Author Topic: Non-science  (Read 1795 times)

Steph

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Non-science
« on: December 02, 2018, 08:47:03 pm »
I know we had a thread about this a while ago, but I can't find it. I was triggered into this by the bollocks that was in the first Antman film continuing into the second.

Premise: suit what shrinks man but leaves him with the same mass. That means an invisibly small creature that can slap people around. Same mass.

Development of premise: suit can be 'dilithium crystal polarity reversed' so that said tiny hero can become a huge giant. Who appears to have rather a lot more mass than a human being, or even a large building. Not same mass.

Oops.
Mae angen arnaf i byw, a fe fydda'i

JennyB

  • Old enough to know better
Re: Non-science
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2018, 11:49:15 am »
Ant size and human mass would  slice through carpet. Human size and ant mass would be an interesting superhero  concept. Angel of the Mountains.
Jennifer - walker of hills



Re: Non-science
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2018, 11:59:30 am »
Does the area around him get amazingly cold as he gains mass ?
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

mattc

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Re: Non-science
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2018, 12:40:39 pm »
... and eventually you get to:



Particle Man

They Might Be Giants

Particle man, particle man
Doing the things a particle can
What's he like? It's not important
Particle man

Is he a dot, or is he a speck?
When he's underwater does he get wet?
Or does the water get him instead?
Nobody knows, Particle man

Triangle man, Triangle man
Triangle man hates particle man
They have a fight, Triangle wins
Triangle man

Universe man, Universe man
Size of the entire universe man
Usually kind to smaller man
Universe man

He's got a watch with a minute hand,
Millennium hand and an eon hand
When they meet it's a happy land
Powerful man, universe man

Person man, person man
Hit on the head with a frying pan
Lives his life in a garbage can
Person man

Is he depressed or is he a mess?
Does he feel totally worthless?
Who came up with person man?
Degraded man, person man

Triangle man, triangle man
Triangle man hates person man
They have a fight, triangle wins
Triangle man

Songwriters: JOHN FLANSBURGH,JOHN LINNELL,JOHN C. FLANSBURGH,JOHN S. LINNELL

© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

T42

  • Tea tank
Re: Non-science
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2018, 01:14:54 pm »
I know we had a thread about this a while ago, but I can't find it. I was triggered into this by the bollocks that was in the first Antman film continuing into the second.

Premise: suit what shrinks man but leaves him with the same mass. That means an invisibly small creature that can slap people around. Same mass.

Development of premise: suit can be 'dilithium crystal polarity reversed' so that said tiny hero can become a huge giant. Who appears to have rather a lot more mass than a human being, or even a large building. Not same mass.

Oops.

It all depends what kind of biscuit you eat.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: Non-science
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2018, 08:30:08 am »
If you're really fretting about that kind of thing, you can resolve your problems by not watching that sort of shit.

T42

  • Tea tank
Re: Non-science
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2018, 09:09:00 am »
You just have to flick your tolerance toggle from SF to Fairy Tale, then all is well.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: Non-science
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2018, 11:36:50 am »
Isn't that why it's called Science Fiction?
Those wonderful norks are never far from my thoughts, oh yeah!

Re: Non-science
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2018, 12:14:59 pm »
Isn't that why it's called Science Fiction?

Don't be silly.  You'll have talking animals next at that rate.

Steph

  • Fast. Fast and bulbous. But fluffy.
Re: Non-science
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2019, 09:45:54 pm »
Isn't that why it's called Science Fiction?

Um, not by SF fans.
Mae angen arnaf i byw, a fe fydda'i

mattc

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Re: Non-science
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2019, 09:09:24 am »
Isn't that why it's called Science Fiction?

Um, not by SF fans.
I guess that is the self-definition of "SF Fans" then - as opposed to those of us who simply enjoy a lot of Science Fiction (or SF, or SF/F, or however it happens to be labelled) :)



Incidentally, I think I finally watched Antman since this thread started - really good film (despite a somewhat dull first half). Sooo much better than most recent screen super-hero stuff  :thumbsup:
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Non-science
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2019, 09:59:38 am »
My son is doing a module on the history of science fiction ("from Mary Shelley to The Matrix") at uni this semester. Discussing it with him, we came to the conclusion that all the best science fiction functions as absurdist/existentialist parable, with a focus on the role of the individual in society. (As I commented to my friend when I saw Hugo Weaving in Waiting For Godot, I kept expecting him to come out with the line: "You hear that, Mr Estragon? That is the sound of inevitability.")

