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View Full Version : Bad Science in Ocean's 11



Hale_Bopp
2001-Dec-09, 11:05 PM
Common mistake of lasers being visible was all over the place in the alarm systems.

The real question though is about how they used electromagnetic pulse (emp) to shut the power for about 30 seconds and the device they used. Does such a device exist that could create a emp to brown out a city the size of Las Vegas for about 30 seconds? Sounds fishy to me.

On another note...if you watch closely you can catch a glimpse of me in the movie. As Clooney and Pitt are leaving the circus and walking through the parking lot, there is a large, dark haired man in a bright blue top walking around behind them. That would be yours truly /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Rob

Donnie B.
2001-Dec-09, 11:28 PM
Hey, pretty neat, H-B... you're immortal!

I remember reading long ago about an installation the military set up somewhere (Florida, maybe?) to test EMP hardening without having to set off a nuke to do it. The memory is hazy, but I believe it was a very large (acres?) array of antennas and required a vast amount of power. I doubt that there's a "pocket-sized" or even "tractor-trailer-sized" device that could do this.

Even more problematically, a nuclear EMP doesn't just shut down equipment temporarily -- it fries the electronics permanently. Junction transistors are the most sensitive to this effect as they have very thin regions (e.g. the "P" in an "NPN" transistor) that are especially prone to break down under EMP. MOS transistors are more resistant to the effect, and that is the most common technology these days... but I imagine that the small geometries of up-to-date microcircuits would be more vulnerable than older, larger-featured devices.

Military electronics often use "EMP-hardening", which involves a whole toolkit of techniques, beginning at the microcircuit level and extending right up to the macroscopic mechanical design of enclosures and such. However, this is costly and is not routinely employed in civilian electronics design.

In short, if what you're after is a temporary blackout, I don't think EMP is your best choice.

Mr. X
2001-Dec-10, 03:43 AM
As Clooney and Pitt are leaving the circus and walking through the parking lot, there is a large, dark haired man in a bright blue top walking around behind them. That would be yours truly /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

No really? Really really? How come? Why are you there! Explain in more detail!

EMP thing sounds fishy, the only EMP stuff I know about is the one generated by the detonation of fission/fission-fusion devices (a.k.a. nukes /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif ). As he said: knocked out permanently (I don't know it as precisely as he does, but I know they die permanently).

Best bet to cut current is actually to cut the wire, or throw off the switch I believe /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Simon
2001-Dec-10, 09:00 AM
Hmm... Apparently, non-nuclear EMP weapons ARE possible, but no, not as hand-held devices. Lemme dig up that link though... Ah, here it is:
EMP weapons (http://popularmechanics.com/science/military/2001/9/e-bomb/print.phtml)
http://popularmechanics.com/science/military/2001/9/e-bomb/print.phtml

SeanF
2001-Dec-10, 01:01 PM
On 2001-12-09 18:05, Hale_Bopp wrote:

On another note...if you watch closely you can catch a glimpse of me in the movie. As Clooney and Pitt are leaving the circus and walking through the parking lot, there is a large, dark haired man in a bright blue top walking around behind them. That would be yours truly /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif


What? The movie's got a comet walking around on the ground?! Now that's Bad Astronomy! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

GrapesOfWrath
2001-Dec-10, 01:32 PM
No, just Hale and Bopp. That's why he's so large.

Hale_Bopp
2001-Dec-10, 03:05 PM
I was in Florida at the time and gave them my headshot when they called for extras and got lucky. I am just a little easier to find than Waldo /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

The device they use is referred to as a "pinch" and is about the right size to fit in the back of a van. Not quite pocket size, but transportable. They make reference to emp when descirbing how it works. They steel it from a research lab in California...can't remember if they name the specific lab or not.

Anyway, based on my limited knowledge of emp, I thought it sounded like a cheap plot device!

So, in the name of good science, does anyone know a way you could cause a temporary blackout on the order of 30 seconds to a major metropolitan area without doing any apparent lasting damage to the electrical system?

Rob

GrapesOfWrath
2001-Dec-10, 03:15 PM
Hmm. Set up next to a substation, let the pinch go, some sort of relay gets tripped, and takes a few seconds to reset?

Wiley
2001-Dec-10, 04:18 PM
Donnie B. is correct. An EMP would either permenently fry any electronic device or have no noticable effect. Lightning produces an EMP-like effect, but most of you have probably used cell phones, TV's, or computers during an electrical storm with no noticable effect.

Power systems are designed to handle faults. So a small EMP device may cause a fault, but since the pulse is short lived, the relays would automatically flip back on in about second. My guess is you can either have a large EMP which would fry the fault detection circuits and cause a long term blackout and mass hysteria, or you can have small EMP which do little more than cause the lights to flicker.

Donnie B.
2001-Dec-10, 04:19 PM
Bribe a guy at the power station to pull the Big Switch for a minute?

