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Thread: "Bad Universe", Phil's top secret project?

  1. #61
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    I had been avoiding this thread since I DVR'd the show but couldn't watch it until last night.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    And it was such a nice change from New York, but it still has landmarks even Americans can identify.
    Agreed. I mean, as much as I'd love to see LA wiped off the map (sorry, I know it's your home-townish-area!), it's nice that America gets a rest.

    But he used the clichι "As explosive as X lbs of TNT!" Just once, I'd like someone to try to make a hard-to-imagine force even harder to imagine by equating the explosion to something like match-heads. "This 500 lbs mix of fuel and fertilizer generates an explosion equal to 900-billion match-heads!", you know, something like that.

    Overall it was a good show. I set the DVR to record the series, whenever that might be.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fazor View Post
    Agreed. I mean, as much as I'd love to see LA wiped off the map (sorry, I know it's your home-townish-area!), it's nice that America gets a rest.
    Well, and Los Angeles gives a lousy sense of scale. According to Wikipedia, the Borough of Manhattan contains about 23 square miles of land. (I wanted stats on the island itself, but I'll settle for this.) There's a lot more New York than that, but that's the New York non-New Yorkers tend to think about. Whereas the City of Los Angeles, just the city, is nearly five hundred square miles. The words "urban sprawl" never met a truer example than Los Angeles. None of our landmarks are very close together. Wikipedia says, if I'm reading their data right, that Sydney is even bigger, though it may be counting what we back home would call the Greater Sydney Area. However, both of those landmarks are right in the same harbour.
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  3. #63
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    . . . I just wanted to pick on LA

  4. #64
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    Yeah, I know. But it's why disaster movies almost never do.
    _____________________________________________
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    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Yeah, I know. But it's why disaster movies almost never do.
    No, it's because the sound of the audience cheering would drown out the rest of the movie! (Ba-zinga!)

    Back to 'Bad Universe', I was a little surprised by the 'alarmist' vibe of the episode, but in fairness, it does add 'drama' that might hook viewers other than the BA Blog/BAUT Forum crowd. Plus, I didn't think it was too terribly trumped-up, as it is in some of Discovery's other shows. I thought Phil was great; there were some awkward'ly moments, but I thought that made him more identifiable. And I thought the look on his face, followed by the line "... look what I just did . . ." after he detonated that first explosion was priceless.

  6. #66
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    So, what are the other eps going to be about?
    General request: If I ask a question, I'd like people who know about the subject to answer it with factual answers (preferably with references). Saying we don't know is fine if that's the case. However, I'm not really interested in guesses or personal opinions. Thanks!
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  7. #67
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    When will the other episodes be broadcast??

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG
    Yeah, but they could at least have shown the actual, real world one-mile wide crater that's in Arizona!
    Except I used to live near that thing. And pictures in books or television don't do it justice. There is no sense of scale when you look at a picture of it, and it is hard to determine scale when you are standing on the rim of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    I can't even begin to disagree with you enough about that.
    Yes, I haven't seen Phil's show yet, but even though I quite like his style I struggle to believe it'll be better than Wonders of the Solar System.

    Oh, and yeah, I'm pretty sure the area of Sydney that you saw, Gillianren, would be including the surround suburbs, or the Greater Sydney Area. It's not that big a city, really.

    If you want to talk about urban sprawl including the surrounding areas, Perth would have to be listed as one of the bigger ones, although the Central Business District is pretty small really.

