PART 14: THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE - WONDER WOMAN'S LASSO
By Alex Wiggan (and Ryan the work experience lad)
Welcome back, you join us this week in Greece the land of legendary gods and goddesses, many of which inspired the mythology of Wonder Woman.Some would say that the destination this week is a bit tenuous as Greece hasn’t really got anything to do with what we’re looking at, but that kind of thinking is not helpful and it gets in the way of science, so don’t sweat the details.Anyway, this week we’re all about Wonder Woman’s magical lasso and the wondrous things it can do.Ryan has been ‘dating’ again all this week, so let’s crack on as he has places to be.
WHAT IS IT?
In simple terms, a lasso is a length of rope set out with a loop tied with a Honda knot at one end.Lassos are generally used for the purpose of roping animals (cattle, horses, bulls etc) and are most commonly used by cowboys at rodeos and on ranches; ye-haw!Modern lassos are made from nylon or polyester and Mongolians use a variation of a lasso called uurga.However that’s not why you’re reading this particular chapter of The Science Of Superheroes; you want to know about the Golden Lasso of Truth!
WHO DOES IT BELONG TO?
The Golden Lasso of Truth (or the Lariat of Hestia as it’s also known) belongs to Wonder Woman, who was created by William Moulton Marston and first appeared in All Star Comics #8 all the way back in 1941. Wondy was the alter-ego of Amazonian, Princess Diana of Themyscira, who was super strong, extremely agile and had the ability to fly!
WHAT DID IT DO FOR WONDER WOMAN?
Wonder Woman’s lasso was forged by Hephaestus from the Golden Girdle of Gaea (sounds rather kinky) and apart from being practically unbreakable the lasso contained a magical aura known as the Fires of Hestia!Those fires were hot stuff indeed as they caused anyone trapped within the lasso’s grasp to instantly reveal the truth to any question posed, which helped Wonder Woman in her fight against evil (and people who lied a lot).
SO WHAT WOULD IT DO FOR ME?
Well with an ordinary lasso you could do rope tricks (the technical term for this is trick roping), but as far as Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth goes, sadly it doesn’t exist.However, such things as polygraphs or lie detectors do exist, so if you want to work out if someone’s lying their big fat ass off, then there are ways to do it.Polygraphs measure and record the blood pressure, pulse and breathing of a person whilst they are asked a series of probing questions to determine if they are telling the truth.The way this works relies on a set of control questions being asked to determine how the subject reacts to questions with truthful answers, followed by a number of questions where the subject is told to lie (it’s called the Stim Test). The differences in the subject's blood pressure (and everything else mentioned above) when asked each set of questions is then compared and contrasted to determine the type of response the subject gives when lying and when telling the truth. Wonder Woman creator Willaim Marston was a big fan of polygraphs and despite early attempts by others to show off the wonders of lie detecting, it was big Willy who became synonymous with pushing for the use of polygraphs.He championed them so much that in 1938 he even brought out a book called ‘Flight Fishing’ by J.R Hartley. Oh wait, that was someone else.Marston’s book was actually called ‘The Lie Detector Test’, which was an appropriate title as lie detecting was what it was all about.
OH.SO IF I HAD ACCESS TO A POLYGRAPH TEST COULD I SEPARATE THE LIES FROM THE TRUTH JUST LIKE WONDER WOMAN?
To a certain extent yes, but don’t think for one minute it will make you look as sexy as Wonder Woman, because it won’t!Polygraphs are used by numerous people and organisations from the FBI and the CIA…to erm, Bruce off The Jeremy Kyle Show, however not everyone believes they’re as accurate as they claim to be.Scientists (you know the snooty sort who don’t invite men of science like me and Ryan to parties) often discount the validity of polygraphs due to outside influences altering the answers to the questions posed and some rather clever criminals have even managed to fool lie detectors!So although polygraphs are a technical bit of wizardry that can catch out those who like to tell untruths, they’re not quite as accurate as Wonder Woman’s trusty lasso, so it’ll never be quite the same.
And now you know.
SUPER SCIENCE EQUATION: Polygraph tests + Ryan = Ryan with the ability to uncover lies
That’s all for this time around; next week we’re off to Italy!