Tuesday, September 29, 2015

2001: A Space Odyssey

I have so much to say about this movie and no idea where to begin. A good place to start is probably the rating I'd give it.

Yep, ten out of ten. If the rating scale was based on how many times a movie made my brain shut down from having no idea what was going on. If I had to rate it on how much I enjoyed this movie, I'd give it a 2 out of ten. And that is due to something I like to call "The Sienfeld Effect." 
So, The Sienfeld Effect is as follows: I once tried to watch the show and found it extremely boring and not funny in the slightest. Why? Because everyone else had taken Sienfeld's jokes and used them over and over again in more interesting situations, leaving the stand up comedian feeling rather boring and dull.

So for when it was released, the slow cuts letting people drink in every rich, well shot detail of space was amazing!
 Kubrik was like "Space!" and everyone else was like:

But to us the movie's agonizing attention to detail in a rather dull setting is just... boring. I can see that it set some standards back in 1968 (DATS AN OLD MOVIE)
but when we have movies like star wars and alien, with these rich, well developed universes that provoke so much thought and side stories, 2001 just made me question who slipped Acid into my soda at dinner.

Physics wise: I had a few questions really. So we mentioned that yeah, it's great that the ship is spinning to give artificial gravity. But when I thought about it, I noticed something: The ship isn't spinning whenever we look at it. Or at least, we can't tell that it is. One could argue that only the center of the ship is spinning, and that the outer ball shape is just a shell around the inner rotating core. But in the pod bay (whatever you want to call the area with the space ping pong balls) there was clearly gravity in that room, but it wasn't spinning! Also, the glass falling from the table when he was an old man? Great physics, glass broke. All is well in the world.

From a cinema view (and I'm no cinematographer), the movie's pacing is painful. I get that he was trying to give every single movement in space great magnitude, but when you're character is just trying to press a button in his space ball, it's unnecessary that he spends 5 minutes leading up to him pressing the button. JUST PRESS THE BUTTON. If we cut down on the amount of cuts and time just wasted with all these unnecessarily long and awkward scenes, we could get this movie down to under an hour and a half, I bet. 

Also the characters: Maybe they're not a big part of the movie, but we spent an awful lot of time getting to know the doctor that we would never see again after he found the obelisk on the moon. Lets look at all this information they fed us about him: He has a wife and a daughter, it's his daughter's birthday, his daughter wants a bush baby for her birthday, she also wants a telephone, the name of her baby sitter, the fact that his wife isn't home, AND HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR A WOMAN TO WALK AROUND A CIRCULAR ROOM?! TAKE STEPS LARGER THAN TWO INCHES PLEASE!

I'm just going to end with this:
you probably made mistakes when the most emotionally developed character in your movie
is a robot that's not supposed to feel emotion.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Friction, Drag, and Sound

The unsung heroes of the average world


Let's be honest, most people don't really think about friction till it lets them down, and they end up sprawled on the ground in a heap. One of my oldest memories as a child is watching recorded reruns of the magic school bus, and I still remember the episode where they tried to play baseball with no friction. Everyone sliding around and bumping into each other, unable to turn or control themselves without grabbing something and pushing off of it (though if there really was no friction at all, not even that would be possible.)
So picking up the super hero physics book, I grabbed the chapter on the flash.
So the book addresses that yes, the flash could jump over a building going at the speeds that he runs at. But would it be possible to run up the side? Well it all depends on friction. Every time someone takes a step, it causes a massive catastrophic event on a molecular scale. The surfaces of atoms collide, breaking and creating bonds to create what we know as friction. So can the flash run up the side of a building? Technically, yes, though it's more like bouncing. Though I predict something like this as a result. If he runs at a angle like that, gravity is going to pull down his upper half and he's going to go back flipping down the side of the building. Also, that radical change in direction from going vertical and then to horizontal. I think all super heroes are just indestructible because nobody should be able to do this. According to my roommate, Flash has "The Speed Force" which would allow him to ignore physics. But that doesn't make everything around him immune to physics! I think the glass would shatter from the impact of a person moving that fast.
This, on the other hand, is totally possible. He's moving so fast that the water can't move out of the way fast enough to allow him to sink. It's like water skis, move fast enough and you glide along the water. Same principle. In a way, the flash is bullet proof, but only when moving in the opposite direction. A bullet can't hit you if you outrun it.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Saving the world! One crazy plan at a time.

Time being the key word there. It's the one variable that shows up in almost every set of equations in physics. Why, you ask? BECAUSE IT'S IMPORTANT! If we have the time to see the gigantic asteroid hurtling at earth that wants to just annihilate humanity as we know it, why rush? Let's take our time and let physics do all the work.

I present to you: THE SPACE TRACTOR!

So as an easy example, lets look at running and walking. You run the same distance as you walk, but why does it make you so much more tired to run? Because time! The more time you take, the less energy is required. Falling from a bridge to the ground would kill you, right? But because of the water, it lowers your impulse. 

So what does that have to do with saving the world? Well, the space tractor is a plan to launch up a probe to the asteroid before it hits us and position it so that it's gravitational force slowly, over the span of a lot of time, pulls the asteroid out of the path of earth and into deep space. We don't need a great amount of force because we're not doing it over a small amount of time. But of course, this plan only works if we have some warning beforehand. I think the best part about this is that it's been tested already, since Nasa has sent several probes into deep space to slowly circle the massive space rock, Vesta. 

So this plan isn't fast or flashy, we don't need Bruce Willis to save us, all wee need is a little tiny probe and some time.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Erasers: Railguns

Railguns: a weapon that fires aluminum bullets close to the speed of light, but somehow take time to hit the target and can be dodged. When people are hit by these... strangely slow but fast at the same time bullets, they go flying backwards like they just got hit by a car. So lets take a look at the momentum of these bullets.

Formula: (Mb)(Vf)+ (Mp)(Vpf) = (Mb)(Vi)+(Mp)(Vpi)
But because the bullet and the person start at 0 m/s, we set the equation = 0 and solve for the person (p)'s final velocity. The average male in north america weighs 80.7 kg.
in this problem, Mb refers to refers to the mass of the bullet.

So the mass of the average bullet made of lead is 0.0042 kg. The bullet's initial velocity is 0 m/s and it's final velocity is .9*c which is 269,813,212.2 m/s. So the total formula is 

(0.042kg)(269,813,212.2 m/s) + (80.7 kg)(? m/s) = 0

So then we get:

12,411,407.8 kg/m/s = -80.7(x) 

then divide the momentum of the bullet by the mass of the person = -153,796.8 m/s

So just from the gun's recoil, the man would be flying backwards at over 150,000 m/s. 

Now for how fast a person hit by a bullet flying at that speed would fly backwards. 

So now the formula changes to:

(0.042kg)(?)+(80.7 kg)(?) = (0.042 kg)(269,813,213.2 m/s) + (80.7 kg)(0 m/s)

80.742(x) = 11,332,154.91

x = 140,350 m/s

So the person shot would fly in the forward direction at 140,350 m/s.

Gotta go fast.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Mission Impossible 3

Mission: Impossible 3

A staple of action movies in film, the mission impossible movies are over the top and action packed. In the third movie, Tom Cruise starts off retiring from field work to raise a family with his new faience. But when one of his fellow agents is captured, he takes one last mission to rescue her. First amazing feat, Tom Cruise takes the captured agent and jumps out of the third story of a factory to land on top of a truck, which promptly speeds off. Would it be possible to do this without getting injured?
Well, it's pretty clear that this is a free fall problem.

So we need acceleration due to gravity, distance, and time to see how fast he was going when he hit the ground. 

A: -9.8 m/s^2
D: each story is 3 meters, and it was the third stories, so 9 meters.
Time: It took around 3 seconds for him to hit the ground
Initial Velocity: 0
Final Velocity: ?
Vf^2 = Vi^2 + 2*a*d

Next, while tom Cruise is attempting to take the bad guy in, and an ambush comes to stop them, Tom Cruise has to jump across a large gap in the highway to reach the bad guy. So this is a 2D kinematic problem.

Half is a free fall, the other is a distance problem. 

A: -9.8 m/s^2
D: the gap is about one and a half cars, so around 6.75 meters
Vi: the average human sprint is 7.10 m/s
Vf: ?
T: he was air born for about 1.5 seconds

And the second half: 
A: ?
D: average jump height is 53.34 cm
Vi: the average human sprints at 7.10 m/s
Vf: 0 m/s
T: he was in the air for about 1.5 seconds.

Finally, Tom Cruise is attempting to sneak into the Vatican city by rapelling down a wall. Another free fall problem, though the question is, how fast was he falling?

A: -9.8 m/s^2
D: 16.55 m
Vi: 0 m/s
Vf: ?
T: 4 seconds
Formula: Vf = Vi + a*t
Vf = 39.2 m/s