Another widespread inaccuracy in TV/Movies is the sniper bullets hitting the target (or missing the target) after you hear the "bang". The thing is, sniper rifles all fire bullets at super-sonic speeds (Mach 2.5 to 3.5) for range/accuracy reasons. In other words, from the point of view (or hearing) of the target, the bullet comes before the "bang". At farthest ranges, it could even take more than a second (or even two) before the sound reaches the target after the bullet already has.

Obviously, in movies there is sometimes an ambiguity as to where the "bang" is supposed to be heard from, whether it takes a point-of-view near the target or near the shooter, or neither in particular. But sometimes it's obviously impossible, like when the bodyguard hears the shot and immediately dives and saves the VIP he's guarding. Or, when you see the target reacting to the "bang" a fraction of a second before being hit by the bullet.

In real life, if you hear the shot, it's already too late.

I guess it might just be too weird for people who are conditioned for the "bang! you're dead" scenario, and would be weirded out by a "you're dead... bang!" situation.

...after you hear the "bang".

I saw one western that got this right. It starred either Clint Eastwood or Burt Lancaster.

Then there's the whole "get hit by a bullet and get thrown violently backward". Just doesn't happen. Even though the bullet has a high velocity, the kinetic energy imparted is not enough to seriously move a human body. If the bullet had enough energy to throw the target backwards it would have had the same effect on the shooter.

I was watching yet another show where the good guys break into a bad guy's room and the room is booby-trapped. One of them interrupts a laser and when they see the green spot on his clothes they high-tail it out just in the nick of time. Why is it a booby-trap always waits 5-10 seconds to detonate? And it always gives a warning. Wouldn't it make more sense to go boom immediately so that the booby-trap actually kills someone?

Then there's the whole "get hit by a bullet and get thrown violently backward".

What's worse with all this is that this movie myth is essentially the whole reason for the "third shooter" conspiracy about JFK's murder. The whole idea that he must have been shot from behind because his head rocked forward. But his head rocked forward because his brains were spilled backwards, just basic conservation of momentum.

There was a site at The Escapist called Reel Physics dedicated to confirming/debunking stuff like that in the movies. Sadly, they seem to have stopped updating.

There's also the laser beam booby trap where one person puts his leg in it.
And the parner says "don't move or it will blow".

The beam is already broken, what bomb guy waits until it's reestablished before detonatin.

Maybe a sadist who wants the victim to know that he is dead and there is nothing he can do about it.

Why do bombs always have visible timers on them, letting the cop know how many seconds he has to cut the red or green wire? If I were the mad bomber, I'd fake them out by having it go boom at 30 seconds remaining!

For that matter, if all the fancy bomb circuirty is set to blow a blasting cap that's pushing into the C4, why not just pull the blasing cap out of the C4?

Speaking of lasers, how do you see the beam of a laser, unless it's a really dusty atmosphere? They're not like light sabers,after all.

Made me think of watching Pink Floyd in concert AD. Good times.

Speaking of lasers, how do you see the beam of a laser

The last time he saw the green spot on his shirt.

And, yes, Laser Floyd was awesome.

What really annoys me especially with having a young < 1 child in the house is you are watching the show at a reasonable volume when suddenly the adverts come on at what sounds like twice the volume waking the sleeping baby....

Also, in terms of most sci-fi, why if you have a military space ship do you equip it with a brilliant white gleaming hull so it shows up beautifully? I don't see the various Navys throughout the world painting their ships a nice hi-vis pink for example! That is one of the things I like about the Battlestar Galatica reboot, the military ships were black / dark grey

Why did no one actually discover that Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote was actually not a nice lady writer but a deprived serial killer who routinely framed "suspects" for her crimes (how else could she be involved in so many murder cases in the sleepy village of Cabbot Cove,) come to thnk of it, how many people lived in Cabbot Cove? Per head of population it must have been murder capital of the US!

Adverts are intentionally loud based on the premise that some people get up during commercials and therefore they get loud so you can still hear them. It's annoying in my opinion.

Per head of population it must have been murder capital of the US!

I've always thought that amusing too :) Then she went off to teach college -- AFAIK she has no formal education other than probably high school. She was just an old widow who decided to write a book one day. Is that all the qualifications it takes to teach college nowdays???

Also, in terms of most sci-fi, why if you have a military space ship do you equip it with a brilliant white gleaming hull so it shows up beautifully?

Why would any colour show up in space? Between stars there is not a whole lot of light. An if you are close enough for a visual then your sensors would long ago have registered the ship anyway.

Why would any colour show up in space?

That's right. Unless you are within a solar system, spacecrafts should be essentially invisible regardless of the color of their hull. And if you are within a solar system, the color white (or even more reflective, like MLI (or "aluminium foil")) is what you need to thermally shield yourself from the intense and direct exposure to the sun. In that way, the color white actually makes sense for spacecrafts like the Enterprise or whatever else, because within a solar system you need it, and outside, it doesn't matter what color you are.