This certainly applies to something like HG Wells' The Time Machine. It's not really a book about time travel, so don't get hung up on the science. The time machine itself is just a MacGuffin.

I haven't seen Ant Man so have no idea what - if anything - it says about the human condition, but I can imagine some kind of Kafka-esque stuff about being super-strong but trapped in a tiny body.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Non-science
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2019, 11:57:24 am »
I like Antman. Of course, it's a ludicrous premise and it's played that way by the leads. He doesn't have to stay the same mass, he could have a Higg's proportionality engine. I just invented that but I think it would work. It's really the only way to operate in the subatomic quantum realm (which is really just an excuse for some freaky CGI). As I've said before, all superheroes are ludicrous, it's only when they take it seriously (hear me DC, hear me) that it gets tedious or they have powers so profound there has to be, without fail, some kind of plot kryptonite. It's the Airwolf* Paradox (trust me, I just invented this too) – they invented a helicopter so awesome that the bad guys never had a chance, so it had to break down every week, it really less Airwolf and more Ernest Borgnine's Guide to Helicopter Repair. And frankly, who didn't want to spend Saturday lunchtime watching Ernest Borgnine fix a helicopter. Admittedly, I wanted to see Airwolf vs Blue Thunder. Still do.

SF that gets too hung up on (current) science gets dull quickly unless it's part of the plot and even then I don't mind liberties. I'm re-reading Alistair Reynold's Revelation Space series at the moment (real books, honestly I have Kindle-atrophied arms) which bounds the universe in relativistic travel, but even then the several kilometre long Ultra spaceships manage 99% of the speed light. I think that would take a fair bit of energy (but the get-out clause is the secret technology in the Conjoiner engines). The trick is to make even the implausible sound plausible. In my one-day-to-published (still working on that) SF opus I made some kludge involve complex maths and mutable reference frames. Utter scientific bilge of course, but if you're waiting for a bus to the other side of the galaxy, you're not going to get there any time soon.

*children, to Google you go.
!nataS pihsroW

mattc

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Re: Non-science
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2019, 12:17:38 pm »
See also: Infinite Improbability Drive
Has never ridden RAAM
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No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

T42

  • Tea tank
Re: Non-science
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2019, 01:15:32 pm »
The trick is to make even the implausible sound plausible.

Hah!  I once hung an SF short story on the true solution to a set of equations being linear instead of a point as the hero had thought, so that instead of ending up at just one well-defined spot he could be at any point of a potentially infinite set and royally screwed because getting back relied on the same equations.  Apart from the equations being fictional the idea of a linear solution was mathematically sound but the editor made the prim comment "any science involved has to be plausible" and the FOAD I expressed in return terminated the relationship.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Non-science
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2019, 01:45:30 pm »
My take on it is that if you're doing hard science fiction you're allowed one completely implausible scientific McGuffin, and everything else should follow from that.

If you're doing superhero nonsense, just follow the Rule Of Cool.  Generally works better when played for laughs, because if you take it too seriously the ludicrosity starts to matter.

Applying scientific principles to superpowers rarely ends well.  Not having the required secondary powers makes for boring stories - what good is Superman's strength if everyday materials behave plausibly?  Embracing and exploring them can sometimes work (HT to Stephen Gould's Jumper series, which takes the teleportation McGuffin and ends up demonstrating that the real superpower is the ability to make the arbitrary changes in momentum required to not immediately splat into a wall when teleporting between different latitudes).

Fantasy stories in worlds full of technology that's indistinguishable from magic aren't science fiction, and that's okay.  I like a good space opera as much as anyone.


I haven't seen much Airwolf (unless every episode involved rescuing a kidnap victim from some bad guys inexplicably equipped with a fleet of Vietnam-era Hueys), but it seemed to avoid the Knightrider problem of rubbing up against problems that simply couldn't be solved by a sufficiently well-equipped vehicle.  Give me MacGyver any day.  There's nothing you can't solve with a SAK a roll of duct tape and a mullet.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Non-science
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2019, 02:04:33 pm »
...
I haven't seen much Airwolf (unless every episode involved rescuing a kidnap victim from some bad guys inexplicably equipped with a fleet of Vietnam-era Hueys), but it seemed to avoid the Knightrider problem of rubbing up against problems that simply couldn't be solved by a sufficiently well-equipped vehicle.  Give me MacGyver any day.  There's nothing you can't solve with a SAK a roll of duct tape and a mullet.

