Maybe Hollywood doesn't produce great scientists?

Reprinted at the suggestion of the author, originally published on American Thinker

Hollywood Science is a general term given to the phenomenon of scientific principles being misinterpreted, ignored or abused by the Hollywood film industry. The term has given rise to a number of television programs which endeavour to expose whether phenomena seen in films can be replicated. – source


Guest essay by Charles Battig

As the furor over Hollywood kingpin Harvey Weinstein’s sexual exploits floods the media, I say it is time to let those dust balls of deviancy provide another lesson in the foolishness of celebrity worship.  Mr. Weinstein is rapidly losing his endorsement by the Hollywood crowd, which he had brought to star status.

Want to sell something, anything?  Product placement and endorsement are a lucrative activity for Hollywood’s media darlings and a successful sales strategy for manufacturers.  But why?  It would seem to be obvious that the endorsement, however sincere in its presentation, is a paid for performance.  “Trust me, I am a Hollywood celebrity”…no?  Perhaps the answer lies in the observations of Nobel Prize-winner Richard Thaler on human behavior, rational and otherwise.  People tend to believe what they want to hear; put off less pleasurable activities, even those in their best long-term interest; and eschew   going publicly against the norms of the crowd.

Promoting fears of man-made climate change has become the side occupation for some of Hollywood’s leading stars.  Why should the public care what actor X has to say on the topic?  Should they be swayed by what an actor says?  A consideration of what acting and movie-making entails provides a hint.

Hollywood can be said to be in the professional business of lying and suspending rational thought.  In a sense, actors and directors are professional liars – they work to make seem real a work of fantasy.  They work diligently to make you accept what you see on the screen as a reality, although it is an illusion of someone else’s making.  Actor X is adjudged a star if he is able to take the words of someone else, the script, and deliver a performance on screen that fools us into believing that that actor is the fictitious character.  No original thinking is necessary; the actor is parroting the ideas of someone else.

So when Hollywood produces film showing Manhattan sinking beneath the ocean, or actor X steps out of character and portrays a scientific concern for the climate and attributes climate catastrophes to human activities, remember that they are  both in the business of fantasy.  Climate reality is best left in the hands of those trained in the pertinent scientific fields.


Charles G. Battig, M.S., M.D., Heartland Institute policy expert on environment; VA-Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment (VA-SEEE).  His website is www.climateis.com.

 

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October 12, 2017 4:36 am

You read my mind..

arthur4563
October 12, 2017 4:46 am

Has been like this forever – watch some of those 1950’s movies and look see what they claimed atomic energy was capable of doing – giant spiders, nuclear ray guns, you nameit – nuclear power could do it. Those people assumed an enormous amount of ignorance on the part of their audiences. Not much has changed.

TonyL
Reply to  arthur4563
October 12, 2017 5:32 am

On the one hand:
Forbidden Planet
An epic space adventure which was scientifically astute for it’s day. True, you needed to suspend disbelief, but the movie was set far into the future. So it is at least plausible.
On the other hand:
Godzilla
A Nuclear generated monster trashes Tokyo. (Again!) I should have to say no more, but:
The Blob
Starring a young Steve McQueen, a cult classic. After that, the less said the better.
In the Gripping Hand:
Forbidden Planet was a great movie. It is also a modern Sci-Fi remake of the classic tale of The Tempest by William Shakespeare.
Perhaps classic storytelling still is worthwhile, after all.

Dodgy Geezer
Reply to  TonyL
October 12, 2017 8:55 am

There was a reason Kubrick moved to England when he made 2001….

Reply to  TonyL
October 12, 2017 9:04 am

“TonyL October 12, 2017 at 5:32 am

In the Gripping Hand:
…”

The Gripping Hand
By Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
Another very future book. Good read. Though, one finds they need to read the other books in the series; another chained sequel series.

Tom Halla
Reply to  ATheoK
October 12, 2017 9:15 am

Notably, a novel that has not been done by Hollywood.
For a vignette of what writing for the movies has been like, try reading Robert Patterson’s bio of Robert Heinlein, and making “Destination Moon”.
The movies tend towards doing atrocities like “Starship Troopers”movie, with giant bugs defecating escape velocity rocks.

Franke
Reply to  TonyL
October 12, 2017 9:13 am

Very good analysis of those movies. I saw all of them in theaters back when they were released.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  TonyL
October 12, 2017 12:33 pm

“Forbidden Planet” was, indeed, great. Monsters from the Id, very similar to the monstrous egos of certain Hollywood and Academia poisonalities.
“Starship Troopers” was ruined to the point of sabotage by inserting insincere ads for Trooper service that went against the grain of the entire movie, not to mention the book. Hollyweird at its worst.
I’ve got you all beat. I went to see “Mothra” in the theatre during its first run. Now if someone can just explain to my why I did that, I’d be grateful.

