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(NPR)   Neil DeGrasse Tyson explains the "science" of summer science fiction movies   (npr.org) divider line 55
    More: Amusing, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Hayden Planetarium, science fiction film, panspermia, summer, mollusks, Morning Edition, Prometheus  
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4033 clicks; posted to Geek » on 15 Jun 2012 at 12:18 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-15 09:54:24 AM
To be fair, Thor IS magic as is the Uru hammer...
 
2012-06-15 10:00:37 AM
Oh, Neil DeGrasse Tyson was the unnamed astrophysicist that Morning Edition was advertising "in the next hour". If I had known that I would have left the radio on when I got in to work.

Geez NPR, go ahead and name drop forchrissakes; we're not idiots. We know who NDGT is.
 
2012-06-15 10:11:43 AM

hubiestubert: To be fair, Thor IS magic as is the Uru hammer...


Nuh-uh. It's Asgardian technology.
 
2012-06-15 11:17:57 AM

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: Oh, Neil DeGrasse Tyson was the unnamed astrophysicist that Morning Edition was advertising "in the next hour". If I had known that I would have left the radio on when I got in to work.

Geez NPR, go ahead and name drop forchrissakes; we're not idiots. We know who NDGT is.


If only there were some way for you to go back and hear the story you missed.
 
2012-06-15 11:32:29 AM
There were actually three inconsistencies in Prometheus relating to their distance from Earth.

1. Introductory scroll gives a distance of approximately 35 light years, which is basically "down the street" in our galactic neighborhood;

2. Charlize Theron states we are out "half a billion miles" which is still within our solar system,

3. Logan Marshall-Green, the guy archaeologist, states that the combination of stars found in the various ancient depictions were too far away to be seen by their artists; in fact a combination of 5 stars only 35 light years away is practically right on top of us and should be readily visible to the naked eye.

My only real criticism of the movie. I know its fantasy, but I hate when my sci fi gets sloppy about the basics.
 
2012-06-15 11:44:02 AM

gilgigamesh: There were actually three inconsistencies in Prometheus relating to their distance from Earth.

1. Introductory scroll gives a distance of approximately 35 light years, which is basically "down the street" in our galactic neighborhood;

2. Charlize Theron states we are out "half a billion miles" which is still within our solar system,

3. Logan Marshall-Green, the guy archaeologist, states that the combination of stars found in the various ancient depictions were too far away to be seen by their artists; in fact a combination of 5 stars only 35 light years away is practically right on top of us and should be readily visible to the naked eye.

My only real criticism of the movie. I know its fantasy, but I hate when my sci fi gets sloppy about the basics.


I was just annoyed by the lack of simple procedural details. No base camp. No airlocks. Isolation lab is only accessible from within the ship, but can be jettisoned? Who the heck does an archeological dig out of a truck? No habitat support on site in a toxic atmosphere? Setting a ship the size of a capitol building, with no aerodynamics to speak of, and your only way home, down the gravity well? With the head of the company inside? Physical security for the whole ship is essentially dropping a ramp down like a pick up? Who the Hells decided "Let's do an archeological dig on a planet with huge storms, and let's not set up any emergency procedures except for RUN HARDER!"? How the heck were they supposed to even identify what might be hazardous if the only lab facilities were in the ship? No holding area, no identification procedures, no staging of supplies on site? First year Geology students could set up a better dig...
 
2012-06-15 11:56:38 AM

gilgigamesh: My only real criticism of the movie. I know its fantasy, but I hate when my sci fi gets sloppy about the basics.


Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale

/sorry for ruining your life
 
2012-06-15 11:57:49 AM

hubiestubert:
I was just annoyed by the lack of simple procedural details. No base camp. No airlocks. Isolation lab is only accessible from within the ship, but can be jettisoned? Who the heck does an archeological dig out of a truck? No habitat support on site in a toxic atmosphere? Setting a ship the size of a capitol building, with no aerodynamics to speak of, and your only way home, down the gravity well? With the head of the company inside? Physical security for the whole ship is essentially dropping a ramp down like a pick up? Who the Hells decided "Let's do an archeological dig on a planet with huge storms, and let's not set up any emergency procedures except for RUN HARDER!"? How the heck were they supposed to even identify what might be hazardous if the only lab facilities were in the ship? No holding area, no identification procedures, no staging of supplies on site? First year Geology students could set up a better dig...


I guess you could chalk it all up to stupidity, but yeah, good point.

To that end, I thought the whole notion of landing what is effectively a mothership on a world you know absolutely nothing about was a big problem. Wouldn't it have made more sense to keep that ship in the relative safety of orbit and send down a mobile lab, given you have no idea what you are landing into? Think of all the problems they would have avoided with that one simple precaution.

