Top 10 Fictional Worlds Ruined By Real-Life Math


Here at TopTenz, we love math. We also love fictional entertainment, but we don’t like what happens when you combine the two. Because apparently, when you really look at fictional worlds and crunch the numbers, things don’t actually add up, which kind of ruins them. For example …

10. Harry Potter: The Wizarding Population is Unsustainable


Harry Potter is easily one of the most successful franchises in recent film history — we also heard it was turned into a book somewhere along the lines too, which is nice. Though the series originally started out as a whimsical story for children, it’s now enjoyed by adults of all ages. This is kind of a problem because, once adults with calculators did the math, something didn’t make sense. Namely, that there aren’t enough kids to sustain the entire world Rowling has created.

As noted here, Rowling has always insisted that Hogwarts has around a thousand students. However, by studying both the books and the films, a man called David Haber has realized that figure is wildly inflated. By counting both references made in the books and scenes from the movies (which were overseen by Rowling herself,) Haber worked out that each of the four houses in Hogwarts likely only has around 70 students, meaning the total number of students at Hogwarts is actually closer to 280.

With that in mind, it means that each and every single year, only about 40 adults enter the wizarding world. Of course there are other schools mentioned in the books, but Hogwarts is noted as being literally the only school for wizards in the entirety of Britain. For comparisons sake, there are around 9.5 million school age children in Britain, meaning that the population of magic children is 0.00002% the size of the population of Muggle children. Even if you try to argue that some wizard children are taught at home, those figures don’t bode well for the future of the wizard race.

9. Batman: Bruce Wayne Blows Millions Fighting Crime and Couldn’t be Batman For Long Anyway


Batman is one of the most popular superheroes of all time and, if Tumblr is to be believed, he’s also the patron saint of the Internet. However, he could only spend so many decades punching criminals in the face before someone worked out how stupid his crime fighting tactics actually are.

For example, someone worked out the actual cost of being Batman, and came up with a figure of around $682 million. Arguably, that figure includes his training and mansion, but even taking those costs out of the equation, Batman still spends a ton of cash every single time he leaves the Batcave. For example, his custom-made Batarangs costs approximately $300 dollars apiece, and how many of those have you seen Batman throw? Thousands upon thousands? Exactly.

In other words, every single Batarang Batman throws is the equivalent of him throwing a week’s salary for one of the criminals he’s punching into a coma. Speaking of which, every person Batman kicks into paste is another criminal he’s leaving with medical bills they already obviously can’t afford, putting an even bigger strain on the city of Gotham. Unless Gotham offers free healthcare, in which case he’s still putting a strain on the system.

But here’s the kicker: according to sports scientists, Batman could only realistically perform at his peak for 3 years. Of course, in the comics he’s replaced by Dick Grayson and Tim Drake, but think for a second about how much better off Gotham would have been if, instead of Batarangs, Batman threw $300 worth of food and therapy coupons at criminals.

8. Starship Troopers: The Bugs are Clearly Smarter Than Us


If you want to point out that Starship Troopers is supposed to be a huge parody then go ahead, but it doesn’t change that what we’re about to discuss is a huge plot hole.

At around the mid-point of the movie, it’s revealed that the bugs have been firing ass plasma at asteroids, with the intention of knocking them out of orbit to hit Earth. Unless you skipped basic science class, you know that planets in our solar system are millions of miles apart, and it has taken us decades just to reach the outer limits of our own solar system going as fast as humanly possible. This would mean that the bugs were able to not only aim a meteorite at a planet literally millions of miles away, but also predict where it would be exactly in the hundreds of years it would take the meteorite to actually get there.

We know bugs are smart, but if they’ve figured out how to destroy cities on Earth from across the galaxy with rocks while our men with guns die by the thousands against them, maybe they’re the ones who should be in charge.

7. The Simpsons: Homer and Marge are Ridiculously Wealthy


The Simpsons have consistently been portrayed as an average American family over the decades they’ve been on TV. Odd then that they earn considerably more than almost everyone reading this. We’re not kidding — despite his many career ups and downs, Homer Simpson has almost always been a steadily-employed nuclear safety technician for the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. For those of you who don’t know, that job pays an average salary of $67,000 a year, which is almost $20,000 more than the median income of an average American household, and means Homer earns $35 an hour.

Then you have the Simpson house, a 4/5 bedroom palace with a double garage, a sitting room, a rumpus room, a living room, a dining room, and attic and basement conversions. All in all, the Simpson house is worth an estimated $289,000, which isn’t even taking into account all of the other stuff they own. Two cars, tons of power tools, a sauna, a piano, and let’s not forget that Homer still likely collects royalties from his years as a famous singer. How many average families have all that?

6. Pacific Rim: The Jaegers Just Plain Wouldn’t Work


Pacific Rim is a film in which giant robots punch giant monsters in the face with elbow rockets. It’s not supposed to be taken seriously but damn it, even goofy stuff should have to comply with the laws of physics.

Now thankfully, the giant robot aspect of the film is pretty sound. They could theoretically be built, though we’d never be able to move them. In the film, a typical Jaeger is shown to be moved from place to place by helicopter, though only on screen for a second. Smarter people than us were able to deduce that the helicopters shown were Boeing CH-47 Chinooks. Calculating the mass of the standard Jaeger, these people were then able to reason that it would take 640 of these helicopters just to get an average Jaeger off the ground in the first place. Considering that the whole point of the Jaegers is to intercept the Kaiju before they reach cities and wreck everything, this kind of raises a few problems.

Now, we’re not saying that people in the movie (or real life, hint, hint) couldn’t scrape together 640 helicopters to move a single Jaeger. What we are saying though, is that there are less than 1200 of these things in existence.  Realistically, the entire world’s resources could only move one giant robot at a time. Considering the film shows the Kaiju attacking everywhere from Japan to the US, we’re going to say that it’s unlikely that any Jaegers built would even be able to be deployed in time to stop them from killing millions of people.

Of course, you could argue that the Jaegers could simply walk everywhere, but when’s the last time you heard of any kind of walking, even the giant robot kind, being faster than helicopter?

5. Star Wars: The Force Renders Lightsaber Combat Pointless


Whether or not you like the Star Wars movies, you’re likely well aware of how awesome the Force is. However, George Lucas made a serious mistake with Star Wars when he greenlit Galen Marek. For those of you unfamiliar with the Star Wars Extended Universe, Galen Marek is the protagonist of the video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Within Star Wars canon, he’s noted as being the single most powerful user of the Force ever.

This makes for a great game, but it also raises questions about the entire franchise. For example, Galen is shown to be fully capable of ripping a Star Destroyer out of orbit, a ship that weighs around 6.4 millions tons. Now let’s do some math — as we all know, Force = Mass x Acceleration, which mean Marek just being able to move this thing at all means he’s capable of producing at least 6 billion Newtons of force, using the Force.

This leads us to an unsettling realization: if a Force user is capable of producing this kind of force using their mind, why the hell do they need to use lightsabers? Seriously, let’s say that Marek is 1000x more powerful than the average Jedi. That would still mean said Jedi could theoretically produce 5.8 million Newtons of force with their mind. A person caught in a car crash in which the car is travelling at 30 MPH without wearing a seatbelt is exposed to just over 100,000 Newtons of force. With that in mind a Jedi, without even trying , should be able to produce car crash-levels of force with a flick of their wrist. Even if you argue that other Jedi could resist such force, the math is insane.

For example, let’s take that 100,000 Newtons figure, a very, very conservative estimate of how much force an average Jedi could easily produce, considering that it has been established multiple times that with the Force, “size and mass mean nothing.” Taking our Force = Mass x Acceleration formula and swapping it around, we can work out that Acceleration = Force / Mass. Which means a Jedi able to produce 100,000 Newtons of force could accelerate an object weighing half a kilo to speeds of 200,000 meters per second. If you could do that, fighting people becomes a total non-issue. Every fight in the Star Wars trilogy should have ended in about three seconds, and consisted entirely of a Jedi launching a piece of debris into someone’s face at 300 MPH.

