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Super Saiyan Science: How To Throw A Kamehameha Wave

Power Up with Dragon Ball Z

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Dragon Ball Z is an awesome Japanese anime television series that first appeared in 1989.  It tells the story of Goku, who along with his companions, defends the Earth against a collection of villains ranging from intergalactic space fighters and conquerors, unnaturally powerful androids and nearly indestructible magical creatures.  Goku’s Kamehameha Wave, or Turtle Devastation Wave is his main weapon of choice against his enemies.  It is a ball of energy created within his hands, that he then shoots out at a distance, debilitating his foe.

The Kamehameha Wave

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YouTube Channel, The Film Theorists, put together a short movie that illustrates the science behind the Kamehameha wave. What exactly IS this wave and can we please one day be able to shoot energy balls out of our own hands??  The narrator gives an explanation of the concept behind the wave. It is named after the Hawaiian King, Kamehameha.  It generally involves the character gathering “Ki” energy between their hands to form an energy ball. That then gets blasted out in a beam. Ki Energy is life force that exists within everyone.  It exists in the center of the body.

Chi Rules Everything Around Me

It’s similar to the Chinese word Qi, or “Chi” which is a basic principle of Chinese medicine and martial arts.  The word literally translates to “breath,” “air,” or “gas,” and is thought to be a life force or energy that exists in everything.

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Chi has a real place in the world, and here is what we know about it. It’s difficult to define, its a mental or spiritual energy, can heal the wounded, or strengthen a fighter. Even go so far as to give “force” like powers.   No real science backs this concept up though.

Plasma Makes it Possible

Keep Chi in mind as we continue.  The Kamehameha wave is composed of energy, but also has mass. It is a form of matter. Matter can be broken down to “solid,” “liquid” and “gas” but there is also “plasma” which the universe is 99% composed of. Plasma is a heated gas. Plasma is found in fluorescent light bulbs, lighting, and the giant hot ball in the sky we call the sun.

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So the way plasma is created is, you take a gas, and heat it up.  The electrons and the atoms in the gas get so excited that they start to break away. You end up with a soup of negatively charged electrons floating alongside positively charged ions. The air (which is a gas) inside of Goku’s hands becomes superheated, and it creates plasma. He is harnessing his body’s “Ki” or “Chi” power and the electrical potential of that Ki.  That electricity then, will super heat the gas to create the plasma.

The Energy to Create Plasma

Plasma typically requires 33 kilovolts (of electricity) per centimeter, to form. Once its created, it can be sustained with only 1/10th of that energy.  (3 kilovolts).  A plasma arc is created next to the energy source, but once it’s generated, it can stretch to 10 times the distance.  That’s how Goku is able to shoot that plasma out to such a great distance away from him.  Plasma Globes are a great source to explore this phenomenon.  Plasma is becoming something that will be utilized more often in the near future.  Boeing recently patented the use of “plasma shields” for instance.  The future is now!

History vs Hollywood: Analyzing Lincoln

In this lesson, students will review two short representations of the life of Abraham Lincoln — one in the recent Hollywood films, the other in a documentary — and will analyze, discuss, and think further about how history and historical figures are re-constructed through fiction, as well as the boundaries between fact and fiction in such portrayals.

Evaluating School Violence Through Glee

The objective of this lesson is for students to evaluate and express their feelings about how the media depicts school violence.

Recently, the TV show Glee aired an episode about a school shooting. Many people were upset about this episode due to the fact that the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting happened only a few months ago. People who were bothered by the episode claimed that FOX and show producers were being insensitive by airing this controversial episode.

Glee producers have said that they stand by their decision to air the episode because the show has made it a point to tackle and address critical social and political issues.

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Jessica Jones And The Very Real Power Of Suggestion

The latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe; Netflix original series Jessica Jones, pits it’s super powered detective heroine against the super villain Zebediah Killgrave, better known to comic fans as the Purple Man. Despite his less-than-intimidating name, Purple Man has a very formidable ability: he can make people do whatever he asks.

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Using these powers, Killgrave has committed crimes ranging from theft, to bank robbery, to over-throwing whole countries. And even a few that are too despicable for us to mention here.

Comic writers have explained this ability in different ways over the years, including super pheromones and telepathy. But there’s one possible explanation which is frighteningly real: the Power of Suggestion. To put it another way, sometimes all Killgrave has to do to make people obey him is ask the right way.

Now, if you’ve ever gotten into a fight with a teacher or parent because you wouldn’t do something they wanted you to, you might think this sounds more far-fetched than the super pheromones. But scientists would disagree with you, especially this one: Stanley Milgram.

Milgram performed one of the most famous experiments on human obedience of all time, and is the subject of Magnolia Picture’s feature: The Experimenter.

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What Milgram was trying to find out was how much you could get a person to do, just by asking. In his experiment, he asked regular people to press buttons on a console. The buttons were connected to another person in an adjoining room, who unbeknownst to the test subject was actually an actor working with Milgram. Whenever the buttons were pressed, the actor would pretend to get an electric shock, scream in pain and beg the test subject to stop. Milgram however, asked the subjects to continue pressing the buttons. No matter how much they thought they were hurting the other person, they kept pressing the buttons as long as Milgram asked them to. Some even kept going after they thought they had killed the other person. The test subjects were offered no reward for following the instructions, and there was no penalty if they didn’t follow them. Their only motivation to listen to Milgram was that he was a scientist and he said “please”. Maybe it really is a magic word…

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Although Milgram’s experiment is controversial, his finding remain popular and some have used them to answer questions such as “why do people join cults?” and “why do people follow dictators?”. And they definitely make Killgrave and his abilities seem that much scarier.

So the next time someone wants you to do something, think hard about who’s asking before you say “yes”.

Adventure Time Dichotomous Key

This lesson teaches students how to use a dichotomous key and understand how it allows individuals to find the name of a species based on certain defining physical characteristics. To achieve these learning objectives, students construct a dichotomous key using the characters of the popular show Adventure Time.

You’ve Been Catfished!

College football star Manti Te’o was in the news for his alleged victimization in an online relationship hoax. For two years, Te’o believed he was in a monogamous relationship with Stanford student Lennay Kekua. This relationship, however, was an elaborate hoax created by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who was pretending to be Lennay. While Te’o and Lennay never met in person, they did have extensive conversations on the phone and via email. This hoax was leaked to sports and media news outlets, and it was eventually revealed that there was no Lennay Kekua.

Te’o is not alone. One in five relationships begins on an online dating site, and that’s not counting romances that bloom via Facebook, Yelp, Twitter and during gameplay of popular games such as World of Warcraft. The Manti Te’o story also isn’t the first instance of false impersonating online. MTV recently debuted the reality TV show Catfish (a person who engages someone in a fake relationship online), which highlights a different “couple” each week who met online but have yet to meet face-to-face.

The objective of this lesson is to introduce students to the implications of online writing and the ways our writing reflects certain images of ourselves to capture different people. This lesson will also allow students to think critically about why and how they evaluate people, what sort of snap judgments they make, and how they read into situations without even realizing it.

Exploring Social, Cultural, and Familial Differences through Adventure Time

In this lesson, students will analyze the Adventure Time episode “Her Parents” for its themes of social, cultural, and familial differences, they will discuss the ways the episode represents such differences in relation to real-life experiences, and they will think about the ways real-life social, cultural, and family differences can be resolved or avoided.