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Showing posts from July, 2020

Can a Magnifying Glass Destroy Ant-Man?

Would Ant-Man's worst enemy actually be this simple magnifying glass. Let's get technical. (intense orchestral music) Ant-Man was one of the founders of the Avengers in the comics, and now as part of the MCU, has been a part of some of the largest skirmishesacross the universe, but as far as I can tell, he has never had to face off against one of these.

Aside from helping GrandmaReed and Sherlock find clues, you probably know that a magnifying glass can concentrate the sun'spower to burn stuff. And if you too were once achild filled with regret, you know that it can burn ants, but would the samething happen to Ant-Man? (upbeat electronic music) (blows on flames) (chuckles) Woozy. First of all, how do magnifyingglasses magnify stuff? The magnifying glasses thatyou are most familiar with are just convex lenses, lenseswith this shape, on a stick, and what those lenses dois bend, or refract light, as the light passes through it, and the light interacts with the glass.

For exa…

Men in Black’s Noisy Cricket is CRAZY

Would you break this dang thing, or would it break you? Let's get technical. (neuralyzer whirs and fires) Would you break this dang thing, or would get break you? Let's get technical. What? (upbeat techno music) Out of all the fun sci-fi weapons in the Men in Black-iverse, the Noisy Cricket mightbe the most famous. Absurdly small and absurdlypowerful for its size, this tiny gun is known forits crazy strong recoil. Now we know almost nothingelse about this weapon, aside from its recoil, but I think that if we canput some numbers to its oomph, we can learn a lot more about it than some dudes in suits would tell us because no matter where theMen in Black got this weapon, physics works the sameeverywhere in the universe.

First, I can't see anything. First, what is recoil? Well recoil is the term that we use for a weapon's backwards momentum, its mass multiplied by its velocity and that backwardsmomentum is a consequence of the conservation of momentum, a principle that st…

How to Sail on Sunlight

For thousands of years,humans have used the power of wind to sail across our planet and discover new lands thatwere seemingly out of reach. What if I told you thatthere's a 400 year old idea that applies the concept of sails to space that could make the edge ofour solar system accessible in under 10 years of travel time? In the hands of the Sith Lord Count Dooku, a version of this concept was used when he escaped fromGeonosis without a trace.

How could we use sunlight to assail our travel woes in real life? (upbeat electronic music) The sun is a source ofplentiful free energy, and ever since 1608,harnessing it was an idea that BFF's Johannes Keplerand Galileo Galilei shared, and it's since inspired tabletopRPG's like Star Traders, short stories, TV shows, movies, and actual solar sail missions. One example of solar sails in movies is Count Dooku's Punworcca116, or the Solar Sailer. It's somewhat of a misnomersince it's not being pushed by solar pressure, b…

Why Thor ISN’T Immune to Electricity

Why are you able toshock the God of Thunder? Let's get technical.  One, hammer. Two, lightning at some point. But despite all of hiselectrical based superpowers, movies like Thor: Ragnarokestablished that Thor is not immune to all forms of electricity. Why though? Shouldn't his power over lightning make more minor shockscompletely harmless?

This seems like a valid criticism, but I do think therecould be something more technical going on. And the answer may shock you. First, we should understandwhat Thor is the god of. Lightning is one of themost spectacular phenomenons in nature, a rapid equalizationof charge differentials that creates a stormof ridiculous numbers. When negative charges built up in cloud finally equalize with thepositive ground charges here on Earth, a lightningbolt jumps across the sky that's 10 times hotter thanthe surface of the Sun, carrying 100 million voltsand traveling at a third the speed of light. It illuminates the nightsky with electric fury. O…

What if a Radioactive Spider Bites You?