4. The Matrix: The Agents Should Have Been Able to “Dodge This”


The first Matrix movie features a scene in which Trinity very awesomely shoots an Agent at point-blank range in the face, after slapping a bunch of SWAT officers to death on a rooftop with Keanu Reeves. It’s a pretty badass scene that cements Trinity as one of the coolest and most capable female characters in recent movie history.

However, the Agent she shoots totally should have been able to dodge the shot. By calculating the distance an Agent is from Neo when he fires the barrage of bullets that he dodges like a boss, an Agent’s reaction time is put at around 0.04 seconds or faster. Meaning, in the time it takes Trinity to say the words “Dodge this,” the Agent she’s trying to shoot totally had enough time to beat her to death before she’d finished talking.

Think about it — it takes Trinity a full two seconds (trust us, we counted) to say “Dodge this.” In that same amount of time, literally 20 seconds earlier, the same agent was able to move his entire body quickly enough to dodge bullets travelling 1250 feet per second. What was stopping him from moving that fast the instant he heard Trinity talking? That’s not us being pedantic — we honestly want to know because, as far as we can tell, there was nothing stopping him from killing Trinity and ending the franchise right there.

3. Forrest Gump: His Wealth Would Cause Tons of Problems


If you’ve never seen Forrest Gump, the basic story is that Tom Hanks stumbles his way through life and, through sheer dumb luck, ends up becoming a billionaire shrimp baron, a football pro, a war hero, and an Olympic ping pong champion. We’re here to talk about the first fact.

Thanks to his shrimping success (not in that way, you pervs,) Gump has an estimated wealth of $5.6 billion, money he never seems to spend. We’re not saying that he should donate it to charity or something stupid like that, but he could at least, you know, spend it. Just sit back for a moment and consider what Gump is doing. He’s hoarding billions of dollars from his local economy; imagine the boost he could give the community of Greenbow, Alabama if he spread around a little of that cheddar.

But he doesn’t. In fact, one of the few things we ever outright see Gump buy is the old farm his crush used to live on, which he then immediately bulldozes to the ground. Don’t you want to turn it into an actual farm, Gump? Perhaps honor Jenny’s memory by giving your local community a bunch of new jobs and source of pride? No, you just want to cut grass for free, robbing your community of yet another job someone could be getting paid to do. Awesome job, moron.

2. Friends: Everyone There is an Ageless God


Okay so that’s a bit of an overstatement, but time in the Friends universe seems to stand still, or at least stop and start at random. Straight off the bat, Ross’ birthday is an absolute mess, with him openly claiming to be 29 years old for three seasons straight. Even the show’s official Wiki can’t explain why. He even celebrates the same birthday, twice!

Then you have Ross’ sometimes-lover-sometimes-not Rachel, who was supposedly pregnant at Chandler and Monica’s wedding, which is canonically in May of 2001, but then goes on maternity leave in August of 2002. That would suggest Rachel was pregnant for 15 months!

Of course this can all be put down to lazy writing, but we’re guessing that like us, most everyone reading this is now disappointed that they were watching a show about people with superpowers, and never got to see one person have their head punched off.

1. Jurassic Park: DNA’s Half Life Would Make the Entire Film Impossible


Despite the fact that the world collectively wants dinosaurs like, so hard, such a dream is impossible. This is due to the fact that DNA, the very building blocks of life, have an built-in expiration date. According to research conducted on the bones of Moa (an giant-ass extinct bird,) DNA can only last a calculated 521 years. This means that any creature that died further back than around the 15th century, even if it’s perfectly preserved, will have no usable DNA left in its body that we could use to clone it.

