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Fwd: Michael Crichton

  An interesting essay essay it is.
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Dan, since I unsubscribed from the Dino List, I can't
forward this citation to them. Maybe you could? This is from
the current issue of _Science_ magazine.


I thought this was an interesting speech that Crichton gave,
but I part company with him on what he says about scientific
accuracy. I certainly understand that sometimes plot
development and/or time restraints can affect what is
depicted, but sometimes it is simply not necessary. I'd like
to give three examples.

In Crichton's own _Jurassic Park_, the kids look at a
graphics image on a computer, and one of them says "Looks
like some kind of a UNIX operating system."

In the first _Alien_ movie, someone looks at a hole in the
floor (caused by dribbling fluids from the monster) and
declares that it "must have been caused by a molecular

In the book _Hunt For Red October_ Tom Clancy goes out of
his way to describe the physical appearance of the Cray-II
supercomputer in detail. He is not even close to the mark.
(This one is especially irksome to my wife, who was one of
the designers of the Cray-II.)

Boo-boos like this could all be avoided by checking with
someone knowledgeable to see if they made sense. For
example, the studio could call up one of the science
departments at Cal Tech (or even UCLA [dig]) and talk to
some graduate student. "Hey, kid, read through this script
to see if there is any big goofs in it, and we will give you
an ounce of dope." Would of worked for me.

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