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AKONI
2006-Jun-13, 02:43 AM
June 12, 2006:

“Science of Superman” on National Geographic Channel
Thursday, June 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT


Scroll down to the story
http://www.supermanhomepage.com/news.php

Ara Pacis
2006-Jun-13, 07:26 AM
Man of steel, Woman of Kleenex (http://www.rawbw.com/~svw/superman.html)

parallaxicality
2006-Jun-13, 08:11 AM
Cute! If somewhat dated. References to "sodomy laws" seem a bit anachronistic these days.

And marsupials are mammals. I think he meant "placentals."

There is one method he doesn't seem to have considered though. Simply enclose Superman in a sealed room with a light that exactly imitates the light from Krypton's red sun. Under that, nether he, nor his sperm, nor Lois's developing child, could manifest superpowers. Of course Lois would have to spend nine months in this condition, and I doubt she could handle that much time away from natural sunlight. But the power of love may conquer all.

No explaining the absence of superpregancies in Smallville, though.

James_Digriz
2006-Jun-14, 01:08 AM
Man of steel, Woman of Kleenex (http://www.rawbw.com/~svw/superman.html)

Great story. Larry Niven is one of the best.

PhantomWolf
2006-Jun-14, 07:28 AM
Of course Lois would have to spend nine months in this condition

Not necessarily true. Clark didn't get his powers until into his teenage years as it took that long to store up the energy. One would assume that a half human/half kyptonian would have less ability to store solar energy and so would take longer to store up sufficent energy which means that carrying a child wouldn't actually present a problem.

Metricyard
2006-Jun-14, 08:12 PM
Quite a different view of Superman, that for sure. Gives a whole new meaning to the man of steel.

I think the main problem of Superman never getting a date is he needs to learn to wear his underwear inside his suit, not on the outside. After 50 years of living on Earth, you think he would have caught on by now.

PhantomWolf
2006-Jun-15, 03:38 AM
I think the main problem of Superman never getting a date is he needs to learn to wear his underwear inside his suit, not on the outside. After 50 years of living on Earth, you think he would have caught on by now.

Comes from hanging out with Batman too much. ;)

ElWampa
2006-Jun-16, 08:44 PM
June 12, 2006:

“Science of Superman” on National Geographic Channel
Thursday, June 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT


Scroll down to the story
http://www.supermanhomepage.com/news.php

*shakes with anger*

Only if Time Warner didn't move that channel to Digital.. :evil:

Maksutov
2006-Jun-18, 05:17 AM
*shakes with anger*

Only if Time Warner didn't move that channel to Digital.. :evil:Cable companies, etc., are cute with their incentives to buy a more expensive package, aren't they? :evil:

Lianachan
2006-Jun-18, 01:32 PM
Clark didn't get his powers until into his teenage years as it took that long to store up the energy.

I don't like, or know anything about, the character of Superman - but I do know that in Superman: The Movie a very young Clark Kent is seen lifting one end of a pick-up. Is this scene an innaccuracy, then?

Matherly
2006-Jun-18, 04:09 PM
It's not an inaccuracy per se. If memory serves, the same scene was in the comics.

The thing to remember is that Superman has been around a long time in comic book terms. So certain details in the back story have changed from time to time.

For example, the cross-over series Crisis on Infinite Earths (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crisis_on_infinite_earths) allowed DC to alter, change, and wholesale rewrite their stories' continuities.

PhantomWolf
2006-Jun-19, 03:30 AM
For example, the cross-over series Crisis on Infinite Earths allowed DC to alter, change, and wholesale rewrite their stories' continuities.

True, thiough I believe in the comics the age was changed from early teen (Superboy) to late teens after the Infinite Earths. Even pre-infinate Earths, Superman never had his powers as a baby, and I'd suspect that a Human-Kyptonian hybrid would be weaker and take longer to gain them too.

As to conception, well if they really wanted to do that, He has lost his powers numerous time previously and would have been able too, including during the infamous "Electric" Superman (http://www.geocities.com/area51/shire/2545/Supes1.jpg) period where Clark was "human", so.....

Maksutov
2006-Jun-19, 04:55 AM
For example, the cross-over series Crisis on Infinite Earths allowed DC to alter, change, and wholesale rewrite their stories' continuities.

