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DoctorDoom
November 17th, 1999, 06:19 PM
One thing that has always fascinated me about Hollywood is the seeming obliviousness that writers et al have about even the most basic scientific principles.

As one startlingly bad example, the prosecution calls Wink of An Eye, from the original Star Trek series.

Scenario: the planet Scalos has sent out a distress call that was intercepted by the Enterprise. Being 23d century Boy Scouts, the ship zips across space, the usual landing party beams down (sidebar: WHY did the landing party always include the ship's top officers?). A crew member dips his finger into a fountain to taste the water and vanishes.

Somewhat unsettled, Kirk et al beam back up, and whilst sipping on decaf polluted by the Scalosian water. Kirk also vanishes - or so it seems.

In reality, you see, he has been accelerated by the properties of the Scalosian water, and is moving so fast that he has become invisible to the rest of the crew, so fast that the human eye can't register it (fast enough to step aside and avoid a phaser blast travelling at the speed of light, as one of the Scalosians aboard the ship demonstrated).

How fast is that? Well, so as not to get TOO ludicrous, let's estimate 1000 times normal. So, whereas we walk at about 2-3 MPH, Kirk et al are zipping along in excess of 2000 MPH. Hollywood science time.

Ever stick your head out a car window at 60MPH? Imagine sticking it out the window of an SR-71 Blackbird at maximum speed, and you get some idea of the first BIG problem: air friction. He's trudging along at ten times the terminal velocity of a human body in freefall. How does he manage to breathe when his face is exposed to a 2000-MPH wind? And, for that matter, why doesn't the friction just incinerate him?

Next problem: the human body is physically incapable of sustaining itself at a flat-out run for more than a brief time, yet his body is expending the energy needed to maintain almost Mach 3. That Scalosian water is one helluva vitamin shot!

Main problem: Kirk is blasting around the enterprise at 2 KMPH and comes to a corner in a corridor. What is the kinetic energy of a 180-pound body travelling at that speed? Does Kirk turn the corner, or does he far more likely continue in a straight line and go through the wall like a ticket punch? Then what? He either purees himself on the first really strong structural member, or penetrates the hull and becomes a projectile leaving the Enterprise for deep space.

Not all ST episodes are this glaringly bad, but it does serve to demonstrate how vacuous Hollywood screenwriters are when it comes to basic science.

The floor is now open for other examples of wonderfully inept "science" on the tube and the screen.

Dang, it's fun to nitpick!

[This message has been edited by DoctorDoom (edited November 18, 1999).]

Dreambird
November 17th, 1999, 10:10 PM
Dr.Doom... Pic-ky Pic-ky Pic-ky!! Stop clouding the issue with facts...

Yer just jealous because you don't have an "acclerated" Mr. Spock making repairs etc. around your place... http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif

DoctorDoom
November 18th, 1999, 10:40 AM
Nor do I have numerous Spock-shaped holes in the walls! http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif

I have no complaint with ST:TOS as a series. It had a solid cast, quite good writing (science excepted), and did quite well with what in today's terms was a pathetically inept budget. TOS was carried by its cast and crew. They were a genuine team.

One thing the show had going for it was off-screen consistency. Anyone wanting to write for the show received strict guidelines within which to work, so that nothing on episode A would conflict with episode B. There was an internal cohesiveness, and a large body of background information that served as a framework for the series.

It's been my opinion since TNG first showed up that every spin-off has been a high-budget SFX-fest that relied on gee-whiz imagery rather than a strong foundation. There have been a few good villains - Q and the Borg come immediately to mind - but most of the cast in the later ST's have been pretty much standard-issue characters with no real depth.

Possibly this will incite a flame-war, but that's this old SF freak's view.

BTW, who remembers the Spindizzy Drive?

[This message has been edited by DoctorDoom (edited November 18, 1999).]

Dreambird
November 18th, 1999, 05:31 PM
The Original Star Trek was on the tube when I was about 9 or so years old, didn't understand a lot, but it sure got me started in Sci-Fi. That one and the old Outer Limits, I was even younger when those were on... I was absolutely convinced someone had control of the TV... not frightened by it at all... just mesmerized.

