673: The Sun

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The Sun
Obligatory bad guy: This operation is sheer foolishness, and it's not happening on my watch! Mainly because I can't figure out how to adjust the time.
Title text: Obligatory bad guy: This operation is sheer foolishness, and it's not happening on my watch! Mainly because I can't figure out how to adjust the time.

Explanation

This comic makes fun of science fiction disaster movies, especially the film "Sunshine" and includes puns about daylight saving time. It reads like a movie trailer.

"Sunshine" is an 2007 British science fiction disaster film about a group of astronauts sent to reignite a dying Sun with a nuclear bomb.

"The Core" is a 2003 American science fiction disaster movie, concerning a team that has to drill to the center of the Earth and set off a series of nuclear explosions in order to restart the rotation of Earth's core.

Daylight saving time (or "summer time" in Europe and elsewhere) is the practice of advancing clocks during the summer so that evenings have more daylight, and mornings less.

The movie described by the comic shows a scenario where the "sun's fusion is failing". The sun's energy comes from nuclear fusion reactions among the extremely hot dense hydrogen plasma in its core. The idea of the sun's fusion failing is rather ridiculous from a scientific perspective, because the fusion reactions are well understood and the sun has enough hydrogen to fuel it for about 5 billion more years. The solution is to send a team of astronauts to the sun to restart the fusion (and this is even more nonsensical from a scientific perspective). The team leader is motivated by concern that if the sun's fusion stops, there will be no more light, and so the earth will be in perpetual nighttime.

The final panel gives the movie's name and subtitle. "Daylight Saving Time" refers both to the policy of changing clocks, which is intended to "save" daylight for a more useful part of the day; and the scenario in this movie in which it is time for the team to literally save the sun's daylight from being extinguished. "Never fall back" is an additional word play on the mnemonic used (in the States at least) to remember the direction to change clocks. The mnemonic goes, "spring forward, fall back" to indicate that in the spring season, clocks get set ahead by an hour, while in the fall the clocks are set backwards an hour. The phrase "fall back", however, can also mean to retreat in battle.

The comic makes fun of these disaster movies in a couple ways. The characters in the first panel acknowledge that the scenario doesn't make sense scientifically, but are prepared to sacrifice scientific value for the plot. Also, in the second panel the team is to be composed of NASA's "hottest astronauts", which makes fun of the fact that the characters in movies are much more attractive than average.

The movie "Sunshine" shares similar issues as those illustrated in this comic, particularly the questionable science involved.

Transcript

Coming this March from the makers of The Core...
[A woman is looking through a telescope in an observatory. Two men are nearby.]
Woman: The sun's fusion is failing!
Man 1: Does that make sense?
Man 2: Whatever.
Woman: If we don't send a ship to restart it, it could go out completely!
Man 1: Call NASA!
Man 2: (on the phone) Assemble our hottest astronauts.
[Four astronauts stand at the other end of the phone. The one holding the handset has the helmet of a space suit under his arm.]
Astronaut: The earth bathed in eternal darkness? A night without a dawn? Not on my watch!
Astronaut: Saddle up.
[The four astronauts are shown in silhouette on gray, casting huge shadows towards the bottom of the panel from the sun in the center.]
It's DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME.
Never fall back.
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Discussion

Interesting (or deliberate?) that there's no reference at all in the explanation to Sunshine, released two years previously. 178.99.247.73 21:07, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Can't "to spring" be thought of as a physical movement? 108.162.212.196 00:49, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

Yes; that's why the mnemonic works. Zowayix (talk) 16:08, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
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