Friday, January 25, 2008

Speaking of "Cloverfield"...

I've been following the growth of the community that have bought in to the Cloverfield viral marketing strategy, tracking down cryptic messages in fake MySpace pages and corporate websites. While it's all a lot of fun for folks with nothing better to do, I find it funny that the scientific investigative techniques on display have missed a couple of salient points:

1. Anything organic and ambulatory that was 500 feet tall would collapse and die of its own weight in a few seconds. As Steven Gould pointed out (and Intelligent Design confirmed), everything that we see on Earth is the "right size". Humans, for example, can't be a lot bigger or smaller than we are, as is evidenced by the health problems and short lifespans of very tall and very short people. In addition, all really large animals look the same because the options for possible body plans diminish with size, just as the ratio of a body's volume to surface area (which diminishes with size) rules out the possibility of huge insects (which respire through their skin).

2. Being large by itself doesn't give you invincibility from weaponry, and organic matter (meat) is not particularly blast-resistant. A blue whale (which can only live in the ocean because of the physical restrictions alluded to above) can get to be 100 feet, but one well-placed cruise missile would be more than enough to kill it.

There, I'm glad I got that off my chest. I know I'm a killjoy, but the "selective skepticism" on display in these kinds of social events is used in other arenas to pretty vile ends.

And don't even get me started about the Matrix. Humans as an efficient energy source? Grr....

No comments: