[ExI] turing movie

spike spike66 at att.net
Wed Aug 6 17:36:06 UTC 2014



From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of John Clark
Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2014 9:41 AM
To: ExI chat list
Subject: Re: [ExI] turing movie


On Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 5:09 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:

> > Hollyweird…get(s) a gay character for free, no need to write one
in with the often-clumsy way moviemakers do…


>…Yes but I hope the moviemakers realize that the most interesting thing about Turing wasn't that he was gay, lots of people are gay, it's that he was a genius, and lots of people aren't geniuses…

Ja.  They could make only a passing reference to it, which would enhance the story instead of distract.  They could even inject a little humor in a gentle way.  Turing: I think I will go to Oxford and study Riemann geometries.  Rock Hudson and Jim Neighbors: We are going to Bletchley Park to study cryptography.  Alan, you should come with us.  Turing gazing wistfully at both: I think I will go to Bletchley and study cryptography…

>>… I was so pleasantly surprised to find that the moviemakers did an excellent job of translating that terrific book [Enders Game] into video


>…I agree the moviemakers did a very good job with Enders Game, but they were punished for their excellent work, the movie was not a box office success. They'll never do that again…


Oh so sad.  Such a good movie.



>>…even fixing some of Card's most vexing problems.  (Sorry Mr. Card, they did.  It was one of those very rare cases when an excellent book spawned an even better movie.)


>…There were a few times in the weightless war room were it seemed to me that Mr. Card might have been a little confused as to the difference between weight and mass, Is that what you were referring to?...

No.  He messed up conservation of angular momentum.  This was a critically important miss for this kind of scenario, having a shootout in weightlessness.  A spacecraft controls engineer could very well be called an angular momentum manager, because attitude control in space is all about control of angular momentum.  You can’t make that stuff.  You can hurl some of it away if you have propulsion mass, but once gone it stays gone.  Conservation of momentum is not just a helpful suggestion, it’s the law.

>… Of course the physics of the Ansible is also impossible but that's different; I think it was Isaac Asimov who said that it's OK for a SF writer to violate the laws of physics, but he must be aware that he's doing so…John K Clark

OK sure.  Many of us here read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time in our childhood perhaps.  There she had a story which was not hard sci-fi because that part of it really wasn’t the point of the book.  Making it hard sci-fi would take away from the story, even for us hardcore physics types.  So L’Engle intentionally injected witchcraft and such along with the whole wrinkle in the 4th dimension bit to tip us off that it wasn’t hard sci-fi.

I get the feeling Card specifically wanted to steer the reader away from hard sci-fi with a number of devices.  Making Ender and Bean 7 yrs old was one.  Kids that age just don’t have some of the mental circuitry ready to do some of the things they did, especially Bean.  Even extraordinary highly selected children will not be there by age 7.  The super-elite at 12 to 14, that is far more believable.  

In the arena, when two guys are approaching and grasp each other, there will be angular momentum left over.  Card had them hold their legs in such a way as to cancel the momentum.  Nature doesn’t do that.  In hard sci-fi, they would be shooting at moving targets.  When you think of it, that in itself could be one hell of a cool on-orbit game: 3D team style laser tag.  You would grab a really tall guy and hold him by one foot, and have him stretch out with hands over his head.  This would slow down your mutual rotation by increasing the moment of inertia as much as possible.  Then you can shoot more effectively.

In general, in the Space Opera format of nearly everything from our misspent youth, Star Trek and such, stars are far apart.  You can’t get much of anywhere in a five year mission unless you suspend the laws of physics.  So we look the other way as writers do violence to known physical concepts.  There’s no other way to do it: space is too big, light is too slow, lives are too short and the rocket equation is just too cruel.








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