Re: Matrix Shmatrix

Michael Butler (
Sat, 10 Apr 1999 00:58:17 -0700 (PDT)

SQUIDS (Superconducting Quantum Interference DeviceS) are / have been in fact used for doing multichannel high resolution EEGs.

Re: the energy angle:
It's the one (or couple) of impossible things before breakfast that makes the story possible to tell at all--otherwise it's just ringing changes on "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream". If you want audience identification as one of the six billion Earthlings ca. 1999, they have to all still be alive for *some* reason. The logical choice for plausibly self-sufficent (+malevolent/vengeful/paranoid) AIs makes that story impossible to tell.

The "Coppertop" explanation for why the AIs keep the humans around clearly puts the whole affair into the technofantasy category, even with Morpheus' backing commentary "...combined with a form of fusion..." BOGUS, d00d.

Along with that, the notion that Zion was near the core "where it's still warm" is either utter gobbledegook or a cover story--what was Tank's need to know? Maybe zero. What was his job? Operator. But on the face of it, it's very hard to imagine making geothermal a complete non-option for the Matrix-running AIs in anything like 200 years.

Re: the "Cartoon" charge:
It's worthy of note that the Brothers W made it explicit that they were trying to create a new "live action anime" genre. One critical element (which had me scratching my head--how'd they get the camera to *do* that?--'til I checked out the Web site) is the Bullet Time array camera (polevaulting Grampa Muybridge neatly into a new fin-de-siecle technology) which provided brute force razor-sharp ultraslomo cinematography at effective frame rates up to 12K per second.

SO yes indeed, it is/was a cartoon--by design. And quite a conversation starter, for all its flaws.

About that Oracle Person:
_Pace_ Robin, the Oracle never claimed omniscience, and I don't recall a single order. "She would say she knows _enough_".

Yes, it's mystical. But the whole movie is thematically isomorphic to the Christ story. This is not an accident. Didn't the movie open right around Easter?

suggesting it's possible to take the good with the bad (more comments follow)

> >That almost makes sense, but what is the deal with not being able to
> >disconnect from the Matrix except near certain telephones? You'd think the
> >sane AI would provide our heros with some VR gear that doesn't kill its
> >user every time a packet is dropped.

Remember, it's connect&disconnect. I'd say it's impromptu (illegal) (para-)ADSL to the "simulated" old style "hard lines" (copper in the simulation--but what, outside of it? Hmmm...)

And it's possible that they play as fast and loose as they dare with the encoding to minimize exposure to countermeasures--encode for speed, not safety.

And they haven't met any nice AIs yet. Maybe in Matrix III.

What I want to know is: when Thomas Anderson was at his day job, when Neo was doing his digging by night--what was *really* going on?

Neo's Web feeds _were_ turning up stories about Morpheus. Why? How? How did all those leaks escape the Matrix consensus-reality enforcement? It can't have been a good idea to even let word of Morpheus' existence out, could it? Or was it (the info availability) a gambit to get a lever to pry Morpheus out of the woodwork?

> One li'l tidbit: I got a real kick out of them referring to the cybercreatures hunting the rebel craft as Squids; this is, of course, what the devices which recorded subjective experience "straight off the cerebral cortex" in STRANGE DAYS were called.
> Joe E. Dees
> Poet, Pagan, Philosopher