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Meaning of the Monolith in 2001
Posted: 03 September 2012 06:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 03 September 2012 05:00 AM

GbB, are you angry because Lucas mislabeled parsecs?

Cap’t Jack

Here you go..“In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, a boastful Han Solo claims that his spaceship made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. “

Hans is using the term parsec as though it is a measure of time when in fact it is a measure of distance. It is approxiamtely 3.26 light years or “A parsec is the distance from the Sun to an astronomical object which has a parallax angle of one arcsecond.”

I think its a bit extreme to say that Star Wars isnt science fiction. There are space ships, force fields, laser blasters and hover craft, and all the high tech futuristic stuff that you would expect of a sci fi movie. As much as it may resemble a cowboy or war movie thematically in its story line it is clearly not either of those. On the other hand Lucas is no scientist and his respect for science in his stories is sorely lacking.

Things like light sabers can be excused much the way that transporters in Star trek can as highly unlikely but useful and not entirely impossible plot devices, but ignoring basic science principals because you didnt take the time to research them shows you just didnt care. The parsec was one example from Star Wars. Its just a galring example because it was so stupid and lazy. Another is the way the ships move in space. Fighters in Star Wars move like modern day jet fighters even though banking and turning in that fashion can not be done unless you are flying in an atmosphere. Take a look at an episode of the newer Battlestar Galacticca series and you can see how that is supposed to work when the creator cares enough to get the science right. Its still dramatic. You don’t lose the gee whiz factor. Lucas just didnt care. And its not a matter of “we know more today”. The mechanics of space flight were well known when Star Wars was created. They got it perfect in 2001 too which was made many years earlier.

I dont mean to bash Lucas. I actually like most of the Star Wars movies. They are scifi, but they really are more from the fantasy end of the scifi genre. Its just annoying when the writer doesn’t take the time to research the science he is writing about.

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Posted: 03 September 2012 07:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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macgyver - 03 September 2012 06:58 AM

Here you go..“In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, a boastful Han Solo claims that his spaceship made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. “

Hans is using the term parsec as though it is a measure of time when in fact it is a measure of distance. It is approxiamtely 3.26 light years or “A parsec is the distance from the Sun to an astronomical object which has a parallax angle of one arcsecond.”

He probably meant light years…. shut eye

My personal favorite is the 13 year old girl in Jurassic Parc I: “Oh, that’s Unix. I know Unix!”. In those days, you could bet that no little girl knew Unix. (Nowadays we have Linux. So some freaky father who installed it at home could be the source of her knowledge…)

In German it is even funnier, because the translators don’t know that Unix is pronounced in English nearly everywhere. So it sounds like ‘Oonix’ (like ‘oo’ in ‘look’).

Sorry, I am stubborn. Star War is not science fiction. It’s a cheap fairy tail with many special effects. And now that you mentioned it: even using swords.

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Posted: 03 September 2012 07:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Sorry. That last post was off topic quite a bit. Getting back to the OP. Cuthbert, although your concept may be more poetic, I think the points made about the monolith being much more than just an inspiration are closer to the mark. If you havent read the book you should. There are some details in the books ( both 2001 and 2010) which are left out in the movies that make it quite clear the monolith is a mechanism and not just an inert object meant to inspire.

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Posted: 03 September 2012 07:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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GdB - 03 September 2012 07:26 AM
macgyver - 03 September 2012 06:58 AM

Here you go..“In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, a boastful Han Solo claims that his spaceship made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. “

Hans is using the term parsec as though it is a measure of time when in fact it is a measure of distance. It is approxiamtely 3.26 light years or “A parsec is the distance from the Sun to an astronomical object which has a parallax angle of one arcsecond.”

He probably meant light years…. shut eye

My personal favorite is the 13 year old girl in Jurassic Parc I: “Oh, that’s Unix. I know Unix!”. In those days, you could bet that no little girl knew Unix. (Nowadays we have Linux. So some freaky father who installed it at home could be the source of her knowledge…)

In German it is even funnier, because the translators don’t know that Unix is pronounced in English nearly everywhere. So it sounds like ‘Oonix’ (like ‘oo’ in ‘look’).

