In my favorite long read of the week, David Shechner of Overthinking It sets out to determine whether Indiana Jones could’ve survived an atomic bomb from the safety of a lead-lined refridgerator, as depicted in The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Spoiler alert: Indy (and the franchise) wouldn’t have survived, in the real world. But exactly how Professor Jones would most likely meet his end is a much more enjoyable question. Here’s a tiny bit:
Sadly, the lead and steel shielding which the authors intend to protect their protagonist from ionizing radiation can itself become a source of it. While beta decay constitutes a relatively small portion of the average nuclear device’s output, what little sprinkle the Frigidaire receives it will transmute, in kind, into an X-ray bath for its inhabitant. It’s sort of like the way a Russian Sauna works, but instead of hot coals there’s a nuclear explosion, and instead of steam there’s a burst of X-rays, and instead of a wood hut it’s a Frigidaire, and also you’re dead. [Link sic.]
As additional evidence of Shechner’s scientific bona fides, he presents the whole analysis in the persona of the third reviewer. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a takedown of one of George Lucas’s late-career cinematic catastrophes so much since Anthony Lane wrote, in reference to Yoda’s diction in Revenge of the Sith, “break me a fucking give.” ◼