Gabro
Reply to  TonyL
October 12, 2017 12:37 pm

Inspired by the hurricane which marooned a Jamestown resupply ship on Bermuda.

notfubar
Reply to  TonyL
October 12, 2017 1:01 pm

I would love to see a Moties movie (or anything by Larry Niven)

Mike McMillan
Reply to  TonyL
October 12, 2017 7:21 pm

As soon as I saw: “On the one hand: Forbidden Planet” I began to count, then as certain as 97%, I see “a modern Sci-Fi remake of the classic tale of The Tempest by William Shakespeare.”
There oughta be a Godwin’s Law rule for that.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  TonyL
October 12, 2017 8:05 pm

“Dodgy Geezer October 12, 2017 at 8:55 am
There was a reason Kubrick moved to England when he made 2001….”
To cast Reggie Perrin from Rising Damp?

Editor
October 12, 2017 4:51 am

Climate reality is best left in the hands of those trained in the pertinent scientific fields.

I don’t know. They haven’t done much better than Hollywood.comment image

Reply to  David Middleton
October 12, 2017 5:06 am

+97

rocketscientist
Reply to  jaakkokateenkorva
October 12, 2017 2:17 pm

+97%

paqyfelyc
Reply to  David Middleton
October 12, 2017 5:08 am

He said “pertinent scientific fields”. you know, statistics, modeling, etc. The stuff so called “climate scientists” are not trained at, or they would had buried hockey stick builder in shame.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  paqyfelyc
October 12, 2017 9:51 am

I was thinking more along the lines of The Cask of Amontillado.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  paqyfelyc
October 12, 2017 12:43 pm
John F. Hultquist
Reply to  paqyfelyc
October 12, 2017 9:33 pm

D. J. Hawkins October 12, 2017 at 9:51 am
I was thinking more along the lines of The Cask of Amontillado.
I’ll drink to that!

john harmsworth
Reply to  David Middleton
October 12, 2017 8:03 am

My thoughts exactly! They can’t even seem to read their thermometers correctly.

Bob Burban
Reply to  john harmsworth
October 12, 2017 10:10 am

Would they even know where to insert those thermometers?

Sheri
Reply to  john harmsworth
October 12, 2017 10:23 am

Kind of O/T, but how does one determine the “correct” reading on a thermometer? I have two digital thermometers sitting a foot apart in my living room and they vary by up to 2 degrees. Which is the “real” temperature? What is a “real” temperature?

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  john harmsworth
October 12, 2017 1:25 pm

Bob: First, one must have room available for the insertion. In many cases, the space is fully occupied.
Sheri: Stick the thermometers into boiling water and record the readings. Then repeat for ice water. Capillaries are such that chances are good that the resulting calibration chart will work fairly well anywhere between zero and 100 Centipede. Centigrade. Celsius. Whatever.

Sheri
Reply to  john harmsworth
October 12, 2017 3:44 pm

jorgekafkazar: Thanks. An interesting note—since I live at 5500 ft, the boiling point of water is not going to be 212° F. I looked it up on a chart and it’s closer to 201.5, assuming the chart is correct. So many variables…

David Cage
Reply to  john harmsworth
October 12, 2017 10:44 pm

It is easy to read the thermometers but impossible to site them to get better than probably a two degree accuracy from attempts to measure in a fifty foot square garden. Even the difference between dry and wet grass produces more than a degree difference as we have an underground spring that produces this damp patch and in some weather conditions I could prove it.
Also back in the sixties when doing work on acid rain and the cleaning effect of electrostatic precipitators we proved that the air even at the time was cleaner than it was a century before from reproducing the conditions documented in some early literature and letters from famous writers. After adding the precipitators and scrubbers the air quality is now enough to more than account for a two degree rise in measured temperature.
You cannot measure air temperature to a sub degree accuracy with a thermometer in an enclosure.
In WW2 the knew this well enough to improvise with a two thermometers mounted on an old style football rattle waved around to get a more accurate reading on airfields. There is one of these in a display in Broadway tower but I was told by a pilot at the time this was common and they used a similar improvisation on the airfields he flew from.

TonyL
October 12, 2017 5:11 am

Gee, I don’t know:

Hollywood can be said to be in the professional business of lying and suspending rational thought. In a sense, actors and directors are professional liars

It used to be that we all knew the difference between a nice fictional story and the real world around us.
Maybe that is just to “Old School” for people these days.

October 12, 2017 5:21 am

Why should the public care what actor X has to say on the topic?

Don’t know about the public, but I observe it closely. Respecting all Gaia worshipping actors’ wishes meticulously and equally, I avoid wasting any non-recyclable fossil-fuel produced plastics & electricity, money and votes on them. There is always hope the last existing the mothership will switch off the lights before closing the door.