We all know whathappened to Peter Parker but what would really happen to you if you were bitten bya radioactive spider. Let's get technical. (suspenseful instrumental music) The origin of Spider-Man starts all the way back in 1962 in thepanels of Amazing Fantasy 15 and in those panelsscientists are demonstrating to Peter Parker and hisclass their amazing control over so called radioactive rays. The scientists throw theswitch on their machine but at the exact sametime, an unfortunate spider dangles down from the ceiling and absorbs a fantasticamount of radiation. The spider then totally stressed out and in its death throes,then Peter who then more or less immediatelygains superpowers. The origin story of spiderman has changed over the years but what would happen to you if you were in this same original situation?

First, those 50 year old panelsgot something exactly right. Spiders do not want to bite us. Whether it's our evolution or our culture, we have a habit of blaming spi…

Can We Turn Earth Into a Spaceship?

Beautiful isn't it? The only home we've ever known. But what if the only way to save the Earth was to push it somewhere else? Could we do that? Let's get technical. It is freezing out here. (upbeat music) Life, as we know it, dependson two million septillion kilograms of mostly hydrogen and helium that forms an almost perfect sphere that we humans call the sun. And because we are sodependent on the suns energy, life on Earth has a time limit. In a little over seven billion years, the sun will have burnedthrough enough of its hydrogen and helium fuel that it'll move into another stage of itslife, the red giant stage, and expand so much so that the Earth and all the inner planets will be consumed by just its radius. And that, as they say, will be that.

How could we escape such a scorching fate? Well that is the centralquestion in the novella and recent Chinese blockbuster,"The Wandering Earth". And that story's solution is to construct thousands of rockets…

Can Aquaman Drown?

Though all life on Earthlikely began in the oceans, we as human things know that our domain is not underneath the waves. Only a humanoid hero likeAquaman can survive everything that the seas have tothrow at us, or can he? Can Aquaman drown? Let's get technical. (sucks in air)(grunts) (upbeat music) Being happy Atlantean,Arthur Curry or Aquaman has the physiology, canonically speaking, to thrive both insideand outside of water. So asking a question like, can he drown? Will depend entirely onour definitions of drowning and his physiology.

 I know that this question sounds like it has anobvious answer to it, but this analysis turns out tobe surprisingly complicated. so let's start with the basics. How does Aquaman breathe underwater? (water bubbling) I'm a shark. Whether in water or in air, breathing fundamentallycomes down to one process gas exchange. All particles in the universelike atoms and molecules, if they have any temperature at all, they are necessarily bouncing ar…

What Disease Does The Joker Have?

Batman may be the vengeancein the night and all, but maybe more importantly, he's also the world's greatest detective who knows that sometimes youhave to use logic and science in order to understand your enemies, both inside and out. So, what disease does the Joker have? Let's get technical. To the Kyle computer!

The Joker is obviously homicidal. He is frequently overcomewith uncontrollable bouts of laughter, andhe has little regard for the wellbeing of other human beings. These are consistentpsychological symptoms that must have some neurologicalunderpinnings in his brain. I was supposed to be g...

Now, most of the time on this program we piece together pop culture and science to try to come to anacceptable conclusion for each. But in this particular case, Batman being the greatdetective that he is, has already done a lot of the work for us. You were s... Ah. In one of the entries in the fantastic Arkham series of video games, more specifically Arkham Knight, Batman is f…

How to Colonize The Outer Worlds

This episode of Because Space is brought to you by the Outer Worlds. We've all visualized fantastical worlds described in books and on our screens. But how would thosedescriptions impact the climate and laws of physics inthose imaginary places? How would Frodo and his crewtrek across Middle Earth if the planet stayed trueto the book's description? Could a place like Tatooine, with it's twin suns, really exist and support life? (upbeat music) Our very own Earth is not flat. Let me repeat that forthe people in the back. The Earth is not flat. On the other hand, Arda is.

For those of you who aren'tinto Lord of the Rings, Middle Earth is situatedon a planet named Arda. While Middle Eartheventually became round, which is a topic for a wholedifferent conversation, but in the flat days of Arda, what kind of effect would it haveon the inhabitants? The first big issue is the magnetic field. On our very own Earth, werely on the molten iron in the outer core to generate currents…