True, thiough I believe in the comics the age was changed from early teen (Superboy) to late teens after the Infinite Earths. Even pre-infinate Earths, Superman never had his powers as a baby, and I'd suspect that a Human-Kyptonian hybrid would be weaker and take longer to gain them too...
Not necessarily. Here are the first four panels from Superman #1 by Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster:

http://img205.imageshack.us/img205/9310/thestartofsuperman9ti.th.jpg (http://img205.imageshack.us/my.php?image=thestartofsuperman9ti.jpg)

TheBlackCat
2006-Jun-19, 05:49 AM
He has lost his powers from a lack of sunlight on at least two occasions. One was where the sun was blacked out by some gorrilla demon thing (I don't know the details), although I don't think he los them completely. He lost them again when trying to rescue what he though were Kryptonians from a space station being overrun by aliens in deep space. In the second case he lost his power completely, being reduced to a completely ordinary human (I think in under 24 hours), but was able to regain his full strengh in a matter of seconds when he got back to our solar system. He also loses his powers due to an infection by an alien microorganism, but that is not sunlight-dependent.

If you take the movies as any indication a kryptonian who does not get exposed to a yellow sun until adulthood still develops powers after a relatively short time near Earth. Superman not developing his power until his teenage years thus may have resulted from an age dependency and not from exposure time.

The x-ray vision is the worst in my opinion. X-rays go one way, if he emits them they will either get absorbed or just keep going. They would never return to his eyes. There would have to be another x-ray source on the opposite side of what he was trying to see through, but no such large-scale x-ray source exists in the normal environemnt (luckily for us).

Maksutov
2006-Jun-19, 06:08 AM
He has lost his powers from a lack of sunlight on at least two occasions. One was where the sun was blacked out by some gorrilla demon thing (I don't know the details), although I don't think he los them completely. He lost them again when trying to rescue what he though were Kryptonians from a space station being overrun by aliens in deep space. In the second case he lost his power completely, being reduced to a completely ordinary human (I think in under 24 hours), but was able to regain his full strengh in a matter of seconds when he got back to our solar system. ..So Mr. Luthor would be best advised to lure him to the South Pole toward the end of March and do him in in mid-September.

HenrikOlsen
2006-Jun-19, 07:07 AM
He has lost his powers from a lack of sunlight on at least two occasions.
Not counting Miller's The Dark Knight Returns.


The x-ray vision is the worst in my opinion. X-rays go one way, if he emits them they will either get absorbed or just keep going. They would never return to his eyes. There would have to be another x-ray source on the opposite side of what he was trying to see through, but no such large-scale x-ray source exists in the normal environemnt (luckily for us).
That does seem to me more like millimeter range radar, called X-rays because Superman got it (at least as early as 1940) before radar became common knowledge and the authors didn't know much science anyway.

PhantomWolf
2006-Jun-19, 07:31 AM
He has lost his powers from a lack of sunlight on at least two occasions.

And when the Suneater blacked out the sun. He has also lost them due to Red Kyptonite, The Parasite draining him on at least two occasions. Having them nullified by the Tribunal when he was on trail. After he come back from the dead he didn't have then and it took the Eradicator converting the artifical Kyptonie stream to return them quickly. In the serial where he took on the aliens he didn't actually fully lose his powers, he was merely weakened. I believe that Mr Mxyzptlk has removed them at least once, and also temporarally by Anti-Hero in Team Superman #1.

At some points in time he has not had powers almost longer then he has had them. ;)

TheBlackCat
2006-Jun-19, 07:49 AM
That does seem to me more like millimeter range radar, called X-rays because Superman got it (at least as early as 1940) before radar became common knowledge and the authors didn't know much science anyway.

Unfortunately millimeter wave radar is not blocked by lead. He can see through anything besides lead.

Ronald Brak
2006-Jun-19, 08:09 AM
I think x-ray vision explains why Superman and Louis Lane can't have a baby. Superman spent so much time looking though Louis's clothes the x-rays sterilized her.

Gillianren
2006-Jun-19, 09:33 AM
Not necessarily. Here are the first four panels from Superman #1 by Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster:

Exactly what I was thinking. I have a book with that comic in it.

Maksutov
2006-Jun-20, 10:58 PM
Exactly what I was thinking. I have a book with that comic in it.That book wouldn't happen to be by Jules Feiffer, would it?

Gillianren
2006-Jun-21, 12:48 AM
Well, I have that one, too. What I was thinking of, though, was my copy of the Smithsonian Book of Comic Book Comics, featuring the first issue of Batman, the first issue of Superman, excerpts from Mad Magazine and various other EC productions, Little Lulu, etc. And the Donald Duck comic where the nephews want a steamshovel for Christmas and hilarity ensues.

lti
2006-Jun-24, 12:55 AM
i always thought that xray vision meant he was simply able to see a far greater spectrum of light than we can. things that are opaque to us a perfectly transparent at other frequencies.

