Super Human Part 1

November 21, 2011

Torah Kachur

What superpower would you have? 


Vote for your favorite superpower now


Flight?  Invisibility?  X-ray vision?  The possibilities are endless and keep me up at night way longer than the old "wish for more wishes" genie-in-a-bottle thought experiment.  Are questions like this silly games designed for dating sites that really tell you nothing about the person answering them?  Or are they more a strategic question to focus our efforts on making them a reality.


Take invisibility for instance, popularized by Harry Potter's invisibility cloak and The Invisible Man, it seems like the most far-fetched of the superpowers.  Yet, it may soon be possible.  Japanese researchers always work on the coolest shit and have developed an invisibility cloak that works to usher light around an object instead of just bouncing off of it.  These 'metamaterials' or carbon nanotubes work in small coiled packets at the microscopic scale to allow light to bend around an object, just like water flowing past a rock in a stream.



But, as usual, the Americans have to one-up the world, a group from the University of Texas in Dallas have revealed a new strategy to form an invisibility cloak that still uses nanoscale materials, but this time it works to rapidly transfer the heat from light to mimic the mirage effect seen by thirsty desert-dwellers.  In a mirage, the intense heat from the sun strikes the earth but is rapidly dissipated into the surrounding which causes the light rays to bend, essentially cloaking the object.





The device is made up of carbon nanotubes - tiny rods that are less than one billionth of a meter and that have the power to be as strong as steel, but as flexible as string and have the ability to absorb massive amounts of energy. 


Not surprinsingly, this research is funded largely by the American Military and aims to shield soldiers from their enemies so they can go into warzones and kill more people than they can from bombing the shit of out of villages from miles up.  What other purpose do invisibility cloaks do than to be able to do bad things and just not be caught?



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