Nation/World

Alda asks scientists to use simpler words

Alan Alda wants scientists to cut out the jargon.

The “M.A.S.H.” actor who also hosted the long-running PBS series “Scientific American Frontiers” helped start a center on communicating science at Stony Brook University in New York. Its mission: to teach scientists how to get their points across more clearly.

Alda, 77, serves as a visiting professor of journalism at Stony Brook. He does not teach a regular course but frequently speaks at conferences and workshops at the center.

Alda says explaining science using clear, simple language can benefit society in many ways. It can help lawmakers make better decisions on scientific funding, help doctors explain operations to their patients and help consumers know what’s in the food they buy.

Blackburn to lead ‘Liars’ spinoff

“Pretty Little Liars” star Tyler Blackburn is moving from ABC Family’s biggest hit, “Pretty Little Liars,” to its spinoff.

The network announced Tuesday that the actor will star in “Ravenswood,” which will premiere in October after the annual “Liars” Halloween episode.

Blackburn’s character, Caleb Rivers, will cross over to the new series.

On his official Twitter account, Blackburn wrote that he’s “so stoked” about the role and promises fans “won’t be disappointed.”

“Ravenswood” will follow five strangers whose lives become intertwined by a deadly curse that has plagued their town for generations.

Paltrow to launch Web series for AOL

AOL is making its most substantial dip into original video programming with new series from Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hank Azaria and Nicole Richie.

The Internet company unveiled 15 new digital series Tuesday in a presentation to advertisers in New York. AOL is making a push into original programming in the wake of similar efforts by YouTube, Yahoo and Amazon.

Parker will produce a docudrama on the New York City Ballet. Paltrow and Tracy Anderson will host the Ryan Seacrest-produced series “Second Chances,” in which they interview women who’ve overcome hardship.

Azaria hosts a parenting series called “Fatherhood.” Richie will star in a show based on her Twitter feed.

AOL is also partnering with Tribeca Enterprises for the series “Acting Disruptive,” which follows Hollywood professionals launching tech startups.

Birthday bunch

Singer Englebert Humperdinck is 77. Singer Lesley Gore is 67. Actress Christine Baranski is 61. Wrestler-actor Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) is 41. Actress Ellie Kemper (“The Office”) is 33. Singer Lily Allen is 28.



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