest Game of Thrones episode, and it was pretty upsetting to watch, even by Thrones standards. The Sons of the Harpy and the Sparrows both want to restore old traditions, and they both build on the weaknesses of two very different queens.Spoilers ahead...