Bearclaw
November 19th, 1999, 03:20 PM
Doc D.
Thought you'd lost me, didn't you?
Thanks for the link.
Are we allowed to discuss US politics here?
Or is that pure fiction rather than science fiction?

Actually if you recall, wasn't it Sam Rayburn that would walk out of cabinet meetings if ST was coming on? Or was it someone else?

Sandy Price
November 20th, 1999, 03:12 AM
Hi Bearclaw. Since I walked off the "other" site, I have given up politics. I am back with the Libertarians and feel 100% better. I should have never left. Let's be friends...
Sandy

Sandy Price
November 20th, 1999, 05:39 AM
Dr. Doom. My son owns a special effects company in Hollywood. I went to work for him formatting screen plays. I couldn't believe how poorly written they were, with one exception and that was Martin Landau's treatment of his story that had me in tears at the end. He wanted my son to do the "effects" It never got made as it was too sensitive to the feelings of the masses, i.e. too good. When I moved north, I took a screen writing class at the local college. I was shocked to learn that they follow a format that is ridiculous! The first ten pages must have what Hollywood calls a bus/train wreck followed by a pursuit, followed by nudity, swearing, sex followed by a climactic ending. No need for character development or even a story line. I was horrified at the teacher (from USC film school) and so I waited one more year and took the class again with a different teacher. No change...This is what's wrong with the studios and television. They seem to be focused on "special effects" and loud music. My son is making millions and so he can't complain, but as a movie go-er I have given up on SciFi, except for his stuff. I saw my first Star Trek just 2 years ago when I hooked up to cable tv. I had met Patrick Stewart and admire his acting. Shatner is terrible and I was spared his tv appearances. I am thrilled that there will be a place where we can all read some good original writing. When we get going, I will ask him to read in and maybe come up with a good story/script.
Sandy

Dreambird
November 20th, 1999, 07:07 PM
Sandy, I'm so glad to hear someone else "confirm" all this... up in the Sci-Fi worlds forum, I'm just talking with someone about Babylon 5 and what was "supposed" to follow... Crusade.

I met J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5 in person, after spending a couple of the best days of my life, listening to the man talk, I got a profound idea of his way of thinking.... what he was all about and his beliefs. The reactions he wanted to invoke in an audience. I've seen the final episode "Sleeping In Light" 4 times now... and still can't get through the thing without tears rolling down my face. JMS brought the characters in the show to life for me...

Fact is that even my husband... teared up when he watched SIL with me and he's not a Sci-Fi fan per say... he'll go to a movie with me and enjoy it but that's about it... he never watched the whole story that was Babylon 5... and it still got him where he lives... in the last show. JMS... now there is a man who can write a "story"...

Unfortunately when it came time to start working on Crusade... and he had a lot of good ideas... I listened to him speak about it.... TNT wanted exactly the type of script/show you are talking about. JMS chose NOT to bow to their wishes, with the result that what could have turned into a good show has no home. I admire the man all the more for sticking to his convictions though... that is one of the most important things in life to me... gets one in trouble sometimes... but hey... http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif

Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek really started it for me early in life... William Shatner is no where near the actor Patrick Stewart is, but I cut my Sci-Fi teeth on Outer Limits and Star Trek TOS... I have all the TOS episodes on video and treasure them all...
The Next Generation, I took a little while to warm up to... I was one of those who couldn't quite believe another Star Trek could beat the first one... I was wrong...

I watch Earth: Final Conflict too now... I have a wonderful email I sent to Majel Barrett-Roddenberry...and her response to it. One of my treasures... http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif

Following is the email as I sent it to her:


