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Science of Watchmen - Comments

debacles's Avatar Comment 1 by debacles

Am I the only one who gets annoyed listening to ridiculous assumptions based on quantum physics theories?

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 10:39:00 UTC | #330437

mrjohnno's Avatar Comment 2 by mrjohnno

Doubt it.

Theists see indeterminacy as a way to refute any claims made my atheists but fail to see that it also affects their claim also.

Johnno

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 10:45:00 UTC | #330442

headcold's Avatar Comment 3 by headcold

This is a little lame. However...

Dr. Brian Cox's commentary on the DVD of Sunshine is awesome. I was able to watch the movie and then immediately watch it again with the science commentary, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:11:00 UTC | #330459

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 5 by rod-the-farmer

What's with Minnesota ? PZ, and now this fellow. Here's what Jeff Foxworthy has to say...

If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 18 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by..

You might live in Minnesota.


If you're proud that your state makes the national news 96 nights each year because International Falls is the coldest spot in the nation...

You might live in Minnesota.


If you have ever refused to buy something because it's "too spendy"...

You might live in Minnesota.


If your local Dairy Queen is closed from November through March...

You might live in Minnesota.


If someone in a store offers you assistance, and they don't work there...

You might live in Minnesota.


If your dad's suntan stops at a line curving around the middle of his forehead...

You might live in Minnesota.


If you have worn shorts and a parka at the same time...

You might live in Minnesota.


If your town has an equal number of bars and churches...

You! Might live in Minnesota.


If you know how to say...Wayzata...Mahtomedi....Cloquet ...Edina...and Shakopee,

You might live in Minnesota.


If you think that ketchup is a little too spicy,

You might live in Minnesota.


If vacation means going "up north" for the weekend,

You might live in Minnesota.


You measure distance in hours,

You might live in Minnesota.


You know several people, who have hit deer more than once,

You might live in Minnesota.


You often switch from "Heat" to "A/C" in the same day and back again,

You might live in Minnesota.


You can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching,

You might live in Minnesota.


You see people wearing hunting clothes at social events,

You might live in Minnesota.


You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked,

You might live in Minnesota.


You think of the major food groups as beer, fish, and venison,

You might live in Minnesota.


You carry jumper cables in your car, and your girlfriend knows how to use them,

You might live in Minnesota.


There are 7 empty cars running in the parking lot at Mill's Fleet Farm at any given time,

You might live in Minnesota. (must be a local thing)


You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit,

You might live in Minnesota.


Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow,

You might live in Minnesota.


You know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and of course, road construction,

You might live in Minnesota.


You can identify a southern or eastern accent,

You might live in Minnesota.


Your idea of creative landscaping is a plastic deer next to your blue spruce,

You might live in Minnesota.!


If "Down South" to you means Iowa,

You might live in Minnesota.


You know "a brat" is something you eat,
You might live in Minnesota. (bratwurst sausage)


You find -10 degrees "a little chilly",

You might live in Minnesota.

You actually understand these jokes, and you forward them to all your Minnesota friends,

You DO live in Minnesota.

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:20:00 UTC | #330472

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 4 by Dr. Strangegod

Doh! And I replaced my avatar of Dr. Manhattan sitting on Mars just last week!

This is, by the way, science FICTION, folks. The best sci-fi takes what we know and expands upon it. As this story was written in the mid '80s, and the primary reasons for Dr. Manhattan's powers being what they are were those of character and plot, retroactively matching up the quantum physics knowledge that has been gained since then to his established abilities is a fascinating task. I also recommend the essays in Absolute Watchmen to understand more about this character.

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:20:00 UTC | #330471

Sciros's Avatar Comment 6 by Sciros

All the quantum-mechanics-out-of-your-arse talk in the world isn't going to make Dr Manhattan look any less fake. He looks like a crummy 1999 CG character, what's up with that?

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:26:00 UTC | #330477

boogerjames's Avatar Comment 7 by boogerjames

Load of crap. Why is this even posted here? I get more enjoyment of out listening to Kirk Cameran and his Crocoduck.

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:31:00 UTC | #330481

Eshto's Avatar Comment 9 by Eshto

rod-the-farmer:

Pretty much all of those also apply to my state, Wisconsin.

God bless the northwoods, eh.

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:33:00 UTC | #330483

lvpl78's Avatar Comment 8 by lvpl78

Cool.

I spent the best part of the last year working on the digital effects for this movie. What an honour for it be featured on RD.net!

rod-the-farmer, good list there.

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:33:00 UTC | #330482

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 10 by Bonzai

How much did Warner Brothers pay this guy?

