PDA

View Full Version : Immune against human weapons?



Inclusa
2013-Aug-13, 08:59 AM
In so darn many shows, human weapons are nothing more than tickles to supervillains or aliens (OK, aliens range from protectors to destroyers.)
In some cases, even nuclear weapons won't be effective against them.
I don't think this is physically possible to be immune against these.

Jens
2013-Aug-13, 09:41 AM
I agree. But you don't have to be an alien for that. 007 is perfectly human, and he's still mysteriously immune.

swampyankee
2013-Aug-13, 11:37 AM
I remember one (particularly bad) sf book where the alien space ships were immune to nuclear weapons but could be destroyed by cannon fire. In the same movie, a space shuttle was being used used as a fighter spacecraft, complete with bank-to-turn. Oddly, these aggressive aliens couldn't hit it.

The "immune to weapons" trope is particular bad in super-hero movies. Hit Ironman with an rpg, and the jet will go through one side of his armor, through him, and out the other side: shaped charges generate such high local pressures and temperatures that material properties are largely irrelevant.

JustAFriend
2013-Aug-13, 12:53 PM
Or you have the flip side:

Independence Day where the F-18 missiles that really only have a 10lb warhead slam into the motherships with the force of a blockbuster bomb.

Or the aliens in Signs dissolving under a glass of water when the air they're surrounded in is filled with water too.

On Mythbusters:Breaking Bad last night they showed that Walter flinging a crystal of mercury fulminate would barely make a pop rather than blowing out a room, even if it ignited.

SkepticJ
2013-Aug-13, 10:12 PM
On Mythbusters:Breaking Bad last night they showed that Walter flinging a crystal of mercury fulminate would barely make a pop rather than blowing out a room, even if it ignited.

You don't get to hear how loud the explosions actually are on TV, for reasons which should be obvious.

Notice the condition of the rupture disks from the smallest of the explosions. Everyone in the room would have had their tympanic membranes blown out, which isn't fun. Too bad Breaking Bad didn't go that route.

SkepticJ
2013-Aug-13, 10:22 PM
In sci-fi that isn't absolute dreck, the aliens withstand human weapons because their craft have force-fields. Depending on the setting, force-fields may or may not be breakable, and if breakable, the energy level to do so can be extreme--beyond the ability of 20th-21st Century human technology.

But this raises a whole other problem: it's implausible that contemporary humans should be able to defeat the aliens. ID4 has a ridiculous resolution.

JohnD
2013-Aug-13, 10:43 PM
Someone (they must have been desperate for a PhD thesis theme) counted up all the bullets that have been fired at 007.
Then gave them all a factor by which that sort of shooting might hit the target, and came up with a probability that Bond would have received a fatal wound by now.
It's very, very low that he would be still alive. Sorry, can't find a link to this estimate.

In fact the odds are low that he will still be alive even if he had been a carpet salesman in Durham.
He must have been about 30 years old in Casino Royale, the first book published in 1953, so born in 1923, and 90 this year!
Only 17% of his cohort have also survived.
Q will have to run him up a rocket-firing wheel chair, with a secret compartment for viagra.

JOhn

Delvo
2013-Aug-14, 02:58 AM
Despite the other problems with these movies (in fact I never bothered watching the sequels, just certain scenes from them), Michael Bay's "Transformers" movies have handled this pretty well. The Transformers are largely made of metals that hold a solid shape at normal temperature/energy levels but can be induced to change shape when energized, and break down permanently if over-energized. This is consistent with current theories of what advanced material technology could eventually do if we go far enough down paths like "metamaterials" and "programmable matter". And it gives the Transformers the perfect mix of traits for the plot: they can redesign their bodies, including changing the shapes of individual parts, but have an incentive not to do so very often; they can be damaged by conventional weapons but "heal" so quickly it's almost as if they hadn't been injured; and more significant, permanent, and even lethal damage can be inflicted by high-temperature weapons. The Transformers' own weapons as shown are appropriate for this setup, and human armies & such are shown working this all out and adapting their weaponry & tactics to suit, thus becoming more effective step by step.

