In the bones

Posted by RazzaTazz (9351 posts) - - Show Bio

Those who know me and read my thoughts on comics, know that I like science.  I usually take the stance that I like more scientific accuracy as opposed to less.  Doing so often results in me be referred back to the tome of comic book science, which basically says that as long as something sounds scientific then it basically is.  One of my favourite topics I wrote on recently was on the restoration of the memory of an individual, how I argued that in this case that science failed at explaining the task (in the case of Iron Man) and that a mystical restoration of memory seemed much more likely.  So I was surprised again this month to discover another semi-mystical explanation seeming more authentic than the best representative of science in comics.  My concern here was his armour and I felt that the new Hawkman beat him out in terms of a reasonable explanation (by the way, for those that have not read Hawkman #1 and are planning to, there are spoilers ahead.)  One of the most recent developments of the Iron Man armour is that is is now based on a version of nanotechnology which is able to (when not in use) hide itself within Tony's body.  Correspondingly it can be deployed in a similar fashion to a thickness of several microns thick if need be.   
 


This is clearly a very scientific version of an explanations, what with microns and nanotechnology (a very important field of research in contemporary times).  That the suit can be miniaturized is a bit of a stretch (though of course most matter as we know it is mostly empty space - all the empty space taken out of the atoms on the Earth would reduce it to the size of a pea) but the combination with nanotechnology which cannot be mass produced in any appreciable quantity is another problem 
On the other hand is Hawkman.  This is about the 15th or 20th redesign of the character, but the character has always been associated in some way with nth metal.  Nth metal is equally vague sometimes being a mystical metal from ancient Egypt, at other times a semi-mystical metal from Thanagar.  in this particular version of Hawkman, the character has absorbed the nth metal into his body and he spontaneously generates the Hawkman armour (or costume) when in need.   
  
Is this really that much more realistic?  Well as previously identified, the scientific explanation for Tony's transformation is somewhat lacking, whereas the explanation for Hawkman, while it demands the belief in something which is absolutely not real, still seem more credible.
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#1 Posted by cattlebattle (12284 posts) - - Show Bio

Is it more realistic for the character?? No
 
Its more believable with Tony because his affinity for science and technology is well noted. I don't know much about Hawkman besides his back and forth origin story of reincarnation or whatever he goes by now. The character has never been connected to having technological know how.
 
Or is it realistic as in "real world terms"?? still no
 
I don't think nanotechnology is ever a good explanation for some how a suit or device works. Even when you do suspend your disbelief the specifics of how it would work is still some what difficult to understand.

#2 Posted by RazzaTazz (9351 posts) - - Show Bio
@cattlebattle: I think this is one of the rare cases where an attempt to sounds more scientific makes it less so
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#3 Posted by cattlebattle (12284 posts) - - Show Bio
@RazzaTazz said:
@cattlebattle: I think this is one of the rare cases where an attempt to sounds more scientific makes it less so
thats always the case with advanced science in comic books, its total dues ex machina. Its basically "It works because its futuristic science...no explanation warranted"...its essentially just like magic
#4 Posted by RazzaTazz (9351 posts) - - Show Bio
@cattlebattle said:
@RazzaTazz said:
@cattlebattle: I think this is one of the rare cases where an attempt to sounds more scientific makes it less so
thats always the case with advanced science in comic books, its total dues ex machina. Its basically "It works because its futuristic science...no explanation warranted"...its essentially just like magic
Kind of my point here, is that magic is actually a better explanation in this case, because they just say its magic (or at least not explainable)
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#5 Posted by danhimself (21904 posts) - - Show Bio

just a note: the Bleeding Edge armor is actually stored in the hollows of Tony's bones and I'm guessing acts as his bone marrow and he has complete psychic control over his armor

#6 Posted by RazzaTazz (9351 posts) - - Show Bio
@danhimself: Its not psychic per se, just his mind can interface with the technology, plus that armour even shrinking to bone hollows still makes it nanotechnology
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#7 Posted by cattlebattle (12284 posts) - - Show Bio
@RazzaTazz said:
@cattlebattle said:

Kind of my point here, is that magic is actually a better explanation in this case, because they just say its magic (or at least not explainable)
well, yes then. Magic is definitely the better explanation, but its just as easy to explain as some the advanced science they use in the comics...they can change the absolute physics of how it works at any time....because its fiction, so I guess how they explain it doesn't matter...its extremely similar
#8 Posted by TheCrowbar (4286 posts) - - Show Bio

I think they're going more mystical than science in Hawkman #1 the fire when he tries to burn his armor looks like a hawk.

#9 Posted by danhimself (21904 posts) - - Show Bio
#10 Posted by RazzaTazz (9351 posts) - - Show Bio
@danhimself: sure that makes sense, I am not opposed to the concept that it is stored inside his body, it is theoretically possible (though bone marrow is very much necessary to continue to live.) its just that is this case it seems a lot less likely than magic
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#11 Posted by Timandm (3374 posts) - - Show Bio

Okay... I LOVE this kind of stuff...

First off, the easy stuff... Hawkman's armor and how it works is based on magic. Ergo, ANYTHING is possible. But if one COULD absorb a mystical metal into their body, then it makes sense that they could control it and use it to form armor. Makes sense, I like it...

Iron man, on the other hand... Well.. The current explanations they're giving, no.. .it wouldn't work. I think it's very much like when Iron Man first came out in the 60s. He explained that his suit was advanced as it was based on that new "transistor technology." I'm WELL familiar with transistor technology as my first degree is in electronics and I worked in that field for.. um.. a very long time.. Transistor technology was NEVER good enough to do even a tenth of the things that Iron Man could do... But back in the 60s it was believable enough.

So, we jump ahead to today. First let's talk about the 11 micron suit. That's about the width of a white blood cell. Pretty darn thin. Now, you mentioned the empty space between atoms... That's a good thought. But there's a reason that space between the atoms is empty... Nature doesn't want anything there. LOL! I'm afraid it's that simple.

Consider two magnets. You put the like poles facing each other and try to push them together. What happens? They repel each other right? Well, atoms bind because they want to share two electrons. Without going into the math of it, two electrons come together and share an electron with each other (thus forming a bond with those two electrons) because, essentially, it helps create the illusion that they have a complete set of electrons surrounding them and they are both happy. So, that pulls them together. However, at some point, they cannot come any closer together. That would require too much energy and it would be like trying to push two magnets together at the same pole... It just cannot be done.

Now, what I mentioned in the previous paragraph was addressing atoms coming together to form molecules... However, molecules are not necessarily all bonded together by chemical bonds. Water for example; the molecule has two hydrogens bonded to one oxygen. But you have LOTS of molecules of water roaming around randomly bumping into each other... In fact, in one liter of water you have about 33300000000000000000000000 molecules of water. And, they are all in constant motion colliding into each other and the walls that surround them. That creates a lot of pressure. Think about a balloon. You put gas into a balloon, or blow it up with air from your lungs, and the walls of the balloon get tight, right? But have you ever thought about the exact mechanism that is creating the pressure that is pushing on the walls of the inside of the balloon? it is literally the molecules of air colliding against the surface of the balloon. That's how hard they are hitting... They are moving at extremely high velocity... They collide, change directions, and collide again...

Now, once you've got the balloon blown up, try pressing it inwards. Try squeezing it. Or better yet, try this with the tires on your car. Difficult right? So, you see it's not a question of removing the empty space, but rather, trying to get those molecules to slow down and stay in that tiny confined space...

You've probably studied the ideal gas law in chemistry. You know that one mole of a gas will occupy 22.4 liters of volume... Just one mole. Well, one mole of water weighs only 18 grams. That's about 1.8 cubic centimeters or water. A small amount. Yet as a gas it occupies 22.4 liters... But if we make that gas cold, it will condense and squeeze down small enough to fit on a spoon... Most molecules or substances are like this. And if we make the colder they can condense even further. This is because we are removing energy from the system and the molecules are moving slower, so they collide with less force. I should point out that water is an exception as it expands when it becomes a solid.. This is due to hydrogen bonding...

SOOOOOOOOOOOOO... Can we squeeze molecules together like in the comics? Not based on what we know about physics today. We would have to a great deal of energy from them first, but if we do that, they'll likely become extremely cold... Now, in the comics would say, they have found a way to remove say.. the vibrational or rotational energy from the molecules, thus slowing them down and making them compact every further... Hey, that's not bad! I hope marvel pays me for this!!! LOL...

There are many different forms of energy in a molecule... Ionic, rotational, vibrational, nuclear, kinetic. and so on and so on... So, if you COULD remove the energy from this, then yes, you could compact them.....

HOWEVER... um.. I was going to go into how metal is like one big atom... Like the way a diamond is a HUGE atom of pure carbon. But you told me I'm not supposed to make my replies bigger than your blog.. So.. maybe I'll stop here for now...

#12 Posted by Owen_Porter (83285 posts) - - Show Bio
@RazzaTazz: Another awesome topic. Good read.
 
@Timandm
Tight post. Well thought out and entertaining.
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#13 Posted by RazzaTazz (9351 posts) - - Show Bio
@Timandm: The space between atoms was all I could come up with, I think it makes more sense than a guy who has replaced bone marrow with a suit of robotic armour.  Nice reply though.  Feel free to write posts longer than the original blog by all means, all I said before is that now I have another one who does that.  
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#14 Posted by Timandm (3374 posts) - - Show Bio

@RazzaTazz said:

@Timandm: The space between atoms was all I could come up with, I think it makes more sense than a guy who has replaced bone marrow with a suit of robotic armour. Nice reply though. Feel free to write posts longer than the original blog by all means, all I said before is that now I have another one who does that.

Well, I didn't mean to imply you were wrong by any means... I have NEVER liked the idea of Extremis... No, there's not enough room inside bone marrow for Tony's suit...

They would have been better off to say the suit is 1: psionically connected to Tony and 2: contains pym particles so that it can shrink into 'underspace' when not in use... But I think the writers basically wanted Tony and the suit to merge and become one... They are practically there now...

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