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Author Topic: The Cold Equations  (Read 3438 times)

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jpd

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The Cold Equations
« on: April 19, 2009, 02:08:03 PM »
I watched a pretty good low-budget sci-fi movie online last night, "The Cold Equations."    It's based on a short story and tells a classic tale of moral dilemma:

A one-man ship is dispatched to send urgently needed medical supplies to a mining colony.   The cold equation is the amount of fuel he he is carrying.  He has exactly enough fuel to carry one person and his cargo.   But there is a stow-away aboard his ship.    Now his ship is over-weighted.   His orders are to throw the girl out the hatch, otherwise they will all die, and the medicine wont get to the colonists.

It's not Gone With The Wind, but a fine film and presumably done on a shoe-string budget.   

Richard

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Re: The Cold Equations
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2009, 02:26:25 PM »
I've read this short story, and I know it well. I will look for the film. Thanks.

jpd

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Re: The Cold Equations
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2009, 02:43:22 PM »

Richard

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Re: The Cold Equations
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2009, 03:17:47 PM »
I missed you post on this, and went searching for it. I have it up on my screen now, but haven't started running it. I hope my little one will take a nap:) I'm thinking we should have a community watching of something, and then we can all talk about it. What do you think? Of course the last time I did  that on the other boards it flew over like a rock, thud.

Richard

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Re: The Cold Equations
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2009, 12:23:44 AM »
I have begun watching Cold Equations, I'll tell you what I think.

Richard

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Re: The Cold Equations
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2009, 12:43:51 PM »
I finished this movie a couple of days ago, and I forgot to post about it. I liked it! It wasn't great or anything, but a nice low budget movie to pass the time. They could have tossed  the meds or the girl, but no we have to get into a moral conflict!

Tweet_Book

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Re: The Cold Equations
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2009, 03:47:58 PM »
I always wonder why they just never toss stuff equal to the weight of the person in those movies -- sure, the spaceflight sucks without chairs and such, but it's better than killing someone.

jpd

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Re: The Cold Equations
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2009, 10:02:54 PM »
I'm replying to Richard and Tweet at the same time-   Deciding whether to toss the Meds or the Girl IS the moral conflict.   Do you kill the flesh-and-blood person standing in front of you who's pleading for their life, if it would save the lives of a dozen colonists?

And Tweet may have been responding to the EWR posts without having seen the movie, because that was their first response.  They ripped off every piece of extra insulation, wiring, a urinal, etc, and were disassembling their 1-man ship and blowing it out the hatch, but they were still short of their goal by 30 lbs.   By the time they decided to toss the medicine it was too late.   If they had tossed the medicine at the beginning they would have been okay, but they spent 2 hours of movie-time trying to solve the problem, while the weight of two people plus the medicine consumed all their fuel.    By the time they ditched the medicine they were still too late, and still short on fuel.

If anyone reading doesn't want to know the ending to this movie, then avert your eyes and click BACK.   The cold equation was that they ditched the medicine too late to help their ship.   Then the girl voluntarily went out the hatch so that the pilot could live.  The pilot successfully landed where he was tried and convicted for the deaths of 18 colonists.     

THAT's a story of moral crisis, isn't it?
« Last Edit: April 24, 2009, 10:18:31 PM by jpd »

Richard

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Re: The Cold Equations
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2009, 03:04:42 AM »
Yeah I think too there was a lot of questions about their society and the value of human life. It didn't seem so much to me that they were killing the girl to save 18 people, but that value of human life was in question. They wanted to save the miners for money, and the girl didn't mean anything at all because of her status. The conflict to me was that they wouldn't go off course to pick them up.

Tweet_Book

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Re: The Cold Equations
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2009, 01:31:47 AM »
Indeed, I haven't yet seen the movie -- I was speaking in generalities.

However, the way you described it makes me kind of want to see it even more, because the writers were obviously smart enough to see and avoid the big movie mistake I mentioned. Looks like I have the night's watching all set up. . .


jpd

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Re: The Cold Equations
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2009, 09:09:42 PM »
Just adding to Richards last comment.   There were definitely many layers of moral crisis to the story.   But where it was mostly told from the POV of the flight crew, their personal dilemma was the most immediate (to me) of the film.    But to your point-  yes, their personal dilemma was triggered because the cost of redirecting a mammoth ship out of hyperspace to deliver medical aid to the mining colony was "cost prohibitive."   And once the 1-man ship was dispatched containing two people aboard, it was still cost prohibitive to rescue the girl in order to save the mission.   There were many such examples, such as the friend who had to find the boundaries of how to help the pilot-- or not-- with his dilemma.  And the movie even ended with a moral crisis, as the guard in the courthouse refused his order to haul the pilot off to prison.   

Anyways, I'll stop SPAMMING about the movie now....

Richard

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Re: The Cold Equations
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2009, 09:18:36 PM »
No, no spamming, I like the discussion.