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Copernicus On The Science Of THE AVENGERS (Part 1)!!


Copernicus here.  Longtime fans of AICN know that in addition to writing film reviews, I occasionally write articles about the science of movies.  That’s because my not-so secret alter-ego is that of a professional astronomer at Las Cumbres Observatory and professor of astrophysics at University of California, Santa Barbara.  I really care about how science is portrayed in movies, because scientific literacy is important to society, and for many of the students in my classes, their primary exposure to science is through the news and pop culture.  


When I was younger I read all kinds of Marvel comics, including the Avengers, West Coast Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, etc.  So I was just crazy-excited to see them on the big screen.  And the result exceeded my expectations.  Whedon knocked it out of the park, nailing the characters and delivering some of the best action scenes I’ve ever seen.  But just as much credit is due to Kevin Feige, who has overseen the careful construction of a Marvel cinematic universe where it everything has been building to this.  Superpowers have been handled with enough of a consistent and scientific tone that it isn’t jarring to see Thor and the same film with the technologically more grounded Iron Man.



Part of my goal in reviewing the science of THE AVENGERS is to point out all kinds of Easter eggs that the filmmakers threw in that keep the movie scientifically grounded.  The point isn’t to nitpick over whether every little thing really could have happened.  Obviously, in a movie about thunder gods and giant green monsters, we’re going to have to suspend our disbelief.  Things like superpowers that were established in comic books are grandfathered in, in terms of plausibility.  But it is still sometimes worth looking at the physics of some things in the film just to use it as a jumping-off point to teach some science.  And even if you have to bend the rules underlying our universe to get some cool superheroes, and occasionally advance the plot, that’s fine with me.  But if you get some science wrong for no good reason, that’s just lazy storytelling and it takes me right out of a film.  In many films, with a little deeper understanding, the filmmakers could have done something even more spectacular.


This review got so long that I’ve had to split it into two parts.  Here in part 1, I’ll cover the plot and technology in THE AVENGERS.  In part 2, I cover the characters.  There will be spoilers!





Dark Energy


Dark Energy gets a couple of nods in THE AVENGERS.  Now this I know something about!  I’ve spent many years of my life trying to figure this stuff out.  Last year, my old boss, Saul Perlmutter, and two friends and colleagues of mine, Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess, were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery of the accelerating universe -- effectively for the discovery of Dark Energy.  This was really the work of two teams, Perlmutter’s Supernova Cosmology Project (the one I joined in 2000), and Schmidt and Riess’ High-z Supernova Search team.  And now, my most recent group, the Supernova Legacy Survey has the best measurements of the properties of the Dark Energy.  I wrote a review paper on the subject for one of the Nature journals, which you can find here.


Right off the bat in THE AVENGERS, we are introduced to a facility called the Joint Dark Energy Mission.  Ha!  That’s a nod to a satellite concept many of my colleagues have spent years of their life developing.  It is called Joint because it was a combined effort between NASA and the US Department of Energy.  The idea was to use supernovae, weak lensing (the way galaxies distort light like a magnifying glass), and baryon acoustic oscillations (the imprint sound waves left on the early universe), to measure Dark Energy.  I even wrote a white paper, with my colleagues from all over the world, arguing the need for such a mission to the panel reviewing all of astrophysics for 2010-2020.  As a part of that review process, JDEM was selected as the top priority space mission for this decade in astrophysics, but it was redesigned into something called wFIRST.  Since astronomers have effectively stopped using the JDEM name, I suppose the filmmakers thought that would make a good name for the institute where Dark Energy is being studied.


That was very cool to see, but then at the JDEM institute in THE AVENGERS they had tons of radio dishes!  We don’t use radio telescopes to study Dark Energy.  And they were too close to the building -- we’d never put our sensitive electronics that close to tons of people with cell phones, wifi, etc., because of the interference.  Observatories are usually out in the middle of nowhere, while the offices full of astronomers are in bigger cities (to attract the best talent).  Still, I know why the filmmakers did it.  When the whole complex starts to cave in, watching a field of radio telescopes go down is a lot more fun than a couple of telescope domes.  But anything that causes an expert to roll their eyes just isn’t worth such a minor storytelling gain in my book.  You want the experts geeking out, not groaning.


Dark Energy shows up again when Loki says to Thor something like, “The allfather must have had to expend a great deal of Dark Energy to get you here.”  This refers to the fact that Dark Energy makes up about 74% of the mass-energy density of the universe, with Dark Matter making up about 22%, and normal matter, including basically everything you’ve ever heard of -- planets, stars, galaxies, Hot Pockets, etc. -- making up only 4%.  We barely know what Dark Energy is, but apparently the more scientifically advanced Asgardians know a lot more about it, and can even manipulate it.  The normal way Asgardians travel between realms, the wormhole-generating Bifrost, was destroyed in THOR.  So that one-liner is a way of saying that Odin can still teleport Thor places, but at great cost.  This explains why he hasn’t just used it to do some hammer time with Jane Foster.  


But what is Dark Energy, and can you turn it into regular energy?  To figure out what Dark Energy is, we make a map of the history of the expansion of the universe using supernovae to measure distances.  If we rewind the expansion of the universe, in the early universe everything was closer together, so the gravitational attraction due to matter (both regular and dark) was more important.  But as the universe expands, the amount of matter stays the same, but the volume of space goes up.  So the density of matter in the universe is always falling.  Strangely, Dark Energy doesn’t behave that way.  Our group’s latest measurements show that the amount of Dark Energy in the universe increases over time, keeping pace with the expansion of the universe.  Double the volume of the universe, and you double the amount of Dark Energy.  That’s weird stuff!  But the density of Dark Energy (the amount per volume) stays the same, in stark contrast to the behavior of matter.   This means that the Dark Energy is probably a property of the vacuum of space itself.  There’s actually no reason that the lowest energy quantum mechanical state of the vacuum has to be zero.  However, as far as we know, tapping into this zero point energy is impossible.   


But maybe the Asgardians know something we don’t.  If we could extract Dark Energy from the vacuum, how much would we get?  In one cubic meter of space, the amount of Dark Energy is very low -- equivalent to the energy in a few atoms of hydrogen.  But on Earth, in that same volume, there are 1025 molecules of oxygen and nitrogen!  That’s one with 25 zeroes.  So here normal energy dominates over Dark Energy by a factor of 10 septillion or so.  That’s why you don’t feel the effects of Dark Energy on Earth -- you can only feel its effect over enormous distances, where all those septillions of cubic meters add up.  And you really need to get outside of galaxies, to the unimaginable voids between them, before Dark Energy starts summing up to something serious.  Inside galaxies, gravity dominates over Dark Energy by a large margin.  So my problem with Asgardians being able to tap into Dark Energy is not just that by all known physics it is impossible, it is that to get enough they’d have to be masters of intergalactic distances.  That just makes them too powerful.


Verdict:  Cool points for mentioning Dark Energy, because I get to talk about it.  But have another throwaway energy source for Odin.  And leave out the radio telescopes.





The Tesseract


It was awesome to see the Tesseract, aka the Cosmic Cube from the comics, show up as a MacGuffin in CAPTAIN AMERICA, in Howard Stark’s drawings in IRON MAN 2, in the post-credits sequence of THOR, and then be carried over as a major element of the plot in THE AVENGERS.  In geometry, a tesseract is a four-dimensional hypercube.  In the Marvel universe, the Cosmic Cubes (since there are now more than one), have had a long and crazy history, with powers ranging from warping reality to granting wishes.  In THE AVENGERS it is mainly used as a source of energy and to open portals, but there are hints that something larger is going on.



To activate the Tesseract, there is line of dialogue about how the secret was heating it to (if I remember correctly) 100+ million Kelvin to “overcome the Coulomb barrier.”  The Coulomb barrier is the electrostatic repulsion any two atomic nuclei have that keep them apart.  You have to have enough energy to overcome this to force to get nuclei close enough together that the much more powerful (but short-ranged) strong force takes over, allowing a nuclear reaction like fusion.  “Kelvin” is a measure of temperature (effectively equal to Celsius at these temperatures).  Since temperature is a measure of the speed of a group of particles, a higher temperature means faster-moving, more energetic particles, fast enough to overcome the Coulomb barrier and slam together nuclei.  So it sounds like the Tesseract is doing fusion!  That was a nice bit of background in a throwaway line.


Except there’s one problem.  The core of the Sun is 16 million Kelvin.  A hundred million Kelvin would be insane to produce on Earth.  For the TV show I co-hosted, Known Universe, I calculated what would happen if you put a piece of the core of the Sun the size of a suitcase in downtown LA.  You can see my calculations here.   Basically, it would be very similar to a nuclear bomb, and destroy the city.  The Tesseract is smaller than a suitcase, but has a higher temperature, so the result would be pretty much the same.  I guess it can somehow contain that temperature internally without exposing us to it.


They say the Tesseract emits gamma rays -- this makes sense!  Gamma rays are like X-rays, only shorter wavelength, and thus more energetic.  In fact, they are the highest energy radiation on the electromagnetic spectrum.  Everything emits radiation with the  wavelength of the radiation inversely proportional to the object’s temperature.  So the higher the temperature, the shorter wavelength radiation it emits.  The Sun is about 10,000 degrees F at the surface, so it emits light in the visible part of the spectrum (in fact our eyes evolved to sense sunlight).  More luminous stars emit primarily in the shorter-wavelength ultraviolet part of the spectrum.  People are 98.6 deg F, so we emit light in the longer-wavelength infrared.  That’s why when you turn off the lights people don’t glow in visible light, but they do glow in the IR.  The tesseract has a phenomenal energy, so it would glow in gamma rays.


But if Banner is such a gamma-ray expert, he shouldn’t have told SHIELD to tell anyone with a spectrometer to put it on the roof to locate the Tesseract.  Laboratory spectrometers won’t do shit for locating distant gamma rays.  And no astronomers have gamma-ray spectrographs on Earth, because the atmosphere blocks gamma rays.  We have to use satellites to look for them.  In fact, the first cosmic gamma ray bursts were discovered by the military’s Vela satellites in 1967.  They were looking for the gamma ray signatures of nuclear explosions on Earth which might be violating the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test-ban treaty.  Today, how does the US pinpoint rogue nuclear explosions?  Let’s just say that the GPS satellites do a lot more than locate your position.  Banner should have told SHIELD to locate the cosmic cube with the X-ray detectors on GPS satellites.  Anything that puts out gamma rays, puts out X-rays too.


Finally, there are hints in the movie that the Tesseract has a mind of its own.  It won’t let humans shut it down.  The characters under its influence say it revealed things to them.  In the comics, at least once, the character of the Beyonder (effectively God), is said to be a Cosmic Cube that achieved sentience.  It sounds absurd that an inanimate object could start thinking.  But is it?  After all, humans are in a way the consciousness of stars.  We are made up of stuff created inside stars, but gathered back together in such a way that we have achieved sentience.  We are a way for the universe to contemplate itself.


And as much as the 12 year old in me wants to see the Beyonder in a future movie, I’m sure that’s not where they’re going.  God is a lame antagonist -- see Star Trek 5.  And he just doesn’t fit into the Marvel movie universe.


Verdict:  Pretty awesome!





The Helicarrier 


In the film, some of our heroes arrive on a seemingly nondescript aircraft carrier.  But as any fan of the comics knows, SHIELD’s base of operations doesn’t just float -- it can fly.   As a Marvel fan, I loved seeing the Helicarrier realized on-screen, and its dramatic rise out of the ocean brought a little bit of wonder to what could have been just a boring set.  But could we ever do this?  



First, how much energy would it take to lift an aircraft carrier to the height of, say, a kilometer?  From high school physics you might remember that the equation for potential energy is U=mgh, where m is mass, g is acceleration due to gravity (9.8 m/s2), and h is height.  I’m not sure how much a Helicarrier weights, but a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier (which the movie Helicarrier was modeled on) weighs about 100,000 tons fully loaded, or 108 kg.  Plugging in the numbers, we find that it would take about a trillion joules of energy to lift one a kilometer.  Nimitz-class aircraft carriers are nuclear-powered, so that they can go for 20 years without refueling.  Their reactors generate about 200 megawatts at peak output.  Since a watt is a joule per second, we can divide a trillion joules by 200 million joules per second to find that it would take an aircraft carrier about 5000 seconds to generate enough energy to lift it a kilometer, assuming it was using all of its energy to do that.  Being able to stay hovering is another thing, but hey, that’s in the ballpark.  Maybe the Helicarrier has more powerful reactors, is much lighter, or they’ve figured out how to get energy out of the Tesseract.  On energetics, I give them a pass.


But the four engines of the Helicarrier look like pretty simple ducted fans.  Could they generate enough thrust to lift it?  Could anything?  Thrust is a force.  To make the carrier hover, we need to generate enough thrust to balance the force of gravity.  We can calculate this from Newton’s second law: F=ma, where F is a force, m is mass, and a is acceleration.  Here we use the acceleration due to gravity again, which is what we have to counterbalance.  Plugging in the numbers, we get that we need a force (thrust) of about a billion Newtons.  The world’s most powerful commercial jet engine (a turbofan, which is slightly different in design, but close enough), the GE90-115B on some versions of the Boeing 777, generates 569 kilo-Newtons of thrust.  So would take a hell of a lot more than 4 of them to levitate an aircraft carrier -- you’d need about 1700 such engines.  If you were using the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters instead, you’d still need about 70 of them.  This makes sense -- an aircraft carrier is about 50 times heavier than a Space Shuttle.