Inclusa
2013-Aug-14, 03:38 AM
Ok, the Bond thing is somewhat unrealistic, but some people survive seemingly fatal shooting occasionally.
I guess it has to be pure fantasy if some humanoid superheroes/supervillains being immune to human weapons and destroy human military forces with single strike (even though it doesn't sound ultimately uncommon in drecks, this is physically impossible.)
Let's talk about an example: modern bulletproof vests aren't good against seemingly ancient weapons, be it halberd, ax, swords, or impact weapons, etc.

Swift
2013-Aug-14, 01:54 PM
In so darn many shows, human weapons are nothing more than tickles to supervillains or aliens (OK, aliens range from protectors to destroyers.)
In some cases, even nuclear weapons won't be effective against them.
I don't think this is physically possible to be immune against these.
I guess it is an example of Clarke's "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguisable from magic".

The fundamental problem is we are arguing attributes of imaginary technology (or imaginary superpowers). Maybe if one could actually make a force field you could make it stop nuclear explosions.

It is an extrapolation of current trends. For example, if a modern army with air support went up against a Roman legion, the results would probably be pretty one-sided. That is how much technology has advanced in 2000 years.

What we don't know is how much military technology will advance in the next 2000 (or even 200) years. It may not be a good assumption to assume a linear trend - we may be approaching some actual, physical limits, but we don't know. Apparently science fiction writers are split about this - look at all the books or movies with shields and beam weapons, versus the ones that are still using good old-fashioned bullets (Battlestar Galactica or Serenity come to mind).

Jens
2013-Aug-14, 02:14 PM
Apparently science fiction writers are split about this - look at all the books or movies with shields and beam weapons, versus the ones that are still using good old-fashioned bullets (Battlestar Galactica or Serenity come to mind).

But be careful that it doesn't have to be a split in belief. As a writer, I would be tempted to use both of those ideas, depending on which fits best with the fictional plot. I mean, I don't personally believe time travel is possible, but I wouldn't hesitate to put it into a story if I felt it contributed to the story, which is most important.

Solfe
2013-Aug-14, 02:58 PM
There is an episode of BSG that cracks me up. There are Cylons on the Galatica and Lee and his team of pilots are the only people left to stop them. Only the captain knows the Cylons secret objective. Lee's group has some magic explosive pistol bullets or something, but one 6 of them.

In any event, as Lee is given this information, you can hear gun fire all over the place. Apparently, the robots like to run around, guns blazing, while trying to sneak to a certain part of the ship.

I think they dropped the bullet proof aspect of Cylons shortly after that show.

Githyanki
2013-Aug-14, 03:31 PM
In ID4, it was the alien's fault; they had an old version of DOS on their mothership that could get hacked; they really should have gone Apple.

One problem with Ironman is they don't take into account weight and the ability of floors to hold up a machine that can weight as much as a car.

Solfe
2013-Aug-14, 05:48 PM
I like Robotech's force fields.

The first version was a global around the ship. It can be knocked down with energy weapons, but when it dies, the generator creating the shield explodes. Then the shield itself expands violently, destroying everything outside of the globe. It kind of answers the question "Where did all that energy go?" The aliens don't seem to have shields in any meaningful way, but they should because all human technology is based on alien tech.

The next version was better, it was three little discs that would block anything, but only moved as fast as the user could use a roller ball type controller. Interestingly, they showed the discs appearing over critical parts of the ship when they switched on, so it was very likely that they could block energy weapons if the enemy targeted that section first. These discs did not have an explosive option.

In the next series, the humans had a singularity as a force shield. In the books, there was a comment to the effect of "This never worked in testing, but there is no downside to trying it again, right now." This ship survives, but it isn't entirely clear if it actually failed to work and the ship wasn't hit or if magic was invoked.

The humans had all sort of pawnage in that show. Giant robots, confused aliens, magic as need by the plot, scarey babies in space, etc.

Swift
2013-Aug-14, 06:24 PM
I always thought Jerry Pournelle's Langston Field (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langston_Field) was a clever idea for a shield system.

The (fictional) Langston Field generator creates a spherical shield around an object (usually a spacecraft, but cities have been known to deploy them) which absorbs energy. Since the shield absorbs all wavelengths of light, it is completely black in normal use, like a black hole. It is necessary to raise sensors through the Field to see anything, much like a periscope. These sensors can be destroyed since they are outside the Field, so there are usually many backups on a warship. As the Field absorbs energy it reradiates it over its entire surface, acting as a perfect black body; the colour of the Field moves from infrared to red and through the visible spectrum to blue as the amount of reradiated energy increases. ... After a certain point, the Field generator can no longer absorb further energy: the Field collapses and the stored energy is released outwards and inwards; this latter usually destroys the ship.

