Does E = mc² or mc³? The Science in Bond Films Thread



  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited September 2018 Posts: 12,835
    Another DARPA project.1-131231195453621.jpg
    Built in secret, the Sea Shadow was an
    experimental stealth ship – It operated from 1985
    until 2006 before being scrapped
    Feb 12, 2016 David Goran - Featured image

    Sea Shadow (IX-529) was an experimental stealth ship built by Lockheed for the United States Navy to determine how a low radar profile might be achieved and to test high stability hull configurations which have been used in oceanographic ships. Its purpose was to explore a variety of new technologies for surface ships, including ship control, structures, automation for reduced manning, seakeeping and signature control. However, the Sea Shadow never went into production and was little more than an (extremely cool looking) experiment.

    Sea Shadow was built in 1984 to examine the application of stealth technology on naval vessels. She was used in secret until a public debut in 1993. In addition, the ship was designed to test the use of automation to enable the reduction of crew size. The ship was created by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. Navy and Lockheed. Sea Shadow was developed at Lockheed’s Redwood City, California, facility, inside the Hughes Mining Barge (HMB-1), which functioned as a floating drydock during construction and testing.

    Sea Shadow sailing through Californian waters in March 1999.

    Sea Shadow had a SWATH [Small-waterplane-area twin hull] hull design. Below the water were submerged twin hulls, each with a propeller, aft stabilizer, and inboard hydrofoil. The portion of the ship above water was connected to the hulls via the two angled struts. The SWATH design helped the ship remain stable even in very rough water of up to sea state 6 (wave height of 18 feet (5.5 m) or “very rough” sea). The shape of the superstructure was sometimes compared to the casemate of the ironclad ram CSS Virginia of the American Civil War. Sea Shadow was built in Redwood City, California.

    The Small-waterplane-area twin hull at sail must have been quite a sight to see.

    The T-AGOS 19-and-23-class oceanographic ships have inherited the stabilizer and canard method to help perform their stability-sensitive surveillance missions.

    Small-waterplane-area twin hull had only 12 bunks aboard, one small microwave oven, a refrigerator and table. She was never intended to be mission capable and was never commissioned, although she is listed in the Naval Vessel Register. The ship was revealed to the public in 1993 and was housed at the San Diego Naval Station until September 2006, when she was relocated with the Hughes Mining Barge to the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet in Benicia, California. Until 2006, Sea Shadow and the HMB-1 were maintained and operated by Lockheed Martin for the U. S. Navy. The vessels were available for donation to a maritime museum.

    The Sea Shadow during Fleet Week, 2005, San Diego.

    In 2006, the US Navy tried to sell Sea Shadow to the highest bidder; after the initial offering met with a lack of interest, it was listed for dismantling sale on The U.S. government mandated that the buyer not sail the ship and is required to scrap the ship. The ship was finally sold in 2012. Sea Shadow was totally dismantled in 2012 by Bay Ship.

    Sea Shadow was the inspiration behind Elliot Carver’s stealth ship in the James Bond Film Tomorrow Never Dies, with the same appearance as Sea Shadow.
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,928
    Pity they didn't get it into a museum.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited September 2018 Posts: 12,835
    Moonraker: The Pre-Title Sequence Revisited
    September 2, 2015

    Moonraker: the pre-title sequence revisited

    (or Are Chris and Tom talking bollocks as usual?)

    The Laws of Physics are wonderful things. So are Bond movies. The sad thing is that they don’t always quite line up. And that’s especially true when our heroes, Agents Triple C and Triple T get all speculatory in their very best down the pub way. I’ve posted before about the interesting (and fractionally inaccurate) nuclear physics of Goldfinger’s putative cobalt-iodine “dirty bomb”, and there are of course some ‘quantum’ mechanical issues we could discuss (ho ho) – but today, let’s get back to some good old Galilean and Newtonian mechanics. Plus a bit of aerospace engineering.

    I’m going to deal with three items from just the pre-title sequence of Moonraker, discussed so eloquently by the boys this week.

    1) The Moonraker hijacking

    The Moonraker Shuttle is being transported on top of a Boeing 747 – presumably meant to be a 747-100, judging by the vertical, rectangular tail fins which exactly match the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) 905 built in 1970 and procured by NASA in 1974. On February 18th 1977, the Shuttle Enterprise flew “piggy back” on the SCA for the first time, and on August 12th of the same year, made its maiden flight (in fact, glide) from the SCA, landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

    Now, for reasons unknown, the Moonraker Shuttle was being transported across the Atlantic on an SCA. The massive weight of the orbiter meant that even the mighty Jumbo Jet could not have made the flight in one “hop”, and would have needed to land and refuel at least once. Where? Iceland would be the obvious choice (in which case the plummy RAF co-pilot Richard’s “we should pass over the English coast 15 minutes ahead of time, sir” would be silly), or perhaps the Azores – although the 1800m runway available at the airport there back in 1979 there would have made a landing tight to say the least. Tenerife is another possibility, which would mean an approach to the UK over the English as opposed to the Scottish coast. So far, so realistic. With a bit of suspension of disbelief. Which is always a good idea with Bond.

    Right – so the two dudes in Bodie-from-The Professionals style leather jackets pop out of their late 70s futuristic and groovy stowaway pods, and get to the Shuttle’s controls. I have to say I seriously doubt the Shuttle would have been pressurised during a transport (as opposed to test) flight – but never mind that.

    Fire her up, away we go….except the Shuttle would never have had any fuel on board when being transported, and only carried a tiny quantity on board, enough to use for the steering/retro rockets, when in orbit. The fuel burned through the main engines at lift-off was wholly supplied from the main external tank, in the form of hydrogen and oxygen. Even if we allow for a tiny bit of fuel left in the Moonraker’s fuel lines, it wouldn’t be enough to blast it off and fly it back to Drax’s lair.

    But would the Shuttle even fly if detached in mid-flight, as Tom was worried it might not? Yes, absolutely! That was the whole point of the early test flights in California. Both 747 and Shuttle would have forward speed of (say) 500mph – detach the Shuttle, and off she glides. But only glides, mind you….

    I won’t even start to speculate whether the exhaust from a fired up Shuttle might actually blow up a 747 in flight….

    2) The skydiving chase

    Once Jean-Pierre Castaldi (what a ‘tache, what a pair of shades) has helpfully shot the controls of the plane (why?), we are treated to a genuinely epic freefall chase scene. There is a tantalising account of the filming of the scene here – tantalising because you can’t read the whole article for free, and the relevant paper back issue of American PornCinematographer costs US$75!

    However….I was perturbed by Chris’s reasoning about Jaws catching up with 007 because he’s a bigger and heavier guy. Oh dear Chris. Back to the GCSE Physics lab for you. As Galileo may (or may not) have demonstrated experimentally, but correctly pointed out, objects of differing masses accelerate under gravity at the same rate. So a marble and a cannonball dropped from a plane will hit the ground at the same time allowing for zero air resistance. In fact, the cannonball might get there slightly later, because it offers more drag, since the terminal velocity of an object, as we all know, is given by this formula:


    Pinched from Wikipedia? Me? Never. The really cool thing is that a bowling ball and a feather (or a Roger and a Richard) will fall at the same rate in a vacuum – see here.

    The terminal velocity of a skydiver facing belly down with arms and legs splayed is about 122 mph. But by adopting a more streamlined shape (as both Bond and Jaws do at different times in the sequence) the skydiver may reach 200 mph. This is why Jaws catches up with Bond (who has been fannying about with Castaldi (deceased) and being very unaerodynamic, then chilling out and saying “phew, that was close”). Not because Jaws is a big fella. Although he is. Very big.With teeth and everything.

    3) Jaws’ survival

    A Serbian, Vesna Vulović, holds the world record for the highest survived fall without a parachute – 33,333ft. She was a stewardess on a Yugoslav Airways DC-9 which was blown up by a bomb (or just possibly shot down by Czechoslovak forces) on January 26th 1972. While Jaws did not fall from that high up, is it possible that a big top might have broken his fall sufficiently to allow survival?

    The Guinness Book of Records notes Stig Gunther’s 1998 104.5m jump onto an airbag – you can see it here. The commentary suggests he hit the bag at about 90mph – certainly he was not falling for long enough to approach terminal velocity, and my calculations suggest he may have been moving rather slower than suggested – especially given his Jaws-style arm flapping. Not very aerodynamic!

    However, Gunther also fell onto an inflated airbag, a little above atmospheric pressure – but probably not much above. Could Jaws have survived in real life? My gut says no – he would probably have ripped through the tent canvas, impaled himself on the internal scaffolding, and still have hit the floor very fast indeed. But then again, he is Jaws, and this is Bond!

    There’s a fun (if rather texty and 90s) page all about freefalling (and when it goes wrong) here. Some pretty rad stuff there. Some of it is even coolio.

    Thinking ahead (and I know Mission: Impossible and other franchises have taken up the Bond mantle of really ground-breaking stunts these days), why have we not seen any wingsuit action from Bond? These things were invented almost twenty years ago, and there have been jet/rocket powered models since 2010 at least. Maybe we’re just stuck in one of those gritty phases with Danny Boy, and we’ll have to wait for Bond 26 to see a bit of Rogerian fantasy return to the movies.

    Anyway, enough physics, enough boring nerdy debunking, enough small talk, enough chit chat. Agent Goldenvoice, signing off.

    P.S. one last physics mystery – how do Matthew Grice’s jogging pants stay up in his Moonraker fan video? Even Brian Cox couldn’t answer that one.

    – Simon Woolley


    Moonraker pre-title sequence

  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,928
    yep, good article. Always bothered me, the MR pre-titles. Especially the fuel - and blowing up 747 thing.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,835
    Polythelia. PolymastiaIt. Supernumerary nipple. Accessory nipple, third nipple. The superfluous papilla.
    Scientists Discover Scaramanga Gene
    Wednesday 31 August 2005

    Breakthrough Breast Cancer today announce that UK scientists have discovered that a gene– named after the James Bond villain Scaramanga – can trigger the development of breasts. This has important implications for breast cancer, as reported in the journal Genes and Development.

    During the development of an embryo, formation of organs is tightly controlled by specific genes. In the case of breasts, this process controls the development of two breasts in humans but this can go awry, resulting in fewer, extra or misplaced breasts or nipples. However, little has been known about this how this process is governed, until now.

    Today scientists at The Breakthrough Toby Robins Breast Cancer Research Centre, at The Institute of Cancer Research, report that a gene called Scaramanga – aptly named after the three-nippled villain from the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun – is involved in triggering breast development.

    “Identifying the Scaramanga gene is a real advance in our understanding of the early steps in breast formation. By learning more about this gene and the protein it produces, it will allow us to determine how normal breast development is initiated and, importantly, examine how this is connected with breast cancer,” said Professor Alan Ashworth, Director of The Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre.

    By studying abnormal breast development in the lab, scientists at The Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre identified the Scaramanga gene, which regulates the early stages of breast development, and influences the number and position of breasts. The realisation of the importance of their work came when they discovered that the Scaramanga gene produces a protein called NRG3 and that this provides a signal telling embryonic cells to become breast cells. They also showed that a synthetic form of NRG3 was able to initiate the formation of breast cells, confirming the protein’s involvement in this intricate process.

    Professor Ashworth continued: “Whilst proteins carefully control the development of breast cells in the embryo, inappropriate signals to breast cells during adulthood by these same molecules may cause breast cancer. We already believe that the protein produced by the Scaramanga gene is linked with breast cancer and the next steps are to study this in more detail.”

    Like the gene’s namesake, Scaramanga, 1 in 18 people have an extra nipple**, which can resemble freckles or moles. This is a normal occurrence and does not mean anything is wrong with the person but it’s important that this extra tissue is checked for abnormalities like all breast tissue.

    This is just one example of the groundbreaking research, funded by Breakthrough Breast Cancer’s generous supporters, taking place at The Breakthrough Toby Robins Breast Cancer Research Centre. The centre, Europe’s only facility dedicated to breast cancer research, has been producing pioneering research for just over five years. It is based in the Mary-Jean Mitchell Green Building at The Institute of Cancer Research.

