Thursday, April 26, 2007

Holy Kryptonite Superman

It makes sense that a Canadian should discover Kryptonite, since it is Superman's nemesis and Superman was a Canadian invention.

And it further makes sense it should be discovered in Siberia, an allegorical frozen land just like where Superman hid his Fortress of Solitude.

And maybe the meteor from Krypton was the one that crashed into Tunguska, Siberia in 1908.

Siberian mineral spells trouble for Superman

Their findings confirmed Stanley's view that the mineral -- determined to be sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide -- was new to science, and the team prepared a paper for the European Journal of Mineralogy to report the discovery. The researchers conducted standard searches in the scientific literature to make sure nothing had been previously published about such a mineral composition. Then Stanley -- whom Le Page describes as a particularly meticulous scientist "who likes to check everything" -- did a final Internet search using Google to make sure nothing had been missed.

"And guess what came out?" a chuckling Le Page told CanWest News Service on Tuesday.

Stanley found nothing to suggest other scientists had beaten his team to the punch. But the web search did produce a match with a Wikipedia site about kryptonite, the pretend stuff Superman's enemies -- particularly the diabolical Lex Luthor -- like to use against the world's original caped crusader.

Usually depicted in comics and films as a green, glass-like shard of rock, kryptonite can quickly turn Superman into a grimacing, helpless weakling.

"Towards the end of my research I searched the web using the mineral's chemical formula -- sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide -- and was amazed to discover that same scientific name, written on a case of rock containing kryptonite stolen by Lex Luthor from a museum in the film Superman Returns," Stanley said in a statement released Tuesday by the Natural History Museum.

"The new mineral does not contain fluorine (which it does in the film) and is white rather than green but, in all other respects, the chemistry matches that for the rock containing kryptonite."



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