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cjackson
2016-Nov-22, 03:47 AM
With all the great reviews Arrival is getting, how is the science?

Jens
2016-Nov-22, 12:33 PM
You can see the trailers. What do you think? I looked briefly and find a host of problems. For example, how do the alien shells stay aloft? Are they airships?

Spacedude
2016-Nov-22, 01:37 PM
We're going to see the movie later today, will give you my review soon but without spoilers. The local movie critic here gave it a great review but thought it would go over most heads. I hope the ending is better than it was for "Contact".

Delvo
2016-Nov-22, 03:32 PM
There isn't any science in it to be right or wrong, unless you consider linguistics a science. The ships are shown doing stuff, but no explanations of how are given.

Noisy Rhysling
2016-Nov-22, 04:59 PM
The Billy Pilgrim Effect was accurately portrayed.

Spacedude
2016-Nov-23, 02:37 PM
Had to sleep on it before responding. There were so many flashbacks (or flash forwards) involved that the story line was mostly focused on the human characters and not the technical aspects such as one would question in a movie like "The Martian". A mind bender, but all-in-all no regrets seeing it.

Noisy Rhysling
2016-Nov-23, 04:48 PM
Definitely one I'll enjoy watching the second time, when I'm "in the know".

geonuc
2016-Nov-23, 06:43 PM
You can see the trailers. What do you think? I looked briefly and find a host of problems. For example, how do the alien shells stay aloft? Are they airships?

They defy gravity somehow. It isn't explained and really isn't integral to the story. The people who go into the ship also experience some weird gravity effects. As Delvo said, this movie really doesn't have science in it.

Glom
2016-Nov-23, 10:19 PM
Definitely one I'll enjoy watching the second time, when I'm "in the know".
Yeah. The flashbacks and flashforwards and flashsideways seemed just tedious at first, but knowing their importance will make a repeat reviewing a lot better.

Spacedude
2016-Nov-23, 10:22 PM
Spoiler Alert - My wife found this site below which answered all of our questions about the movie. Helped a lot in putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Best to see the movie first.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2016/11/18/all_your_arrival_plot_questions_explained.html

Strange
2016-Nov-24, 06:12 PM
There isn't any science in it to be right or wrong, unless you consider linguistics a science.

Which I do. :) (Linguistics blogs have been abuzz about the movie for a while now - analysing pictures of Dr Banks office and discussing the books on the shelves, the contents of her computer screen etc.)

The plot hinges on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (which proposed that the language you speak determines how you think about certain basic concepts). This was basically falsified some time ago, but more recent research has shown that there can be tiny effects. However, nothing on the scale of ... SPOILER ALERT!

So, like most/all SF, it takes a basically sound idea and then extrapolates it to fictional levels.

grant hutchison
2016-Nov-29, 07:14 PM
Yeah, Sapir-Whorf is basically a label they stuck on some pure handwavium.
The lead character seems to be a combination of multi-lingual interpreter and linguist, which I think is probably extremely unusual in the real world.
And the camp doctor is clearly a bogus doctor - he has no idea what he's doing or saying.

I'm often surprised at the places Americans put the emphasis in compound nouns, but I was particularly impressed by "zero SUM game", which seems to be missing the point of phrase - it's a game, not a sum, so "zero sum GAME", surely. Does anyone really say it the way Jeremy Renner said it in the movie?

Grant Hutchison

CJSF
2016-Nov-29, 08:19 PM
I running a little context-less here (for now), but I'm going to say that at least where I've been in the US, it's said "zero sum game" (flat) or "zero SUM game". If you said "zero sum GAME" it would sound odd to US ears, I think.

CJSF

Jens
2016-Nov-29, 11:28 PM
I'm from the US, and I would not stress the 'sum.' I tend to say it fairly flatly or put the stress on the 'game.'

Delvo
2016-Nov-30, 01:23 PM
In a phrase consisting of a noun and an adjective or string of adjectives, the vocal emphasis would normally go on the noun by default if there is no need to highlight one of the adjectives, or on whichever adjective the speaker wants to highlight for some reason instead. In this specific example, the girl was asking for a word or phrase from a given definition which compared it with alternatives: there are other "games" but they're not zero-sum, and the zero-sum part is the part she's looking for that makes this one different. It's the answer to the question "which kind of game...".