    In less than five years, the centre has launched The Breakthrough Generations Study – the largest investigation ever into the causes of breast cancer, involving 100,000 women over 40 years – and has discovered a potential new targeted drug, called a PARP inhibitor, for women with a type of hereditary breast cancer, which is currently in clinical trials.
    - ends -

    For further information about this research project at the Breakthrough Toby Robins Breast Cancer Research Centre , or to interview Professor Ashworth, please contact:

    Breakthrough Breast Cancer
    Emma Sheppard, Media Relations Officer
    Tel: + 44 (0)20 7025 2432 / 0777 868 2001
    [email protected]
    Notes to Editors:
    * NRG3 stands for Neuregulin3.
    **Schmidt 1998 Supernumerary nipples: prevalence, size. Sex and side predilection – a prospective clinical study. Eur J Pediat 157: 821-3
    · The Scaramanga gene was named after Christopher Lee’s character, the world’s most expensive hitman, in The Man with the Golden Gun from 1974. Scaramanga was James Bond’s nemesis and was identifiable only by his third nipple.
    · The first work demonstrating the genetic control of breast development was observed in sheep by Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, back in 1898.
    · Breakthrough Breast Cancer is a charity committed to fighting breast cancer through research and education. More information can be found at our website or through the Breakthrough Information Line 08080 100 200.
    · Breakthrough needs to raise at least £10 million a year to fund our pioneering research and education work.
    · The Breakthrough Toby Robins Breast Cancer Research Centre is the UK’s first facility dedicated to breast cancer research into prevention and treatment, based in the Mary-Jean Mitchell Green Building at The Institute of Cancer Research. The centre is currently made up of seven teams focusing on: Gene Function (understanding more about the genes which cause breast cancer); Molecular and Cellular Biology (why some tumours spread while others don’t); Pathology (looking at normal breast tissues and seeing how they differ from breast cancer tissues); Novel Drug Targeting Team (finding new drugs which specifically target breast cancer genes, causing fewer side effects); Apoptosis (finding out why cancer cells do not die but keep multiplying); Molecular Endocrinology (looking at breast cancers that are hormone dependent) and Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics (studying the role of specific genes in predicting the course of the disease)
    · Breast cancer is now the commonest cancer in UK women, accounting for nearly 1 in 3 of all female cancers.
    · Nearly 41,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK and 35 women will die every day from this disease.
    · The Institute of Cancer Research is a centre of excellence with world leading scientists working on cutting edge projects. It was founded in 1909 to carry out research into the causes of cancer and to develop new strategies for its prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Website at:
    · The Institute works in a unique partnership with the Royal Marsden, forming the largest comprehensive cancer centre in Europe. This relationship enables close daily contact with those on the frontline in the fight against cancer - the clinicians, the carers and most importantly, the patients.

  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 23,347
    Oh very interesting! I can use that in class.
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,928
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited October 2018 Posts: 12,835
    Confirmed! Stylish, too.

    November 2014
    James Bond-Style Laser Watch Finally Invented


    Some inventors use nature for inspiration. Others use movies. And German laser enthusiast Patrick Priebe is definitely one of the latter. He’s already created an Iron Man-inspired missile launcher, X-Men style laser eye gear, and a wrist-mounted “webshooter” that’ll make you feel like Spider-Man, among many other cool gadgets. Now, he’s gone and made a James Bond-style laser watch in homage to the device made by Q in the iconic movie Never Say Never Again.

    Considering it packs a punch, the gadget itself isn’t that bulky. It features an LED watch module, a metal body, a carbon fiber face and a homemade 1500-milliwatt laser. Priebe is a DIY proponent, so he made all of the components himself, including the tiny little brass button that activates the laser. Altogether, it took him around 40-50 hours to make the gadget, which cost him about $200 in materials.

    Priebe gives us a demo of the watch’s capabilities in the YouTube video below, and it’s pretty impressive. Unfortunately, playing secret agent is draining on the small lithium-polymer battery, so you’ll only get around 5-10 minutes of laser use before it runs out of juice. Still, that should be enough to cut through your wrist ties and escape the baddies, should you ever find yourself in such a situation.

    Obviously, this gadget is not a toy, and it is dangerous, so unfortunately we can’t all be running around with lasers attached to our wrists. While he has no intention of mass-marketing the watch, like his other inventions, some lucky folks might be able to swindle a custom order through his website. He says if he were to make it for sale, it would probably be more than $300. And that would be $300 very well spent.

    [Via Gizmag, CNET, Laser Gadgets and The Independent]

    Never Say Never Again wristwatch
    GoldenEye wristwatch
    GoldenEye N64
    The World Is Not Enough game wristwatch
    From Russia With Love game wristwatch
    Nightfire PC game wristwatch
    Die Another Day wristwatch
    007 Legends wristwatch
    James Bond World of Espionage wristwatch

  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,928
    Hahaha this guy is fantastic!! Very, very cool!!!
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,835
    Actually mentioned earlier in this thread by @Gerard, I now realize.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,835

    Iridium is a chemical element with symbol Ir and atomic number 77. A very hard, brittle, silvery-white transition metal of the platinum group, iridium is the second-densest element (after osmium) with a density of 22.56 g/cm3 as defined by experimental X-ray crystallography. However at room temperature and standard atmospheric pressure, iridium has a density of 22.65 g/cm3, 0.04 g/cm3 higher than osmium measured the same way. It is the most corrosion-resistant metal, even at temperatures as high as 2000 °C. Although only certain molten salts and halogens are corrosive to solid iridium, finely divided iridium dust is much more reactive and can be flammable.
    Iridium was discovered in 1803 among insoluble impurities in natural platinum. Smithson Tennant, the primary discoverer, named iridium for the Greek goddess Iris, personification of the rainbow, because of the striking and diverse colors of its salts. Iridium is one of the rarest elements in Earth's crust, with annual production and consumption of only three tonnes. 191Ir and 193Ir are the only two naturally occurring isotopes of iridium, as well as the only stable isotopes; the latter is the more abundant of the two.

    The most important iridium compounds in use are the salts and acids it forms with chlorine, though iridium also forms a number of organometallic compounds used in industrial catalysis, and in research. Iridium metal is employed when high corrosion resistance at high temperatures is needed, as in high-performance spark plugs, crucibles for recrystallization of semiconductors at high temperatures, and electrodes for the production of chlorine in the chloralkali process. Iridium radioisotopes are used in some radioisotope thermoelectric generators.

    Iridium is found in meteorites in much higher abundance than in the Earth's crust. For this reason, the unusually high abundance of iridium in the clay layer at the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary gave rise to the Alvarez hypothesis that the impact of a massive extraterrestrial object caused the extinction of dinosaurs and many other species 66 million years ago. Similarly, an iridium anomaly in core samples from the Pacific Ocean suggested the Eltanin impact of about 2.5 million years ago.

    Reidite is a very rare mineral created when zircon undergoes high pressure and temperatures. It is commonly associated with meteorite impacts.

    On Earth, Reidite has been found only in six crater impacts: the Chesapeake Bay Crater in Virginia; Ries Crater in Germany; Xiuyan Crater in China; Woodleigh Crater in Western Australia; Rock Elm Crater in Wisconsin; and Dhala Crater in India.

    In 2015 an occurrence of reidite was reported from the Precambrian Stac Fada Member structure in North West Scotland, confirming its impact origin.

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,835
    6 Baffling Movie Moments With Really Logical Explanations
    By JM McNab · April 22, 2016

    Spectre -- How Does A Ring Magically Reveal The Master Plot Of Every Bond Movie?

    The Baffling Moment:

    A lot of people ragged on the latest James Bond flick, Spectre, when it came out last year, despite the fact that it features Bond staples such as awesome car chases, beautiful women, and a brassy theme song seemingly about Bond's secret penchant for tentacle porn.

    One especially confusing scene: Bond gives Q (MI6's resident nerd) a super-secret ring from the titular evil organization, Spectre. Q then analyzes the ring using his laptop on a mountaintop gondola, because internet cafes aren't cool-looking enough for this franchise.
    [Cracked: Correction: Q uses a laptop he borrowed from his 16-year-old nephew.]

    Amazingly, this one ring from a random enemy agent leads Q to discover that every villain from the Daniel Craig era was working for Spectre -- think of them as the general manager to every Bond villain from the past 10 years' Arby's employee.

    But putting the filmmakers' desperation to shoehorn Spectre into old movies' plots aside, just how in the hell did Q come to this conclusion? Since this is the only popular British film series that doesn't involve magic, how did a ring suddenly save the day?

    The Explanation:

    If you look closely, you can see that Q's computer is pulling up toxicology reports from autopsies while simultaneously scrolling through the periodic table of elements. Which is a thing Sony computers do, apparently.

    [Cracked: In a deleted scene, Bond looks at the camera and says, "Sony computers make me rock hard."]

    You can just barely make out that the toxicology report from their autopsies all contained the super-rare substance that the ring is made of, confirming they were all members of Spectre.

    [Cracked: "It says here Le Chiffre was freelancing for Cobra, Hydra, and BP."

    Director Sam Mendes clarified this point, but in a testament to just how confusing this scene truly is, even he fxxxx up the details, calling the rare substance "Ridium" -- even though you can plainly see (if you have access to a magnifying glass) that it's actually called "Reidite."

    He went on to say, "You can't tell that unless you freeze-frame on those graphics, but it does make sense." So there you have it. If the projectionists at your local movie theater didn't pause the screen and let you read that part, they really dropped the ball.
    18 Spectre Secrets Exclusively Revealed By Sam Mendes

    12. Q’s DNA wizardry with the Spectre ring can be explained. Honest.

    “Ini­tially, he’s analysing fin­ger­prints and DNA from fin­ger­prints, but then it’s tox­i­col­ogy re­ports. He’s analysing post-mortems of var­i­ous dead bod­ies, and find­ing traces of a very rare sub­stance - Rid­ium, I be­lieve it’s called - in all the corpses of peo­ple that Bond has been in­volved with over the last three. They’ve all worn the rings at some point. That is the thing that makes him con­vinced they’re all linked. You can’t tell that un­less you freeze-frame on those graph­ics, but it does make sense.

    What’s in­ter­est­ing is that one of the things you re­alise is it’s one of the things the au­di­ence al­ready knows is in the movie. The au­di­ence knows Ober­hauser is still alive so there’s no sense in spend­ing time watch­ing Q dis­cover that Ober­hauser is still alive. You just have to be­lieve that he knows how to do that, and that he’s found the so­lu­tion. I feel you see just enough to be­lieve it.”

  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,928
    Not bad, but a bit too easy and quick.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited November 2018 Posts: 12,835
    Sark wrote: »
    Bond's bullet deflecting .. watch in LALD. Mythbusters tried to recreate it, and there's just no way a reasonably sized magnet affects a bullet. Moreover, the strength of a magnetic field degrades very rapidly with the increase in distance, so attracting that shark bullet to his watch was almost certainly impossible too.

    A little more detail and agreement.

    The Physics of being Roger Moore

    How many of his Bond stunts and gadgets are plausible? Physicists look at five of them
    Written by Kabir Firaque | Published: May 29, 2017 12:23:22 am

    Sheer magnetism, James Bond assures his friend, one of a handful of unnamed Bond girls and played by Madeline Smith in Live and Let Die (1973). Fans could interpret the remark as an introduction: it was the first Bond sequence for Roger Moore, who died last week. It certainly is a one-liner with a double meaning. The friend has just remarked about Bond’s “delicate touch”, drawing the remark, while he is secretly using a magnetic wristwatch to unzip the back of her dress. The watch was the first of countless gadgets Moore would use, a Bond trademark that would flourish during his seven-film, 12-year stint — alongside the stunts, the double-meaning one-liners and the “magnetism” of a sensitive Bond replacing a brutal Sean Connery.