Sorry, I am stubborn. Star War is not science fiction. It’s a cheap fairy tail with many special effects. And now that you mentioned it: even using swords.

A light year is still a measure of distance. Still sloppy work on the part of Lucas.

I’m not sure I agree about the Unix example. That girl was at least 10 years old and I began programming when i was about 12. I had a friend at the time who was fluent in several computer languages when he was about 13 and had started much earlier so I think its believable. I’m not familiar with Unix in particular and I’m not saying its the sort of thing every young girl would be doing but if she was gifted and motivated its possible a kid that age could be a hobbiest programmer.

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Posted: 03 September 2012 08:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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I never read the book, but if that’s what monolith represents (i.e., a direct tool to make humans smarter), then I don’t like it. I thought the idea (my idea, I guess) of the monolith’s appearance marked the humans’ step as they discovered how to use tools (bones). The second monolith on the Moon then (again, I thought) marked a recognition of the aliens of us achieving space travel.

Aliens making us smarter sounds so von Dänikenish. I find it stupid. Why wouldn’t the aliens give us the 200 IQ right from the beginning? What would the meaning of this thousands-years long game be? So typical of sci-fi: awesome technology with no logical story behind it.

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Posted: 03 September 2012 08:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Why are sci-fi fans so quick to criticize the technological mistakes, but are oblivious to errors in other sciences, like biology, psychology, archeology, anthropology, etc.? How then, am I supposed to not suspect that most sci-fi fans are at least mildly autistic?

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Posted: 03 September 2012 09:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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I found this on Wookeepedia; it looks a lot like sci-fI to me. I mean, a living space ship that the pilot can actually fly and communicate with has to be within the realm if sci-fI, yes?


http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Yorik-et


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 03 September 2012 10:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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I never read the book, but if that’s what monolith represents (i.e., a direct tool to make humans smarter), then I don’t like it. I thought the idea (my idea, I guess) of the monolith’s appearance marked the humans’ step as they discovered how to use tools (bones). The second monolith on the Moon then (again, I thought) marked a recognition of the aliens of us achieving space travel.


What ruined this scene for me was my recent interest in paleo anthropology. In the movie you have the Impression that tool making was almost instantaneous, completely conflicting with reality. Instead of an evolutionary process taking millions of years it happened in a flash. But once again, it wasn’t meant to be a documentary. Somehow, writers and directors, there has to be a way to meld the two.

Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 03 September 2012 10:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Yeah, well, that’s my point. The space station has to rotate to create gravity but the discovery of the tool usage happened within a second. The science of physics has to be perfect, where social sciences don’t have to follow any rules whatsoever. Meh.

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Posted: 03 September 2012 03:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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George, they say for scifi to be good it needs to bring you to a point where you can suspend disbelief. In order for that t happen the story shouldn’t unnecessarily stray too far from reality in important ways that remind you its fake. If a cowboy in an 1800’s western had an ipod with earphones dangling from his pocket, or the large boulders in an avalanche bounced off an actor like the styrofoam they are made of nearly everyone would agree the director was sloppy and didnt really care much about what he was doing. Scifi movies are not different. the director needs to keep in mind that the fans may be reasonably knowledgeable about science or more so than the average person so he can’t just “wing it” when it comes to the science.

I think people just have difficulty with the things that are obviously wrong so of course the things they are most knowledgeable about are the things they will have problems with when they are not done right. Perhaps scifi fans in general are more familiar with the physics and astronomy part. My undergrad degree is in biology and I got a masters in human physiology before going to med school so I am often distracted by bad biology and medicine in scifi movies and TV shows. I absolutely can’t watch medical TV shows because the science and the facts in them are often so bad its just to distracting to enjoy. I’m am not as well versed in anthropology and social sciences so inaccuracies in those areas are more likely to go over my head. Maybe thats why most people dont complain about those things. Perhaps Star Wars and scifi fans in general are not as likely to be social science experts.

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Posted: 03 September 2012 05:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Yeah, well, that’s my point. The space station has to rotate to create gravity but the discovery of the tool usage happened within a second. The science of physics has to be perfect, where social sciences don’t have to follow any rules whatsoever. Meh.

