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Lost World physics (SPOILER)



Hello! What the hey, guess I'll throw my hat in the ring...

I thoroughly enjoyed the Lost World (frighteningly, twice already). One
other magisterium of science that I thought was depicted in a strange
fashion was physics. Nit-picky, I guess, but I think Isaac Newton wouldn't
be so amused. :-)

Top 10 Fun Physics Scenes:
--------------------------
1) Can a small sports utility vehicle keep a huge trailer from sliding off
a cliff? In the rain? While sliding out of control in the mud (i.e. low
friction = low traction)?

2) I don't think the Heisenberg (sp?) uncertainty principle was used
correctly by Dr. Malcolm. I didn't quite catch what he was saying, but I
think he was really talking about Schrodinger's cat or something of that
ilk. Aww heck, he had his tenure revoked, so he had paid his karmic dues
already.

3) Can a _Triceratops_, even at "ramming speed," (whatever that was) knock
a flaming jeep several score feet into the air? And survive the impact
without massive cerebral hemorrhaging? Uh huh.

4) If a ?6 ton fleshy _T. rex_ head butts/body checks a ?20 ton metal bus
at a slow jog, which one gives? I think a _T. rex_ would at least be
bruised, even if it was still wacked up on goofball. The bus just crumpled
like a Coke can.

5) That reminds me: How fast was the bull _T. rex_ moving when the great
white hunter (2nd one in 2 movies!) shot it? It had to fall down, right,
Dr. Farlow? I wonder how far it slid...  :-)

6) Was the rampway down from the Venture (or the dock?) strong enough to
hold a ?6 ton _T. rex_? Remember that the tyrannosaur was standing on just
one foot at least part of the time, so (F/A) would be way high. I dunno,
seemed a little iffy.

7) The incredible shrinking/growing _T. rex_ feet: normal sized footprints,
except when the tyrannosaur needs to stomp on a Marlboro man, in which case
the feet double/triple in size? Seemed that way to me anyway.

8) The spaghetti-tailed _Velociraptor_ (and _Tyrannosaurus_, and
_Stegosaurus_): Yuck. I think we have enough functional morphological
evidence to doubt that.

9) The indestructible S.S. Venture: Titanic, eat your heart out! This bad
boy has spunk!

10) AFAIK, none of the rexes ever broke into a run in the movie; more 12mph
joggers. Still looked pretty fast. Kind of bears out the futility of the
40mph 6-ton tyrannosaur concept. I liked that aspect of the Lost World (and
JP), so I'm putting it on the list. So there.


Still, a scoffingly good time was had by all UC biology grad students that
attended. Nit pick over. Yes, time for me to go find a life...

                        John R. Hutchinson
                 Department of Integrative Biology
                  3060 Valley Life Sciences Bldg.
                University of California - Berkeley
                     Berkeley, CA 94720 - 3140
                      Phone:  (510) 643-2109
                      Fax:    (510) 642-1822
         http://ucmp1.berkeley.edu/people/jrh/homepage.html