    But how much scientific credibility could one give any of these gadgets and stunts? A subject of intense discussion among Bond fans who are scientifically inclined, some of these stunts and gadgets pass their test while others don’t. Among such fans is Metin Tolan, a physicist at the Technical University of Dortmund, whose Geschüttelt, nicht gerührt: James Bond und die Physik looks at the physics behind the stunts. The book is “unfortunately available only in German”, Tolan tells The Indian Express in an email, in which he argues for or against a number of stunts with Moore as Bond.

    On Moore’s passing, a look at the physics involved in five of his iconic stunts and gadgets. The analysis of one stunt comes from a physicist’s article in Wired, the rest largely from Tolan. Tolan was in India in 2015, delivering lectures in Mumbai and Delhi on Bond and physics. And yes, he assures fellow Bond fans, it is possible for a magnetic wristwatch to work as a zipper opener.
    The magnetic watch- Live & Let Die, 1973
    The magnetic watch.

    It’s a specialised wristwatch, Roger Moore’s very first James Bond gadget, handed to 007 by Miss Moneypenny after it has come back from “repair” from Q, the gadget wizard. Bond demonstrates the watch’s specialty by using it to whisk the spoon away from a bemused M’s teacup. “By pulling out this button, sir,” Bond explains to his boss, “it tuns the watch into a hyper-intensified magnetic field, powerful enough to even deflect the path of a bullet — at long range, or so Q claims…”

    Can it work? Only if Bond has superhuman body resistance, it turns out.

    “The problem,” physicist Metin Tolan tells The Indian Express, “is that the spoon is approximately 1 m away. Therefore a huge current has to be put in the watch to generate a sufficiently high magnetic field at 1 m distance. It turns out that even the best possible watch needs a current of 5 amperes leading to a heating temperature of 250°C… Bond has to cope with this temperature somehow.”

    There’s no problem, however, with Bond using the watch to unzip his friend’s dress. “This is simple,” says Tolan, “since the distance is approximately 1 cm rather than 1 m. You need a simple battery (2 Volts, 100 mA) and a copper coil with 100 windings on an iron core. This could be placed inside a wristwatch.”

    Physicist tests the science of James Bond
    TNN | Apr 2, 2015, 03.21 AM IST
    Dr Tolan during his lecture on Wednesday. (TOI photo: Piyal Bhattacharjee)

    NEW DELHI: The Quartermaster of MI6 would love Dr Metin Tolan. For him, the most interesting part about James Bond is that Ian Fleming wrote him to weigh 76 kilograms (mass) and be 1.83 metres tall (height). An experimental physicist from the Technical University of Dortmund, Germany, Tolan has picked some of the more improbable stunts and gadgets from James Bond movies and explained the physics behind them—or, at least, exactly where they fall short of being plausible.
    For instance, he's found, that Bond has to be 20 times more "streamlined" than the airplane and capable of solving "coupled non-linear system of differential equations" in his head in three seconds while riding a motorcycle toward an aircraft falling off a precipice to catch that plane—mid-air—as he does in Golden Eye (1995).
    "But it's the British Secret Service. They can't tell us how they do it," he tells the crowd at The German House in Delhi where he delivered a lecture on the physics behind the Bond stunts, organized by the German Research Foundation, on Wednesday. Q would've been flattered. Tolan has a book on the subject; he also has tendency to look at entertainment—football, Star Trek—through the lens of physics and make it all look incredibly easy.

    While most viewers would simply regard the magnetic watch in Live and Let Die (Roger Moore, 1973) as cool (or lame, depending on the generation), Tolan was just excited to find that the spoon zings across to Roger Moore in exactly three seconds, thereby, satisfying Lenz's Law. "I'm sure it was obeyed by accident but physicists got excited."
    Tolan's derived the title of his lecture—"Shaken, Not Stirred"—from Bond's fastidious instructions on the preparation of his vodka martini. Tolan looked at it "on the molecular level". Shaking causes the large molecules responsible for taste rise to the top—to be taken in a single mouthful, pretty much the most Bond has time for—and the smaller ones for their effect sink to the bottom.

    Another stunt—this one from The Man with the Golden Gun (Moore, 1974)—depicting Bond making his car jump over a river and spinning once mid-air, is, apparently, easily achieved "if you prepare your car a little bit". The "little bit" of preparation involves slicing the car in half, rearranging the rigging inside to ensure all mass is evenly distributed around an axis and then strapping the driver in the centre with the steering wheel. For those who were dying to know, the speed at which the car has to take off from the ramp to reach the other bank is 64.4kmph. Seeing the reflection of the attacker in the eye of the Bond Girl in Goldfinger (1964) is impossible unless she's blind; she's patently not.
    Tolan clearly favours the pre-Daniel Craig movies as the first two didn't even feature a Q—the brain behind MI6's gizmos. When he did make an appearance in Skyfall (2012), it was in a new avatar. Played by Ben Whishaw, he's a young, geeky computer whiz with a disdain for "exploding pens"—a far cry from the graying, avuncular Qs of Desmond Llewelyn (for the longest time) and John Cleese.

  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,928
    Reminds me of the 'Hitchhiker's Guide TO The Galaxy' and why scientists were not interested in impropability.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,835
    The Real Life Science Behind James Bond’s
    Ruth Waxman
    November 1, 2012

    In anticipation of the upcoming release of 'Skyfall,' the 23rd installment of the James Bond franchise, we've explored five of our favorite Bond gadgets and put them to the test of reality. It's every guy's (and probably girl's) dream to have their own real life Q and his accompanying gadgets. But how many of these are accurate portrayals of reality and how many are far-flung fantasies that belong on the big screen?

    3. 'Die Another Day,' 2002 - Glass-shattering Ring
    In 'Die Another Day,' Q gives Bond a ring that emits an ultra-high-frequency pulse that can shatter any piece of glass, even the bulletproof kind. During the movie, Bond uses it to escape from Gustav and to break the front window of his Aston Martin.

    While we've all heard of the opera singers who sing so high they "shatter glass," shattering glass is not about how high you can go -- it's about finding the specific frequency of sound (the resonance frequency) which will cause all the molecules in the material to vibrate. This vibration is what shatters the material.

    According to popular astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, "...brittle things can break if you find the resonant frequency. This is the frequency that the material wants to vibrate at — if you do that and then up the volume level, you can shatter it. And that's all real. But the fact that you can carry it on your ring — that's a little harder to take."

    There we have it; the theory behind this gadget is sound, but as usual, Q takes it a step too far out of reality's grasp.
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,928
    Well, he did use a 'standard issued ringfinger', I guess that one is real ;-)
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,835
    Bond gadgets: Never say they will never work
    Daily news | 28 May 2008 | By Duncan Graham-Rowe
    Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, was born 100 years ago today. But while his hero’s Cold War concerns may have dated, some of Bond’s gadgets have not.

    Some movies and stories used existing technologies such as jetpacks (Dr No), autogyros (You Only Live Twice) and GPS-capable phones (Casino Royale). But many of Bond’s toys were way ahead of their time – and only now are we beginning to catch up.
    Fake fingerprints (Diamonds Are Forever)

    In what has become known as the “Gummi Bear Attack“, Japanese cryptographer Tsutomu Matsumoto showed in 2002 that a person’s fingerprints could indeed be copied and used to create fake ones with relative ease, as suggested in Diamonds Are Forever.

    Using gelatine as found in chewy sweets like gummi bears, he showed that a latent print could be lifted from a glass and used to fool 80 per cent of fingerprint scanners tested.
    Phone-controlled car (Tomorrow Never Dies)

    In 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies, Bond becomes his own backseat driver, steering his car using a touchpad on a phone showing the view out of the front window on its display.

    Mobile phones with accelerometers can be used to control toy cars using free software dubbed ShakerRacer. The user holds the phone like a steering wheel and tilts it in the direction they want the car to drive (see video). It’s an approach that looks easier to use than that of Bond’s gadget-master, Q, who had 007 sliding his finger over a touch pad.

    Military robots controlled using the Nintendo Wii-mote were recently demonstrated by US researchers, an idea worthy of Q. They say it makes controlling a robot used to investigate unexploded bombs or mines easier, and plan to use Apple’s iPhone to display video from Wii-controlled robots.

    Micro-aqualung (Thunderball and Die Another Day)

    One of the few Bond gadgets to make a repeat appearance, the cigar-sized mini-aqualung provided enough air for four action-packed minutes. But compressing that much air into such a small space has so far defeated engineers. The smallest emergency air supplies last about a minute, and are the size of a fist.

    An alternative is to build artificial gills that let a diver “breathe” underwater indefinitely by extracting oxygen from water. But size has been a problem. Gills demonstrated on TV by Japanese firm Fuji in the 1980s could supply a diver for 30 minutes, but were the size of a coffin.

    Techniques like using artificial blood to carry extracted oxygen inside an artificial gill modelled more closely on that of a fish have promised more portable sizes since. But their designs have struggled to leave the drawing board or lab bench. In fact, artificial gills will probably make their first dives aboard autonomous robot submarines, supplying oxygen to fuel cells on long oceanographic or military missions.

    Invisible car (Die Another Day)

    We are told that Bond’s car vanishes in Die Another Day thanks to cameras recording light from one side of the vehicle and projectors recreating it on the other.

    That’s a roundabout way to achieve something that a remarkable new class of materials can do in real life, without electronics or computers. Metamaterials can be designed to smoothly steer light around an object, making it appear as if it weren’t there.

    Although the best invisibility cloaks so far have been mainly two-dimensional, they have been made to hide objects from visible light, and recent work hints that 3D invisibility cloaks are on the way.

    Voice changer (Diamonds Are Forever)

    Bond uses a gadget with a cassette tape inside to change his voice, sounding on the phone to the movie’s villain like one of his fellow bad guys.

    It’s a trick you can now employ yourself using free or cheap software, which typically has presets to make you sound male, female, like a teenager or even like a small infant. With some experimentation you can tune your voice to sound like a specific person.

    Far from being used purely for pranks, some are pitched at female gamers wishing to sound like men to avoid drawing attention to themselves in male-dominated online games.

    Ski jacket emergency-pod (The World Is Not Enough)

    In case of avalanche pull cord. Bond’s ingenious ski-jacket encases him in a protective air-filled sphere, reminiscent of those used in the extreme sport zorbing.

    While a gadget like that has yet to be realised, skiers and snowboarders can buy something similar. A backpack releases two air-filled bags that are designed to increase a person’s buoyancy in a fast-moving stream of snow.

    Snooper robot (A View To A Kill)

    Chihuahua-sized wheeled robot Snooper was supposed to be a discreet eavesdropper but looked less than inconspicuous.

    Real spying robots are largely for flying surveillance. Among the most cutting edge examples are morphing craft in the image of birds, planned lightweight flying spies made from paper and even reprogrammed “cyborg” insects controlled electronically (with video).

    Non-experts can now buy surveillance robots of their own. Nuvo, Spykee and Sentinel are all ground-based robots that act as roving security cameras. The user can monitor their home when they are away, and speak through the robot to anyone there.

    Biometric security in movies
    Aug 06 2015
    While biometric security is becoming increasingly commonplace as a way to secure and protect digital assets, the technology has been featured in Hollywood movies for some time. All types of biometric security – iris, fingerprint, hand print, facial and DNA – can be found in popular films, which speaks to the technology's appeal in general. However, while biometrics have been of interest to movie producers and audiences for years, many of the instances in which they appear in films do not reflect an accurate portrayal of what the technology is like. Accordingly, here are 4 examples of biometric security in films that would not exist in the real world:

    "Creating a fake fingerprint is no easy feat."
    1. James Bond
    In spy films, such as those in the James Bond series, fingerprint scanners appear quite frequently. It is important to point out that this is the most common type of biometric security in the world today. However, in "Diamonds Are Forever," the technology is not portrayed accurately. James Bond, played by Sean Connery, is able to get past Bond girl Tiffany Case's fingerprint scanner, using a fake fingerprint. As SRI International pointed out, in real life, any smudges or grease on the fake print could have easily caused the authentication to fail. In intensive, combat situations, such as those Bond is known to get into, cuts or blood on the agent's fingers could be very easily picked up by the scanner. In 2015, scanners are increasingly sophisticated and do not succumb to such crude infiltration attempts. Also, creating a fake fingerprint is no easy feat. It would probably require the use of a lab, chemicals, materials and countless attempts to bypass the scanner. Nice try, Mr. Bond, but you'll have to try harder next time!
    2. Demolition Man
    In this movie starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes, Simon Phoenix, a criminal mastermind, is able to escape from prison using the eviscerated eye of the warden. Meta Pancakes pointed out, however, that a disembodied eye would not get past an iris scan. Using a dead man's eye would fail because today's iris scans have implemented a "liveness detector" that would sense the eye is not reacting to the scan. A living eye has pupils that dilate and respond to light. The eye used in this movie would certainly fail to authenticate access, or in this case, enable escape from prison.