For example, there are many "planets" (as in, large bodies of rock) that float around in cideral space, outside of any solar system. These "planets" can only be theoretically discussed (in terms of total gravitational effect, etc.) because there is absolutely not way to observe them because they are too much "in the dark", and thus, no light reflects off them.

your sensors would long ago have registered the ship anyway.

That's right. Although ships wouldn't have any light to reflect, they do emit radiation, that is, heat radiation from being "warm". This is not visible light, but certainly visible for sensors designed for it. In space, most things are really really hot, like stars, super-novas, gas giants and even planets, which means that they emit radiation that is far more energetic, including visible light (which require a body-temperature around 5000 Kelvin). So, if you calibrate your sensors to detect really low-energy radiation, you could pick up things that are around "room temperature", like ships or habitable planets. And these bodies would be radiating like little stars in space, and again, regardless of the color of their "hull".

So, actually, a lot of the Star Trek stuff makes sense in that way, they are always talking about masking their radiation or particle emissions (which is the same thing, btw... ever heard of the dual nature of light?).

In fact, if you were to design a spaceship, you would probably want to minimize your radiation, in order to minimize your heat loss, and thus, the energy necessary to keep it warm and habitable. So, it's the radiation you have to minimize, not the reflection (also known as "color"). In fact, you have to minimize radiation and maximize reflection, generally-speaking.

I believe E. E. "Doc" Smith actually considered the possibility decades ago. In "First Lensman" he wrote

He flashed up to within one and a quarter detets, stopped, and checked again. Space was still empty. Then, after making a series of observations, he went inert and established an intrinsic velocity which, he hoped, would be close enough. He again shut off his atomics and started the sixteen-cylinder Diesel engine which would do its best to replace them.

The idea of shutting down the atomics was to minimize radiation. The ship was thermally shelded enough to minimize heat radiation.

Seems we tend to get most irrate at the things we know and therefore stand out most to us as being wrong. A friend of mine who had been a train driver used to get excptionally irrate at how TV/movie trains react to things on the line vis-a-vis

a) There is a person/car/helicopter on the line head of the train you are driving should you:

  1. Lean on the horn and keep going
  2. Apply the breaks and attempt to stop before you hit the obstacle

b) The train you are driving unfortunately has just hit a person/car/helicopter do you:

  1. Keep going or you will be late for your tea
  2. Stop call the emergancy services and start filling out the mile high stack of paper work that clearing up this mess is going to take

EDIT: Just to say that I actually had only read the first page before posting so someone may have already mentioned this in which case sorry :D

Then she went off to teach college -- AFAIK she has no formal education other than probably high school. She was just an old widow who decided to write a book one day.

For particular subjects/courses practical experience could be given equal weight as formal education for teaching college (eg. music performance, foreign languages, fine arts).

Why did no one actually discover that Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote was actually not a nice lady writer but a deprived serial killer who routinely framed "suspects" for her crimes.

Haha, I thought the same thing for Miss Marple - people must dread her coming to visit because it's always shortly followed by one of their close friends/family members being murdered.

Which is worse in movies/shows from the 80s: the teased hair or the synthesizer music.

Current Tv shows actually have around 40 to 43 minutes, but the credits, the opening, the next episode ad are included as well. So basically, there is only 38 to 39 minutes of the actual show. But i think this is enough because i don't want to watch too long tv show every episode. It will get boring in the long run.

Which is worse in movies/shows from the 80s: the teased hair or the synthesizer music.

what's bad about either?

Current Tv shows actually have around 40 to 43 minutes, but the credits, the opening, the next episode ad are included as well. So basically, there is only 38 to 39 minutes of the actual show.

And of that 10 minutes at least is commercial breaks, so the actual feature show only lasts about 25 minutes.

The 40-43 minutes is what is left after you take out the commercial breaks. You subtracted them twice to get your figure of 25 minutes. Of course, during the actual show they continuously pop up promos and other ads on the bottom of the screen.

Sometimes I count the number of commercials shown back-to-back -- The worst I've seen is 3 minutes of the show and 10 minutes commercials.

I've done the same. For the shows that are the worst offenders I just record and zip through the breaks. I don't understand the logic. For the dramas, they take the time to create a reality in which we get sucked into the lives of the characters, then they constantly remind us that it's all pretend by flashing popup ads and taking us to commercials every 5 minutes. And for some other shows, they take 30 seconds before the break to tell us what's coming up after the break, then after the break they either replay what was shown before the break or give us a recap. They can't possibly believe that the audience has the retention of a goldfish so the remaining possibility is that the creators of the show are so lacking in creativity that they have to pad 20 actual minutes of content out to 42 minutes of air time. I suppose if people are willing to watch then who can really blame them. If I could get paid twice as much for doing half the work I wouldn't be complaining.

You guys are just grumpy old men

Of course we are. We've put in the time and we've earned the right.