Reply to  jaakkokateenkorva
October 12, 2017 5:23 am

*exiting

Reply to  jaakkokateenkorva
October 12, 2017 2:11 pm

jaakkokateenkorva
When that last mother-ship blasts off, just before the earth is engulfed by the sun, what will our descendants say to their children when they are asked the question “why are we leaving our beautiful planet with all that coal, gas and oil still entombed within it when we could have used it all and set sail a thousand years earlier?”

vukcevic
October 12, 2017 5:29 am

It is role of the education system to teach young people to distinguish between reality and fantasy.
In 1920s and 30s Sergey Eisenstein soviet era film director through his epic films has rewritten Russian and Soviet historic events that eventually found their way into history books including the western ones.

Reply to  vukcevic
October 12, 2017 2:42 pm

vukcevic
In my opinion, it’s the responsibility of the parents to ensure their children are educated properly.
Too many of us devolve that responsibility entirely to schools, consequently, they are being shown Al Gores movie, an Inconvenient Truth, as an accurate representation of climate change. Fortunately, in the UK, the children must be told of nine glaring inaccuracies, unfortunately, they rarely are.
Responsibility for children’s health and welfare, enshrined in international law, resides with the parents or legal guardians of children, not schools. If we retain that right, we also accept the responsibility to fight for that right.
I take this seriously enough to have had one assistant head teacher ‘required to resign’ from a prominent British Grammar School, and later been instrumental in the contract of employment of the head teacher of the same school refused renewal for, amongst other things, bullying, educational impropriety, mental abuse, incompetence, and physical intimidation.
Schools are not a law unto themselves, although they would have us believe they are.

Thomas Homer
October 12, 2017 5:35 am

“The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side.”
Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz after getting his diploma.

MikeSYR
Reply to  Thomas Homer
October 12, 2017 8:48 am

Too many “root”s. LOL

MarkW
Reply to  MikeSYR
October 12, 2017 9:41 am

He was made of straw.

rocketscientist
Reply to  Thomas Homer
October 12, 2017 10:00 am

All that is needed to obtain a “Hollywood Diploma” is to misstate elementary school geometry.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Thomas Homer
October 12, 2017 1:30 pm

That’s the quote according to imdb. But, of course, it’s total gibberish. Just goes to show that having a diploma does not confer wisdom or knowledge upon the recipient. I could name some names…

Mike McMillan
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
October 12, 2017 6:39 pm

Thank you. I appreciate your restraint.

October 12, 2017 5:37 am

Hollywood produced one great inventor – Hedy Lamarr. The rest are baloney activistscomment image

TonyL
Reply to  Dr. Strangelove
October 12, 2017 5:45 am

Invented spread spectrum and frequency hopping. Both are widely used today. She did it as part of the development of a radio controlled torpedo during WWII.
One Hot Babe.

Roger Knights
Reply to  TonyL
October 12, 2017 7:49 am

Good for her contribution in pushing those concepts. But I read somewhere that she got those ideas from something she’d heard or read about when she lived in Austria.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  TonyL
October 12, 2017 8:17 am

Not to be mistaken for Hedley Lamarr.

Gabro
Reply to  TonyL
October 12, 2017 10:13 am

Roger,
She was married at age 18 to Austrian arms maker Fritz Mandl, from whom she fled to Paris disguised as a maid, and got a divorce there in 1937. She had five subsequent husbands (the last her divorce lawyer) and three kids, but was single for the last 45 of her 85 years. Her daughter was married to a writer buddy of mine while he was a pro baseball player. It’s tough when your mom is the most beautiful woman in the world.
To what extent Mandl gave her the idea for frequency hopping, I don’t know. But she invented other things on her own.
Little known is that both her parents were born into Jewish families, but her mom converted to Roman Catholicism.

jmichna
Reply to  Dr. Strangelove
October 12, 2017 8:10 am

The beautiful Ms Lamarr (real name: Hedy Kiesler Markey) was the real deal:
Publication number US2292387 A
Publication type Grant
Publication date Aug 11, 1942
Filing date Jun 10, 1941
Priority date Jun 10, 1941
Inventors Antheil George, Markey Hedy Kiesler
Original Assignee Antheil George, Markey Hedy Kiesler
Export Citation BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
The EFF honored Ms. Lamarr with a special Pioneer Award and she became the first woman to receive the Invention Convention’s BULBIE Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award in 1997.

Gabro
Reply to  Dr. Strangelove
October 12, 2017 10:16 am

Her boyfriend, movie-maker Howard Hughes also achieved some technological success.

TheDoctor
Reply to  Dr. Strangelove
October 12, 2017 10:39 am

Hollywood produced one great inventor

She was smart (and hot) long before she went to Hollywood!