    3. Minority Report
    Another movie where the protagonist tries to bypass an iris scan is "Minority Report." In the film, Tom Cruise plays a disgraced policeman on the run who has eye transplants to conceal his identity. The officer also keeps his old eyes with him so he can log into the police network when needed. Obviously, in the real world, neither of these situations could possibly happen.

    4. Gattaca
    In this science fiction film, the protagonist, played by Ethan Hawke, cheats a fingerprint and DNA scan by concealing a drop of blood beneath a fake fingerprint, noted Meta Pancakes. This is not plausible for two reasons. Firstly, while DNA detection holds potential for use in the future, there is already much debate surrounding the details. For example, with regard to DNA testing, the questions arise: Who will own the DNA information? Does the law decree that DNA information belongs to citizens or technology companies? In other words, today, there are no real-life applications for DNA-based biometric security. The second reason this is not realistic is because it uses two forms of biometric data in one test. While biometrics are being used more widely today, devices don't often offer two tests simultaneously.

    As previously mentioned, the most popular form of biometric security is fingerprint. Until such a time when technology catches up with Hollywood, biometric fingerprint scans will be the way to go.

    Just a Fingerprint Away: The Risks of Fingerprint Scanning
    Posted on April 11, 2017

    By Michael Goodyear

    The fingerprint scanner is perhaps one of the best known security features in the world. In spy movies, no safe or villain’s lair is complete with one. But they aren’t foolproof: in “Diamonds Are Forever,” James Bond uses a fake fingerprint to get past such a scanner. In the nearly 50 years since that movie was released, fingerprint scanners have become increasingly ubiquitous and as a common protection mechanism for smartphones, they are the sealed gate to your data. But that gate is not as secure as we might think, and it no longer takes a legendary spy like 007 to crack it open.

    Full Blog here:

    Diamonds Are Forever

    Tomorrow Never Dies

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,835
    Quantum of culture
    01 Sep 2008 Robert P Crease

    Terminology from quantum theory shows up frequently in popular culture — from art and films to sculpture and poetry. Robert P Crease asks for your favourite examples

    Emergent form
    Its name is Quantum Cloud. Visitors to London cannot miss it when visiting the park next to the Millennium Dome or taking a cruise along the Thames. It rises 30 m above a platform on the banks of the river, and from a distance looks like a huge pile of steel wool. As you draw closer, you can make out the hazy, ghost-like shape of a human being in its centre. It is a sculpture, by the British artist Antony Gormley, made from steel rods about a metre and a half long that are attached to each other in seemingly haphazard ways. Framed by the habitually grey London sky, it does indeed look cloud-like. But “quantum”?

    The word quantum has a familiar and well-documented scientific history. Max Planck introduced it into modern discourse in 1900 to describe how light is absorbed and emitted by black bodies. Such bodies seemed to do so only at specific energies equal to multiples of the product of a particular frequency and a number called h, which he called a quantum, the Latin for “how much”. Planck and others assumed that this odd, non-Newtonian idea would soon be replaced by a better explanation of the behaviour of light.

    No such luck. Instead, quantum’s presence in science grew. Einstein showed that light acted as if it were “grainy”, while Bohr incorporated the quantum into his account of how atomic electrons made unpredictable leaps from one state to another. The quantum began cropping up in different areas of physics, then in chemistry and other sciences. A fully fleshed out theory, called quantum mechanics, was developed by 1927.

    Less familiar and well documented, though, is quantum’s cultural history. Soon after 1927 the word, and affiliated terms such as “complementarity” and “uncertainty principle”, began appearing in academic disciplines outside the sciences. Even the founders of quantum mechanics, including Bohr and Heisenberg, applied such terms to justice, free will and love. Quantum has made unpredictable leaps to unexpected places ever since. The next James Bond film, for example, is to be called Quantum of Solace.

    The quantum moment
    The dean of my university at Stony Brook, James Staros, who is a scientist, sometimes refers to his faculty as being “quantized”. When budgets need to be cut, for example, he points out that it is impossible to reduce one department by, say, 0.79 positions and another by 1.21 positions, even if those numbers are perfectly proportionate to the cut. As Staros explains, “it has to be one from each, even if the departments are somewhat different in size”. This is a precise and effective rhetorical use of quantum language.
    And when I asked Gormley about his sculpture’s name, he gave me a cogent response. “The development of quantum mechanics,” he told me, “represents the shift in science from the study of even more discrete entities to increasing attention to flow and field phenomena in which emergent forms are seen as evolving out of their contexts. Quantum Cloud evokes this.”

    While both Gormley and Staros deploy quantum language in a fairly precise fashion, on other occasions it is badly abused, bringing to mind James Clerk Maxwell’s observation that “the most absurd opinions may become current, provided they are expressed in language, the sound of which recalls some well-known scientific phrase”. The word quantum, for instance, appears regularly in pseudoscience, self-help and quack-medicine discourse.

    Yet if we think scientifically rather than judgmentally, all uses of quantum language – whether precise or pretentious, technically correct or ill-informed and designed to impress – are interesting. After all, each is motivated by some conception of the meaning of the quantum. But what patterns can we find in those conceptions? And what do these patterns say about culture and how it understands science?

    My colleague Fred Goldhaber and I have raised these questions in a course called “The quantum moment”, which we have given several times to students at Stony Brook. We stole the name from Mordecai Feingold’s book The Newtonian Moment: Isaac Newton and the Making of Modern Culture, which sprang from an exhibition at the New York Public Library in 2004–5 that examined Newton’s impact on the culture of the late 17th and early 18th century. In a similar vein,
    Goldhaber and I were keen to gauge what impact the word quantum has had on today’s culture.

    We discovered that the answer is complicated, for quantum has spread across the world in various ways.

    Pattern #1: irreducibly statistical processes
    One pattern involves applying quantum terms to irreducibly statistical processes.
    For about a quarter of a century, physicists have applied mathematical constructs developed for quantum phenomena to economics. For example, in his book Quantum Finance: Path Integrals and Hamiltonians for Options and Interest Rates, physicist Belal Baaquie of the National University of Singapore notes that he is not applying quantum theory itself to finance. “Instead,” he writes, “the term ‘quantum’ refers to the abstract mathematical constructs of quantum theory that include probability theory, state space, operators, Hamiltonians, commutation equations, Lagrangians, path integrals, quantized fields, bosons, fermions, and so on. All these theoretical structures find natural and useful applications in finance.” The word quantum here refers not to quantization as such, but to the application of its statistical methods to stochastic processes such as interest rates and stock-price fluctuations.
    For something completely different, consider Quantum Sheep, the brainchild of Valerie Laws, a writer who lives in the north of England. In 2002 she spray-painted words onto the fleeces of sheep from a nearby farm. As the flock milled about, the words rearranged and a new “poem” was created every time the sheep came to rest. A spokesperson for Northern Arts, which provided £2000 of funding for the project, said that the result was “an exciting fusion of poetry and quantum physics”. Here is one of the resulting “Haik-Ewes”:

    Clouds graze the sky
    Below, sheep drift gentle
    Over fields, soft mirrors
    Warm white snow

    Talking to the BBC at the time, Laws explained why she felt the project was worth pursuing. “Randomness and uncertainty is at the centre of how the universe is put together, and is quite difficult for us as humans who rely on order,” she said. “So I decided to explore randomness and some of the principles of quantum mechanics, through poetry, using the medium of sheep.”

    There is, of course, a world of difference between calculating interest rates and setting a herd of painted sheep loose in the countryside. But both of these cases were motivated by the role of randomness in quantum theory: the former case involves an actual use of its statistical methods, while the latter invokes quantum as a symbol of irreducibly random processes.
    Now ewe see it?

    Pattern #2: complementary beer
    Quantum Man is a sculpture by Julian Voss-Andreae currently installed in the City of Moses Lake, Washington (Physics World September 2006 p7; print version only). Made of steel sheets 2.5 m high that lie parallel to each other, the sculpture changes in form as you walk around it. From one perspective it reveals the outline of a human being, while from another the human form disappears entirely.

    The sculpture, says the artist, is “a metaphor for the counterintuitive world of quantum physics”. Voss-Andreae should know. He studied physics as an undergraduate in Berlin and Edinburgh, and did graduate research in Vienna with Anton Zeilinger on the double-slit experiments involving the quantum interference of carbon-60 buckyball molecules (Physics World November 2006 p44; print version only).

    The metaphor is thus grounded in complementarity, Bohr’s name for the fact that, in the [n]quantum world[/b], two features of a description can be necessary but mutually exclusive — a particle having a definite position and momentum being the standard example. However, Bohr and several other leading physicists of the time felt that complementarity could also be extended to areas other than physics, an idea that has often been ridiculed. Yet after reviewing some of Bohr’s applications of complementarity to the social world, one of Bohr’s biographers, the hard-nosed physicist Abraham Pais, found that while such applications were clearly metaphorical, they often helped him think “outside the box”. Pais declared that “Personally, I have found the complementary way of thinking liberating.”

    I do not know how liberating Pais would have found the psychotherapist Lawrence LeShan’s more fanciful defence of mysticism in his book The Medium, the Mystic and the Physicist. Mystics seek the comprehension of a different view of reality, LeShan wrote, before adding that “I use the term ‘comprehension’ here to indicate an emotional as well as an intellectual understanding of and participation in this view…In physics this is called the principle of complementarity. It states that for the fullest understanding of some phenomena we must approach them from two different viewpoints. Each viewpoint by itself tells only half the truth.”
    Different perspectives

    And while quantum terminology can be well grounded or fanciful, it can also be simply tongue-in-cheek. Take, for example, the Quantum Beer Theory website ( created by Kyle Wohlmut, a translator and dedicated beer fanatic who lives in the Netherlands. Wohlmut, who last studied physics in high school, explains that underlying his theory is the fact that “the essential experience of beer flavour arises from conflict”. In each beer, he claims, two sides of taste — hops and malt — struggle for supremacy. “These two sides wage a war to dominate your palate,” he says, “and the best beers happen when the two sides become entrenched in defensible positions, protracting the battle into epic proportions.”
    When I asked why Wohlmut uses the word “quantum”, he explained to me that it was to underscore the “level of seriousness” that he feels ought to be attached to the analysis of beer. Another reason is that, despite his best efforts, he has found it almost impossible to make home-brewed beer consistent in taste and quality – forcing him to conclude that some mysterious, unknown factors in beer production must be operating at the quantum scale.

    I am sure that Pais, who liked a good laugh, would drink to that.

    Pattern #3: by leaps and Bonds
    Another interesting use of the word quantum appears in Ian Fleming’s story "Quantum of Solace", which first appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine in 1959 and was reprinted in his collection For Your Eyes Only. It is not a spy thriller, but a serious short story that he wrote while his marriage was failing. The main character, the governor of Nassau, tells Bond late one night in the course of a heart-wrenching story that human relationships can survive even the worst disasters if both partners retain at least a certain amount of humanity. When partners stop caring, and “the quantum of solace stands at zero”, then the pain can not only end the relationship, but also cause the partners to destroy each other.

    Fleming’s use of the word “quantum” is close to Planck’s and to the original Latin: it means a finite amount of some quantity. However, the upcoming movie is said to share nothing but the title with the original story, which begs the question: exactly what does the word refer to in the title of the film? I guess we will all have to wait until November when the film is officially released.

