25 June 2014 | bdwilneralex
fun drama but extremely disappointing "science"
The plot lines are reasonably entertaining in this miniseries, but the overpowering ignorance of the "scientist" and "sci-fi author" contributors is, to me, extremely disappointing. I shall provide several examples that hail from but a single episode, to wit, the one that aired this week detailing the American attack on the alien Quincy computer.
1. We were told that lasers can be "converted" into electricity. While this is not strictly correct, I'll accept the terminological laxity as a generalization. However, the "scientist" contributor indicated that the key was recognizing and receiving the proper "frequency" of the laser. This is utter nonsense. Laser light is laser light because of its collimation, not because of its frequency (= color).
2. A sci-fi author told us that electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons disable systems by "overcharging electrons." I guess this gentleman never took junior high school science, where we learn that the charge on an electron is fixed at approximately 1.6 x 10^-19 Coulomb. It is the electromagnetic waves impressed into the conductors by the EMP that fries the circuits, which has zero to do with the charge on the electron.
3. The DoD's "Queen" computer displayed statistics indicating that an EMP of so many amperes was to be transmitted. Amperes are a measure of current. EMP would be measured in transmitted power (viz., watts) or energy (viz., joules); the current induced in this medium or that is a function of its electrical resistivity and magnetic permittivity.
4. Orbiting debris lines up along the "magnetic field lines" surrounding the earth, sweeping from north to south. This is utterly nonsensical, looking more like a high-school text's depiction of magnetic field lines. In actuality, the "field" (no such thing, by the way: it's merely a mathematical abstraction) is EVERYWHERE, and nothing would line up along particular north-south lines, which would be basically indistinguishable from neighboring (=1 cm to the east, or what-have-you) lines.
5. We learn that we can protect things from EMP by disconnecting antennas. Is that so? Antennas are irrelevant to the susceptibility of electronic systems to EMP.
I get so frustrated by this pseudoscience that it makes it almost painful to watch the show. Next, when these clowns get into "quantum entanglement" and describe "verifying experiments" that are themselves riddled with errors and oversights, I want to head for the hills . . .