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:34:00 UTC | #330484

Bueller_007's Avatar Comment 13 by Bueller_007

Seriously, how is this any better than people's post hoc reasoning about the scientific accuracy of the Koran?

This shouldn't be here. There's hardly any real science content in the video anyway.

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:37:00 UTC | #330487

MaxD's Avatar Comment 11 by MaxD

Kaklios' book is splendid. I recommend it to anyone.

EDIT: I also recommend Watchmen the graphic novel. Not sure about the movie. But I only got around to reading Watchmen this year, and it made my all time top 10 sci-fi experiences. Simply stunning.

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:37:00 UTC | #330485

Sciros's Avatar Comment 12 by Sciros

I spent the best part of the last year working on the digital effects for this movie.
Who worked on Dr. Manhattan? If it was you then my bad, but I'm standing by what I said.

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:37:00 UTC | #330486

lvpl78's Avatar Comment 15 by lvpl78

Sciros - don't sweat it my friend.

Bueller_007 - this is supposed to be science fiction. I don't think anyone is claiming this stuff is true. Better to at least try and take some cues from real science than not at all right?

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:41:00 UTC | #330491

Sciros's Avatar Comment 14 by Sciros

Bueller, how dare you mock the scientific miracle that is the Qur'an!? If you read it you will see it clearly mentions a big blue guy modeled off Captain Atom, and a dude in an owl costume that's basically a crummy Batman. The Qur'an that proves the scientific legitimacy of Watchmen!

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:41:00 UTC | #330490

MaxD's Avatar Comment 17 by MaxD

1vpl78,
Realizing that you are probably not allowed to say much, what do you think of how Watchmen was shaping up?

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:42:00 UTC | #330493

Upgrade01A's Avatar Comment 16 by Upgrade01A

fun stuff.

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:42:00 UTC | #330492

Tezcatlipoca's Avatar Comment 18 by Tezcatlipoca

re Comment #346410 by rod-the-farmer
Comment #346421 by Eshto

Likewise for Michigan. I can take you by the Dairy Queen...but it won't be open until April.

-edit-regarding sci fi movies...I have been told numerous times by friends, after we've left the theatre, "it's only a movie," after I start to go on about things that "don't make any damn sense."

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:43:00 UTC | #330495

mrjohnno's Avatar Comment 19 by mrjohnno

Bueller_007

This shouldn't be here. There's hardly any real science content in the video anyway.


Know your enemy!

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:45:00 UTC | #330497

Bueller_007's Avatar Comment 20 by Bueller_007

Bueller_007 - this is supposed to be science fiction. I don't think anyone is claiming this stuff is true. Better to at least try and take some cues from real science than not at all right?

==

Except that the story was already written long ago without a scientific consultant, and they're basically just looking to get someone to come in and christen the project. All he's trying to do is explain things after the fact.

As someone pointed out on PZ's blog, Deepak Chopra could have done exactly the same thing for them.

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:46:00 UTC | #330499

Sciros's Avatar Comment 21 by Sciros

Well, Bueller bro, to be fair it's just an exercise in seeing what is and isn't "plausible" in the superhero universe Watchmen creates. I read through "the Science of Superman" one time, and that was pretty interesting because it still brought up all of the actual science prior to talking about how it would need to be "interpreted" to apply to Supes.

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 11:51:00 UTC | #330502

lvpl78's Avatar Comment 22 by lvpl78

Bueller_007

I understand where you're coming from but this is only pretend. It's still interesting to talk about where the real science ends and the science fiction begins. It's not really like the Koran is it? At least this calls itself fiction.

MaxD - yeah I can't really say anything dude. Except that I like the fact that it's not your formulaic superhero action movie. As you might expect.

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 12:02:00 UTC | #330507

MaxD's Avatar Comment 23 by MaxD

Bueller.
I think to be fair to the work, you need to read Watchmen. I think it stands up wonderfully as science fiction.

Also, Kaklios' approach is to give the heroes one miracle exemption and then explore the physical consequences of their powers. (The exemption is typically of course their power to begin with). This approach is a fun way to explore physics. It is certainly a fun way to approach comic books. Kaklios' chapter on the original instantiation of Superman (not the god he eventually became but the guy who came from another planet with greater gravitation than Earth's) is a very fun exploration of a wide range of physics topics.

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 12:04:00 UTC | #330510

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 24 by Cartomancer

I really do wonder about people who deride projects like this because they're fictional and some aspects of what they describe don't really exist.

