The Science of Huntress #4

Posted by RazzaTazz (11941 posts) - - Show Bio

I had been hoping to make up some ground on my backlog of comic reading, but apparently I will never be able to find the time to do so.  Well that may not be the case, but it certainly wasn’t this week, so I am now only two weeks behind, but that is still behind so these aren’t as recent as I might have hoped.  With that in mind though, I thought I might delve into the science of the most recent issue of Huntress.  To be honest when I started out doing these I never thought they would become a semi-regular thing for me and we generally don’t think about science in terms of the Bat-family but it sort of worked for issue #3 where I looked at the accuracy of the depiction of Pompeii, so why not have a look at some real science?  As usual there are spoilers. 



Helena asks at one point to go to bakery to try some local pastries, but then afterwards says this misleading statement.  It is strange for both statements which she makes.  Having traveled a bit, I know the places that make their way into guidebooks are not ones that make generic food on a conveyor belt, but rather make their food almost every day.  Thus the suggestions that the food in Italy would for some reason require preservatives is kind of absurd.  The second panel is equally wrong, but for more scientific reasons.  The removal of preservatives from the digestive system would send them to either the kidneys or the liver (sorry I don’t know enough about the digestive system to know which) but it does so in what is called a para-sympathetic process, meaning that we don’t have to think about it to make it happen, it just does the work by itself.  So a workout is not really going to increase the rate at which they can be removed from the system.

Verdict:  Bad Science




Electromagnetic Radiation and Computers

This is more sloppy than bad science.  Helena needs to jam the communications ability of the ship so she sticks some device on the antenna and it shuts down all electromagnetic information leaving the ship.  For those that actually bother to read these “Science of …” posts of mine, you might remember that electromagnetic energy is uni-directional, that is to say that it goes in only one direction.  One of the  exceptions to this is radio waves being broadcast off of a radio antenna.  While this doesn’t work exactly the same way as sound for being omnidirectional, it still allows somewhat of blanket coverage for radios.  So a device on one side of the antenna is not going to do much.  There is the possibility that the device affects not the radio, but the computer though somehow.  Seeing as this might be the case it is possible, but it falls victim to the usual cliché of a device that can be placed anywhere within 50 feet of a computer and it makes it crash.

Verdict: Comic Science





This is pretty much a problem across all of popular culture and not just this issue, but it bears mentioning.  Anesthesia is not an easy job, and while there are drugs which are quite good at this task, it is a delicate balance being leaving the intended target groggy and leaving the intended target dead.  So while Helena might have some stuff in her syringe, there is no real way to know how much of it to use unless she has a bit more knowledge of the individuals first. 

Verdict: Bad Science (for all of pop culture though, so this issue is kind of off the hook)




Sharks (!!!)

Well, this is neither really good science or bad science, because the villain here is more resorting to a figure of speech, but the level of human-shark interaction in the Mediterranean is one of the lowest in the world, with something like 60 attacks in over 100 years.  And the reasons behind this are not easy to explain either, as the Mediterranean has just as many sharks and is one of the busiest bodies of water in the world. 

Verdict: Neither

#1 Posted by Primmaster64 (21663 posts) - - Show Bio

And she's supposed to be Batman's daughter...

#2 Posted by Superguy0009e (2404 posts) - - Show Bio

another great one

keep it up

#3 Posted by aeka (47 posts) - - Show Bio

I honestly thought Helena's preservative's comment was in reference to Gotham pastries (which I imagine would be of lower quality than Italy's) not Italy's. Also, while I think this is an interesting post, I there are a few flaws with your points:

1) The the autonomic nervous system consists of both the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems which are responsible for regulating excitatory and inhibitory function respectively all over the body. The parasympathetic nervous system alone doesn't do both jobs.

2) The liver plays a wide variety of roles, but one of its main functions is to detoxify any toxins that are present in the body and the urinary system removes urea and other wastes from the bloodstream once food has been broken down and dispersed throughout the body. All other wastes get excreted through the intestines. So if the preservatives have any toxins, then yes they would surely go through the liver, but other than that once broken down they're going to--for the most part--be excreted from the intestines.

3) I think you misunderstood Helena's "nothing that a workout can't burn off" comment. From that context I'm pretty sure she means "burning off calories" (which is actually pretty accurate) and by no means is she implying that she's going to increase the rate that her body digests. The burning of calories simply means your cells are using up energy in the form of ATP and working out does actually increase your rate of metabolism for that reason. Your body needs to replace the ATP that it uses up and it does this by breaking down major macromolecules like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that you get from foods in order to get the parts that it needs to construct new ATP. The more intense and rigorous the physical activity is, the more ATP you're going to burn up, so it is actually a good idea not to work out on an empty stomach. The fact that Helena is climbing a wall here requires both upperbody and abdominal strength and is actually using her own weight to climb up. This alone would actually cause her heart rate to increase and would therefore allow her to burn calories. Of course, because her body is conditioned to athletic peak, her heart rate won't skyrocket compared to someone who doesn't exercise regularly like she does, but it would still be enough for her heart rate to increase above her normal level, and would still burn calories from the climb alone. All in all, she is pretty accurate in her comment.

4. I don't think it was ever specified that she was anaesthetising her victims as she could've also been just sedating them with a sedative drug or a tranquilliser. I also don't know if you were referring to general anaesthesia in your "anaesthesia is not an easy job" comment, but in case you are, I would like to address that general anaesthesia isn't done through a syringe as requires a licensed anaesthesiologist to monitor both breathing and heart rate. In the case of local anaesthesia, all that does is numb one part of your body and that can be done through the use of a syringe. I do however agree in knowing to administering a drug in relation to a person's health, including knowing the right dosage to administer. Too much of a dosage can kill a patient and not knowing a patient's medical history can increase the risk of negative reaction to the drug.

I know this was long but hopefully this helps you understand the points you're trying to make bit better. I wasn't trying to be a jerkass or anything. :P

#4 Posted by aeka (47 posts) - - Show Bio

@Primmaster64 said:

And she's supposed to be Batman's daughter...

In all fairness, Bruce being a 'science guru' (which admittedly isn't always accurate in the medium to begin with) does not make him qualified physician. So you can't really fault Helena on that. :/

#5 Posted by jrock85 (2882 posts) - - Show Bio

Very educational Razzy. :)

#6 Posted by ReVamp (23014 posts) - - Show Bio

God, don't get me started on Human-Shark attacks and interactions, I'll burn someone alive.

#7 Posted by CrimsonCake (2735 posts) - - Show Bio

Stop Debunking My Favorite Superheroes ):

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