So modern engines aren’t able to lift an aircraft carrier.  But in the Marvel universe they’ve got crazy materials like adamantium and vibranium.  Maybe their engines are way better.  The filmmakers had a choice -- they could have added a ton of engines to make the Helicarrier slightly more realistic to a few physicist nerds, or they could keep the classic design of the comics to appease the legions of comic book geeks.  I think they made a wise choice!  Besides, a lot of the drama depends on restarting one of the failed engines.  That worked fairly well, if it did reek of the dreaded Whedon bespoke deathtrap (see Serenity).


Verdict:  Minor science stretching for good storytelling is exactly what you should do as a writer.





Iron Strangelove


The climax of THE AVENGERS hinges on Iron Man having to dispose of a nuclear missile that he is told will detonate in one minute.  The Black Widow holds off on closing a portal leaking aliens so that Iron Man can personally escort a missile through it.  This is where THE AVENGERS fell a little flat for me -- everything about this felt scripted.  


The main problem is that timers aren’t the way air-to-surface nuclear missiles are detonated.  I’m sure the exact manner is classified, but from the basic physics it isn’t that hard to figure out how it has to be done.  Nuclear weapons generally aren’t triggered when they hit a target, they are detonated above a target in an airburst.  This produces the most damage over the widest area.  If you used a timer you’d have to know when the pilot was going to launch the missile, his position, the time it would take to get to its target, atmospheric conditions, etc.  Instead you want to trigger the detonation when the missile reaches a specific height above the ground, and the best way to do that is to use either an altimeter, GPS, or a proximity fuze.  Proximity fuzes have a fascinating history -- the British invented the first one during WWII, and it changed the course of the war.  They used the Doppler shift (the change in pitch you notice from a moving siren or train) to trigger an explosion as they approached a target.  Since you could now hit a moving target, it allowed them to shoot down the V-1s that were bombing London with a much higher success rate, it severely crippled the effectiveness of Japanese Kamikaze attacks, and it helped the allies win the Battle of the Bulge.  All from basic physics!


I’m fine with the whole idea of the nuclear missile -- it served several purposes.  It provided drama, a chance for Tony Stark to be a hero, and it wrapped up the battle with a bang.  But shoehorning it in to the time bomb trope was unnecessary and took me out of the film.  The missile provided enough drama.  It could have detonated on contact with (or proximity to) the alien ship.  Besides, we all knew there was going to be an Iron Man 3, so drama about whether or not he was going to die was just ineffective.


Verdict:  Annoying to me, but not that bad in the scheme of things.  I just like to bitch.





Minor technobabble


There are a few points in the script where some scientific sounding jargon is thrown around.  One of the earliest bits of incidental science background concerns Loki’s quest for iridium.  As they correctly explain in the film, iridium is used in the creation of antiprotons.  You shoot protons at a target made of iridium, and sometimes you get out antiprotons -- effectively antimatter.  That’s a nice little detail, thrown in for all the particle physicists out there.  What’s more, iridium is quite rare in the Earth’s crust, because it is so heavy it sank to the core of the Earth when it was molten.  It’s actually not that rare in asteroids, which weren’t big enough to be melt.  That’s why there is a layer of iridium all over the Earth in the layers of rock that are 65 million years old, at what is called the K-T boundary.  It is from the asteroid impacts that killed most of the dinosaurs.


Iridium is one of the rarest elements on Earth, ten times rarer than platinum.  Even so, you don’t need to raid Stuttgart to get it -- you can just buy it for about $600 a troy ounce.  Or since Asgardians are a spacefaring people, I’m sure it is much cheaper for them -- Loki should have just brought some from home.  Ahh, but when did supervillains ever eschew flamboyance for practicality?  Besides, a big part of Loki’s plan was apparently to get captured.


So much for antiprotons.  Antielectrons also show up in THE AVENGERS.  When Tony Stark first meets Bruce Banner, he says says something like, “I enjoyed your theory on antielectron annihilation.”  There’s one problem with that -- physicists would almost always say “positron,” not “antielectron.”  Also, the annihilation of a positron occurs when it meets its antimatter particle, a normal electron.  So it would be equivalent to talk about his theory of “electron annihilation.”  Still, none of what Tony Stark says is wrong, just a little strange.  Interestingly enough, that process does give off a gamma ray -- something Banner is an expert at.  Maybe that was an insanely subtle physics joke.




Verdict:  I love it when throwaway lines have extra meaning the more you know.  



All in all, the physics of the hardware in the Avengers was pretty good.  I’m impressed!  But what about the characters, and the portrayal of scientists?  That will have to wait until part 2!






- Copernicus (aka Andy Howell). 




Send me a nasty-gram. 



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Readers Talkback
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  • May 15, 2012, 7:04 p.m. CST


    by DoctorWho?

  • May 15, 2012, 7:05 p.m. CST

    ummm, great movie but...

    by Stifler's Mom

    When your villain is the interstellar god of mischief who came to earth on a rainbow bridge, science is really not worth the thought.

  • May 15, 2012, 7:05 p.m. CST

    This is beyond silly.

    by DoctorWho?

  • Was it scientifically accurate given their size and the earth's gravitational pull?

  • May 15, 2012, 7:15 p.m. CST

    I was the only person in the theater to laugh out loud...

    by invincible88

    When Banner told Fury to call every lab and have them put their spectrometers on the roof to track the tesseract. If you work in any type of lab you realize how ridiculous this is. It would be about as useful as putting a toaster on a roof as far as what their intent was.

  • May 15, 2012, 7:31 p.m. CST

    Bob orci

    by ajit maholtra

    In a few minutes, conspiracy will arrive to suck on your lulla. Conspiracy is stalking you and he only posts when you post because he wants to become a Hollywood hot shot and he thinks he can do so by sucking on your lulla.

  • May 15, 2012, 7:34 p.m. CST


    by PatientZer0

    Love this stuff, sir! I'm a total physics part timer, just reading the big stuff in my spare time, and it's really cool to see both the thought (or lack thereof) put into the film, but also the perspective of an actual scientist on it. So... Thanks dude!

  • May 15, 2012, 7:36 p.m. CST

    Ajit - he has a much better chance than any of you.

    by Boborci

  • May 15, 2012, 7:42 p.m. CST


    by devon

    I believe that they said impact was in such and such a time. It wasnt a countdown, it was just when impact was. And wasnt iridium the element that Stark used in his arc reactor in Iron Man 2? ( the stuff that was killing him )

  • May 15, 2012, 7:42 p.m. CST

    yeah ajit we need the angular momentum on that one.

    by dahveed1972

  • May 15, 2012, 7:42 p.m. CST

    What didn't make sense storytelling-wise was

    by Bedknobs and Boomsticks

    why didn't the aim the nuke into the portal in the first place?

  • May 15, 2012, 7:43 p.m. CST

    Bob orci, that means you like having your lulla sucked by phonies

    by ajit maholtra

    I don't think anyone else at this site is interested in becoming your lulla fluffer to become big in Hollywood. But that's what they do there....scum licking the lulllas of others. It's how the machine works. You should invite conspiracy to a hot tub party then. He will suck your lulla harder than any prostitute. I can see u enjoy that.

  • May 15, 2012, 7:44 p.m. CST

    Loki - Pee wee Herman's Doppleganger

    by Taco24

    What kind of hair gel does Loki use?

  • May 15, 2012, 7:45 p.m. CST

    oh and your a tactless fuck

    by dahveed1972

  • May 15, 2012, 7:48 p.m. CST


    by copernicus

    Bob Orci, stop trollin'!

  • May 15, 2012, 7:48 p.m. CST

    Dahveed, are you talking to me you bastard guy?

    by ajit maholtra

    Nobody ever tells me to fuck you madarchod. Are you Indian? If not, then stop saying Namaste you phony sala.

  • May 15, 2012, 7:53 p.m. CST

    Copernicus - honest question

    by Boborci

    What do you make of books like, "The Big Bang Never Happened" and many recent suggestions that the big bang still represents a moment of creation and an illusion that we are the center of the universe ( given that the horizon of what we see apparently extends equally in all directions) just like he church has always liked to believe?

  • May 15, 2012, 7:57 p.m. CST

    yup talking to you. and yes im an indian. or maybe no. i forget.

    by dahveed1972

  • May 15, 2012, 7:57 p.m. CST

    i never said namaste? wtf

    by dahveed1972

  • May 15, 2012, 7:57 p.m. CST

    Yeah, i know

    by Boborci

    We only appear to be the center because universe has more spatial dimensions than we perceive, just like the earth looks flat but extends int the third dimension as a sphere, possibly allowing the illusion that werecer you are you are, you are at the center.

  • May 15, 2012, 8:01 p.m. CST

    bob orci is trying to act oversmart because he read one book

    by ajit maholtra

    Calm down bob. Men will be here soon to suck on your lulla. Dahveed will begin while you wait for conspiracy.

  • May 15, 2012, 8:12 p.m. CST

    I was wondering about all that science jargon!

    by Mike

    There are definitely some throwaway scientific lines that went over my head in The Avengers. Thanks for explaining them. I'm glad to see it's actually based on real science too! Funny to hear about the spectrometer though.

  • May 15, 2012, 8:13 p.m. CST


    by PatientZer0

    I've thought about the big bang idea a lot, as far as the potential that it is just our "flat earth" if you know what I mean. Being a total armchair physicist I've read a lot of books by some very smart people and they all seem to just accept the Big my memory I can't think of a single instance where the idea of an alternative to the Big Bang was seriously discussed. I think there are certain things that we as a society (or 'they' as a scientific community) think of as 'constant' or 'settled' because they are so experientially reinforced and experimentally verified...predictions that we can make to a crazy high degree of accuracy based on the precepts inherent to the Big Bang. The question then becomes, I think, a question of degree: If not the Big Bang as currently understood, surely the number of things that the current theory gets right justifies it's influence over whatever theory replaces it. OR If not the Big Bang, what other theory (either currently or yet to be postulated) could satisfy so many of the observations that are currently satisfied by the Big Bang theory? I've only recently started to do any reading on 'alternative' cosmologies, and though there seems to be some really interesting and at least hypothetically plausible alternatives, the field quickly gives way to some very esoteric philosophical digressions to pin down the concept. Have you run across any alternatives that interest you?

  • May 15, 2012, 8:16 p.m. CST

    Big Bang

    by copernicus

    Bob, Good question. I've actually always wondered why more religious people didn't seize on the illusion that we are the center of the universe. If you truly believed the universe was created by a deity, that might be something they'd do. But glancing from that book's web site, it is super-wrong about a ton of things. The Big Bang is one of the most successful theories in science. It predicted the cosmic microwave background (and at the right temperature). It predicted the creation of elements in the big bang, and in the right proportions. It makes other predictions too -- like inflation. We are poised to detect the polarization of the CMB this year or very soon. If that is detected, it will be the smoking gun for inflation. If people are going to play this game of explaining the observable universe with their religion, then they need to play by the rules. They have to make falsifiable predictions. And they have to accept when those predictions don't pan out. Much more to say, but the AICN talkbacks aren't the most convenient forum for an intellectual discussion.

  • May 15, 2012, 8:18 p.m. CST


    by PatientZer0

    Sorry, I must have missed your earlier post that referenced "The Big Bang Never Happened". I'm looking over the site now. This is the first time I've run across the idea of 'Plasma Cosmology'...thanks dude!

  • May 15, 2012, 8:21 p.m. CST

    I LOVE this guys reviews

    by ComSamVimes

    I'm too stupid to understand half of the stuff that's written in it, but I always enjoy :)

  • Thanks for the homework!

  • May 15, 2012, 8:25 p.m. CST

    center of the universe

    by copernicus

    Bob, A bunch of things going on here: - We don't appear to be at the center of the observable universe because of higher dimensions, it is because everything is moving away from us. If you were in any galaxy you'd see the same thing. If you imagine the universe as a loaf of expanding raisin bread, from any raisin, all raisins would appear to be moving away from you, with farther ones moving faster - Also, we're only at the center of the observable universe. The actual universe is much bigger. But we can only see stuff at a radius of c*t, where c is the speed of light and t is the age of the universe. So it looks like we are in this bubble at the center, with CMB equidistant all around. But it would look like that from anywhere. People at the CMB's apparent location would see CMB photons coming from our position, because the Big Bang happened everywhere.

  • May 15, 2012, 8:26 p.m. CST

    I sent an IM to conspiracy to let him know youre here bob

    by ajit maholtra

    Conspiracy said hes almost done sucking lullas at CHUD dotcom but he doesnt want to seem over eager. He asked that when he comes, he will fight with me a little to avoid seeming over eager to suck on Bob Orcis lulli. I said, okay, do what you have to do. So when he comes he will spend half his time sucking Bob Orci's lulli and the other half insulting me.

  • May 15, 2012, 8:26 p.m. CST


    by slone13

    To answer your question, yes. Yes, you were.

  • It's a kind of magic. The end.

  • May 15, 2012, 8:53 p.m. CST

    This is fuckin cool man.

    by Huckshine_Saints

    These are one of my favorite contributions.

  • I want to hear that stuff.

  • May 15, 2012, 8:54 p.m. CST

    "We are a way for the cosmos to know itself"

    by time2323

    My favorite Sagan quote.

  • May 15, 2012, 9:06 p.m. CST

    Copernicus - in response to BIg Bang

    by Boborci

    So: You admit we conveniently appear to sit at the center of the universe and that it resembles a religously appealing idea?

  • ...I ain't no damn scientist. That's just knowledge I've learned from movies like True Lies.

