Teaching physics with superheroes

In the 1940s, a lot of superheroes gained their powers through some mystical artifact from the Far East; in the 1960s, they got them through radioactivity; and, since the 1990s, they get them through genetic engineering. It's interesting to see the connections between comic superheroes and physics. For a sampling, see the following sites :


Ever wondered what those chinese letters mean on the menu in your favourite Chinese restaurant ? After all, they might reveal the true meaning of what you're eating ;)

Anyway, if you're interested into some Chinese, check out this guide.


These are the reasons why I refuse to work with Internet Explorer : 32 unpatched security holes, from which one is a big SSL hole, which is already known for months at Microsoft. That means that if you are using Internet Explorer for your internet banking, your session cannot be guaranteed to be safe ! Think about that, goddammit ! Luckily there are some fine alternatives.

The Wow Signal

SETI is a scientific project using large telescopes in the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. On August 15, 1977 the Ohio State Radio Observatory detected the most promising extraterrestrial candidate signal to date. The so-called "Wow!" signal received its name from the note written in the margin of the computer printout by Dr. Jerry Ehman. The signal rises about 15 dB above the mean background noise, in a single channel.

An analysis of the Wow! signal indicates that its source was moving with the background stars. From its Doppler shift signature, terrestrial interference, aircraft, and spacecraft can be ruled out as possible origins of the signal. The antenna coordinates indicated that the signal was coming from no known nearby solar-type stars. The only condition required for a SETI signal not met was that of repeatability. However, since the Ohio State Big Ear radiotelescope has an extremely narror beamwidth, viewing just one part in a million of the sky at any given time, one would not expect the signal to repeat. Assuming the Wow! signal is a typical SETI-like transmission, then we can expect valid SETI hits to be very strong, high intermittent signals which appear once (as the transit beam sweeps past Earth), and never repeat again. Unless the signal is detected again, we may never know for sure.