Batman at 75

Lisa Granshaw on why pop culture can’t let the Dark Knight go.

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The Joker's Fun House in LEGO

Brickbaron's LEGO rendition of The Joker's Fun House is decidedly Gotham's coolest evil lair. See photos over at Flickr. (via Devour)

Holy Robin!

Holy holy! (Holy via Devour!)

Batman (1966) title sequence with action figures

Kyle Roberts used Mattel's new classic Batman action figures to recreate the iconic title sequence of the 1960 Batman TV series. Oklahoma City's O'Fidelis covered the theme tune and Nathan Poppe drew the backgrounds for this stop-motion fun. "Batman Stop Motion Intro (1966)"

Vatican: Batman has "grown bitter and more vengeful"

The Vatican reassured the Catholic faithful that it hadn't been hacked Thursday after as unusual tweet--"Holy Switcheroo! Batman has grown bitter, more vengeful with the years"--appeared on a popular news feed.

Batman arrests burglary suspect

A suspected burglar in Bradford, England, was arrested last week by Batman and subsequently charged with handling stolen goods. [Reuters]

Batbane mask is yours for $130

Inb4 Cory! [Etsy via Khoi]

Christian Bale phones a young fan

Actor Christian Bale had a conversation with Zach, a young fan of his "Batman" who happens to have cancer, and is a patient in a Seattle hospital. Zach's parents video'd the exchange. It's pretty cool. Bale seems like a really empathetic person.

(HT: @EWGradySmith)

Batmobile sold for $4.6 million

Batmoooo

The original Batmobile driven on the 1960s TV series sold for auction on Saturday for $4.6 million. The seller was legendary kustom car king George Barris who had transformed the 1955 Lincoln Futura for television. The buyer was Rick Champagne, owner of an Arizona logistics company. Champagne says he's going to put the car in his living room. Batmobile sells for $4.6 million (CNN)

Science says, "It sucks to be Batman"

This chart describes the key problem with being Batman — it doesn't take a serious injury to seriously disable you. Your body can rack up big damage over years of repeated small stresses and strains — jumping from roof to roof two or three times a week, for instance, or slamming your knuckles into a bad guy's face every night.

Neuroscientist and kinesiologist Paul literally wrote the book on what it would take to create a non-superhuman superhero, like Batman. In a post at Scientific American blogs, he explains the major physical impacts of being the Dark Knight. His big conclusion: Nobody could be Batman for very long. And even after they retired, they'd feel the echo of what they'd done to their body every day for the rest of their lives.

It’s hard to gauge the long-term effects of being exposed to these harsh occupations. Looking at NFL players provides another way to get at long term effects. In fact I used the very short average career—3-5 years—of NFL players as a way to estimate Batman’s longevity in Becoming Batman.

Skilled writer Peter King provided an in-depth expose on football players in the Dec 12, 2011 issue of Sports Illustrated. This piece was a follow up look at 39 members of the 1986 Cincinnati Bengals—25 years later—and spanned all forms of injury. But it’s the bodily injuries I want to focus on. In the category of “residual injury” over 70% had at least one surgery during their careers with ~40% having a post-NFL surgery for an injury related to football. Thirty percent had an upcoming surgery. More than 90% of the players said that they had lingering issues arising from an injury derived from their NFL careers.

Probably the most telling “statistic” is that on average these players reported 3 parts of the body that experienced pain each day. That’s a lot of injuries and a lot of discomfort.

Basically, Batman's inner pain isn't just about his dead parents.

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HOWTO make a leather rockabilly Batman cowl


Trevor sends us, "An imgur gallery of how I constructed my leather Rockabilly Batman headgear, based on the artworks of Denis Medri, in 7 easy steps (some easier than others), as part of the Gotham City Rockers group forming for the upcoming Portsmouth Halloween Parade in NH.."

Batman Cowl Process - Imgur (Thanks, Trevor!)

Cookie Monster as Batman

Utubelor figured out where your sense of deja vu at Christian Bale's "Batman" voice comes from. [Video Link]

Batman is probably not the most chill video game companion

For those of you who are lonely and looking for a cool person with whom to play video games, I do not recommend Batman, what with his shouty nature over things like, I don't know, triggers. (via Crave Online)

Forensic psychologist says mass killing is about culture, not mental illness

The story is familiar to us today: Somebody, usually a young man, walks into a public place, kills a bunch of people seemingly at random, and (usually) ends the murder spree with a suicide-by-cop.

But this story—at least, in Western culture—is startlingly new, relatively speaking. In fact, Paul Mullen, a forensic psychologist, says we can pin a date and place on the first time it happened. On September 4, 1913, in the German towns of Degerloch and Mühlhausen an der Enz, Ernst August Wagner killed his wife, his children, and at least nine strangers. He shot more than 20 people and set several fires during his killing spree. He ended up spending the rest of his life in an insane asylum.

But when we try to pin killings like these on mental illness, Mullen says, we're not quite hitting the right point. The people who go on killing sprees are mad, sure. But that's not the same thing as diagnosable, objective, physical mental illness. Only about 10% of the people ever arrested for crimes like this had actual mental illnesses. In fact, Mullen thinks these killings have more to do with culture than brain chemistry. His argument is interesting. And it might sound a little similar to the old "angry music made him do it!" trope. But what Mullen is talking about is different than that. Science journalist David Dobbs tries to explain the distinction:

I’m not saying the movies made Holmes crazy or psychopathic or some such. But the movies are a enormous, constant, heavily influential part of an American culture that fetishizes violence and glamorizes, to the point of ten-year wars, a militarized, let-it-rain approach to conflict resolution. And culture shapes the expression of mental dysfunction — just as it does other traits. This is why, say, relatively ‘simple’ schizophrenia — not the paranoid sort — takes very different forms in Western and some Eastern cultures. On an even simpler level, this is why competitive athleticism is more likely to express itself as football (the real kind) in Britain but as basketball in the U.S. Culture shapes the expression of behavioral traits.

This is an interesting argument and an interesting thing to think about.

Read the rest of David Dobbs' post about the difference between blaming movies for violence and talking about the consequences of violence in culture.

Watch the video of Paul Mullen discussing cultural violence, mental illness, and spree killings

Read a very good post at the Neuroanthropology blog that expands on Paul Mullen's ideas and provides more interesting links

Scientists: Batman would plunge to doom

Michael Holden writes: "The crime-fighting caped crusader could fly, but if he did, he would smash into the ground and probably die, a group of British physics students have calculated."