"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Film, Comic Books
Batman is frequently characterized as the second-smartest person in the DC Universe, with contingencies in place to take down the entire Justice League, should the need ever arise. However, a new study finds the Dark Knight isn’t all he’s cracked up to be.
Using scientific principles, students at the University of Leicester spent seven years examining the feasibility of the powers of superheroes, and discovered — to the surprise of absolutely no one — that Superman may be the “best-equipped” of them all. The Man of Steel has his “Super Flare” attack and higher-density to thank for his position as “the number one candidate for ‘most powerful superhero.'”
Clarke’s third law states that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” something referenced by Thor in the Marvel Studios’ film. Well, someone figured out the technology behind the magic of Mjolnir and forged his own — using electromagnets and a fingerprint scanner.
YouTuber Sufficiently Advanced created a Mjolnir replica and took it down to Venice Beach to find out who exactly was worthy enough to wield the weapon of the God of Thunder. The powerful electromagnet keeps the hammer stuck to the metallic floor, preventing everyone from lifting it off the group. The creator then uses the fingerprint scanner on the handle’s base to shut off the magnet and pick up the hammer.
Find out who was worthy, and who wasn’t, below.
If you were floored by the shot in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer of a crashed Star Destroyer on Jakku, prepare to have your mind blown: A UFO devotee claims to have spotted an eerily similar, if significantly smaller, object on Mars.
Scrutinizing images from NASA’s Curiosity rover, Scott C. Waring has discovered a vaguely triangular object he says “looks like a crashed UFO.” However, while the Imperial Star Destroyer, measures 1,600 meters in length, Waring estimates this craft is smaller — much, much smaller. Like, Wookiee-sized.
Despite suffering a staggering 244 health issues over the course of his nearly five-decade career, Tintin has demonstrated an “almost superhuman” resistance to trauma.
That’s the conclusion made by a group of physicians from the Sorbonne University in Paris and the University of Atlanta following a detailed analysis of 23 of the boy reporter’s 24 adventures.
In a bit of corporate synergy, Muppets Gonzo, Rizzo, Beaker and Constantine give a promotional boost to Avengers: Age of Ultron with cameos in this latest video from Vsauce, which tackles the question of what would happen if Quicksilver simply ran past you.
It turns out that, for all of his volatility, the Incredible Hulk may not be the most destructive Avenger. Or, I don’t know, maybe he is, but “Hulk smash!” may be preferable to what happens when you’re caught in Quicksilver’s wake.
To help dispel the belief “that bats are dangerous villains,” Amy Wray and the TED Ed team turned to an expert on bats — if not on the science, then at least on the symbolism: Batman.
In this breezy and informative animated video, the Dark Knight, Alfred Pennyworth, Jim Gordon and a handful of Gotham’s rogues — Poison Ivy, The Penguin, Two-Face and The Joker — are used to help educate about the benefits of bats to pest control, pollination and even recovering stroke victims.
“Batman might want to keep his identity secret,” the video concludes, “but a great way to help real bats is by continuing to learn about them and spreading the truth that they are real heroes — even if their good deeds are often unseen.”
There’s something wonderfully and refreshingly uplifting about this video, which chronicles DesignSpark‘s mission for Mattel Toys Italy to launch a Superman action figure to an altitude of 29,000 meters — “to the edge of space” — and bring it parachuting back to Earth. It’s pretty amazing.
DesignSpark has provided more details at Instructables, including downloadable instructions so you can send your own action figure into the atmosphere.
Superhuman speed and strength still may be out of reach, but scientists have devised a way to scale buildings like Spider-Man.
Popular Mechanics reports that researchers have developed gecko-inspired adhesives gloves that can lift a 200-pound person up walls. Well, certain walls.
“To work, the surface you’re climbing needs to be relatively smooth; like glass, varnished wood, polished stone, or metal,” says Elliot Hawkes, the Stanford mechanical engineer who led the research team, “but you can attach and detach with very little effort, and to make [the gloves] stick all you have to do is hang your weight.”
You can see Hawkes demonstrate the gloves in the video below.
The CW’s new drama The Flash has been widely praised for its rejection of doom and gloom in favor of a cheerier depiction of superheroes. However, a group of physics students is questioning whether Barry Allen is a hero at all.