  10. #70
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    It's the same thing as the "tons of TNT" bit, really. The human mind has a certain range it can encompass just fine, and beyond that, we need place markers. "The distance between Los Angeles [or San Francisco] and New York." "The weight of three elephants." "Five times around the Earth." And so forth. Even if I don't have a clear mental grip on how much, exactly, any three given elephants will weigh (and who's giving out elephants?), that still lets me place it in context.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    It's the same thing as the "tons of TNT" bit, really. The human mind has a certain range it can encompass just fine, and beyond that, we need place markers. "The distance between Los Angeles [or San Francisco] and New York." "The weight of three elephants." "Five times around the Earth." And so forth. Even if I don't have a clear mental grip on how much, exactly, any three given elephants will weigh (and who's giving out elephants?), that still lets me place it in context.
    I can imagine tons of TNT fine. I have no idea what he's going on about when he's talking about "pounds of TNT" though.
    General request: If I ask a question, I'd like people who know about the subject to answer it with factual answers (preferably with references). Saying we don't know is fine if that's the case. However, I'm not really interested in guesses or personal opinions. Thanks!
    Website: http://www.evildrganymede.net

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    I can imagine tons of TNT fine. I have no idea what he's going on about when he's talking about "pounds of TNT" though.
    Look it up.

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  13. #73
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    Close enough to divide by 2200, isn't it? From memory I thought 1 kilo is approximately 2.2 pounds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    The comet part seemed very weird. Have we really seen cometary orbits changed significantly by jets suddenly firing off at random angles? I know we've seen them suddenly flare up at distance from the sun, but is that enough to change their orbits by much?
    That could have been explained more. I had the feeling there was a lot more material that had been edited out for time constraints. This would matter most for a comet with what appeared to be an Earth impacting trajectory, or a trajectory bringing it close to Earth. What looked like a near miss might become an impact event. What looked like an impact event might turn out to be a near miss.

    But, if we see a comet heading our way, given our current capabilities, there probably isn't a lot we could do about it, except buckle down for a possible impact. There wouldn't be time to try much. The good news is that comets, because they don't have orbits that regularly bring them into spitting distance from Earth (unlike some NEO asteroids), are less likely to have the right trajectory to intersect Earth.

    Also, no mention of Tunguska at all? You've got an example of an airburst right there (again, airbursts aren't even mentioned), and actual photos showing what the aftermath of the impact was. No mention of any other impact craters? Not even Barringer (a nice, full-sized impact crater)?
    Again, I suspect time constraints, or possibly some editor that didn't want to mention an impact in an out of the way place like Siberia. I wouldn't be surprised if there is some cut material where Phil talked about Tunguska. It is a great example that significant impacts have happened during human history.

    I had no idea what the "grade" being given for 'nuking the asteroids' meant. The Rubble Pile, Stony and Iron asteroids essentially remained intact, and the porous one broke into several larger bits - all of which remains bad for the planet. As far as I could see, nuking all of the targets was entirely ineffective. (I wonder what happens to the rubble pile if it was hit in space as opposed to in Earth's gravity. Would it still hold itself together, or would there be a momentum transfer inside the pile that would cause it to flay apart into a big cloud of debris?). Also, was the kinetic energy of the impactor supposed to represent the energy released by a nuclear detonation on the surface of the asteroid? Would that really have the same effect as a nuke? I guess they both involve fireballs and blastwaves, but I'm just wondering if a nuclear explosion would have anything unique about it (radiation I guess, but I doubt that'd have an effect).
    It was good that he pointed out that the "nuke it" idea isn't easy and might cause more problems, and it was good to see the point that there are different kinds of asteroids, but I think it glossed over a bit on the issues for an impactor, which also might or might not work well depending on the specifics of the situation.

    "Holy Haleakala!" (or whatever) got annoying really quickly too.
    That was amusing once or twice. It might even be a good signature line for the biggest event in each show, but yes, not so funny when overused.

    As did the use of non-metric units (e.g. I have no idea what a PSI is, in terms of Pascals), particularly when at various points the scientists were using metric units when talking.
    Well, the other side of that is that most people in the U.S. would have no clue what you were talking about if you mentioned Pascals, but they know what their car's tire pressure is supposed to be in PSI.