  • May 15, 2012, 9:10 p.m. CST

    Copernicus - in response to center of the universe

    by Boborci

    When Eistein refers to our 3d space curving, into which dimension is it curving. Raisin bread analogy does not take into account that the expansion would not appear to cover the same distannce in every direction. As for second point, i agree, which is why i askek hiw big bang could possibly begin to guess age of universe. And finally, you havent answered how you explain universe springing from black hole, from which nothing can escape, supposedly.

  • How is this reconciled by astrophysicists?

  • May 15, 2012, 9:18 p.m. CST

    The Tesseract wasn't a McGufgin in Captain America

    by Cobb05

    A McGuffin is an object that doesn't say what it is, but everyone wants it. So if it's a briefcase that we never see inside of or a top secret formula. The point of a McGuffin is that it doesn't matter what the are after, it's just a plot point to move the story forward. We know what the Tesseract is and we're told what it is, so it's not a McGuffin. Just like the Ark of the Covenant isn't a McGuffin.

  • May 15, 2012, 9:22 p.m. CST

    Um, no that's incorrect. The Tesseract IS a MacGuffin.

    by Stifler's Mom

    Hitchcock popularized and basically invented the MacGuffin, and per his definition, a MacGuffin is an object that drives the plot. In Hitchcock's own words, it doesn't matter what exactly that object is, so long as it motivates all of the film's action. Whether or not we know what the MacGuffin "is" has no effect. The Arc in Raiders is a perfect example.

  • ... or that it's even important. at least, not that i know of, and i'm familiar with a variety of Christian theories on creation, etc. not to mention straight scientific theories/ideas, a la branes, etc.

  • May 15, 2012, 9:26 p.m. CST

    but anyway, copernicus, good stuff. thanks. and...

    by Detached

    ... i'm really looking forward to part II.

  • May 15, 2012, 9:27 p.m. CST

    please make avengers go away

    by animas

  • but I was waiting for one or both of them to get sucked in. For only four of those things to lift the entire Helicarrier, it would have been sucking in everything around it. We've all see pictures of these guys walking too close to jet engines and getting sucked it.

  • May 15, 2012, 9:28 p.m. CST

    keep on keepin on Copernicus. you rock.

    by dahveed1972

  • May 15, 2012, 9:29 p.m. CST

    A McGuffin is an object that can be anything

    by Cobb05

    In Hitchcocks definition it's an object that is desired. So it doesn't matter what it is, it can be interchangeable. It's just used as an object of desire that moves the plot forward. The Teseract is a key plot point, not a McGuffin.

  • May 15, 2012, 9:32 p.m. CST

    from wikipedia..

    by Cobb05

    In fiction, a MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin or maguffin) is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist (and sometimes the antagonist) is willing to do and sacrifice almost anything to pursue, often with little or no narrative explanation as to why it is considered so desirable. A MacGuffin, therefore, functions merely as "a plot element that catches the viewers' attention or drives the plot of a work of fiction". [1] In fact, the specific nature of the MacGuffin may be ambiguous, undefined, generic, left open to interpretation or otherwise completely unimportant to the plot. Common examples are money, victory, glory, survival, a source of power, a potential threat, a mysterious but highly desired item or object, or simply something that is entirely unexplained.

  • May 15, 2012, 9:32 p.m. CST

    A necessary conversation for next Thor or Avengers...

    by zinc_chameleon

    Would be Tony Stark trying to pick Hemdall's brain. I'm thinking that Hemdall could be written as the Asgardian science nerd, who finally opens up with an equal to talk to. And they should consult you on what that conversation would entail. You might remember me, I'm the guy who figured out why native Pandoran animals have two sets of eyes.

  • May 15, 2012, 9:33 p.m. CST

    Copernicus, your definition of "joint" is different than my definition of "joint."

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

    Give "DEM" a "J."

  • May 15, 2012, 9:47 p.m. CST

    I got a Jamaican ganja *hit* oh shit mon! *hit* *hit* now THIS is a joint!

    by rosetta the stoned

    *hit* *hit* *hit*

  • Copernicus, I know you are a scientist and you search endlessly for the truth, but I think you have just uttered the truest words you will ever speak.

  • May 15, 2012, 9:51 p.m. CST


    by Mark

    that was some pretty cool shit copernicus, keep on keepin on.

  • May 15, 2012, 9:54 p.m. CST


    by sagamanus

    Hi there! Do you have a weight problem?

  • Remember that the missile was launched a distance from the portal. It was a couple minutes to reach the portal. Assuming that they were intending to detonate at the portal.

  • it's all about the weed *hit* it makes you feel like the center of the universe man. *hit* every prophet smoked a doobie

  • May 15, 2012, 9:55 p.m. CST

    That article gave me a hard-on.

    by Queefer Sutherland

    I just had my own little big bang into a gym sock.

  • May 15, 2012, 9:58 p.m. CST

    @ boborci :

    by Chris Moody

    I think that there is a difference between sectarian religious leaders who taught that the Earth was the center of the universe...and the notion that religion itself taught it.

  • May 15, 2012, 9:59 p.m. CST

    Great talkback, btw.

    by Chris Moody

    And the article is fun too!

  • May 15, 2012, 10:03 p.m. CST

    boborci, what kind of energy did the Transformers use in Transformers 3?

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

    And why is using tall buildings the best way to make a portal? You have experience in these matters... or anti-matters. Ha ha ha, okay, time to crack open another Arnold Palmer and sip away.

  • May 15, 2012, 10:05 p.m. CST

    This Arnold Palmer is really fucking good right now!

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

    Should I add Crown Royal? Yes, I should.

  • May 15, 2012, 10:08 p.m. CST

    Copernicus you are awesome

    by brooklyndodger

    If I ever get a $200 mil budget on a film I'll cut the caterers for a day and hire you as science nerd. Er, expert.

  • May 15, 2012, 10:12 p.m. CST

    Stereotypical - havent seen TF3

    by Boborci

  • May 15, 2012, 10:14 p.m. CST

    Bob Orci pretends to be smarter here than on

    by Queefer Sutherland

    That's because there are more idiots here who can be fooled. Not that there aren't a lot of idiots on trekmovie, because there are, but the percentage of absolute idiots here is much higher.

  • May 15, 2012, 10:18 p.m. CST

    boborci, sorry, I thought that was yours, my bad. I like the first one!

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

  • May 15, 2012, 10:21 p.m. CST

    Holy shit, Copernicus.

    by frank

    You worked with those expanding universe Nobel prize guys? Very impressive. Very interesting article, too, though I’m not sure it’s worth analyzing the pseudoscience in Avengers in that much detail.

  • May 15, 2012, 10:23 p.m. CST

    center of the universe

    by copernicus

    boborci: "You admit we conveniently appear to sit at the center of the universe and that it resembles a religously appealing idea?" Bob, yes we appear to sit at the center of the universe. But that is true from anywhere in the universe. So the probability that we are actually at the center is unbelievably small. I think it is only a religiously appealing idea in the same way that a thunder god is an appealing way to understand where lightning comes from. The history of the Earth is full of fools who thought we were at the center -- first the Earth was the whole universe, then the solar system, then the galaxy. Turns out we are insignificant. Thinking otherwise is *ahem* anti-Copernican.

  • May 15, 2012, 10:24 p.m. CST

    Orci, you’re out of your element.

    by frank

  • May 15, 2012, 10:25 p.m. CST

    A major Avengers science error gets NO mention here?!

    by Dilox Esp

    OK. Actually a minor complaint. Iron-Man seemed to have no problem with centrifugal forces while restarting the Helicarrier's turbofans. I will wait for Part II of the review. Otherwise Avengers was amazing.

  • May 15, 2012, 10:28 p.m. CST

    A lightning god would kick a thunder god

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

  • May 15, 2012, 10:29 p.m. CST

    *edit (Crown Royal reflexes) A lightning god would kick a thunder god's ass!

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

  • humans invent gods because we know that the idea of gods makes sense. we just have a hard time admitting to ourselves that WE are gods. hopefully, when we finish figuring out how to stop dying of old age and turn our attentions toward the infinite universe surrounding us we will finally grasp our potential. if we don't blow ourselves up first.

  • May 15, 2012, 10:35 p.m. CST


    by copernicus

    Bob, The raisin bread analogy has nothing to do with curvature. Our measurements (when combined with WMAP CMB measurements) show the universe is flat (i.e. parallel lines stay parallel), so there is no curvature to the universe. See Table 5, here:, it is the entry Omega_k = -0.002 +/- 0.006 (zero equals flat). The age of the universe is something you solve for -- it is like running the universe back in time to the Big Bang. It is 13.7 billion years to a relatively high degree of precision -- that comes out of our measurements too. And there is no evidence at all that the universe came from a black hole. The laws of physics break down at the Planck time, so anyone who says they knew what happened before the Big Bang is talking out of their ass.

  • May 15, 2012, 10:36 p.m. CST

    boborci, sorry but...

    by Detached

    ... the only belief i know of was the Catholic church's idea (at the time) that the Earth was the center of known things, or the solar system. Did the early Protestants believe that? not that i know of, but off the top of my head i can't say for sure. If they did, I doubt it was major priority. There's nothing in the Bible whatever to indicate that the Earth is the physical center of the universe or even the solar system. Having grown up with both science and Christianity (mainly science, actually), my observation is that both sides (although now that I think about it, primarly the scientific side) tend to caricature each other & talk past each other, rather than to each other.

  • You just have a few more of my previous questions to go!

  • May 15, 2012, 10:39 p.m. CST

    Is entropy still a possible fate, heat death of the universe and such?

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

  • May 15, 2012, 10:40 p.m. CST

    Copernicus = one of the best contributors to AICN

    by Feral Colon

    Hats off, sir!

  • May 15, 2012, 10:44 p.m. CST

    This article is one of the best things Ive ever read here

    by sapno_krei

  • May 15, 2012, 10:46 p.m. CST

    And just to dome up point about center:

    by Boborci

    Some "fools" have said we are at tbe center (which i agree is a foolish thing to say) and have evolved to you saying EVERY POINT IS THE CENTER, including us!

  • May 15, 2012, 10:47 p.m. CST

    Correction: to SUM Up

    by Boborci

  • May 15, 2012, 10:52 p.m. CST

    Copernicus, please help animas ...

    by DrMorbius

    by providing a theory or equation that would allow him to recieve a blowjob. He says his girlfriend (?) only wants it in her ear. His exact words were *everytime I try to stick it in her mouth ... she turns her head!*

  • May 15, 2012, 10:52 p.m. CST

    The Missile

    by pomfelo

    I'll admit, this bothered me too, but the missile was not an "off the shelf" real world missile. In the scene where Stark hacked the helicarrier, you can see the diagrams for the missile labeled PHASE ONE. Presumably, that missile was some kind of crazy mash up of real world and Hydra tech. Flimsy? Yes, but there was *SOME* thought put into it.

  • I agree that black hole being geginning of universe is suspect, thats why i am asking! And now you are saying no evidence of singularity at beginning of universe, which yu know as well as i do would be news to most people. Otherwise, what did it BANG out of? Nearly any popular defenition of tbe bing bang supposes a singularity at beginning of universe, which i am saying is bullshit!

  • May 15, 2012, 11:01 p.m. CST

    FANTASTIC article.

    by gotilk

    You, sir, are a superhero in my book. That was a great read. Oh and HI boborci. Hope Ender's Game is going well.

  • May 15, 2012, 11:01 p.m. CST

    Copernicus, do you understand all this stuff on a deep level

    by frank

    or at some point do you just have to let your mind go and trust what the math tells you even though the concepts are incomprehensible in the context of normal human experience?

  • May 15, 2012, 11:03 p.m. CST

    What's the difference about the edge of the Unverse?

    by Dilox Esp

    We will never know what the edge of the Universe is, or where for that matter. The human experience will never be in need of having that question answered. A better question is will there be any glaring science holes in ST12? I for one am VERY worried that ST12 will be that obnoxious Dinosaur storyline that was shopped around here a few months back. Then cam word from TM that special effects were started last year?! BobO please say It really Aint Cool News.

  • May 15, 2012, 11:08 p.m. CST

    Copernicus--you missed a big one--nuke related. Please read

    by captain_kirk

    How is it that with the portal open, and Iron Man's energy all used up, that he fell backwards, down, through the hole? Was the Earth's gravity drawing him in, even though he was in outer space through a portal? Also, minor issues: like was the Mark 7 actually space=sealed?

  • May 15, 2012, 11:16 p.m. CST

    Copernicus, does it ...

    by DrMorbius

    *take you out of life* when you see a bumblebee flying?

  • May 15, 2012, 11:17 p.m. CST

    Sound design

    by Dilox Esp

    Like as in audio. Did Tony really need the Scuba breathing sound in the opening scene when he was underwater. Would'nt he need that in Space too.

  • May 15, 2012, 11:23 p.m. CST

    boborci, you know what's coming ...

    by DrMorbius

    *Copernicus on the science of Enders Game.*

  • May 15, 2012, 11:24 p.m. CST

    dilox esp

    by frank

    Remember the ALIEN tagline.

  • May 15, 2012, 11:25 p.m. CST

    drmorbius - the figured out the bumblebee years ago

    by MrD

  • May 15, 2012, 11:34 p.m. CST

    Copernicus doing the Gauchos proud!

    by El Vader

    Love your articles - I wish you were teaching at UCSB when I was there (89-94, then 94-95 for my MEd)... a prof as cool as you could have changed my whole course of study (History/Spanish)! Great show, great articles, a Gaucho doin' great work! LOVE IT!!!

