By RazzaTazz 19 Comments
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)
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