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  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    That could have been explained more. I had the feeling there was a lot more material that had been edited out for time constraints. This would matter most for a comet with what appeared to be an Earth impacting trajectory, or a trajectory bringing it close to Earth. What looked like a near miss might become an impact event. What looked like an impact event might turn out to be a near miss.
    I got that, but is it remotely likely that could happen? It just seemed to imply that astronomers are helpless if they see a comet near Earth because a random jet may send it anywhere.

    The good news is that comets, because they don't have orbits that regularly bring them into spitting distance from Earth (unlike some NEO asteroids), are less likely to have the right trajectory to intersect Earth.
    Yeah, but that wasn't mentioned at all in the show.


    or possibly some editor that didn't want to mention an impact in an out of the way place like Siberia.
    I hope not. They can't possibly be dumbing it down THAT much. (then again, they mentioned Sydney so they're obviously expecting their audience not to switch off at the mention of anywhere outside the US... )


    Well, the other side of that is that most people in the U.S. would have no clue what you were talking about if you mentioned Pascals, but they know what their car's tire pressure is supposed to be in PSI.
    Well, they could just "look it up", couldn't they.
    General request: If I ask a question, I'd like people who know about the subject to answer it with factual answers (preferably with references). Saying we don't know is fine if that's the case. However, I'm not really interested in guesses or personal opinions. Thanks!
    Website: http://www.evildrganymede.net

  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    I'd rather a science show used scientific units.
    What's unscientific about "a pound of TNT"?

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  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    Well, they could just "look it up", couldn't they.
    Yep. That's true for both sides, but I believe this show was made in America, likely with those citizens in mind. It is pretty understandable, isn't it? Otherwise we should demand Germany stop printing their books in German and switch to English, darn it!

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    I got that, but is it remotely likely that could happen? It just seemed to imply that astronomers are helpless if they see a comet near Earth because a random jet may send it anywhere.
    If a comet were heading toward Earth, it would be a tough issue. It wouldn't be so easy to say "yes it will hit" or "no it wont hit."

    Yeah, but that wasn't mentioned at all in the show.
    And I would like to have seen it there, but trying to explain different orbits would be time consuming, and I would bet it would lose a lot of the audience.

    Well, they could just "look it up", couldn't they.
    Why should they? The show was made for an American audience. If I'm watching a British show, I don't expect them to explain the terms that would be familiar to a British audience that might not be familiar to me.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

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  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spoons View Post
    Yep. That's true for both sides, but I believe this show was made in America, likely with those citizens in mind. It is pretty understandable, isn't it?
    Well, heaven forbid that the anyone in the US makes any attempt to teach the units that everyone else on the planet uses (except Burma, the only other US-unit holdout).

    US scientists use metric units. US science shows should use those units too.
    General request: If I ask a question, I'd like people who know about the subject to answer it with factual answers (preferably with references). Saying we don't know is fine if that's the case. However, I'm not really interested in guesses or personal opinions. Thanks!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    And I would like to have seen it there, but trying to explain different orbits would be time consuming, and I would bet it would lose a lot of the audience.
    That alone makes me not really interested in watching the rest. If the assumption is that the audience doesn't have the attention span or interest to actually learn anything that might slightly expand their minds, then this isn't the show for me. It's kinda sad when science shows are dumbed down so much that it's got to be all about the explosions and the sensationalism and less about actual science and education.

    (EDIT: that said, if the show is aimed at kids then maybe it's more appropriate. But if this show is aimed at adults, it's really poor quality).
    General request: If I ask a question, I'd like people who know about the subject to answer it with factual answers (preferably with references). Saying we don't know is fine if that's the case. However, I'm not really interested in guesses or personal opinions. Thanks!
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  21. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    What's unscientific about "a pound of TNT"?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interna...ystem_of_Units

  22. #82
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    So? I don't see an answer to my question.

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  23. #83
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    EDG: This wasn't a show about teaching metrics. Are you seriously arguing that they should have used units of measure much of the intended audience wouldn't understand, then spend time explaining those units?

