Weirdly Interesting The 23 Most Idiotic Bad-Science Moments in Disaster Movies  

Robert Wabash
2.8k votes 473 voters 216.2k views 24 items Embed

List Rules Only disaster movie science -- geology, astronomy, meteorology, physics, etc.

Hollywood has no time for science! It's too slow/too fast, too dangerous/too benign, and mostly too complicated to be bothered with on the big screen. Disaster movies are the worst offenders of them all.

If you have your fave bad-science moments in any disaster film at all, add it! I want more! MORE! 
1 121 VOTES

Hubble Can Be Instantly Pointed at Whatever We Want to Look At

Hubble Can Be Instantly Pointe... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 23 Most Idiotic Bad-Science Moments in Disaster Movies
Photo: via Twitter
Quick, what's that? Is it a fleet of alien spaceships? Another damned rock we somehow missed? Let's use Hubble! 
Only one wee problem. You can't just move the joystick on your Astronomer's Special Keyboard to retrain that thing on something else. Usually it takes two weeks because they have to rewrite software in order to make that thing move. In an extreme emergency, however, (and I guess all the things that happen on this qualify), it could be moved in two DAYS. 
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2 143 VOTES

Suspension Bridges Ignore Physics

Suspension Bridges Ignore Phys... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 23 Most Idiotic Bad-Science Moments in Disaster Movies
Photo: via Wikimedia

Ha ha... sorry, this is a total science-nerd one. But seriously. 

Look at the image here. See the tower on the bridge after the magic microwaves "break through" the Earth's magnetic field (pssst...microwaves can already pass through the magnetic field)? The middle of the Golden Gate Bridge is destroyed and the suspension towers, for some reason, are bending inwards as if the cables in the middle were pushing the two towers apart. 

Fun game for at home: get a rope and two friends. Each of you stand on either side of the rope and pull like you are playing tug-of-war. This is how a suspension bridge works. Now, get another friend to cut the middle of the rope. Do you fall forward when that happens? Or backward? 
Ha ha, you fell down.
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3 42 VOTES

A Tsunami Can Come Towards a Disrupting Fault

A Tsunami Can Come Towards a D... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 23 Most Idiotic Bad-Science Moments in Disaster Movies
Photo: via Twitter

Look out! Here comes a tsunami! A gajillion feet high and all frothy and cresty and majestic as it sweeps towards the Golden Gate bridge in San Andreas! 

Hold the phones. Two things. One, the earthquake was on the San Andreas fault -- since that's kind of the whole point and name of the movie. This particular fault is a slip strike fault. It cannot cause the uplift or down-drop required to cause a tsunami even if the fault was out past the coast (and indeed, the San Andreas DOES run out past land by the Golden Gate bridge - but it still couldn't cause that massive wave).

Two, No way come "hell or high water" (haha) can a tsunami be that ginormous right off the continental shelf. It could only be as high as the bay is deep. AND, it wouldn't be in some showy surfer wave... it would be a giant increase in the water level --- imagine a monstrous swelling, not something you can imagine the Point Break dudes surfing. Plus, there would be a large displacement of the water in the bay, sucking it all out towards the incoming, rising swell.

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4 192 VOTES

You Can Outrun Cold Temperatures

You Can Outrun Cold Temperatur... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 23 Most Idiotic Bad-Science Moments in Disaster Movies
Photo: via Reddit

Say, for example, there's this magic super storm and the "eye" of it is sucking air out of the chilly troposphere. Well, supposedly if you were in that "eye," it would get really cold. Because the Troposphere reaches temps of 60 degrees F (OMG! I need a light sweater!) to -60 degrees F at the coldest. Apparently, that's like liquid nitrogen or something. Don't tell the folks who live in Alaska.

Even if 60 degrees were actually THAT cold, it turns out that molecules of air compress as they come down, which would mean they would warm adiabatically. The air molecules are closer together nearer to Earth because of this thing called "gravity." More densely populated molecules means more kinetic energy, which means warmth. So... there's that.

Sure, the magic science of the Day After Tomorrow tells us that "the air is descending too fast to warm up," but that's hilariously stupid. That's like saying the laws of physics are just a suggestion. A guideline, if you will. This is like saying that "speed" beats all natural laws. Kind of like how, if you run fast enough, you can outrun air.

P.S. A couple of wooden doors will stop that magic science air "cold" in its tracks. Haha... see what I did there?
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