JohnD
2013-Aug-14, 06:44 PM
It is an extrapolation of current trends. For example, if a modern army with air support went up against a Roman legion, the results would probably be pretty one-sided. That is how much technology has advanced in 2000 years.

I'm sure you are right, Swift, but other strategies will bring ignominioius defeat to that "modern army with air support".
With purely military history, not politics, in mind, I offer the Viet Nam war, and contrast that with the two Iraq Wars.

John

JohnD
2013-Aug-14, 06:53 PM
Let's talk about an example: modern bulletproof vests aren't good against seemingly ancient weapons, be it halberd, ax, swords, or impact weapons, etc.

Really? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okBYea6ZweA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6Xrn5DNwCg
John

grapes
2013-Aug-14, 07:09 PM
Or the aliens in Signs dissolving under a glass of water when the air they're surrounded in is filled with water too.

Maybe they were made of sugar? :)

Swift
2013-Aug-14, 07:53 PM
Originally Posted by Swift
It is an extrapolation of current trends. For example, if a modern army with air support went up against a Roman legion, the results would probably be pretty one-sided. That is how much technology has advanced in 2000 yearsI'm sure you are right, Swift, but other strategies will bring ignominioius defeat to that "modern army with air support".
With purely military history, not politics, in mind, I offer the Viet Nam war, and contrast that with the two Iraq Wars.

John
I thought of such things. That's one reason I picked the Romans and not the Viet Cong, who for the most part were not using spears. The quote is "sufficiently advanced technology" - I didn't define sufficient. To someone using a flintlock rifle, I don't think a modern gun would look like magic, just some really advanced rifle. To a Roman soldier with a spear and a leather breast plate, a cruise missile, particularly a nuclear one, would look like magic.

I also won't get into the politics and human considerations of the wars you mention, other than to say that considerations beyond purely technological issues enter into such things.

Even science fiction deals with such things. For example, look at the novel Footfall, and particularly the battle for Kansas. Conventional forces were unable to beat the aliens, but nuclear missiles did drive them off. But even in that case, there was considerable debate as to whether to use nuclear weapons in Kansas.

That in itself is an interesting issue for science fiction stories: the cases where the weapons that are necessary to defeat your advanced enemy will cause some degree of harm to your side, or have moral consequences.

Chuck
2013-Aug-14, 08:17 PM
What really impresses me is the Star Trek dampening field that can selectively suppress phaser fire, warp drive, transporters, or anything else that would interfere with the plot.

JohnD
2013-Aug-17, 11:02 AM
I thought of such things. That's one reason I picked the Romans and not the Viet Cong, who for the most part were not using spears. The quote is "sufficiently advanced technology" - I didn't define sufficient. To someone using a flintlock rifle, I don't think a modern gun would look like magic, just some really advanced rifle. To a Roman soldier with a spear and a leather breast plate, a cruise missile, particularly a nuclear one, would look like magic.

I also won't get into the politics and human considerations of the wars you mention, other than to say that considerations beyond purely technological issues enter into such things.

Even science fiction deals with such things. For example, look at the novel Footfall, and particularly the battle for Kansas. Conventional forces were unable to beat the aliens, but nuclear missiles did drive them off. But even in that case, there was considerable debate as to whether to use nuclear weapons in Kansas.

That in itself is an interesting issue for science fiction stories: the cases where the weapons that are necessary to defeat your advanced enemy will cause some degree of harm to your side, or have moral consequences.

Swift,
I accept your point about extreme differences in technology. Other wars, such as 18th and 19th century wars in China and India imposed British Imperial rule on societies without firearms, as were the native Americans by armed European colonists.

But I don't think that Niven's Footfall is as good an example as you think! The Fithp had a somewhat outlandish technology, in particular a ground-to-orbit drive, but no weapons that weren't just extrapolations of what we, or Niven's world, had already. AND, the Fithp eventually accpeted unconditional surrender only when an insurrection of prisoners forced them. In other words, primitive guerilla fighters, on board their spaceship!

