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'Futurama': Bite My Shiny Metal X (2007)

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A lecture examining the use of mathematics in Futurama (1999).
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Sarah Greenwald ...
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Jeff Westbrook ...
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Eric Kaplan ...
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Patric M. Verrone ...
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Ken Keeler ...
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A lecture examining the use of mathematics in Futurama (1999).

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Documentary | Short

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27 November 2007 (USA)  »

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Created for the DVD release of Futurama: Bender's Big Score (2007). See more »

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References The Simpsons (1989) See more »

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Interesting and accessible lecture
1 June 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

After the disappointing extra of "Futurama Returns" I didn't have great hopes for this extra since it was billing itself as a maths lecture based on maths in the series. However it is actually pretty good because it is interesting and engagingly presented. The small audience for the lecture is made of the writers and producers of the show and presented is Dr Sarah Greenwald – a mathematician and Futurama fan. What this does is inject the passion for both the subjects into proceedings so that both subjects are done justice. Truth be told it is more a case of Futurama being used as a vehicle to discuss maths and this is made clear by the summing up at the end.

The slight downside of the approach is that it does feel a little condescending at times – like they are "making it simple for the lesser people", but it is hard to avoid this when so many PhD's are discussing their subject with one another at a level lower than they normally would. This is a minor problem though because mostly the delivery is accessible and interesting. It doesn't really deeply explain a lot of things but it alludes to them in a way that feels more educational than it actually is. Greenwald is quite a good presenter as passion and structure in her lecture while also showing that she does work with students a lot by the easy, engaging manner she has.

It doesn't do one thing really well but in this way it will appeal to several groups. Casual viewers will find it an interesting extra and one can see the value of it as a teaching aid.


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