But then, the ship was an integral part of the story, and landing on the planet drove the rest of the plot, so they kind of had to. I don't know, it's a bit lazy.
 
2012-06-15 12:02:01 PM

gilgigamesh: Wouldn't it have made more sense to keep that ship in the relative safety of orbit and send down a mobile lab, given you have no idea what you are landing into? Think of all the problems they would have avoided with that one simple precaution.


It worked so well in Alien and Aliens! ;-)
 
2012-06-15 12:03:11 PM
Actually, now that I think about it, the main thing they were trying to accomplish by landing the whole ship was to avoid remaking "Aliens". It would have been basically the same story if there was a mothership in orbit.
 
2012-06-15 12:06:38 PM

Diogenes: gilgigamesh: Wouldn't it have made more sense to keep that ship in the relative safety of orbit and send down a mobile lab, given you have no idea what you are landing into? Think of all the problems they would have avoided with that one simple precaution.

It worked so well in Alien and Aliens! ;-)


Exactly.
 
2012-06-15 12:23:07 PM
When the Engineer ship is coming in at the beginning of the film, it looks like there is already some primitive photosynthetic life going on below. I presumed what the Engineer was doing was injecting his DNA into the environment to kickstart the blooming of more complex life. I haven't really read anything about the film, since I wanted to see it without too many preconceived notions. I will say I found it a little odd that the Engineers appeared to have changed not one bit over the course of at least a couple of billion years, even more so for a species that seems to be so into bioengineering.
 
2012-06-15 12:23:58 PM

gilgigamesh: Actually, now that I think about it, the main thing they were trying to accomplish by landing the whole ship was to avoid remaking "Aliens". It would have been basically the same story if there was a mothership in orbit.


The Nostromo's tug landed, and it was a HUGE drop ship on LV-426 in the first movie. That was a haphazard sort of operation, because they were diverted to the beacon, and were a commercial vessel.

The Sulaco was a military op, but at least they tried to isolate their operations.

The story hinged on knocking the tar out of the Engineer ship back down to the planet, and their only ride home. Considering the size of the Nostromo, and the Sulaco, they could have had a drop ship, and at least pretended that they were trying to maintain some sort of safety net. Drop ship lands, checks things out, they bring the Prometheus to set down. It was just a detail that would have made sense. Weyland sits on the main ship, eventually transfers down to the base camp, the drop ship is still big enough to knock the Engineers ship back down. Or they use the Prometheus to knock it out, but their drop ship is damaged in the crash, and thus they are still forced to boot up the Engineers ship.

It was a sort of lazy plotting. that I expect of Damon Lindelof. He is a guy who likes to hang a lot of stuff and retconn later. Details to hang stuff from he sort of leaves around like dirty laundry, and if it doesn't make sense, that's OK, because he figures that it will be a "mystery" as opposed to being thought of as lazy writing...
 
2012-06-15 12:34:08 PM
 
2012-06-15 12:34:42 PM
Truly, I don't care about the science in summer science fiction movies. This is why I can enjoy Jeff Goldblum hacking alien spaceships with a Mac.
 
2012-06-15 12:35:42 PM
Fact checking here. Didn't Tyson convince Cameron to change clouds, not stars?
 
2012-06-15 12:48:23 PM

thecpt: Fact checking here. Didn't Tyson convince Cameron to change clouds, not stars?


nope, I'm wrong.
 
2012-06-15 12:56:52 PM
As long as the basics are not screwed up, I am fine with anything. Explaining the "science" behind "science-fiction" really wears on me.

Hell, I don't even mind sound in space (something every nerd loves to biatch about, and gush when a movie "gets it right"), especially if it is a battle scene in Star Wars, or Trek. If it bothers you, imagine the sound is what they hear on the ship.
 
2012-06-15 12:57:29 PM
It bothers me that the Daily Show has yet to fix their Globe. It's been months since NDGT told Jon Stewart is was spinning the wrong way.
 
Bf+
2012-06-15 12:59:20 PM
More importantly, Neil deGrasse Tyson. is teaming up with the Wu-Tang Clan for their next album!!
 
2012-06-15 01:00:31 PM
Also, a couple more gripes about gripes:

"All aliens speak English." Can you imagine having to make up some fake sounding language every episode, and not have the protagonists be able to simply interact with another species?

"All main aliens they meet are humanoid". Yes, they are, because human actors are inherently human shaped. It also helps us relate to the charachter, and understand the motivations behind their actions. You just don't get the same power when it is the blob monster of the snot planet.
 
2012-06-15 01:01:21 PM
I haven't seen Prometheus yet so I won't be reading the thread in much detail but The Avengers annoyed me with one bit.