Very libertarian, very Niven, very unlikely, but very much the primitive force bringing down a higher technology, by subversive strategy.
John

swampyankee
2013-Aug-17, 11:55 AM
There were quite a few battles between technologically mis-matched forces during the imperialist era, like Rorke's Drift (http://www.britishbattles.com/zulu-war/rorkes-drift.htm). For a brief recap, about 140 British soldiers (a mix of regulars and irregulars) defeated a force of about 4,500 Zulus. Of course, nearly the opposite happened at Isandlwana.

Put a modern infantry company in a defensive position against nearly any pre-firearm force -- samurai, knights, legions, phalanx, archers -- and the most likely cause of the modern unit's defeat would be that they ran out of ammunition before the attacker runs out of motivated soldiers. Replace the infantry company with a mechanized unit that can fight from IFVs, and even if the modern unit runs out of bullets, their vehicles are invulnerable to anything the primitives have.

Bring in an aggressive, technologically advanced ET bent on conquest, the likelihood is that they'd pick out the most technologically advanced parts of terrestrial forces first, removing communications satellites, reconnaissance satellites, and GPS. It's also probably that they'd destroy any kind of space launch facility. After one of the warships with BMD capability launches at one of their vehicles, they'd all be targeted, so it's a good chance than most of the surface warships would be gone after a few days. This is likely to leave nothing but ground troops, SSN and SSBN, with very limited communications bandwidth, largely preventing any kind of coordination. For a modern analogy, look what happened to the Iraqi forces during the Gulf War: their air defense network was destroyed, their ground troops, even when they fought bravely (and some of them did: there is a picture of an Iraqi tank with a hole in one side of the turret and one in the glacis, which implies that the surviving tankers were training the turret towards the coalition tank the crew of which had just shot them) were overwhelmed.

Jens
2013-Aug-17, 12:01 PM
Swift,
I accept your point about extreme differences in technology. Other wars, such as 18th and 19th century wars in China and India imposed British Imperial rule on societies without firearms, as were the native Americans by armed European colonists..
John

No firearms in China and India? I thought it was the Chinese who invented firearms (as well as gunpowder)....and I thought the Mughal empire used guns and cannons...

Solfe
2013-Aug-17, 03:16 PM
No firearms in China and India? I thought it was the Chinese who invented firearms (as well as gunpowder)....and I thought the Mughal empire used guns and cannons...

I would think that they had no "modern" European guns to start.

novaderrik
2013-Aug-18, 08:03 AM
i'm thinking there were some species in the Stargate series that didn't have a defense against projectile weapons because none of the species they had encountered had used that kind of technology for ten thousand years.. it might have even been the Go'uld towards the beginning of the show...

Jens
2013-Aug-18, 11:23 AM
I would think that they had no "modern" European guns to start.

Of course, their firearms at that time were technologically inferior to those of the Europeans. But isn't that different from saying they had no firearms?

Trakar
2013-Aug-20, 07:32 PM
Was it mercury fulminate or nitrogen triiodide (the color looked more like NI3)?

Regardless, I thought the premise was that he flicked the crystal and it detonated the entire 2-4kilogram bag full of similar explosive crystals, which would produce a result fairly similar to what the show depicted regardless of whether it was Hg(CNO)2 or NI3.

JohnD
2013-Aug-20, 09:54 PM
TRakar,
Misplaced post?

swampyankee.
But a clever, "primitive" commander would not pitch his bowmen or swordsmen against tanks.
He would ambush them while they were in camp, out of the vehicles and relatively unarmed. Or even unaware, creeping in at night and slitting throats.
And as soon as he realises that the 'devil-machines' contain humans he will know they they need to get out for toilet breaks!
Nothing like being caught with your trousers down!
JOhn

Solfe
2013-Aug-20, 10:19 PM
Of course, their firearms at that time were technologically inferior to those of the Europeans. But isn't that different from saying they had no firearms?

Completely, I would think.

Europeans were notorious for selling of old "junk guns" from the weapons locker and then the next ship encounters someone with a decorated stick that happens to blow holes in people. In the case of Chinese, I am sure they could field firearms and cannons in surprising (Maybe shocking?) numbers.

"Backwards natives" sometimes had really nasty surprises.

swampyankee
2013-Aug-21, 02:52 AM
TRakar,
Misplaced post?

swampyankee.
But a clever, "primitive" commander would not pitch his bowmen or swordsmen against tanks.
He would ambush them while they were in camp, out of the vehicles and relatively unarmed. Or even unaware, creeping in at night and slitting throats.
And as soon as he realises that the 'devil-machines' contain humans he will know they they need to get out for toilet breaks!
Nothing like being caught with your trousers down!
JOhn

Yes, that may well be, but any competent military force will post guards.

