Insultingly stupid movie physics

Re: Insultingly stupid movie physics

Postby Graham Kennedy » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:17 pm

Sets me to wondering, could one depict a realistic alien invasion, and yet still have Humanity win?
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Re: Insultingly stupid movie physics

Postby kostmayer » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:53 pm

80's version of V?

Its been pointed out that trying to steal all our water was a sillyplot, as it should be easy for them to manufacture. But it did give a good reason why the Visitors didn't simply come and exterminate us. They wanted us as food, and it was much easier to elicit our own governments help rather then just trying to round us up by force.

Nuking the Earth wouldn't have served the Visitors purpose, and the alien leader even refused to do so when they were facing defeat, as it would have just been senseless murder.
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Re: Insultingly stupid movie physics

Postby Graham Kennedy » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:52 am

Wanting us for food doesn't make a lot more sense; the visitors evolved on their own planet, surely there must be plenty of food there that they can eat without having to import it across interstellar distances.

I recall reading a sci fi book a long time ago where Earth was conquered by aliens with vastly better technology. We "defeated" the invasion when somebody united humanity in their rejection of slavery; basically, we told the aliens that we would rather die as a species than remain slaves. The aliens decided that it was unethical to commit genocide, so they simply packed up and left.

Come to think of it, Pike and Number One used the same tactic against the Talosians.
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Re: Insultingly stupid movie physics

Postby Mikey » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:31 am

The very idea that one species' preferred food is one that evolved in a completely alien ecosystem is ludicrous.
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Re: Insultingly stupid movie physics

Postby Captain Picard's Hair » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:13 am

GrahamKennedy wrote:Wanting us for food doesn't make a lot more sense; the visitors evolved on their own planet, surely there must be plenty of food there that they can eat without having to import it across interstellar distances.

I recall reading a sci fi book a long time ago where Earth was conquered by aliens with vastly better technology. We "defeated" the invasion when somebody united humanity in their rejection of slavery; basically, we told the aliens that we would rather die as a species than remain slaves. The aliens decided that it was unethical to commit genocide, so they simply packed up and left.

Come to think of it, Pike and Number One used the same tactic against the Talosians.


That is an idea in the best tradition of science fiction, but not what sells millions worth of cinema tickets it seems. I wonder why :wink:

The very idea that one species' preferred food is one that evolved in a completely alien ecosystem is ludicrous.


... let alone the idea that it's necessarily a suitable food at all. The visceral reaction to the image of people becoming prey is the kind of raw material Hollywood seems to count on (content be damned).
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Re: Insultingly stupid movie physics

Postby Captain Picard's Hair » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:24 am

GrahamKennedy wrote:Sets me to wondering, could one depict a realistic alien invasion, and yet still have Humanity win?


The best idea I can imagine would involve something like a race of alien invaders that relies on its power to drive slave labor, and has become complacent. Here, a bunch of clever enslaved people could take the opportunity to learn their technology, then unite and overthrow the conquering aliens. It'd be a process of a fairly quick conquest of humanity than a longer revolt from within the belly of the beast. Realistically it's still far from a slam dunk, but done well it'd make a hell of a story!
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Re: Insultingly stupid movie physics

Postby Tsukiyumi » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:58 pm

Sounds quite a bit like the plot to Half-Life 2. The Combine invade earth through dimensional portals, and defeat the entire combined military of the planet in 7 hours. 20+ years later, a large resistance has quietly formed, and Gordon Freeman (you) is just a catalyst that turns the resistance into a full-blown rebellion.

Of course, in the end, it's still not a complete victory, as the Combine purposely accelerate the damage you've caused to their Citadel (massive dark energy-powered fortress) to open a new superportal and re-invade. I haven't gotten through Episode Two yet, so I'm not sure how that turns out.
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Re: Insultingly stupid movie physics

Postby Tyyr » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:29 pm

Mikey wrote:The very idea that one species' preferred food is one that evolved in a completely alien ecosystem is ludicrous.

Even if through some amazing miracle we encountered a species that was actually edible there's only a 25% chance it would be nutritious, a 50% chance it'd have all the nutritional value of cardboard, and a 25% chance it would be incredibly poisonous thanks to the handedness of sugars and proteins.