In a brief paper titled “The Flash: Hero or Villain?,” four students from the University of Leicester’s Department of Physics and Astronomy scrutinize a scene from the pilot episode in which the Scarlet Speedster races to save a bicyclist from being struck by a taxi. While in the television series the man was left confused but otherwise unharmed, in reality his encounter with the Fastest Man Alive would leave him in worse shape than if he’d been struck by the car.
Conventions | With the 20th Small Press Expo kicking off Saturday in Bethesda, Maryland, The Washington Post’s Lori McCue singles out three of the show’s biggest draws: appearances by Jules Feiffer, Lynda Barry and Bob Mankoff. Meanwhile, Michael Cavna spotlights Fear, My Dear, the new release from convention guest Dean Haspiel. [The Washington Post]
Creators | As he prepared to head out to Small Press Expo, Farel Dalrymple paused for an audio interview about his newest book, The Wrenchies, which will debut at the show. [Comics Grinder]
Creators | Writer Tom Taylor teases what we can expect in his new Superior Iron Man series. [Previews World]
Science and comics have proved a popular combination lately, as more and more cartoonists here and abroad attempt to tackle real-life topics that don’t involve their love lives (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The latest entry in this category will come in April when Abrams releases Climate Changed: A Personal Journey through the Science by French author Philippe Squarzoni.
The book, which will be 480 pages and cost $24.95, will examine what exactly global warming and its effects are while asking whether we have the ability to stave off the dire predictions that some make. Nonfiction is no stranger to Squarzoni, who has previously completed books about Central American politics and author Richard Brautigan, and this promises to be a highly detailed, heavily researched book.
After the jump you can read Abrams’ official press release:
Randall Munroe, creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd, has joined a very exclusive group: comics writers and artists who’ve had asteroids named in their honor.
According to the cartoonist, the International Astronomical Union, which assigns designations to celestial bodies, was accepting name suggestions for small solar system objects, and xkcd readers Lewis Hulbert and Jordan Zhu submitted Munroe’s name for asteroid (4942) 1987 DU6. The recommendation was accepted, and the asteroid is now officially designated 4942 Munroe.
“The first thing I did was try to figure out whether 4942 Munroe was big enough to pose a threat to Earth,” the cartoonist writes. “I was excited to learn that, based on its albedo (brightness), it’s probably about 6-10 kilometers in diameter. That’s comparable in size to the one that killed the dinosaurs — definitely big enough to cause a mass extinction!
Unfortunately Fortunately, it’s in a fairly stable circular orbit between Mars and Jupiter, so it’s unlikely to hit the Earth any time soon.”
Munroe is now one of a relative handful of comics creators who have asteroids named after them: J. Michael Straczynski (although it was in recognition of works in other media, like Babylon 5), Carl Barks and, just this summer, The Incal writer Alejandro Jodorowsky.
The Incal writer Alejandro Jodorowsky has received an honor few other comics creators can claim: He’s had an asteroid named after him.
Agence France-Presse reports the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planets Center designated asteroid 261690 as Jodorowsky at the request of French astronomer Jean-Claude Merlin, who discovered the three-mile-wide object more than seven years ago. The name was approved July 24 by the Committee on Small Body Nomenclature following several years of observation of the asteroid.
As awesome as it was when Neil deGrasse Tyson pinpointed the location of Krypton and calculated the weight of Thor’s hammer (even if he was wrong), the superstar astrophysicist may have just been out-nerded by the Vsauce YouTube Channel: In the latest video, host Jake Roper breaks down what would happen if Superman were to punch you. The result would be … probably worse than you might’ve thought.
“Superman wouldn’t just knock the wind out of you — oh, no,” Roper explains. “He would knock the atoms out of you. His fist has pretty much become a particle beam. […] You would be liquidated at the atomic level.” However, the destruction wouldn’t end with your measly atoms. Find out more in the video below.
It turns out that scene in 2004’s Spider-Man 2 in which Peter Parker used his webbing to stop a subway train from hurtling off the tracks and into the river may have been the least-outlandish thing about the movie.
Playing MythBusters, physics students from the University of Leicester put the sequence to the test and discovered that, yes, some spider silk is strong enough to stop a runaway train. Their findings were published in the new issue of the Journal of Physics Special Topics, which is undoubtedly on pull lists everywhere.