Mumbles McGuirck
October 12, 2017 5:53 am

One should never rely on Hollywood movies for :
1. Scientific accuracy
2. Moral clarity
3. Romantic advice.

Patrick B
Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
October 12, 2017 6:53 am

4. Financial advice

JimG1
Reply to  Patrick B
October 12, 2017 7:58 am

5. Historical accuracy
6. Any form of advice

Craig
Reply to  Patrick B
October 12, 2017 8:05 am

5. Anything. Even relying on Hollywood movies for entertainment is dicey.

Editor
Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
October 12, 2017 10:59 am

7. Original stories…..

noaaprogrammer
Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
October 12, 2017 6:50 pm

I do enjoy watching the Big Bang sitcom, and picking up on their nerdy science jokes and allusions.

Schrodinger's Cat
October 12, 2017 5:55 am

The BBC has a number of celebrity scientists. These people may present science shows on TV or radio and may also appear as the guest scientist when it is felt necessary to consult a scientist. The same people leap up to complain bitterly when the BBC has the audacity to screen anything that questions global warming. I often wonder if the last bit is part of their BBC contract. A huge outcry on some minor point every now and then gives the Corporation evidence that it is not 100% biased.

Steve Ta
Reply to  Schrodinger's Cat
October 12, 2017 8:03 am

I saw the idiot Professor Brian Cox talking about global warming once, and how he knew it was real, and his explanation was that he had seen a graph that proved it (the f’in hockey stock, of course) and he thought that normal plebs don’t understand that to a scientist, a graph proves things. Twat.

Reply to  Steve Ta
October 12, 2017 2:47 pm

Cox; Sucker.

Mumbles McGuirck
October 12, 2017 6:07 am

I recall attending “The Day After Tomorrow” with a group of friends. After watching that highly fictional film, one of my friends asked me in all earnestness, “Could all of that REALLY happen?” I was flabbergasted. I explained that during the film Ian Holm’s character actually says that events happening in the film go against the laws of science. Then all the characters just shrug and go on with no attempt to explain HOW it could happen when it was against the laws of science. The scriptwriters were admitting in the script that it was all BS and then just kept chugging on.
So in a few weeks we will have “Geostorm” set in a future where the weather is controlled, but someone is monkeying with the knobs. Still I bet critics will see it as a lesson in CAGW. Any bets?

Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
October 12, 2017 8:39 am

I remember watching “The China Syndrome” with some fellow nuclear colleague. Afterwards we were accosted outside the cinema by some anti-nuclear campaigner who thought it was real and factual. He got a right earful of reality.

MarkW
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
October 12, 2017 9:46 am

I’ve always wondered why China Syndrome was considered an anti-nuclear movie.
In the movie, the worst case earthquake struck while there was nobody in the control room.
Something in the plant broke, and the plant automatically shut down. Nobody was hurt.
Emergency procedures worked and once again, nobody was hurt, nobody was endangered.

buggs
Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
October 12, 2017 10:50 am

As a Canadian I honestly thought The Day After Tomorrow was a comedy. Seriously, it wasn’t even THAT cold. Really, the temperatures they were talking about was something people where I live confront for weeks at a time. And our infrastructure doesn’t crumble. Duly noting the same infrastructure isn’t necessarily in place in New York City but at the same time, come on. So, so, so many flaws.
On the plus side and not dealing with the same movie at least the noted scientist Leonardo DiCaprio now knows what a Chinook is.
If you get your advice from a celebrity or a sports figure you really should probably do precisely the opposite.

Richard of NZ
Reply to  buggs
October 12, 2017 11:31 am

Isn’t a Chinook the helicopter you fly in when one wants salmon on the menu?

Gary Hladik
Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
October 12, 2017 11:53 am

“I recall attending ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ with a group of friends.”
One of my favorite movies, with AFAIK the most unique chase scene in entertainment history: Our Heroes being chased by an ice age! And it inspired the equally hilarious South Park episode “Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow.” Hollywood science at its best.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Days_Before_the_Day_After_Tomorrow

Russ Wood
Reply to  Gary Hladik
October 13, 2017 8:39 am

Add – In the ‘scientist’s bookshelf was Douglas Orgill’s “The Sixth Winter”. Now THERE’S an SF story that could be possible!

Russ Wood
Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
October 13, 2017 8:37 am

Oh yes – my wife and I were very amused by the character outrunning cold! But then, you CAN catch cold!

jsuther2013
October 12, 2017 6:11 am

They lose me very fast when they come across a new element in the middle of the periodic table; show spacecraft banking to turn, and putting in the mandatory steam leaks all through a spacecraft. Then there is the roar of engines in space, as the craft accelerates away, and on, and on.

drednicolson
Reply to  jsuther2013
October 12, 2017 7:53 am

And lens flares. Don’t forget lens flares!

