Is the power outage in L as Vegas using the "pinch" shown in Ocean's Eleven realistic? Or is it one of those instances where the writers took some creative leeway in the script? Since a majority of the Ocean's trilogy is always transparent about the technology and how the Ocean's crew uses it.

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This was basically an example of movie physics, where reality doesn't quite match but we give them a pass because it moves the story along.

APS had a brief interview with the scientist who advised on the making of the film, Neal Singer.

"I can confirm the Sandia Z-pinch is the inspiration for the movie's gimmick," says Neal Singer, a science writer in the Sandia media communications group. A year or two ago, Singer spent several hours talking to the prop people from the movie about the Z pinch, which creates lightning-like tangles of startling color for a few billionths of a second as it fires-making it a very colorful, if bulky, piece of work. "We discussed Z's possibilities as a plot mechanism," says Singer. "I explained it might be hard to move the Z machine to the top of a stationwagon and fire it off in mid-Vegas; that didn't stop them, obviously."

Sandia researchers have still more news: even their colossal Z-pinch doesn't generate a very strong electromagnetic pulse. The pinch is "a poor EMP source," says Quintenz. "We have on occasion interfered with the sensitive electronics in cameras and computers located in the same laboratory space," he says, but "to my knowledge we have never caused a problem with any electronics or electrical system outside the accelerator building itself."

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