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Fictional Scientists Who Dropped The Ball

May 25, 2018

 

The rules of this game are simple:

  • They have to occur within the real world’s timeline

  • They cannot be powered by magic

  • They have to have the potential for global change

  • They have to be public/semi-public knowledge

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

  • Food Shortages

  • Space Flight

  • Toxic Waste Removal

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, a wacky comedy about two pairs of neglectful parents who suddenly become invested in their children when they either notice the opposite sex or when tragedy strikes, tells the story of how a single inventor could have ended world hunger, water shortages, mineral shortages, and changed space exploration for the entirety of humanity. In the first movie, Wayne Szalinski (Rick Moranis) is an engineer who tinkers with quantum mechanics and modifying the Laws of Thermodynamics as a hobby. He designs and builds a machine that changes the physical properties of matter without affecting their molecular structure, what physicists refer to as “bullshit”.
 

On multiple occasions, we see that the machine can safely modify the size, volume, and mass of living and nonliving organic and inorganic materials; and it does this from a 120-volt electrical socket, meaning a television potentially draws more power. The movie even ends with the two families gathering for a Thanksgiving dinner in which the main course is either an enlarged turkey or Big Bird.
 

Allowing for an average table width of 36 inches, that gobbler is easily two feet across at the shoulders, about twice as large as a large turkey. By multiplying the weight we get a 50- to 75-pound piece of meat far too big for a conventional oven.
 

“But, wait, was this technology even made public?”
 

Only three years later in a little town called Las Vegas, Voice In My Head!

 

The average woman’s hand is 7.5 inches long, a UH-1D Slick fuselage (Not counting the tail) is a little less than 40 feet. Giving Mrs. Szalinski an average height of 5’8?, when hit with her husband’s physics breaking machine, she grows to approximately 560 feet tall. About 70 feet taller than the latest incarnation of Godzilla.
 

From a food standpoint, this would change everything about agriculture, fishing, livestock, et al. Why raise 14 million cattle to be slaughtered per year when you could raise 1.4 million, slaughter them, and expand their mass 10 times?
 

A fully grown Atlantic bluefin tuna is 500 pounds, what would happen to Asia’s overfishing issue if you could make it 5,000 pounds?

 

As for space flight, the machine can obviously reduce liquid’s volume that’s stored in containers at a density of ~70%, you could shrink containers of water on Earth and expand them as needed.
 

Two teenagers who look to be average height and weight (About 5’6? and 126 pounds) are shrunk down approximately 3/4 of an inch, about the size of a ketchup packet, or a little over 1% of their size and mass. NASA puts the cost of shipping a single gallon of water into space at $25,000…

 

Do you think they’d be upset if you told them they could send 100 times as much for the same cost?
 

How about shrinking toxic and nuclear waste to 1% of its mass and volume?
Or medical waste?

 

Forget NASA, why aren’t people picketing to release the technology to feed starving people or even enlarge cabins built from Lincoln Logs for the homeless?

Eraser

  • Medical Applications

  • Search and Rescue

This one’s pretty straight forward.
 

Defense contractor Cyrez Corporation’s CEO William Donohue, US Marchall Chief Arthur Beller, and Undersecretary of Defense Daniel Harper are planning on selling 1,000 handheld railguns with real-time 3D X-ray/CT/MRI-grade imaging on the black market for $52 million ($79,543,428.94 today after adjusting for inflation).
 

At first, this sounds like a great investment until you factor in specialized ammunition, replacement parts and maintenance, and real-time 3D X-ray/CT/MRI-grade imaging.

 

At $52,000,000 for 1,000 units, we talking about $52,000 per unit, which sounds super expensive, until you consider that an MRI machine can cost anywhere from $150,000 to $3,000,000, take up entire rooms, require specialized staff, and the final images are often guesswork and inexact.
 

What if you could replace all of that with a scanner that a layperson could use and works through multiple walls, materials, and accurately scans from hundreds of feet away?
 

Are there any cardiologists who would love to have an instantly available real-time imaging of a patient’s heart?
 

These idiots are excited about committing treason and selling a thousand units when every hospital in the world would easily pay hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars just for the cameras.
 

What about first responders needing to know where victims are inside of burning or collapsed buildings?
 

Imagine the nationwide goodwill (And tax write off) of donating a scanner to every fire department in the country.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

  • Adult Novelty Toys

  • Military Applications

  • Extreme Hazard Occupations

In season five of an adaptation of a romantic comedy guest starring Paul Reuben, we learned that a tertiary character named Warren created an Android physically indistinguishable from human beings. Then he did it again.
 

His motivation when he created the first one was teenage horniness, and the April Android was apparently fully functional.
 

FULLY functional.

He would later be threatened with death and ordered to create a duplicate Buffy by the lovelorn Spike (What is it with centuries old immortals falling for teenage girls?). In short, this was a college student who, in his spare time, built perfect sex dolls that were capable of fighting Slayers. This only got weirder as the writers made him into Lex Luthor Lite (Whedon scientists did it before it was cool, Snyder!) and he and his friends decided they wanted to rule a small Northern California town overrun with vampires, werewolves, demons, secret government bases, rather than…

 

Mass producing they’re androids as high functioning self- maintaining reactive sex dolls and/or soldiers.

 

Hell, they could just program one to build another and so on and on.
 

If someone’s willing to drop three grand on what amounts to a squishy

 

mannequin you have to clean, how much would someone pay for a personalized Alyson Hannigan that enjoyed happy fun time, cleaned around the house, and was USB ported for convenient charging?
 

Do you think the US Military would be interested in programmable soldiers that follow orders perfectly and never get tired?

 

Would high risk for injury employers want to hire Joe Blow for hazardous work, or would they prefer a Jessica Alba lookalike who didn’t talk back or complain about how dangerous cleaning up toxic waste is?

Tron

  • Societal Ennui

  • Gaming