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  drednicolson
October 12, 2017 1:38 pm

Artistic license.

beng135
Reply to  jsuther2013
October 12, 2017 9:37 am

And also that everything has artificial gravity without spinning.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  beng135
October 12, 2017 6:51 pm

You will have artificial gravity if you keep your floors perpendicular to the rocket’s acceleration. Banking in turns is also a good idea, as turning is acceleration.

MarkW
Reply to  jsuther2013
October 12, 2017 9:47 am

As someone I knew commented after watching an episode of Star Trek.
Haven’t these guys heard of circuit breakers?

drednicolson
Reply to  MarkW
October 12, 2017 4:02 pm

Or for that matter, seat belts?

rocketscientist
Reply to  jsuther2013
October 12, 2017 10:20 am

I do enjoy some fantastic escapism every so often, but i often find myself explaining why these cannot be so to my companions.
Now, you’ve got me started….
“Gravity”: Loads of tripe. Orbital debris does NOT fall up into a higher orbital plane. Any energy loss due to collision will cause it to fall. Things don’t fall up. You can’t simply climb into a Soyuz capsule and start it up, or even fly to different orbital cross track. All space suits ARE CUSTOM FITTED. You can climb into a bigger one but it will not allow you to move about properly when pressurized. The seats on the Soyuz are also custom fitted to the occupant.
I truly enjoy Star Wars, but there is so much wrong with the science.
I have several friends who have been “technical consultants” to the industry. They were often frustrated and disgusted with the “knowing liberties” film directors take.

Gabro
Reply to  rocketscientist
October 12, 2017 10:23 am

I enjoyed “The Martian”, but the atmosphere of Mars is far too wispy for the windstorm.

Stevan Reddish
Reply to  rocketscientist
October 13, 2017 11:46 pm

Ditto on the Mars atmosphere being too wispy for windstorms to be an issue.That could have been something I would have let slide if the movie had been 1, consistent about it and 2, if the subject was treated logically within the workings of the plot.
The movie failed to be consistent by having a windstorm wreak havoc in the beginning of the movie, then near the end stating that the martian air was so thin that a tarp was sufficient to cover the launch rocket, even though it had been lightened in order to accelerate much more quickly than originally intended.
Worse, the atmosphere was made a critical point of the plot by having sufficient density to blow their return ship over. The crew even had a tip indicator and knew exactly at what wind speed their ship would tip. If this was known by the mission planners, why would they not design the return ship to withstand any possible wind?
SR

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  jsuther2013
October 12, 2017 1:37 pm

Ah, you’ve heard of Frijolium!

Reply to  jsuther2013
October 12, 2017 2:53 pm

Fiery explosions in space always make me laugh. Burning debris etc. tumbling into the blackness, LOL.

drednicolson
Reply to  HotScot
October 12, 2017 4:14 pm

Debris would be burning on the *inside*, because that’s where the oxygen is, then quickly burn out as the oxygen depletes. An obscure Sci-Fi Real-Time Strategy game, ORB, modelled this more or less accurately when the larger starships are destroyed. They break into large pieces that burn on the inside and can damage other nearby craft that collide with them.
It still has sound in space, but a video game without sound would be boring, so it’s an ubiquitous Acceptable Break from Reality™

Bruce Cobb
October 12, 2017 6:25 am

“Hollywood science” and “climate science”. Made for each other. Peas in a pod.

Tom Judd
October 12, 2017 6:25 am

It’s sort of funny, before I even read Battig’s post, but immediately after seeing the headline, the first thought that sprung to mind was: Harvey Weinstein. And there he is, mentioned in Battig’s very first sentence.
Degenerate though Weinstein is, I don’t think he’s on quite as low a place of existence as Kim Il Sung. But I’ve noticed a perverse kind of similarity. Note how Kim Il Sung looks like he’s literally inflated while absolutely everybody else in North Korea is as skinny as a rail from undernourishment. Now look at a similar kind of difference between Harvey Weinstein and the women he assaulted or attempted to. The women are all supermodels: young at the time, not a hair out of place, perfectly applied makeup, perfectly fitted clothes. And there’s Harvey, looking like a real slob of a man: ill-fitted clothes making his ostentatiously prominent gut looking even more prominent (if such a thing is possible), a stubbly couple days growth of beard (as if that looks good on his double chinned face). There’s a similar kind of statement being made by both Harvey and Kim to, what they deem to be, inferior people. Amazing isn’t it? – the kind of power statement that makes to their victims while to normal eyes Kim’s and Harvey’s grotesque appearances, in everyday life, would profess the exact opposite. Maybe that explains Hollywood’s infatuation with the CAGW mantra imposing on us lesser beings a lifestyle reduction while they themselves zip around the world, and from mansion to mansion, on their private jets, and host parties on their mega yachts.