Avengers Spoilers

Why wasn't there a rush of air from the atmosphere out into space at the portal above stark tower and why did he fall back into it after throwing the missile at the mothership? Otherwise I enjoyed The Avengers quite a bit.
 
2012-06-15 01:05:01 PM

Egoy3k: I haven't seen Prometheus yet so I won't be reading the thread in much detail but The Avengers annoyed me with one bit.

Avengers Spoilers

Why wasn't there a rush of air from the atmosphere out into space at the portal above stark tower and why did he fall back into it after throwing the missile at the mothership? Otherwise I enjoyed The Avengers quite a bit.


One could argue that the portal essentially acted as a gravity lens...
 
2012-06-15 01:07:45 PM

hubiestubert: gilgigamesh: There were actually three inconsistencies in Prometheus relating to their distance from Earth.

1. Introductory scroll gives a distance of approximately 35 light years, which is basically "down the street" in our galactic neighborhood;

2. Charlize Theron states we are out "half a billion miles" which is still within our solar system,

3. Logan Marshall-Green, the guy archaeologist, states that the combination of stars found in the various ancient depictions were too far away to be seen by their artists; in fact a combination of 5 stars only 35 light years away is practically right on top of us and should be readily visible to the naked eye.

My only real criticism of the movie. I know its fantasy, but I hate when my sci fi gets sloppy about the basics.

I was just annoyed by the lack of simple procedural details. No base camp. No airlocks. Isolation lab is only accessible from within the ship, but can be jettisoned? Who the heck does an archeological dig out of a truck? No habitat support on site in a toxic atmosphere? Setting a ship the size of a capitol building, with no aerodynamics to speak of, and your only way home, down the gravity well? With the head of the company inside? Physical security for the whole ship is essentially dropping a ramp down like a pick up? Who the Hells decided "Let's do an archeological dig on a planet with huge storms, and let's not set up any emergency procedures except for RUN HARDER!"? How the heck were they supposed to even identify what might be hazardous if the only lab facilities were in the ship? No holding area, no identification procedures, no staging of supplies on site? First year Geology students could set up a better dig...


How the hell does a biologist and a geologist get lost, when they have access to a map for Ghu's sakes just one simple radio call away?

Honestly, that and the biologist not wanting to touch the icky dead body but more than willing to tongue the penis snake...IT MAKES NO SENSE!
 
2012-06-15 01:09:57 PM
farking nerd is ruining my movies!
 
2012-06-15 01:12:34 PM

Bf+: More importantly, Neil deGrasse Tyson. is teaming up with the Wu-Tang Clan for their next album!!


That is pure awesome.
 
2012-06-15 01:12:56 PM

Eternal Virgin: farking nerd is ruining my movies!


And he killed Pluto.
 
2012-06-15 01:16:07 PM
Certain people should be smart enough to realize that some things are allowed to just be entertaining distractions from reality on occasion.
 
2012-06-15 01:18:35 PM

Diogenes: Eternal Virgin: farking nerd is ruining my movies!

And he killed Pluto.


www.floatingpath.com

"Get over it already!"
 
2012-06-15 01:26:45 PM
When shooting fish in a barrel, how powerful of a gun do you need to use?
 
2012-06-15 01:31:01 PM

MadUncleEoin: Certain people should be smart enough to realize that some things are allowed to just be entertaining distractions from reality on occasion.


I woke up to this guy on the radio, and while I do respect his many achievements, he's starting to sound like a smug know-it-all pain in the ass who's finally gotten a taste of fame.
 
2012-06-15 01:33:10 PM
i121.photobucket.com
 
2012-06-15 02:00:47 PM

gunther_bumpass: MadUncleEoin: Certain people should be smart enough to realize that some things are allowed to just be entertaining distractions from reality on occasion.

I woke up to this guy on the radio, and while I do respect his many achievements, he's starting to sound like a smug know-it-all pain in the ass who's finally gotten a taste of fame.


He's always been smug in my mind, do a Google image search for the guy and you'll see enough smuggness to fill a black hole.
 
2012-06-15 02:07:41 PM

Lego_Addict:
He's always been smug in my mind, do a Google image search for the guy and you'll see enough smuggness to fill a black hole.




dude... racial...
 
2012-06-15 02:09:27 PM

Teknowaffle: "All main aliens they meet are humanoid". Yes, they are, because human actors are inherently human shaped. It also helps us relate to the charachter, and understand the motivations behind their actions. You just don't get the same power when it is the blob monster of the snot planet.


I thought Farscape did a good job of ducking that trope, by using Muppets. It made their aliens more, well, alien. Though as you point out that's not always what you want in a story...
 
