How many movies or TV shows have you seen where a young sylph in a filmy nightgown runs through a forest in high heels to escape a bad guy?She always trips and falls down.
If this makes you groan and mutter “only in the movies…”, then we think you’ll enjoy this scientific-type debunking of 11 common film and television tropes and clichés.
Whether it's on TV or the big screen, it seems like every high-speed car chase ends with at least one auto crashing and exploding into flames. Sometimes the vehicle drives over a cliff and spontaneously combusts into flames without any provocation.
Gasoline actually has a very narrow flammable range, and the mixture of gas vapor to outside air must be very specific (between 1.4 and 7.6%) before anything close to an explosion will occur. Gas may cause a car to burn after a bad wreck, but it very rarely detonates.
Have you ever noticed that on TV, it takes detectives three minutes or more to trace a phone call, but in a pinch someone can write a code to hack into a computer in half that time when it comes to tracking down a criminal? Programming requires many complex steps, including making changes to the existing code, compiling it, testing it, and debugging it. Just waiting for a compiler to finish its job can take hours. Even the best hacker cannot click a few keys and access a perp's password-protected files within a matter of minutes.
Drowning victims have plenty of time for a dramatic rescue on the big screen, since they flail and splash loudly while reaching their arms up and desperately calling for help. In reality, most drowning victims don't get rescued in time simply because no one nearby realises that the person is in trouble. A drowning person typically dies quietly, since he is unable to keep his mouth above the water long enough or draw enough breath to cry for assistance.
They usually don't thrash about, either; instinctively they straighten their body as if they are climbing a ladder and spread their arms to the sides as if they are trying to push down on the surface of the water to lift themselves up. Because of this automatic response, a drowning person will rarely reach for a thrown life preserver or extended stick. Small children slip below the surface even quicker than adults, so it's very important to take every precaution possible (life jackets, floaties, etc.) when youngsters are playing in the water.
Women had been giving birth long before television was invented, so you'd think that at some point TV writers would have consulted with a real live female about the process. They might be surprised to find out that, as a rule, birth doesn't occur three minutes after the mother's water breaks.
But we suppose that acknowledging such trivialities as facts would eliminate such plot points as a woman suddenly going into labour and giving birth in an elevator, a taxi, a restaurant booth, etc. In truth, it usually takes many hours after mum's water breaks before Baby makes his debut--12 hours is about average, but 48 or 72 hours are not unheard of, especially in the case of a first pregnancy.
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