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Customer Discussions > Science Fiction forum

How To Stop A Killer Asteroid


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Showing 176-200 of 649 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2010 2:08:16 PM PDT
GUEST!! says:
Well, he IS Bruce Willis.

Posted on Jul 8, 2010 2:19:00 PM PDT
stevign says:
{STOP THE HATE}

"Killer" is such an ugly word. Asteroids don't have the capability to think, they're just innocent little pool balls rolling around the cosmic table and we want to label them Killers if they happen to gravitate towards another ball? Haven't we "all" gravitated towards those we find attractive at one time or another?

As a bleeding heart Liberal I think we should be more tolerant and except them for who "they" are. They're victims too ya know, they're the Short Bus without a driver. Where's the love people?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GkCgh-Bbo8

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2010 2:20:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 8, 2010 2:21:03 PM PDT
Iso says:
I personally have never gravitated towards another ball, but hey I got a lot of life left in me who knows...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2010 2:29:29 PM PDT
stevign says:
That's the spirit Iso!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2010 2:37:17 PM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
"But the point of what I'm saying is that accurate science in a story should always take a back seat to story. If you can include both, boffer. If the only way to make the story work is to bend or break the science of something, then so be it."

There's no reason, other than ignorance or laziness, that a story can't portray scientific facts with accuracy. If scientific accuracy stands in the way of the script, there are creative ways of getting around it without creating an unintentional comedy.

'Armageddon' is one of the worst offenders and it even got things wrong that the slightest amount of research would have picked up.

The movie starts off with errors (such as mis-estimating the explosive yield of the Chicxulub impact, and then describing an asteroid the 'size of Texas' in the asteroid belt - there is no body of that size) and degenerating from there. Why promote inaccuracy and wilfully mislead the audience? 'Armageddon' was entertaining, but not for the reasons its writers and producers would have wished.

The slogan 'Ignorance is Strength' seems to apply, and Orwell's other slogan 'Freedom is Slavery' is fulfilled.

Posted on Jul 8, 2010 2:47:43 PM PDT
GUEST!! says:
Armageddon failed moviegoers on several levels, my friend, not just scientific. That's one of the reasons it's a subject of so many of my jokes in this thread.

One of the chief things I would point to in regards to what I'm saying is this: FTL Travel. Interstellar Travel, if we're able to get off the ground at all (Going back to another thread I loved to watch you go at it in), takes a long time. A long long time. And yet, a common trope of the Space Opera genre is the idea that you can just climb in, blast off, and go have an adventure out there with lots of humanoid (Also seems vaguley unlikely although I've heard theories supporting why it might be more common) aliens. Plots dealing with travel between distant stars are very specifically hampered by the reality of the issue.

Now, do I scream when there is noise in space? Yes. Yes, I do. In fact I very nearly jumped up and danced when I watched the pilot for Firefly and all was quiet out in the void. There are definitely areas where scientific accuracy should have no effect on the plot.

The scientific inaccuracies in Armageddon came from a willfully idiotic plot. I will not argue in defense of that movie. But what I'm saying is this... Be careful of instances where you bend so closely to scientific accuracy that your story falters for it. When I said I'd rather watch a fun fantasy, I wasn't referring to Armageddon. I was referring to any one of the first three Starwars movies. I was referring to Firefly. I was referring to (some of) the Terminator films, Back to the Future, Ghost Busters.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2010 3:33:14 PM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
GUEST!!,

"One of the chief things I would point to in regards to what I'm saying is this: FTL Travel. Interstellar Travel, if we're able to get off the ground at all (Going back to another thread I loved to watch you go at it in), takes a long time."

Yes, realistic interstellar travel would take a long time. This is why FTL in science fiction uses a variety of fantasy devices to get around it: one of the most common is that humans buy it from highly advanced aliens; another is to dress the device in highly speculative physics (and a wise author limits the descriptions of the mechanics).

"A long long time. And yet, a common trope of the Space Opera genre is the idea that you can just climb in, blast off, and go have an adventure out there with lots of humanoid (Also seems vaguley unlikely although I've heard theories supporting why it might be more common) aliens. Plots dealing with travel between distant stars are very specifically hampered by the reality of the issue."

Very true. Space Opera is often relatively 'soft', at least as far as the mechanism of getting from A to B is concerned. It is taken as read by the author and the audience that it is a plot device, and so long as its application doesn't totally destroy the suspension of disbelief everyone is happy.

However, Space Opera is very different to science fiction set vitually in the 'here and now'. Whether Armageddon is science fiction is debatable, but, being set in the present or the very near future it is limited by both feasible technology and the realities of physics. So an asteroid split in two by a remarkably accurate nuclear detonation isn't going to sail off on two straight trajectories just missing the Earth...

As for humanoid aliens, that's mostly driven by the cost of creating non-humanoids (the original Star Trek only boasted the horta and some 'clouds' because of budget) and the audience expectation that aliens will be humanoid. Curiously, at the beginning of the genre, such as The War of the Worlds, the aliens weren't humanoid at all... Given that the biped stance is rare in Earth's history, on other worlds with different conditions and different biochemistries it seems unlikely. Many sf authors use some form of panspermia (Niven in Known Space; Star Trek retro-bolted the idea in ST:TNG etc.) to explain major similarities between life on different planets.

"When I said I'd rather watch a fun fantasy, I wasn't referring to Armageddon. I was referring to any one of the first three Starwars movies. I was referring to Firefly. I was referring to (some of) the Terminator films, Back to the Future, Ghost Busters."

Hmm, what makes something science fiction or fantasy? Star Wars is very soft sf with a major injection of fantasy archetypes; Back to the Future and Ghostbusters have some sf ingredients but are mostly fantasy. Firefly... No ftl, and a history of generation ships and massive terraforming; never clear quite how the solar system(s) were organised.

And again, these examples are all examples of some use of science fiction but in a distinct subgenre. The issue with Armageddon is that it takes itself seriously, when it's more a 'Monty Python and the Killer Asteroid'.

Posted on Jul 8, 2010 5:41:48 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 8, 2010 5:43:43 PM PDT
GUEST!! says:
It... sort of takes itself seriously. Honestly, the whole thing is a little hamfisted. It's intended to be a popcorn muncher where we suspend our disbelief for an afternoon for the sake of seeing gigantic explosions. Honestly, like I said, the movie's failings came from far more than mere inaccuracies. I've said it before, but my point is not to defend Armageddon (You and I both agree that film was awful ;) ) but rather that the point of a story is to transmit an abstract. A story exists to transmit values, morals, philosophical values, or simple entertainment. There is a contract in which the viewer, then, must suspend disbelief for anything that may be a tad on the fantastic side. If you're not able or willing to suspend the disbelief then perhaps the movie simply wasn't aimed at you. I don't mean that as a smear, I just mean that certain genres are aimed at certain demographics.

THIS in the long form, is what I've been saying. And not to discredit, but there has been more than one sci-fi flight of fancy that has inspired people to grow up and become fantastic real-world scientists. I don't think a summer blockbuster being soft on the science is going to cause the downfall of education. Maybe the lack of society's demands for more accurate story-telling is the symptom of some greater disease, but I doubt these movies are causing any real harm to our education system. Most of the 'useless' information I picked up as a child I picked up because I was so inspired by these wildly inaccurate films. I learned gobs and gobs about real world robotics because of Johnny Five. I gleaned so very much about the planet Mars and about space travel because of Star Wars, Star Trek, and The Explorers (Speaking of FTL delivered by alien races).

When the science takes center stage, we should by all means demand excellence in accuracy, but when the point is an ideal, an abstract, or entertainment then we shouldn't be SO concerned as long as what they're expecting us to believe isn't SO beyond the pale (Going back to our friendly Texas Sized asteroid).

Science and story telling are two different things. They invoke different portions of our mind and they ask of the participant different things. Luckily for us we live in a society where they frequently intersect, but ultimately they are different things. If you're interested, I'd highly suggest some books on the subject of story-telling at large. When I was in college it was a source of great interest to me. I've actually become a pretty big advocate of the idea of further evolving story-telling in Videogames so that they become the next big medium through which we can transmit culture!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2010 7:04:47 PM PDT
Ronald Craig says:
Hey, Jake, YOU went out of your wake to carp on a six-month old post. Get over it.

Posted on Jul 8, 2010 7:30:10 PM PDT
Chet Fakir says:
How To Stop A Killer Asteroid? Giant rubber bands strung between the LaGrangian points!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2010 8:12:32 PM PDT
stevign says:
I like that one Chet, who would we be aiming at?