2012-06-15 02:34:47 PM
 
2012-06-15 02:37:12 PM
I appreciate that when he does these science nitpicks he doesn't go overboard or take it too seriously. I know There's more he could go into, but he just picks fun ones or something most people would understand. I always thought he came across as humble as a true need gets, which is endearing. but all nerds like to get a bit cocky at times, especially if you ask them a question about something they know.
 
2012-06-15 02:41:41 PM

gunther_bumpass: Lego_Addict:
He's always been smug in my mind, do a Google image search for the guy and you'll see enough smuggness to fill a black hole.



dude... racial...


Not my fault his skin color matches that which no light can escape from.......

/it wasn't intended, seriously, I hired a black summer student just last week
 
2012-06-15 02:56:37 PM

gilgigamesh: There were actually three inconsistencies in Prometheus relating to their distance from Earth.

2. Charlize Theron states we are out "half a billion miles" which is still within our solar system,



Couldn't it just be "we are insanely far away"? People are notoriously bad at imagining large numbers so half a billion would be more than enough to drive your point home.

Disclaimer: I still need to see the movie so I don't know the specifics of the situation.
 
2012-06-15 03:16:03 PM
Yay...another scientist insisting on pooping on the popcorn-movie parade. It's summer, let's just have some fun, turn off our brains and enjoy the flippin' air conditioning for a couple of hours.
 
2012-06-15 05:32:35 PM
Do people still give a crap about what this guy thinks?
 
2012-06-15 06:01:31 PM

discgolfguru: [i121.photobucket.com image 600x300]


I had to steal that pic and share it on Facebook.

In return, enjoy a month of TF.
 
2012-06-15 06:28:20 PM

Weidbrewer: Yay...another scientist insisting on pooping on the popcorn-movie parade. It's summer, let's just have some fun, turn off our brains and enjoy the flippin' air conditioning for a couple of hours.


I think that's exactly the point. If you're going to use a number in your movie, CHECK IT. Use 1 of the 100 million dollars (I just used that number without checking it, but I bet I'm closer than they were) you're spending on the movie and pay someone to LOOK IT UP ON GOOGLE. Is typing "100 light years in miles" (or whatever it is in the movie, I haven't seen it and don't want spoilers so I'm avoiding most everything about it) that hard?

If you don't like the answer, don't use the numbers in your movie.
 
2012-06-15 06:29:44 PM

Yotto: Weidbrewer: Yay...another scientist insisting on pooping on the popcorn-movie parade. It's summer, let's just have some fun, turn off our brains and enjoy the flippin' air conditioning for a couple of hours.

...and I quoted the wrong post. I meant to quote:

DerAppie: gilgigamesh: There were actually three inconsistencies in Prometheus relating to their distance from Earth.

2. Charlize Theron states we are out "half a billion miles" which is still within our solar system,



Couldn't it just be "we are insanely far away"? People are notoriously bad at imagining large numbers so half a billion would be more than enough to drive your point home.

Disclaimer: I still need to see the movie so I don't know the specifics of the situation.

 
2012-06-15 07:22:55 PM

Yotto: If you don't like the answer, don't use the numbers in your movie.


That's kind-of how I feel. How hard can it be? Google it or call someone. I actually got consulted once for an episode of Bones because, if you google "Physics Expert," I'm the 3rd link. It was the episode when they were both caught in an elevator with a section of seats and couldn't get out. Uncredited unfortunately, but true.

But even so, you can't really fault The Badass Over Here from commenting. In a sense, it's outreach. Besides that though, he can't help it. Lord knows that I groan when I see utter nonsense wrapped in jargon. If I was a talk-show-physicist, I'd comment too.

Can't see how Neil's comments could've impacted anyone's enjoyment of the movie though.... cheers
 
2012-06-15 07:42:13 PM

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: Geez NPR, go ahead and name drop forchrissakes; we're not idiots. We know who NDGT is.


Some of us would listen to that guy ONLY if he was not named.
 
2012-06-15 07:48:43 PM

PitifulBean: It bothers me that the Daily Show has yet to fix their Globe. It's been months since NDGT told Jon Stewart is was spinning the wrong way.


It's the Daily Show. The world spinning the wrong way is a feature, not a bug.
 
2012-06-15 08:58:32 PM

KiplingKat872: The Physics of Superheros

That is all.


Actually, *this* is all...
 
2012-06-15 10:05:45 PM
Why does Fark keep sucking this guy's cock?
 
2012-06-15 11:56:46 PM
So he had a problem with with her making an offhand comment about being a long ways from earth, but was ok with a ship that clearly was a sub-light drive vessel travelling 34ly from Earth in 26 months? I think he was not really all that serious about picking on that movie's science.
 
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