The Science of Mister Terrific #3

Posted by RazzaTazz (8968 posts) - - Show Bio

The second half of my request for more science breakdown articles was Mister Terrific, but seeing as I got this request two weeks ago I figured I would look forward and not backwards for my next attempt to look too much into the science of comics (as usual in looking at most of the issue I am giving away most of the plot): 

 
White Noise and the Decibel Range 
 
The T-Spheres are of course completely comic book science as nothing even closely resembling them exists.  White noise is a comic book scientific principle which is used relatively frequently.  The concept of white noise is similar to that of white light, except in a lot less focused manner.  White noise is purely random noise and to be used as weapon really does not make much sense.  Simply saying noise would make more sense.  Another issue with the use here is the decibel scale.  Unlike light, noise is not unidirectional, unless buffered it will radiate out from a center position.  This is for instance why you do not need to be standing in front of someone to hear them talk.  200 decibels is a lot of noise though, even for a short period.  It is beyond the pain threshold and beyond the level of a stun grenade by 20-30 decibels.  To put this in perspective the decibel scale is logarithmic, thus every increase of ten means that the level of sound is increased by an intensity of ten.  Thus a 20 decibel difference would mean a sound 100 times stronger than a stun grenade and a 30 decibel change would be 1000 times more.   
 
Verdict: Comic Science (but ever so close to bad science) 
 
 Intelligence Stealing 
 
This alludes back a couple of months ago when I discussed the retrieval of memory by various heroes (Iron Man and Loki).  The brain is one of the most complex things ever observed by man, and each one is essentially unique.  In order to effectively steal someone else's intelligence you would basically need to restructure the neural pathways of your brain to pretty much be theirs.  Otherwise you would get a lot of random mental flotsam.  You wouldn't know why you both crave Doritos and hate them at the same time, because your neural pathways would be such a mess.  Assuming that you could mitigate that by only stealing intelligence?  Well you are still going to be an extremely confused individual.  Take for instance some random knowledge, like the names of the moons of Uranus.  Some will remember them just by rote memorization (which includes mentioning them more than once as I have done now), a fancy mnemonic or maybe because they are all named after Shakespeare characters from various plays.  That is to say the method of analysis would be mostly useless.  Besides seeing as both natural and artificial intelligence can be stolen there would not be much need to steal the intelligence of the guy that couldn't figure out high school math when your brain is already a supercomputer (unless you just like stealing useless things.) 
 
Verdict:  Bad Science (actually some of the worst I have seen recently)
 
 
Advanced Driving Systems 
  
Incidentally I have also discussed this topic before as well.  This is the lone bit of good science in this issue and for more than it could realize perhaps.  Driving is not very difficult system, it operates on some very basic rules, and generally speaking providing the road is well marked and some sort of sensory equipment are onboard a car, they can basically drive themselves.  The reason we don't have this already is because of the human factor.  It is hard to quantify for when a person decides to drive recklessly and endangers others.  In this case the person endangering others is actually inside the computer instead of outside, but still serves the same function of humans being too hard to predict.   
 
Verdict:  Good Science 
 
 
Neanderthals and Cavemen 

Wait a minute, Mister Terrific is supposed to be one of the smartest people alive but he doesn't know anything about anthropology?  Neanderthals didn't live in caves much more than contemporary humans do, and while they were not humans, they did have complex social groups, made tools and cooked their food occasionally.  Not really the stereotype that pop culture gives us.  He even precedes his statement about his lack of knowledge about neanderthals by saying how smart he is.  
 
Verdict: Bad Science
#1 Posted by The Mighty Monarch (2137 posts) - - Show Bio

Not to mention that the issue tried to fill any plot holes with 'Because science!'
 
I wasn't aware of just how bad the science was in this issue. Interesting introspective I must say, I rather enjoyed reading this!

#2 Edited by TheOptimist (681 posts) - - Show Bio

@RazzaTazz: I dunno about the last one... mostly just because it is internal monologue. While I'm not calling myself the third smartest man in the world... I have to say, sometimes I think dumb things in my head that I know aren't true or proper. My format of language is improper, I use irrational logic and have thoughts that are downright incorrect...

On the other hand, more positively, I really like this as a subject choice! It works with the title as well, although I'd be interested to see it explored in other works in a similar manner!