    The critical point
    These are only three of the patterns that Goldhaber and I found. There are others, involving such things as acausality, nonlocality and cats, but there must be more besides. So what manifestations of quantum language have you spotted in popular culture? What patterns do these reveal? And what do these patterns reveal about the social world? Let me know your thoughts and I shall devote a future column to the responses.

    What are your favourite examples of quantum , and its affiliated ideas such as complementarity and the uncertainty principle, in popular culture? What patterns do these reveal? E-mail your contributions to [email protected].
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,835
    Silenciadores, bombas atómicas y armas bacteriológicas

    La ciencia en las películas de James Bond
    Javier Granda - 05/11/2015 16:40 - Actualizado a 06/11/2015 08:23

    James Bond está de vuelta, en su 26ª misión. La fértil imaginación de Ian Fleming, que propició 12 novelas y nueve relatos, sumada a las ideas de numerosos guionistas, han sentado las bases de la franquicia más exitosa de la historia del cine, que acaba de ser reeditada en DVD. Y muchos de los cambios que ha experimentado la ciencia, ya sean reales, imaginados o intuidos, han quedado reflejados en las películas del agente secreto más famoso.

    La primera película de la serie, 007 contra el Dr. No [007 Against Dr. No], se estrenó en Londres en octubre de 1962, justo durante la crisis de los misiles de Cuba. Y, en coincidencia, el peligro nuclear monopoliza la trama, con aspectos muy realistas. Como explica Manuel Lozano Leyva, catedrático de Física Atómica, Molecular y Nuclear en la Facultad de Física de la Universidad de Sevilla, los personajes que interpretan Sean Connery y Ursula Andress “sufren radiaciones que rondan los 100 miliSievert, por lo que están a punto de entrar en la considerada zona roja. Las consecuencias empiezan a ser letales a partir de 2000 o 3000 mSv, o sea, estando expuesto continuadamente más de un día a las dosis que reflejan la película”. El método de descontaminación, mediante chorros de espuma, también es verídico ya que, como detalla, “si no se ha ingerido ni inhalado el isótopo radiactivo, la medida inmediata para descontaminarse es una ducha a fondo con productos adecuados e incluso con solo agua si no hay más remedio”.

    Otra imagen icónica –y que ya aparece en la primera secuencia de la primera película y se repite en toda la serie– son las pistolas dotadas de silenciador, un elemento que comenzó a usarse en 1908 ( Sin embargo, Ángel Grau y José Monroy, instructores de tiro de la Policía, desmienten que el sonido de las armas silenciadas que ha popularizado el cine.

    “En realidad, una pistola con silenciador suena como cuando agarras una lata vacía de refresco y le das en el centro con una cuchara. Y el sonido jamás se escucha fuera de la habitación, pero debe tenerse en cuenta que debe usar munición subsónica, que contiene menos pólvora”, apuntan por correo electrónico.

    Adelantarse al futuro [Advance to the Future]
    Las cinco primeras películas protagonizadas por Connery establecen el canon: escenarios espectaculares, vehículos dotados de gadgets y dispositivos novedosos, villanos que usan venenos para eliminar el espía y tienen planes para gobernar el mundo, chicas Bond… Al repasar las cintas, sorprende ver la anticipación en elementos como la mochila voladora que 007 usa en Operación Trueno (1965) [Operation Thunder] y que se popularizaría gracias a su utilización en la ceremonia de apertura en los Juegos Olímpicos de Los Ángeles de 1984. O los coches dotados de tecnología de localización y la telefonía móvil, que hoy ha proliferado.

    Curiosamente, tal y como se explica en los extras de Operación Trueno, uno de los gadgets con menos visos de credibilidad –un pequeño respirador nasal que supuestamente daba cuatro minutos de oxígeno bajo el agua– fue considerado real por los servicios secretos de algunos países, que estuvieron buscando los planos británicos para poder fabricarlos.

    La gran pantalla contribuyó a convertir al cianuro de hidrógeno o ácido cianhídrico como veneno de referencia del género cinematográfico de espías. Como indica el doctor Roberto Pelta, alergólogo y autor del libro El veneno en la historia, apenas 50 milígramos de cianuro son mortales, aunque la dosis recomendada para una muerte rápida es de 1-1,5 gramos. “Provoca una parálisis del centro respiratorio y un fallo cardiovascular con arritmias y compromiso de la circulación coronaria, que causa infarto agudo de miocardio. Además, el ácido cianhídrico que se desprende del cianuro no origina vómitos, por lo que resulta bastante limpio como agente tóxico”, añade.

    Morir recubierta de oro [Die Covered in Gold]
    Uno de los elementos más icónicos de las películas de James Bond aparece en Goldfinger (1964), cuando una chica es asesinada al ser completamente bañada en oro, lo que supuestamente impide que su piel “respire”. La dermatóloga del Hospital Son Llàtzer (Palma de Mallorca) Rosa Taberner recalca que es "una leyenda urbana".

    “La piel no la usamos para respirar. Pero sí nos sirve para algo muy importante, que es la termorregulación. Si ocluimos la piel con algo que nos impida transpirar y no nos hidratamos convenientemente, también podemos tener problemas en ese sentido. Pero en ninguno de los dos casos sería por asfixia del modo que sugieren en la película. Sí es verdad que ciertos componentes tóxicos se pueden absorber a través de la piel y, si la dosis es suficiente, se pueden tener problemas", detalla.

    La naturaleza como arma [Nature as a Weapon]
    El final de década trae el primer cambio de protagonista: Connery cede su papel (aunque volverá una vez más) al australiano George Lazenby, que solo aparecerá en Al servicio secreto de su majestad (1969). La trama es llamativa: el villano diseña una bomba bacteriológica para crear esterilidad tanto en animales como en plantas.

    Y, como aclara el director de biotecnología del Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas ( pese a que esta premisa suene bastante fantástica, “tiene algunas conexiones con estrategias reales de control biológico de plagas de insectos que sí que se han usado, al menos de forma experimental. Por ejemplo, con el mosquito Aedes aeqypti, el que transmite el dengue”. La idea, en este caso, es liberar individuos de la especie en cuestión, que han sido manipulados para que al cruzarse con la población salvaje generen descendencia no viable. Así, se reduciría el tamaño de la población, o se sustituiría esta por otra que no transmita la enfermedad”.

    “Lo curioso es que la manipulación de los individuos tiene que ver con una bacteria llamada Wolbachia, que se transmite entre insectos y que es capaz de manipular la reproducción de un gran número de especies. Es una bacteria muy interesante. Pero no me consta que este tipo de estrategia fuera extrapolable a mamíferos ni a plantes, cuyos sistemas reproductivos se parecen más bien poco", sentencia.

    Tras el breve retorno de Connery en Diamantes para la eternidad (1971), Roger Moore hereda el personaje durante siete películas, dotándolo de mayor comicidad. En esta época aparece unos de los villanos más recordados, Tiburón, con mandíbulas metálicas. Realmente en esa época se fabricaban en ese material, como confirma Héctor Juan Rodríguez Casanovas, periodoncista y patrono de la Fundación de la Sociedad Española de Periodoncia e Implantes Dentales (SEPA). “Aunque bien es cierto que no se pueden usar para cortar cables de acero, como imaginaron los guionistas de Moonraker (1979)”, matiza.

    Pánico nuclear [Nuclear Panic]
    También a finales de los 70 es cuando se produce la escalada bélica entre URSS y EEUU, con la proliferación de armas nucleares. El espía que me amó (1977) [The Spy Who Loved Me] se hace eco de esta tensión, con dos misiles con carga nuclear que caen en medio del Atlántico. El profesor Lozano Leyva recuerda que este hecho no es una anécdota, porque nuestro planeta ha sufrido 2.082 pruebas nucleares, “algunas de una potencia estremecedora. De esas, 641 han sido en la atmósfera y cinco submarinas. Es un horror, pero la Tierra se recupera de esa tremenda agresión y de más, aunque las consecuencias duran mucho tiempo. Por ejemplo, el tritio, isótopo típico de las explosiones termonucleares, tiene una vida media de algo más de doce años. Los sistemas defensivos fueron –y aún lo son– reales y eficaces, pero nunca se superó la posibilidad de la destrucción mutua asegurada”.

    Timothy Dalton es el cuarto actor que ha tenido el honor de interpretar a Bond, a finales de los 80 y en apenas dos películas. En Alta tensión (1987) [High Voltage], se produce otro de esos curiosos casos en los que la imaginación de los guionistas se adelanta a la realidad, con un corazón para trasplante que se transporta en avión mientras el órgano continúa latiendo.

    Tal y como explica José María Manciño, coordinador de trasplantes del Hospital Universitario Germans Trias i Pujol de Badalona, “hoy en día, cuando se extrae un corazón de un donante, se preserva en frío sin que el corazón esté en movimiento, de ahí la importancia del tiempo para trasplantarlo en el receptor lo antes posible. No obstante, lo que plantea la película es algo que un futuro no podría descartar, no tanto tal y como sale aparece en la trama, pero sí utilizar máquinas que ayuden a su conservación. De hecho, esto ya se utiliza con los riñones: una vez que se extraen del donante, cabe la posibilidad de conectarlos a máquinas durante 24 horas para mejorar su preservación y trasplantarlos posteriormente. Pero se trata de órganos completamente diferentes”.

    Nuevas amenazas [New Threat])
    Dalton cedió el testigo a Pierce Brosnan, que debutó en Goldeneye (1995), con otro guion que parece adelantado a su tiempo: el arma que da título a la película es una bomba electromagnética que amenaza con hundir la economía inglesa al estropear los dispositivos electrónicos, borrando sus memorias. "Esto no solo es posible, sino que se está convirtiendo en un arma atractiva para las guerras del futuro, que cambian las balas por pulsos electromagnéticos y ciberterrorismo: un pulso electromagnético no destroza las infraestructuras a conquistar. Sin ser catastrofista, la actividad solar nos regala estos pulsos de manera natural. Y, por ejemplo, el plan de vuelo de un trayecto que cruce el Ártico se decide en función de la previsión de la actividad solar y evitar que al avión se le pare el computador central", detalla Xavi Martí, que trabaja en nuevas formas de almacenar datos en la empresa IGS Research en colaboración con el Instituto Catalán de Nanociencia y Nanotecnología (

    Como recalca, las memorias magnéticas solo tienen como punto débil los campos magnéticos y ahí la nanotecnología entra en juego, “ya que hay un tipo de materiales que son y no son magnéticos al mismo tiempo: son los llamados antiferromagnetos, que permitirían fabricar memorias que no podrían borrarse, aunque probablemente se usarán únicamente en la industria aeroespacial y en seguridad".

    Peligro real [Real Danger]
    Por último, Daniel Craig es el sexto actor que tiene el honor de ser James Bond, retomando el personaje frío e implacable de los orígenes de la saga. En Skyfall (2012) combate la amenaza que supone el pirata informático que encarna Javier Bardem. Pere Cervantes y Oliver Tauste son policías expertos en delitos informáticos y autores del libro Internet negro y subrayan que el poder de los ciberdelincuentes “es real. La motivación puede ser cualquiera: causar daños sin más o, en la gran mayoría de los casos, obtener beneficios económicos con sus ataques. Para ser un hacker hay que tener un talento no disponible para cualquiera, siendo una realidad que todos los sistemas tienen vulnerabilidades que pueden ser explotadas. Con los conocimientos adecuados y bajo técnicas tan sencillas como la ingeniería social, basadas en el error humano, se pueden vulnerar las medidas se seguridad de cualquier sistema informático y una vez dentro provocar el caos a la carta: bloqueo de información, espionaje empresarial, phishing (suplantación de identidad), ataques de denegación de servicio y un largo listado de ciberdelitos”.

    Entre los aspectos reseñables de las últimas películas de Bond, destaca también la aparición en Quantum of solace' (2008) de un vehículo movido por hidrógeno. Como pormenoriza Víctor Piccione, gerente de comunicación de Ford, “el principio de funcionamiento de un coche alimentado por hidrógeno es justo el inverso a la electrólisis, proceso mediante el que, al aplicar energía eléctrica al agua, esta se disocia en dos moléculas de hidrógeno y una de oxígeno. La llamada pila de combustible permite el proceso inverso: un coche con un depósito de hidrógeno, que actúa de combustible, dispone de un elemento que combina este hidrógeno con el oxígeno tomado del aire, para generar electricidad y vapor de agua, que es el único gas que emite el coche. La electricidad generada se emplea para mover el motor eléctrico que impulsa el coche”.

