Friday, March 6, 2009

10 Films That Would Flunk Science Class

By Jonathan Fahey

#10 Titanic: The Sky Is Big
When the ship goes down and passengers are floating in the dark sea, the camera shows a star-filled sky ... that isn't filled with real stars. One half of the sky has stars; the other is just its mirror image.

#9 Men In Black: A History Lesson
When Agent K is debriefing Agent J, he says "1,500 years ago, everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was flat ... and 15 minutes ago, you knew people were alone on this planet. Think about what you'll know tomorrow." Yes, but it was known that the Earth was round since the time of the ancient Greeks. Eratosthenes not only knew it was round, but accurately measured its circumference in 200 B.C.

#8 Armageddon: It Isn't Half Bad
At the beginning of the movie, as an asteroid heads for earth, we're told that this is what killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, slamming the earth with the force of 10,000 nuclear weapons. Except that's not the half of if. Scientists believe that ancient impact would be closer to 800,000 100-megaton nuclear weapons.

#7 Deep Impact: It Could Be Much Worse
Minutes before final impact of a killer comet, astronauts blow it up. But blowing up a comet that close to earth wouldn't do any good at all. It might even make matters worse. Just because the pieces are smaller doesn't mean you've changed anything. All the kinetic energy of the comet is still dumped into the Earth's atmosphere ... and we'd be cooked.

#6 Star Trek, the Next Generation: Space Is a Vacuum
In the first season of Star Trek, the Next Generation, Captain Picard sees a phaser being shot at him. A phaser--really, a laser--can't be seen until it hits something or unless it passes through a substance like a gas or dust. Space is nearly a vacuum. We can't see a laser passing through nothing.

#5 Austin Powers, The Spy Who Shagged Me: Space Is Still a Vacuum
When Mini-Me gets blown into space at the end, we hear him scream as he's launched into orbit. Sound doesn't travel in a vacuum.

#4 Superman Returns: Space Is Truly a Vacuum
When deciding to return to Earth, Superman peers down at the blue planet from outer space, his cape flapping in the wind. Wind? In space? There's no air!

#3 Transformers: The Difference Between Magnetism and Gravity
In the movie Transformers, we see Megatron frozen in a government building. The G-Man says that he fell to Earth in the 1930s and that the Earth's gravitational field at the North Pole screwed up his telemetry, causing Megatron to lose his bearings and fall to the ice. The gravitational field of the Earth wouldn't mess up telemetry. The magnetic field, however, could, although it's probably too weak.

#2 Tomb Raider: Planets Don't Get in Line
This Angelina Jolie vehicle is based on the premise that every 5,000 years, the planets align, causing havoc. We see Jolie's character, Lara Croft, looking through a telescope as Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are beginning to align. No chance: A common misconception is that the planets all orbit the sun in the same plane, so that the solar system would look flat if seen edge-on. The orbits of the planets all have a tilt relative to the Earth's.

#1 Iron Man, Squashed
The character Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey, Jr., has a very, very strong suit of armor. That's fine, but it wouldn't protect the guy inside after falling thousands of feet from the sky. "[He's] still made of squishy organic glop, and it has inertia," writes Plaitt. "The suit may survive the impact intact, but Stark would be not much more than a slightly gelatinous smear covering the inside front of it."

No comments:

Post a Comment