Weird Science

A Growing Problem

Do you think Hollywood writers are ever going to learn that matter has to come from somewhere? That if something grows, it does so by taking molecules from somewhere else and adding them to itself?

The whole “miraculous growth” thing in SciFi really pisses me off, but it’s most egregious in comic books and their movie adaptations. The Hulk is four or five times the size of puny Bruce Banner, but where does that extra mass come from? In the old “Marvel Handbooks” they eventually settled on an “extra-dimensional source”, which is bizarre in the extreme, especially when one starts to wonder what form it takes when it’s not part of the Hulk and whether Bruce Banner’s body is full of little wormholes squirting alien biomass into him when he gets hot under the collar. In the Fantastic Four movie, Ben Grimm’s mutation in the Thing takes place when he’s on Earth, and results in him increasing in weight to nearly half a ton. His bed begins to bend and collapse as his weight increases. Again, where the heck does it come from? It’s not like he’s doing some sort of energy to matter conversion (which would have suck all the ambient heat and energy out of the air for quite some distance around him).

This has got me musing about a version of the Incredible Hulk that doesn’t violate the conservation of matter and energy. It’s been quite amusing. First off, when he “hulked out”, the sudden creation of all that additional super-dense muscle and bone would either require a massive intake of food, or some kind of conversion of local energy into matter. So either “puny Banner” has to run around like a mad thing eating anything that isn’t nailed down, or his transformation sucks energy out of the air and reduces the temperature of everything in the surrounding area to something just above absolute zero. Options for what happens when our alternate Hulk calms down are slightly more numerous, but include a reversal of the energy to matter conversion, which would probably look a lot like a very large nuclear explosion…

I just like the idea of the military having to find ways to piss the “Hulk” off even more than before, because they can’t afford to have him calm down in an urban centre.

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