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9 Laws of Physics That Don't Apply in Hollywood 807

Posted by Hemos
from the relativity-also-out dept.
Ant writes "Neatorama lists nine laws of physics that don't apply in Hollywood (movies and television/TV shows). In general, Hollywood filmmakers follow the laws of physics because they have no other choice. It's just when they cheat with special effects that people seem to forget how the world really works..."
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9 Laws of Physics That Don't Apply in Hollywood

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:46PM (#18250888)
    AKA. Mythbusters.

    The "Hollywood special" from a few moths back.

  • by yohanes (644299) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:47PM (#18250908) Homepage Journal
    It seems that we have discussed this kind of things so many times. Hollywood are not meant to learn about real world. It is about entertainment.
    • by SengirV (203400) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:19PM (#18251448)
      Which is why it's pure comedy gold when they talk about politics.
    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:26PM (#18251576) Homepage Journal

      Yes and no. There has to be a willing suspension of disbelief, and frequently Hollywood (and television) assumes that the number of people in the viewership of a particular program is so low it quite happily removes all semblance of reality for that "minority" to the point, not really caring that the entire movie looks utterly ridiculous as a result for that group. What's bizarre to me is how rarely it's necessary for the plot or understandability of the end story for them to do that.

      It would probably serve the plot well for quite a few films if a normal car's cruise control allowed the car to drive unmonitored, or if newspapers talked and responded to spoken database queries. They don't do either because almost the entire audience knows that there is too large a gap between reality and fiction for those specific examples. But if it involves computers, explosions and weapons, gravity, or even breaking glass, anything goes... Hell, sometimes if it's something that everyone knows today is ridiculous but once upon a time was a black-art, they'll get away with it because it's a cliche. Don't forget to hang up the telephone before they're able to trace the call!

      It's worse when so-often the inaccuracies are basicly a Deus Ex Machina to get the hero out of a problem. If Chloe wasn't able to trace the call through the binary, Jack wouldn't know the terrorist's address, and so wouldn't be able to cross Los Angelas in twenty minutes at mid-day to prevent them from using the code they downloaded from the satellite to their PDAs to activate the chemical weapons.

    • by Jorgandar (450573) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @02:17PM (#18252458)
      Imagine how short movies would be if they all followed the laws of physics...Hero fires a handgun at enemy, ducks under a table, gets shot at, runs and jumps off a ledge to the ground below, twists an ankle because the fall was about 5 feet, limps away, and gets killed by gunfire. End of movie.
    • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @02:52PM (#18253068) Journal
      I have to admit, if Hollywood was realistic and didn't have sound in space it would make sci-fi action films pretty dull. It would just have a lot of background music so I let them off on that one.

      BTW, "2001, A Space Odyssey" was true to the no sound in space law and used it to dramatic effect. All you heard was the dull whir of systems in the pods or the astronaut's breathing.
  • Intuitor (Score:5, Informative)

    by imaginaryelf (862886) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:48PM (#18250930)
    I've always enjoyed intuitor dissect movie physics for some of the more popular movies.

    http://www.intuitor.com/moviephysics/ [intuitor.com]
  • Outerspace is Cold (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Absolut187 (816431) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:48PM (#18250946) Homepage
    In Mission to Mars the spaceship is constantly leaking fluid into space. The fluid promptly freezes because, as we all know, outerspace is really, really cold.

    • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmail.cFREEBSDom minus bsd> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:55PM (#18251068) Homepage Journal

      The fluid promptly freezes because, as we all know, outerspace is really, really cold.

      That one bugged me about a recent Battlestar Galactica, as well. Inside the room, the characters were freezing because the air was leaking away. (Thus cooling the room.) I can accept that. But once they're blasted into space? Not a chance of freezing. No air for cooling == no loss of heat. (Actually, you can still lose it slowly through black-body radiation, but that's another topic.) Human skin is pretty good at holding pressure, so the big things are:

      - Don't hold your breath (unnecessary internal pressure)
      - Close your eyes (they're more susceptable to decompression)

      See the research into the Space Activity Suit [wikipedia.org] for more info.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Viol8 (599362)
        I often wondered whether if you were in a vacuum you might even overheat? Since theres no air convection taking heat away from your body and any sweat would immediately vapourise as it came out your pores so it wouldn't have a chance to spread over your skin and cool you.
        • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmail.cFREEBSDom minus bsd> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:07PM (#18251236) Homepage Journal

          Since theres no air convection taking heat away from your body and any sweat would immediately vapourise as it came out your pores so it wouldn't have a chance to spread over your skin and cool you.