Gabro
Reply to  Tom Judd
October 12, 2017 10:20 am

Kim Il Sung, thank God, is dead. His grandson Kim Jong Un is now the dumpling-shaped totalitarian dictator of the DPRK. Allegedly he cuts his hair and gained weight more to resemble his grandfather. But no doubt he’d have gotten fat anyway, while his subject people still starve, although they have more to eat than during the famine of the 1990s.

2hotel9
October 12, 2017 6:30 am

Come now, they produce an abundance of rapists and child molesters and drug addicts, don’t be so harsh on them. They can’t do real science, that is against their leftist religious ideology so give them a break!

Tom Halla
October 12, 2017 6:37 am

I am reminded of Steven Jay Gould’s essay on “Jurassic Park”, both the Crichton novel and the Spielberg screenplay. Gould’s conclusion was that Spielberg was stuck on making yet another remake of the movie version of “Frankenstein”, that from Crichton being almost plausible enough for Gould to spend effort shooting holes in the scientific rationale to Speilberg’s striking visuals and a message that science is dangerous.

Gabro
Reply to  Tom Halla
October 12, 2017 11:45 am

He got the date of Owen’s coinage of the classification Dinosauria wrong. It was in published 1842, not 1840.
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1993/08/12/dinomania/

Paul Johnson
October 12, 2017 6:42 am

The pivotal principle of cinema is the “suspension of disbelief”, where the viewer simply accepts the alternate reality portrayed on the screen. Hollywood seems to have a problem accepting that people can, and do, understand that films show an alternate reality, not the real world. It’s just a movie.

drednicolson
Reply to  Paul Johnson
October 12, 2017 8:02 am

As long as that alternate reality remains consistent within its own rules, as declared by the story. Otherwise suspension of disbelief is quickly lost.

Russ Wood
Reply to  Paul Johnson
October 13, 2017 8:41 am

Now one really good ‘suspension of disbelief” was “Roger Rabbit”. That was brilliantly done!

October 12, 2017 7:05 am

After a second thought, nowadays the actors X can be modelled and simulated easier than the atmosphere.

MarkW
Reply to  jaakkokateenkorva
October 12, 2017 9:53 am

Won’t be too much longer until computer graphics are indistinguishable from live actors.
It will have the same impact on Hollywood that high quality and cheap recording equipment had on the music industry.
If you have an idea for a movie, you no longer have to invest ten’s of millions. Just buy a high end computer and a few thousand dollars worth of software, and you can be your own studio. For distribution you can YouTube it to start. If you gather enough interest, you might be able to attract the attention of Netflix, Hulu, or any one of a number of internet distributors.

Michael J. Dunn
Reply to  MarkW
October 12, 2017 12:08 pm

Not a bad idea. See “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” for an example.

Gabro
Reply to  MarkW
October 12, 2017 12:17 pm

True. Video game CG is already almost there.
You won’t have to pay Jennifer Lawrence $30 million. But then your movie probably won’t gross $300 million, either.

Gabro
Reply to  MarkW
October 12, 2017 12:24 pm

Some of the highest grossing movies are already animated or reliant on CGI FX. Or turn live actors into animated characters through motion capture.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  MarkW
October 12, 2017 1:45 pm

Yes, but as the price drops, more and more nerds will be making their own idea of a Hollywood epic and all but a few good flicks will be lost in the noise. Just like on Amazon.

drednicolson
Reply to  MarkW
October 12, 2017 4:33 pm

A live actor trying to have a dialogue with a green-screened-in CGI character is hard enough (they have no body language to react to, so it often sounds like they’re talking to a wall, which often they literally are). How much harder for a one-man movie maker to get two virtual actors to dialogue believably? The big name CG studios at least have the advantage of being able to bring their voice talent together under one roof, where they can bounce off each other while they’re recording.

Russ Wood
Reply to  MarkW
October 13, 2017 8:43 am

Analog SF magazine some years ago had a story about the licensing problems of the image of a dead actor. Do the heirs get royalties on an electronic image?

Resourceguy
October 12, 2017 7:12 am

Weinstein termed deviancy as edgy and demanded that be in all new film projects and scripts.

drednicolson
Reply to  Resourceguy
October 12, 2017 4:39 pm

When everything is deviant, nothing is. 😐
Or with apology to Orson Welles, when deviancy is the order of the day, following the rules becomes a revolutionary act.

