Archive for the 'In certain circumstances' Category
Claire Danes shows up at the Met Gala, kinda sorta:
Love the dress, but you probably figured that.
This is kind of neat. Brian Cronin at CBR has assembled, with appropriate artwork, the Top Five Greatest Invisible Woman Moments, from many years of Fantastic Four. His criteria, I think, are admirable:
In determining these rankings, I am leaning heavily on “historic” over just plain “cool.” In recent years, writers have been giving Invisible Woman more and more impressive displays of her powers. Heck, during Infinity War, Sue contained a nuclear explosion! During James Robinson’s recent run, she fought the Avengers to a standstill and almost killed Doctor Doom. So for the past twenty years or so, she has routinely done notable feats of strength. While they’re all cool, they sort of take away from the significance of each one. So I’m giving more weight to moments Sue did during periods where she was NOT as well established as a bad ass.
Sensible, given the oft-proclaimed belief that Sue Storm, early on, was primarily eye candy.
The trouble with your standard present-day “invisibility cloaks” is that they’re not all that cloaky: kinda thick and inflexible, in fact. But wait:
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, designed a carpet cloak, a device that covers an object and scatters light as if it’s hitting a flat surface instead of something three-dimensional.
The cloak is very thin only about a tenth the size of the wavelength of the photons it’s scattering and lossless, so there’s no dimming to give away the presence of the cloak. The scientists achieved this by using a new design and different materials. Instead of a periodic structure of metal, which absorbs light, they use two dielectric materials, a Teflon substrate studded with cylinders made of a ceramic. The ceramic has a high refractive index, and the Teflon has a low refractive index. When combined, they create a metamaterial, capable of bending light in unusual ways.
The finished product will of necessity be extremely thin:
It was designed for the microwave range, with a 0.6 cm thickness to handle 6 cm wavelengths, simply because those larger dimensions made it easier to work with. A cloak could be made for visible light but would have to be much thinner. Because the shortest wavelength the human eye perceives is slightly less than 400 nm, a cloak would have to be less than 40 nm thick, a dimension easily achievable by the photolithography processes used for making computer chips.
The Japanese, I am persuaded, pay far more attention to this particular, um, fantasy than we do in the States. As evidence, I present this ten-minute collage of drawings, maybe two of which I’d seen before:
[Oh, fudge. The video’s been pulled.]
(Thanks to Dale.)
The singer/songwriter known as Sia, on the promotion of her new album 1000 Forms of Fear:
I already have a much larger concept for this album and for how I’m going to present it and that was: I don’t want to be famous. If Amy Winehouse was a beehive then I guess I’m a blonde bob. I thought “well if that’s my brand, how can I avoid having to use my face to sell something,” so my intention was to create a blonde bob brand. Throughout this whole thing I’ll put a different person in a blonde bob and either they lip-synch while I’m doing a live performance or they perform a dance or do some sort of performance while I have my back to the audience, as with Ellen.
And in the official video for the first single, “Chandelier,” there’s a tween dancer with endless reserves of energy in a blonde bob. But there’s also a lyric video:
In case you didn’t think she was serious about it.
Very nice short-short story by Maria Deira: single mom raising invisible daughter.
At some point when I wasn’t looking turns out to be the early 1990s Marvel Comics issued a handful of Swimsuit Issues. (As Brett White of Topless Robot points out, “The only difference between superhero spandex and a swimsuit is that the colorist gets to use a lot more flesh tone.”
Which still doesn’t explain putting an invisible swimsuit on the Invisible Woman:
Frighteningly, there’s precedent for this.
(Via Fark.)3 comments
Theodore Hook’s The invisible girl: a piece in one act dates to 1806. The young lady in question, one Harriet Falkland, has lots of lines and an enthusiastic suitor, but the play contrives to have her unseen, behind the scenes or otherwise out of the line of sight, for its entire length. (Google has it as an e-book.)
I suspect this was intended as a send-up of the popular Parisian “Invisible Woman” shows of that decade, in which audience members were invited to interact with the feminine occupant of a seemingly-empty room.
From EA’s Crysis 2 description at YouTube:
Enhanced strength and speed are necessary improvements, but it’s the Nanosuit’s invisibility that will give gamers the true advantage. Fight to save NYC and the world from an all-out alien invasion by slipping into the shadows and using stealth to surprise, confuse and eliminate your opponents.
Due out on Tuesday.
Sharks not scary enough for you? How about invisible sharks?
[Julien] Claes and his colleagues chose to focus on one particular luminous shark, nicknamed “the phantom hunter of the fjords”: the velvet belly lantern shark.
This shark’s shimmer originates from light emitting organs called photophores from underneath its body, “effectively creating a glow from that region.”
Which, if you happen to be prey or predator, misdirects you as to the shark’s actual location.
Is this technology extensible to humanoids? Probably not, since we don’t dwell in deep water. Still, it’s fascinating to contemplate.2 comments
Agathe Teyssier’s film La Femme Invisible, which opens in France this month, stars Julie Depardieu, daughter of Gérard and Elisabeth Depardieu, as a woman who, when confronted with difficult situations in life, vanishes into the background. What to do? One scary possibility is electroshock treatment:
You can see the trailer here. I have my doubts that this film will ever screen Stateside, but if it’s enough of a hit, perhaps they’ll remake it in Hollywood, though Teyssier herself has said: “The film ends where an American movie starts!”
Mister Doe sent this one to me, and it’s one of the better examples of “in certain circumstances”: the narrator is totally unable to see anyone with green eyes. Unfortunately, this included his mother, who died when he was ten.
It’s a little rough around the edges, but it gets the tone and the dynamics right.
Back in May I mentioned The Trouble with Moonlight, and I’ve since found author Donna MacMeans taking on the subject of invisibility, both in and out of her novel.
Early on, she notes that “it really hasn’t been done in romance that I recall. It’s been used in other fiction, though.” This, of course, we know. And she poses a question:
[W]hich would you prefer something that rendered you invisible for the moment a la Hades or something that was more permanent like [Wells’] invisible man?
And answering a later question, on what she’d do if she were invisible for three hours or so:
I’d probably follow my kids around to see if they’re … going to church at midnight and maybe use my invisibility to “influence” them to make proper choices.
OR I’d throw on some clothes = a skirt and a skimpy top and hang out at the mall to freak people out.
That latter I’d definitely want to see.
Oh, and I did enjoy the book; perhaps now I have a little more insight into why.
Lusinda Havershaw actually can blame it on the moon: when the lunar light falls upon her, she vanishes. Her clothing, lacking this rare sensitivity, doesn’t, and you can guess (some of) the rest.
Donna MacMeans came up with this character, who will be appearing, so to speak, in the novel The Trouble with Moonlight, due the third of June from Berkley. You can read an excerpt here.2 comments
Generally, invisibility stories fall into one of two categories: either the person is invisible to everyone, or invisible to everyone except one specific character. Ghost stories, in particular, tend to follow the latter pattern: only a single individual is capable of detecting the presence of the spirit, and everyone else presumes he’s off his meds or something.
It is possible, however, to construct a third variant, in which the person is invisible to only one other person; to anyone else, there’s nothing unusual going on. You don’t see this too often, as it’s a wholly-different dynamic. I wrote one myself a couple of years ago, based on a dream sequence.
Now there’s another one, and it’s nothing at all like mine except for that single premise. There may be others out there, but I haven’t found them yet.