Stranger Than Fiction – Two Real-Life Super Powers
A few months back we wrote about the comedic possibilities of super heroes confronting real life. In the last few years there has been a flood of super hero comics, movies, and TV shows and many of them place people with extraordinary abilities in ordinary situations. Witness the blockbuster Spider-Man movies, or heroes like Hiro from Heroes.
But beyond the world of fiction, what kind of super powers can we find in real life? Sure, it’s fun to come up with speculative pseudoscience explanations for Superman’s heat vision, but that’s not likely to produce any results. Even non-powered heroes like Batman rely too much on poor comic book physics and unrealistic survivability to produce real-life counterparts.
We’ll find our real-life super powers in less obvious places. In the 1980s Marvel had a character named Cypher, or more properly Doug Ramsey. Doug wasn’t known by his super hero name because his power wasn’t flashy or very useful in battle - Doug was genetically gifted with the ability to understand languages.
This amazing ability to learn languages (along with numbers, dates, etc.) is something you can find in real life, often linked with disabling autism. Often, but not always. Watch the video to see the life of Daniel Tammet, the boy with the incredible brain.http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4913196365903075662
In the BBC documentary Tammet explains that he see numbers as distinct shapes, colors, and textures. It helps him recite Pi to tens of thousands of digits – not memorizing, but walking through the landscape of Pi. He’s able to learn Icelandic in a week.
For the second super power, we turn to a more popular hero, Daredevil. Daredevil’s origin is just as unlikely as most of the characters created in the early 1960s – we was hit a by a truck carrying radioactive waste. The waste blinded him but (of course) heightened his other senses to an amazing degree. Daredevil could read by feeling the ink of the type on a newspaper, hear his foe’s heartbeat, and most importantly he could use his hearing as a sonar sense.
Ben Underwood was never splashed with anything radioactive, but he did learn to overcome his blindness through the use of echolocation. You just have to see it. Watch this CBS video:
(I just have to point out that his mother’s name is Aquanetta).
So there we have it. No one is faster than a speeding bullet or more powerful than a locomotive, but some super powers are real, though rare. Did I miss any? Please let me know about other real-life super powers in the comments below.Written by Jason
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