The invisible popsicle

I just remembered something that the Fantastic Four comics used to make me think about, namely the Invisible Woman and, well, her invisibility.

There are three types of invisibilty in comics (that I’ve heard of, anyway). The first is Invisible Woman style, which happens because she warps light around her. The second is H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man style, where the person becomes utterly transparent to visible light. And finally, there’s The Shadow’s brand of invisibility, which is made possible by a type of hypnotism.

When I was a kid, I concluded that the only one that was practical was The Shadow’s style. I came to this conclusion by considering what it would feel like to be invisible by any of the three methods.

The first two methods have some pretty bad side effects. If you bend light so that it doesn’t strike you at all, or if you let light pass through you without having it bounce off of anything, you’d be blind. In order for you to see, light has got to strike your retinas. Sure, you could just make your retinas visible, but then you’d be in a complete whiteout because all the ambient light would be hitting your eyes without having first passed through your lenses. You’d see a huge fuzzy mass wherever you looked.
Okay, so you make the lenses visible too. You’ve still got some serious problems because not all the light hitting the retinas is being filtered by the lenses. You’d have some image perception, but for it to really work, you need to make sure that the *only* light hitting your retinas has first passed through your lenses. So, you make the walls of your opaque to keep out unfocused light – and hence, make them visible.
You are now in the utterly untenable position of appearing to others a set of disembodied eyeballs. That’s hardly a stealthy guise, now is it?

There’s another problem too. Not so much in a hot, humid climate, but potentially fatal in other areas. If you’re not letting sunlight strike your body, you’re not letting it warm your body either. And if you are warping visible light around you, you have to be very careful about the frequencies of electromagnetic radition that you’re tinkering with, because you could be creating a really cold pocket of air. You’d be . . . the invisible popsicle.

So The Shadow was the one who had it down. Of course you have to have the chance to hypnotize any potential observers. That could be tough in crowds. And since the people are perceiving you, but then forgetting it immediately, it’s possible that your presence could seep through to their long-term memory and be realized later.

This stuff’s not simple, folks. That’s probably why you don’t see invisible people every day – oh, wait.

No Responses to “The invisible popsicle”

  1. Amanda Says:

    so the title of this post is the invisible popsicle
    i couldn’t help but remember
    a drink from college called a moaning popsicle
    basically a vodka tonic
    with a popsicle swizzle stick
    i prefer the big red white and blue ones

  2. David Says:

    Bastille Cables is still in the wings. I put it down for a while since there’s not really a pressing need for a fisherman’s sweater in San Antonio in July. :-)

  3. Jon Says:

    So….. What ever happened to the Bastille Cable Sweater? On hold until it’s cooler? Inquiring minds wanna know.

  4. Suzy Says:

    You know I love you but you have entirely tooooooo much time on your hands to think! :)Is this what you think about when you knit?

  5. Kaetchen Says:

    You have spent WAY too much time thinking about this. But you did make me want a popsicle.

  6. pippy Says:

    Personally I really like the idea of being a pair of disembodied eyeballs.

  7. spoonix Says:

    I think you’re missing a few things in your hypothesis… :)

    The light bending technique is also the one that’s showing the most promise in current research.

    And finally, the far better approach to maintaining stealth is the Batman option: be a billionaire, buy expensive binoculars and microphones for surveillance work, and hide in shadows on rooftops to do your spying.