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Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Scientist: Ronald Mallett

This ought to be under "shameless self-promotion" as well as "Mad, Mad, Mad," but a few months ago I wrote a piece for Newsweek on one Ronald Mallett, who claimed that (a) time travel was possible and (b) he could make it happen. Like I said, mad. Here's the thing, though -- he may be right. The time machine pictured with him here is a movie model, but he's planning to build a real one:

Basically, he wants to "swirl" empty space the way you'd swirl coffee in a cup, using a laser as the stirrer. Because space and time are more or less the same, swirling empty space could also swirl time. Mallett would then drop subatomic particles into his roiling cup of space-time and see if they're hurtled a few nanoseconds into the future.

The idea sounds esoteric, but it's based in solid theory: Einstein's, in fact. "It's anchored in the general and special theories of relativity, and that's why people take it seriously," Mallett says.

The list of those who take Mallett seriously now includes the Science Channel, which featured his work on Sunday in a documentary called "Prophets of Science Fiction." Lucky for you, you don't have to travel back in time to catch it: It airs again this Sunday at 9 a.m. EDT.

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The Origins of 36 Marvel Characters, Illustrated
Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

No matter what their powers, every super hero has an origin story, from Spider-Man’s radioactive bite to Iron Man’s life-threatening chest shrapnel. In their latest poster, the designers at Pop Chart Lab have taken their infographic savvy to the Marvel Universe, charting the heroic origins of 36 different Marvel characters through miniature, minimalist comics.

Without using any words, they’ve managed to illustrate Bucky Barnes's plane explosion and subsequent transformation into the Winter Soldier, Jessica Jones’s car crash, the death of the Punisher’s family, and other classic stories from the major Marvel canon while paying tribute to the comic book form.

Explore the poster below, and see a zoomable version on Pop Chart Lab’s website.

A poster featuring 36 minimalist illustrations of superhero origin stories.
Pop Chart Lab

Keep your eyes open for future Marvel-Pop Chart crossovers. The Marvel Origins: A Sequential Compendium poster is “the first release of what we hope to be a marvelous partnership,” as Pop Chart Lab’s Galvin Chow puts it. Prints are available for pre-order starting at $37 and are scheduled to start shipping on March 8.

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