Jason
October 12, 2017 7:17 am

I once read that the film, “The Day After Tomorrow” was so scientifically flawed, they even NASA refused to consult on the film, in fear of their name being attached to it. Can anyone confirm that was true?

john harmsworth
Reply to  Jason
October 12, 2017 8:23 am

I can confirm that it was scientifically flawed, yes. Lol! Am I the only one to be curious as to why such a piece of crap still gets so much air time on late night TV? Maybe I’m getting paranoid but it’s about the same as Independence Day, which is way more entertaining AND more possible.
Sarc/but not really

jmichna
October 12, 2017 7:43 am

Every once in a while, they (the movie industry) do achieve plausibility… but they do so on the backs of great science fiction writers. Case in point, Michael Crichton’s ‘Andromeda Strain’… the 1971 version. Arthur Clark’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (done by Kubrick) was pretty accurate from the tech standpoint. Of more recent flicks, Andy Weir’s ‘The Martian’ and Sagan’s ‘Contact’ are pretty good from the science and technology standpoint.

Jaakko Kateenkorva
Reply to  jmichna
October 12, 2017 8:06 am

Compared to current status of climate science even Monsters Ic and Green Lantern are more plausible. At least from moral standpoint. There is better energy in laughter and/or courage than in fear.

rocketscientist
Reply to  jmichna
October 12, 2017 10:33 am

Um, the Martian sort of, but they got more wrong than correct.
Much probably has to do with the fact that they have to shoot the movies on Earth.
The gravity was ALL WRONG. Mars has appx 3/8ths of a g. No way would schlepping a bucket of soil cause fatigue. Things don’t fall as fast either. If you tipped over a glass it is possible to grab the glass and scoop up the falling substance before it his the ground. On Earth an object falls 16 feet in the first second, on Mars it would fall only 6 feet. Moving large objects about wouldn’t be difficult.

Michael J. Dunn
Reply to  rocketscientist
October 12, 2017 12:11 pm

Hmmm. Ever tried to push a 9500-lb truck in neutral on a level surface? Just because there is no weight does not mean there is no inertia.

rocketscientist
Reply to  rocketscientist
October 12, 2017 2:35 pm

Yes,I have. Momentum still exists, and it will begin moving slowly. Furthermore a “9500 lb truck” would not create as much friction as it would only exert 3562 lbs of normal force on the ground and subsequently would not create a big as a depression in the soil.
Movement in less than 1 g is strange. We cannot “walk” or “run” like on earth because or feet will simply kick-up dust and we will be running like cartoon characters with feet flying but no forward progress.
The Apollo astronauts found that out the hard way. Hopping seemed to work best because our human feedback systems seem to have our motion/force gain sensitivity set too high. We over-correct and end up tripping and stumbling.

Auto
Reply to  rocketscientist
October 12, 2017 2:46 pm

Michael J
Agreed.
One guy will not be able to do it.
But I remember – many years ago, probably early 1970s – when we needed to push start a coach [probably 6 or 8 tonnes/tons] A dozen or so got it up to near walking pace, and the diesel fired – and took us home.
Sports club – athletics – I think.
And, possibly, the last night I ever drank bottled Guinness – utterly foul. Have never revisited such dross.
Auto

Stevan Reddish
Reply to  rocketscientist
October 13, 2017 11:55 pm

Most of the time the weaker gravity is ignored. But near the end we are left to assume that weaker gravity enables Watney to lift the 200 KG nose cone even though he has been starved to within an inch of death.
SR

Bruce Cobb
October 12, 2017 8:09 am

I like the “dust balls of deviancy’. Nothing compares with Agnew’s “nattering nabobs of negativism” though.

Gabro
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
October 12, 2017 12:26 pm

Written for him by Pat Buchanan.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Gabro
October 12, 2017 12:29 pm

I’m pretty sure the “nattering nabobs of negativism” line was by William Safire, not Buchanan.

Gabro
Reply to  Gabro
October 12, 2017 12:34 pm

You’re right.

Auto
Reply to  Gabro
October 12, 2017 2:48 pm

Whoever wrote it – it is still mammothly magically memorable.
Auto

Robert W Turner
October 12, 2017 8:11 am

My all time favorite Hollywood portrayal of science is so bad that apparently a clip or image of it does not exist on the internet. It’s in the beginning scene of ‘2012’ when the geologist discovers that the world is going to end simply by looking down a large glowing hole.

Mumbles McGuirck
Reply to  Robert W Turner
October 12, 2017 9:21 am

That’s because he could “see” that solar neutrinos had suddenly decided to have mass and were heating up the mantel making it gooey.
Worst science movie was CBS’s “Category 7”. Global warming was causing “chunks” of the mesosphere to fall to the troposphere where they caused super tornadoes. 🙂

jmichna
Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
October 12, 2017 10:17 am

The Sharknado series has better, er, “science.”

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
October 12, 2017 1:49 pm

“The sky is falling,” in other words. Sounds like a nice summation of global warming “sigh-ence.”