#3 Posted by cattlebattle (13347 posts) - - Show Bio

I never understand why comics continue to entertain the idea why the smartest men in the world would be super-heroes. You would have to be intelligent to fight crime with the success that most heroes do, sure, but guys on Mr. Ts level...unnecessary. If they're so smart I'm sure they could find an alternative life style....same goes for villains

#4 Posted by RazzaTazz (8968 posts) - - Show Bio
@TheOptimist: Sure that may be the case, still I thought I might mention it 
 
@The Mighty Monarch: Glad you liked it, I sometimes do other issues
#5 Posted by Blurred View (363 posts) - - Show Bio

I guess I should have just linked to your blog when I was going on about how bad the science fiction was in my review for this issue.

#6 Edited by DoomDoomDoom (4211 posts) - - Show Bio

@RazzaTazz: Frequency also determines whether a sound will travel omnidirectional.

@cattlebattle said:

I never understand why comics continue to entertain the idea why the smartest men in the world would be super-heroes. You would have to be intelligent to fight crime with the success that most heroes do, sure, but guys on Mr. Ts level...unnecessary. If they're so smart I'm sure they could find an alternative life style....same goes for villains

I get what your saying but I think in morality rather than intelligence is what urges one to go hero or villian.

#7 Posted by cattlebattle (13347 posts) - - Show Bio
@DoomDoomDoom said:

@cattlebattle said:

I never understand why comics continue to entertain the idea why the smartest men in the world would be super-heroes. You would have to be intelligent to fight crime with the success that most heroes do, sure, but guys on Mr. Ts level...unnecessary. If they're so smart I'm sure they could find an alternative life style....same goes for villains

I get what your saying but I think in morality rather than intelligence is what urges one to go hero or villian.

oh, no doubt, your absolutely correct, but if these men were as smart as they were fictionally suppose to be, they would be on thinking levels above the common perception of good and evil.....in other words, such things such as squabbling and violent courses of action would be below them.
#8 Posted by DoomDoomDoom (4211 posts) - - Show Bio

@cattlebattle said:

@DoomDoomDoom said:

@cattlebattle said:

I never understand why comics continue to entertain the idea why the smartest men in the world would be super-heroes. You would have to be intelligent to fight crime with the success that most heroes do, sure, but guys on Mr. Ts level...unnecessary. If they're so smart I'm sure they could find an alternative life style....same goes for villains

I get what your saying but I think in morality rather than intelligence is what urges one to go hero or villian.

oh, no doubt, your absolutely correct, but if these men were as smart as they were fictionally suppose to be, they would be on thinking levels above the common perception of good and evil.....in other words, such things such as squabbling and violent courses of action would be below them.

Good point, I see what you were really getting at now. Being the third smartest man in the world should give you a little more objectivity than the subjective Ideas of good and evil.

#9 Posted by RazzaTazz (8968 posts) - - Show Bio
@DoomDoomDoom said:

@cattlebattle said:

@DoomDoomDoom said:

@cattlebattle said:

I never understand why comics continue to entertain the idea why the smartest men in the world would be super-heroes. You would have to be intelligent to fight crime with the success that most heroes do, sure, but guys on Mr. Ts level...unnecessary. If they're so smart I'm sure they could find an alternative life style....same goes for villains

I get what your saying but I think in morality rather than intelligence is what urges one to go hero or villian.

oh, no doubt, your absolutely correct, but if these men were as smart as they were fictionally suppose to be, they would be on thinking levels above the common perception of good and evil.....in other words, such things such as squabbling and violent courses of action would be below them.

Good point, I see what you were really getting at now. Being the third smartest man in the world should give you a little more objectivity than the subjective Ideas of good and evil.

This is part of the problem of making a statement like "I am the 3rd smartest person alive."  That might apply in terms of engineering and the sciences, but philosophy is a separate field.  Though I am not sure if philosophy would be neglected, John Stuart Mill is considered one of the smartest to have ever lived and he was a moral philosopher.  
#10 Edited by DoomDoomDoom (4211 posts) - - Show Bio

@RazzaTazz said:

@DoomDoomDoom said:

@cattlebattle said:

@DoomDoomDoom said:

@cattlebattle said:

I never understand why comics continue to entertain the idea why the smartest men in the world would be super-heroes. You would have to be intelligent to fight crime with the success that most heroes do, sure, but guys on Mr. Ts level...unnecessary. If they're so smart I'm sure they could find an alternative life style....same goes for villains

I get what your saying but I think in morality rather than intelligence is what urges one to go hero or villian.

oh, no doubt, your absolutely correct, but if these men were as smart as they were fictionally suppose to be, they would be on thinking levels above the common perception of good and evil.....in other words, such things such as squabbling and violent courses of action would be below them.

Good point, I see what you were really getting at now. Being the third smartest man in the world should give you a little more objectivity than the subjective Ideas of good and evil.

This is part of the problem of making a statement like "I am the 3rd smartest person alive." That might apply in terms of engineering and the sciences, but philosophy is a separate field. Though I am not sure if philosophy would be neglected, John Stuart Mill is considered one of the smartest to have ever lived and he was a moral philosopher.

I would include philosophy as a measure of someone's intelligence. Not a knowledge of the history of philosophy, but the ideas. Mill's Idea of Utilitarianism is great but the philosophers that hit it on the head are Harsanyi and Rawls. The Veil of Ignorance is one of my favorite philosophical ideas.

#11 Posted by RazzaTazz (8968 posts) - - Show Bio
@DoomDoomDoom: Sure it requires a lot of intelligence, and probably no elite philosopher would go around talking about how smart they are
#12 Posted by difficlus (10632 posts) - - Show Bio

@RazzaTazz: Nice blog yet again!

#13 Posted by DoomDoomDoom (4211 posts) - - Show Bio

@RazzaTazz:True...Socrates - "I know nothing".

And I agree with difficlus, great blog!

#14 Posted by cattlebattle (13347 posts) - - Show Bio
@RazzaTazz said:
@DoomDoomDoom said:

@cattlebattle said:

@DoomDoomDoom said:

@cattlebattle said:

I never understand why comics continue to entertain the idea why the smartest men in the world would be super-heroes. You would have to be intelligent to fight crime with the success that most heroes do, sure, but guys on Mr. Ts level...unnecessary. If they're so smart I'm sure they could find an alternative life style....same goes for villains

I get what your saying but I think in morality rather than intelligence is what urges one to go hero or villian.

oh, no doubt, your absolutely correct, but if these men were as smart as they were fictionally suppose to be, they would be on thinking levels above the common perception of good and evil.....in other words, such things such as squabbling and violent courses of action would be below them.

Good point, I see what you were really getting at now. Being the third smartest man in the world should give you a little more objectivity than the subjective Ideas of good and evil.

This is part of the problem of making a statement like "I am the 3rd smartest person alive."  That might apply in terms of engineering and the sciences, but philosophy is a separate field.  Though I am not sure if philosophy would be neglected, John Stuart Mill is considered one of the smartest to have ever lived and he was a moral philosopher.  
True, Heroes tend have smarts more in the academics department than fundamentals, but still, you would figure that these things would come natural to them with such IQs, I guess thats the point I am trying to make. Their IQs are fictionally so irrational...Its a bit silly to picture someone like Stephen Hawking or Einstein being prone to violence. (Simone Buevier was also a considered a genius and was a philosopher)
#15 Posted by RazzaTazz (8968 posts) - - Show Bio
@cattlebattle: True, but thats why comic book intelligence is really a superpower even when it is not.  
#16 Posted by Miss Menace (12166 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it rather tough to write a character like this, where Characters like Superman, Batman have science related things, but aren't science focused, you know. especially now in the days people fact check fiction ^_^

Go team Razz !

#17 Posted by tonis (6183 posts) - - Show Bio

totally agree on the intelligence stealing, this is one that gets fudged really bad in comics.

being one who hates driving I've also spent many a brain cell pondering the ADS but your right, without a massive infrastructure change first, it's not anywhere near feasible thanks to us random humans.

#18 Posted by BlackArmor (6138 posts) - - Show Bio

I hate how The T-spheres have become plot devices to do anything "Forget" give me a break

#19 Posted by KnightRise (4762 posts) - - Show Bio

Haha a fatal flaw! neanderthal where humans by technical means: they werent homo sapien but the term human applies to advanced hominids (homini?) including neanderthal homo hablilus and our ancestor cro magnon.

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