Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Why don't they fall through the floor?

Okay, now this may seem like a weird title for a post, but you'll understand in a minute (maybe... I mean, does any sane person really understand anything I write?).

At any rate, every sci-fi fan knows that one of the favorite "go-to" plot scenarios is the "out of phase" conundrum. You know, they're out of phase, so they can now walk through walls, objects, people, sometimes they're even invisible. The problem to be solved is, of course, getting back "in" phase so they can again interact with other people.

Well what I want to know, and what has bothered me for years now (to the point that when that plot line comes up, I spend a good 5 minutes arguing with the television about the impossibility of what it's about to show me), is WHY don't they fall through the floor? Why is the floor - or the ground for that matter - somehow immune to any phase shifting that takes place? Why don't they fall through the earth and out the other side? Why can they climb stairs?

These are the questions that haunt me.

6 comments:

Nicole 7:10 PM  

*chuckles* I've never thought of that before, but it's a darn good question :)

(Thanks--now I'll be arguing with the TV, too...)

Kat 7:19 PM  

I'm just frustrating the world, one reader at a time, lol!

Mik 9:49 PM  

Special inserts in their shoes!

Kat 7:25 PM  

They must have those quite handy in the future, eh?

Richard Daniels,  10:37 PM  

Ironically, X-men solved this one with Kitty Pryde. There are different levels of "out of phase". For instance, most of the time, even though they can walk through walls and stuff, there's usually some forms of energy that affect them. So, they aren't absolutely unaffectable. Obviously, gravity still affects them, or this wouldn't be a dilemna. So, other effects of mass might be applicable to them, despite the fact that it has to be an indirect interaction, rather than an electromagnetic repulsion that would make the mass coherent and tangible to them. So, a mass that can warp space-time enough, such as a huge planet, would still affect them enough for them to consider it "tangible". As I mentioned earlier, Kitty pryde can go further than that, and actually make herself intangible completely, so that gravity and other stuff don't affect her either. Obviously, this isn't a good idea, as the planet would leave her in space as it moves around the sun if she waited too long.
The other issue that no one thinks of is the fact that they wouldn't be able to breath, since air would be intangible to them as well. So, any device that would make someone intangible would have to either create some physiological solution so that they don't need to breath, provide some sort of air pocket for them, or leave a field around them so that air can be put in their "phase", to be tangible and therefore breathable.

Don't ask, I'm just the biggest meta-physics nerd on the internet, and therefore the universe. Deal with it.

April 9:08 AM  

Sweeeeeeet. Very cool explanation!

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