Tuesday, December 16, 2008

If Super Heroes Could Be Science Bloggers

After all, super heroes seem to have a lot to say but a word balloon just doesn't tell you everything you need to know. So I'm thinking. Could I match up a super hero with a real world blogger? Yes, and maybe. First I had to do a bit of screening. I wanted the super hero to be female. So that chucked out 75% of the known comic/graphic novel universe. Next, the hero could not a derivative of a male hero, hence no Bat Woman, Spider Woman, She-Hulk or Lightning Lass. I was looking for dames that had their own powers and identities. Finally, and I had to loosen up on this one, the main power or skill of the super hero had to connect in some way to the real world blogger. Looking good in a skimpy outfit was not one of the criteria. Coming close to matching a keyword search helped a great deal.

DC Comics Black Canary

Diana Lance aka Black Canary. Martial arts expert but her main power is her Ultrasonic scream. There are many, many blogs that are talking about their ultrasound experiences. Not really what I was going for but it is a good way to get family and friends connected by posting photos of the new bundle of joy. So I needed to make a conceptual shift from ultrasonic to sonic to SONAR and that lead me to Jennifer Ouellette at Cocktail Party Physics wrote a extensive post on the history, law and verifiable and unverifiable effects of the military testing of SONAR on sea mammals.

The Antarctical Blog from the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition has more information from their prospective about whales and SONAR.

Marvel's Jolt

Hallie Takahama aka Jolt can convert her essence from human form to living bio-electrical power. She can issue energy blasts that flat out hurt the ones she doesn't love. On the first go around there seems to be a lot of concern about body fat and how bio-electrical impedance can assess the percentage of body fat. Feh. All I have to do is try to put on a pair of pants at a certain time of the month to know I'm up a couple of pounds.

This not to say that I couldn't find a post or an article. I did at the PLoS Computational Biology Journal at the Public Library of Science. This is a relatively new project that aims to be an open source version of a peer reviewed science library repository. Stochastic Differential Equation Model for Cerebellar Granule Cell Excitability does contain the word "bio-electrical" but I would need a science interpreter or 15 additional years of higher education to begin to understand what was written.

I take a different path. Sandra Porter over at Discovering Biology in a Digital World. Sandra is a microbiologist and molecular biologist turned tenured biotech faculty turned bioinformatics scientist turned entrepreneur. (Whew!) So I'm thinking from a molecular biology standpoint she sees all kinds of energy forming and dissipating on a very small scale. Sandra's writing style is easy to understand.

She and I share a love of gadgets; you should check out her Molecules application on her iPhone.

I need to make this clear. The PLoS Computational Biology Journal and Discovering Biology in a Digital World are two different types of science writing. Both are good, very good. I just don't have the vocabulary or the education to understand a peer review science paper. I think even Hallie would have a little problem with it. Sandra would probably sail through it in 10 minutes.

Well, since we are on the micro side of the fence you should also check out Tara at Aetiology. Tara is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and writes about the things people and animals can catch such as viruses, infections and Helicobacter pylori. If you have gastritis or a stomach ulcer that little bug-a-boo is in the neighborhood.

DC's Wonder WomanDiana Prince, Princess Diana of Themysira aka Wonder Woman has super strength, speed, the ability to fly and can hunt bad guys with the best of the boys while able to talk to the animals. Not to mention she has got that way cool invisible plane.

Diana navigates her plane both through Earth and space to get to the Justice League of America Space Station. Her blogging counterpoint might be Engineer Maria Bualat who is working on robots that will journey to other planets to gather information.

You can watch a video of her and Corey Ippolito describing the make-up of the robot and how they plan for when things go wrong. Janet Stemweldel who is a philosopher and has a Ph.D in physical chemistry. The Adventures in Ethics Blog has a section devoted to the the ethics of animal research.

Janet also blogs about astronomy and astrophysics, the intersections of pop culture and science and "Ask A Science Blogger" posts where you can learn from a philosophical and biochemical standpoint why you should eat organic produce whenever possible.

Well, this is my not so sneaky attempt to get more people to check out the diverse world of science bloggers. Or to help you catch up on your comic and graphic novel mythological histories.

Originally posted at BlogHer where I’m a Contributing Editor.

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