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THE CORE

The Core
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THE CORE
MOVIE REVIEW
THE CORE - 2003
Core Prods. Inc. / Horsepower Films / Paramount Pictures

!!!THE SCIENCE MOMENT!!!:

Kelly Parks
SCIENCE MOMENT BY
KELLY PARKS

Now, I'm not going to discuss the magical underground drillship. A half-crazy lone scientist inventing something essentially impossible is a staple of science fiction so that's fine. But I do have a problem when the movie makes scientific sounding statements that are just plain wrong. Here are the high points:

1. If there really were "solar microwaves" being held off by the Earth's magnetic field, why didn't they cook the Apollo astronauts when they ventured beyond the field's coverage? Why isn't Mars being cooked, since it hasn't got much of a field? The answer is that the sun doesn't produce much in the way of microwaves and that what it does produce isn't stopped by our magnetic field anyway. A magnetic field can only affect the paths of charged particles like protons and electrons. It has no effect at all on electromagnetic radiation like microwaves or visible light or ultraviolet light. It's our atmosphere – not our magnetic field – that filters out the harmful parts of the sun's radiative output.

2. The inner core of the Earth is a ball of crystalline iron about 2400 kilometers in diameter. A good way to get a feel for how much energy would actually be required to get it spinning again if it stopped can be found from calculating the rotational energy it has right now. This is the rotational equivalent of kinetic energy: the energy of motion. Plugging in the numbers reveals that the inner core has a rotational energy of 385 trillion trillion joules. That's equivalent to 96 billion megatons of TNT, so the mere 1000 megatons worth of nukes they bring along is about 100 million times too small.

3. Many times in the Earth's past the magnetic field has reversed its polarity, making the south pole the north pole and vice versa. During these field reversals (just the field flips – not the Earth itself) there are intervals of a few thousand years where the field collapses completely and the Earth has no magnetic field to speak of. None of these incidents resulted in the Earth being cooked by microwaves, and the fossil record doesn't show any evidence of mass extinctions during these times. The biosphere survived just fine.

4. An overlooked effect has to do with gravity. The deeper you penetrated into the Earth, the less Earth there'd be below you and thus the less of a gravitational pull you'd feel.

5. If you have a bomb, and you put a pile of explosives next to it, that will make the total explosion bigger. However if you have a nuclear bomb and you put a pile of plutonium next to it, that will only be a waste of plutonium. Nukes just don't work that way.


Eddie McMullen Jr.
SCIENCE MOMENT BY
E.C.MCMULLEN JR.

UPDATE: 2013
What Direction Does Earth's Center Spin? New Insights Solve 300-Year-Old Problem
Sep. 16, 2013 — Scientists at the University of Leeds have solved a 300-year-old riddle about which direction the centre of Earth spins.

UPDATE: 2012
Whoa, Dude, Are We Inside a Computer Right Now?
Sep. 11, 2012 - Rich Terrile, NASA's Chief of Center for Evolutionary Computation and Automated Design, is rather proud of having been the Scientific Advisor for THE CORE.

Rich also has what he refers to as a supposition.

In science a supposition is an assumption or belief. It's not quite a hypothesis (though the two words are usually interchangeable, in science even a hypothesis demands more evidence). Rich makes it clear in repeated interviews (including this one in VICE) that his supposition is certainly not a theory, as many news sources have claimed, but only a supposition or assumption. His interesting supposition is best explained in his own words.

UPDATE: 2005
Die Hippie, Die
March 16, 2005 — The 127th episode of Southpark (which also marks the last episode that Isaac Hayes recorded original material for his character, Chef), satirizes THE CORE.


This article's original Copyright 2003 by E.C.McMullen Jr.

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