Nerd Factor: Its a Bit of a Stretch

Dr Mike Robinson ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

Stretching is one of the more underrated choices on the superpower options list. The ability to lengthen or widen one’s body, just doesn’t seem too appealing in a fictional world of regenerating mutants with indestructible claws and alien beings with vast arrays of impossible powers. Beware though, for these tensile titans are often the most dangerous of foes. They have to be. When one thinks about it, this power has a high risk of killing those who use it.

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Nerd Factor: Quite an Unquiet Place

Dr Mike Robinson, UL Communication Studies Professor~

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Back in March, A Quiet Place was a surprise hit.  The film all about silence got people talking and that good word of mouth led the movie to much deserved success.  I’ve waited a bit to talk about the movie, but not just because I didn’t see it until it came out on DVD and not just because I wanted to create some spoiler space.  I wanted to hold my comments until this exact time of year to prove that there is simply no way that anyone could have lived for over a year in that scenario.

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Down, Down, Down to Your Watery Grave

Dr. Mike Robinson, UofL Communication Studies Professor~

Steeped in nostalgic memories and Halloween imagery on my most recent visit to King’s Dominion, I found myself thinking about one of the park’s more unusual rides. A strange mix of log flume and haunted house, the Haunted River was, to my knowledge, the only water ride explicitly dedicated to frightening guests. In retrospect, I admire the ambition of the project. After all, it’s one thing to attempt to scare people in the waning days of autumn but quite another to try to shock people in the height of the summer.

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Nerd Factor: Thanos’ Big Dumb Idea

Dr. Mike Robinson, UofL Communication Studies Professor~

By now, you’ve probably seen Avengers: Infinity War. Or you’ve had someone tell you what happened in the end. If not, stop reading now.

Thanos killed half of the population of the universe.  With a snap of his fingers—and the unimaginable power of the Infinity Gauntlet—Thanos’ will was enforced and a number of beloved Marvel Cinematic Universe characters crumbled to dust. Read More


Nerd Factor: Who is Superman?

Dr. Mike Robinson, LC Communication Studies Professor~

The answer seems simple enough.  But there is a certain genius in that small, factual sentence.  

Eighty years ago, Superman arrived in “Action Comics” #1. The cover of the comic depicts Superman lifting a gangster’s car over his head and crashing it against a rock.  By today’s standards, that seems like a light day’s work for the Man of Steel. But the harried look on the face of the fleeing villain in the cover’s bottom left corner shows us how startling it was at the time.   Read More


Nerd Factor: Let Thanos Win

Dr. Mike Robinson, LC Communication Studies Professor~

While this edition of the Nerd Factor does not contain spoilers per se, it does reveal information about past Thanos stories that might give something away.

Thanos of Titan is one of the greatest antagonists in the Marvel Universe.  That’s not bad for a guy who was, by his creator Jim Starlin’s admission, a rip-off of DC’s Darkseid.  Like the best baddies from ole Marvel, Thanos does not see himself as a villain. Oh, he does terrible things, but he often sees these as actions taken for the best.   Read More


Nerd Factor: For the Love of HAL

Dr. Mike Robinson, LC Communication Studies Professor~

Last week marked the 50th anniversary of the release of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” one of the most important science fiction movies ever made. This sprawling vision of human history was directed by the legendary Stanley Kubrick, who also co-wrote the film with another legend, prolific writer and futurist, Arthur C. Clarke. The movie opens in prehistory as our primate ancestors struggle to survive. It closes with a hallucinogenic journey into the unknown that ultimately hints at the destiny of our species.  However, it’s the middle of the film that often garners the most attention (and not just because it’s easier to understand). Read More