    “Los coches alimentados por hidrógeno existen desde hace años y esta tecnología está perfectamente desarrollada a nivel de prototipo. Para que lleguen al mercado, es necesario crear infraestructuras y procesos de generación y distribución de hidrógeno, algo que se escapa de las manos de los fabricantes de automóviles”, concluye.

    ¿James Bond es Superman? [James Bond is Superman?]
    El extraordinario aguante físico del agente 007 merece una mención aparte. Los guionistas se curan en salud y, por ejemplo en El mundo nunca es suficiente (1999) [The World Is Never Enough] aluden a una “resistencia excepcional”. En esta cinta, el agente cae desde el vacío y de espaldas sobre la cúpula del O2 de Londres, con el saldo de una única clavícula rota. Para el paracaidista Santi Corella, responsable de, es “imposible” sobrevivir a una caída así. Y, como comenta Héctor Juan Rodríguez Casanovas, “debe tener una dentadura excelente porque, en la vida real, muchos golpes generan pérdida de dientes”.

    La forma física de Bond es tal que podría ser astronauta, como se pone de manifiesto en Moonraker, donde Roger Moore aguanta una aceleración de hasta 20g en un simulador. Como detalla el astronauta Pedro Duque, la máxima aceleración que se puede alcanzar en este tipo de máquinas de entrenamiento ( es de 30g. “No creo que lo hayan usado nunca a plena potencia con humanos dentro, los astronautas vamos tumbados y aguantamos diez segundos a 20g, un minuto a 10g y diez minutos a 6g. En la preparación de astronautas se llega regularmente a 8g durante 20-30 segundos. Y, en un experimento, yo estuve sometido a 3g durante hora y media, pero eso no se hace regularmente”, recuerda.

    Otro ejemplo de la excepcional resistencia se ve en Casino Royale (2006), cuando Daniel Craig es envenenado con digitalis purpurea durante la partida de cartas. Como indica el doctor Pelta, esta planta puede causar una intoxicación con facilidad, pues es muy estrecho el margen terapéutico que posee, causando arritmias cardíacas muy variadas. Para restituir su función cardiaca, Bond utiliza un desfibrilador del tamaño de un teléfono móvil.

    Y, como señala la doctora Mª Luisa Fidalgo Andrés, presidenta de la Sección de Estimulación Cardiaca de la Sociedad Española de Cardiología (, esta actuación “es pura imaginación, porque no existen dispositivos externos de este tamaño, los existentes son aproximadamente como una caja de zapatos. Sí hay desfibriladores implantables –los más sencillos tienen un peso aproximado de 60 gramos y 33 centímetros cúbicos de tamaño– que portan determinados pacientes por riesgo de muerte súbita y que de forma automática, con parámetros programados por el cardiólogo experto, detectan y tratan arritmias malignas con tratamientos específicos según el diagnóstico”.

    Richard Kiel (i) junto al actor Roger Moore (d) (Propias)

    James Bond estrena su nueva película el 6 de noviembre (Propias)

  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,928
    Yes, well, Russian is first on the list, then Portuguese. Spanish will have to wait...
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,835
    Year 11 IB: Group 4 Project
    21 June 2017 Secondary

    In Term 2, Year 11 IB students gathered together for the Group 4 Project. Students from each of the Group 4 subjects: Biology, Chemistry, DT, and Physics came together to ‘Myth Bust’ a TV show or film of their choice. This year we have seen students investigate the science of ‘The Martian’, busting the myth that Mark Watney could have produced sufficient water for agriculture on Mars; and the science behind ‘James Bond – The Man with the Golden Gun’, proving that with the right design, a sectional golden gun could have actually been assembled within thirty seconds.

    As always, the emphasis was on cooperation between the students and collaboration amongst the different scientific disciplines, rather than the final outcome. It was a valuable experience where students came to understand more about problem solving and the nature of the IB Diploma curriculum.

    Mr Lee Taylor | Head of Science (Years 7-12)
    I'm guessing the group that assembled a (functional) handgun won First Prize.


  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited January 2019 Posts: 12,835
    The Science of Cyanide in Skyfall and Other Spy Flicks
    By Wesley Fenlon on April 23, 2013 at 10 a.m.

    Cyanide really did give spies a suicidal "out" when they were undercover, but could it melt someone's face like it did in Skyfall? Not likely.

    The James Bond films, much as we love them, don't always tell the most believable villainous plots. It's still painful for us to think about Die Another Day's North Korean-turned-British-playboy who wants to carve up the Earth's surface with a sunlight-laser satellite. But an interesting post from Wired Science blogger Deborah Blum calls into question a different rogue plot element in the latest Bond film, Skyfall, that actually applies to decades of spy flicks: Cyanide.
    Image credit: Columbia Pictures
    Cyanide serves as a convenient plot device to kill off a lackey before he can spill the villain's secrets--most spy movies would only be 30 minutes long if the hero could interrogate the first bad guy he comes across. But as the trope goes, spies often keep a cyanide pill hidden in a false tooth, and when captured, they can bite down on it, releasing the toxin into their mouth and killing themselves in seconds. Blum writes for Wired that cyanide absolutely works--it may take a 2-5 minutes to kill, so it's a bit exaggerated in the movies--but the plot device is sound.

    Mostly. Exception: Skyfall. Blum distinguishes between the gaseous hydrogen cyanide, used in Nazi concentration camps, and the salt forms of potassium and sodium cyanide, both of which are lethal when swallowed. Spies did carry suicide pills. But in Skyfall, villain Javier Bardem reveals that he bit down on a hydrogen cyanide capsule. It didn't kill him, but it did corrode his face and melt away most of his jaw.

    Plot holes in James Bond movies? Nothing surprising. Cyanide pills, though? Surprisingly real.

    Blum says: That doesn't make sense! "In the movie scenario, it’s identified as hydrogen cyanide," she writes. Remember, that's the cyanide usually delivered as a gas, not in a solid form. "And according to the script, it’s not lethal but corrosive...Although hydrogen cyanide (HCN) is best known as a lethal gas (it actually has a chemical warfare classification), it can also be found in liquid form, where it is usually referred to as Prussic Acid or hydrocyanic acid. This is what I suspect the Skyfall scriptwriter grabbed onto when he chose it for his destructive suicide pill."

    The problem with that acid bit, Blum writes, is that hydrocyanic acid sits below citric acid on the scale of acidity. Since lemons typically don't melt our jaws, hydrocyanic acid probably wouldn't, either.

    But now we've learned something. Plot holes in James Bond movies? Nothing surprising. Cyanide pills, though? Surprisingly real. Check out the rest of Blum's post for a more technical breakdown of how cyanide pills work, and for some more real world examples of spies using cyanide, like these glasses with a hidden pill compartment.
    9718af997bcc46723730af34bf8a268f--spy-ware-spy-stuff.jpg Fr3s0en6QJQ6zv5V3FXtvs63-5K_dq646pORpPDQNMyJfrW-1ZRCvslSXzZ988jTP9ODnvABmdgdI4_rcRpjUg.jpg

    Oh, Those Movie Spies and Their Cyanide Pills
    Author: Deborah BlumDeborah Blum | science | 04.20.13 | 01:57 pm
    Last spring, I went with my younger son to see the James Bond movie Skyfall. He loved it. I obsessed over one of the major plot points. A chemical one, of course. The villain - a twisted former spy played by Javier Bardeem [sic] - was seeking revenge for what he perceived as a betrayal by his agency. According to the story line, he'd been captured, left to be tortured, and when he tried to end it with his cyanide capsule, the poison had dissolved his jaw, disfiguring him instead of killing him.

    The poison, he said, was hydrogen cyanide. That can't be right, I said to my son. I believe his response was something along the lines of "Mom, knock it off." Only possibly not quite as polite as that. So I let it go but, yeah, while muttering "But I know I'm right" to myself in a slightly sulky way. So when the talented chemistry blogger, See Arr Oh, organized a Chemistry in the Movies blog carnival this week, I decided this was my moment. (It's actually a terrifically fun blog carnival, with some very smart science bloggers deconstructing movies from Evolution to The Absent Minded Professor).

    But about Skyfall and the old cyanide pill story. Cyanide is a famously fast-acting poison due to its ability to induce extreme chemical suffocation of cells and to disrupt enzymatic processes. It's probably most lethal in the gaseous form of hydrogen cyanide (HCN), which the Nazis infamously employed in their concentration camp gas chambers. At a high dose, about 3000 ppm in the air, it can kill in one-to-three minutes. When we swallow cyanide, it's usually as one of the two cyanide salts, potassium cyanide (KCN) and sodium cyanide (NaCN). Sodium cyanide is slightly more toxic but either of these will kill in a trace amount - somewhere between 100-300 milligrams - in five minutes or so. If you want watch the real thing in action - not that I'm recommending it - last year an ex-banker, shortly after being convicted of malfeasance, killed himself with potassium cyanide, acquired on-line, in the courtroom. The website LiveLeaks has posted a video of the incident.

    So cyanide is fast and it is, as I've written before, reliably lethal. It was the poison found, earlier this year, in the body of a murdered Chicago lottery winner. There's a history - usually dated back to World War II - of spies carrying suicide pills, just in case they were captured. These were reportedly called L-pills (L for Lethal). The International Spy Museum, in Washington D.C., displays eyeglasses that contained a tiny L-pill compartment - the captured spy could supposedly casually chew on the temple (or arm) of the glasses and release the poison. The Encyclopedia of Espionage cites the case of a CIA mole in the Soviet Union, who eluded prison or worse by biting the cyanide loaded tip of a fountain pen.

    If I'm following the Skyfall story right, though, the fictional spies of the British spy used the old fashioned cyanide-in-a-glass-capsule-hidden-in-a-tooth scenario. The idea was that the spy could crunch down if needed; if the capsule worked loose and was accidentally swallowed, the glass would contain the poison. My guess is that this would be usually sodium or potassium cyanide, mostly because they are the versions usually found in pill or capsule form.

    But, in the movie scenario, it's identified as hydrogen cyanide. And according to the script, it's not lethal but corrosive. So - since my son wouldn't put up with me doing it - let's pick that apart here. Although hydrogen cyanide (HCN) is best known as a lethal gas (it actually has a chemical warfare classification), it can also be found in liquid form, where it is usually referred to as Prussic Acid or hydrocyanic acid. This is what I suspect the Skyfall scriptwriter grabbed onto when he chose it for his destructive suicide pill. It's worth noting that KCN and NaCN are considered mildly corrosive salts and tend to cause distinctive lesions the intestinal walls.

    But, of course, they don't have that "acid" nomenclature. The problem is, though, that the word acid doesn't often equal to "melt your bones." Most acids are far less destructive. Think of citric acid in fruits like oranges and limes. Or acetic acid, the primary constituent in vinegar. Hydrocyanic acid is more potent than those but it's also classed as a weak acid. (Or at least I think of it as potent because of the following effects but, as Alex Berezow of RealClearScience reminded me, on the acid-scale it actually ranks below acetic and citric acids). If you look it up, you'll find that mixed with other substances, hydrocyanic is implicated in causing stress-fractures in metal and if it's stabilized with sulfuric acid - a famously strong formulation - the combination can be corrosive to steel. In other words, "improbable" is the best word for the melt-my-face scenario in Skyfall. Or perhaps "impossible."

    But, to give my son the last word here, there's also a problem with the obsessive chemistry writer. It turns out she's more than capable of ruining a good movie plot.