  • May 15, 2012, 11:48 p.m. CST

    In Space no one can hear you...

    by Dilox Esp

    on Aint It Cool News if you're boborci?


  • May 16, 2012, 12:12 a.m. CST

    I feel like a Super Geek right now

    by LowDevil

    Thanks for this crazy cool column

  • May 16, 2012, 12:16 a.m. CST


    by gotilk

    He was educated by Jesuits. Not too surprising. Some of the best educators in the world.

  • May 16, 2012, 12:23 a.m. CST

    This a talkback or not? Only critics are immune?

    by Boborci

    I am playing with the theory that current cosmology is just religion disguised as science. Figure an expert should be able to easily refute.

  • ...for no other apparent reason than to gather satisfaction from him responding to you. Evidently his suppositions about "the beginning" of the universe really matter to you in your life.

  • If Billy Graham gave me a Mercedes or two for covertly preaching Jesus while outwardly teaching physics, I'd do it with a smile. Heck, slap a Christian private school bumper sticker on there, I don't care!

  • you didn't cuss. that was rude

  • May 16, 2012, 12:47 a.m. CST

    the truth of the beginning of the universe...

    by Dilox Esp

    just will never be known by you. That is the Truth. Deal with it well. Happiness is the truest answer to Life.

  • May 16, 2012, 12:48 a.m. CST

    And my final jab

    by Boborci

    Favorite part of the article is the admission that we "barely know what dark energy is" but it makes up precisely "74 percent" of the universe. Reminds me of the old statisticians joke: "43% of all statistics are flawed."

  • May 16, 2012, 12:50 a.m. CST

    Ignorance is bliss?

    by Dilox Esp

  • May 16, 2012, 12:51 a.m. CST

    My final (for tonight)...

    by Dilox Esp

    is for you Bob...

  • May 16, 2012, 12:56 a.m. CST

    gee and i though it was a cool "comic book " movie

    by danny rose

  • May 16, 2012, 1:09 a.m. CST

    great article, one question

    by Anthony Torchia

    why wasn't the freaking alien ship shielded? If they can launch an interstellar assault, they can defend against one effing missile. Arrogance is the only explanation I can think of, like they shut down all their defenses, during a war, with a two way portal open right in front of them. But I am open to any other explanation :-) Looking forward to article II, or as Hawkeye might say, the right to bare arms

  • either he successfully defends the classic position (which you would probably doubt would be possible) OR he reveals his part in the grand plot.

  • May 16, 2012, 1:49 a.m. CST

    "everything about this felt scripted"

    by oisin5199

    my favorite comment. You do know that movies are made from scripts, right? ah, just takin the piss. good article

  • May 16, 2012, 1:50 a.m. CST

    Thanks for playing, C. Wish you the best!

    by Boborci

  • May 16, 2012, 2 a.m. CST

    a few more points for Bob

    by copernicus

    Was away finishing part two, and now I have to get some sleep because I have to teach tomorrow. - Science is not equivalent to religion. We change our mind based on evidence and experiments. Two people from different cultures can get the exact same answer about how the unvierse works from science. Religion assumes the truth with no evidence and you accept it on faith. 80 years ago there was no Big Bang theory, nor quantum mechanics. They were created out of necessity, and they explain the universe exceptionally well and make predictions. Essentially all of those predictions have been right. - The Big Bang didn't expand out of a point. (If so, what was it expanding into?) It was the creating of space and time, and it happened everywhere all at once. It is like the Universe is the surface of a balloon that got blown up. It is fair to use the word singularity, as we do in the case of a black hole, but that basically means that our equations fail at that point. - Curvature of spacetime does exist (like near black holes, as you point out). But on large scales the universe is flat. - We can know the percentage of Dark Energy without knowing precisely what it is, just like you can weigh yourself and know your weight very accurately without knowing that you are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons. "Weighing" the universe is actually one of the easiest measurements to make. If you've ever seen the version of the Friedmann equation with the density written as Omegas, measuring the Dark Energy is just measuring the Omegas. Figuring out what Dark Energy is requires measuring an exponent on the length scale, which is very hard.

  • May 16, 2012, 2:19 a.m. CST

    Religious myth has no true relationship with science

    by Ciderman

    From our perspective the monotheistic faiths are all important but there have been so many others during the lifespan of our race, and so many of them seem like nonsense now. The current crop has it no more correct. Essentially a set of social instructions with it's importance gone to it's head, religious dogma now dominates. The support of the structures that form a formal "church" are more important than the "How to get along and prosper" message most faiths have at their centre. So, to science. A set of logically made calls on the results of experimentation and mathematical modelling. No faith required. The universe is expanding. Rewinding the clock back to the Big Bang results in a singularity. Why does a singularity have to equal Black Hole? Perhaps our calling it a singularity is at fault, some other process may well be going on. The resultant effects of the BB seems to operate as the models predict, all good there. There is nothing exceptional about this planet of ours, the more we look the more exo-planets we see, more and more occupy the "Goldilocks" zone and so will have the same sort of chances life had here to evolve. At this point you will have to accept that the emergence of life is always possible with the same starting conditions, and so we are not exceptional. So, our planet, Sun, chemical make up of the world around us, nothing is marking us out as built for purpose. So, to the posit that we "appear" to be the centre of the universe, as mentioned in the Bible. Well, the bible would say that, having no knowledge of the greater universe. And the Bible, in this instance, is trying to attach meaning to a visible fact, the universe appears uniform in almost every direction, with similar features and structures all around therefore, they assume, we must be at the centre. They then proceed to cook up some X-treme drawings to keep the earth at the centre of the solar system as well, a bit like JFKs magic bullet.... But, now we have balloons and raisin bread, we can see that there is another, more statistically likely explanation, that we are in an expanding medium, and being within an expanding medium makes every part appear to be moving away from every other part. It also explains the uniformity of the universe around us. So, what then? If everything else is typical for the universe at large, how about we, as humans, occupying the tip top of the tree around here! No, not really, evolution is still there, driving everything, we are full of anachronisms from our evolutionary past, be it vagus nerves or appendixes, we will die out as a species some day and our niche may well be occupied by something else. We are not perfectly evolved either, for that see sharks or jelly fish, something far more ancient than ourselves but has persisted, in the same form, for millions of years, having evolved into the best form for the job and has remained the same, more or less, ever since. So that's it for religion. Thanks for your time!

  • “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. ” ― Max Planck Old guard scientists, like any other clinging to a framework of the universe in their heads, don't like seeing it upended any more than any other humans.

  • May 16, 2012, 3:07 a.m. CST

    @ Copernicus: love the article as always

    by Beto

    And congratulations on your patience with a certain pseudo intellectual who has been doing the internet equivalent of masturbating on your pant leg in the most tiresome un-Bayesian fashion. Ps: have you ever read the novels of Alistair Reynolds?

  • May 16, 2012, 4:04 a.m. CST

    We lack the ability to understand infinitely small and large.

    by Pixelsmack

    We just cannot comprehend no beginning nor ending. It's why the age of the "big bang" keeps changing and why everyone lights a J when they really think hard about what came before or what is after. It's one thing to think about how something can expand or big large, but what about the fact that tiny particles very possibly have tiny particles inside them and so on? It's chaos theory "sort of". You can keep zooming and going deeper and deeper in to any particle. Just as you can go larger. (pulling out of something) There you have it, the universe.

  • May 16, 2012, 4:11 a.m. CST

    Copernicus... Arc Reactors for the Helicarrier?

    by Bald Evil

    Great article as always! Could we suppose that the Helicarrier was powered by one or more full-scale Arc Reactors courtesy of Tony Stark, and if so, could they generate the power needed to lift the vessel? Also, could it be possible that the Helicarrier's lift is actually provided by another source (a repulsor variant maybe), and that the turbofans are for maneuvering and additional lift?

  • May 16, 2012, 4:22 a.m. CST


    by Burnam

    because I missed your explanation for duo sets of eyes in pandora animal life. it sounds very interesting though. can you provide a link? or a quick cliffs notes rundown of your theory?

  • May 16, 2012, 4:52 a.m. CST

    @Copernicus....Nuclear Bomb Timer?

    by Joe

    Dude, great article! I love how you are teaching us these things, it totally makes the movie more 'real'. But getting to the bomb. I don't know if it was asked earlier. But i don't recall the bomb being on a 'timer'. Instead i thought they were stating how soon it would hit the city (i.e. "We have ten minutes before the bomb hits the city")? Maybe there was a timer and i missed that small dialogue peice. Anyhoo. I do agree with you regarding the timer, but then if it was an 'armed' nuclear warhead and it had a proximity switch, wouldn't it have gone off near Stark Towers? OR would it have gone off at Impact (ala alien base)? I'm a bit confuzzled on that one. Thanks man, -Rex

  • May 16, 2012, 5:53 a.m. CST


    by hst666

    From the couple posts I read, I infer you arec a religious sort. That explanation is silly. (1) The Big Bang Theory has never said something came form nothing. It says if you go far enough back in time, the Universe was dense enough that the rules of physics as we know them don't apply including our concept of time. There was always something before the big bang, but we have no way to measure or understand what it was. (2) The classic big bang theory may be incorrect, but there is evidence to support the observable universe was much denser back in the day. Maybe it didn't start as a point. Maybe our universe has oscillated for example. Penrose has some new theory I don't fully understand. However, The Big Bang like Evolution has been generally acepted as it's the simplest theory that fits available evidence.

  • May 16, 2012, 5:57 a.m. CST


    by hst666

    Assuming you don't live on a coast (and if you do this will fall flat) do you assume you live in the center of your country because you can look in all directions and see your country? We are on an outer spiral arm of our galaxy. How could anyone think we are the center?

  • May 16, 2012, 6:45 a.m. CST

    Larry Niven said...

    by Hipshot

    1) That he geeked out over the helicarrier. 2) That once you stop "feeling" math, you have to stop studying it.

  • May 16, 2012, 7:49 a.m. CST

    We're The Center of the Universe.

    by Buzz Maverik

    Why else would I be here? It's the center of nothing, baybee, the center or nothin'!"

  • May 16, 2012, 7:50 a.m. CST

    The science of Hulk

    by Fish Tank

    I always wondered why no one really explored the physics of fueling muscle cells in tandem with the "magic ray x". Take the movie Species... before Sil transformed to a sexy as all hell woman, she wolfed down countless chocolate bars and twinkies as she would need that energy for her transformation. Why does the Hulk not need 3000 pizzas either pre-transformation or after for recovery. I belive the comics at some point had wolverine eating like a pig because of his cellular repair demands after being cut, and would love to see the need for physical food recognized more often.

  • May 16, 2012, 7:50 a.m. CST

    The Movie Was Also Wrong About How To Get Lightning From A Hammer

    by Buzz Maverik

    I would explain in detail, but I have to be hungover tomorrow.

  • May 16, 2012, 7:55 a.m. CST

    tstone is right and Copernicus is wrong on this one...

    by Detached

    Copernicus said: "We change our mind based on evidence and experiments." Well, some scientists do. But just as tstone pointed out from Planck's comment, scientists can (and do) become every bit as attached to their beliefs as any religious person, and little things like facts or evidence are not about to change their minds. As far as C's comment that "religion assumes truth with no evidence" - again, not so. As just one (of many) examples, Paul wrote that over 500 people saw Jesus after He was resurrected. Paul basically said "If you don't believe it, check with them. They saw it with their own eyes." Whether you believe that today or not is not the point. The point is that at the time, Paul didn't say "Take it on faith." He said "Lots of people saw him after he came back from the dead. Check with them to see if it's true." That's about as close to evidence- based at that time you could ask for.

  • May 16, 2012, 8:20 a.m. CST

    The science of Hulk

    by Dilox Esp

    Is meant to be a mystery for now (apparently). Remember the line in Avengers when Tony suggested that Banner should have been killed by the Gamma burst?

  • May 16, 2012, 8:30 a.m. CST

    Awesome article!

    by Fuck The Napkin

    There should be one of these for every movie ever made. Although, shouldn't AICN also do one for Creationists? It could be quite short... "Everything in Avengers is correct because God did it".

  • May 16, 2012, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Bob, what about Olber's Paradox? You troll.

    by Just_Some_Guy

    Bob Orci pisses me off. He argues with actual physics teachers and professors about science. I mean, Bob, you friggin idiot, if science was all bullshit, then how is it possible you can type your arguments on the very technology that the science is based on? BTW: Olber's Paradox is the simplest way to prove that the Universe is NOT infinite and NOT static. There are dark spaces between stars! Have you seen them? That alone proves that space does NOT go on forever and thus it MUST have had a beginning! Otherwise, we would have been barbequed by starlight long ago. The Big Bang did happen. It's a theory based on facts, not faith. Too bad, so sad, I'm glad.

  • May 16, 2012, 8:57 a.m. CST

    edit: "technology based on science"

    by Just_Some_Guy

  • ...wouldn't it just suck up the air and create such a large pressure gradient that even cars and people would be sucked up into it?

  • May 16, 2012, 9:07 a.m. CST


    by Ciderman

    End of line.....

  • ..."it's good/great/I like it but". It's amazing how even the "hate" for THE AVENGERS is tame. What a home run. Earth's Mightiest Movie indeed. :D

  • May 16, 2012, 9:18 a.m. CST

    I'm talking about the talkbacks here, loved the article.

    by Jack

  • May 16, 2012, 9:30 a.m. CST


    by Darth Busey

  • May 16, 2012, 9:30 a.m. CST

    wondering if boborci is an uncredited writer of this movie

    by animas

    i mean the movie is basically the same level of writing as transformers and we know joss whedon really only writes dialogue.