Hello, Ms. Roddenberry,

I live in Calgary, Alberta and as such was treated to the Season Two opener on Sat. Sept 26 on a local channel. May I say that I was "astounded" and truly believe that if the "powers that be" allow this show to run it's course, I will be signed on for the duration, and it will be a fantastic adventure! I am an ardent fan of Babylon 5, and because of that show have become a little "shy" about allowing myself to get involved in new shows that come out every year. The reason for this being that I feel I had to walk through hell and fire to see B5, the Canadian channels are only now picking it up (when it is essentially over) and the acquistion of the show by TNT, threw me into such a turmoil... I will never allow that to happen again. The end result being, my purchase of a satelitte dish in essence "just " so I could see B5. Luckily there are other things my husband appreciates receiving on the dish as well... http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif I'm telling you all this because you mentioned not wanting to follow as tight an arc as B5 story wise, I think this may not necessarily be a bad thing... in case one does miss a few episodes due to the whim of network "brains", one will not have lost the meaning of the whole show. I watched all last year's episodes, even though I had to dodge a mid season dropping of the show on the local channel, I am fortunate enough to receive it through Spokane as well. And on satelitte. I found myself becoming very interested in the show... but held back by the fear that it would not be renewed... let me say that I was ecstatic to hear that it had been and feel that I can now allow myself to become a little more involved.

Gene Roddenberry's original Star Trek series had a lot to do with my love of science fiction, I was a child when it first ran and was amazed by all the things that the show presented and was sure that it must somehow all be possible... it's only when one grows up that such "wonder" becomes lost. I am in the true sense "a sci-fi" nut and have people like Gene to thank for that bit of "wonder" in my adult life. I also watched and continue to do so, STNG, Deep Space Nine and Voyager... and yes I love the X-Files as well!! As with all things though life has changed a great deal for the child who used to sit and watch "The Outer Limits" and was absolutely SURE someone had taken over the television!

Thank-you for bringing this wonderful show to TV for everyone to enjoy and I wish you all the success in the world with it!

[This message has been edited by Dreambird (edited November 21, 1999).]

The Lord of all Things Inane
November 11th, 2010, 04:05 PM
One thing that has always fascinated me about Hollywood is the seeming obliviousness that writers et al have about even the most basic scientific principles.

As one startlingly bad example, the prosecution calls Wink of An Eye, from the original Star Trek series.

Scenario: the planet Scalos has sent out a distress call that was intercepted by the Enterprise. Being 23d century Boy Scouts, the ship zips across space, the usual landing party beams down (sidebar: WHY did the landing party always include the ship's top officers?). A crew member dips his finger into a fountain to taste the water and vanishes.

Somewhat unsettled, Kirk et al beam back up, and whilst sipping on decaf polluted by the Scalosian water. Kirk also vanishes - or so it seems.

In reality, you see, he has been accelerated by the properties of the Scalosian water, and is moving so fast that he has become invisible to the rest of the crew, so fast that the human eye can't register it (fast enough to step aside and avoid a phaser blast travelling at the speed of light, as one of the Scalosians aboard the ship demonstrated).

How fast is that? Well, so as not to get TOO ludicrous, let's estimate 1000 times normal. So, whereas we walk at about 2-3 MPH, Kirk et al are zipping along in excess of 2000 MPH. Hollywood science time.

Ever stick your head out a car window at 60MPH? Imagine sticking it out the window of an SR-71 Blackbird at maximum speed, and you get some idea of the first BIG problem: air friction. He's trudging along at ten times the terminal velocity of a human body in freefall. How does he manage to breathe when his face is exposed to a 2000-MPH wind? And, for that matter, why doesn't the friction just incinerate him?

Next problem: the human body is physically incapable of sustaining itself at a flat-out run for more than a brief time, yet his body is expending the energy needed to maintain almost Mach 3. That Scalosian water is one helluva vitamin shot!

Main problem: Kirk is blasting around the enterprise at 2 KMPH and comes to a corner in a corridor. What is the kinetic energy of a 180-pound body travelling at that speed? Does Kirk turn the corner, or does he far more likely continue in a straight line and go through the wall like a ticket punch? Then what? He either purees himself on the first really strong structural member, or penetrates the hull and becomes a projectile leaving the Enterprise for deep space.

Not all ST episodes are this glaringly bad, but it does serve to demonstrate how vacuous Hollywood screenwriters are when it comes to basic science.

The floor is now open for other examples of wonderfully inept "science" on the tube and the screen.

Dang, it's fun to nitpick!

[This message has been edited by DoctorDoom (edited November 18, 1999).]

That's fudging funny!
How about the old Super Man, he just stands there with his hands on his hips while the bad guys shoot round after round at him. Then, when the bad guys are out of ammunition, one of them throws the gun at Super Man, who dodges like a kid dodging a flicked booger.