Trakar
2013-Aug-21, 03:50 AM
TRakar,
Misplaced post?


Most certainly, though I'm not sure how that could have happened?
I'm thinking a message board wormhole!

HenrikOlsen
2013-Aug-21, 07:30 AM
Completely, I would think.

Europeans were notorious for selling of old "junk guns" from the weapons locker and then the next ship encounters someone with a decorated stick that happens to blow holes in people. In the case of Chinese, I am sure they could field firearms and cannons in surprising (Maybe shocking?) numbers.

"Backwards natives" sometimes had really nasty surprises.
"had"?

You just described modern foreign politics too.

JohnD
2013-Aug-21, 09:30 PM
Despite the long history of gunpowder in China, as a late as 1840, in the First Opium War, the British Navy and Army walked over the numerically superior (10:1) Qing armies, and again in the Second War (Late 1850s) when Anglo-French forces stormed and took Peking.

Just having some invention a long time does not give you supremacy.

JOhn

Inclusa
2013-Aug-24, 03:44 AM
Despite the long history of gunpowder in China, as a late as 1840, in the First Opium War, the British Navy and Army walked over the numerically superior (10:1) Qing armies, and again in the Second War (Late 1850s) when Anglo-French forces stormed and took Peking.

Just having some invention a long time does not give you supremacy.

JOhn

We probably won't go further on this topic since this will get into the territory of political economy very soon.
Certainly we haven't invented anything like Thor's Hammer (the space base main cannon, which can annihilate 1000 space warships in a shoot) in Legend of Galactic Heroes or the Death Star in Star Wars. These are utterly weapons of mass destruction.
I don't know Superman or Goku Super Saiyan 4 (the toughest beings in most shows) can stand a shoot from Thor's Hammer or Death Star?

novaderrik
2013-Aug-24, 07:03 AM
We probably won't go further on this topic since this will get into the territory of political economy very soon.
Certainly we haven't invented anything like Thor's Hammer (the space base main cannon, which can annihilate 1000 space warships in a shoot) in Legend of Galactic Heroes or the Death Star in Star Wars. These are utterly weapons of mass destruction.
I don't know Superman or Goku Super Saiyan 4 (the toughest beings in most shows) can stand a shoot from Thor's Hammer or Death Star?

if we did invent the Death Star, would we be smart enough to put a cover over the vent port that leads straight to the core, or would we be arrogant enough to not care about it being left wide open?
does a flaw like that disqualify it from being a "super weapon", or does it fit into the "superior force thinks they are immune to the weapons of the inferior force" idea of this thread?

Inclusa
2013-Aug-24, 09:50 AM
http://gineipaedia.com/wiki/Iserlohn_Fortress

swampyankee
2013-Aug-24, 12:34 PM
if we did invent the Death Star, would we be smart enough to put a cover over the vent port that leads straight to the core, or would we be arrogant enough to not care about it being left wide open?
does a flaw like that disqualify it from being a "super weapon", or does it fit into the "superior force thinks they are immune to the weapons of the inferior force" idea of this thread?

It's a super-weapon. Of course, its defect is a plot device.

darkhunter
2013-Aug-26, 03:38 PM
In GI Samurai, a modern (at the time the film was produced) platoon reinforced by a tank and helicopter if taken down by a feudal era Japanese army. The commander of the feudal forces had paid attention to the reports from the modern units curb-stomp battles and planned accordingly. He did take many casualties, but won in the end.

Solfe
2013-Aug-26, 04:02 PM
"had"?

You just described modern foreign politics too.

Oh, it's a meme. Perhaps our would-be conquerors will give us all 40 watt plasma rifles before they attack. :)

JohnD
2013-Aug-26, 10:47 PM
40 Watt plasma rifles! Oooh, mother, I'm afraid!
That would be worse than, well, having an apple fall on your head!
Perhaps the aliens have soft heads?