What made it come out a bit awkwardly for some listeners is that the other hypothetical "games" aren't usually called "games", so it can be looked at as not a comparison of different games at all but a fixed phrase. Fixed phrases are phrases which work as if they were single words because analyzing them as a series of words doesn't quite explain how they're used. For example, if we treated "back and forth" as three separate words, then we could put the order the other way around roughly half of the time: "forth and back". But we don't because it all acts like one word: "backandforth". And in a fixed phrase, the emphasis can get stuck in one place or another depending on how the speakers think of its origin ("Did it originate as an alternative to other "games", or in a more neutral capacity?"), which can sometimes appear to mismatch how it's used in a sentence.

* * *

I can easily interpret the Sapir-Whorf plot in two separate ways: either that the new language creates new abilities you lacked before, or that it unlocks abilities you already had but didn't know you had. The latter makes more sense in this movie's context.

grant hutchison
2016-Nov-30, 01:52 PM
In a phrase consisting of a noun and an adjective or string of adjectives, the vocal emphasis would normally go on the noun by default if there is no need to highlight one of the adjectives, or on whichever adjective the speaker wants to highlight for some reason instead. In this specific example, the girl was asking for a word or phrase from a given definition which compared it with alternatives: there are other "games" but they're not zero-sum, and the zero-sum part is the part she's looking for that makes this one different. It's the answer to the question "which kind of game...".In the scene you mention, Amy Adams delivered "zero sum game" with pretty flat emphasis; it was Renner's delivery in a previous scene that I found strikingly odd. I was as if he imagined there were other zero [something] games - contrasting zero SUM game with zero PRODUCT game, for instance, in the same we way contrast the STEAK knife with the BUTTER knife.

Grant Hutchison

parallaxicality
2016-Nov-30, 05:59 PM
Yeah, Sapir-Whorf is basically a label they stuck on some pure handwavium.


I was under the impression that it was handwaivium to begin with. Personally I've always found it rather insulting, both to humanity generally, since, with the largest vocabulary by far of any language in history, English must make its speakers the most mentally evolved people on the planet, and personally, since as someone who spends a fair amount of his time writing, straining painfully to find the right words or phrases to express barely grasped concepts is kinda what I do.

CJSF
2016-Nov-30, 06:06 PM
I was under the impression that it was handwaivium to begin with. Personally I've always found it rather insulting, both to humanity generally, since, with the largest vocabulary by far of any language in history, English must make its speakers the most mentally evolved people on the planet, and personally, since as someone who spends a fair amount of his time writing, straining painfully to find the right words or phrases to express barely grasped concepts is kinda what I do.

Wait, what. Really? You really believe this or was there a missing tongue-in-cheek emoticon?

CJSF

parallaxicality
2016-Nov-30, 06:29 PM
What that the strong sapir-whorf hypothesis is stupid? Yeah, I believe that.

grant hutchison
2016-Nov-30, 06:39 PM
I was under the impression that it was handwaivium to begin with. Personally I've always found it rather insulting, both to humanity generally, since, with the largest vocabulary by far of any language in history, English must make its speakers the most mentally evolved people on the planet, and personally, since as someone who spends a fair amount of his time writing, straining painfully to find the right words or phrases to express barely grasped concepts is kinda what I do.Given that evidence does exist to support Sapir-Whorf, it's clearly not handwavium.
In any case, the word finding difficulties encountered by one person speaking one language are not really a useful datum from which to judge. Maybe speakers of German, matched to your level of education and vocabulary, struggle more than you do to find words. Or speakers of Russian find it easier than you do to come up with colour words, but harder to come up with the names of broad categories of bird.

Grant Hutchison

grant hutchison
2016-Nov-30, 06:44 PM
What that the strong sapir-whorf hypothesis is stupid? Yeah, I believe that.Given that neither Sapir nor Whorf supported the idea of linguistic determinism, it seems a little unjust to refer to it as "strong Sapir-Whorf". Sapir and Whorf both proposed linguistic relativity, for which there is evidence, though not as strong as originally claimed.

