Another Man's Treasure

Walking home from work tonight at midnight (it's tough to be Batman when I spend so much of my time doing real people stuff) I found a boon. Someone is doing renovations to an old apartment building and there were a few pieces of scrap wood lying against the fence. It was clearly no good to anyone else but the blocks are quite thick (maybe 4' in width and depth) and maybe only 2"6' long. They might work perfectly as a target for the shuriken I should be receiving in the mail any day now.

Now all I have to do is find a hammer... I bet the real Bruce Wayne doesn't have to ask his neighbors if he can borrow a hammer.


Batman: Arkham Asylum

I finished Batman: Arkham Asylum last night. The dream is over and it only lasted three days. Too bad. Now that I'm done the game, I don't really feel like the Dark Crusader. Too bad. So I'm back to my training: 20 laps in the pool during lunch, a 25 mile bike ride this morning and Jiu Jitsu in the evening. But before I get back into it here at Building Batman why don't I review the game for? Just a few comments.
Batman PvPI'll do it in a Pro-Con format and start with cons because the good drastically outweighs the bad and so I want to finish on the positive notes:
1) The game was too forgiving. They made this soundtrack and setting that are as creepy as could be. It's really tense BUT because Batman just re-spawns whenever you screw-up, there are no consequences for my actions and therefore I'm not scared. Why did Resident Evil work so well so long ago? Because not only was it scary in all the ways that a scary movie was but if you as the player screwed up there were terrible consequences: you might not have anymore ammo for hours, or maybe you would die and have to start from a point that felt like it was at the very beginning of the game. Batman: Arkham Asylum lacked that. Since I wasn't concerned about any consequences, the tension that they worked so hard to make so good was diffused.

2) The game was very linear. Although it was placed on an island and you could theoretically go anywhere, in actuality there was only ever one path and it was always right in front of you. I'm not asking for a game like Fallout but give the world's greatest detective multiple ways to go about solving a problem.

1) You couldn't have this game without Batman. In many ways, it's not just 'another Batman game' but it's a game about Batman. You couldn't just be anyone with a boomerang. The game actually explores his character.

2) It's not the rogue gallery vs Batman. It must have been so tempting to just trot every Batman character in and say, "Everyone against Batman!" Instead, Batman is stuck in a crazy storm. It's all about him and the Joker. When other villains show up they are there on their own terms and for their own reasons, not just as super-henchmen in the Joker's scheme.

3) Paul Dini wrote it (really the last two just boil down to this).

4) Mark Hamill is amazing.
Joker Arkham Asylum


Final Post

This will be my last post. I will no longer need to continue my Batman training.

You see, I am Batman. Buying Arkham Asylum has instantly transformed me into the Caped Crusader. And so I will nor be learning any more of the skills Bruce Wayne acquired before becoming the Batman:

Because they're all really easy on my computer.


Batman's Shuriken

I ordered shuriken today.


Looking up shuriken online is a tougher than you might think. The internet seems to be overflowing with misinformation on the subject and people who do have the knowledge don't really seem all that keen on sharing it. I'm always sending you to Wikipedia to start your searches into new topics but this is one time when the article could be improved upon drastically.

Let's get one thing out of the way: we're not just talking about ninja stars.

Shuriken can be translated as "sword hidden in the hand" or "hand hidden blade" and really this shouldn't just be limited to thrown weapons but is more generally any blade which is hidden in your hand. "Shu-Ri" --> "hidden in the hand" and "Ken" ---> "blade".

You can get a lot of history but the general motif seems to be that even the most mundane items can be effective weapons. Coins, washers, needles, nails, knifes or even flat pieces of metal are potential weapons.

There are two basic forms that shuriken tend to take.

Bo shuriken are long spike-like throwing weapons. One can imagine that there will always be improvisational Bo Shuriken around: chopsticks, hair pins, nails or even screwdrivers.