Lazo
October 12, 2017 8:25 am

Good reality check for us all.

Dodgy Geezer
October 12, 2017 9:00 am

…Maybe Hollywood doesn’t produce great scientists?…
Maybe. I KNOW it doesn’t produce great actors. The ones that think they are any good all go to the UK where they take parts on the stage. And embarrass all the competent actors around them…

commieBob
October 12, 2017 9:34 am

No original thinking is necessary; the actor is parroting the ideas of someone else.

Somehow I think there’s more to it than that. For some reason I’m reminded of Yakima Canutt. Anyway, you couldn’t accuse him of merely parroting other people’s ideas.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  commieBob
October 12, 2017 2:00 pm

Canutt is an entirely different sort. I have acted and written a little for film, so I’d say it’s a co-op arrangement, with the director usually having the final say. Sometimes an actor will come up with an idea on-set that exemplifies the character better than what’s in the script. E.g., Harrison Ford’s “Can’t I just shoot him?” Brilliant. He did, and the resulting moment was one of those things you talk about the morning after you’ve seen “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

Gabro
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
October 12, 2017 2:08 pm

Another famous improvisation is Peter O’Toole’s using his dagger as a mirror in “Lawrence of Arabia”.
Canutt stunt doubled for John Wayne in “Stagecoach”. John Ford couldn’t make use of Wayne’s observation that in the real world, the Indians chasing the coach would just have shot the horses. Even only one dead or wounded horse would have ended the chase, in which scene Canutt jumps from running horse to horse. He was a great athlete.

Jim
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
October 12, 2017 3:25 pm

Gabro – In the entire history of the American West there was exactly one incident of an Indian attack on a stagecoach. Of course in Hollywood movies they have barely put the town they are leaving behind the bend and Indians are all over them.
The classic Hollywood scene of mounted Indians staging a massive attack on a circled wagon train with pioneers shooting at them from the cover of the wagons? Nothing even remotely like this ever happened.

commieBob
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
October 12, 2017 4:34 pm

Jim October 12, 2017 at 3:25 pm
… Nothing even remotely like this ever happened.

The British defenders at Rorke’s Drift are depicted as using anything they could, including wagons, to build a defence.
Wagon forts go back into ancient history both in Europe and China. One well recorded example is The Battle of Blood River in which 350 Voortrekkers defeated 10,000 Zulus.

michael hart
October 12, 2017 10:46 am

Climate reality is best left in the hands of those trained in the pertinent scientific fields.

I must disagree. Reality is best left in the hands of those who have to experience it.
Too many of those who claim to be trained in “climate” are no more truthful than any Hollywood star, just wannabes. Some of them may be competent and truthful, but not as many as those who would claim to be competent and truthful.
If somebody has a climate model that doesn’t match reality, it doesn’t matter if they have either a PhD or an Oscar. They still fail the reality test.

October 12, 2017 10:55 am

It is good to see others stating what I have stated – Actors are professional liars!
I cannot claim that phrase as I am sure many have said it before me (I have only been saying it for about 30 years). But the more people that realize what acting is, the less weight they give to fake people.

drednicolson
Reply to  philjourdan
October 12, 2017 4:48 pm

It’s more trained sociopathy, imo.

LdB
October 12, 2017 11:31 am

I am sure there will be a new movie called “How Climate Science lead the perversion of science”.
Cosmology has decided to follow Climate Science down a very dark path. Scientific America decided to published an article against inflationary theory and check out the response.
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/a-cosmic-controversy/
Response look familiar in trying to shut down descent, I was horrified.
Slava Mukhanov was the only one asked to sign the letter and refused.
Next all they need to do is start the 97% consensus junk and start calling objecting voices deniers and they will have taken there Cosmology into the garbage can like climate science.
The fact other scientists are using these tactics is going to come to haunt some science fields. You only have to look at the history of science to see it isn’t going to end well.

Gabro
Reply to  LdB
October 12, 2017 1:56 pm

At least the pro-inflation authors recognize that science should make falsifiable predictions, unlike “climate scientists” and their cheerleaders like Mosher and Oreskes, who are only to happy to invent a new scientific method, based upon consensus rather than falsifiability.

David Cage
October 12, 2017 10:28 pm

…..Climate reality is best left in the hands of those trained in the pertinent scientific fields……
I disagree with this statement. As long as it is a pure thought exercise it is science but once the ideas are applied and money is spent based on those ideas it becomes engineering and should be subject to the quality control that are always needed to ensure that money is spent as well as practically possible.
That means that any failing of the science to meet real world conditions should be highlighted and rectified , by total cancellation of the project if necessary.

Lon McPherson
October 14, 2017 3:58 pm

Since when do we put anything responsible in the hands of the high school theater kids, be it foreign policy or science?

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