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152 votes
Accepted

How accurate is this computer hardware in the movie Wall Street?

Those are actual stock trading computers used in the 1980s. The manufacturer is Quotron - whose name is on the keypad in the second image. Quotron started providing a computer interface for reporting ...
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132 votes
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Why is Discovery One covered in sulphur in "2010: The Year We Make Contact"?

TL;DR: Because the space around Io is full of large amounts of ionized sulfur produced by Io's many volcanoes. There are an absurd number of volcanoes on Io, and they spew out an enormous amount of ...
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116 votes
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Is the drug used to stop infection in The Rock real?

There is no 'deadly virus' in The Rock. The weapon that is stolen by Frank Hummel's team is VX, a so-called nerve agent, a chemical that (amongst other things) interferes with your muscles and causes ...
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102 votes
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Why weren't Hitler's actual facial features used in The Man in the High Castle?

For the benefit of those like me who haven't watched the series, here's a picture of Hitler in The Man in the High Castle, as played by Wolf Muser: To me, this is still recognisably Hitler, just an ...
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102 votes

Why wouldn't soldiers eat meat of cows killed by their enemies?

When an animal is killed for meat, steps are taken promptly to limit spoilage - removing entrails and moving the carcass to the shade at the very least. Dead animals left in the sun become unsafe to ...
92 votes
Accepted

Why does the roadrunner say "beep beep"?

As explained on Wikipedia: Chuck Jones, the creator of the Road Runner, has stated that this sound, the only way the Road Runner can harm the Coyote, was inspired by hearing a Doppler-like effect as ...
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76 votes
Accepted

Why were mouse holes often represented in cartoons and movies like this?

The cartoon mouse holes are just rounded out versions of the real thing. Mice are rodents who are capable of gnawing through walls to make a cozy home within them. Here are a few real mouse holes:
74 votes
Accepted

Was a supercomputer really needed in "The Martian"?

The consensus on Space Exploration.SE where this same question was asked is... NO Answer by Mark Adler Well, developing low-thrust trajectories does take more computation than impulsive trajectories (...
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70 votes
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What could have resulted in such a huge crater in WW I?

That all depends on how big the artillery shell was. A standard 75mm/18lb shell would have difficulty making a hole anywhere near that big, but the largest shell fired in WWI was 3,130 lbs! used by ...
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68 votes
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Can a single bullet from a handgun kill three people in the way Deadpool did?

TL;DR: It is possible, but not very easy to pull off. Real life examples: One bullet, two deer killed: A few years ago, a 10 year old boy on his first hunting trip killed two deer with one round. ...
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68 votes

Would a DeLorean actually break apart into a million pieces if hit by a freight train?

Yes. A few points. Real, better cars get destroyed all the time (for instance). The DeLorean has always been known as a fairly weak car. Its construction and crash ...
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68 votes
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"A galaxy far, far away..." -- from where?

It is difficult to answer this without the “opinion” sin, but Star Wars was very dear to Lucas. It was a story he had worked out in his head for a long time and written several drafts for. ...
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66 votes
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Why do movies think the speed of sound is as fast as the speed of light?

Because they fail test screenings. The general movie audience does not respond well to realistic depictions of explosions or cannons at a distance. From the other SE, a partial excerpt of a great ...
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66 votes
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How realistic is it to have maggots to remove dead flesh?

It is realistic and has historical and recent usage proof/ From the Wikipedia page of Maggot therapy (Warning: This page contains graphic images): Written records have documented that maggots have ...
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61 votes
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Can there be sunlight in Australia and Texas at the same time?

It's possible. Google says 8am in Melbourne is 5pm in Austin It's technically on a different day, which is possibly where the confusion lies, but around September both would be somewhere near equinox,...
  • 49.6k
58 votes

What could have resulted in such a huge crater in WW I?

Possibly the result of an underground bomb, placed there by miners: One of the common techniques used in warfare during the First World War was mining. There were various mines planted under ...
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57 votes
Accepted

Why was this sailor painting a Swastika on a US Destroyer?

Those are victory or kill marks. It was very common for tanks, planes and ships to mark their kills on both the Allied and Axis sides during the war. Image source The "Rising Sun" flags ...
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55 votes
Accepted

Is it really as easy to knock someone out in real life as in the movies?

Disclaimer: Violence is stupid and dangerous. A blow to the skull is often fatal. I wouldn't say it's easy, but there are several sweet spots on the skull that, when hit with sufficient force, is ...
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55 votes
Accepted

Is it scientifically possible to grow potatoes in Martian soil?

Normally, no, you could not grow plants in Martian soil... but adding nutrients to the soil makes it perfectly usable. There's a great article about it on Modern Farmer: And, yes, it is possible to ...
  • 26.4k
55 votes

If you pour buckets of gasoline on mattresses and shoot one pistol bullet at mattresses, will mattresses fire up?

As the other answer states, a single actual standard bullet would not ignite that way. However, in the movie, it seems clear that the officer is not using a standard handgun but rather a flare gun of ...
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54 votes
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Do janitors really earn more than the resident doctors in the US?

Caveat: Janitor says paycheck and paid much more. He does not say paid more per hour. Both are likely salaried and the p/h below is for comparison of their biweekly paycheck. Consider that Sacred ...
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53 votes
Accepted

Is the device Beca uses in Pitch Perfect 2 a real musical device?

The device appears to be called (or is similar to) a Launchpad, and is not just something made for the movie. https://global.novationmusic.com/launch/launchpad# They've been around for some time. ...
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51 votes
Accepted

Why would a ship that is able to recycle all water consumed have trouble running out of water?

Unlike Galactica, many of the civilian ships were not equipped with effective water recycling system. Quote from your source: Many of the ships like the Virgon Express were not made for long-term ...
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50 votes
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Was Tim's reaction to the electric fence realistic?

Unrealistic in every possible way It follows the standard film trope of electric shock - a bright spark, smoke, and the character blown backwards by an "invisible hand". It also assumes mere contact ...
  • 2,423
48 votes

Did the actors in All Creatures Great and Small actually have their hands in the animals?

Oh, yes, it was done for real. From Wikipedia, a quote from Peter Davison himself… When it came to the oft-joked-about insertion of an arm into a cow's rear end, Davison said: "People think we ...
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48 votes
Accepted

How much of Twister is true?

Yes In fact, one team of storm chasers died in their continued quest to make this a reality. Tim Samaras, 55, his son Paul Samaras, 24, and his colleague Carl Young, 45, died in 2013 while chasing a ...
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48 votes

Why wouldn't soldiers eat meat of cows killed by their enemies?

Those cows have likely been laying dead on the side of the road in the sun for hours, if not days. The meat is spoiled and likely to cause food poisoning if eaten. They don't want to get sick. Had the ...
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48 votes

Is NYC taxi cab number 86Z5 reserved for filming?

It quite likely came from a movie vehicle rental specialist. I don't have a hope of tracking down the actual company, but vehicles used in filming are known as 'action vehicles' [possibly also '...
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47 votes
Accepted

Is it really possible to cause military-grade explosives to explode with a gun shot?

NO Military Grade explosives are incredibly safe and are designed to only explode when required. Take C4 (or Composition-4 to give it its correct name) - Wikipedia C-4 is very stable and ...
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47 votes
Accepted

How does a rifle fire backwards?

While I am not a gun expert, it would be safe to say that while normal rifle cannot be modified to shoot bullet backward, it is possible to modify the rifle to make it hurt the shooter. All you'd need ...
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Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible