Tag Archive for Science

Gravity in Space

I’m loving the current age of comics to screen. Primarily movies, not TV. I was never much of a comic book reader so I don’t know most of the lore, nor do I care. A couple tickets, a bucket of popcorn or some candy, a large drink, and my wife and I have a fun cheap date.

I also love YouTube and what it offers, including the channel CinemaSins. Of course movies are going to have errors – continuity errors, scene cutting errors, ‘true to life’ side of the street errors, etc. However, CinemaSins goes a bit further and goes the Captain Obvious route. So naturally I love it. However, with The Avengers they got it wrong with #61: There is no gravity in space, but Iron Man falls back to Earth anyway.

Well, there is. How else does the moon orbit the Earth or the Earth orbit the Sun? Did we all forget our Physics 101? In the words of Weird Al via Pancreas:

My pancreas attracts every other
Pancreas in the universe
With a force proportional
To the product of their masses
And inversely proportional
To the distance between them

In other words, the force of gravity between two objects is equal to the gravitation constant times the mass of each object divided by the distance between them.

Gravity Equation

Gravity via Study.com

Commercial jet liners fly between 5 and 6 miles up, the portal was was closer than that. As Iron Man flies through the portal he flies straight out, which means Earth is ‘below’ him. The highest free fall of a human was 24.2 miles – so we know Earth’s gravity will pull a person down from that far, but not as far as the moon (238,900 miles). I’d guess Iron Man flew less than 10 miles into space from the portal. Sure, he’s thousands, millions, or billions of miles from or even in a different realm then Earth. But, as objects and light can go through the portal why would universal gravitation be any different?

I only saw CinemaSin’s episode on The avengers a week or two ago and laughed the whole way through. And while watching The Avengers just now (and again, thanks FX), it’s clear the movie did NOT make a mistake.

Take away: If you’re going to be a smart ass, be smart.

Star Trek Foreign Language

Yes, I watch Star Trek. I grew up watching ST with my dad, then during the last season of ST: The Next Generation I saw just about every episode of STTNG. I never got into Deep Space Nine or Voyager or Enterprise. Then, about a year ago I decided to watch STTNG on Netflix start to finish. It took some time and there were a few episodes I didn’t recognize, but I got through it. About a month ago I decided to try watching STDSN… It’s a bit better then I expected.

During a particular episode in which Quark was trying to speak Klingon I had a realization about ST’s concept of a universal translator. Warf was helping him and mainly speaking English, but then a few words came out as Klingon, and then back to English. My realization? How? How was it one second everyone is hearing Warf speak English then Klingon and back to English without any button or other device being accessed, shouldn’t the UTs translate the Klingon phrase?

Based on an episode where Quark travels back to 1950’s Earth (USA to be precise) the Universal Translators are in the Ferengis heads, which leads me to assume it is true for all races [in the future] vs. the UTs used by Kirk and Bones in ST6 (The Undiscovered Country) when they are in a Klingon court and sentenced to blah blah blah. If the device is in someone’s head it could lead to the idea that while speaking something I could think, “keep this in my language.” Plausible, except what about the humanoid hearing the word, what’s there to tell the listener to hear the desired language?

I understand the UTs could be networked to send signals back and forth to say what language to hear, but I don’t see that happening. Again, I reference Quark going back to 1950’s Earth. Quark, his brother, and his nephew had the UTs but the humans did not. This implies the UTs can sense the language it needs to translate to and does not network. Or the UT concept is just straight up broken.

Take away: I’m a dork.

Bill & Ted Plot Error

Bill & Ted

Bill & Ted
© MGM Studios Inc.

While writing my previous post on Time Travel Paradoxes it dawned on me that among all the movie plot errors there is one I’ve never heard anyone point out. In Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure had all the time (no pun intended) to get their report done unlike Rufus informed them.

What pray tell is this? Rufus told Bill & Ted that no matter where they go (time or location) that time continues moving forward in their ‘time’ and they had to be at the school giving their presentation at whatever time… Um, they have a time machine, if they spend another ten minutes or fifty days finding another historical person they always could have gone to five minutes before their presentation was due and be ready.

And yes, this is the plot error I’m pointing out in this movie, nothing else.

Take away: movie writers are often dumb when it comes to plot devices.

Time Travel Paradox

Doc & Marty

Doc & Marty
© Universal Studios

If you’re not familiar with what a paradox is then look it up or follow this example: You go back in time and accidentally kill your dad before your were born, but then you wouldn’t exist to go back in time to kill your dad, so he lives and gives birth to you, and you go back in time and accidentally kill your dad.

That’s a direct paradox, I could go into a diatribe about indirect paradox (e.g. you go back to the American Revolution and side with the redcoats, perhaps you still exist, perhaps not, but if you did would you still have gone back? Think of the show Sliders with how a change in history could impact how we live now.)

Semi-spoiler Alert!

After seeing the movie Looper I discussed the paradox it created with my wife. Her response, “How do we know? Has anyone ever experienced one?” To which I could only respond, “touché.”

Take away: How do we know?