History is not necessarily political or economic, Inclusa, unless you want it to be.
But all this thread seems to want to discuss is imaginary weapons, when there is so much history that describes what real weapons can and cannot do.
Perhaps they will prove Santayana, who said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
John

Solfe
2013-Aug-26, 11:38 PM
40 Watt plasma rifles! Oooh, mother, I'm afraid!
That would be worse than, well, having an apple fall on your head!
Perhaps the aliens have soft heads?

Oops, I botched the Terminator quote - "a phased plasma rifle in a 40 watt range." Although, I am not sure that is any better than what I said.

Two weeks ago, I looked at a 35 watt laser, or at least the bright white spot made by the beam as it burned through a lot of wood. It was rather disagreeable even though it is was well within the "safe for eyes level".

I have a feeling that most conflicts come down to morale instead of firepower, although firepower does increase morale. Having an enemy that can drive you nuts is bad for morale while excellent weapons is great for morale. I guess this can also go the other way, which is a superior force has superior weapons then screws it all up by taking the low ground or sitting on the pentacle of the only obvious high ground. Out marching your supplies also causes concern as does getting chronically lost.

JohnD
2013-Aug-27, 06:46 AM
Solfe,
The apple wasn't a random unit - 40 Watts of power is about that of an apple falling from a metre high.
And they measure force in Newtons!

John

Solfe
2013-Aug-27, 02:44 PM
I had no idea, although I do vaguely know what a newton is.

At the time I started rock climbing, there was a commercial that depicted two people tying on to a car bumper and then both repelling down a cliff face. Rock climbing gear is rated by kilonewtons... so one person has zero chance of a rope breaking before ripping a car off a cliff and on to their head. Two people bouncing down one rope attached to a car on a cliff is begging for death.

Back to the OP - In sci-fi, it drives me nuts when they forget about what kind of force is being applied to what or scale.

In Farscape they had mini rocket belts for jumping out of low flying aircraft to the ground. It was sort of implied that one mistake would be fatal. Later in the show, they had an ejection seat with huge rockets and all they did was slow the person down (at altitude) and relied on a parachute to "go down".

Someone totally didn't think about terminal velocity.

Don't get me wrong, it was a cool show, but they did some really strange things. They did not seem to suffer from the "It didn't work, so let's do it again until it does" problem that you see in other TV shows.

HenrikOlsen
2013-Aug-28, 08:12 AM
Solfe,
The apple wasn't a random unit - 40 Watts of power is about that of an apple falling from a metre high.
And they measure force in Newtons!

John
You got your dimensions wrong, the dropped apple would be energy, which would be joules.
Watt is the unit for rate of energy (J/s).

Doodle time: one 0.200 kg apple at 10 ms2 dropping 1 m. That's 20 J.

40 watts would be an apple dropping a meter twice a second.

SkepticJ
2013-Aug-29, 06:18 AM
20 joules could be used to fatal effect, couldn't it? Assume a laser gun projected a beam with a ring cross-section onto a target, and the line-width of the laser ring is very fine--it's pumping all those joules into little surface area. Think of it like this: Niven's variable sword draws a circle through someone's forehead. No soft-SF tech required, though.

Delvo
2013-Aug-30, 03:15 AM
At the time I started rock climbing, there was a commercial that depicted two people tying on to a car bumper and then both repelling down a cliff face. Rock climbing gear is rated by kilonewtons... so one person has zero chance of a rope breaking before ripping a car off a cliff and on to their head. Two people bouncing down one rope attached to a car on a cliff is begging for death.So you're saying the people on the rope would pull the car over the edge? Why/how?


In Farscape they had mini rocket belts for jumping out of low flying aircraft to the ground. It was sort of implied that one mistake would be fatal. Later in the show, they had an ejection seat with huge rockets and all they did was slow the person down (at altitude) and relied on a parachute to "go down".

Someone totally didn't think about terminal velocity.I don't get how. Both of those things sound like methods of reducing velocity, but the existence of a terminal velocity doesn't necessarily mean you won't be going too fast.

Solfe
2013-Aug-30, 04:12 AM
So you're saying the people on the rope would pull the car over the edge? Why/how?

Conceptually, the whole thing was crazy.

