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Seriously? No, really...seriously?

Brian Wolfe

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Seriously? No, really...seriously?

 

A dry dusty street in the Middle East, a group of soldiers is milling around and suddenly one soldier shouts, “RPG! Take cover!”  Just then a rocket propelled grenade steaks past, leaving a smoke trail behind, to explode on a vehicle completely destroying it.  Typical movie scene and total garbage.  From what I can tell a fired RPG travels at around 15 feet every 1/10 of a second, which makes the 3 some odd seconds for the soldier (actor) to deliver his line more than a little ridiculous.  Not being a military man I can only go by videos of the firing of a live RPG and in my eyes it would seem the weapon’s trigger is depressed and seemingly instantaneously the target explodes.  The other thing most movies and documentaries miss the mark with it the smoke trail.  Movie rockets are fired, many times, attached to a wire, strung from the supposed location of the shooter to the target.  The weight of the rocket deflects the wire and the resulting, so very important, smoke trail dips toward the ground then rises up just prior to striking the target.  Details such as these, or rather the lack of attention to details drives me insane (I know, it was a short trip). 

 

Another thing that really gets my goat (ok, I don’t have a goat, possibly because something already “got it”) is the need for documentaries to explain the length or weight in relation to other objects.  “The rocket was as tall as  three Empire State Buildings stacked one on top of the other”; quite a common comparison.  I really doesn’t do much for me, not having ever visited the Empire State Building.  Besides, the Empire State Building is 381 M tall; or is it?  Yes, it could be said that it is 381 m tall unless you are measuring to the very tallest tip then it is 443 m tall; a difference of 61m. And if the rocket in question is as tall as three Empire State Buildings then which measurement were they referring to; it could vary by 183m.!

 

You could argue that the documentary was written for American audiences and that all American know how tall the Empire State Building is.  However, if it were written for a Canadian audience and they said the rocket was a tall as three CN Towers (located in Toronto) then that would make all the difference.  No, not really as I don’t know how tall the CN Tower is while I sit on my couch avoiding any form of exercise other than having yet another coffee.  The CN Tower by the way is 553m tall, and if you were to have enough coffees then your heart rate would increase giving you a cardio vascular workout without ever finding the need to travel to Toronto to check out the tower; I’m just saying... 

Supposing I am standing at either the Empire State Building or the CN Tower, or even the Eiffel Tower (at 301m. tall) the idea of two additional structures one on top of the other is pretty well unimaginable.  I don’t even think you could see the top of a “pile” of Empire State Building as it would be 1,143m. In height... or would that be 1,329m.?  Either of which would give King Kong a nose bleed.

 

Another ridiculous measurement is those given in the number of elephants. What the hell does that even mean?  African elephants or Asian elephants?  African elephants weight an average of 1,048kg. more than Asia elephants.  If ten elephants of weight can vary by 10,048kg. this means the weight measurement could vary by two extra elephants!  I mean, it is difficult enough to locate and get ten elephants together on some giant weigh scale and now, according to the potential for variance, I will need an extra two elephants standing by just in case I need them?  This is as mindless as simply saying, “Gee Jimmy that (object) is really, really heavy; a lot more than your Daddy can lift, that’s for sure”.  Just give the height or the weight, any other means of description is pointless and makes me wonder if the documentary producers even know the correct measurement in the first place; unlike me I guess they don’t have the internet.

 

I was watching a documentary about an American air craft carrier the other evening and the commentator said that the ship was so many football fields in length.  Yep, here we go again.  American football fields are 91.4m long and Canadian ones are 100m.  Wait a minute, what about those who will confuse “real” football with soccer.  The length of a football pitch according to FIFA is 100-110m.  Just to be clear the documentary was about the Nimitz-class carrier which is 333m long (1,092 feet).  Just how many elephants it weights I don’t know. 

 

 

 

 

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Regards

Brian

 




11 Comments


Quote - Just to be clear the documentary was about the Nimitz-class carrier which is 333m long (1,092 feet).  Just how many elephants it weighs I don’t know.  - Unquote

Just to be painfully pedantic - The only thing an aircraft carrier "weighs" is its anchor.  If you're talking about how heavy it is, it displaces a certain number of tons of water.  Couldn't resist - This was beaten into me during plebe year. 

  • Displacement: Approximately 97,000 tons (87,996.9 metric tons) full load.

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Hi Hugh,

That's very good and now you mention it I have heard that regarding weighing of the anchor, however I had forgotten it completely.  I like keeping both feet firmly planted on solid ground. Thanks for your comments.

Regards

Brian

 

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Interesting points , Brian.   Although you could have really confused us by adding metric weights.   However, I will totally agree with you on Elephants  -  one of my favourite creatures  -  but a Cow can weigh over 3 tons and a big bull , up to 6 tons.  I have always, therefore, tried to avoid being stood on by one of them .........

You certainly keep us thinking with your variety of subjects.     Mervyn

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Thanks for your comments Mervyn.  I’ve always held to the 16th century French philosopher Rene Descartes' observation of “Cogito ergo sum” (lit. “I think therefore I am”) though I prefer “I am thinking therefore I exist”.

 

I always hope that my blogs will stir the “grey matter” of those who read them (or “gray matter” for our American readers).;)

 

Regards

Brian

 

 

Edited by Brian Wolfe

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My 'favourite' is the current Canadian media practice of converting comments about length from Imperial to metric.  If he said it was 'About 10 yards away', which is usually a layman's estimate and probably off by a factor of 50% anyway, what possible purpose is served by removing the quotation marks and informing the reader that it was 'about 8.4 metres' away?  Serioulsy?

 

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Brian wrote:  "American football fields are 91.4m long". 

Seriously? No American (or to be more precise, US football fan) would have any idea what you are attempting to say, as US football fields are 100 yards long!

I can just imagine an NFL TV announcer shouting: "The tailback ran 9.14 meters from scrimmage for a first down!" What???

Edited by Gunner 1

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Tailback, scrimmage, first down?  Not sure what those are as we speak hockey here. ;)

Thanks for your comments Rick. I agree that hearing yardage given in metric would sound odd, to say the least.  In my shop, the happiest place on earth, we speak Imperial not metric so I believe we are in agreement.

Regards

Brian

 

 

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I always laugh at movies like that.  One thing that always cracks me up, is that when the people in  a film fire off a whole clip at someone, the bullets kind of disappear.  A guy shoots 1000 rounds at someone, and you might see one "ground strike" as the hero runs through the hail of other invisible bullets.

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My favourite was on the television show Rat Patrol, which ran several decades ago.  The "Rats" were in the back of a truck behind the side slats that were spaced about as far apart as the width of the boards themselves.  This was probbaly done so the viewer could see the actors better.  A German soldier ran from a building, opened up with his MP40 and every bullet hit board; not one managed to go between the boards or hit one of the show's stars.  Then one of the Rat Patrol members popped up and fired one shot with his rifle felling the enemy soldier. 

Another "seriously?" moment is any cop show where the bad guy fires at the officer and hits the drywall wall behind which the officer is taking shelter.  A .22 cal. shell will pass right through a standard wall.

Thanks for your comment Chris.

Regards

Brian

 

 

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A small country is always "the size of Wales";  which  might presumably create problems when describing the small country the size of Wales  known as 'Wales'

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Over in the New World a small country is smaller than Rhode Island that is just over 1/7th the area and 1/3 the population of Wales (i.e tiny compared to  Wales)

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