The second type are shaken. While bo shurkien were straight and dart-like, shaken have some shape. Shaken can be further divided into two class. Hira shuriken are the most familiar: they are the throwing stars from the 1990's ninja craze- the ninja stars I mentioned earlier. Hira shuriken can have any number of arms. As far as I can tell roppo shaken has six arms, juji shaken have only 4 and enbangata shaken are washer-like disks that have no arms but just a sharpened circumfrence. Then finally there are senban shaken that are more like lozenge shaped (i.e. diamond shaped). Both hira and senban shaken tend to have holes in their centers which apparently improves aerodynamics and can be used to string a bunch of shaken together.

To recap:
Bo Shuriken --- long spikes
Hira Shaken --- stars
                 Roppo --- 6 armed shaken 
                 Juji --- 4 armed shaken 
                 Enbangata --- washer
Senban Shaken --- diamonds

I ordered a set of five bo shuriken from Flying Steel. Flying Steel seems like a reputable manufacturer but at a fairly reasonable cost. There were a couple of other suppliers (other than the multitudes and multitudes of junk sites around) but just like it is hard to find trustworthy information on shurikenjutsu, it's hard to find trustworthy sellers(if you are aware of any other worthwhile suppliers let me know). That being said Flying Steel seems very professional.

Now I just have to figure out what I'll do for a target before they arrive and I start practicing.


Gotham Knights Online

Batman Batgirl Robin SilhouettesLocked out of Gotham Knights Online! What does this mean? I read that blog everyday.

Here I am praying that more people will follow my Batman training so that I have a larger pool of potential experts and these guys are turning people away. Weird.


Oikiryu Jiu Jitsu

Batman Jujutsu Batman Jiu JitsuI asked my sensei what school of Jiu Jitsu I'm studying today at class and found out that it is Oikiryu that I have become a pupil of.

So what do I do after class? I come home to look it up and write a detailed description of it for you my faithful readers. But what do I find out from my trusty search engine? Nothing.

Nothing at all. In the age of the internet how can that be?

So I start to get a little more creative. Maybe it's aikiryu... no, nope. If it is so young and so western then I wouldn't expect a confusion over the spelling.

So what's going on here? Did I misunderstand my sensei? Is my spelling wrong? Is it uncommon? As always if anyone has anymore information than I do please speak up. Leave me a comment.

PS. Last week we were introduced to methods for deflecting attackers armed with knives and this week we started point combat. Holy shit, Batman! Did I ever feel like a cat in water! I've never punch or kicked before this and I'm being thrown in the ring and asked to just do it! It was crazy but by the end I was starting to get the hang of it. Although, I was told I have to loosen up.
Batman's Mad


Batman's Last Fermi Problem

Mr. Freze BatmanDiamonds are just carbon all bound together. Each carbon is bonded to 4 other carbons. If you think about that a bit you will see that means there are TWO bonds for every atom (imagine/draw a fairly large grid - count the number of nodes/intersections and count the number of connecting lines. If this ratio isn't exactly half it's because the edges of the grid might cause trouble [if you draw it smarter or bigger it will get closer to 2]). That means that there is 3eV of energy available for every atom. Let's assume Mr. Freeze's gun can access all that energy.

Now that we know how much energy we can get from each atom we need to guess how many atoms are in a diamond. To do that we need the mass of the diamonds. When jewelers talk about carats their really just talking about mass --- 1carat = 0.2g. Maybe you know what the carats of some famous diamonds are? 100 carats is a BIG diamond so let's say 30 carats or in grams: 30 carats * (0.2g / 1carat)= 6g.

Mr. FreezeHow many atoms are in 6g's of diamond? Well what's the atomic weight of carbon? If you don't know, can you imagine where carbon is on the periodic scale? It's near the beginning but not first and it's nowhere near the end. So say between 1 and 100. You could then say 10g / mol. OR you could have memorized your periodic table and remembered the value is actually 12 g/mol but really what's the difference?

So now we know the number of atoms in the diamond is about 6g * (mol/12g) * (6*10^{23}atoms/mol) = (36/12)*10^{23}atoms = 3*10^{23}atoms. And since we guessed about 3eV is released from each of those which means the energy is (3eV/atom) * 3*10^{23}atoms * 1.6\times10^{-19}J/eV = 9* 1.5 *10^4J = 13.5 * 10^4J = 10^5J.