This sadly means that we will likely never be able to clone dinosaurs. Ever. Meaning everything you saw in Jurassic Park is absolute fiction, and the thought of gearing up and riding a T-Rex is one that is going to have to live on in both our imaginations, and our enemies’ nightmares.

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  1. The bugs in Starship Troopers aren’t smart. The asteroid attacks are false flags created by the Federation. This is hinted to throughout the films, as the entire trilogy is satire.

  2. Anonymous Nitpicker on

    I realize this is an opinion article, but I have an obligation as a nitpicker and naysayer to write a far-too-long post about it. So here’s the holes in your logic:

    10- The wizarding population would be unsustainable, if not for a few specific facts addressed in universe. Firstly, you forgot to compensate for the fact that there are multiple schools like Hogwarts and also for the population of wizards that are no longer attending the schools for various reasons (mostly graduation.) Second, you have disregarded the fact that wizards are known to be born to normal “muggle” parents (Hermione Granger, for instance.)

    9- You’re correct, I also happen to believe that Bruce Wayne would not be able to operate for very long at his probably performance level. Even if he dumped money into his health, it wouldn’t be too long before the accumulation of wear and tear caught up. You are, however, forgetting that he doesn’t have a static amount of money. Bruce Wayne still collects money from his company, likely swelling his funds far beyond the number listed here. Since his only expense after the initial startup of his project would be replacing equipment and medical expenses (plus periodically upgrading and buying stuff for certain young wards), it can be assumed that his monetary value yearly is more than capable of paying for his lifestyle as a crime fighter.

    8- No beef with this one, I just wish the movie had followed the book more closely.

    7- Again, on the money.

    6- Unless the Jaegers are made of and armored by some sort of hyper-light futuristic material, you’re correct here as well.

    5- I really wish people would make a greater effort to understand the Jedi Order and the way the Force works. It would simplify my life as a nitpicker so much.

    The reason that the Jedi use lightsabers is because of their philosophy that the Force isn’t a weapon or a tool, it is only supposed to be used to grant knowledge and overcome obstacles that cannot be overcome in any other way. Galen Marek, who never studied the Jedi path formally, had no way of embracing that mindset. Raised as a Sith instead, he was trained that the Force was a tool to obey the will of the user, rather than a partner to be allowed to work for its user. However, unless dealing with another Force-user, there was little need for a Jedi to use the Force beyond its abilities to help them block attacks and sense their surroundings. Also, pulling a Star Destroyer out of orbit was the only option that Marek had at the time. Given other options, he might have chose to utilize other methods.

    4-1- I hold no contention with the bulk of these, other than to point out that ancient DNA has been discovered several times with more than enough intact substance to make clones. However, the dinosaurs probably couldn’t be reproduced this way. Even if you could reproduce one by cloning, the modern atmosphere is somewhat rarified by their gigantic standards and they’d likely suffer at least mild hypoxia because of it.

    That’s my two cents (adjusted for content and inflation, about $200.)

  3. Thank for ruining all these great movies. haha not really. Cool article. I wish I would have thought of it. And I heard about the mammoth cloning but I thought it was the Japanese. Craziness!

  4. lol russians just found mammoth blood and muscle tissue and are thinking on cloning it.the animal is about 43 thousand years old

  5. You called Forrest Gump a moron, therefore, your argument is invalid. You’re probably one of those people that complains just because you enjoy complaining. BTW you offered ZERO insight into mathematics ruining his the fictional world in which he is portrayed. That being said, you offered an opinion piece.

  6. The issue with Pacific Rim isnt the robots. Its that knowing all the kaiju come from one place in the ocean, the tear they need to close. Why not just send a load of subs that patrol that tear and blow the crap out the kaiju as soon as they pop there head out. Then spend the robot money on better weapons and a way to shut the tear. With nuke subs they could still have had the same ending. 🙂

  7. Christopher Sinclair on

    This is the worst thing ever. The plot holes are filled with plot holes.

    • Everything is based on sourced research by third-parties. Don’t shoot the messenger, no pun intended. Okay, maybe a little pun intended.