Get your SI units right, Doctor!

Just watched the latest Doctor Who episode – Into the Dalek.

I’m a fan, don’t get me wrong. A big, avid Whovian. But, boy, this episode did make me boil with moderate rage. Not much, but enough to write this little note.

I will not give full details on the whole episode. See it for yourself, it’s quite OK. I will focus on one thing that I found rather disturbing. An obvious sign of writers’ ignorance of science.

#SPOILERSAHEAD

Doctor, Clara and couple of soldiers from spaceship Aristotle (whose apparel seemed somehow familiar) venture into a closed tank-body of a Dalek.

It is obviously different from other hating and loathing representatives of the species by seeing how wicked they are and wanting to destroy them all. Could it be a chance to learn how to turn all Daleks from the Dark Side? Can they be good and stop being a constant danger to the Universe? Probably.

It’s a nice idea for an episode, but somehow reeks of a reheated meal.

Anyway, I mentioned venturing. How to examine a Dalek and find out what’s wrong (or right) with it?

“Well, the logical solution would be to miniaturize some people and send them inside…”

“Oh, yeah, what a brilliant… wait, WHAT?!”

“We shrink a few blokes and inject them into this alien tank to study how it operates.”

“Is this how we conduct medical procedures now? Surely, we have some equipment that was invented in the ancient, 20th Century and has since been upgraded, updated and finetuned? This is the Advanced Tech Future, right? We have spaceships and stuff?”

“Yeah, but we only have this MOLECULAR NANOSCALER on board!”

“What? This IS the hospital, right? Not a battleship? Are there no other devices here? Not even one small machine?”

“Nah, we don’t need hospitals now. Daleks don’t leave any wounded, and we don’t take any prisoners.”

“Oh, so you need hospitals ONLY TO TREAT WOUNDED? Have you heard about those little things? Or perhaps, those, would come in handy from time to time? Or at least you could accomodate some space here to perform these? And what is this crap about prisoners? You need prisons for them, don’t you?”

“But, but… we only have this MOLECULAR NANOSCALER on board!”

“All right, tell me what exactly does it do…”

“Well, it miniaturizes a van-sized capsule full of people to become about three centimetres wide and seven centimetres long.”

“Great! But surely you did not mean centimetres, right?”

“Why?”

“You call this machine a NANOscaler! You know what nano means?! ONE BILLIONTH OF A METRE! That’s the scale of atoms and molecules! If you scale something from less than 2 metres down to 2cm, it’s not even micro. It’s still THE MACROSCOPIC SCALE! You. Can. Still. See it. With. Naked. Eye.”

“But we need to enter this Dalek and examine it! Its eyestalk is around 8cm in diameter, so we only need people to be an inch in height.”

“Oh, shut up!”

Yup. Maybe not the exact word for word transcription but this is what I saw in my mind when I tried to figure out the reasoning behind this particular part of the plot.

And don’t get me even started on the way they healed/repaired the Dalek.

Kind of disappointed with another #badscience SF episode. Next one is a medieval one, so… meh

DISCLAIMER: I do understand that Doctor Who series is meant to be funny, easy to follow and enjoyable. It’s entertainment, all right. It’s aimed at both adults and younger viewers and sometimes a plot too complicated might not be a good idea. I just can’t understand how one cannot check one’s facts before writing them down. This world is already full of mistrust towards science and widespread ignorance, Let’s change that.

 

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