Grant Hutchison

CJSF
2016-Nov-30, 07:34 PM
I am not sure if I'm harping on something I shouldn't, but my beef wasn't with this Sapir-Whorf thing, but with this specific part of what I quoted:

...with the largest vocabulary by far of any language in history, English must make its speakers the most mentally evolved people on the planet...
and whether it was a sarcastic comment or that parallaxicality actually thinks this is true. I "literally" cannot tell.

CJSF

parallaxicality
2016-Nov-30, 07:39 PM
I was saying that if the strong Sapir Whorf hypothesis was true, then so was the above. Which is why I found it insulting to humanity.

CJSF
2016-Nov-30, 07:40 PM
I was saying that if the strong Sapir Whorf hypothesis was true, then so was the above. Which is why I found it insulting to humanity.
OK. Thank you for clearing that up for me!

CJSF

Jens
2016-Nov-30, 11:24 PM
I was saying that if the strong Sapir Whorf hypothesis was true, then so was the above. Which is why I found it insulting to humanity.

I'm not sure if that would actually true. It depends a bit on what you mean by mentally evolved and what you mean by vocabulary. For example, the Oxford dictionary has entries for about 170,000 word and the largest French one only has 100,000, but actually the active vocabulary of an adult native speaker is probably about 20,000 or 30,000 words, so in practical terms I don't think it's so important.

What you might say is that we distinguish things in more detail. For example, we have different words for alligator and crocodile, while in Japanese they use the same word (an alligator is called an 'American crocodile), so perhaps Japanese perceive them as types of the same animal while we see them as completely different. But also, we have a plethora of terms for mountain lions. Does that mean that we perceive them as different animals when we call them cougars or pumas? Would you perceive them as different, or are they simply alternate words for the same thing?

SkepticJ
2016-Dec-01, 03:16 AM
Personally I've always found it rather insulting, both to humanity generally . . .

Just because something "is insulting", or is rather perceived that it is, doesn't make it untrue.

Evolution-deniers have decried the theory since Darwin because it makes them kin to the other creatures of Earth, "I'm not related to a dirty monkey!", and this offends them. It offends them, so it can't be true.

publiusr
2016-Dec-03, 06:41 PM
You can see the trailers. What do you think? I looked briefly and find a host of problems. For example, how do the alien shells stay aloft? Are they airships?

You may be thinking of the Deltoid Pumpkinseed: http://rein.pk/images/posts/flying-is-violence-against-air/pumpkinseed.jpg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AEREON_26
https://www.amazon.com/Deltoid-Pumpkin-Seed-John-McPhee/dp/0374516359

Combine that with beamed energy propulsion like the supposed Airship-to-orbit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JP_Aerospace#Airship_to_Orbit_project

Then too--there was this omitted line:

"The whole ship goes through space like one giant quantum particle"

I had this thought that these weren't so much ships as a stage for scenes to play out for humans--using in situ materials.
The ships look hewn from stone, let dissolved into fog/clouds.

The closest I have ever seen to the arrival ships was the project Pumpkinseed external combustion engine concept:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/pde.htm
http://markmccandlish.com/Unusual-Craft/Aurora-Concept/Aurora-Pulser
http://www.sushi-x.com/gallery/nonseq/aurora/aurora.jpg

Some resources:
http://www.space.com/34783-stephen-wolfram-arrival-interview.html
https://backchannel.com/i-had-one-night-to-invent-interstellar-travel-b2466882ef5c#.juplrsmmo
http://www.trekbbs.com/threads/arrival-directed-by-denis-villeneuve.282979/
http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=36616
http://www.trekbbs.com/threads/arrival-directed-by-denis-villeneuve.282979/

I got the feeling I was simply watching two "hands" typing in front of a "screen"

Five second review:

Noam Chomsky does ID4

Delvo
2016-Dec-04, 02:33 AM
I've always found it rather insulting, both to humanity generally, since, with the largest vocabulary by far of any language in history, English must make its speakers the most mentally evolved people on the planetWhoever told you that the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, or either Sapir or Whorf themselves in any other proposal, says anything even marginally resembling that in any way, badly misinformed you.