That is what fiction is all about. It contains things that don't really exist. If it didn't then it would be factual reportage or another non-fiction genre. But just because it doesn't really exist that doesn't mean it hasn't got something to say about things that DO exist. As the great Terry Pratchett once said, at bottom all fantasy universes are essentially our own universe dressed up a bit. That's why we relate to fiction - it has something to say about things we really do experience, even if it says them by presenting an implicit contrast with things we absolutely do not experience and never will.

Wuthering Heights is not science fiction. But it does include lots of things that don't exist. The crumbling old house doesn't exist. Cathy and Heathcliffe don't exist. They never had a torrid and frankly unrealistic romantic tryst. Never will. But it still resonates with many readers because it says something about the romantic aspirations that real human beings do entertain. Sure, it is the sort of thing that COULD have happened - it doesn't break any fundamental laws of physics as we know them - but the difference between a story that COULD have happened but didn't and one which COULD NOT have happened at all is entirely irrelevant from a literary point of view. Literature is not about forwarding scientific hypotheses about the nature of the world - it is not peer reviewed for consonance with current physics research. Nevertheless, if it uses a fictional conceit as a springboard for exploring certain principles and aspects of actual physics, so much the better - that's quite interesting. What is the difference between using fictional people to explore actual romantic urges and using fictional physics to explore actual physical processes?

Would a psychologist be pilloried for talking about "the psychology of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds"? or even using examples from fiction in their work, like the Oedipus complex, or the Jungian archetypes?

What differentiates much science fiction from other fantasy genres is that it wears its scientific idiom on its sleeve. That makes it a natural point of departure for saying things about actual science. Dr. Manhattan is supposed to utilise aspects of real physics to achieve what he does, and Alan Moore uses the language of science to present his character. Contrast this with, say, Tolkein's Gandalf or Shakespeare's Prospero, who also achieve similar effects with magic. You probably wouldn't find a book called "the meteorology of The Tempest" which tries to explain oceanic microclimate with reference to the conjurations of Ariel, or "The Biology of Balrogs" which tries to explain whether a being of shadow and flame really could evolve in certain environmental conditions. The idiomatic consonance between something like Watchmen and actual scientific discourse makes it an appealing vehicle for exploring real science with a popular audience however.

Though I preferred V for Vendetta...

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 12:07:00 UTC | #330511

MaxD's Avatar Comment 25 by MaxD

lvpl78
For your failure to divulge, I will hence forth mark every commment by you as offensive, spammy and trollie.

Kidding of course.
Maybe.
No really kidding.
(silently shakes head)
Seriously kidding.
(subtle almost imperceptable head shake)

I liked the director's commitment to Frank Miller's 300, I just thought it was one of Miller's weaker works, and could hardly compare with Steven Pressfield's Gates of Fire.

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 12:09:00 UTC | #330512

Luthien's Avatar Comment 26 by Luthien

The interesting thing about Dr Manhattan is not how his "powers" might be possible, but the complex moral dilemas. Watchmen isn't just a kids comic, it is among other things an extremely sophisticated analysis of power and control. What would you do if you had that kind of power?

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 12:10:00 UTC | #330513

Bueller_007's Avatar Comment 27 by Bueller_007

I understand where you're coming from but this is only pretend. It's still interesting to talk about where the real science ends and the science fiction begins. It's not really like the Koran is it? At least this calls itself fiction.

==

Exactly, and that's precisely why it doesn't need BS "scientific" explanations in its favour. It's called "suspension of disbelief", and you reduce someone's ability to do that when you start spouting this kind of drivel. They're doing both science AND the story a disservice with this pathetic post hoc reasoning.

I love how in the video he says "...that's not strictly correct". Seriously dude, just say "based on what we know, this is IMPOSSIBLE". That's what an honest scientist would say. But I guess that's not what he got paid for.

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 12:11:00 UTC | #330514

Frankus1122's Avatar Comment 28 by Frankus1122

At about 4:12 he says:

"Not strictly correct from a physics point of view but very cool none the less."


Can we agree on that?

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 12:17:00 UTC | #330519

ahmunnaeetchoo's Avatar Comment 29 by ahmunnaeetchoo

what on earth is wrong with sci fi? It doesn't set out to claim truth (hence the 'fiction' bit). It demonstrates a fascination of science and decent imagination too!

Good stuff!

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 12:18:00 UTC | #330520

MaxD's Avatar Comment 30 by MaxD

Bueller,
Of course he thinks it is impossible for Dr. Manhattan to exist. However, some of the things he does are not physically impossible, just not for human's to consciously manipulate or enact them. It does appear that particles can be in more than one place in the same instant if I understand my quantum mechanics. This is the kind of thing Kakalios enjoys playing with.

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 12:19:00 UTC | #330521