Thinking ‘scientific’ is an interesting examination of science and engineering in science fiction. The page on Common Sci-Fi Myths has a section about the role of a formal education and how you can often detect its absence. Those who try to fake it tend to make mistakes on extremely basic physics concepts, analyze scientific treatises from a literary mindset, or assume that every idea with isn’t strictly impossible must be the truth.

This particular type of misunderstanding coupled with hubris often seems to be the source of contentious discussions on public forums, for example. The difference between power and energy is often behind many problems in discussing ‘alternative’ energy. It is also a factor in discussing RV batteries. Force, acceleration, and work often get involved in discussions about weight ratings or braking.

Sci-Fi problems with science and engineering can provide a good foil for gauging our own ability to critically use a good knowledge for making decisions about how and what we do in our own lives.

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