Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hollywood Butchers Science

I agree that movies play havoc with science, in particular with physics. This Ars Technica story lists just a few, from a report by Praxis der Naturwissenschaften Physik (and no, I have no idea who they are).

Some examples:

Gravity takes a vacation in Speed: There's a gap in a freeway bridge with a relatively flat surface. A bus, traveling about 70 mph, crosses that gap, flying along an apparently horizontal path. Gravity was apparently taking a well-deserved break.

Spider-Man's military genius fails vector math: The Green Goblin cut the cables on the Roosevelt Island Tram but held the loose end to keep it from plunging into the East River. Although he was well positioned to handle the vertical component of the force, the horizontal portion of the pull from the tram car would have wrenched him sideways and into the river.

The Core rings hollow: On their way towards the center of the earth, the crew takes a break 700 miles beneath the surface. Oddly, gravity is normal, despite the fact that a significant fraction of the Earth's mass is now above them. Meanwhile, a dead crewman's body sinks into molten rock, despite the relatively low density of its primary component, water.

Read the story for more.

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