Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday Preview: I Canna Change the Laws of Physics!

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You ever wanted a phaser? Sure, we all have. But if it came down to a gunfight, you'd be better off with a good old bullet-slinging pistol.

This is one of the surprising conclusions physics teacher Adam Weiner reaches in "I Canna Change the Laws of Physics!" Thrilling Wonder Stories, Volume 2, continues its Star Trek theme with this article, pitting the Franchise against its most implacable foes: the laws of physics. Yes, they may have given Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein guest spots on The Next Generation, but they just can't be bought.

Sir Isaac could tell you that, given artificial gravity that always points toward the floor, a photon torpedo hit should not fling you out of your seat. And Einstein would question the notion of bringing the Enterprise to a "full stop" in empty space, in the absence of an absolute frame of reference.

Adam Weiner also wrote the book Don't Try This at Home! The Physics of Hollywood Movies, and articles for Popular Science about Hollywood physics. But don't get the idea that Adam Weiner turns his nose up at Star Trek. He loves the Franchise—especially the original series—and confronts it, he says, "in the spirit of a good natured ribbing."

Illustrator Winston Engle is his own artist of last resort. He can turn out a tolerable image, provided he has lots and lots of photographic reference.

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