Is that alot? We said in previous questions that a person uses 3.5*10^3J every day and the energy of a subway train is 10^7J. The energy Mr. Freeze can get from a diamond is somewhere in between.

And here ends the Fermi Problems part of my Batman training - at least on the blog. But if you have any superhero Fermi problems that you think I should do on Building Batman just leave a comment and I'll give them a whirl.


Batman's May Be Chemist But I'm Not Yet

Batman Mr. FreezeWhoa!

Don't I have any chemists reading Building Batman? No? No chemists training to become Batman? Oh, well...

I was thinking about the Final Fermi Problem and it occurs to me that I made a bad estimate:
I said that each carbon is bound to 8 others because of the crystal structure. That's not true.

Carbon is tetravalent which means it will always have the equivalent of 4 four bounds, no matter the crystal structure.

Now you and I know that when estimating that factor of two isn't a big deal but I thought I'd better tell you in case you're you're doing this last Fermi question or in case a chemist stumbles past Building Batman.

PS If you are a chemist, you might get a kick out of this periodic table


Fermi Freeze - Batman Training's Last Fermi Problem

I like that fact that every reaction releases about 1.5eV of energy so let's make our last superheroic Fermi Problem one that uses that fact and then move on with the Batman Training.

What's the energy Mr. Freeze get's from diamonds (assuming it's a chemical process and not nuclear)?Batman Mr. FreezeDiamonds are just carbon all bound together. Each carbon is bonded to 8 other carbons. (As always I'm just putting the simplest way of thinking about this together: Diamond is a crystal structure made of two fcc lattices).


Great Comment

I know that not everybody who reads a blog takes the time to read the comments but M.C. Elroy left a really great note on my jiu jitsu post and I wanted to point it out to you.

Flash Forward a Billion Years

So we are going to guess how much oxygen the Flash uses each day.

As a few reminders:
   (1)The hydrocarbons in our food get split up and carbons are oxidized into C0_2 meaning we really do burn the food we eat.

   (2)Typically,there is an energy release of about 1.5eV when one atom exchanges an electron with another. The units eV are related to joules by 1eV = 1.6 * 10^{-19}J = 2* 10^{-19}J.

   (2)Food is mainly composed of long chains of CH_2. When it is decomposed to get the energy it holds the carbon binds to two oxygen and the two hydrogens bind to a single oxygen meaning there are TWO reactions for every CH_2 which need THREE oxygens.

We already found that the Flash uses 5 * 10^9J per day. How many reactions is that? Turn joules into electron volts and divide by 1.5eV for every reaction:
5 * 10^9J * (1.5eV / 1.6 * 10^{-19}J) = 5  * (1.5/1.6) * 10^{28} = 5* 10^{28} reactions.

And we said 3 oxygens for every 2 reactions means we need 5 * 10^{28} * 3/2 = 7 *10^{28}$ oxygens per day.

That sounds like a lot but is it really? There's 6 * 10^{23} atoms in every mole and oxygen is eighth on the periodic table which means 1 mole weighs 8 grams. So then the Flash goes through 7 * 10^{28}  *  (1/6 * 10^{23}) * 8g = 8 * 10^5 g = 800 kg of oxygen each day. WOW but wait a minute...

In the last question we found that there's about 10^{18} kg of oxygen in the atmosphere. Which means it would take the Flash 10^{15} days or 3*10^{12} years or 3000 billion years.


Jiu Jitsu

On Tuesday was my first Jiu Jitsu class. It was great! I think I'm going to enjoy this component of my Batman training more than I had expected.

So before I get started I should clear up a few things. When I mentioned that my quest to become Batman would soon include martial arts training, I posted a link to Jiu Jitsu. Jiu Jitsu is a Brazilian variant that is descended from Judo. This IS NOT what my dojo teaches. The class that I'm attending teaches Jujutsu; however, they spell it Jiu Jitsu. As I understand it, Jiu Jitsu is a more archaic term and Jujutsu is the more accepted term.

Out of respect for my dojo, I'll refer to the tradition as Jiu Jitsu, ok?