Ronald Brak
2006-Jun-24, 01:59 AM
Maybe Superman actually has ultrasound? Bats can aparently "see" into things.

SUPERINTELLIGENT BAT: I see you are pregnant.

WOMAN: Yes I am.

SUPERINTELLIGENT BAT: I see that it is a boy.

WOMAN: Yes, how did you know?

SUPERINTELLIGENT BAT: I see you have silicon implants.

WOMAN: Shut up!

TheBlackCat
2006-Jun-24, 02:55 AM
i always thought that xray vision meant he was simply able to see a far greater spectrum of light than we can. things that are opaque to us a perfectly transparent at other frequencies.

That still doesn't explain his problem with lead.


Maybe Superman actually has ultrasound? Bats can aparently "see" into things.

Nor does this.

Ara Pacis
2006-Jun-24, 07:44 AM
density?

davidhw
2006-Jun-24, 08:01 AM
OK, so my fun speculative question about Superman relates directly to astronomy.

In the pre-Crisis comics, I remember that Superman (a) had his full powers under a yellow sun (G-class), (b) had his powers halved under an orange sun (K-class), and (c) had his powers eliminated under a red sun -- M-class -- the star of his birth.

So given the spectral scale (OBAFGKM), shouldn't Superman become even more powerful if he visited the solar systems of O-F suns? Something like:

Powers
--------

M: zero
K: 0.5x
G: 1x
F: 2x
A: 4x
B: 8x
O: 16x

I vaguely remember stories about Superman under a green sun (F-class?), but I don't recall ones that explored whether brighter stars would impart Supes with godlike powers (which he already had pre-crisis anyway).

[on edit: oh, and the other fun thing to have explored would have been whether human beings would achieve Superman-like powers if they too traveled "two categories up" to an A-class star. :-]

Ronald Brak
2006-Jun-24, 08:06 AM
That still doesn't explain his problem with lead.

Nor does this.

Well, we only have Superman's word on this. How do we know that he has x-ray vision at all? Maybe he just uses superspeed to actually check what's behind the wall and tells everyone he used his "x-ray vision."

Personally I think the whole kryptonite thing is a con. I bet he only pretends to be "dying" when exposed to it to put the wind up people. And the whole red kryptonite thing is just so he has an excuse to act like a total ******* now and then while still haveing the benefits of being regarded as a hero.

Ronald Brak
2006-Jun-24, 08:09 AM
oh, and the other fun thing to have explored would have been whether human beings would achieve Superman-like powers if they too traveled "two categories up" to an A-class star. :-]

Louis Lane aparently developed super powers under a krytonian type sun. And no, I don't know why. Maybe so she could give Superman some payback for all the stuff he's put her through?

Gillianren
2006-Jun-24, 08:42 PM
Louis Lane aparently developed super powers under a krytonian type sun. And no, I don't know why. Maybe so she could give Superman some payback for all the stuff he's put her through?

Do you perchance mean "Lois" Lane? Is Louis Lane her brother?

Jim
2006-Jun-24, 09:07 PM
Do you perchance mean "Lois" Lane? Is Louis Lane her brother?

Shouldn't this be in that other Superman thread? The one about him being gay?

davidhw
2006-Jun-24, 10:41 PM
Lois Lane aparently developed super powers under a krytonian type sun. And no, I don't know why. Maybe so she could give Superman some payback for all the stuff he's put her through?

So this raises a perhaps more doable scientific question: is there anything about other stars' spectral emissions that might cause some sort of "enhancing" (or "weakening") in a human(oid) lifeform? I doubt there would be; I imagine the only change if you plunked a human being down a planet around, say, Vega is that said human would be very, very hot. :-)

But let's reverse engineer Supes, too. What would Kal-El's (or any being's) biology have to be like in order to take advantage of the difference between a G-class star and an M-class star? Imagine that he didn't have to be humanoid necessarily. Maybe just a giant jellyfish creature that had organic solar cells on its skin or something. What's the major difference between the light of a red sun and the light of a yellow sun?

TheBlackCat
2006-Jun-25, 02:25 AM
What's the major difference between the light of a red sun and the light of a yellow sun?

Frequency content? I am not sure how that would change anything. Superman's chemical makeup changes depending on the sun he gets close to (something about the "density" of his "molecular structure" increasing).

ToSeek
2006-Jun-26, 03:24 PM
The Science of Superheroes (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0471024600/103-9848590-8825431?v=glance&n=283155)

I read this book, but it didn't do much for me. It's written for people who know the comic book characters really well, but not much physics, while I knew the physics but not the characters.

Roy Batty
2006-Jun-26, 03:42 PM
Oh look, the obligatory sequel: The Science of Supervillains (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0471482056/ref=pd_bxgy_text_b/104-8879530-6240729?ie=UTF8). What, no 'The Non Science of Sidekicks/Henchmen' follow ups? :)

Parrothead
2006-Jun-26, 03:53 PM
The show aired on Discovery Channel here, last night. Some parts I found amusing, eg. pointing out the speed Superman would be travelling vs terminal velocity, when he catches Lois falling from the helicopter/Daily Planet building, in the 1979 (?) movie. I found the show to be worth a viewing, as it basically looks at Superman through it's different mediums over time and where, some attempts have been made to get some of the science right, while at other times, just ignoring some of the real world effects, some of his actions would have.

Ronald Brak
2006-Jun-26, 07:40 PM
If Superman gets his powers from earth's yellow sun, imagine how powerful he'd be if he was a nudist.

Personally I think that the fact that Superman has dozens of different powers is inelegant. I'd like to see all his powers explained in terms of one source. This would have to be the ability to control the movement through space of his own body and the things he touches. This would explain how he is able to fly and why he doesn't slice Lois Lane into three pieces when he catches her falling off a building. He is able to cancel her inertia. It also explains how he is able to pick up huge objects such as boats without just drilling a hole through them. When he is shot he isn't hurt because he controls the movement of his own flesh and the bullet that hits him. His heat vision operates by causing small parts of an object to rapidly move resulting in friction. His freezing breath works the opposite way. His x-ray vision is the result of him sensing movement at a distance, but he can only sense a certain amount of mass so lead tends to ruin this ability. Kryptonite interferes with whatever it is that gives Superman his power. And to cap it off, I think Superman should come from another universe, not just another planet. That way he doesn't have to follow our physics.

publiusr
2006-Jun-28, 05:24 PM
That makes sense. He would have to have some inertia control to fly--so catching Lois isn't a problem.

Moose
2006-Jun-28, 06:29 PM
And to cap it off, I think Superman should come from another universe, not just another planet. That way he doesn't have to follow our physics.

Hmm. But you know what they say: "When in Rome..."

Still, I like the way you're thinking. All Superman's "powers" being applications of one specific telekinetic-type power.

Van Rijn
2006-Jun-28, 09:06 PM
Hmm. But you know what they say: "When in Rome..."

Still, I like the way you're thinking. All Superman's "powers" being applications of one specific telekinetic-type power.

That makes as much sense as anything. Once you posit the telekinesis - and who knows where that comes from (maybe zero point energy would be a good pseudoscientific explanation?) then the rest can fit almost logically, with red sunlight and kryptonite interfering with the PK field.

Anybody read the "Wild Cards" series? They did a lot of that. There was an alien virus, most people infected died, but a few survived. Out of those who survived, most would become "Jokers" with horrible mutations but sometimes superpowers. A very few became "Aces" with superpowers and no horrible mutations. The powers always seemed to reflect something in the personality, and limitations tended to be psychological. You might have a woman with wings that thinks she can only fly by using her wings, but a mention that the wings aren't really functional, far too small for aerodynamic flight. Her real ability would be a restricted form of PK defined by her personality.

Van Rijn
2006-Jun-28, 09:12 PM
Along the same lines Supe's "x ray vision" could be a form of clairvoyance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clairvoyance) and the lead bit is just a psychological limitation. Or lead interferes with ESP. Or something.

Yeah, it doesn't explain anything at all, but at least we get a good buzzword out of it, and since it's ESP we don't have to explain anything!

Doodler
2006-Jun-29, 07:13 PM
Ya know...if the guy can manage an instellar flight on his own back to Krypton, you think spending a week or so around Sirius on the way back would do wonders for his power levels...

Doodler
2006-Jun-29, 07:17 PM
That still doesn't explain his problem with lead.

I think his visual abilities are probably just bad science in the story.

Neither ultrasound nor radar can explain color sensitive aspects of this vision.

Per the first Superman movie. A question asked of him by Lois on her rooftop concerning her underwear color is stymied because she's standing behind a lead planter. After a few minutes of conversation, she steps out from behind it and he blurts out "Pink" to answer her question, catching her offguard.

HenrikOlsen
2006-Jul-03, 05:47 PM
Well, here's (http://www.redmeat.com/redmeat/2006-06-27/index.html) a pretty good take on the silly associations a thread like this can give you.