The WWII series by Harry Turtledove has an aliens invade story line where the humans break even but it has some major limitations on it. First off, the aliens are loathe to just nuke/bombard the shit out of humanity because they want the planet for colonization and humans for cheap exploitable labor. A radiation contaminated planet in the middle of a nuclear winter isn't so great for colonization. Second, the aliens developed new technology at an incredibly slow pace due to wanting to study each new thing and gauge it's potential impact on their society before committing to it. For instance the Lizard version of TV was studied for thousands of years to make sure it would at the very worst harmless to their society before introducing it to the public, and even then they are so change averse that it took hundreds more years for it to achieve widespread use. They united their planet under a single ruler over fifty thousand years ago and with no enemies to fight they stopped development of new weapons. When they want to conquer a species they bust out the old plans from when they had their last big fight to unite their planet and build tanks, fighters, and guns equal to that level (about 1990's tech level.). So while they can cross the gap between stars their military might is strickly 1990s which lets the humans of 1942 have a chance if they are willing to pay the price in dead bodies

Now if you postulate aliens as adaptable as humans and with military tech to match their ability to move between the stars I don't see any way we could win, even if the aliens had to bring the fight to the ground I still don't see any way humanity could win unless the aliens were very few in number and lousy at short range.
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Re: Insultingly stupid movie physics

Postby Graham Kennedy » Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:41 am

Has anybody read Niven and Pournelle's "Footfall"?

They had an alien race who went extinct and left all their technical knowledge carved into granite blocks. Animals they had kept as pets eventually rose to intelligence in the aftermath and learned how to decode the blocks. But that meant that their technology was very strange, because they hadn't invented any of it themselves, only discovered it from translating the stone inscriptions. It meant that they had some extremely high tech stuff, like an interstellar bussard ramscoop drive, but at the same time a lot of their tech was quite primitive, with all sorts of gaps in their knowledge because the stone describing it hadn't been discovered or properly translated.

They were also herd animals, and since they were a very young race for the technology they had, their animal instincts were much more dominant compared to ours. So for instance they went rapidly insane if you left them alone - normally you never saw less than six or eight together. This was also the reason for the war, because as herd animals they are obsessed with who is dominant; in their species when two herds met they would always fight to establish which one was the stronger, as far as they were concerned that's just what herds do. So when they came to Earth it never occurred to them that there wouldn't be a war. And they expected that it would be a short struggle where they'd show their dominance and humanity would surrender and become part of their herd. The human attitude to war as something you fought to the end confused them terribly, and in the end we pushed them to the point where they were the ones who surrendered to us.

And by the way, that comes at the conclusion of what I think the single best, most exciting and most realistic space battle in all of written science fiction. Using a nuclear bomb powered Orion spaceship, no less.
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Re: Insultingly stupid movie physics

Postby Tyyr » Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:24 pm

I read it, but it's been a long time. I can just recall the basics of it and not much more.
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Re: Insultingly stupid movie physics

Postby thelordharry » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:39 pm

Mikey wrote:nBSG was also one of the only shows/movies to show a more accurate (if not entirely accurate) conception of maneuverability in space.


I thought ST XI did space flight 'better' than all previous attempts.

I've always wondered why in sci-fi, when ships met each other in space, they just so happen to always both be the same way 'up' :)
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Re: Insultingly stupid movie physics

Postby shran » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:51 am

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Re: Insultingly stupid movie physics

Postby thelordharry » Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:07 pm

That's a good'un that one :D
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Re: Insultingly stupid movie physics

Postby Mikey » Fri Mar 04, 2011 2:07 pm

OK, I was watching ST: TMP last night. When the big-E was dragged inside V'ger, the navigator reported that the tractor beam had ceased pulling them and that now their momentum was zero. Really? Without an opposing acceleration, how exactly did the ship acheive a zero momentum when it had been acted on to move it?
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Re: Insultingly stupid movie physics

Postby Graham Kennedy » Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:42 pm

I always assumed that V'Ger slowed them down as it released them. The alternative is that it deliberately left them in a state which would crash them into its own innards, which seems a bit odd.
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