When you are climbing or repelling, as the case may be, you want to tie on to something that is "bombproof" - a thing that can't move if a bomb is dropped on it. This is 100% illusion, but it is better than tying on to something like a car that does move. The next problem was that they tied the rope to a carabiner then looped that rope directly around the front bumper of the car. If that didn't saw through the rope, it could yank the bumper right off. The next thing they did was to clip on to the rope with a carabiner. That can be done but it isn't ideal, you need a figure eight. Then they both jumped off the cliff one after the other to descend. That is incredibly impractical because if the bottom guy stops for any reason or simply goes out of sync with the top guy, he is going be wearing the top guys bum like a hat. The car they had looked a bit like a Honda or other small car. Two guys, bouncing in tandem could move a Honda two door, even if nothing broke on the car.


I don't get how. Both of those things sound like methods of reducing velocity, but the existence of a terminal velocity doesn't necessarily mean you won't be going too fast.

The jet pack made sense, and worked as promised. The ejection seat had three rockets that were each nearly as big as the person in the seat. The pilot should have been able to free fall all the way down to the surface where the rockets would have fired to bring her in for a landing, something like a lunar rover. It was sort of implied that this was the purpose of such a system. Instead, the rockets fired immediately reducing her speed to zero - no forward velocity, no downward velocity. Then an alarm switched on to let her know the parachute didn't open. And she plunged into the ocean. Had the rockets fired closer to the ground, should would have lost so much speed falling that the energy could have been spent actually looking for a safe landing site.

DonM435
2013-Aug-31, 01:45 PM
They used to joke that George Reeves' Superman would stand steadfast while bullets bounced off his super chest, but would duck when the desperate thug hurled the gun at him as a parting shot. (I don't think that anyone has successfully documented such a scene.)

However, in the anti-classic film *Billy the Kid vs Dracula*, John Carradine's Dracula is bulletproof, but does get knocked out by the hurled six-shooter!

SeanF
2013-Aug-31, 03:29 PM
They used to joke that George Reeves' Superman would stand steadfast while bullets bounced off his super chest, but would duck when the desperate thug hurled the gun at him as a parting shot. (I don't think that anyone has successfully documented such a scene.)
Here you go. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGf1r8-Snss)

Chuck
2013-Aug-31, 04:37 PM
Maybe they couldn't afford a light weight prop gun and George Reeves didn't want to be hit by a real one.

DonM435
2013-Sep-01, 12:30 AM
Here you go. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGf1r8-Snss)

Wow! I watched those shows faithfully as a kid, but I must have blanked that memory.

DonM435
2013-Sep-01, 12:38 AM
Here's the Dracula scene ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjgJ3gMF2sk

HenrikOlsen
2013-Sep-01, 03:02 PM
Here's the Dracula scene ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjgJ3gMF2sk
In some versions of the Dracula canon that would be explainable by the wooden grip of the gun.

swampyankee
2013-Sep-01, 03:29 PM
Immune to human weapons? Well, maybe.

One of the trends in human weapons has been the increase in effective range: a few inches for a sword, a few feet for a spear, a few tens of meters for smoothbore muskets, a few hundred meters for rifles, a few kilometers for modern artillery, a few thousand kilometers for missiles. It's not that a modern soldier is immune to swords, it's that the sword-wielding soldier would be dead well before he got into range. A Roman legion attacking a modern military force would be destroyed by artillery before they even saw their targets: a modern infantry company (with decent fire discipiline) could shoot down every Roman legionnaire before their pila could inflict a scratch, let alone their gladii.

Is a modern soldier immune to a gladius in the gut? No. Will the sword-wielding legionnaire get close enough? No. Analogously, the advanced, militaristic ET won't let humans close enough for human weapons to be effective.

DonM435
2013-Sep-01, 04:27 PM
In some versions of the Dracula canon that would be explainable by the wooden grip of the gun.

Yes, and in other versions silver bullets could take him out, so he'd best not provoke The Lone Ranger.

Solfe
2013-Sep-01, 04:56 PM
They used to joke that George Reeves' Superman would stand steadfast while bullets bounced off his super chest, but would duck when the desperate thug hurled the gun at him as a parting shot. (I don't think that anyone has successfully documented such a scene.)

However, in the anti-classic film *Billy the Kid vs Dracula*, John Carradine's Dracula is bulletproof, but does get knocked out by the hurled six-shooter!

The new Wonder Woman has that trope down pat. A gunman fires at her and she deflects all of them. The gunman the throws the empty gun at her head, which she catches. She shakes her head and says "why only men?" It might not be a question.

SkepticJ
2013-Sep-01, 07:54 PM
Analogously, the advanced, militaristic ET won't let humans close enough for human weapons to be effective.

And/or what they do allow to come into range of human weapons would be expendable, like our UAVs are. Think swarms of von Neumann machines; we wouldn't have a snowflake's chance on Venus.

Gemini
2013-Sep-01, 08:59 PM
we wouldn't have a snowflake's chance on Venus.
I'm going to have to use that one some time.

Inclusa
2013-Sep-02, 03:00 AM
Bulletproof is a small thing, while some animes and mangas may feature missile/nuke proof beings.
Energy blast or magic spells stronger than nukes is a cheesy concept today, though.

vonmazur
2013-Sep-02, 07:23 AM
Guys: There was once, a long time ago in Analog Magazine, a story about an alien race that had interstellar travel, but Napoleonic era weapons...It was the only time that the trope was betrayed that I know of...

Dale

SkepticJ
2013-Sep-02, 06:11 PM
Energy blast or magic spells stronger than nukes is a cheesy concept today, though.

Why? It's conceivable that nuclear fusion isn't the end, and that antimatter, or, if they turn out to be physically possible, as predicted, magnetic monopole-catalyzed matter-to-energy reactions could far exceed modern nuclear yields.

Magic is magic; fantasy, by definition, isn't constrained by any part of reality.

Trakar
2013-Sep-03, 03:45 AM
Immune to human weapons? Well, maybe.
(...)
Is a modern soldier immune to a gladius in the gut? No. Will the sword-wielding legionnaire get close enough? No. Analogously, the advanced, militaristic ET won't let humans close enough for human weapons to be effective.

A thing of beauty, that is,...just my opinion mind you.

Jens
2013-Sep-03, 04:14 AM
Why? It's conceivable that nuclear fusion isn't the end, and that antimatter, or, if they turn out to be physically possible, as predicted....

As predicted by certain theories.

Trakar
2013-Sep-03, 05:10 AM
As predicted by certain theories.

Which is no disparagement of those theories,...but the pudding, man! How can you expect to eat(/test) your pudding if you don't eat your meat?
:D

Jens
2013-Sep-03, 06:33 AM
Which is no disparagement of those theories,...but the pudding, man! How can you expect to eat(/test) your pudding if you don't eat your meat?
:D

No disparagement intended; they're perfectly wonderful theories, but only some theories. In context, the post I was responding to stated:


It's conceivable that nuclear fusion isn't the end, and that antimatter, or, if they turn out to be physically possible, as predicted, magnetic monopole-catalyzed matter-to-energy reactions could far exceed modern nuclear yields.

That seemed to make it seem like this is a real possibility, when in fact it's an idea taken from science fiction and somehow given support by the fact that some theories predict that magnetic monopoles might exist. Even if they do exist, you can't power spaceships with them unless you're a character in a science fiction novel.

SkepticJ
2013-Sep-03, 05:36 PM
That seemed to make it seem like this is a real possibility, when in fact it's an idea taken from science fiction and somehow given support by the fact that some theories predict that magnetic monopoles might exist. Even if they do exist, you can't power spaceships with them unless you're a character in a science fiction novel.

Incorrect. Real theoretical physics predicts that they would catalyze proton decay.

Monopoles may not exist, but the mainstream theories of the last 40 years predict that they should exist, and going back over a century that they could exist.

In any case, antimatter indisputably exists. We've been making it for over half a century.

Krel
2013-Sep-04, 02:54 AM
Guys: There was once, a long time ago in Analog Magazine, a story about an alien race that had interstellar travel, but Napoleonic era weapons...It was the only time that the trope was betrayed that I know of...

Dale

It is "The Road Not Taken" by Harry Turtledove: http://www.scribd.com/doc/82373054/The-Road-Not-Taken-Harry-Turtledove

This is the sequel story Herbig-Haro: http://pastebin.com/rT1Aq8pr

David.

Jens
2013-Sep-04, 05:39 AM
Incorrect. Real theoretical physics predicts that they would catalyze proton decay.


From what I understand, some versions of string theory and GUT predict that monopoles or something else could catalyze proton decay. But proton decay has never been observed, and monopoles have never been observed, so I think the mainstream opinion is that they probably do not exist. So I may have been a bit harsh, but I don't think it's safe to assume at this point that we have a future source of power just waiting for us.