The Day After Tomorrow

There is plenty of bad physics in this movie, enough that we could make an assignment of just trying to find as many examples as we can. However, there is a deeper issue in the movie – that of global warming. Clearly this is a controversial issue, at least among the public and politicians; scientists are mostly in agreement about the problem, although not necessarily about the potential impact or how to solve it. One of the problems seems to be that, although the bulk of the reliable scientific evidence points toward the reality of global warming and man’s role in it, there are occasionally studies released that appear to contradict this conclusion or scientists who are willing to speak out against this conclusion. However, none of these counter-claims has ever been able to produce as compelling and large a body of evidence against global warming as that in support of it. The naysayers rely on only a few small anecdotal pieces of evidence that seem to point the other way. For unscrupulous politicians and others who have vested interests in the status quo, this is usually all they need. People (particularly non-scientists) are willing to discard mountains of evidence that go against their opinions in favor of a much smaller body of evidence that support them. This is a very illogical way to make decisions, but it happens all the time.

Assignment: There are two parts to this week’s assignment:

1) Go search the web and find at least one piece of what you think is reliable evidence pertaining to the issue of global warming and discuss it.  I want you to provide a link to the evidence in your blog, or at least provide enough information that a reader can go find it.  Discuss why you think the evidence you found is important, and what you base your trust in that evidence on.

2) Analyze the scene from “The Day After Tomorrow” where the helicopters freeze solid and fall out of the sky. Let’s just look at the fuel. Assume each helicopter has 250 kg of fuel on board. Take the starting temperature of the fuel to be at 0 deg C. The freezing point for jet fuel is -47 deg C; its specific heat capacity as a liquid is 2440 J/(kg C); and its latent heat of fusion is 1.09 x 10^5 J/kg. How much heat would need to be removed from the fuel to freeze it solid?

Please post your blog by Sunday, 22 Oct and turn in your answer to #2 in class on Monday, 23 Oct.

This entry was posted in Movie reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *