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8/10
An unexpected error
Anne O'Nymous13 February 2010
In a show that deals with complex mathematics, it seems really weird (and a little sad) to me that the script used "light-years" as a measurement of time. One light-year is the amount of *distance* that light travels in a year. The reference to light-years was not about distance (although with a little tweaking, it could have been); it was clearly about time.

In places, the script dealt with some astronomical information that is beyond what is known by most amateurs. If this English teacher knows what a light-year is, shouldn't the writers, or someone on the cast, crew, or set?
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Trying to clear up what appears to be some confusion about years vs. light-years
jrolland19424 April 2013
(I haven't seen this episode, but I think I can clear up a small point about the light-years thing without having actually seen the episode.

If the star was 2.2 million light-years away from us, then (assuming relatively flat space-time between the Earth and the star), the light from the star would take 2.2 million years to get to us, traveling at the speed of light. I think that what Peter MacNicol's character was trying to say was simply was that (a) the star died 2.2 million years ago and (b) the star was - not at all coincidentally, but in fact, precipitating his character's statement causally - 2.2 million light-years away from the earth, so that "news" of that event was just reaching the Earth now.

That's really the idea behind astronomers using light-years - at first, a bizarre unit of measurement, possibly - as a unit of distance: if a planet/star/etc. is X light-years away from the Earth, "news" about the heavenly body that has reached us via light waves emanated/reflected from the heavenly body will have actually happened X years in the past. The use of light-years as a unit of distance makes such calculations as how long in the past a celestial event we are just now "observing" actually occurred essentially trivial.

There is a system of units in physics, called "natural units", in which the value for c - the speed of light - is simply 1 (with units of velocity, length/time, of course); this makes some calculations - "E = mc^2", for instance - as trivial as the one I outlined above. Converting numbers gleaned in such "natural units" to numbers in the metric or English systems most of us normal humans use in our daily lives, actually creating jet engines or elevator motors or whatever engineering application of physics we are doing, a drag, but it makes the physicists' lives simple(r).

Hope this help.)
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8/10
The award show
jotix1005 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Like most people these days, Amita is into the zillion telecasts of award shows that begin at the end of each year and go on forever. Her interest is mostly to check out the outfits the gorgeous women are wearing and to comment on the latest gossip about the stars. This particular program is different in that a fire begins in the middle of an acceptance speech, taking place between the stage and the front rows of the orchestra. As people scramble out of the theater, one thing becomes clear, the smoke, was exactly that, a screen to hide a robbery that was perpetrated on some of the stars at the event.

Some priceless gems are gone. Hans Stollbach, a society jeweler, had 'lent' the precious jewels to the celebrities to add a touch of class to the women that will be seen in the telecast in exchange for free publicity for his store, no doubt. The loss to the precious pieces will have to be a matter for the jeweler to take with his insurance company. When the FBI agents go to him, he does not appear too concerned, relying on the fact that he will be reimbursed somehow.

Charlie Eppes, in reconstructing the crime, creates a program in which a chart of the seating arrangement gives him a reason to match the faces of people exiting the apparent fire inside the theater with the actual celebrities. The FBI is being helped by Elizabeth Hopkins, a rep from LLoyd's insurance that came to supervise the event. The agents get lucky when they are told by the producer of the show that some "extras" were hired to sit where the real celebrities were sitting as the big names take breaks at different times of the show. Six men from a Colombian thieves seem to have been involved in the robbery.

As everything is explored, the missing pieces are found in a sweat shop. The jewelry from Stollbach turns out to be fake. The real valuable stuff is not found right away. Charlie, working on his chart, comes up with a solution that reveals how some insiders were the real culprits and the loot is found.

Ralph Hemecker, who has collaborated with the show before, directed the screenplay that Gary Rieck wrote. Mr. Hemecker keeps things moving at a nice pace. He got good performances from his guest stars as well as the regulars. Marilu Henner, Rowena King, Stephen Spinella and a funny William Katt add to the pleasure of watching the show.

On another note, we agree with the other person who commented on this particular show about some of the scientific terms used by Charlie and Larry when they go into explanations that are way beyond our comprehension. Keeping simpler works better.
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