Posted on Jul 8, 2010 8:29:04 PM PDT
Captain says:
We could attach an Amazon discussion thread to it. It would be sure to be hijacked and sent off in a totally new direction.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2010 8:34:23 PM PDT
stevign says:
Then I suggest we aim towards the Troll Galaxy. (that's just left of Io)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2010 11:58:35 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 9, 2010 12:19:22 AM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
GUEST!!,

"I've said it before, but my point is not to defend Armageddon (You and I both agree that film was awful ;) ) but rather that the point of a story is to transmit an abstract."

I fear you are missing my point.

"A story exists to transmit values, morals, philosophical values, or simple entertainment."

Precisely, and one of the values that Armageddon transmits is an ignorance of science and scientific values, and that the ignorant and stupid will prevail. The fact that this silly movie was cited (erroneously) as a factor in detecting dangerous near Earth objects demonstrates that it was taken seriously by some percentile of its audience.

"I don't think a summer blockbuster being soft on the science is going to cause the downfall of education. Maybe the lack of society's demands for more accurate story-telling is the symptom of some greater disease, but I doubt these movies are causing any real harm to our education system."

Unfortunately they do, because many people take them at face value as the transmission of genuine information.

Reference has already been made on this thread of 'Midway' and another example of Hollywood history would be 'U-571' which presented an imaginary capture of an Enigma machine. I've had a friend e-mail me asking for proof it was fiction because a colleague in his office was insisting it was true because 'why else would they make a movie about it'.

Of course, Hollywood's inaccuracies can be beneficial; several years ago a student was found guilty of murder because his room mate's death by apparent suicide by jumping from a window was shown to be murder, because there were traces of blood-spatter on the walls of the room where he'd been hit on the back of the head by a baseball bat before being dropped out the window. 'But that doesn't happen in movies,' whined his room mate when arrested. Whilst tv shows like CSI are more realistic in showing some aspects of forensics, in other ways they are completely unrealistic.

Hollywood Science contributes towards both the ignorance of science in our culture and an ignorance of the importance of science; it is a factor in the poor levels of education and it feeds belief in pseudoscience. As such it doubtless delays and reduces our capability in science and technology, and so the ability to detect and deflect a 'killer asteroid'.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2010 12:19:57 AM PDT
GUEST!!:
I believe this argument started over the lack of accurate science in the film "Armageddon". I believe the filmmakers were, in fact, trying to portray realistic science but missed the mark! Badly!
Now that's what I call ignorance!
Thank you Martin and Ron!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2010 12:22:30 AM PDT
GUEST!!:
"Well, he IS Bruce Willis."
And you're not!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2010 12:25:40 AM PDT
stevign:
So, you're a bleeding heart liberal.
If you think people should show love for asteroids on a collision course with the Earth you're more than a bleeding heart liberal.
You're insane!

Posted on Jul 9, 2010 12:29:37 AM PDT
Asteroid should be moved and mined and settled. Read "Mining the sky"...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2010 12:35:13 AM PDT
GUEST!!:
"Star Wars" and other films of that genre are generally referred to as fantasy films. Science fiction films are based in science. The problem is the filmmakers don't know nor try to know the science they're portraying.
"Armageddon" is not the only bad film in this case.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2010 1:38:26 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 27, 2011 1:52:37 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2010 1:40:05 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 27, 2011 1:52:37 PM PDT]

Posted on Jul 9, 2010 10:34:25 AM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
<Interrupt Trolling>

The Asteroid Lutetia will become the largest space rock to be visited by a probe when the European Rosetta mission flies past it on Saturday (GMT).

http://webservices.esa.int/blog/blog/5/

<Resume Trolling>

Posted on Jul 9, 2010 10:38:32 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 27, 2011 1:52:41 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2010 10:39:59 AM PDT
Ronald Craig says:
Yep.

Posted on Jul 11, 2010 7:54:55 AM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
Europe's Rosetta space probe has flown past the Asteroid Lutetia, returning a stream of scientific data for analysis.

http://webservices.esa.int/blog/blog/5/
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Discussion in:  Science Fiction forum
Participants:  61
Total posts:  649
Initial post:  Jan 10, 2010
Latest post:  Jun 24, 2013

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