          When you sweat, the fluids come from inside your body. Since they're already heated, they will carry away some of the heat when they vaporize. So you'd probably die of other causes long before you overheated.

          In the Space Shuttle, however, the bay doors are opened for heat rejection when in flight. Unlike the "cold" problem we see in Star Trek whenever they lose power (e.g. TNG: Booby Trap), they're far more likely to overheat due to the heat rejection systems being inoperable. (Presumably, a ship like the Enterprise would have a circulatory system that would pump heat from the inside of the ship to the outer skin, where it would be rejected as black body radiation.)
          • by Spazmania (174582) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:43PM (#18251882) Homepage
            Actually, sweat works because the evaporation process is endothermic. When water turns from liquid to gas it consumes heat. That's why you can cool down to 98.6F even when its 105F outside. That's also why a room with a "cool mist" humidifier consisting of a fan and a sponge-like filter will cool down several degrees.
        • by soft_guy (534437) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @02:18PM (#18252482)

          I often wondered whether if you were in a vacuum you might even overheat?
          I'd be more worried about not being able to breathe.
      • by Shooter6947 (148693) <{ten.sosenrab.op3c} {ta} {700senrabj}> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:53PM (#18252062) Homepage
        Wrong. As you sit in front of your computer, you exchange heat with your environment in three ways simultaneously: (1) conduction, (2) convection, (3) radiation.

        The part you are referring to is heat transfer mechanism (1), conduction, as your body heats cooler air molecules around you. Mechanism (2), as occurs when those heated air molecules rise toward the top of the room making room for cooler ones, also requires air.

        However, mechanism (3), the most effective of the three, does not require any medium at all. You, like all baryonic matter, emit electromagnetic radiation with frequencies and intensities as described by blackbody radiation, dependent on temperature. An object twice as hot gives of 16 times as much heat in radiation per unit time.

        Normally, when sitting in front of your computer, you are radiating like mad, and so losing heat. However, so are the walls of your apartment. Those walls, being nearly the same temperature as you are, heat you to a large degree, making up for the heat that you are losing to radiation. Hence if, on a cold night, you are walking down a hallway in which one wall has a fireplace behind it, you immediately notice how warm the wall is without coming anywhere near it.

        Considering that the "walls" in space are the 2.73K cosmic microwave background radiation, and that a person's temperature is more like 300K, you would radiate 10^8 times more energy than your receive. You'd freeze in a hurry.

        Now, if there's a star heating you from one side, this can partially make up the difference. You still get the one-side-super-hot and one-side-super-cold problem, then, like the surface of Earth's moon writ small.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AJWM (19027)
        No air for cooling == no loss of heat.

        Two words: evaporative cooling.

        That's how the Space Activity Suit keeps you from overheating while working against its resistance.
    • by xtracto (837672) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:59PM (#18251122) Journal
      Something which is not really "physics" but I found interesting is about Suppressors:

      1. They are called Sound Suppressors [wikipedia.org]not "silencers". They do not "silence" the sound just diminish it.
      2. They do not really suppress the sound the way movies put it (I am looking at you Mr. Bauer).

      Motion pictures have produced the common misconception that sound suppressors ("silencers") completely silence the weapon's sound, or reduce it to a quiet whistling sound, which is in most cases very far from the truth. In fact, the emergent noise can still be heard from a fairly large distance. The quiet whistling sound associated with silencers is more attributable to the noise made by air guns
      3. (And the most interesting for me) They are good just for a small number of shots (Yeah, again looking at you Mr. Bauer)

      Very effective suppressors either involve a large total suppressor volume, a moderately large volume plus many baffles, or wipes. It is possible to design a very small and compact suppressor with wipes which effectively silences a pistol; these suppressors have a lifetime of as few as 4-5 shots and typically no more than a few magazines of ammunition. Larger wipeless (baffle only) pistol or rifle suppressors may be nearly as effective for long lifetimes (hundreds or thousands of shots) but are relatively bulky, clumsy, and heavy.
      • silencers (Score:3, Informative)

        by The Fun Guy (21791)
        If you can't kill him with five shots, then you shouldn't be doing the job in the first place.

        Don't forget that you want to use a lower grain count in your rounds, to reduce muzzle velocity. The last thing you need is the "pop" of a supersonic bullet giving you away. To compensate for the reduced muzzle velocity, use a bigger caliber to get the same stopping power.

        So: large caliber, reduced power round, flash/sound suppressor on the barrel.
      • by good soldier svejk (571730) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @02:20PM (#18252514)
        Silent shotgun shells [travellercentral.com] are much more effective and economical than noise suppressors. Not so good for sneaking up on people in crowds I suppose, but they are very effective (quieter than the mechanical noise of the action) and add no limitations to manually operated shotguns.

        I would add that the author of TFA doesn't understand the physics of hand to hand combat very well. It is true that targets will not fly accross the room when kicked. In fact the better targetted the kick the less they will recoil. However, when kicking you are accelerating much of your body (hip, leg, foot) toward the target. The reaction has to overcome this momentum. Furthermore, if you use orthodox technique you have a connection to the ground specifcally designed to transfer the reaction through my musculo-skeletal structure into the earth (the emphasis on this base varies from style to style, but it always exists). In movies people are always jump kicking, but in real life that is of limited utility. You don't want to lose that connection to the ground unless absolutely necessary.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        They are called Sound Suppressors not "silencers". They do not "silence" the sound just diminish it.

        Yeah, and they're called "automobiles" not "cars." The term "silencer" may not be as precise as you like but it is just as valid a term as "suppressor."

        They do not really suppress the sound the way movies put it (I am looking at you Mr. Bauer).

        There are a lot more variables here than you are implying. I have some first hand experience with home-made silencers from my nonstandard youth. A .22 caliber is the most commonly suppressed round historically and used for assassinations. With a dry suppressor made in the basement, a .22 semi-auto will make the typical action noise and you can hear the

    • by i_should_be_working (720372) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:32PM (#18251696)
      So, like you and the two responses above me, I was really skeptical of this "freezing in space" idea. I even told a student that a reference they had cited was wrong in claiming that you would freeze to death in the Sun's corona, the argument being that you wouldn't freeze for the same reason you wouldn't burn: no particles to transport heat.

      But I recently found out, from a colleague over beer, that loss of heat from blackbody radiation is actually much faster than I thought. In the old days, in non-cold places, some people (ancient Egyptions among others) would actually make ice, basically by letting water in a deep, dark place radiate it's heat away. Sure it took hours, and it had to be already pretty cold outside, but considering that the water was also being continually warmed by all the air around it, that's pretty impressive for "only" blackbody radiation.

      It's pretty easy to calculate heat loss. According to this [wikipedia.org], in our 293K atmosphere we lose 95W. In a 2.7K vaccuum this translates to 640W, due to us not getting any energy back from the atmosphere. With an average human body heat capacity of 3470 Joules per Kelvin per Kilo, a 70Kg person will drop to the freezing point from 305K in less than 3 and a half hours.

      Ok, so that's pretty slow. Damn those movies suck.
  • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:49PM (#18250952) Homepage Journal
    True enough, radioactivity isn't contagious. Remove the source of radiation, and with any luck, the body will heal. But certain types of radioactive materials DO glow without phosphorus- which in and of itself is a mildly radioactive material. Remember all of those green glow-in-the-dark mechanical clocks from the 1920s to the 1970s? Radium paint is what made them glow. And since light is in the electromagnetic spectrum- just about anything that glows without a power source is indeed "radioactive" to some extent. (note, this doesn't mean all "glow in the dark" materials, just some).
    • by swschrad (312009) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:56PM (#18251078) Homepage Journal
      radium paint didn't glow because radium did... not in that concentration, or in those colors. the radium was mixed into a heavy coat of standard enamel with a whole bunch of phosphorescent pigments, which glowed.

      until they burned out. old WWII radio dial markings from military gear have a lot of brown markings. they are radium paint with the phosphors all burnt out atomically, like a ghost image on a burned-in computer screen or monitor screen on an ATM. still radioactive and dangerous if ingested.

      radium, polonium, radiocobalt, and other strong alpha emitters will emit a Czerinkon glow of blue when in the presence of hydrogen or water, which may be what you are thinking of. the blue glow is that of ionized hydrogen from the alpha hits, however, and should be thought of as a form of phosphorescence.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Conor (2745)
        You mean Cherenkov radiation? This is not due to ionisation, but instead is the optical equivalent of a sonic boom, caused by particles moving faster than the local speed of light. It causes the blue glow seen in containment ponds of nuclear power stations, but is also produced in air by cosmic rays.
  • by Mark Maughan (763986) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:50PM (#18250978)
    You don't see people's skeleton glow when they are being electrocuted.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by rumkee (677840)
      Thats not true when i was about 10 i was electrocuted and i vividly remember seeing my skeleton, also my hair did stand on end and no i'm not kidding.
  • First, let me preface this by saying that Hollywood is fiction. I think when we see the tanker truck blow up, the Power Rangers jump-kicking someone in the chest, or Neo fly through the air like Superman, we understand it's fiction. It's called "suspension of disbelief." It's what makes movies enjoyable. No one is really going to think that these things happen as regularly (or at all) in real life as they do in the movies.

    That being said:

    Explosions on the battlefield go boom right away, no matter how far away spectators are. Even a small thing, like the crack of a baseball player's bat, is simultaneous with ball contact, unlike at a real game.

    In most instances that come to mind, the director takes care of this problem by zooming you in on the Volcano, shell explosion, or baseball hit. Once you hear the sound at the source, the director usually cuts away to the actors after the sound has arrived. (As can usually be surmised by the ash and dirt flying at the camera.)

    Hollywood always gets this one wrong. On film, thunder doesn't follow lightning (as in real life, because sound is slower); they occur simultaneously.

    To the human ear, they are effectively simultaneous if the lighting crack is close enough to the observer. Considering how LOUD the director usually chooses to make the thunder, I don't think it's that bad of a summation. How about we start worrying why the actors aren't taking shelter?

    And because radioactive things emit light only when they run into phosphor - like the coating on the inner surface of a TV tube - you don't really need to worry.

    This is actually incorrect. Radioactive "things" can emit light through two other methods:

    1. They grow physically hot enough to glow red-hot or white-hot.

    2. They heavily ionize the air around them, creating pretty streaks and rainbows.

    However, the green-glow often seen in movies and cartoons does usually require the presence of phospher.

    So, when you see a gal kick someone across the room, technically, the kicker (or holder of a gun) must fly across the room in the opposite direction - unless she has a back against the wall.

    Or... the kicker could be properly grounded. If the kicker is properly braced against the ground, it's not impossible to send an unbalanced opponent off his feet. The fact that you can pick an opponent up and toss him in a single motion demonstrates that. That's not to say that the exact situation of many fights isn't ridiculous (excuse me, rediculous), but the physics of the situation don't prevent a kicker from delivering a blow hard enough to knock someone off their feet. Perhaps even to the point of sending them flying. (Though it's unlikely that it would be to the point of many kung-fu movies on strings. There's only so much structural capacity in the human body. After that, you start breaking your own bones.)

    Now when they miss their target and don't go flying across the room... :-P

    But in the movies, buses and cars shouldn't be able to jump across gaps in bridges, even if they go heavy on the accelerator.

    Unless, of course, there is some sort of incline for a takeoff (ever notice how the Duke boys always manage to find that conveniently placed incline?) or the second section is lower than the first, thus allowing for the jump to complete depsite the drop in altitude. (As the camera appeared to make the situation in Speed.)

    The problem, though, is that their voices don't change. In reality, if you slow down motion by a factor of two, the frequency of all sounds should drop by an octave.

    Smash cuts don't exist in real-life, either. Yet we don't complain about those. Slow motion is an entirely artistic thing, and is not related to the physics of the situation. At all.