  • May 16, 2012, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Either boborci is incredibly stoned...

    by AlibyebyeEssmob

    ...or he's a giant manchild idiot. We get it that you're impressed with yourself, that you think it's profound that you could interpret that it seems like we're at the center of the universe in a simple, observable way and equating this to religion, but in order to make your inane, highschool stoner philosophical point, you're ignoring key elements of what Copernicus is telling you. What Copernicus is telling you is correct. You are not as smart as he is, nor as educated. Attempting to poke holes in science without actually possessing a modicum of actual knowledge, or, most likely in your case, the ability to do basic math, is ludicrous. Stick to writing shit about giant robots, and stay away from science, unless, you know, you actually want to make an effort to understand and learn instead of assuming a position of correctness. Also, continuous spelling and grammatical mistakes from a writer irritates me.

  • May 16, 2012, 9:47 a.m. CST

    spiral_jacobs, good point about Orci's writing

    by Just_Some_Guy

    I hate the excuse that he's on an iPhone or whatever, but I wish he'd take the time to avoid the many spelling/grammar mistakes. It makes him look stupider than what he is actually writing about.

  • May 16, 2012, 9:58 a.m. CST

    @just_some_guy re: Bob, what about Olber's Paradox? You troll.

    by AlibyebyeEssmob

    boborci believes he can argue with actual physics teachers and professors about science because he falsely equates said teachers and professors to members of a priesthood, who possess knowledge that is up for debate, and defend it because it is the root of their power over a population. This, of course, is completely false, and is due to orci having a pathetic level of science education, or, it's a sad defensive measure on his part because he knows he'll never be able to properly understand, or be considered as intelligent as these practitioners of science. What he doesn't understand is that science does not depend on his belief.

  • May 16, 2012, 10:17 a.m. CST


    by AlibyebyeEssmob

    Yeah, being on an iPhone isn't really a good excuse. Fine, okay, once and a while, a mistake slips in. That would be fine. That's not the case, though. His posts are riddled with crappy errors. Just take a moment to read what you wrote, fix, and post. When the average talkbacker has less errors than boborci's posts, there's definitely a problem. When your career is writing, it follows that you should spend some time on making it at least appear as though you are competent.

  • May 16, 2012, 10:26 a.m. CST

    Copernicus articles are must-reads

    by kidicarus

  • May 16, 2012, 10:27 a.m. CST

    Shit man, you should have your own section in Popular Science

    by kidicarus

  • May 16, 2012, 10:35 a.m. CST

    The problems with the Observer theory

    by Joe Plumber

    The universe existed millions of years before any kind of life did in any form let alone a life form with a brain capable of sentience.

  • Before Dark Energy we thought that the space between objects in the universe was made up emptiness, nothing. Now, we know that the Universe is made up mostly of this Dark Energy. There is no such thing as Nothing.

  • May 16, 2012, 10:42 a.m. CST

    Long Live Copernicus

    by rumpledforeskin

    Thank you for the science bombs! I love this stuff!

  • Sure there is a lot of trolling and tomfoolery on the Talkbacks, but that doesn't mean that there aren't intelligent people here having intelligent discussions about film and other things, all the time.

  • Now please stop.

  • May 16, 2012, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Wait, Bob Orci never saw TF3?

    by Just_Some_Guy

    It figures. I hate the movie as well, but that's like biting the hand that feeds you. Sorta.

  • May 16, 2012, 11:03 a.m. CST


    by Boborci

    Never said science was religion. My inquiry here has been about the big bang specifically being disguised as religion in that it shares old religious, albeit with modern qualifications. A moment of creation out of which our u iverse appears is replaced by a moment of ignorance before which we can know nothing from which our current universe. Then, the earth is flat and at the center of the universe is replaced by the universe is flat and we still appear to be at the center of the universe, only now every point appears to be the center. What happens at the edge of the universe? Do we fall of into the mouths of serpants?

  • May 16, 2012, 11:08 a.m. CST

    All of human reality is created by language

    by Joe Plumber

    Math is just another language. The Model is not the same as the thing as what it is mapping.

  • May 16, 2012, 11:09 a.m. CST

    @And my final jab by boborci

    by AlibyebyeEssmob

    The article does not say, "precisely 74%" at all. You fail at comprehension, and you're a writer. It says, "about," which implies estimation, you fool. As for how we could estimate and consider something that we don't fully understand nor have had direct contact with, I have never met you in person, and yet you continue to write bullshit ignorant nonsense; therefore, I assume you exist, and I assume certain qualities about you, such as your education. This forms a hypothesis. You might be a bot which is just brainlessly jumbling words together and posting them on here. That is also possible. Or you might be just trolling. Neither of those are my current hypothesis, though.

  • May 16, 2012, 11:10 a.m. CST

    There is no Center of the Universe

    by Joe Plumber

    That is Observer Theory.

  • May 16, 2012, 11:11 a.m. CST

    I thought Dark Energies meant Black Magic

    by chien_sale

  • May 16, 2012, 11:12 a.m. CST

    Mathew Modine is an a**hole

    by Klaatu

    Fuk Warner. Fuk DC. Fuk Batloser.

  • and all One since any position in the Universe is the Center from the perspective of the person Observing it.

  • May 16, 2012, 11:14 a.m. CST

    @darth_meh, regarding language

    by AlibyebyeEssmob

    Check out this fine work by Borges, about that very concept, where models and reality diverge:

  • May 16, 2012, 11:24 a.m. CST

    Thanks, Spiral

    by Joe Plumber

  • May 16, 2012, 11:48 a.m. CST

    Damn,'re simply incomprehensible.

    by DoctorWho?

    "My inquiry here has been about the big bang specifically being disguised as religion in that it shares old religious, albeit with modern qualifications. A moment of creation out of which our u iverse appears is replaced by a moment of ignorance before which we can know nothing from which our current universe. Then, the earth is flat and at the center of the universe is replaced by the universe is flat and we still appear to be at the center of the universe, only now every point appears to be the center."<p> You're way out of your depth man.

  • May 16, 2012, 11:55 a.m. CST

    I think Bob Orci might be drunk.

    by JumpinJehosaphat

    It's Happy Hour somewhere on the planet, I guess!

  • May 16, 2012, 12:35 p.m. CST

    Forget real-world science when WB cartoon logic will suffice!!

    by steve lee

    A valuable aid to watching action flix and life in general!

  • May 16, 2012, 1:07 p.m. CST

    intellectual discussion and the nature of science

    by copernicus

    Thanks for all the love. When I said the talkbacks aren't the best forum for intellectual discussion I didn't mean the people, just that it is more suited to small points, you can't use equations or figures, there is no threading, upvoting of good posts, etc. It is true that the number of people taking strident positions does decrease the signal to noise ratio of the talkbacks sometimes. But plenty of people come here with interesting things to say, and want to have an interesting discussion. What's up with all the boborci hate? He's taking provocative positions for sure, some I don't understand or don't agree with, but the discussion is interesting, and he's posting on-topic. To address someone else's point about scientists being just as rigid as religious people. It it true that science is practiced by humans and we have our flaws. And yes, sometimes older scientists can get stuck in an older way of thinking, like anyone. But it doesn't happen as much as you think. The discovery of the accelerating universe happened 14 years ago. But basically all astrophysicists accept it. Dark Energy is by far the majority explanation, though plenty of people are looking for other explanations like alternative gravity theories. But it isn't true that there is a division between old and young scientists in accepting these pretty new findings. Basically nobody rejects them out of orthodoxy. And there is a huge incentive for proving old ideas wrong. Like the Nobel Prize. Basically, my job is looking for things that are wrong about our understanding of the universe and coming up with ideas about how to fix them. And as flawed as humans are, the great thing about science is that it is the system that really works, that is bigger than us. Science isn't a cult of personality. Flawed individuals die, and the system rewards ideas that are the best fit to the evidence. Science has been operating on pretty much the same principles since the Renaissance, but the ideas it has uncovered have completely changed and revolutionized the world.

  • May 16, 2012, 2:07 p.m. CST

    Copernicus: OK, my bad.

    by Just_Some_Guy

    I guess all the Bob Orci hate stems from the fact that he constantly just pullls out some paper or wikipedia site to prove a person wrong when that person has years of training and degrees in that field. Sometimes I think Bob Orci just trolls. Really.

  • May 16, 2012, 2:09 p.m. CST

    um, C, I think you're being a bit idealistic re scientists...

    by Detached

    It's not just an older/younger split. Scientists are people too, and they can get very attached (regardless of age) to their pet theories, the "conventional wisdom," and so forth. I've studied multiple fields in my life, everything from science to Biblical studies to economics/finance/markets to politics to sports to international affairs and more... and in every one, people behave the same. They have their ideas, they stick to them, and they usually don't want to give them up or change them. There's enough ambiguity and/or unknowns in science to allow people to keep their ideas as long as they can, at least until they're forced to change them. Because, as I said, people are people. JMO. Anyway, as I said, good contributions. I'm quite interested in your upcoming part II.

  • Really, I love physics and appreciate the all the other, less important sciences. I understand that superhero "science" operates on a suspension of disbelief, but, like Copernicus states, if the movie-makers get the basic science wrong, then it is just lazy writing.

  • May 16, 2012, 2:34 p.m. CST

    If you think God intercedes that is.

    by dahveed1972

  • May 16, 2012, 2:35 p.m. CST

    As always, a great article and TB

    by veritasses

    Love this stuff. More please. Copernicus, you may very well be the master Jedi of all Nerd-dom.

  • Although personally, I would rather not know how far it is from Earth to Neptune than die of pneumonia at the age of 25.

  • May 16, 2012, 2:38 p.m. CST

    The Bob Orci Hate....

    by AlibyebyeEssmob

    It is also because of the Transformers films. It is mainly because of that, which I admit, is petty of me, because I dislike them, and he made a ton of money off of them. He writes Hollywood films that make a ton of money, and I do not, and thus, petty internet attacks are my only recourse. It's kind of sad, really. Bob is being pretty classy by not attacking back, so that's cool. I'm still suspicious he's posting stoned, though.

  • May 16, 2012, 2:51 p.m. CST

    scientific intertia

    by copernicus

    Detached, you are right that people hold on to ideas until they are forced to change them. But that's usually a good thing. Many results are ambiguous, there needs to be good evidence to overturn a theory with a lot of prior evidence. As they say, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Since there are many, many more wrong ideas than right ones, skepticism is one of the most important tools of science. It is another thing that keeps us form fooling ourselves. If it means that occasionally it takes a little longer for a theory to take over than it should, that's just the price we have to pay. But in my experience, it hasn't been that way. Once there is good evidence from multiple sources, people get very excited by the new ideas and there is a flurry of research. Nonscientists often have a skewed view of scientists because in TV and film, drama is far more important than accuracy. So they play up the "bucking the system" aspect. Also, fringe ideas like aliens building the pyramids, ghosts, etc. are very popular with the public. Since the establishment is not convinced by the evidence of those things, to believe them you kind of have to think of the establishment as entrenched and dismissive of your ideas.

  • some basic familiarity, very little comprehension, and completely lacking the tools to differentiate good science from bullshit

  • May 16, 2012, 2:58 p.m. CST

    Copernicus, thanks for clearing that up for me

    by Joe Plumber

    And you are right. Talkbacks do have their limitations. I was just being paranoid. After all, Harry has made a joke of us Talkbackers with the Boiler character in his show. Keep up the good work and figure out what that Dark Energy is already and get yourself a Nobel Prize in the process.

  • "Ariba"!

  • Whadefuck...

  • Some idiots in the theater were saying; "that's impossible! Why didn't Cap get pummled by Thor's Hammer?!? How did that shockwave occur? Answer is Vibranium.

  • May 16, 2012, 3:10 p.m. CST

    Here's a question for all you science guys...

    by Logan_1973

    Where would we be if people like Aismov, HG Wells, or even Roddenberry limited thier writings to the science that was known at the time? I'm willing to forgive a LOT of scientific sins if it means an entertaining flick. Movie comes first.

  • That said, Orci does like to play the Devil's Advocate or as some like to call it Trolling.

  • How did a supernova threaten an entire galaxy? How could Spock Prime not calculate that the "supernova" would destroy Romulus before he got there? (unthinkable? really?) Where did Sulu's and Kirk's kinetic energy dissappear to when they were beamed to the ship while falling? How can Spock's jellyfish ship ever accelerate with all that mass of red matter aboard? That mass must be equivalent to several stars if one drop can "create" a black hole. How did Spock Prime actually view the destruction of Vulcan from Delta Vega? Is Spock Prime only divisable by himself and one?

  • May 16, 2012, 3:53 p.m. CST

    C, good response, I'll just say...

    by Detached

    ... I don't have any ideas about scientists based on TV, movies, etc (give me a *little* credit, man :). They come from reading scientific info over the decades. Here is just one example from the Jan/Feb 2003 American Scientist: How was MOND first received by the scientific community? I did encounter much opposition and sheer disregard, and this was against my expectation. I was surprised that people thought that this was not a legitimate avenue to explore. Many times I heard people say that it is too early to start considering such heretical ideas. Why? I wondered. I thought it was legitimate to consider anything. That shows (a little of) the resistance I am talking about, although it also IMHO shows the type of behavior you're talking about. And he goes on to say: People were much more comfortable with dismissing MOND, back then, than they can be today—now that we know so much more about the regularities and patterns shown by the mass discrepancy... (The title of the piece is "Dark-Matter Heretic" for anyone who wants to look it up). Anyway, I think you made a good point. Good discussion.

  • May 16, 2012, 4 p.m. CST


    by The Garbage Man

    After TF2, I didn't think I could possibly have any less respect for you. Until today. Congratulations, I guess.

  • May 16, 2012, 4:15 p.m. CST

    just some guy

    by Boborci

    "It does not make sense to ask about what happened before the Big Babg, because the notion of before and after (time itself) was created in Big Bang" by just_some_guy EXACTLY! RELIGION!

  • May 16, 2012, 4:30 p.m. CST

    okay. not on my malfunctioning iphone any more.

    by Boborci

  • May 16, 2012, 4:38 p.m. CST

    to reiterate my second to last post more clearly

    by Boborci

    I don't equate science with religion. I am merely questioning THE BIG BANG THEORY individually as potentially being science disguised as religion. A moment of creation in which the universe springs into existence is replaced by a moment of ignorance in which we can know nothing, and from which our universe and it's physical laws spring out of nothingness. A flat world that is the center of the universe is replaced by a flat universe in which our world merely appears to be at the center of the universe.

  • May 16, 2012, 4:39 p.m. CST

    garbage man -- you know nothing

    by Boborci

    by the garbage man "After TF2, I didn't think I could possibly have any less respect for you. Until today. Congratulations, I guess." Judging me by TF2, which you know nothing about, is like thinking that you know what I look like from my shadow in Plato's cave.

  • May 16, 2012, 4:58 p.m. CST

    Is Bob Orci drunk?

    by POST

    Always seemed like such a nice guy, but today he's full of crap and has even worse typing skills than a teenage girl. The questions being asked sound like the same ones my brain-fried druggy father comes up with to explain the follies of science as he watches Fox news. Picking up random buzz words from scientific articles and rearranging them into some incoherent mess in the form of loaded questions.

  • May 16, 2012, 5:04 p.m. CST

    Stephen Hawking also said that in retrospect

    by frank

    he wished he had gone into molecular biology instead of physics.


  • May 16, 2012, 5:18 p.m. CST

    Boborci's poor phone.

    by POST

    Well, that explains half of what's going on. I may think that some of the things you ask are misguided or ill-informed, but it's good that you're asking at all. It's a start. I just hope you ask these questions with legitimate interest in learning rather than to prove a point.

  • May 16, 2012, 5:24 p.m. CST

    Boring. Wake me up when you do The Science of Black Widow's Awesome Ass

    by Chuck_Chuckwalla

  • May 16, 2012, 6:18 p.m. CST


    by Logan_1973

    THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is loaded with scientific sins, as is Star Trek TOS, but everyone chooses to ignore that. Sorry, but Movie does come first. Scientific accuracy can lead to boring.

  • May 16, 2012, 7:12 p.m. CST

    "Don't give me logic, give me emotion," ~Billy Wilder

    by Bedknobs and Boomsticks

  • May 16, 2012, 7:23 p.m. CST

    @Copernicus - Curious about the accelerating universe...

    by KnowItAllFromCali

    Perhaps I'll find the answer online, but I'm wondering why experts believe the expansion of the universe is accelerating? After all, if a raisin bread was expanding at a constant rate relative to itself, wouldn't it appear to any raisin that it was continually accelerating?

  • Let's start with Newton's Laws here... how did the inertia of a Black Widow arm at 0km/hr on the x-axis suddenly accelerate to 180km/hr on the x-axis without any consequence to her fingertips, elbow, or shoulder?

  • I mean, this is a stupid discussion. Iron Man would have been liquified by centrifugal force. Oh, and Norse gods aren't real either

  • Oops. How can you guys be serious here?

  • May 16, 2012, 10:54 p.m. CST

    Yes, this is all well and good...

    by Nick

    but when are you going to make a real life Iron Man Mark VII armor, Copernicus?

  • May 16, 2012, 11:02 p.m. CST

    Re: boborci

    by evergreen

    I used to think he became an alcoholic because his dreams were crushed. Now I think it's the other way around.

  • May 16, 2012, 11:19 p.m. CST

    bob orci, I sent an IM to conspiracy

    by ajit maholtra

    He said I humiliated him by telling you that he's stalking you, so he doesn't feel like sucking on your lulla today, but he will come back another time and suck on your lulla but first he will pretend that he's not interested in you or your lulla to make it seem like he doesnt care, but then he will suck all of the lulla juice out of it hoping that you will help him become a Hollywood big shot.

  • I know I's fantasy. It's like trying to wrap your head around Star Trek. But still... 1) The low pressure area created by the rotors would make flying anything on or off the deck impossible. 2) Helicopter blades can't go faster than the sound barrier. The drag created by having even the tips go trans sonic would make them shudder apart. And we see Iron Man break the sound barrier a couple of times in the movies. So the entire engine restart scene has issues. That said, having a man spin that fast no matter how fancy his suit is would probably turn his insides to goo. 3) Old question, but still a good one. Where does Banner get the Hulk mass from? And then where does it go again when he turns back. (I'll paste the question over again if they ever make an Ant-Man movie) 4) When the hull breaches on the Helicarrier why doesn't everyone have to grab air tanks. 5) Why wasn't their any blowback from the atomic bomb through the hole above NY. You still essentially had the thing go off half a mile over the Stark building. Wouldn't there have been a geyser of high energy particles pointed straight down? Anyone like to clear these up for me.

  • May 16, 2012, 11:48 p.m. CST

    Worse than Star Trek...

    by KnowItAllFromCali

    It IS a stupid discussion - stupid fun. Of course, the questions don't really have answers and Avengers is fantasy, not science fiction! I was thinking recently that the energy thingamajig in Stark's chest might have something to help him cope with the stresses on his body, but probably not enough for the shit they put him through.

  • May 17, 2012, 1:57 a.m. CST

    Big Bang

    by copernicus

    Bob, You have not answered how, if the Big Bang theory is religion, it is able to make predictions and have them verified by new data. Also, the theory has changed with new knowledge. Plus there are many theories that do claim to be able to tell what happened before the Big Bang or in other universes, see Ekpyrotic Universe for one of the simpler M-theory-like ideas with many dimensions. I don't favor them, but serious people are working on them. Also "flat" and "nothing" don't really mean the same things in your two scenarios. You are really trying to force parallels, ignoring the differences.

  • May 17, 2012, 3:19 a.m. CST

    Copernicus Boborci etal can use this

    by bobbofatz

    All matter will eventually flow into given black holes(trillions upon trillions of years). All black holes will converge into one great hole. When all matter from all "time" is sucked into the only singularity of everything, a new big bang transpires. Repeat cycle. We have all been here before and will again, for eternity. I was totally stoned when I dreamed that. What do ya think?

  • Where does the emergence of space travel leave us in regard to the loss of permanent mass. Does our gravitational pull simply draw replacements or does this contribute to a destabilising effect on our eco system?

  • May 17, 2012, 5:36 a.m. CST

    This kind of crap reminds me of

    by brobdingnag

    Christians using science to try to prove the accuracy of the bible. It's just creepy as fuck.

  • May 17, 2012, 7:23 a.m. CST

    bob is just trolling right?

    by Miyamoto_Musashi

    Or does he actually believe in fairytales, I thought the guy mostly came across as reasonably intelligent..... but that would help to explain transformers 2.

  • May 17, 2012, 9:31 a.m. CST


    by Joe Plumber

    I want what you're smoking!

  • May 17, 2012, 10:48 a.m. CST

    Hawking said:

    by Boborci

    Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis; you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory.

  • May 17, 2012, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Bob, that's why people are still able to deny manmade climate change

    by Joe Plumber

    You're being part of the problem, not the solution. I agree that the Big Bang always felt like a scientific version of the biblical creation myth. And actually that is why, personally, I buy it. My personal beliefs currently can best be described as Pantheistic. I believe that we are all part of one consciousness and that the Universe is the physical manifestation of that cosmic consciousness as our human brains are material vessels for that consciousness.

  • with all the neanderthals currently in positions of power who believe in Fiction over Fact.

  • May 17, 2012, 11:21 a.m. CST

    I'm listening to Rush right now

    by ajit maholtra

    The Geddy Lee baseline is making my body move.

  • May 17, 2012, 11:26 a.m. CST

    Geddy Lee sucks the lulla

    by Joe Plumber

    You know it's true

  • May 17, 2012, 11:26 a.m. CST

    Neil Peart kicks ass tho!

    by Joe Plumber

  • May 17, 2012, 11:29 a.m. CST

    Geddy Lee does not suck lulla you madarchod!

    by ajit maholtra

  • May 17, 2012, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Awesome piece Copernicus... anyway Iron Man

    by Dead_Kate_Moss

    is often seen coming to a dead halt when landing where physics would suggest his insides would slosh down to his metal shoes. Presumably (!) his suit has some kind of internal stasis field generator doohickey that stops that happening, and would also avoid any problems with centrifugal force when he fixed the Helicarrier (which is also probably not the same weight as the craft it was based on, what with it being a flying vehicle.)

  • May 17, 2012, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Also science does not behave like a religion

    by Dead_Kate_Moss

    and anyone that accuses it of doing so is usually trying to find an excuse to believe in talking dragons or spirit guides.

  • He will talk about Stephen Hawking and black holes and then take the gal home and put his lulla in her black holes.

  • May 17, 2012, 11:59 a.m. CST

    just an appetizer

    by Boborci

    Our ideas about the history of the universe are dominated by big bang theory. But its dominance rests more on funding decisions than on the scientific method, according to Eric J Lerner, mathematician Michael Ibison of, and dozens of other scientists from around the world. An Open Letter to the Scientific Community Cosmology (Published in New Scientist, May 22-28 issue, 2004, p. 20) The big bang today relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities, things that we have never observed-- inflation, dark matter and dark energy are the most prominent examples. Without them, there would be a fatal contradiction between the observations made by astronomers and the predictions of the big bang theory. In no other field of physics would this continual recourse to new hypothetical objects be accepted as a way of bridging the gap between theory and observation. It would, at the least, RAISE SERIOUS QUESTIONS ABOUT THE VALIDITY OF THE UNDERLYING THEORY. But the big bang theory can't survive without these fudge factors. Without the hypothetical inflation field, the big bang does not predict the smooth, isotropic cosmic background radiation that is observed, because there would be no way for parts of the universe that are now more than a few degrees away in the sky to come to the same temperature and thus emit the same amount of microwave radiation. Without some kind of dark matter, unlike any that we have observed on Earth despite 20 years of experiments, big-bang theory makes contradictory predictions for the density of matter in the universe. Inflation requires a density 20 times larger than that implied by big bang nucleosynthesis, the theory's explanation of the origin of the light elements. And without dark energy, the theory predicts that the universe is only about 8 billion years old, which is billions of years younger than the age of many stars in our galaxy. What is more, the big bang theory can boast of no quantitative predictions that have subsequently been validated by observation. The successes claimed by the theory's supporters consist of its ability to retrospectively fit observations with a steadily increasing array of adjustable parameters, just as the old Earth-centred cosmology of Ptolemy needed layer upon layer of epicycles. Yet the big bang is not the only framework available for understanding the history of the universe. Plasma cosmology and the steady-state model both hypothesise an evolving universe without beginning or end. These and other alternative approaches can also explain the basic phenomena of the cosmos, including the abundances of light elements, the generation of large-scale structure, the cosmic background radiation, and how the redshift of far-away galaxies increases with distance. They have even predicted new phenomena that were subsequently observed, something the big bang has failed to do. Supporters of the big bang theory may retort that these theories do not explain every cosmological observation. But that is scarcely surprising, as their development has been severely hampered by a complete lack of funding. Indeed, such questions and alternatives cannot even now be freely discussed and examined. An open exchange of ideas is lacking in most mainstream conferences. Whereas Richard Feynman could say that "science is the culture of doubt," in cosmology today doubt and dissent are not tolerated, and young scientists learn to remain silent if they have something negative to say about the standard big bang model. Those who doubt the big bang fear that saying so will cost them their funding. Even observations are now interpreted through this biased filter, judged right or wrong depending on whether or not they support the big bang. So discordant data on red shifts, lithium and helium abundances, and galaxy distribution, among other topics, are ignored or ridiculed. This reflects a growing dogmatic mindset that is alien to the spirit of free scientific enquiry. Today, virtually all financial and experimental resources in cosmology are devoted to big bang studies. Funding comes from only a few sources, and all the peer-review committees that control them are dominated by supporters of the big bang. As a result, the dominance of the big bang within the field has become self-sustaining, irrespective of the scientific validity of the theory. Giving support only to projects within the big bang framework undermines a fundamental element of the scientific method -- the constant testing of theory against observation. Such a restriction makes unbiased discussion and research impossible. To redress this, we urge those agencies that fund work in cosmology to set aside a significant fraction of their funding for investigations into alternative theories and observational contradictions of the big bang. To avoid bias, the peer review committee that allocates such funds could be composed of astronomers and physicists from outside the field of cosmology. Allocating funding to investigations into the big bang's validity, and its alternatives, would allow the scientific process to determine our most accurate model of the history of the universe. Signed: (Institutions for identification only) Eric J. Lerner, Lawrenceville Plasma Physics (USA) Michael Ibison, Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin (USA) / John L. West, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (USA) James F. Woodward, California State University, Fullerton (USA) Halton Arp, Max-Planck-Institute Fur Astrophysik (Germany) Andre Koch Torres Assis, State University of Campinas (Brazil) Yuri Baryshev, Astronomical Institute, St. Petersburg State University (Russia) Ari Brynjolfsson, Applied Radiation Industries (USA) Hermann Bondi, Churchill College, University of Cambridge (UK) Timothy Eastman, Plasmas International (USA) Chuck Gallo, Superconix, Inc.(USA) Thomas Gold, Cornell University (emeritus) (USA) Amitabha Ghosh, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (India) Walter J. Heikkila, University of Texas at Dallas (USA) Thomas Jarboe, University of Washington (USA) Jerry W. Jensen, ATK Propulsion (USA) Menas Kafatos, George Mason University (USA) Paul Marmet, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics (retired) (Canada) Paola Marziani, Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy) Gregory Meholic, The Aerospace Corporation (USA) Jacques Moret-Bailly, Université Dijon (retired) (France) Jayant Narlikar, IUCAA(emeritus) and College de France (India, France) Marcos Cesar Danhoni Neves, State University of Maringá (Brazil) Charles D. Orth, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (USA) R. David Pace, Lyon College (USA) Georges Paturel, Observatoire de Lyon (France) Jean-Claude Pecker, College de France (France) Anthony L. Peratt, Los Alamos National Laboratory (USA) Bill Peter, BAE Systems Advanced Technologies (USA) David Roscoe, Sheffield University (UK) Malabika Roy, George Mason University (USA) Sisir Roy, George Mason University (USA) Konrad Rudnicki, Jagiellonian University (Poland) Domingos S.L. Soares, Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil)

  • May 17, 2012, 12:02 p.m. CST

    ajit_ practice makes perfect!

    by Boborci

  • May 17, 2012, 12:06 p.m. CST


    by ajit maholtra

  • May 17, 2012, 12:19 p.m. CST

    I love science and despise religion... all religions will perish.

    by uberfreak

  • This is something you can go an see with your own eyes. True climate change has occurred throughout the Earth's history, but never at the current rate. As far as scientists fudging the facts. You would have to believe in a vast global conspiracy of the world's top scientists to believe that all the data on Climate change is bogus. I know you're prone to conspiracy theories.

