Watching old episodes of "The 4400" while doing some chores around the house. I like this TV show, it is not bad. It is not great either, but you know... I already saw the great ones dozens of times.
Anyway, while watching shows like this it always drives me mad when stupid, nonsense, pseudosciency things are happening in a sci-fi show. Not when they say stupid things, people are saying stupid things all the time, but when they actually work, when the plot rely on them, that I really hate.
In episode 4E08 they need to hot-wire some elevator or something in the building. Make a short circuit or something... The cable is not long enough, so the guy decides they short it by touching the two wires while holding hands. He says "thousands of volts will run through our bodies"...
Oh, that makes me mad, that makes me so mad! I heard this stupid thing in sooo many movies, it is so stupid!
First of all, there are no thousands of volts in that cable, it is not thousands of volts in a building. Thousands of volts on a power line is extremely dangerous, it is not in small metal boxes on the wall. That cable he holds is clearly for a low voltage, most probably for 12V batteries. Anyway, it is not important, this is not the stupid part.
He says "volts will run through". But volts are not running anywhere. Volts are differences between two points. Like it is 12 volts between the two connector of a car battery. It can't run anywhere, what runs is the electric current and it is measured in amperes not volts. Those are two completely different things, named after two different famous dead guys. Like mixing up temperature and whatnot, pressure... or saying "what a cute animal, I like it, it is called Mount Everest and Bach wrote it".
But this is again, not the really stupid part. The stupid part is hat the writer thinks a copper wire as thick as my thumb can be actually replaced by a human body. Two bodies in this case.
Man! Think! We are not made of copper, right? In fact we have very little copper or any other metal in our body. That cable has probably about 0.01 ohm resistance, the human body has about what, 10,000,000? That cable is made so that it can can carry the current between two points. It is made that thick, so it can do the job. It is made of metal, so it can do it. The human body on the other hand is a completely different thing.
And while at it, here is the other cliche, here you are, the keypad hot-wire...
Why? I mean why anyone would thing this should work? Maybe the last time the writer could not log in to FaceBook or EBay cutting the keyboard wire and making random shorts helped? Is that what happened?
How dumb the engineer has to be to design a security system that can be hot-wired like this? Wouldn't that be a completely useless system? And by the way making random shorts is actually an excellent way to break a delicate electronic system. And yes, when you break it the door should not open. Not from that keyboard anyway...