Archive for the ‘Spider-man’ Category

Soldiers Scale Walls With Vacuum

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Grappling hooks are so 1985.

Check out this thing.

Looking a LOT like some kind of steampunk version of Spiderman’s climbing apparatus circa 1944, the vacuum-powered gear in this video was developed by students at Utah State University for an Air Force competition in order to secure a $100,000 grant to continue working on this contraption.

Their next step is to use the money they won during this competition to develop a much stealthier version that doesn’t sound like your mother’s coming for your room with a Dyson.

[YouTube]

Peter Parker Has Balls: Comparing Trailers Reveals Spider-Man’s New Backbone

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Two movies, ten years apart, one friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

Both were preceded by teasers which didn’t quite hit as intended. Sam Raimi’s independent mini-story containing all original footage that wouldn’t be seen in the film was understandably shelved after 9/11 due to a final shot of a baddie helicopter ensnared in a web between the World Trade Center towers. Meanwhile, Marc Webb’s first peak into his Spidey universe was criticized for an over-serious tone, origin story fatigue and underwhelming “MADE FOR 3D” first person perspective sequence.

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But let’s focus on the big trailers… the one that in 2001 proved to give us the most accurate look at 2002′s film and whose modern-day counterpart will hopefully do the same for July’s Amazing adventure.

The biggest difference upon watching both back to back is how differently Peter Parker is handled. Toby Maguire is an affable goofball who is gaining a sense of purpose by way of his powers. Oozing likability, Raimi gives him the trappings of a nerd (glasses, ill-fitting clothing, square hair cut) but aside from an awkward pass at Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane Watson, we don’t see much of that evidenced in his character.

Even the Parker narration over the first minute of the trailer has a “Holy Moly, you wouldn’t believe what’s happened over the last few weeks” tone.

Compare that to Andrew Garfield’s far more brooding, introspective Parker. We skip the “spider bite shot” and get right into web swinging action. 20 seconds into the trailer, Parker is inventing his web shooters. A few seconds after that he’s defending Spider-Man in a heated conversation.

If there were a character narration over this trailer, one might assume it would sound much more like a Captain’s Log. He knows he’s smart and draws strength from that when dealing with others. His weakness comes for abandonment issues which makes him quiet, but not necessarily unsure of himself.

In a word, the difference is confidence. The Maguire’s Parker never truly understood his powers and was constantly struggling to make sense of them. Garfield’s version appears to look at them more like an experiment. He’s not afraid to push them past their limits and doesn’t view them as a reflection on himself.

Our new Peter Parker seems determined to make his mark on the word through science. His new abilities just give him another tool to do it.

Venom Eats Leaves: We Are Caterpillar

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
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Legend has it that this caterpillar used to be a journalist, a good one too. If it weren’t for that one story about the Sin Eater he could have been Bob Woodward. But no, he was fed some bad information and revealed to be a fraud by Spider-Man.

Dejected and suicidal, he went to pray for The Lord’s Salvation when he was bonded with The Symbiote giving him powers equal to Spider-Man and a pathway to the true revenge he’d always sought.

Or it’s just an awesome picture taken by photographer Igor Siwanowicz.

[Geekologie]

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Scientists Recreate Spider Silk (50 Years After Teenager in Queens)

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
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Listen kids. If you are reading this and you only know of Peter Parker and Spider-man because of the Sam Raimi films, let me break something to you.

Peter Parker didn’t start shooting webs out of his wrists as part of an overnight biological evolution after being bit by a radioactive arachnid. That’s just Hollywood fantasy. The real story is that the brainy Parker, having already woken up with super strength, agility and uncanny Spider Sense decided to augment his new natural gifts with his own scientific concoction. A sticky, strong, spider silk-esqe substance which he then shot out of home made mechanical dispensers triggered by a specific hand gesture.

The mechanical web shooters reinforces a key element of the Spider-man mythos. Peter Parker is a socially awkward kid because he’s a genius level science nerd. This matters! This is important! Yes! I am still furious about this 9 years after the first Spider-man movie came out!

Also, 50 years after the character was created scientists have finally caught up with Peter Parker and recreated spider silk by transferring key spider genes into silkworms which are far easier to farm the substance out of.

So they worked out a way to transfer the key spider genes responsible for the strong thread making into the silkworm.

The scientific breakthrough could open the door for large-scale production.

The silk could be used in many medical applications including artificial ligaments and tendons, as well as tough wound dressings.

It is also said to be strong enough that it could be used as a new material in manufacturing bulletproof vests.

Or shooting Mysterio in the face so you can make fun of his helmet.

[Sky]

Grafted Spider Skin Makes You Bulletproof

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

In yet another attempt to to bridge the gap between art and science, Geert Verbeke plans to graft a synthetic blend of spider silk and human skin into his arm as the latest piece in his art collection.  The artificial skin graft will be grown by a team made up of Dutch artist Jalila Essaidi and cell biologist Abdoewaheb El Ghalbzouri. So far the hybrid skin has been able to stop a rifle bullet that has been fired at half its normal speed.

“It connects nature, science and art. If I put the art that Jalila has made on my arm, then I will always have it with me,” said Verbeke, who has a particular interest in marrying arts and life sciences.

However, such grafted skin is still far from being truly bulletproof.

El Ghalbzouri said that spider silk is three times stronger than Kevlar, which is used in bulletproof vests worn by the military and others in conflict zones. Since bulletproof vests are made from 33 layers of Kevlar, using more layers of spider silk could prove more effective in stopping a bullet, he said.

These hybrid grafts could potentially help burn patients as the silk enables scientists to make larger grafts. Other studies have shown that silk placed in burn wounds encourages healing and minimizes scarring.  The question that remains is “does spider silk possess these same characteristics?”  If that isn’t enough, El Ghalbzouri doesn’t  just want to stop at skin either.  He said that these is potential for spider silk to be a good basis on which to build  bone, cartilage, tendons and ligaments.

[Reuters]

Spider-man Strength Webbing Found In Wild

Monday, September 20th, 2010

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According to researchers, this stuff is the strong enough to swing-patrol the streets of New York City and durable enough to slam the Green Goblin into a midtown high rise, glider and all.

[Nat Geo]

Experimental Limb Regeneration That WILL Turn You Into A Lizard

Monday, August 9th, 2010

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We told you last week about a possible new therapy hoping to regrow body parts. Unlike the ill-fated research of Dr. Curt Connors, it does not use the DNA of an animal that naturally regrows limbs so the likelihood of the recipient turning into a giant lizard and forcing Spider-man to do a backflip whilst saying something glib… is unlikely.

But that was that therapy. This therapy makes none of the same boring promises.

Scientists are regrowing mouse limbs with newt and salamander DNA and humans could be next.

“Newts regenerate tissues very effectively,” said Helen Blau, PhD, the Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Professor and a member of Stanford’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. “In contrast, mammals are pathetic. We can regenerate our livers, and that’s about it. Until now it’s been a mystery as to how they do it.”

Not noted in the story is that lightning struck right after she called mammals pathetic.

The unsolved puzzle to limb regeneration is apparently the rampant cancer that unchecked cell replication can kick start. Mouse trials have utilized two tumor-suppressing proteins to keep that mess in check.

Peter Parker, it’s time you came face to face with… The Newt.

Thanks to Weird Things reader Dan Wheeler for passing this along.

[Science Daily]