  • That is a REAL conspiracy. I love how conservatives act like Global Warming is the status quo. Our dependence of Fossil Fuels is the status quo. I guarantee nearly every scientist who disputes man-made Climate Change is funded by Big Oil or one of the other Energy Industries.

  • May 17, 2012, 1:31 p.m. CST

    Speaking of black holes, what's going on with John Travolta?

    by ajit maholtra

    Is he a gay?

  • The politicization of science... It makes me sick!<p> It makes me sad to believe that most people actually believe the bullshit doomsday scenario that Manhattan will be under water in 50 years. And the ONLY recourse is... to CRUSH economies by forcing world governments to write BILLION dollar checks and flush them down the toilet.<p> Brilliant. <p> And anyone who believes man is the ONLY factor in global warming ( OOPS, ahem....'climate change') is a fool beyond description.

  • that's a step in the right direction.

  • May 17, 2012, 1:59 p.m. CST

    The politicization of science makes me sick

    by Joe Plumber

    YOu know what makes me even sicker. The denying of science for political reasons. Mitt Romney and other Republicans have to actually play dumb and deny that they believe in global warming and other scientific facts because of the dumb apes who vote for them. It's true. Romney actually is on record as saying he believed in Global Warming. But because his party is hijacked by extremists who believe the lies and propaganda the Oil Industry feeds them he has to pretend to be dumb himself. Go see what Huntsman said on this subject. There's and intelligent and honest man who would NEVER get elected in this toxic environment where science is just an opposing religion as Bob Orci suggests. We're so screwed.

  • Don't hold your breath.

  • Where have you been? <p> And boborci is not wrong on that point about science being an opposing religion. Science has turned into 'Scientism'...which you seem to be a part of.

  • May 17, 2012, 2:19 p.m. CST

    LOL, doctor, I guess all laws are subjective as well

    by Joe Plumber

    So, it's fine if I go kill someone I don't like because I don't believe that murder is a crime. Well, doctorwho (Tom Baker is turning in his grave) yo are free not to believe that climate change is not occurring, you have every right to deny reality and live in your own fantasy world, but that doesn't mean that it is not happening. To quote my favorite movie, "I think that I am familiar with the fact that you are going to ignore this particular problem until it swims up and BITES YOU ON THE ASS!"

  • May 17, 2012, 2:30 p.m. CST

    We are so screwed if people don't accept scientific fact

    by Joe Plumber

    I guess the power of the atom was never harnessed and nuclear energy is just fantasy and doesn't exist because its based on science and science is just another religion. Nuclear energy is really just magic and a miracle similar to the miracles of Jesus.

  • Is this really what we want to be our legacy of the human race? The way people hold onto their superstitions and mythologies and territorial instincts in my mind is the greatest proof that we evolved from apes.

  • May 17, 2012, 2:40 p.m. CST

    Bob, Lerner is not a great source

    by AlibyebyeEssmob

    The problem here is that you're cherry picking. You can't just say, hey, this Lerner dude refutes the big bang, and I think that's cool, so that's what I believe. That's not science, man. It's cool to have people like Lerner generate these talks, to ask questions, but the fact remains that the vast majority of scientists do not agree with him, and there are many places where prominent scientists have rejected, and provided proof of his errors. Here's just one: Here's an article discussing why that piece you posted is wrong-headed:

  • May 17, 2012, 2:44 p.m. CST

    darth ...that's the KING of all straw man arguments. CONGRATS!

    by DoctorWho?

    And, I DO believe climate change is occurring. Of course it is. I can see the data. Big difference between me and you though... I look at BOTH sides of the debate. People who hold your politicized agenda don't want a debate. You, (Al Gore, Ed norton and the like) just plug your ears, close your eyes and go "Blahblahblahblah I can't hear you, you're and idiot..." Nice. <p> People who even QUESTION (not even deny)... but simply question the nuances of climate change arguments and their politicized motives are labeled (by people on your end of the spectrum) as equivalent to Holocaust deniers. Classy. I guess I should call you a 'flat-earther' because you may deny the benefits of frakking and horizontal drilling.<p> To deny 'Scientism' is to be a HERETIC. But nooooo, you're not're an opened-minded,clear-thinker with an eye on truth over agenda.

  • my girlfriend gets on my case when I don't recycle correctly all the time. And i know that Al Gore's data was suspect in that movie. But, I just can't stand the dumbing down of our culture and I'm not gonna just sit idly by while scientific method is replaced by personal superstition. Do you really not know that the Energy Industry is spending millions of dollars to influence public opinion regarding climate change? That doesn't bother you? I am willing to admit that there is a lot of propaganda on the other side as well and unfortunately that is not helpful and frankly unnecessary since they have science and history on their side..

  • That's like saying we know everything about cancer. Are you kidding me? Let's be rational...One needs to believe three things to fully accept your dogmatic view of global warming:<p> 1. The Earth is warming to an unprecedented extent (in terms of man’s recorded existence on Earth).<p> 2. Human beings burning fossil fuels are the MAIN cause for this warming.<p> 3. This warming will cause a worldwide catastrophe by the end of the century.<p> If you are skeptical about one of these...the politicized, dogma you believe in falls like a house of cards. Many climatologists question this alarmist thesis. Yeah...I said THESIS! The Earth is round: not a thesis. The Sun is the center of our solar system: Not a thesis.

  • May 17, 2012, 3:03 p.m. CST

    Sorry, I posted that before reading yours.

    by DoctorWho?

  • May 17, 2012, 3:11 p.m. CST

    "...since they have science and history on their side.."

    by DoctorWho?

    Actually, the fools pushing these types of alarmist global warming theories have been guilty of this type of hysteria before:<p> The hysteria over nuclear power. World population explosion. Secondhand name a few.<p> Hysteria is a great motivator for the masses.

  • May 17, 2012, 3:52 p.m. CST

    "fucking neo-con pig"...LOLOL

    by DoctorWho?

    Uberfreak: Straight outta central casting.

  • Sure politicians who take an Environmentalist position will benefit from voters for who that matters. But, it seems to me that for the most part they truly believe that the Earth is in danger and they want to stop pollution to make the world a cleaner more healthy place to live for generations to come. On the other side, the best motives that can be attributed to Climate Change deniers is that it will save jobs. Which is true, but really who benefits the most from this position? That would be Big Oil and the other Fossil Fuel Industries who are funding the scientists skeptical of man-made Climate Change.

  • May 17, 2012, 4:46 p.m. CST

    Re: Environmentalists really benefited from their position

    by DoctorWho?

    Google SOLYNDRA for starters.<p> And the Earth isn't in danger...people will be. But not the Earth. I'm sure you've heard George Carlin rant on that.<p> "...the best motives that can be attributed to Climate Change deniers is that it will save jobs." And I love how you characterize even climate change SKEPTICS as "deniers". This shows how little you understand about the opposing viewpoints outside of whatever is implanted in you by the language of the media. <p> The crippling of global economies is the biggest objection to what these alarmists propose as a "solution" to global warming. As if climate can be 'controlled' by bureaucrats writing big checks and redistributing trillions globally. Sure, THAT will fix it. THAT's how you alter the temperature of the planet. How arrogant. Talk about a fairy tale!

  • just like taxes will have to be raised eventually to balance the budget. Sure people will go kicking an screaming to the very end, but eventually people will wake up and smell the shitstorm coming.

  • May 17, 2012, 5:08 p.m. CST

    Oh yeah, it's coming...

    by DoctorWho?

    Funny though. If your personal or family budget was too high because you spending WAY too would probably, cut out a vacation or eating out 5 times a know trim things back to make your budget work.<p> Yet when faced with the mirror example of governments doing the same thing... you go off the reservation. The perfect analogy is that you would rack up WAY more debt, live WAY beyond your means, spend extravagantly and then kick and scream and cry when it all comes crashing down around you. All because you can't do simple math. And you scream about religious people being irrational?

  • May 17, 2012, 5:10 p.m. CST

    But we digress...

    by DoctorWho?

    This thread is about things like the physics behind why the Hulk can't pick up Thor's hammer

  • May 17, 2012, 5:11 p.m. CST

    doctorwho, that "the Earth will survive" line is false

    by kidicarus

    Sure, the planet itself can take anything we could ever dish out and eventually recover, but what about the massive ecosystems that suffer because of climate change? Is it morally acceptable for us to shrug our shoulders and say, "species go extinct all the time, its just natural".

  • God gave all the animals and plants on the Earth to Man to do what he would with them. Except bestiality of course.

  • Dude, REALLY? So the goal is stop ecosystems from "suffering"? The sheer audacity. The hubris.<p> Ecosystems are in flux all the time. Constantly. Nature is destroyed and renewed all the time. There is no perfect state of equilibrium. Like in that Carlin rant "...earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles...hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worlwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages." <p> To live is to die. Species DO "go extinct all the time" and it is largely "just natural". And you think our 200 years of technical evolution on this planet (being four and a half billion years old) is (A)the cause of it's imminent demise and that (B) utopian visions of global financial management is the solution to all of THAT?

  • May 17, 2012, 5:40 p.m. CST's a much different story if you want to say...

    by DoctorWho?

    ...that we need to be good stewards of Mother Earth, clean up our messes, not maliciously destroy or damage wildlife, have clean air, clean water etc. Duh! That's obvious and reasonable. But the cult like, alarmist, dogmatic, eco-zealots of the world DO NOT get to decide how that is done without question, debate or argument.

  • May 17, 2012, 6:37 p.m. CST

    Science IS a religion

    by Anthony Torchia

    Scientific dogma insists consciousness is manufactured in the brain Other opinions are shunned, in the same way the Catholic Church shunned the solar-centric model But it'a all good, just like Catholicism, Scientism is about to fail and fall :-)

  • This!

  • May 17, 2012, 7:09 p.m. CST

    Now everybody is acting oversmart

    by ajit maholtra

    Stop wasting your time. There are no gals at this website so unless you like putting your lulla in other peoples anus (like conspiracy) then you are wasting your time.

  • Nope. It can't all be Mikey Bay's fault. You wrote the damn film. A film that has made the studio system enormous wealth and paved the way for what may be an endless stream of immeasurably stupid and tedious cinema. Man up. Take the hit. Then come back with the script that proves you had it in you all along.

  • May 17, 2012, 8:45 p.m. CST

    Jbma june 29th. People Like Us

    by Boborci

  • May 17, 2012, 9:02 p.m. CST

    locke815: Centrifugal force is not real either. Duh!!

    by Just_Some_Guy

    Centripetal force is real, it is the cause of circular motion that points to the center of the curved path and continually forces an object to change direction! Centrifugal force is total bullshit. It is actually just inertia.

  • May 17, 2012, 9:04 p.m. CST

    I thought Kurtzman wrote People Like Us.

    by Just_Some_Guy

    Heh. Pinenuts.