    Pretty much the rest of his arguments

    • I think when we see the tanker truck blow up, the Power Rangers jump-kicking someone in the chest, or Neo fly through the air like Superman, we understand it's fiction. It's called "suspension of disbelief." It's what makes movies enjoyable. No one is really going to think that these things happen as regularly (or at all) in real life as they do in the movies.

      But the power rangers were established as having super powers, and superhero stuff generally gets a pass and sits more in the fantasy realm anyway.

    • Flying kicks (Score:3, Informative)

      by phorm (591458)
      So, when you see a gal kick someone across the room, technically, the kicker (or holder of a gun) must fly across the room in the opposite direction - unless she has a back against the wall.

      Not only that, but it fails to take into effect the masses of the two individuals. Just like I could push, kick, or punch a ball away from me, a person with enough mass can in fact repel a person of smaller mass over a certain distance. Perhaps not across the room and partway through a wall, but most people could alre
  • by hobo sapiens (893427) <ELIOT minus poet> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:51PM (#18251000) Journal
    How about the fact that there is no such thing as a perfect vacuum?

    Hollywood movies suck so much it seems like they violate this one.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) *

      How about the fact that there is no such thing as a perfect vacuum?

      How do you mean? I not aware of too many situations where Hollywood pretends there is?

      For example, Star Trek has something called a "Navigational Deflector". This is a device (sort of a reverse tractor beam) that sweeps ahead of the ship and removes small particles from its path before they cause a catastrophe. Similarly, shows that posit the existence of hyperspace deal with this from the perspective of hyperspace being a shortcut to anothe

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:52PM (#18251024)
    Time is rarely shown as continuous, forward moving, and in real time.

    They are always using edits, skipping stuff and even going backwards and forwards. Really makes it hard to enjoy a film with your sense of reality totally shattered.
  • Umm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geoffspear (692508) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:53PM (#18251034) Homepage
    If you're going to write an article about the laws of physics, shouldn't you actually understand the laws of physics? "Equal and opposite reaction" doesn't mean that when I kick someone and they go flying in one direction, I must go flying in the opposite direction at the same speed, unless I had no momentum toward them before impact. In which case, umm, it would be kind of hard for me to hit them.
    • Re:Umm... (Score:5, Funny)

      by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:57PM (#18251094)

      If you're going to write an article about the laws of physics, shouldn't you actually understand the laws of physics?
      Dude, hello - this is Slashdot? People "knowledgeably" comment on science here all the time without benefit of actually understanding the subject.
  • #4 and #5 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MeanderingMind (884641) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:57PM (#18251092) Homepage Journal
    I've got two complaints about #4.

    1) The point of the Matrix was to bend the laws of physics. It was rather explicit.

    2) The author obviously never watched Bruce Lee in action. If you plant yourself correctly you can send people flying across the room without moving an inch yourself. However, if you're in midair you certainly can't without the mentioned conversion of momentum.

    Also concerning #5.

    1) If it's a hole with level ends on both sides, it is entirely impossible to jump it on car without a ramp or other device to add a vertical component to velocity. However, in the event of a bridge being raised for a boat, the angle can potentially allow a vehicle to "jump" the gap. Is it likely or feasible? Not particularly, but it is possible.

    2) This could have been expanded to include the "Bombs do not drop straight down" category of gravitational violation. A plane flying at high horizontal velocity v over a stationary target is not capable of dropping a bomb without horizontal velocity. Unless it fires the bomb backwards at a relative velocity -v, in which case we can have a semantic argument over whether the bomb is being dropped or fired.
  • Other laws (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:58PM (#18251112) Journal
    Fast paced music doesn't really play when something exciting happens. Not everyone in real life looks like a hollywood actor. If people speak in a foreign language, you don't actually see an English language translation at the bottom of the screen. I tend to be pretty easy going on most non-realism since it is just there to tell a story. If the plot relies on a complete failure to grasp some basic fundamental of physics, (e.g. The Day After Tomorrow), I tend to be a lot more critical.
  • Wile E. Coyote (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kfstark (50638) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:00PM (#18251144) Homepage
    I am a firm believer in the ability to break the law of gravity.

