Fantasy stories are set in worlds vastly different from our own, worlds where dragons exist, 100-year-old dudes look like sparkly teenagers, and going to magic school isn't unbearably sad. If you asked most people how these things are possible, they'd tell you, "Because fuck it; it's a story" -- but that's never stopped us from looking for actual, science-based explanations before. And sometimes those explanations make a frightening amount of sense ...
6 Hermione Granger Might Be The Product Of Illicit Wizard Sex (And Voldemort's An Idiot)
In the Harry Potter series, magic literally runs in your blood, but occasionally a muggle (regular people) family will have a wizard kid, or a wizard family will give birth to a non-magic child (or squib). Why does this happen? Because that's what J.K. Rowling wrote, shut up.
Obviously, some fans didn't accept this "explanation" and went looking for their own, midi-chlorians-style. The Harry Potter Lexicon prepared an entire essay on wizard genetics -- and based on their impressively complete models, magical ability is a genetic trait that follows the same rules as more benign things, like eye color or whether or not you got your dad's gross double-jointed thumbs.
The Harry Potter Lexicon
The "aa" baby here would be a squib, doomed to a life of mediocrity
and magical correspondence courses.
If magic is a dominant gene, then in theory squibs should never appear in pure-blood wizard families under normal circumstances. This means that when they do, it's because of a mutation ... or a parent having an affair with a muggle (who was probably coming back from a costume party or something). Same goes for muggle-born kids who can use magic, like Harry's friend Hermione: They're the product of illicit wizard-fucking, or they're mutants. Or both. Wizard-fuck-mutants, if you will.
This would explain her preference for other freaks of nature.
But if the gene is recessive, the game changes a lot -- it would mean that two magical parents would always have magical children, no matter what their background may be. All squibs would have to be mutants, and many generations of ordinary muggles could carry a recessive magical gene that might eventually pop up and make a muggle-born wizard-baby. This includes Harry's mom, meaning that Harry himself could have easily been a normal, boring English kid for whom the closest thing to a magical adventure was huffing glue.
The Harry Potter Lexicon
Harry may have gotten screwed when it comes to eyesight, but he was lucky otherwise.
Regardless of which theory is correct, though, Lord Voldemort looks like an idiot. He doesn't want to mix pure-bloods (aa) with muggle-borns (also aa), but a pairing of that type would inevitably produce a magical child (aa again) if the gene is recessive, so it makes no damn sense. And if the gene is dominant, then there's still an excellent chance that the child will turn out to be a wizard even if the wizard parent marries an actual muggle (to say nothing of a muggle-born). So, like most racists, Voldemort is a moron -- probably something to do with that filthy muggle blood in his veins.
5 Hulk's Skin Could Be Green Because He's Always Covered In A Giant, Full-Body Bruise
You all know the real reason why Hulk is green, or at least you do if you're smart and read a lot of Cracked: He was gray, but 1960s printers sucked so they changed it to green. However, Stanford biologist Sebastian Alvarado has the most fun (yet plausible) theory we've been able to find about why Bruce Banner's body landed on "giant green monster" during mutation roulette: He's covered in bruises, basically.
This makes it even more embarrassing that Stan Lee couldn't remember the name "Bruce."
See, when a human being is blasted with gamma radiation, (s)he comes a lot closer to Hulking out than you might think. Through a process called chromothripsis, the radiation attacks your DNA, ripping its double helix apart like a cat toy. Fortunately, our bodies can repair the damage -- to a certain point. The more severe the radiation, the more breaks in your DNA chains, which means many more repairs on your body's to-do list. And overwork leads to sloppiness, as anyone who has ever held a salaried position knows. This leaves openings for changes in your genetic code -- changes like, say, the ability to become a giant green monster every time someone pisses you off.
Alvarado says that when Banner was caught in the gamma explosion, he went through chromothripsis and his body repaired its DNA ... and added a little something called epigenetic switches. These switches are activated by the hormones Bruce produces when he gets angry, reconfiguring his DNA and forcing him to Hulk out. And that's why he tends to overreact and start throwing tanks around whenever he runs out of toilet paper.
"HULK WANT BIDET!"
But why is he green? Well, next time you bark the absolute shit out of your shin on the edge of that stupid coffee table, check out the bruise. Your red blood cells will have died at the site of the injury, breaking up the oxygen-bearing hemoglobin they were carrying around the never-ending luge that is your circulatory system. Hemoglobin contains a molecule called biliverdin, which causes the green hue you so often see in bruises. Bruce's ability to explode into a pants-ripping giant would, as you might imagine, cause an insane amount of trauma to his body. Alvarado suggests that Hulkster might be green because his entire body is just one big bruise. No wonder he's always so pissed.
Universal Pictures, Marvel Studios
But none of this explains why he keeps turning into a new guy after each hulk-out.