GrapesOfWrath
2001-Dec-10, 04:27 PM
Wiley

Sure, that might be the reality of it, but aren't we also considering plausible scenarios--in support of the fictional plot? Just increase the EMP a little, stretch the reaction time from a second to thirty seconds, maybe take advantage of a possible design flaw...and it's in the realm of the possible.

Wiley
2001-Dec-10, 05:47 PM
On 2001-12-10 11:19, Donnie B. wrote:
Bribe a guy at the power station to pull the Big Switch for a minute?


Me thinks this would be the cheapest solution.

Wiley
2001-Dec-10, 05:49 PM
On 2001-12-10 11:27, GrapesOfWrath wrote:
Wiley

Sure, that might be the reality of it, but aren't we also considering plausible scenarios--in support of the fictional plot? Just increase the EMP a little, stretch the reaction time from a second to thirty seconds, maybe take advantage of a possible design flaw...and it's in the realm of the possible.


Ah, yes. You're right. Excuse me, but I must go suspend my disbelief.

/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Donnie B.
2001-Dec-11, 12:12 AM
I know I left my disbelief hanger around here someplace...

Chip
2001-Dec-13, 08:00 PM
On 2001-12-10 08:01, SeanF wrote:


On 2001-12-09 18:05, Hale_Bopp wrote:

On another note...if you watch closely you can catch a glimpse of me in the movie. As Clooney and Pitt are leaving the circus and walking through the parking lot, there is a large, dark haired man in a bright blue top walking around behind them. That would be yours truly /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif


What? The movie's got a comet walking around on the ground?! Now that's Bad Astronomy! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif


Concerning "Oceans 11" --
I think in the original movie (starring Frankie and the Rat Pack,) they just blew up a desert tower along the main grid leading into Las Vegas. Cheaper, but also less high tech than a hand held EMP device.

As for "Hale Bopp" walking around. It's not the comet, it's the astronomers. Perhaps Mr. Hale and Mr. Bopp are too young to enter Las Vegas nightclubs. So one stands on the other's shoulders, and they wear a long trench coat creating one long astronomer. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Russ
2001-Dec-17, 11:04 PM
I haven't seen the show but but what y'all said about it sounds implausable. Having worked on the control systems for the electric grid in (and around) Las Vegas, I can give you some information on how things work. I can also tell you, one would have to have a REALLY fancy gizmo to knock it down for even a second.

Each casino has it's own independant sub station in the sub basement of the complex. It has a 1/2 phase (1/120th second) failure switching relay to the city grid. If the city grid is also down each casino has deisel powered generators on site to take the load after 3 cycles (1/20th of a second). In short, if you know what you're looking for, you MIGHT notice the lights flicker.

In order to take down any/all of the casinos you have to hit all three points at each site. Even a nuclear EMP would not take the whole system down as the deisels are on hard wired logic and will start from lead/acid batteries. An EMP might knock down all of the computer systems but not the electricity system. The casinos may have the computers covered too. I have heard (but don't know for sure) that everything in the casino locks up on total power failure (they call it TPF). I know this because my control system had a hold up contact that fed the TPF input to one of the security computers. If there is a TPF everything locks up before the lights fail.

None of this is astronomy but what the heck? I may not know a whole lot about astronomy but I do know about the LV power system.

Mr. X
2001-Dec-18, 01:11 AM
Mystery solved! Russ is an electrical engineer, I wondered what he did in engineering more precisely, but there you have it! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Thanks Russ! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Garrette
2001-Dec-18, 11:26 AM
Russ, I'm not sure I understand. Could you please forward schematics of all the casinos and their power sources, including back-ups? And just for the heck of it, maybe you could include your best guess on exactly where to place explosive charges just to help me out on my purely academic theorizing regarding the knocking-over of said casinos?

Hmmm? Please?

Mr. X
2001-Dec-18, 03:57 PM
I agree with Garette's logic, and I'm in, that's 2 of 11, right? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

ToSeek
2001-Dec-18, 06:19 PM
On 2001-12-18 10:57, Mr. X wrote:
I agree with Garette's logic, and I'm in, that's 2 of 11, right? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif


Make that 3. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

CJSF
2001-Dec-18, 06:22 PM
Hey! Quit padding your posts!!

/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

CJSF

Russ
2001-Dec-18, 06:50 PM
On 2001-12-17 20:11, Mr. X wrote:
Mystery solved! Russ is an electrical engineer, I wondered what he did in engineering more precisely, but there you have it! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Thanks Russ! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Thank you Mr. X! I think?! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_eek.gif I hadden't realized that my professional credentials were such a mystery. It's so nice to know somebody cares. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif???


edit to correct code

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Russ on 2001-12-18 13:54 ]</font>

Russ
2001-Dec-18, 07:23 PM
On 2001-12-18 06:26, Garrette wrote:
Russ, I'm not sure I understand. Could you please forward schematics of all the casinos and their power sources, including back-ups? And just for the heck of it, maybe you could include your best guess on exactly where to place explosive charges just to help me out on my purely academic theorizing regarding the knocking-over of said casinos?