  • May 17, 2012, 9:40 p.m. CST

    Boborci/Copernicus Center of the Universe

    by kname2

    I thought I'd toss in a lengthy diatribe reference to explain to Bob why we appear to be in the center of it all...and why the same holds true for any geometric point in the cosmos... As Copernicus stated, we view the Universe from our location in geometric space as well as time. Any other observers out there in some far flung galaxy would have the same physics apply to their vantage point as well. With that rambled...Bob,...we appear to be in the center because the Big Bang happened everywhere simultaneously. A way to wrap your brain around it is this... If you are INSIDE an explosion you don't have the proper geometric frame of reference to observe the true center of said explosion. You have to be outside the event itself looking in to see the true center. And the universe is still is still banging if you will. So, with the Universe still expanding and it's sheer size it would be virtually impossible to ever know where the true center point is. So, the reason any vantage point looks like the center is really fun. You are simply sitting in the oldest visible part of the universe as seen from your specific perspective. Fly to a different point and it appears to be the center of it all. Magic? Tomfoolery? No, simple physics. We are limited by our biology and the only physics we are aware of. Everything we know is delivered via photons of light, either emitted or reflected from the solid (baryonic) matter in the Universe. Photons travel at 186,220 mile per second (in a varies in other materials slightly) from any point A to any point B...always. So, when you are observing anything other than matter how far away or how close, you are always looking back in time. So, with the limitation of the speed of the photons to deliver the visual to us at our observation point, combined with the vast size of the Universe and being inside the expanding event (Big Bang/explosion) itself, we see a universe that is approximately 27.4 billion light years in diameter. So, how do we know the diameter? Edwin Hubble and his colleagues discovered that light emitted by distant galaxies was shifted more to the red end of the spectrum the further away they were. Add to this, Einstein's mathematics for the Theory of Relativity predicted an expanding universe before this state of things was actually observed. A bright Belgian Jesuit priest named Georges Lemaitre who conveniently was also an astronomer and physicist learned of Hubble's discovery and put forward an interesting notion...if the galaxies are red shifted this follows Einstein's prediction of an expanding, if you run the clock backward...then ultimately the whole shooting match comes back to a central point. He called it the "Primordial Atom Hypothesis". Einstein, Hubble, and many scientists signed off on the idea as the best likely explanation for what happened in antiquity. Not how or why...just what. Nearly 20 years later Fred Hoyle a British astronomer and naysayer on the theory, made a statement in an interview that Lemaitre and Hubble were wrong and that is was a "crazy big bang theory". The insult stuck to this day. So, with a still expanding universe, a limitation on the speed of light, and the size of the Universe all points look like the center. Why? Because photons deliver the information from all directions to us at our geomteric vantage point over distance and time. It's an "illusion" created by the limits of our biology and physics. If we could exceed the speed of light or speed the photons up that are moving to us everything might look different. But, that isn't the case and we see a universe expanding in all directions with every object in it moving away from the rest. Locally the expansion isn't as noticeable but, on the large scale it's tremendous. Since the universe is still banging away and has been for at least 13.7 billion years...if we could see the edge in real time the whole shooting match (and factor in the inflation Copernicus mentioned) it could possibly be a whopping 95+ billion lights years in diameter. The fun part? Since the physics of photons limits our ability to see things any differently...and since the photons are moving to us at our location so that we observe the Universe...we are at the "observational center" of the Universe and Ptolemy gets his revenge in the end. Clear as mud? Signed, The Parking Lot Cosmologist Oh, and Make Mine Marvel!

  • May 17, 2012, 10:25 p.m. CST

    Science does not "insist" on anything...

    by KnowItAllFromCali

    Except that its conclusions be based on reason and observation. No one has put forth acceptable evidence that consciousness is not manufactured in the brain. Saying it is scientific dogma is similar to the silly argument that the onus is on scientists to prove that God does not exist.

  • You know what that is, copernicus? Of course you do not. So let me enlighten you. The vast majority of matter in the cosmos, is non-physical. No, I am not talking about "dark matter" or even "dark energy." Sure, you might wish to include that. No. I am actually talking about what the cosmos really is, and you slow-moving, parroting scientists will 'discover' this probably within 1 thousand years (I hope). And that is: The vast majority of the cosmos is not physical matter. And I don't mean empty space. There is no such thing as 'empty' space. It's amusing that you still haven't figured out what 'energy' is, nor have you understood what 'magic' (a popular superstition these days, based on natural laws, however) is either. You throw around words that you've defined in your labs and text books, as if you know the meaning of them. Like the word 'atom.' Yes, atoms do exist. Real, indivisible units of matter, but they certainly have nothing to do with physical matter. One thing you silly string theorists are correct about, is that you have guessed correctly about higher forms of dimensions and energies/material forms manifesting from them. The way you have attempted, however, to mathematically construct this, is a joke. So, to cut a long story short, my dear Copernicus: The most you and your good buddies at the lab will ever discover and understand, is 1 percent of reality. I do not mean 1 percent of the universe. I simply mean 1 percent of reality. This means, assuming you could build a particle accelerator the size of a galaxy, the best you could ever hope to achieve, would be a measurement/ascertainment of 1 percent of matter. Your higgs boson and gravitons and all your other worthless fictions and illusions are a joke, but you will figure that out in due course. In fact, you still haven't figured out what gravity is, yet. Good luck with that. As I said, build me a particle accelerator the size of a galaxy, and I'll show you the boundaries of science: 1 percent of reality. The rest of the 99 percent, is a reality you will never ascertain with your instruments. It requires something beyond particle smashers to get there. I'll let you guess. And no, it ain't religion or anything else you're likely to guess. So what's my point? My point is: Be humble, no your limits, and remember, every single day you wake up and feel comfortable with yourself and your feeble brain and 'knowledge', that the most you will ever achieve as a scientist, is 1 percent comprehension, and please note: That's if you manage to build that galactic particle accelerator (good luck). Right now, you haven't even grasped a millionth of reality. How do you feel about this, good sir? Does this irritate you? Perhaps you will deny this? Does this mean science is useless? No. Science is a good start. It's better than religion and philosophy, i'll give you that. Once you reach beyond the mental level of a scientist (in other words, the beginning stages of the civilized human), you can come back and ask me more. Since you will not achieve this in another thousand life-times, I'll leave you to ponder about this post, and wonder whether or not I am a deluded crank. It's probably better for your sanity, that indeed you do.

  • May 17, 2012, 11:07 p.m. CST

    *no = know

    by Emperor

  • May 18, 2012, 1:22 a.m. CST

    Regarding "Dark Energy"

    by Ken Young

    First- I'm only 30, a HS graduate, with some college education in astronomy. I do find this article intriguing and awesome!. Regarding Loki's reference to "Dark Energy", I for one interpreted it that as metaphorical, not metaphysical. Unless the concept of them being "one in the same" as Thor said in his first movie.

  • May 18, 2012, 3:32 a.m. CST


    by Dead_Kate_Moss

    Thanks for your hilarious post. Scientists will not have their sanity blown with your assertion that they are just scratching the surface. They already know this. Also atoms are quite divisible, you may remember it was quite a big deal when they were split, last century.

  • May 18, 2012, 3:35 a.m. CST


    by Dead_Kate_Moss

    Referring to my previous post, is there any scientific theory as to how Iron Man could combat or neutralize inertia within his suit when making those hard landings, etc? Perhaps it requires arc reactor tech we don't have?

  • May 18, 2012, 10:51 a.m. CST

    "can't" pull of a musical instrument scene...

    by chris

  • The first sign of idiocy, is failure to read and understand a post. I never even hinted at the notion that I was discussing conventional, physical matter, which is what scientists refer to as atoms. I stated that scientist have no clue as to what an atom really is, and I actually included that point in my post and even joked about the fact that splitting the "atom" was nothing of the sort. Why? Well, doofus, because the "atom" is in fact, not the atom. An idiot will always remain an idiot. They will always interpret what they want to interpret and jump at these (false) interpretations like a retarded jack in the box. It's the same with religious people. It's the same with Philosophers. And it's the same with Scientists. And you're not even a scientist. Just shut up, and stop raising my blood pressure, you clown.

  • May 19, 2012, 12:07 p.m. CST


    by Emperor

    LOL. Once again: I stated that what physicists call an atom, is not an atom. I didn't write "an atom is not an atom." Please read and comprehend. I addressed everything you wrote about previously. Let me do so again: What conventional scientists call "atom" obviously is not an actual atom, but simply an aggregate of matter, that they may primitively study via physical instruments. However, if the majority of the cosmos is not physical matter (I am not saying it's not matter, I am saying not PHYSICAL matter, so please don't get confused again), then how do scientists hope to explore much of it? Well, obviously it's a fruitless endeavor, for the most they will ever discover, is 1 percent of the content of the cosmos (if even that, as right now, not even a millionth of it is in their reach). Please learn to read and think properly, before posting. That conventional shit that is shoved down your throats (electrons, protons, atoms, neutrons, and even quarks and other sub-atomic particles), are nothing but immensely magnified aspects of the physical material realities apprehensible by man and his primitive technology. My point in my previous posts was: Even mankind at its height (say, in a million years from now, or so), can only hope to discover 1 percent of reality (i.e., that which they experience on a daily basis). Please do not waste any more of my time, with your inane questions. I am doing you (and others) a favor by occasionally coming here and giving you donkeys some pearls for you to play with (out of the seemingly infinite goodness of my heart). What you do with it (laugh at it, misinterpret it, ignore it, dismiss it, etc), is up to you and beyond my control or care. If you're not too bright, at least pretend to be bright, by just being quiet and (as previously mentioned) not raising my blood pressure unnecessarily, as, after all, I too am human.

  • May 19, 2012, 2:25 p.m. CST

    Wow, emperor. Ok, enlighten us: what is an atom?

    by Just_Some_Guy

    And, what cracks me up is that you "make fun" of the science that has gone into understanding atomic theory and type your concerns on the very technology that was developed from the results of that research.

  • May 19, 2012, 4:17 p.m. CST


    by Emperor

    Yes, I am sure you are sitting there, and "cracking up" as you say. I am cracking up with ya. Calling an orange a spoon doesn't it make it a spoon. Nor does denying the existence of the orange. Nor does claiming the spoon's existence to depend on the orange. Please think about these things. Think about them for a very long time. It's more wisdom given to you than everything you've assimilated thus far in your dull and uninsightful life. Try to ask yourself this question: Does sending a man to the moon, make the object (rocket) that carries the man anything more than a blunt instrument? What if we picked the rocket apart and into its basic, sub-planckian contents? What would you get? Pure Energy? Pure Matter? Pure nothing? All the above answers are wrong. Try to carry over this into your own thoughts and actions, before you jump to the wrong idea, that the ability to place a few components together, gives you even a remote understanding of that which you have just put together. If that seems to complicated for your feeble brain, go back to the basic questions: What is matter? What is energy? What is consciousness? I ask you to answer those three basic questions. I know you will not come close to answering a single one of those questions. Not even remotely close. Does that stop you from picking up a rock and throwing it? No. Does that make you all the wiser, as to what that rock is, what processes are going on to actuall have that rock move from 1 place to another? No. Once again, think about these things, and hopefully, you'll shut up forever. It's a shame I had to write all this. It would have been better if you could figure these basic things out yourself. And even if you couldn't, at least try to ask yourself some basic questions, without falling into the trap of thinking you understand anything at all. Here's another question for you: What is life? This is a basic, unambiguous question. Has science even managed to answer that? No, they have not. Yet they take pride in spending hours in their labs, taking apart pieces of "organic" or "inorganic" matter, thinking they have understood something, just because they can label objects (wrongly, might I add) and pick things apart with primitive instruments. How about I do the same, and just label you an idiot and slap you across the face with my own blunt instrument -- like my penis? That's probably closer to your level. Maybe that's the language you'll be more familiar with. You can then "crack up", as you catch a whiff of my fiercely aromatic scrotum.

  • May 20, 2012, 1:37 a.m. CST

    About the "spectrometers on the roof" line

    by Ye Not Guilty

    Banner did say putting the spectrometers out would only rule out a few places. He didn't seem to expect to actually find the tesseract using rooftop spectrometers. When the tesseract was finally detected, it looked like it was detected using a satellite.

  • May 21, 2012, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Dark Energy as a limited resource (and other apologies)

    by Dreamfasting

    If you think of dark energy as it really exists (something that only dominates at scales between galaxy clusters), then it makes sense that even if the Asgard could somehow collect and concentrate it in some meaningful way, it would still be a highly limited, highly valuable resource, possibly something inherited from an even more powerful civilization. Thus, rather than making them too powerful, I would argue that this technobabble nod still sets the appropriate tone. I like your observation about gamma rays - although obviously these are tha magical movie gamma rays which are probably code for something more magical that still holds the legacy name of something more mundane that people thought they were studying when they found them (similar to how we now know that gamma rays are actually a very different entity than alpha and beta rays they were originally lumped in with). If I was going to run with this technobabble, I would have the "magic light" of the Marvel universe be something that at first can be mistaken for ordinary light, but behaves differently in the hidden dimensions of the universe. I feel the helicarrier doesn't really work in the movie - being in the air doesn't do anything other than make it more vulnerable to stuff going wrong. Armour and flight always makes me think back to a WW2 movie scene about the crashed glider that had been upgraded with armour because it had an officer on board, which of course, made it completely useless as a flying machine and doomed those inside. I think we have to assume there is some magic anti-grav tech going on as well inside it that is reducing it's mass - perhaps negating the hull itself and making the propellers only need to overcome the weight of the people and equipment inside? Antielectrons being distinguished from positrons would fit with my comment above about magical gamma rays. A logical extension of this is that for all the matter we know about in real world physics, there are actually rare magical variations. So logically, magical irridium would be a rare varient of a rare substance - but something the humans of the Marvel universe have obviously begun to detect and collect.

  • May 24, 2012, 11:11 a.m. CST

    nuke timer

    by Tony

    I think that with Iron Man's close proximity to the nuke, that he was able to jam or put the nuke on hold,with his armor, untill he felt it was time to detonate it. It's like he had overridden the nukes controls to suit his own needs.

  • May 24, 2012, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Big Bang Theory as a religion...

    by supermans_red_underpants

    I don't know if it is or isn't, but I know I worship Penny! She is so hot I walk into every Cheesecake Factory I see hoping she will be there...

  • June 1, 2012, 10:02 p.m. CST


    by Just_Some_Guy

    Orci takes it in the face! ___emperor____ is a fucking moron! I win!