I think that was every Airwolf episode, spiced up by the constant Borgtenance. That said, if you can't inflict a scratch with a gun that fires 70 rounds/second, you've obviously attended the A Team Academy of Advanced Riflery (this alone convinced an entire generation of American school children that you could fire an automatic rifle at someone and only cause a car to flip and roll in slow motion).

The best thing about MacGyver was that it made the point of being anti-guns. Practically every other US TV show to this day is completely gun-focused. If there's a problem, it'll be solved by the almighty firearm.
!nataS pihsroW

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Non-science
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2019, 02:08:25 pm »
Yes.  I particularly liked the one where Mac bodged a revolver to use as a spanner in order to avert an unclear reactor meltdown by shrewd application of righty-tighty tactics.  It's a classier flavour of Saturday afternoon nonsense, right up there with Bruce Willis using his recently acquired machine gun[1] as a climbing rope.


[1] Ho ho ho.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

T42

  • Tea tank
Re: Non-science
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2019, 02:35:54 pm »
(HT to Stephen Gould's Jumper series, which takes the teleportation McGuffin and ends up demonstrating that the real superpower is the ability to make the arbitrary changes in momentum required to not immediately splat into a wall when teleporting between different latitudes).

Time travel is even more interesting, since apart from the momentum thing (due to motion of Earth) there's potential for not just going splat into a wall but for merging with a solid object. Mere merging, meltdown, chemical boom or nuclear boom?
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: Non-science
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2019, 03:04:48 pm »
Yes.  I particularly liked the one where Mac bodged a revolver to use as a spanner in order to avert an unclear reactor meltdown by shrewd application of righty-tighty tactics.  It's a classier flavour of Saturday afternoon nonsense, right up there with Bruce Willis using his recently acquired machine gun[1] as a climbing rope.


[1] Ho ho ho.

I never watched much MacGyver (and most of what I did would have been in the terrible German dub), but I can still vividly remember that revolver/spanner scene.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Non-science
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2019, 08:42:19 pm »
(HT to Stephen Gould's Jumper series, which takes the teleportation McGuffin and ends up demonstrating that the real superpower is the ability to make the arbitrary changes in momentum required to not immediately splat into a wall when teleporting between different latitudes).

Time travel is even more interesting, since apart from the momentum thing (due to motion of Earth) there's potential for not just going splat into a wall but for merging with a solid object. Mere merging, meltdown, chemical boom or nuclear boom?

Possibly that's why we've seen no time travellers, they pop-out somewhere in space and think (very briefly) 'oh shit, we should have accounted for orbital mechanics...'

I've been quite enjoying Travellers on Netflix*, where they basically time travel their consciousness into the '21st' to take over someone who's about to die. They're under the guidance of an omnipotent AI called the Director (they're almost never ever called Andrew or Jennifer) to correct the mistakes that led to the usual future dystopia where everyone sounds like they might be vegan. It might actually be better than my description. For some reason, despite claiming to be set in Seattle, it was clearly and obviously filmed in Vancouver. They'd just occasional project a map of Seattle or show random scenes with the Space Needle in them, then switch to Stanley Park and the Burrard Inlet.

I was thinking back through all 48 kilobytes of my memory for American TV shows that didn't involve guns, I think I only came up (possibly) Pointman. He was basically a former banker who'd done time (I know, but who says TV has to be plausible) and decided he'd go good, who decides to right the wrongs of his previous life by constantly doing good deeds (usually involving ladies with big, big perms, like lightning-struck poodles). He defeated the bad guys by simply being suave and generally awesome. I realise this seems like the sort of TV series that exists only in my head, but I googled and it existed in the 90s.

*ian's enjoyment-related series cancellation in 3,2,1... and there she goes.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: Non-science
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2019, 10:00:51 pm »
I've been working my way through Burn Notice recently, and one of the things I like about it is that the super-spy protagonist goes out of his way to avoid killing people, or even shooting them, even if in a typical episode lots of inanimate objects go boom.

mattc

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Re: Non-science
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2019, 08:34:15 am »
Surely the A-Team deserve a mention in this category - they would blow-up entire vehicles without harming anyone, and spray 1000s of rounds of ammo around without a single shot landing (AK47 as water-cannon). Then deck people with manly right-hooks.

(Not to mention the farm-shed fettling which dovetails into this thread rather nicely ...)

And it was watched by almost as many Brits as Baywatch.
Has never ridden RAAM
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No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Non-science
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2019, 08:50:06 am »
They’ve been mentioned!
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

mattc

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Re: Non-science
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2019, 08:58:43 am »
<scans down ... >

Whoops - oh yeah. Soz Ian.
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles