The (Very Real) Science Behind The Avengers

The feats performed by Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, and the rest of the Avengers crew seem to defy all logic. Before he upgraded to gold titanium, Iron Man used to jet around in a suit made of, well, iron, while Captain America’s vibranium shield manages to remain unscathed—even after Thor strikes it with his hammer.

As it turns out, the heroes' super accessories (and abilities) are actually grounded in some very real science.

The latest episode of Reactions—produced by the folks at the American Chemical Society—delves into the processes behind all that seemingly-magical stuff you see on the big screen.

Take Iron Man’s Arc Reactor, which he uses to invent a new element. By smashing together the nuclei of atoms, he’s able to create an alternative to poisonous palladium. That’s basically how scientists in the real world do it, too: So far, at least 20 synthetic elements have been invented using particle accelerators that result in the same kinds of collisions.

To learn more about the element-making taking place at Stark Industries, as well as why it is that Captain America and Black Widow heal so quickly, and what Iron Man’s suit is (probably) made of, check out the video above.

© 2017 USPS
Pop Culture
Speedy Delivery: Mister Rogers Will Get His Own Stamp in 2018
© 2017 USPS
© 2017 USPS

USPS 2018 Mister Rogers stamp
© 2017 USPS

After weeks of mailing out this year’s holiday cards, postage might be the last thing you want to think about. But the U.S. Postal Service has just given us a sneak peek at the many iconic people, places, and things that will be commemorated with their own stamps in 2018, and one in particular has us excited to send out a few birthday cards: Mister Rogers.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred Rogers’s groundbreaking PBS series that the USPS says “inspired and educated young viewers with warmth, sensitivity, and honesty,” the mail service shared a mockup of what the final stamp may look like. On it, Rogers—decked out in one of his trademark colorful cardigans (all of which were hand-knitted by his mom, by the way)—smiles for the camera alongside King Friday XIII, ruler of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Though no official release date for Fred’s forever stamp has been given, Mister Rogers is just one of many legendary figures whose visages will grace a piece of postage in 2018. Singer/activist Lena Horne will be the 41st figure to appear as part of the USPS’s Black Heritage series, while former Beatle John Lennon will be the face of the newest Music Icons collection. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, will also be honored.

Can You Spot the Christmas Pudding?

Whether it’s a sheep hanging out with Santa Claus or a panda bear hiding among some snowmen, regular Mental Floss readers know that hidden picture brainteasers are one of our favorite things. And the optical experts at have released a delicious one, just in time for Christmas. Somewhere in the midst of all these holiday-themed goodies above, there’s a holiday pudding just waiting to be discovered. Can you spot it? Your time starts … now.

If you give up, or are the kind of person who reads the last page of a book before the first one and just wants to know the answer, scroll down to see where it’s hiding.



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