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Showing posts from September, 2012

Superconducting Superheroes

As previously mentioned in my post Carb Loading for Superheroes , Superheroes are really the stuff of fantasy more than science fiction--though some superheroes come close to obeying the laws of Physics (I used Batman and Spiderman as examples), they still don't really account for all the energy required to perform their amazing feats of strength and prowess. But just as a huge increase in food intake could go a long way to explaining the how Spiderman leaps from building to building, a generous use of superconductors could make an Iron Man-type suit much more realistic. Superconductors transmit electricity down a wire with no loss due to electrical resistance. So it's possible to loop a superconductor, put a charge of DC current into it, and the current will go around and around the loop, effectively making a battery of near-perfect efficiency. The amount of current the wire can hold is mainly a function of its length, though current flowing in a loop will create a magneti

Where Science and Magic Collide: Kat Heckenbach's Finding Angel and Seeking Unseen

Finding Angel and Seeking Unseen are sequels in my friend Kat's  story universe geared toward a young adult audience. She portrays magic as a special talent that each character has, a special skill that is stronger than any other magic he or she might be able to perform. Her tales center around the individual journeys of self-discovery for these characters—just as every person over time learns what he or she is best suited to do over time, her protagonists work to learn and develop their "talents." Kat's a fine writer and I've enjoyed the quality of her writing and character development for a long time. But what interests me for this post—the story idea that has my own creative juices flowing--is her decision to make her magic creatively compatible with science. In Finding Angel, Angel, whose special talent is, well... finding described as learning to focus on moving air molecules to create lift in order to levitate objects. Or in a similar way, m

An ignorant and malevolent god: A reaction to the film Prometheus

Prometheus, the Ridley Scott prequel to the Aliens movies, features a male and female pair of scientists who persuade the Wayland Corporation to fund a trip to find aliens whom they believe were responsible for the creation of the human race—and possibly all life on Earth. According to the story, scientists know about these aliens from ancient artwork from all over the world that shows aliens interacting with humans—and which show a configuration of planetary bodies that points to a specific star system. (Warning—I commit some movie spoilers below—also this movie is rated R for a reason, though it is not far removed from PG13.) The scientists quickly find the aliens in question, whom they call “the Engineers,” but all of them are dead—or at least they seem so at first. It turns out there is no question that these creatures are our genetic ancestors, these creatures who seem to have killed themselves on a world that soon appears not to be their home planet, but rather some sort of bi