Main Hollywood Science Discussion

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11:31:39 PM Feb 7th 2012
I'm new to the site & don't know how to add categories, and this page doesn't have one for comic books, but this was lampshaded in Phil Foglio's XXXenophile story "Dopelgang-Bang" where a team of scientists is trying to break in to alternate dimensions and one says "Hey, how about we try to find one where they use REAL SCIENCE on TV?" and another replies "No, I said look for a dimension that's PROBABLE."
11:35:32 AM Nov 30th 2011
edited by SeptimusHeap
Can someone help tearing down this unholy pile of Thread Mode before putting it back to the main page, please?
  • In the first Jurassic Park movie, Grant throws a dead stick at an electric fence to see if it's turned on or not. A pointless gesture, because whether wood can conduct electricity depends on how green or wet it is. A stick that's been in a rain storm might conduct okay, one that's been dried out won't do much of anything. Though a live plant will short out an electric fence, dead, dry-as-old driftwood sticks like that used by Grant don't do jack. Furthermore, even if it were able to conduct electricity, there is the matter of whether any electrical arcing would occur in real life, let alone whether it can be seen in harsh daylight or heard through the rattle of the fence.
    • Where did he even get a stick like that on a jungle island? This may be one of the only examples where the trope could work in real life but the specificity of the film rules it out.
    • Not forgetting the scene shortly (pun not intended) afterward, where the power comes on with Timmy still on the fence, and he gets a shock - despite not touching anything but the fence. In real life, current can't flow unless it has somewhere to flow to; that's how switches work.
      • To expand on this, if he was touching the fence, and only the fence, the electricity would "Ignore" him because he's not providing a path of less resistance to the ground. If he were touching the fence and the ground, or the fence and something else that's connected to the ground, he would be shocked because the electricity would pass through his body to reach it.
      • Didn't Timmy create a bridge between two parts of a fence? Or can someone in real life climb an electric fence if they don't touch the ground?
      • No, he created a bridge between two wires. But yes, to quote Gab Cash: As long as you're only touching one wire and not touching the ground, you're okay.
      • It is possible that someone designing an electric fence might alternate between live and earth wires (or wires on different phases) to ensure that a bridge between two wires would cause a shock; just in case a dinosaur that could jump (e.g. the velociraptor as portrayed in the films) jumped up to climb it (cat-style) rather than standing on the ground and leaning against/grabbing it.
      • Watch the scene again. The reason they had to climb over the fence was because there was a metal mesh between the horizontal wires that prevented them from climbing through. The means the entire fence is shorted to itself, so there's no circuit he could have made.
    • Plus, they made dinosaurs. With science.
  • Star Trek: Voyager often found itself unable to find any hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, and practically the only element guaranteed to be present in measurable quantities in interstellar space. In fact, the glowing red 'caps' on the engines are specifically stated to be hydrogen ramscoops, meaning that Voyager's crew don't even have to do any work to collect hydrogen. And yet...
    • Although the Bussard Collectors (as the "red caps" are known) couldn't collect anywhere near enough hydrogen to support the energy expenditure of the ships in Star Trek - so another piece of Hollywood Science.
      • This is because hydrogen is only abundant comparatively. There's, on average, one hydrogen molecule per cubic centimeter. If you wanted to collect one gram of hydrogen per second, and you were travelling at close to the speed of light, you would need a collector larger than 300 square miles.
        • The Star Trek TNG Technical Manual explains that the deflector shields (also used to prevent collisions with small space debris) "sweep" hydrogen from a very large area into the collectors, thus it's unnecessary for them to be any bigger than that.
      • What else could Voyager be doing during the title sequence as it flies perilously close to a star (diving beneath a solar prominence, no less) except for collecting hydrogen? The TNG technical manual suggests that all starships are supplied with three years of fuel before leaving spacedock anyway, and yet Voyager is having supplies and energy issues by the second episode.
        • When the caretaker decides to scoop Voyager off 75,000 light years from where they were, some crazy shit probably happened to the whole ship. After all, their arrival killed a couple of dozen people, crippled the ship among other things and so. Of course, that's probably giving the writers too much credit...
  • One episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation states that the only ratio of "matter to antimatter" in a reactor is 1:1. This isn't really true, a much less expensive way of using antimatter is to drop a small amount of antimatter into a large amount of matter. The heat released into the matter can then be used to create electricity just like in a nuclear reactor.
    • That's if you're using heat to create electricity. Although the technobabble (quite thankfully) never went TOO much into detail of exactly how matter-antimatter destruction generated energy to filter through dilithium crystals to create warp bubbles, it's quite likely that the reaction required near-complete reaction, so yes a 1:1 ratio would be the best - and only - solution.
    • Quite honestly this entry makes no sense at all. Antimatter reacts with matter exactly 1:1, each anti-particle destroying exactly the corresponding particle, no matter what you do. And the whole ship is made from matter, so there is always excess matter, again no matter what you do. So where exactly is the Hollywood science here ?
10:24:29 PM Aug 16th 2010
I removed the text "(actually, given that the radio signals were coming through the gate, perfectly justified. Needs A Better Example", which appeared after the part about Stargate and tracking the probe through space. The signal they were supposedly tracking showed the probe moving through space, in the wormhole, while the probe was demolecularized so that it couldn't send any signals. The radio signals wouldn't be coming back through the gate until the probe had actually reached the other gate on the planet.
07:35:34 PM Jun 7th 2010
People evolution nitrogen talk science brain hurt.
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