There are too many to count. I’ve long been annoyed by the scarecrow’s messed-up Pythagorean Theorem. In fact, I wonder if they did hat deliberately.
Martin Gardner devotes a chapter of his book Weird Water and Fuzzy Logic (actually, it’ a reprinted article of his) on science errors in pop culture.
Th 1950s monster films were a virtual bonanza of bad science. Some of them are priceless. In The Cape Canaveral Monsters four teenagers save the world from corpse-animating alien by building a hydrogen bomb from their plastic belts (I kid you ot). In Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers the aliens’ exoskeletons are made of “Solidified Electricity” (That’s as good as the 1960s Narvel Comics character Klaw, who’s made of “solidified sound”). Riders to the Stars, a Curt Siodmak-written epic starring (I think) Lee van Cleef, had all our rockets burnoing up when they tried to leave the atmosphere, so the Air Force outfits special planes with meteorite-catchers, so we an find out what keeps them from burning up (I’m confused – don’t meteorites burn up on the way dwn?) They finally catch one, nd ue the mystical substance o coat our rockets. Yay!
Some other notable errors:
In the James Bond film Diamonds ae Forever Howard Hughes-clone Willrd White (Jimmy Dean) says: The first laser beam was made using a diamond!" Well, no, it wasn’t. Ted Maiman used a synthetic ruby. The first laser beam I’m aware of that used a diamond was one built by Steven Rand in the 1980s. But the title is * Diamonds* are Forever, after all, and it’s a James Bond flick, so I’ll cut it some slack.
In The Flight of the hoenix they say that “Henson an Stringfellow built the first heavier-than-air flyer powered by rubber bands”. as I noted in a pice I wrote for Teemings, this is grossly in error. Henson had long been out of the project by the time a flyer had been built. Stringfellow never ued rubber bands – he built his own stea engine(!!) His flying machine – a onoplane – looked a lot more modern than he rght Brothers Flyer, which it predated by a century. It undenabl flew, but t was not a manned craft. And it woulda worked a lot better if he’d pt a tail on it (something obvious in hindsight – but Stringfellow knew that he had no lteral stability, and I’m still surprised he didn’t think of it.) You could argue that this is a historical error, but mixing up rubber bands and steam engins is a big tech error.
I really hate the film ** Hardware** on several levels, but the one that annoys me the most is when the heroine tries to hide from the heat-seeking robot by sitting in a refrigerator!! This would make her particularly visible, since she’s really hot and th background is really cold. It’s like trying to hide a lit candle by placing it in the mddle of a really dark room. Arnold Schwartzenegger didn’t do much better in Predator by covering himself with mud. I might work briefly, until the temperatue of the mud equilibrated, but once t heated up to body heat he’d be just as visible to the redator’s thermal sensing unit. At least the movie Tremors 2 got it straight – the hero doused his clothes with cold stuff, which hid him from the thermal-sensing baddies until it melted off.