A bit off topic: Why I’m religious

I know this isn’t my normal thrilling summary of scientific inaccuracies but I’ve seen rather vicious fighting on 9gag posts recently and thought the debate should be settled (at least for any rational minded person), and I’m posting it here because I’m sure my viewership is of greater intelligence than the average 9gag troll.

I study a physical-science type degree. I’m also a Jesus-Freak (a Christian but I don’t want to be compared to some of the Bible-bashing conservatives who give us a bad rep). I don’t have a problem with gay people. I don’t have a problem with people of different faiths (there has to be a grain of truth in any religion that looks at the beauty of the world and declares someone somewhere divine). I try not to drink or party too wildly (occasionally it happens though, as it does for any student).

I believe God spoke the universe into being…13 odd billion years  ago. Today scientists are not sure what caused the Big Bang. They know it happened, but cannot tell us why. I believe God spoke it. Until it can be replicated in a lab under chaotic, random conditions I will continue to believe that.

I believe God spoke life into existence…3.8 billion years ago. Until a scientist can create life from scratch in lab conditions repeatedly, using only the elements of the periodic table I will continue to believe this. I know smart scientist types have created their own virus from scratch, coding the DNA themselves, but they had to use a blank cell as the base, and using what I believe is God-given intelligence to manipulate the world around us is not wrong or unnatural.

I believe humans evolved over millennia parallel to apes from common ancestors…under divine guidance. I know Richard Dawkins has written numerous books to try and disprove this, but I’ve read Origin of Species, and until someone can sufficiently explain how we evolved with such an intricate body (with things such as our eyes) that still suffers greatly and disgustingly from the common cold (which seems counter-evolutionary…I know the cold would have evolved as well, but still) I will continue to believe that.

I believe a man called Jesus existed +- 2000 years ago…and that he was divine and the Son of God. Contemporary Roman and Jewish sources of the time state they had heard of a man called Jesus and that he was a great teacher. They state nothing about his divinity. That part of my belief comes from my personal experiences in life, along with the Bible and testimonies of people who have no reason to lie.

The problem with some anti-religion promoters is that they refuse to accept the testimonies of millions of people who have personally experienced God. While all those testimonial experiences can be explained rationally, I personally think that such hallucinations  on such a grand scale are far too coincidental to be coincidence. There’s no way so many people can experience such similar mass psychosis separated by countries and decades or even centuries.

I believe fully in science and I believe fully in God, and I hold Newton’s 3 laws for macroscopic objects as close to my heart as the 10 commandments. Jesus also never, ever mentioned homosexuality in the Gospels, so this is why I believe persecution of the gay community is so wrong. Jesus came not to shackle but to free. So I just wish next time an anti-religious troll decides to call my beliefs bull they’d hold their tongue, because I hold mine.

Sorry for this serious post, I just had to get it off my chest. If any of the evolutionary stuff is incorrect please do hesitate to drop a comment, I’m always open to correction 🙂

Jeremy

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Science-y stuff: The Avengers

Avengers' Poster

Epic cast, epic movie!

I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to write a post on The Avengers. I would like to say just how awesome this movie was to see. It exceeded my expectations (which weren’t set that high from the sub-standard Thor and average Captain America) by blowing them out the water! And of course having Robert Downey Jr. doesn’t hurt. Man’s too epic in those cocky roles like Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes. AND it had the main chap from The Hurt Locker; the well deserving winner of the 2010 Oscar for Best Picture. AND it had Samuel L. Jackson it it. ‘Nuff said.

Spoiler alert: I do apologise but this cannot be avoided (I’ve done my best). For a comic book movie it does quite well at being scientifically accurate, so I couldn’t find any glaring errors (if you spot one let me know, I’m writing this however many months since its opening weekend) but I did notice a couple of little things (all to do with the flying fortress):

  • Turbine blades: The four enormous turbines that hold the mini-city in the air are plausible (ignoring the blades), especially since the thing is probably nuclear powered anyway. However, in the scene where Iron Man push starts one of the turbines you see that the blades are made out of giant welded and bolted together pieces of metal. Turbines spin at such high speeds that the blades stretch out from all the heat and spinning forces (this process is known as creep). This means the blades scrape against the sides of the turbine causing havoc. In order to avoid this modern blades are made out of single pieces of metal, most made out of one single crystal of metal (it is one big grain of the metal) as this helps greatly to prevent failure. So the turbines in this flying fortress would have almost no chance of lasting for any extended time as the blades would tear apart (check here for more info, but don’t be worried if it seems confusing, I barely understand the basics myself).
  • Engine failure: One of the four turbine engines on the flying fortress fails, leaving the fortress to try and avoid crashing using three. Except it wouldn’t. On a fixed wing aircraft (a conventional plane) losing an engine isn’t too serious, especially on four-engined one like a 747, and even on a two engined plane. The pilot just has to reduce air speed and pootle along looking for the nearest airfield. This is because a plane gets enough lift from its speed which can be maintained by an engine. On a rotorcraft (a helicopter) is relying constantly on its rotors for lift. So if one of the engines failed on the flying fortress I seriously doubt the other three could have keep it aloft long enough for the fourth one to be restarted

As I said I’m sure I left something out so if you spotted anything drop a comment and I’ll probably update the post with your point 🙂

Jeremy

A twofold (and a half) post: Rock of Ages, Lockout & Fast & Furious 5

Before I get into the less boring stuff I’d just like to say I’ve finished my first month of work 😀 Now it’s back to university for me for a well deserved break 😛

I had the privilege to watch Rock of Ages this week, and I had such a blast. I can’t comment on its scientific accuracy because it’s, well, a musical, but let me just say if you like 70’s and 80’s rock music this will keep you entertained for its two hours. I’ve read some reviews on the’net that rate it quite average, but I found it enjoyable so that’s what counts right?

Lockout

Alright, let’s get down to business. I’m a massive (like second Death Star massive) fan of science fiction. I love it; in fact my first career choice is still to be a Space Marine. So it was with great anticipation I went to watch the movie Lockout. It’s prison in space right? How can you not make an awesome movie from that? Well, it turns out you can. I’m not saying Lockout is bad, it’s still entertaining, but nor is it going to win any awards. It’s average especially looking at what it could have been; I was hoping for Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay the movie. All that being said, I find science fiction movies are reasonably scientifically accurate if you take into account their technologies that don’t openly break the laws of physics. Lockout is no exception, with only two noticeable inaccuracies:

  • Space travel: this is a problem I see in almost every science fiction movie; objects can only travel in straight lines in space. There’s no gravity to affect travel, so once an object is underway it’s underway forever. To change direction in Earth’s atmosphere a plane banks, which means it experiences resistance from the air and it pushes off it, which in turn allows for the majestic sweeping and turning maneuvers you see fixed-wing aircraft perform (just flying normally). So in the vacuum of space the craft has no air to bank against, meaning when it wants to change direction it does instantly and in straight lines.
  • Human exposure to a vacuum: another favourite of films with space travel. In the movie a man is sucked out an airlock and freezes to death instantaneously when he hits the vacuum. This is just not true. Smart scientist types reckon the human body can survive up to 30 seconds in a vacuum and suffer no permanent side effects. As long as you exhale (to stop your lungs from expanding unbearably) you’ll be ok for a bit. Check here for a more in depth article.

Fast & Furious 5

Coming from the impressively accurate Lockout  I get to one of my favourite (not on my classic list, but my decent high octane action movies list): Fast & Furious 5. It brings back a lot of the previous characters into one big super-movie of shear awesomeness without actually needing you to have watched the first four (I confess I only watched the after this one). Heck, even The Rock graces the movie with his presence. If you like cars, gunfights, fistfights, or all of the above combined then this will be right up your cup of tea. The best bit? The Rock fights Vin Diesel, can I say anymore?

However, the movie would make Sir Isaac cringe:

  • Crashing a bus: this is in the opening scene so if you haven’t seen it it this isn’t really a spoiler. The crew needs to crash a prison bus to bust someone out. In order to do this they essentially put a car in front of the bus, hit the breaks and watch as the bus driver attempts to swerve out the way, fails, hits the car and then the entire bus starts to barrel roll, leaving the car unharmed. It is so unlikely that a 15 ton (15 000 kg with passengers) object will hit the back of a car and flip. In almost any conceivable reality it would feel but a slight discomfort, as an elephant might be annoyed slightly by the bite of a fly, and carry on it’s way.
  • Falling into water from height: water tension is b*tch. When you’re travelling at speed (not even terminal velocity) and you hit the surface of water it’s very similar to hitting ground. Two of the crew in the movie jump off a rather high cliff (looks higher than is safe), and hit the water resulting in no injury. I’d bet half my life savings (which isn’t much, don’t get your hopes up) that they’d at least break multiple bones.
  • The final sequence: ok, spoiler alert here. The crew eventually steals the bad guy’s safe with loads of dosh and drive through the streets of Rio pulling it behind two cars. This scene breaks so many rules I’ll break it down:
  1. Friction: it’s also a b*tch. I reckon the safe with the money in it comes close to 8 tons. This amount of weight being dragged along a tarmac road with no lubrication or wheels at those speeds would generate so much heat the entire safe would melt and all the money go up in smoke before it covers 5 blocks. Secondly, there is no way those teeny tiny cars, even if they’re suped up could drag that safe at those speeds and change direction so quickly so rapidly with all that friction.
  2. Momentum: yet again, it’s a b*tch. Those cars drag an 8 ton safe behind them through downtown streets of a city, meaning there’s lot’s of turning and maneuvering. The momentum of the safe travelling at those speeds would be so great that it would whip the cars behind it and hardly slow down every time they tried to take a corner; no way those cars could resist it.
  3. Cable strength: the safe is attached by two cables, one to each car. And they are not big, thick heavy cables. Cables are really tough things I’ll grant you that, but you still do not want to try and jerk them; they are not bungie chord. The cables in the movie would snap from all the jerking around the safe does.
  4. Slicing reinforced concrete pillars: at one stage the cars turn down a street sending the safe careening into a bank. They then proceed to drag the safe through the bank foyer, slicing the pillars with cable while doing so. Now, reinforced concrete pillars are not invincible, but they pretty touch. Those cars could not generate nearly enough power to cut through the columns like that.

All that being said I sat through F&F5 feeling like an 8 year old boy in short pants with my mouth hanging open I enjoyed it that much. I apologise for the long post, I haven’t done this in a while so I’ve got to give my fan something to keep him/her going 🙂

Jeremy

My view: The Amazing Spiderman (and an extension of my ranting)

First off, I’d just like to put it out there that the Amazing Spiderman movie is, well, Amazing! It beats the Toby McGuire ones by quite a long shot! The Peter Parker character is the less serious one as portrayed in most of the comic books; he doesn’t take himself too seriously. But I’m not trying to write a movie review blog, I don’t seem to be able to that particularly well.

What I do seem to do particularly well is get annoyed. Especially by things that are not accurate to real life physics/knowledge. So I’m going to try my hand at semi-theme-ing (theme-ing is a new verb I just made up) my blog.

Scientific Inaccuracies in the Amazing Spiderman

  • Gwen (Spidey’s girlfriend) calls him “bug boy” at one point: Firstly, spiders are not bugs, nor are they even insects; they are in fact arachnids (invertebrates that have 8 legs, generally small and well, insect-like). And not all insects are bugs, “bug” is a term used to define an insect that has a proboscis, and wings with a hardened outer layer (check it out here: True Bug definition). Now I’d normally forgive this kind of error; most people are not well versed with entomology (I’m not an expert either, I’m just pedantic), but Gwen is a science-minded girl and works with a biologist type Doctor chap, so I’m being more harsh on her).
  • The bad guy in the movie at one point attacks the high school, busting up from the sewers into the bathroom. This is almost impossible, because most buildings do not have big enough sewer pipes for something that big to climb through right below bathrooms. Plumbing tends to be bedded in concrete or the foundations, a smallish pipe that carries the wastewater away from the building, only meeting up with a main water way out from under the building. So there’s no way someone is busting a hole as big as the one in the movie right below a toilet.
  • In this movie Spiderman goes back to his comic book based web swinging and slinging, using a device attached to his arm, not shooting it out his arm as in the older ones. The movie says it’s based upon nano technology, using super strong threads and such. I’m not up to date enough on this sort technology to comment about that aspect, but what I can say is that when Spidey attaches the web to the side of a building to swing, the web is only attaching to the surface of the wall. Now, the kind of stress imparted from a medium sized “teenage” boy swinging at that speed, with sudden changes in momentum, would be more than enough to fracture and break the surface of wall the web is attached to, sending our intrepid hero plummeting downwards to certain doom.

Now, I watched the movie two days ago, and to be honest I was sitting there in such awe of the awesomeness of the movie I can’t remember any more inaccuracies, so I’ll leave it there. This is just a test post, please don’t think I’m TOO bothered by the above kind of thing, I just thought it would be something interesting-ish to write about. If you enjoyed the post would you be so kind as to comment, and if you didn’t you may also comment, just please do not damage my fragile ego too much 😛

Jeremy