    I was out surfing and paddled into a wave. When I jumped up to my feet, I missed the sweet spot of the wave and ended up on the breaking part instead (ie. not a good location). To this day I swear the wave dropped out from under me followed by the board while I hung there in midair. Misquoting Douglas Adams, "gravity finally looked my way and wondered what the hell I was doing" and down I went. The couple of people who saw it were sure I was surfing a board made by "Acme".

    It was a really bizarre physical sensation I have not been able to adequately explain. (or recreate).

    --Keith
    • Re:Wile E. Coyote (Score:5, Interesting)

      by inviolet (797804) <slashdot@ideasma ... org minus distro> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:37PM (#18251762) Journal

      I was out surfing and paddled into a wave. When I jumped up to my feet, I missed the sweet spot of the wave and ended up on the breaking part instead (ie. not a good location). To this day I swear the wave dropped out from under me followed by the board while I hung there in midair. Misquoting Douglas Adams, "gravity finally looked my way and wondered what the hell I was doing" and down I went. The couple of people who saw it were sure I was surfing a board made by "Acme".

      That's possible: the water could pull the board downward faster than 9.8m/s/s due to surface tension. The board is somewhat 'stuck' to the surface of the water.

      The same effect could explain how the water itself fell faster than 9.8m/s/s: wave action elsewhere created a suction below the water, such that atmospheric pressure above the water pressed down on it (and on the board), adding to the downward accelleration already provided by gravity.

  • by swschrad (312009) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:04PM (#18251188) Homepage Journal
    basically because the western has been out of favor for a long time.

    I refer, of course, to the infamous 250-shot revolver.

    basically, back in the black and white days, nobody EVER reloaded their guns.

    you never saw any recoil, either, but that's because those movies were made when men were MEN and sheep ran scared, and those actors were truly made of steel, riding horses at a full gallop and able to hit a bad guy in the back of the head from 300 yards with a pistol with a four-inch barrel. and their arms never moved when the revolvers and rifles fired.

    and the scenery along the trail repeated itself every 60 yards or so, but then we're not going for the top 2,000,327 movie lies here, are we?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      We used to count the shots. I read somewhere that they were really 30-shooters. Supposedly the blanks loaded were good for 5 shots each. Couldn't get a quick fact check on that, so I have no reference, but I don't recall ever seeing more than that without a scene change. I give the movie wranglers full marks for gun training those horses, though. I ride a lot, and if I ever touched off a shot over my horse's head like that, I'd be in the dirt before I ever got off a second shot.
    • I refer, of course, to the infamous 250-shot revolver.

      basically, back in the black and white days, nobody EVER reloaded their guns.

      Hollywood still does that. But with modern weapons being capable of holding an indeterminate size of clip (as opposed to the standard six-shooter), it's difficult to call them on it. They just throw a few clip ejections into the fray to make it seem like the characters are really reloading.

      You can kind of call them on double-barreled shotguns, but Hollywood has slowly phased those out for pump-action weapons. Of course, those are similarly amusing, but for different reasons. I was just watching an old episode of Sliders the other day where the characters are carrying pump-action shotguns. Every time they cut to a new scene, the characters would re-pump their shotguns. Which was rather amusing considering that they hadn't fired a single round...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by moeinvt (851793)
        "Every time they cut to a new scene, the characters would re-pump their shotguns."

        I friggin HATE that! They do the same thing with lever-action rifles. I guess that could be a "Law of Physics"

        i.e. "When there is a shell in the chamber of a 12 gauge shotgun, and you work the action, the shell is ejected."

        There are plenty of "Laws of Firearms" that Hollywood doesn't obey.

        The fact that they have weapons that never need to be reloaded, pistols that can shoot down aircraft or blow up vehicles, and rounds that
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Cro Magnon (467622)

          Not that it matters, because most of the bad guys can't shoot worth a damn anyway.


          That's one of my peeves. They're always showing the bad guys shooting dozens of rounds at the hero, and they always miss. If I was that bad a shot, I think I'd retire from crime.
  • by Timesprout (579035) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:04PM (#18251200)
    I am becoming more convinced that people watch series like 24 or The Unit and are mistakenly under the impression that they are accurate representations of US capability. Vast computing power at everyones fingertips, satellites retasked at a moments notice for real time video, instant communication anywhere in the world, highly sophisticated gadgets that never fail in the field and of course clairvoyant and all knowing agents. No surprise the US has been so gung-ho lately.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by elrous0 (869638) *
      Scary, but all too true [mediamatters.org].

