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I'm the editor of National Geographic Magazine's Pop Omnivore blog, which looks at pop culture through the NG lens. In my spare time, I'm deputy editor for text at National Geographic Magazine, a TV columnist for Washington Post Express, and the author of Breast Cancer Husband: How to Help Your Wife (and Yourself) Through Diagnosis, Treatment, and Beyond.

Oscar Showdown: Who WIll Win the Battle of the Subtitled Foreign Films?

Film buffs who love subtitles were in heaven this month. National Geographic’s Global Glimpses program showed all five of the movies vying for the Oscar for best foreign film. Here’s a look at the stories behind the subtitles. Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium) What it’s about: Didier and Elise live out a bluegrass-tinged love story outside…

Everything You Want to Know About Super Bowl Ads But Are Too Embarrassed to Ask

Super Bowl ads are often more entertaining than the game. And they always raise questions, many of which fall in National Geographic’s areas of expertise. Here are answers to burning questions you may have about Doberman-Chihuahua puppies, groin injuries, and more. Puppy Love Could a Doberman Pinscher and a Chihuahua really mate and produce a…

‘American Hustle’ Didn’t Get Its Microwave Facts Straight

In the film “American Hustle,” which imaginatively retells the 1980 Abscam scandal, Long Island housewife Rosalyn Rosenfeld (played by Jennifer Lawrence) gets a brand new microwave oven as a gift. She calls it a “science oven.” She is warned: Do not put metal in it. Of course she puts in an aluminum dish covered with…

Live from Space, It’s the Videos of Chris “Space Oddity” Hadfield

Ground control to Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield: Your videos from the space station really make the grade, especially your music video in which you sing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and send your guitar for a floating journey. And the papers want to know: “What other videos have you made?” Here are some of my favorites:…

Hold Off That Tiger: Shades of “The Hangover” in Real Life

What do you do if you find a tiger in the bathroom? That was a plot point in the first Hangover movie, and now it’s a real-life story. The Salina Journal reports that last Saturday, a woman who’d gone to the circus went to the bathroom … and there was a tiger “at most two…

Lily Tomlin Speaks Out for Elephants

HBO is offering “An Apology to Elephants.” That’s the name of a documentary premiering on Earth Day – April 22 – at 7 p.m. The film looks at how humans have mistreated elephants: captured, crated to zoos and circuses (where they are roped and prodded with sharp metal “bull hooks” to force them to do…

Nicolaus Copernicus Gets a Google Doodle … And Here’s Why

Copernicus got a Google Doodle! The late, great astronomer, whose birthday is today, February 19, would perhaps be puzzled by Google – but only for a second. Nicolaus Copernicus was never one to shy away from new ideas (get a modern astronomer’s take on Copernicus). If you’d like a little primer on why Copernicus deserves…

How Dangerous Was That Polar Bear Plunge on ‘The Bachelor’ — and Was Tierra Faking Her Post-Plunge Trauma?

In the ultimate test of true love on last night’s episode of The Bachelor, Sean Lowe challenged some of his bachelorettes to plunge into a Canadian lake where the temperature sat just above freezing. With the exception of one (sensible) woman, the ladies stripped down to bathing suits for a complete (and quick) total immersion,…

The Truth About Super Bowl Ads: From Cheetahs to Arab Stereotypes to … Duct Tape!

Some people watch for the game. And others tune in for the ads. Indeed, Super Bowl commercials are a show unto themselves. This year’s batch, airing during the Sunday night broadcast but already available online, raise a number of questions that are in National Geographic’s areas of expertise. Here’s our take. Product: Skechers GOrun2 shoes…

The Underwater Realm: Five-Minute Movies That Are Obsessed with Atlantis

Film director David M. Reynolds is obsessed with the fabled island of Atlantis. He’s so obsessed that he spent the past two years working practically nonstop (and with barely any budget) on five short films collectively called The Underwater Realm. In each of these four-to-five minute shorts, humans come into contact with Atlanteans, from a…

The Elf on the Shelf May Be The Snoopiest Christmas Elf But Is Not The Only Yule Elf

“He knows when you’ve been sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake…” Who knows? Well, Santa of course! But how can he possibly keep up with every kid’s behavior record. According to some sources, he gets that information from a middleman: the…

The Baby-Snatching Bird Hoax Does Make You Wonder About Birds of Prey

At first everyone thought it was real: a viral video showing a bird of prey, allegedly a golden eagle, swooping down in a Montreal park to pick up a baby, then dropping the kid and flying away. Now the verdict is in: It was a hoax, concocted as an art project. Yet even a fake…

Real-Life “Twilight” Tribe Has Wolf Connection, Mixed Feelings About Movie

In Breaking Dawn—Part 2, the big-screen finale for the “Twilight” series, fans must bid goodbye to a cast of characters that includes an Indian tribe full of werewolves. Even devotees of the saga might not be aware that the Quileute tribe actually exists. The real-life Quileute Nation faces more risk from flooding and tsunamis than…

‘Hobbit’ Cheat Sheet: A Field Guide to the People of Middle-Earth

Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey takes place 60 years before the events in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy but returns to the same setting: Middle-earth. J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books, famously created a complex world for his novels, dreaming up languages and detailed histories…

After Sandy: Paying for Its Damage

By Sasha Ingber The insurance industry will be dealing with fallout from Sandy for months to come. To learn more about the storm’s impact, we spoke to Franklin Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America. How much will Hurricane Sandy cost? The estimates that have been released by a disaster-modeling firm [AIR Worldwide] for…