movies

Humorous stories from the lab. What were your biggest mistakes that you can now laugh about? (Keep it clean!!)

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movies

Postby creepster » Jun 02 2006 8:01 pm

sometimes i wonder if any hollywood movie/tv production company actually has a scientific adviser
some of the stuff you see in movies/on tv just makes my hair stand up, which does not really spoil the fun, but my science/nerd side screams and cowers in a corner

my top horror moments on screen:
- transporter 2: some retrovirus thingie which is double-polymorph (like it really matters that it is twice as many)
- ultraviolet: vampires being called 'hemophage'
- any CSI show and seeing their shakey pipetting skills (i'll take that coffee!)
- panic room: leaking gas from a propane bottle ignites right under the ceiling ( ... like ... wha ?)

do you got any more examples?
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Postby relaxin » Jun 02 2006 9:21 pm

Thawing out a whole human being with a laser gun in Star Wars and get him back alive is way too imaginary. Just think what you can get when you defrost a piece of meat in mcirowave oven!

On the other hand, the communication boxes the Star Trek folks used are not that far-fetched nowadays.
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Postby r.rosati » Jun 03 2006 10:57 pm

My favourite is... interpolating a photo-quality image of a person from 4 pixels!
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Postby mchlbrmn » Jun 04 2006 1:14 am

WeirdOmen wrote:My favourite is... interpolating a photo-quality image of a person from 4 pixels!


But those pixels had soul! (where was that from?).

I liked the Star Trek where the ship was invaded by giant viruses (up to over a meter across) that (somehow) were floating in mid air seeking and attacking people with these giant mosquito-like proboscises (if I remember right).
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Postby creepster » Jun 04 2006 3:05 am

WeirdOmen wrote:My favourite is... interpolating a photo-quality image of a person from 4 pixels!


that's a good one!

good friend from the neighbour lab has following:

- blade: exploding vampires with EDTA solution
- underworld: silvernitrate bullets which rather look like containing mercury (silver like metallic liquid)
- mission impossible: growing viruses on an agar plate and visualizing by a regular light microscope (she's trying to order one of these to circumvent electron microscopy)
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Postby jop » Jun 04 2006 4:44 pm

I also like all of these Star Trek episodes where either an engineer or medical officer (or whatever) makes a major scientific breakthrough to save the day by studying the problem for about one day! Either I am really dumb or not ambitious, but I would be happy to make one or two of these breakthrough after a lifetime of hardwork!

need some examples: the doctor (that is an hologram by the way) that finds out how the Borg can defeat their ennemy resistant to nanobots.

extrapolating the appearance of dinosaurs if they could have evolved for another 200millions years!?!

finding a cure to a new virus in less than a week (and he first had to discover the virus!!!)

a couple of tweakings of some "regular" Star Trek technology, like teleportation or photon torpedos, etc that dramatically change the effect of the apparatus... and so on

don't mistake me, I still find those series fun.
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Postby jop » Jun 04 2006 5:03 pm

I just remembered, again in Star Trek, all those hybrids (and sometimes second or third generation) of Humans, Klingons, Vulcans etc.

from a phylogenetic point of view, since they all come from different planets, they all originated from different ancestral life forms, they should be even more incompatible than humans and plants!

What miracles love can achieve :D
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Postby mdfenko » Jun 04 2006 10:54 pm

jop wrote:I just remembered, again in Star Trek, all those hybrids (and sometimes second or third generation) of Humans, Klingons, Vulcans etc.

from a phylogenetic point of view, since they all come from different planets, they all originated from different ancestral life forms, they should be even more incompatible than humans and plants!

What miracles love can achieve :D

you forgot about the episode where picard finds out that many of the species have a common ancestor, thanks to a seeding program (with a message hidden in the dna) by an ancient species.
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Postby bruno » Jun 05 2006 9:33 pm

One of my favorites is the science stuff on the Jurassic Park movie: they fill out gaps on dinosaurs DNA with amphibian DNA - as if the complexities of the DNA and the differences among species and evolution process didn't exist! So wrong... no wonder the dinos went crazy at the end..
Not to mention they put T-Rex on the group of dinosaurs present on the Jurassic Period when truly they only came around later on the Cretaceous Period...wonder what paleontologists have to say about that...
But hey that's nothing after EDTA bullets, seeding programs, and thawing out people with laser guns...

Loved this topic!
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Postby r.rosati » Jun 06 2006 2:03 pm

I find funny that in many superhero movies, if in the original comic the protagonist got his powers from radiations (in the 60's radiations were in the thoughts of everyone), they change it so that genetic engineering pops in.
Spiderman was bitten by a radioactive spider? Ok, let's make it a genetically modified spider!
Hulk was hit by gamma radiations? Ok, but before that, he's also got some weird gene from his mad-scientist father!

And when there's a mad scientist - why ask, it's a molecular biologist of course!
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Postby jop » Jun 06 2006 3:26 pm

and while were talking of superheroes, I wonder what kind of protein allows teleportation or laser beams from the eyes when it is mutated... I wonder why nature hasn't selected these mutants before (probably because genetic engineering did'nt exist at that time!)
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Postby r.rosati » Jun 07 2006 5:25 pm

Well, all science considered, we should also leave some room for imagination, dreams, and huge explosions... after all, it's Hollywood, isn't it!
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Postby jonsng » Aug 05 2006 4:47 pm

CSI has no respect for aseptic sterile techinques. Whatever happened to not touching your glasses/face/hair with gloves on. Aren't they scared of contaminating evidence?

Also, Strange how they can't tell too much from DNA (which is strangely scientifically true), but can extrapolate an image from 4 pixels, and other superb extrapolation skills.
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Postby BRpostdoc1 » Aug 10 2006 11:32 pm

Here are two more...

Mission to Mars: Gary Sinese's character, looking at a 3-dimensional projection of a DNA molecule ("ball and stick" model, probably not more than 25-nt long) declares with certainty, "That looks like Human DNA!" (A bit more believable: He discovers that all multi-cellular life on earth originated on Mars)

The X-Files: Dana Scully obtains a tissue sample and is able to extract DNA, run a gel, do a Southern, and get an autoradiograph film of the results - all within a couple of hours! (A bit more believable: It turns out to be alien DNA, of course.)
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Postby Suzanne » Aug 11 2006 12:29 am

There was a movie called "Laurel Canyon" starring Kate Beckinsdale and Christian Bale.

In the movie, her character is studying to get a Ph.D. in drosophilia genetics. It was evident that the writers did not check with any actual scientists because her character pronounces the word "genomics" wrong. The "nom" is pronounced like in the word economics so it sounds like "genamics" .

She also says the word "drosophilia" totally wrong with the accent on the wrong syllable. I almost didn't recognize it.

Anyway- that movie wasn't about science- its very strange, so just a warning if you rent it now!
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