Yes they do George, or we woudn’t label them social SCIENCES. They follow the same rules for scientific inquiry and are held to the same standards, peer review and all. From research through publication all prepublished manuscripts must include facts to bolster the thesis and be objective in approaching the topic. It may not be physics but the method is the same. Hem, (I’m dyslexic).

 

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Posted: 03 September 2012 05:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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macgyver - 03 September 2012 03:23 PM

George, they say for scifi to be good it needs to bring you to a point where you can suspend disbelief. In order for that t happen the story shouldn’t unnecessarily stray too far from reality in important ways that remind you its fake. If a cowboy in an 1800’s western had an ipod with earphones dangling from his pocket, or the large boulders in an avalanche bounced off an actor like the styrofoam they are made of nearly everyone would agree the director was sloppy and didnt really care much about what he was doing. Scifi movies are not different. the director needs to keep in mind that the fans may be reasonably knowledgeable about science or more so than the average person so he can’t just “wing it” when it comes to the science.

I think people just have difficulty with the things that are obviously wrong so of course the things they are most knowledgeable about are the things they will have problems with when they are not done right. Perhaps scifi fans in general are more familiar with the physics and astronomy part. My undergrad degree is in biology and I got a masters in human physiology before going to med school so I am often distracted by bad biology and medicine in scifi movies and TV shows. I absolutely can’t watch medical TV shows because the science and the facts in them are often so bad its just to distracting to enjoy. I’m am not as well versed in anthropology and social sciences so inaccuracies in those areas are more likely to go over my head. Maybe thats why most people dont complain about those things. Perhaps Star Wars and scifi fans in general are not as likely to be social science experts.

Good post, macgyver. I guess you are right to say that sci-fi fans care more about the physics and astronomy staff. I don’t, since, as you said, I probably don’t know enough about it to be bothered by a small mistake here or there. But the other nonsense really gets my goat. I have already said it a number of times on this forum, but I can’t stand watching, for example, any of the Star Trek episodes with the Klingons who behave like savages and are capable of interstellar travel. This would never happen.

And I don’t know if I am going to be able to watch “2011” ever again. Thanks a bunch, guys.  smirk

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Posted: 03 September 2012 10:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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macgyver - 03 September 2012 07:34 AM

A light year is still a measure of distance. Still sloppy work on the part of Lucas.

The smiley character was meant to show that it still hurts…

So if Han is using the word parsec, then this doesn’t fit the ‘opening scroll’:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

The definition of parsec is based on the AU (Astronomical Unit), i.e. the distance of the earth to the sun. Why the hell would humanoids, druids, and whatever use that distance when living in a galaxy far, far away? So it is a double miss: of dimension (time instead of distance), and historical/cultural.

macgyver - 03 September 2012 07:34 AM

I’m not sure I agree about the Unix example. That girl was at least 10 years old and I began programming when i was about 12. I had a friend at the time who was fluent in several computer languages when he was about 13 and had started much earlier so I think its believable. I’m not familiar with Unix in particular and I’m not saying its the sort of thing every young girl would be doing but if she was gifted and motivated its possible a kid that age could be a hobbiest programmer.

Yeah, I know. It is imaginable. But very unlikely. And did you or you friend programmed on some UNIX-flavour? I guess not.

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Posted: 04 September 2012 04:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Sorry. Now I getcha. Missed the smiley.

We never programmed in Unix ( I only programmed in Basic and dabbled a little in machine language. My friend also used Fortran and Pascal ) so as I said I’m not familiar with Unix and whether its more difficult. It may not have even existed at the time. Since so many people have computers in the home and kids are such a natural with computers it seemed reasonable to me but then again that may be due to my ignorance of this computer language. As I mentioned in another post above.. what bothers you depends on what you know. If one is ignorant on a subject then it tends to go right over one’s ( in this case my) head.

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Posted: 04 September 2012 05:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Wiki
Has an interesting description of the UNIX system.  Perhaps the name was selected, because it made all the networking of computer technologies in space promising?  And it’s kernel type is “monolithic”.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNIX

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