    This seems to be misplaced criticism at best, and comes across as being rather petty.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

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  24. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    EDG: This wasn't a show about teaching metrics. Are you seriously arguing that they should have used units of measure much of the intended audience wouldn't understand, then spend time explaining those units?

    This seems to be misplaced criticism at best, and comes across as being rather petty.
    No, I'm just tired of science shows that don't use the units that scientists actually use, because they think the audience is too stupid to accept them. And it's not like they didn't mention metric units, because the scientists on the show used them while talking.
    General request: If I ask a question, I'd like people who know about the subject to answer it with factual answers (preferably with references). Saying we don't know is fine if that's the case. However, I'm not really interested in guesses or personal opinions. Thanks!
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    It's not that Americans are too stupid to get metric. We just don't use it. I can envision a two-liter bottle. I know about the size of a centimeter and about the size of a meter. And after that, it isn't something I can get without looking it up. Now, Phil's show should encourage people to think, but what he wanted us to think about was not conversion charts. He wanted us to think, maybe, that there are all sorts of different kinds of asteroids. That comets interact differently. That life isn't as simple as we think it is. Taking the time out to do conversions takes time away from putting in more information that we might actually find interesting.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  26. #86
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    If you're all talking about the TNT part, also keep in mind that he was comparing an amount of TNT to a certain poundage of the fertilizer/gas mix. So it only makes sense to use the same units for sake of comparison. And, as a US show, I think lbs are an appropriate unit to use to describe an amount of fertilizer and gas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    It's not that Americans are too stupid to get metric. We just don't use it. I can envision a two-liter bottle. I know about the size of a centimeter and about the size of a meter. And after that, it isn't something I can get without looking it up. Now, Phil's show should encourage people to think, but what he wanted us to think about was not conversion charts. He wanted us to think, maybe, that there are all sorts of different kinds of asteroids. That comets interact differently. That life isn't as simple as we think it is. Taking the time out to do conversions takes time away from putting in more information that we might actually find interesting.
    Then there was lousy editing in the show. Like I said, you hear the scientists describing things in metric units. If they didn't want people to think in metric they should have edited that part out completely.

    And seriously, does ANYONE actually describe TNT in "pounds"? Even Americans talk about kilotons and megatons on TNT when it comes to nuclear explosions - I've never heard them describe it in pounds.
    General request: If I ask a question, I'd like people who know about the subject to answer it with factual answers (preferably with references). Saying we don't know is fine if that's the case. However, I'm not really interested in guesses or personal opinions. Thanks!
    Website: http://www.evildrganymede.net

  28. #88
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    If the amount of TNT you're using is less than 2000 pounds, no, you're not going to use tons. You're also, it seems, missing the difference between scripted and unscripted; the scientists are talking as they normally do and use metric because, yes, it's what scientists do. Phil is actively talking to the audience on their presumed wavelength and uses pounds, etc., because it's what Americans use, whether they should are not.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    No, I'm just tired of science shows that don't use the units that scientists actually use, because they think the audience is too stupid to accept them.
    Wow. So, people who don't use the metric system are stupid?

    And I guess the textbooks on my shelves that don't use metric units are just a figment of my imagination.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Wow. So, people who don't use the metric system are stupid?
    I would appreciate it if you do not misrepresent what I said. I said "because they think the audience is too stupid to accept them", not "people who don't use the metric system are stupid".

    The US audience is perfectly capable of looking up metric units. US scientists use metric units all the time too. The US is the only major country that still insists on NOT using metric units, and since it exports a lot of its TV shows (and books, and other media) I don't think it's too much to ask that US media producers don't just think of the potential audience of 300 million or so people in the US that they're catering to directly, but also for the potential audience of billions outside the US who will also be watching the show.
    General request: If I ask a question, I'd like people who know about the subject to answer it with factual answers (preferably with references). Saying we don't know is fine if that's the case. However, I'm not really interested in guesses or personal opinions. Thanks!
    Website: http://www.evildrganymede.net

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