Hollywood Science Gone Bad

Journalist David Kushner takes up a topic we all love to complain about: outrageously stupid science in movies and television.

4 min read

Anyone who chronicles technology for a general audience faces the same challenge-- how to make a story interesting and accessible, while getting the science right.

I faced this while working on my first non-fiction book, Masters of Doom . One of the lead characters is John Carmack, the venerated programmer of the computer games Doom and Quake. Carmack is considered one of the best coders in his industry, and I needed to convey the essence of his innovations--what makes him unique and important--to people who think a binary space partition is a form of orthodontics. Now that Masters of Doom is being developed into a movie for Showtime, the challenge is back in meta-form--how to convey the science and technology of computer programming in a compelling but accurate, filmic way.

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Digging Into the New QD-OLED TVs

Formerly rival technologies have come together in Samsung displays

5 min read
Television screen displaying closeup of crystals

Sony's A95K televisions incorporate Samsung's new QD-OLED display technology.

Televisions and computer monitors with QD-OLED displays are now on store shelves. The image quality is—as expected—impressive, with amazing black levels, wide viewing angles, a broad color gamut, and high brightness. The products include:

All these products use display panels manufactured by Samsung but have their own unique display assembly, operating system, and electronics.

I took apart a 55-inch Samsung S95B to learn just how these new displays are put together (destroying it in the process). I found an extremely thin OLED backplane that generates blue light with an equally thin QD color-converting structure that completes the optical stack. I used a UV light source, a microscope, and a spectrometer to learn a lot about how these displays work.

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