Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Feature, Best Posts Revisited: Superman Can't Have Sex by Stewart Sternberg

Fridays are usually a slow day around here. So rather than try to think of an imaginative post that will likely just sit here, unloved, I'm going to re-visit some great old posts that new readers might enjoy.

There are two reasons nerds shouldn't drink, the first involves drool and the second involves magic marker. Well, there's a third...they sit around and talk about the feasibility of Superheroes. Oh yeah.

It can't be helped. Sit us around and get us to talking about comics and soon you'll hear such gems as:

"Dude, Superman can't have sex."
"Dude, why not?"
"Dude, involuntary muscle contractions would kill her...not just that..."
"Oh wow."
"Yeah, that too."
"Dude, do you think Power-Woman is real?"
"Yes, I've written a poem for her: 'Power-Woman, all dressed in white, I'd like to take you out tonight'"
"Dude, that's so lame."

I can't tell you the hours of discussion involving such matters as: "You notice in the original comic, Spidey had to take off his shoes to stick to a wall? How is it he can stick when he's wearing his red spidey boots?" "What's the most damage Wolverine can take before he can't heal himself?" and of course, " come she doesn't get all ugly and stupid like her cousin?" Wait...I'm still thinking about She-Hulk. Wait...still thinking. Okay.

Recently, the BBC did a show called "The Science of SuperHeroes" in which some basic questions about the enhanced humans were answered (they also did one about the science of James Bond). I suggest going to the website and looking around. Interesting stuff.

Let me give you an example of some of the material covered. We'll focus on the science of Superman. What follows is an excerpt from the website:

Superhuman strength
From Krypton's size and mass, and a few equations, its gravity works out to be at least ten times as strong as Earth’s. Since lifting an object on Earth would take ten times less effort than on Krypton, Superman could lift a car as easily as we lift a wheelbarrow. It’s the same reason astronauts on the Moon can take 25 metre jumps and lift huge objects with ease. Their muscles have adapted to work in the Earth’s gravitational field. So the Moon’s weaker gravity (one sixth the strength of Earth’s) doesn’t pull them back towards the surface as much.
Solar-powered superhero
Superman apparently gets some of his tremendous energy directly from our Sun. The yellowish light that comes from the Sun contains more energy that the red light that bathed Superman’s home planet. Also, Krypton was probably a lot further away from its sun, since larger planets are more likely to orbit their stars at a greater distance. Other descriptions of Krypton suggest that it had a very dusty atmosphere, which would also block sunlight from reaching the people living on the surface. So while Superman is on Earth he receives much more solar energy than on Krypton, making him much more powerful.

You see what I mean? It's nerd crack. It's the sort of stuff that gives us something to dream about while significant others are off watching "American Idol" or "Desperate Housewives".
So, check it out. It will give you something to fall back on the next time you and the crew get together and start arguing about the X-Men. And if you're going to a convention any time in the future, will just be assumed you know this stuff.


Charles Gramlich said...

I wanna be a superhero.

Fab said...

Stewart has such great posts! I didn't know this one, but then again, I have not been a visitor that long... how long is it now? A year? gosh I didn't realize. I love superhero's. Pitty about the Superman-sex deprivation. That must be so frustrating for the guy...

SQT said...


Well, maybe except for the "can't have sex" part I'd agree.


I love Stu's posts. Unfortunately he's been so busy I don't see him much anymore.

Melinda Seckington said...

Great post! Haven't been following this blog that long yet, and it's nice to see some of the "Best Of" posts. Still haven't taken the time to check out the Science of Superheroes. I remember hearing about it when it came out..4? 5? years ago, but never actually watched it. Is it still worth looking it up?

SQT said...


Thanks for stopping by. I remember watching the "Science of Superheroes" special and it was really good. I think it came out about the time the last Superman movie came out and they were talking about the feasibility of his powers-- though there was another show specifically on Superman about that time too, so I may be getting the content mixed up.

But they got into Spiderman's powers too and I'm sure a few others. Good stuff.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I hope Lois Lane didn't read this post.

Melinda Seckington said...

Cool, will have to see if I can delve it up from somewhere.

furiousBall said...

isn't that the most perfect irony, they are the ideal human (or mostly) form yet they can't get it on?