    1) Model of the "cyanide-damaged teeth", courtesy of the International Spy Museum and its exhibit: Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains
    2) Poster for Skyfall/Empire Design/Wikipedia

  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,928
    fascinating. Pity they didn't do their research right. Purvis and Wade? ;-)
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,835
    Live and Let Die: James Bond's Smoking Habits Over the Years
    By Sara G. Miller, Staff Writer | January 17, 2017 09:31am ET
    In the sixth film of the Bond series, agent 007 and the Japanese secret service ninja force work together to find the true culprit of several spacejackings, one of which involved an American space capsule that gets swallowed up by what is thought to be a Russian spaceship, nearly triggering a nuclear World War 3. Bond finds the real evildoer and saves the day.
    Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

    When it comes to vices, James Bond may be known for martinis, but a new study finds that he's been quite the smoker as well. And although 007 kicked the habit in 2002, he still faces the scourge of secondhand smoke, the research found.

    In the study, the researchers reviewed Bond's smoking habits, as well as those of his friends, lovers and enemies, over the course of all 24 Bond films.
    In the 1960s, Bond's smoking was at its peak; he lit up in 83 percent of the films in that decade, according to the study, published Jan. 16 in the journal Tobacco Control. And when he was smoking regularly in the movies, the first cigarette was lit, on average, within the first 20 minutes of the film. [The 5 Reasons We Still Love James Bond]

    After the '60s, however, Bond's smoking declined — as did the American public's, CDC statistics show —and ended with the 2002 film "Die Another Day," when the spy stubbed out his last cigarette, the researchers found.

    Despite the downward trends in smoking in the Bond movies, the smoking imagery "remains problematic from a public health perspective, especially given the popularity of this movie series," the researchers, led by Dr. Nick Wilson, a professor of public health at the University of Otago in New Zealand, wrote. For example, the most recent Bond movie, 2015's ""Spectre," featured several minor characters smoking cigarettes, and created an estimated 261 million "tobacco impressions" for Americans ages 10 to 29, the researchers wrote. "Tobacco impressions" refer to the number of smoking incidents in the movie, multiplied by the number of in-theater views, the researchers said.

    Only one Bond movie — 2006's "Casino Royale" — contains no smokers, according to the study.

    Moreover, many of Bond's sexual partners smoked, often while next to him in bed, which would have exposed Bond to high levels of secondhand smoke, the researchers said. In the 1960s, '70s and '80s, as well as in the 2010s, around 20 percent of Bond's sexual partners smoked, according to the study. And in one incident, in 1971's "Diamonds Are Forever," love interest Tiffany Case used an ashtray placed on Bond's bare chest. Of course, given the typically brief nature of Bond's relationships, the total amount of secondhand smoke he was exposed to would have remained low, the researchers added. And in the Bond movies released in the 1990s and 2000s, none of 007's partners smoked, the researchers noted.

    In addition, the researchers found that, in the 1970s, the use of smoking-related spy gadgets — such as a "rocket in a cigarette" — peaked, with these devices appearing in 80 percent of the movies.

    Though smoking was featured prominently in the Bond movies of the '60s and '70s, references to the dangers of smoking also appeared in the films from those decades, according to the study.

    The first mention came in 1967's "You Only Live Twice," when Mr. Osato finds Bond's cigarettes and tells him, "You should give up smoking. Cigarettes are very bad for your chest." Later in the same movie, another villain, Blofeld, tells him, "It won't be the nicotine that kills you, Mr. Bond." And by 1997's "Tomorrow Never Dies," Bond describes smoking as a "filthy habit," the researchers said.
    Bond's smoking seems to be "at odds with his need for physical fitness as part of his job, his high level of education and his vast knowledge on many topics," the researchers wrote. "But it does fit with a possible perception of a low life expectancy given a cumulative total of thousands of bullets being fired at him" and the increasing levels of severe violence in the films, they wrote. Plus, 15 percent of Bond's sexual partners have tried to disable, capture or kill him, they added.

    This is not the first study to explore Bond's bad habits; earlier studies have looked into the spy's drinking and violent behavior, the researchers noted.

    Originally published on Live Science.
    Second-hand smoking in James Bond movies [study]

    As international politics comes to resemble the over-imaginative plotlines of James Bond movies, some research publications choose to look more closely at the details of those movies. This new study looks at smoking:

    “James Bond’s Smoking Over Six Decades,” Nick Wilson and Anne Tucker, Tobacco Control, epub January 16, 2017. The authors, at the University of Otago, New Zealand, report:

    “We aimed to examine smoking-related content in all 24 James Bond movies in the Eon Productions series from 1962 to 2015. There were favourable downward trends for any smoking by James Bond, and for tobacco-related spy-gadgetry. Around 20% of Bond’s 60 sexual partners smoked in each decade, and most recently in 2012. There were regular mentions of smoking risks to health (starting from 1967) and product placement of branded packs was present in two movies. Overall, the persisting smoking content remains problematic from a public health perspective, especially given the popularity of this movie series.”

    Here’s further detail from the study:

    (Thanks to George Thomson for bringing this to our attention.)

    Here are two movies, of a sort, of James Bond smoking in those James Bond movies:

    In James Bond's Spectre, a little tobacco goes global
    December 9, 2015 | Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

    “A license to kill is also a license not to kill,” says James Bond’s new boss, the mysterious M, in Spectre (2015).

    The film’s producers didn’t pay attention. Despite years of warnings from WHO and the CDC, tobacco shows up in the latest Bond film alongside a record twenty-three product placements for beer, watches, cars and other brands.

    Spectre’s opening shot shows a giant skeleton puffing a cigar in a Mexico City parade on the Day of the Dead. Bond (Daniel Craig) soon has Spectre assassin Marco Sciarra (Alessandro Cremona) — and Sciarra’s cigarette — in his sniper scope.

    Those are the only tobacco images in the two-and-a-half hour film. Yet by 6 December 2015, they had delivered 247 million tobacco impressions to US and Canadian moviegoers alone.

    Spectre’s Mexico City sequences were reportedly subsidized with $14 million in cash. This it least $10 million more than the producers might be expected to receive from Mexico’s national film subsidy programs, according to tax policy website Tax Analysis.

    James Bond and the actors who play him have long been linked to tobacco promotion. Example? License to Kill [sic] (1989) carried a product placement deal worth more than $670,000 in today’s dollars. For that film, the producers gave Bond (Timothy Dalton) a Lark cigarette pack rigged to trigger a remote bomb.

    [In License to Kill [sic] (1989), James Bond used a Lark pack to set off a bomb]

    The Philip Morris deal on License to Kill [sic] launched Bond-themed ad campaigns that opened the Japanese tobacco market to the company's world brands. When news broke of the payoff, US film distributor MGM/United Artists added a tobacco warning to the film's closing credits, quoting the US Surgeon General.

    Most recent Bond films
    Casino Royale (2006) — Daniel Craig, tapped as the next James Bond, complains in an interview: "I can blow off someone's head at close range and splatter blood, but I can't light a good Cuban cigar." Indeed, nobody smokes in this $200 million film, reportedly at the producers’ direction.

    Quantum of Solace (2008) — Tobacco is back. CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) puff a cigar and an extra also smokes, delivering 422 million tobacco impressions to domestic moviegoers.

    Skyfall (2012) — In Macao (actually a British studio set), femme fatale played by Bérénice Marlohe sports a cigarette throughout a scene of betrayal and seduction. Skyfall delivered more than one billion tobacco impressions to domestic moviegoers.

    Spectre (2015) — The producers present an outsized cigar that will hold up well on the small, hand-held video screens for months and years to come. The film also gives one of the shortest-lived Bond villains on record a last cigarette.

    Summary: Since James Bond quit smoking in 2006, MGM and Sony have released three more 007 films, all rated PG-13, with more than fifty tobacco incidents. The films have delivered 1.7 billion tobacco impressions domestically — and more internationally and on video. With production costs totalling $500 million, Bond films with smoking since 2008 were eligible for an estimated $90 million in taxpayer subsidies, mostly in the UK.
    View Smokefree Movie ads about Skyfall (2012) and Quantum of Solace (2008).

    This report was drafted by my colleague Jonathan Polansky using data from Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down!, a project of Breathe California.

    This blog post is cross-posted from the Smoke Free Movies blog at
    Stanton A. Glantz, PhD
    Director, Center for Tobacco Research Control & Education
    21834_thumb.png b5bf992f149c405f8230eb9068e59619.jpg


  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,835
    Science News
    from research organizations
    The Wizard of Oz most 'influential' film of all time according
    to network science
    Date: November 29, 2018 | Source: BioMed Central

    The Wizard of Oz, followed by Star Wars and Psycho, is identified as the most influential film of all time in a new study.

    The Wizard of Oz, followed by Star Wars and Psycho, is identified as the most influential film of all time in a study published in the open access journal Applied Network Science.

    Researchers at the University of Turin, Italy, calculated an influence score for 47,000 films listed in IMDb (the internet movie database). The score was based on how much each film had been referenced by subsequent films. The authors found that the top 20 most influential films were all produced before 1980 and mostly in the United States.

    Dr. Livio Bioglio, the lead author, said: "We propose an alternative method to box office takings -- which are affected by factors beyond the quality of the film such as advertising and distribution -- and reviews -- which are ultimately subjective -- for analysing the success of a film. We have developed an algorithm that uses references between movies as a measure for success, and which can also be used to evaluate the career of directors, actors and actresses, by considering their participation in top-scoring movies."
    Applying the algorithm to directors, the five men credited for The Wizard of Oz are all in the top eight, with Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick ranked third, fifth and sixth respectively. When the authors used another approach to remove the bias of older movies -- which, because they were produced earlier, can potentially influence a greater number of subsequent films -- Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg and Brian De Palma occupied the top spots instead.
    When applied to actors, the algorithm ranked Samuel L. Jackson, Clint Eastwood and Tom Cruise as the top three. The authors noticed a strong gender bias towards male actors; the only female in the top ten was Lois Maxwell, who played the recurring role of Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond franchise.

    Dr. Bioglio said: "The scores of top-ranked actresses tend to be lower compared to their male colleagues. The only exceptions were musical movies, where results show moderate gender equality, and movies produced in Sweden, where actresses ranked better compared to actors."
    To calculate the influence score for the 47,000 films investigated in this study, the authors treated the films as nodes in a network and measured the number of connections each film has to other films and how influential the films connected to it are. Similar network science methods have already been widely applied to measuring the impact of work in other fields, such as scientific publications.

    Dr. Bioglio said: "The idea of using network analysis for ranking films is not completely new, but to our knowledge this is the first study that uses these techniques to also rank personalities involved in film production."

