Tag: batman

Big City Blues

I don’t usually do the “responding to local newspaper”-type posts, but I just wanted to pass this along to my non-Canadian friends, as a demonstration of the kind of serious criminal issues we’re dealing with in the largest city in our nation.

from TheStar.com: Majority of cyclists get a failing grade on red-light test

This wasn’t some sidebar article either, this is the lead for the Crime Section.

Now, if we could only convince Batman to stop assaulting rogue cyclists.

Who will be that masked (wo)man?

Still from the documentary SuperheroesNot long ago, the ladies and I had an opportunity to see a documentary entitled Superheroes. The film technically hasn’t been released yet – we viewed it as part of a film festival – but it’s a nice bit of work that’s definitely worth checking out when you get the opportunity.

(Here’s a short clip if you’d like a taste of it.)

The movie’s subject is the variety of Real Life Super Heroes (RLSH) which have cropped up in recent years, and the fellow behind the project does a great job of trying to convey who these people are, and what motivates them.

Unfamiliar? You’ll be surprised how many hits googling RLSH will return.

Master Legend and friends

The truth is, the majority of those dressing up to patrol the streets rarely confront crime directly. Instead, most seem to involve themselves in assisting the homeless and the less fortunate, sometimes with material goods, (snacks make heroes quite popular,) and sometimes simply by brightening their day with the feeling that someone is watching out for them.

While many do strive to put themselves in harm’s way, the lack of heroic fisticuffs is probably a boon; those who take a secret identity often seem to find themselves with a strong heart, but an, er, untrained body. The reasoning behind their risk-taking seems to fall into two camps: there are those who may be a little naive about the true brutality of the world, and their place in it, and then there are those who’ve suffered some sort of trauma in their past, and are dealing with their issues by attempting to help others.

It’s that second path that I find the most interesting.

Mr Xtreme

I suspect nearly everyone who left the theater had the same thought nagging at them: “these people seem nice, it’ll be a real shame when one of them finally gets shot.”

Obviously, none portrayed have superhuman powers, and it’s easy to get anxious about those who do take the “fighting” part of “fighting crime” quite seriously – especially when they decide to confront a drug dealer twice their size, as happens in the film.

Still, I don’t think the idea will remain at the level of costumed social worker forever.

It’s that traumatized archetype that I wonder about. At some point the idea will reach the ear of a billionaire with a past, and then things will get interesting.

Sound ridiculous? Are you familiar with the work of Troy Hurtubise, who develops craziness not but an hour-and-a-half from where I grew up?

[youtube_sc url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPS2l5fQ55A]

Troy sounds silly, I know, but the reality is that his materials tend to hold up. I’ve seen footage of the earlier version of his suit being set on fire, and shot repeatedly, and somehow the mad inventor continues to survive.

Would he have any issue with developing a copy for a secret investor looking to clean up the streets of, say, Detroit?

I doubt it.

Still from Dark Knight

Sunday Summary: Sharks, Bikinis, & Scientists

Pennywise Protection
Pennywise Protection


Caution: Trucks Slamming Into Walls Ahead
Caution: Trucks Slamming Into Walls Ahead


On The Way To Dinner

FlashCast 017 – What's With Bees?

FC017 - What's With Bees?[audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/skinner/FlashCast017.mp3](Download/iTunes)

Hello, and welcome to FlashCast episode seventeen – prepare yourself for bees, apes, a Harm filled novel, and multiple New Yorks.

Mentions this episode:

[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqyKYrDta_E”]

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If you have comments, questions or suggestions, you can find us at https://flashpulp.com, call our voicemail line at (206) 338-2792, or email us text or mp3s to skinner@skinner.fm.

FlashCast is released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Pigeon Holes

Pigeon PilotLike many people with a recognizable surname, I sometimes get questions from people regarding a non-relative – in my case, B.F. Skinner.

While I do find his work in behavioral conditioning interesting, I’ve always loved another of his inventions, and wish it was the one that had made his (our) name famous.

From the wikipedia:

[During WWII] [t]he US Navy required a weapon effective against the German Bismarck class battleships. Although missile and TV technology existed, the size of the primitive guidance systems available rendered any weapon ineffective.

What does a psychologist best known for working with animals have to do with missiles?

The project centered on dividing the nose cone of a missile into three compartments, and encasing a pigeon in each. Each compartment used a lens to project an image of what was in front of the missile onto a screen. The pigeons would peck toward the object, thereby directing the missile.

Pigeon Missile PrototypeThat’s right, the war could have been won with kamikaze pigeon pilots, if anyone had been able to take the idea seriously. Despite some apparent success in training and testing, the project was canned – but that wasn’t the only animal-weapon the military was dealing with at the time.

Again from the wikipedia:

Bat bombs were bomb-shaped casings with numerous compartments, each containing a Mexican Free-tailed Bat with a small timed incendiary bomb attached. Dropped from a bomber at dawn, the casings would deploy a parachute in mid-flight and open to release the bats which would then roost in eaves and attics. The incendiaries would start fires in inaccessible places in the largely wood and paper construction of the Japanese cities that were the weapon’s intended target.

After some testing, including an accident in which the Auxiliary Army Air Base in Carlsbad, New Mexico, was set on fire, the batbomb was also shelved – in favour of the “simpler” solution of dropping atomic weaponry.Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb!