Sunday, May 13, 2007

Breathe dangit, breathe!

Lured by ads featuring Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackhoff, I ended up wasting part of my Saturday night watching the awful SciFi movie, The Last Sentinel. It turns out that Sackhoff played a pretty minor role - it was really all about super engineered fighting man Tallis (Don "The Dragon" Wilson) and his wise-cracking AI gun. Long battle sequences in which everyone but Tallis dies, an excruciatingly long bit with a soldierless pontificating gun-AI, generally bad dialog and silly plot was about as entertaining as watching my husband play Halo. And yes, husband thought Last Sentinel was stupid too.

Anyway, there was an important biology lesson: if you plan to take over the world with computer-controlled genetically engineered cyborg drones, it's best to let the drones' medulla oblongata retain involuntary control over respiration so that they don't suffocate when the control computer is destroyed. And that's my mad scientist tip for the day. You're welcome.



  1. Evil overlords everywhere are reading this and going *headsmack* "why didn't I think of that!?"

  2. That reminds me of a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode. I believe it was from the first season and it was called 11000011. The 'Binares" always worked in pairs (binary) and were so dependent on their computer system that when it went down, they tried to steal the Enterprise to take it to their planet to transfer the information they had stored on the Enterprise back to their own computer system. They almost didn't make it. Near the end four of them were shown huddled together, barely breathing. Guess the ol' medula oblongotta was tied in with the system, too. Let's hope if we ever get that entagled with our computer systems that we wear our own portable devices to restore physiological functions.

  3. mdk, I think it would be a sad day if we let machines take over biological systems that function just fine on their own. There is a certain crowd that's enamored with mechanical systems and AI, and loves the idea of man-machine interfaces and even machine replacements for human bodies. I think they are missing the fact that most human bodies function with relatively little maintenance for 50 years or more, a much better track record than anything designed by men.


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