Thunderball Jetpack

We’re doing our own Countdown to Skyfall, but over at NPR, they’ve gone to folk hero/scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson to get the good word on believability when it comes to James Bond’s ridiculous toys. Q dreams them up, but not all of them are made equally in the eyes of physics.

Just a sampling from the must-listen bit, concerning the magnetic watch in Live and Let Die that allows 007 to avoid dodging bullets:

“I was younger at the time, of course, as was everyone who’s watching it — but I knew that bullets are made of lead. Lead is not magnetic. So you’re not deflecting bullets with your magnetic device. I’m sorry — all right, if bullets were made of nickel or cobalt or iron, yeah, then maybe it could do something. But no! I’m sorry. … I didn’t give him that one. I said, ‘Nope, you messed up there.’ ”

Science! It turns out several Bond gadgets pass the smell test, but it’s fortunate that movie magic often needs no explanation because there’s still no answer as to how Q always knows exactly what situations Bond will get into at the beginning of the movie. “I need a laser hat?! How lucky. I just got one this morning!”

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