    The authors suggest that their method could be used for research in the arts and by film historians. However, they caution that the results can only be applied to Western cinema as the data on IMDb are strongly biased towards films produced in Western countries.
    Story Source:
    Materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

    Journal Reference:
    Livio Bioglio, Ruggero G. Pensa. Identification of key films and personalities in the history of cinema from a Western perspective. Applied Network Science, 2018; 3 (1) DOI: 10.1007/s41109-018-0105-0

    Cite This Page: MLA, APA, Chicago

    BioMed Central. "The Wizard of Oz most 'influential' film of all time according to network science." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 November 2018.
    Identification of key films and personalities in the
    history of cinema from a Western perspective
    Livio Bioglio and Ruggero G. Pensa | Applied Network Science 20183:50
    Received: 10 April 2018 | Accepted: 11 October 2018 | Published: 30 November 2018
    Actors and actresses

    Table 8 provides the ranking of actors and actresses according to our method: as done with directors, the analysis is limited to movies released before 2010, even if, for columns “career” and “number of movies”, we have also taken into account films released after such year. Looking at the list, there are several interesting results.
    First, all personalities come from the United States or the United Kingdom, showing both the great impact that movies in English have in the industry of cinema, and the bias of the dataset. As second point, the great majority of individuals are still in activity or, at least, appeared in a movie released after 2010, suggesting that the most influential movies of modern times are the ones starring most famous actors and actresses. Probably such result is due to little bias that affect modern movies released after 90’s: since they are too recent for having already deeply influenced other ones, their score is heavily influenced by the presence of sequel or other movies belonging to the same franchise. This kind of films usually have a big budget, that can be spent for hiring famous actors and actresses, and attract more audience. The same happened also in the past, but movies that have been popular during their release usually may have a great impact on the contemporary ones, although their importance may weaken for films released many years later. This result is also probably affected by the increase in production of movies over the years observed in Fig. 1c: since our method select a percentage of movies released each year, if the number of released films grows, the same happens to the number of movies it selects. We could select a fixed number of movies instead of a certain percentage, but in this case we would foster films released in less productive years, to the detriment of more prolific ages.
    Finally, and most crucially, the number of top movies starring a male actor is several way greater than the number of top movies starring an actress: among them, only Lois Maxwell, who appeared in most movies of James Bond film series with the role of M’s secretary, can compete with her male colleagues, entering in the bottom part of the top ten ranking. This result can be partially justified by the differences in number of actors and actresses in our dataset, reported in Table 1, with the former almost doubling the second. The same happens to the number of connections with movies: however the list shows only top personalities, that in case of gender equality should be comparable.
    Table 8
    Top 20 actors and actresses: each item contains the number of golden (G), silver (S) and Bronze (B) points collected, the year of the first and last movies, and the number of films starred in total

    Rank | Name | Points | Career | Mov. | Name | Points | Career | Mov. | Actors | Actresses

    1 Jackson, Samuel L. 24, 5, 6 ’81-’17 82 | 1 Maxwell, Lois 16, 2, 0 ’47-’88 27
    2 Eastwood, Clint 18, 6, 4 ’55-’13 54 | 2 Fisher, Carrie (I) 11, 3, 0 ’75-’15 34
    3 Cruise, Tom 18, 4, 3 ’81-’17 41 | 3 O’Sullivan, M. (I) 11, 2, 2 ’30-’86 43
    4 Schwarzenegger, A. 18, 3, 3 ’76-’15 38 | 4 Berry, Halle 10, 2, 4 ’91-’17 29
    5 Wayne, John (I) 16, 10, 9 ’30-’76 112 | 5 Barrymore, D. (I) 9, 6, 3 ’80-’15 45
    6 Dafoe, Willem 16, 7, 5 ’83-’14 57 | 6 Shaye, Lin 9, 5, 6 ’78-’16 61
    7 Willis, Bruce 16, 6, 3 ’87-’16 62 | 7 Diaz, Cameron 9, 2, 2 ’94-’14 29
    8 Price, Vincent (I) 16, 5, 4 ’38-’91 75 | 8 Moore, Julianne 8, 5, 4 ’90-’17 49
    9 Llewelyn, Desmond 16, 2, 0 ’63-’99 18 | 9 Dunaway, Faye 8, 5, 3 ’67-’07 41
    10 Bond, Ward 16, 1, 4 ’29-’59 73 | 10 Grant, Beth (I) 8, 4, 3 ’87-’15 41
    11 De Niro, Robert 15, 13, 7 ’68-’16 75 | 11 Curtis, Jamie Lee 8, 4, 3 ’78-’14 33
    13 Connery, Sean 15, 8, 10 ’57-’03 52 | 12 Christie, Julie (I) 8, 4, 2 ’63-’12 27
    12 Nicholson, Jack (I) 15, 8, 4 ’58-’11 54 | 13 Weaver, Sigourney 8, 3, 5 ’77-’16 46
    14 Ford, Harrison (I) 15, 6, 3 ’68-’15 45 | 14 Crawford, Joan (I) 8, 3, 4 ’25-’70 57
    15 Trejo, Danny 15, 3, 3 ’87-’15 74 | 15 Smith, Maggie (I) 8, 3, 3 ’62-’15 43
    16 Lee, Christopher (I) 14, 15, 7 ’48-’14 105 | 16 Bay, Frances 8, 3, 1 ’78-’14 35
    17 Coltrane, Robbie 14, 3, 0 ’80-’12 37 | 17 Trainor, Mary Ellen 8, 2, 6 ’84-’03 23
    18 Depp, Johnny 14, 2, 4 ’84-’17 52 | 18 Leachman, Cloris 8, 2, 4 ’55-’16 38
    19 Buscemi, Steve (I) 13, 7, 4 ’86-’16 70 | 19 Dench, Judi 8, 2, 1 ’65-’16 33
    20 Stewart, James (I) 13, 6, 4 ’35-’91 64 | 20 Portman, Natalie 8, 1, 1 ’94-’17 28

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,835
    Is it possible to cry blood?
    by Laurie L. Dove

    Calvino Inman has haemolacria, which
    causes him to cry blood.

    Barry Bland/Barcroft Media/Getty Images
    Le Chiffre, a fictional character in the 2006 James Bond film "Casino Royale," was not only an immaculate dresser, but he was also part of a long line of cinematic villains defined by exceptional physical quirks. Le Chiffre occasionally wept blood from his left eye, a trope employed to lend him a vulnerable quality, even as his supervillain persona pushed toward the inhumane.
    Most of us have come to expect tears of blood from tragic, poetic and potentially evil characters in film and television. After all, the vampires on HBO's "True Blood" do it all the time. But could a person cry bloody tears in real life?

    Hypothetically, yes. There are well-documented cases of bloody tears being shed. It's the primary sign of haemolacria, a condition in which a person's tears are either blood-tinged or entirely composed of blood.
    Although extremely rare, there are a few cases chronicled in medical literature that describe people bleeding from their eyes. As late as 2015, a man from Antioch, Tennessee, experienced bleeding from the eyes after being struck by a sudden and severe headache. But he wasn't just crying blood — there was blood was streaming from his nose and mouth, a scenario that confounded doctors [source: Wilemon].

    While researchers are still working to pinpoint a reason for spontaneous haemolacria, there have been a few clues along the way. A 1991 study linked haemolacria to female fertility. Of the 125 examined subjects (all of whom were in good health), researchers discovered that 18 percent of menstruating women had blood in their tears, compared to 8 percent of men and 7 percent of pregnant women. None of the post-menopausal women in the study showed any signs of blood in their tears. The findings led researchers to posit that haemolacria in fertile women is caused by hormones, but in the rest of the population, it is probably due to factors such as infection or injury [source: Ottavay].

    Bacterial conjunctivitis, a relatively mild infection of the eye, has been known to cause bloody tears as well, but the symptom typically goes away after the infection is treated. A more serious cause is tumors of the lacrimal apparatus, which includes the gland that secretes tears as well as tear drainage ducts.

    Tears of blood aren't just the stuff of horror films, after all. For those who live with this condition, awareness and sensitivity are keys for coping.
    Related Articles
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    Medical Dictionary. "Lacrimal Apparatus." (July 10, 2015)
    Ottovay, E. and M. Norn. "Occult Haemolacria in Females." Acta Ophthalmol. Aug. 1991. (July 10, 2015)
    Karslioglu, Safak. "A case of recurrent bloody tears." Journal of Clinical Opthalmology. July 2011. (July 10, 2015)
    Wilemon, Tom. "Middle TN man who cries blood searches for answers." The Tennessean.

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,835
    Could Smart Blood Exist Like In
    'Spectre'? It's not Here Yet, But That
    Doesn't Mean It Won't Be Someday
    By Johnny Brayson | Nov 5 2015


    James Bond has always been known for his gadgets, and although Daniel Craig's version of the character has been considerably less doohickey-heavy than past iterations, he's still managed to make use of a few over the years, from his in-car defibrillator in Casino Royale to his biometric-coded gun in Skyfall. But Spectre, the newest Bond film, changes up the formula and brings more gadgets than fans have seen in years. There are returning favorites like a tricked out Aston Martin and an exploding watch, but there's also a new twist on an old gadget that allows Bond to be tracked by his bosses, an injected microchip that records his every move. But before you start worrying that Smart Blood exists like in Spectre, relax: it's probably not gonna happen. Yet.

    To Bond fans, though, the technology isn't totally new. In Casino Royale, Bond is injected with a microchip that tracks his location and monitors his vital signs. However, when he's captured by the bad guys, the device is cut out of his arm, rendering it useless. MI6 seems to have learned their lesson in Spectre, because this time around Bond is injected with Smart Blood, consisting of nanotechnology that does the same thing while flowing microscopically through his veins. As for whether it could really happen, the answer is not yet, but someday it could be.

    While microchip implants do exist in the world of pets, they don't possess any tracking capabilities. Instead, they simply transmit identification information to a scanner held a few inches away using a simple radio frequency, and they don't require batteries to do so. Also, they're not used in people, though some are trying to figure out a way to implement their use in children as a way to track them if they become lost. The problem with tracking inside the body lies in current GPS technology, which requires too much battery power (and therefore size) to run on a chip that could be injected into someone's body. But wouldn't nanotechnology solve this issue?

    According to Spectre star Christoph Waltz, it wouldn't be that simple."If you’re not scared, then you’re missing the point," the actor tells Bustle. "And you kinda think, oh maybe one day we should get scared, no. It’s too late. It’s too late already, it’s gone. It’s not for nothing that the people who design these things all look like cool dudes hanging around San Francisco and make billions. They are not cool dudes, they are dangerous people."

    No matter what, the technology seen in Spectre just isn't there yet. Nanotechnology refers to tech that's implemented on a molecular or even an atomic level, and its been a fixture of science fiction for decades. But now it's becoming a reality in a number of fields. There does exist a type of near-nanotechnology, called micro-electromechanical systems, that offers some GPS capability, but it's made for use in tracking guns and is not suitable to be injected into humans. However, there does actually exist nanotechnology that has been safely inserted into a human body — just not for the purposes of tracking. Some "nanobots", microscopic robots, have been used within the human eye to deliver drugs directly to the area that needs them, and the idea is that one day similar nanobots will be able to be injected into one's bloodstream to administer medication or even perform surgery. Some scientists even believe that a swarm of nanobots in the bloodstream could eventually make humans immune to disease, as the bots would simply destroy or fix any issues as soon as they arrive.

    So society is still likely a ways away from having GPS trackers injected into people's bloodstreams, but given the various threads of developing technology that are heading in that direction, it seems like James Bond's "Smart Blood" may someday become a reality.

    Additional reporting by Kelsea Stahler

    Images: MGM/Columbia Pictures; giphy

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,835
    What Doesn't Kill You
    Komodo Dragon Blood Could Save Your Life
    For once, they're not trying to kill you.
    by Farnia Fekri | Feb 26 2017, 11:00am

    William Warby/flickr
    In an incredibly ironic turn of events, the creature of everyone's nightmares and a creeping villain of the James Bond Skyfall movie might actually save us.
    The blood of Komodo dragons, the world's largest lizards, has an abundance of antimicrobial peptides. It helps them survive in killer conditions, and according to a research paper published this month in the Journal of Proteome Research, it could help us feeble humans in the fight against antibiotic resistance.

    Peptides are basically small proteins, and antimicrobial peptides are basically the body's antibiotics. Without them, we'd all—dogs, cats, dragons, humans—die of infection.

    "We were focussing on peptides coming from extreme species," Barney Bishop, a professor at Virginia's George Mason University and the lead author of the paper, told me. The idea was to examine how animals living in inhospitable, bacteria-teeming environments could survive and thrive.

    Read More: Filming Komodo Dragons for 'Planet Earth II' Is More Dangerous Than It Looks

    Funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the scientists embarked on a search for better drugs by studying the blood of alligators—who can usually stave off infection even when their tails or limbs get cut off—and Komodo dragons from the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in Florida.

    "We chose Komodo dragons because… if you study the saliva of the dragon, you'll see it contains a complex mix of bacteria," Bishop explained. And yet, somehow, the dragons remain unharmed.

    Part of the "somehow" is a host of microbial peptides unique to the dragons, called Histone-Derived Antimicrobial Peptides (HDAPs). While researchers have interacted with HDAPs before (Buforin is a popular one, for example), they found dozens of new HDAPs in the dragon blood.

    The researchers sequenced the dragon's peptides, analyzing hundreds of thousands of them. Using this sequence, they predicted which were likely to be antimicrobial. They tested eight peptides for the study, but found around 40 others (out of about 100 total) that looked promising.

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited February 2019 Posts: 12,835
    Casino Royale's Sinking House in Venice | Physics Vs Film

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