Hmmm? Please?


/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif You guys crack me up!! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Now for real life...and to appease the legal community, I ADVISE AGAINST ATTEMPTING ANY ILLEGAL ACTIVITY WHATSOEVER! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_razz.gif In the interest of a small peak at what the casinos do for security, there is a show on either Discovery or TLC (I can't remember which) where they show you about 10% of the security measures they take at these places. Impressive to say the least. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_cool.gif

Mr. X
2001-Dec-19, 01:16 AM
You in or out Christopher, I gotta know right now. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Well who would want 10% when we can have 100%, all thanks to Russ! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Who said illegal? We'd be like Robin Hood! Besides it's educational! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif We're like good students, we want to know it from top to bottom, left and right, can you really blame us for being such avid and alert minds!? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Mr. X on 2001-12-18 20:23 ]</font>

Garrette
2001-Dec-19, 01:43 PM
Somebody mentioned something quite disturbing, though, about those security beams not really being visible....

Are you sure? Really really really sure? We need somebody to work on that...

CJSF
2001-Dec-19, 01:46 PM
I'm in! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Mr. X
2001-Dec-19, 03:01 PM
4 of 11. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

As for the rays, send flour through the air. Or use a fire extinguisher, as long as we put particles in the air without cutting them entirely!

Russ, we're going to need those schematics and your best explanations! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Silas
2001-Dec-20, 10:52 PM
Okay, guys, if we're gonna knock over Las Vegas, you're gonna need a mathematician. Now, I figure that the odds of this scheme succeeding are... um... hm... Let me switch to scientific notation...

Um...

I'm out...

BTW, don't do the "corner bet" in Roulette.

Silas

Russ
2002-Jan-03, 09:24 PM
All right, all right! IF you're going to have an Oceans 6 here, you're going to need some inside contacts. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_razz.gif

Now, this project was about 12 years ago and I wasn't allowed to keep a copy of the doc. pak for the project. But I'm sure that if you write to my friend Ted who is VP of Security Operations at the LV city office, he would be happy to get you all of the copies you'll need. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

The LV Chief of Police was also involved and he was a real nice guy. I'm sure he could get you a safety & security plan for each of the casinos. I bet he could get you in touch with the head of LV Light & Power who'd have all the drawings for the trunk lines and feeders.

Now, all of these people are very security concious, so you'll have to give them your full name and address, noterized photo ID with finger print. Like I said, these folks are all real nice guys and I'm sure they'll try to set you up with the finest accomodations. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

And if they ask, my real name is Herman Muenster, 1313 Mocking Bird La. Munster, Indiana 29130 Phone: (toll free) 1-800 695-6537 (MYJ-OKES) /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif

ToSeek
2002-Jan-09, 02:58 PM
It's official!
'Ocean's Eleven' Vegas Caper Gets The Physics Wrong (http://unisci.com/stories/20021/0109024.htm)

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jan-09, 04:22 PM
The last paragraph at
http://oceans11.warnerbros.com/designinglook.html

It appears that the writers knew what they were doing--when they say "based on reality," they mean loosely.

Just think of the hue and cry if the plot were more realistic. Even Tom Clancy has said that he has changed his plots so that they were not realizable--otherwise, he'd be accused of providing blue prints for terrorists.

ToSeek
2002-Jan-09, 04:27 PM
On 2002-01-09 11:22, GrapesOfWrath wrote:

Just think of the hue and cry if the plot were more realistic. Even Tom Clancy has said that he has changed his plots so that they were not realizable--otherwise, he'd be accused of providing blue prints for terrorists.


There was actually a case a few years ago of a bank robbery being accomplished almost exactly as it had been described in a mystery novel.

And there's the famous story of the science fiction writer who was questioned by the FBI after his description of an atomic bomb came a little too close to what was even then being worked on.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jan-09, 04:42 PM
And wasn't there an underground novel about the bombing of the Kansas City federal building that was apparently the inspiration for McVeigh?

Mr. X
2002-Jan-09, 05:30 PM
Dang saw ocean's 11 and forgot to look for Hale Bopp! Doh!

Bill
2002-Jan-09, 07:16 PM
Andrew Macdonald's "The Turner Diaries" was the paranoid and racist inspiration for Timothy McVeigh's act of terrorism.

Bill

ps. Having said "paranoid and racist", I must admit I've never read it, neither have I any plan nor desire to. I'd rather spend my time rereading "Lord of the Rings"!

Hale_Bopp
2002-Jan-10, 01:23 AM
I heard an interview with Ricky Jay, a con artist expert, on NPR. He related the story of a con they used in House of Games being tried in real life. Of course, it didn't quite work /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Rob

ToSeek
2002-Jan-11, 01:54 PM
More about the science (?) behind Ocean's 11:

High-tech robbery (http://abcnews.go.com/sections/scitech/DailyNews/pinch020111.html)