      Frightening to think that grown adults still think that real life is like a television show or movie. Do they think that 80 lb. girls go around beating the Hell out 200 lb. vampires too? Do they think that groups of 20-somethings working in coffee shops are really able to afford vast New York City lofts? Do they think that there is any way Jack Tripper ISN'T gay?

      -Eric

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:09PM (#18251292)
    1 Law of Computers That Doesn't Apply in Hollywood: Computer passwords cannot always be guessed in 3 tries.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by JFMulder (59706)
      cannot always be guessed in 3 tries.
      Unless you are getting a blowjob. Then all bets are off.
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:09PM (#18251296) Homepage

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    The second one links to eBay, of course.

    Google AdWords needs to be smarter about understanding the content from which it extracts ad targets.

  • Middle C (Score:4, Funny)

    by OhEd (877009) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:15PM (#18251374)
    The article says that the frequency of middle C is 256 Hz. Sorry, no, it's approximately 261.6Hz. Analysis: the article is quite flat.
  • by Lord Bitman (95493) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:19PM (#18251446) Homepage
    I wonder if these people also complain when the camera has an overhead shot, since in real life people always see things at eye level.
    It's a matter of perspective. In a movie, the perspective is mutable. Don't think two asteroids colliding makes a sound? Try living inside an asteroid.
    "Sound doesn't travel through a vacuum!" and "Sound doesn't occur when things happen to objects which are in a vacuum!" are two different and unrelated concepts.
  • by blamanj (253811) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:47PM (#18251968)
    The discussion wouldn't be complete without a reference to the Cartoon Laws of Physics [dartmouth.edu].
  • by caluml (551744) <slashdot.spamgoeshere@calum@org> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:58PM (#18252156) Homepage
    Do they have car tyres squealing everywhere, even on sand at 5mph?
  • by FR007 (843341) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @04:40PM (#18254502)
    I don't know about anyone one else, but as a martial artist I see a serious problem with #4. While movies do exagerate how far someone will get thrown, the kicker definitely doesn't bounce off and go flying in the opposite direction. While I havent kicked someone across the room, ive definitely kicked someone into the air at least a few feet, and I wasnt thrown backwards. The way I see it, as long as you're rooted to the ground by one foot, the opposing force is tranferred along that leg and into the ground. For a jump kick, the impact just slows you down, you dont stop spinning mid-air and suddenly start flying back across the room.
  • by SnarfQuest (469614) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @05:40PM (#18255230)
    1. You can enlarge the eye of someone in a photo, or a video, and get a good full-size image of what they are looking at.

    2. If you find a single hair at a crime scene, it always will be from one the criminals, not any of the hundreds of other people who walked through the place recently.

    3. If you run out of bullets, you are requirecd to throw your gun at your foe. You will also never be able to hit him with it.

    4. Searching for a fingerprint in a computer database requires that every fingerprint in that database be displayed on your terminal. Also, when trying to break a password, you must display every single password being tried.
  • by cout (4249) <curlypaul924@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @11:08PM (#18258232) Homepage
    "So, when you see a gal kick someone across the room, technically, the kicker (or holder of a gun) must fly across the room in the opposite direction - unless she has a back against the wall."

    I think the author is confusing conservation of energy with conservation of momentum. In an elastic collision, in which energy is conserved, two people of equal mass will head in opposite directions. In reality, both the kicker and the kickee will absorb some of the energy of the kick, thus resulting in an inelastic collsion.

    "For instance, in space the hero shouldn't be able to shout out instructions to the other astronauts from a spot several yards away."

    That's what radio transmitters are for, and if you're wearing your helmet, you probably have a radio.

    Explosions are what are particularly interesting. You will hear something as particles from the explosion collide with the hull of your ship, but it probably won't sound like an explosion.
  • by Derling Whirvish (636322) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @11:31PM (#18258368) Journal
    Don't forget that streets at night are always wet. Always. Even in lengthy tunnels where no rain can get (i.e. Back to the Future Part II).

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