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Film looks at climate change in the Arctic; book goes to the edge of the universe

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Climate Change

Moving, melting ice

Chasing Ice,” Landmark’s E Street Cinema

In 2005, National Geographic photographer James Balog began to collect “irrefutable” evidence of climate change. As part of his Extreme Ice Survey project, he ventured into the Arctic with more than 20 time-lapse video cameras to capture the changing topography of the world’s giant ice masses and compress years of slow change into mere seconds. “Chasing Ice,” a documentary by Jeff Orlowski, follows Balog — who calls himself a reformed climate change skeptic — as he ventures to Alaska, Montana, Nepal, Alaska and Greenland. Using cameras that could withstand subzero temperatures and 150-mph winds, Balog captured 8,000 images every year. Sped up, these images depict mountains of ice moving, melting and collapsing into the sea. The documentary offers dramatic footage, both of what Balog and his crew endured and of the Arctic. The film won the Sundance Film Festival 2012 Excellence in Cinematography Award for a U.S. Documentary and the Full Frame 2012 Environmental Award. It’s slated to play at Landmark’s E Street Cinema in Northwest Washington at least through Nov. 22.

Physics

To infinity and beyond

“Edge of the Universe: A Voyage to the Cosmic Horizon and Beyond,” by Paul Halpern

How big is the universe? What is it made of? Does anything lie beyond it? According to physicist and author Paul Halpern, there’s research showing that the universe we know, love and call home could very well be infinite. In his new book, “Edge of the Universe,” Halpern attempts to make the concept of the “multiverse” — a realm that includes our universe as well as countless others — accessible to nonscientists. “Everything that we once believed about the universe is wrong!” Halpern exclaims, going on to compare modern cosmology to the TV series “Seinfeld”: It’s “all about nothing.” Halpern breaks down complex concepts such as the big bang, dark energy, dark flow, dark matter and why the edge of the universe is speeding farther and farther away from us. Though it sounds like science fiction, Halpern examines several multiverse models and suggests that what we can observe may be nothing more than a hologram — a three-dimensional display of data written on the edge of some cosmological horizon.

— Maggie Fazeli Fard

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