Batman SamuraiTo get an idea of the spirit of Jiu Jitsu, let me give you a brief historical tour of it's development. In feudal Japan, the combination of heavy armor and a highly tuned offensive techniques made samurai warriors the ultimate tank of the era. If one were to meet such an opponent unarmed and unarmored, one would need specialized techniques to be victorious. Striking an armored opponent wouldn't do the trick and allowing them the room to utilize a katana or yari would be a very bad idea. Jiu Jitsu is martial art for neutralizing enemies through grappling, throwing, locks and chokeholds. In this regard, it is far more akin to western wrestling than other eastern martial arts; however, there is a substantial difference: whereas wrestling seeks to pit strengths, Jiu Jitsu is literally the "art of softness" or the "way of yielding". Wikipedia says it quite well: "These techniques were developed around the principle of using an attacker's energy against him, rather than directly opposing it."

We began with exercises and stretches. These weren't so bad except for the squats. Those are muscles that I have not invested in and they were stiff until this morning. We were then introduced to falling techniques. Since Jiu Jitsu is a grappling art, absorbing the impact of falls is crucial.

We then learned three locks and two chokes. Although I've been practicing them every day I won't try to explain them to you yet. Don't worry though. I will as soon as I feel more comfortable with them and have found a reasonable body of resources on the internet to point you to.

PS If anybody does know of good resources that I should be familiar with please leave me a comment.


Fermi's Big Gulp

So we already guessed how much the Flash would have to eat but what about breathing? He needs air to turn all that food into energy. Would he use up the entire atmosphere?


Ok. Some backup science info. Energy release is controlled by mitochondria and the production of ATP through the Krebs cycle. It seems fairly complicated to me but in essence the most important thing for accessing all the stored chemical energy in the food is the oxygen intake and the carbon dioxide output. The hydrocarbons in our food get split up and carbons are oxidized into C0_2 and a bunch of water reactions are also needed to make this happen BUT the point is we really do basically burn the hydrocarbons that we eat.

Chemical reactions are all about exchanging electrons. Remembering that we are estimating: typically, when one electron is exchanged between two atoms there is an energy release of about 1.5eV. The units eV stand for electron volts and their just a convenient unit for \textbf{energy} when electrons are involved. To convert to everyday joules just know 1eV = 1.6 * 10^{-19}J = 2 * 10^{-19}J.

And one last thing: Most everyday hydrocarbons are just long chains of CH_2.


Breathing Room

Last night I attended my very first Jiu Jitsu class and so have raised my Batman training to the next level. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow. But tonight, let's answer yesterday's non- Superhero Fermi Problem (we'll use this answer for the next, and second from last Fermi problem).

The atmosphere pushes down on you (you might not have the weight of the world on your shoulders but you definately have the heavens weighing down on you). That pressure is measured in atmospheres (atm). The pressure of the atmosphere is normally 1atm (duh). In useful units 1 atm = 10^5 N/m^2. Where's that pressure come from? All the air molecules over head weigh down on you. Since the pressure is force per area, above every 1 meter squared there is a force (or weight) of 10^5N and remembering Force=Weight=mg where we round gravity to 10m/s^2. So the mass of the particles above 1 meter squared is 10^4kg.

We already used the area of the earth in the buses Fermi question and we use it again here: surface area of earth =5*10^{14} m^2. We know the mass of atmosphere above every square meter AND we know the total number of square meters that make up the surface of the planet. Therefore, we estimate the total mass of the atmoshere to be 10^4 kg/m^2 *   5*10^{14} m^2 = 5 * 10^{18}kg of air in the atmosphere!


Air isn't pure oxygen, O_2. The percent of the atmosphere that is O_2 definitely isn't 100%and it's not 1%. So we could guess 10% but I think that it's fairly common knowledge that air is 20% O_2 so let's use that number.

5 * 10^{18}kg * 20/100 = 10^{18}kg of oxygen. That's alot of elephants - or subway trains for that matter of oxygen. Wikipedia says that the atmosphere is really 5 quadrillion tons. A ton is 1000 kg and a quadrillion is 10^15 so we were only off by a factor of 5. Once again, we're pretty darn close.