October 27, 2006

Also, "Costas Efthimiou"? Hello! Vampire name if I've ever heard one!

lez_va3.jpgSince fans of this site (can I use the plural?) are used to me debunking reports of supernatural activity, you may be surprised that today's gripe is actually about a scientist's lame attempt to debunk ghost and vampire legends as portrayed by Hollywood.

Now, I'm not saying ghosts and vampires are real, I'm just saying that physicist Costas Efthimiou is a fracking bonehead who simply isn't sufficiently geeky for the task he's set himself.

Using science and math, Efthimiou explains why it is ghosts can't walk among us while also gliding through walls, like Patrick Swayze in the movie "Ghost." That violates Newton's law of action and reaction. If ghosts walk, their feet apply force to the floor, but if they go through walls they are without substance, the professor says.

"So which is it? Are ghosts material or material-less?" he asks.

Is that supposed to be a gotcha question? Because it's pretty obvious that the answer is material-less. For starters, more Hollywood ghosts float or fly than walk. Ghost is an exception that's become ever more rare as special effects get cheaper. And just because some ghosts appear to walk, doesn't mean they actually are in the sense of their feet applying force to the floor. They're mimicking human activity out of habit, but they're actually "floating" with no distance between their feet and the floor. C'mon, we worked this shit out in junior high.

It gets worse.

Efthimiou takes out the calculator to prove that if a vampire sucked one person's blood each month — turning each victim into an equally hungry vampire — after a couple of years there would be no people left, just vampires. He started his calculations with just one vampire and 537 million humans on Jan. 1, 1600 and shows that the human population would be down to zero by July 1602.

I'll let the expert respond to this one: "To make you a vampire they have to suck your blood. And then you have to suck their blood. It's like a whole big sucking thing. Mostly they're just gonna kill you. Why am I still talking to you?"

That goes back at least to Bram Stoker, by the way.

Also, I'm no mathemetician, but at least superficially, Efcthulu's approach looks a lot like another calculation I've seen a bit of lately.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Two things:

First, before you get your geek on, you have to go back to source materials. The material-vs.-immaterial argument was the response to the belief that ghosts, by walking, were MAKING CREAKING SCARY NOISES of the type often heard in "haunted" houses. Either they're immaterial enough that they can walk through walls or they're solid enough to press floorboards with their feet and make them creak; they can't be both.

Second: Since vampires supposedly can't be killed by ordinary means and have no known predators, ordinary methods of population stabilization (death through disease, accidents, old age, being eaten) won't apply. He probably SHOULD have attempted to include some factor to represent the number of vampires who get staked or burst into flames when touched by the sun.

I know what you mean. Right now, I got Efthimiou as a professor and he brought the "Ghost" example up in class, even showed us the video clips. Personnally, i think this guy is a pompous ass. He tries to debunk ghost myths by showing movies that may or may not have gotten the 'myth' correct.
The clips that he showed us in class was 'the ghost' walking up the steps and passing through the doorway. Then he showed us the clip in which Sam (the ghost) learns to touch objects. In that second scene, the ghost that he learns from actually says "you think you're wearing those cloths? You think you're kneeling there? well, You're not!" So, I brought that up and said that Sam only perceived himself walking up the stairs in the first scene. Rather than talk to me intelectually, Efthimiou calls me an idiot and changes the subject entirely. Now, he will no longer call on me if i have a comment on what bullshit he is lecturing, cause he knows i can counter-act everything he says.

Hey there lil' retard friend of mine, i thought it was kind of obligatory when i saw your senseless flaming to post a little something back, not on the basis of me being scientifically proficient , but just on the basis of being related to Costas, that this summer when im in 'New Yawk" i ll come over and look you up to share some more of your ramblings, if you are able..Better have the correct addie on that cv, (great pic btw ) cos i hate looking.. Other than that, what kind of a name is Radosh, is it an infection you get on the genitals or something?

I have Costas as a professor. Maybe it's just because i understand math and physics, but he does have a logical point. He wasn't really disproving the Hollywood idea, there are people so ignorant as to believe in this crap, and honestly, ignorance is the anti-thesis of science. The dude is a little eccentric, but not as pompous as people make him out to be.

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