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WyreWizard
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« on: May 25, 2010, 03:41:14 PM »

Hi again, badmoviephiles.  I am here with a new review, to tear up the reality flaws of another movie, 1990's I Come in Peace.  This film was bad bad bad.  Though it didn't have that many reality flaws, the story simply stunk worse than the LA sewer system.  Now I'm going to cover all of its reality flaws.

Jack Caine  This guy seems common in a lot of cop movies, a maverick police officer who bends or breaks procedure to get the job done.  If any real police officer did what this guy did, they wouldn't be a police officer for long.  Just how does Jack get away with breaking policy so much?

The Aliens  There are two extra terrestrial aliens in this film, their names are Talac and Azec.  What is the problem with these two guys?  Is it the technology they use?  Nope.  Its the same problem that a lot of sci fi movies have, they look human.  If there was intelligent life out in the universe, there is no chance you'd find beings which looked remotely human.  But that's movie budgets for ya. 

Endorphins  Wow, whoever wrote this film didn't study human biology very much.  We see Talac injecting his victims with heroine and extracting Endorphins from them.  HELLO!  When your body is flushed with something like heroine, the body does not manufacture endorphins, it manufactures DOPAMINE.  The body only manufactures endorphins to suppress pain.  Endorphins and Dopamine may have vaguely similar molecular structures, but they are not the same.  Some people can get pleasure from endorphins, usually when they consume foods with capsaiacin.  Also, how is it human endorphins would be pleasurable to alien physiologies?  They would more likely be deadly to them. 
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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2010, 09:14:40 PM »

Just repeat to yourself "it's just a show, I should really just relax."
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AndyC
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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2010, 09:23:06 PM »

Endorphins  Wow, whoever wrote this film didn't study human biology very much.  We see Talac injecting his victims with heroine and extracting Endorphins from them.  HELLO!  When your body is flushed with something like heroine, the body does not manufacture endorphins, it manufactures DOPAMINE.  The body only manufactures endorphins to suppress pain.  Endorphins and Dopamine may have vaguely similar molecular structures, but they are not the same.  Some people can get pleasure from endorphins, usually when they consume foods with capsaiacin.  Also, how is it human endorphins would be pleasurable to alien physiologies?  They would more likely be deadly to them. 

You almost got that right. Heroin does not trigger the release of endorphins. It does, indeed, cause an excessive release of dopamine by messing with the mechanism that determines when enough has been released. But dopamine and endorphins are not chemically similar. Heroin and endorphins are chemically similar. Heroin mimics the effect of endorphins, but with a lot more kick. So the real mistake there is that Talac already has a potent opioid, and he's throwing that away to try and suck a weaker variety of the same thing out of people's heads. I can appreciate the idea of aliens cutting out the pharmacological middle man and extracting the pleasure chemicals straight from the brain. It's a clever idea for a sci-fi story, but you're right, they didn't have a good grasp of how those chemicals work. Heroin doesn't stimulate endorphins, it simulates endorphins.

There is one other thing I should point out, although it isn't really central to your argument. Endorphins are not just a response to pain. Excitement will release them, fear, exercise, spicy foods, orgasm. And I'm sure there are drugs that will cause them to be released, but we already know that there is nothing unique about endorphins. Plenty of regular street drugs will do the same job, and do it much more effectively.

As for whether an opioid will affect aliens, who can say one way or the other? But there are actually a couple of schools of thought that would explain the physiological similarities. One is the idea that life was seeded from space, and thus organisms on different worlds might well share some basic similarities.

Another explanation is parallel evolution. Elements throughout the universe are governed by the same physical laws, and will therefore interact in certain ways no matter where they are. And if one assumes there is only one way these things will come together that will produce life, then life anywhere would have a similar molecular and cellular structure. As to the humanoid shape, maybe that's no accident either. Maybe humanoid, or something like it, is the natural shape of a technological being, and goes hand-in-hand with developing to the point of becoming a spacefaring people. By that thinking, aliens could take many shapes, but the ones with the wherewithal to come and visit us will most likely be humanoid.

There have been species right here on earth that followed similar evolutionary paths independently of one another. It makes sense that there are certain attributes that work, and organisms will naturally develop them.

Or we can just accept that humanoid aliens are cheaper and easier to put in a movie, and better suited to duking it out with a maverick cop.
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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2010, 09:58:02 PM »

Maybe the aliens were in disguise or had been specially bred or modified to look like humans.  (I've never seen the movie, so I don't know if they addressed any of this.) 

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« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2010, 03:32:24 AM »

Just repeat to yourself "it's just a show, I should really just relax."


heh,heh,heh, good one
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AndyC
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« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2010, 07:14:48 AM »

Maybe the aliens were in disguise or had been specially bred or modified to look like humans.  (I've never seen the movie, so I don't know if they addressed any of this.) 

To be honest, I don't think too many people even thought about it. But that is a good point. If they're going to be operating on Earth, a disguise might be necessary. Of course, they didn't look exactly like us. Among other things, the eyes were different and the hairline was in an odd place. This is just my recollection from seeing it when it came out, and it might be a bit cloudy, since my friends and I were drinking gin in the back of the theatre. TeddyR
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WyreWizard
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« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2010, 09:54:24 AM »

You almost got that right. Heroin does not trigger the release of endorphins. It does, indeed, cause an excessive release of dopamine by messing with the mechanism that determines when enough has been released. But dopamine and endorphins are not chemically similar. Heroin and endorphins are chemically similar. Heroin mimics the effect of endorphins, but with a lot more kick. So the real mistake there is that Talac already has a potent opioid, and he's throwing that away to try and suck a weaker variety of the same thing out of people's heads. I can appreciate the idea of aliens cutting out the pharmacological middle man and extracting the pleasure chemicals straight from the brain. It's a clever idea for a sci-fi story, but you're right, they didn't have a good grasp of how those chemicals work. Heroin doesn't stimulate endorphins, it simulates endorphins.

There is one other thing I should point out, although it isn't really central to your argument. Endorphins are not just a response to pain. Excitement will release them, fear, exercise, spicy foods, orgasm. And I'm sure there are drugs that will cause them to be released, but we already know that there is nothing unique about endorphins. Plenty of regular street drugs will do the same job, and do it much more effectively.

As for whether an opioid will affect aliens, who can say one way or the other? But there are actually a couple of schools of thought that would explain the physiological similarities. One is the idea that life was seeded from space, and thus organisms on different worlds might well share some basic similarities.

Another explanation is parallel evolution. Elements throughout the universe are governed by the same physical laws, and will therefore interact in certain ways no matter where they are. And if one assumes there is only one way these things will come together that will produce life, then life anywhere would have a similar molecular and cellular structure. As to the humanoid shape, maybe that's no accident either. Maybe humanoid, or something like it, is the natural shape of a technological being, and goes hand-in-hand with developing to the point of becoming a spacefaring people. By that thinking, aliens could take many shapes, but the ones with the wherewithal to come and visit us will most likely be humanoid.

There have been species right here on earth that followed similar evolutionary paths independently of one another. It makes sense that there are certain attributes that work, and organisms will naturally develop them.

Or we can just accept that humanoid aliens are cheaper and easier to put in a movie, and better suited to duking it out with a maverick cop.

I thank you for further expanding upon my explanation of endorphins, dopamine and heroine and correcting a few of my errors in those facts.

Hpwever, I must point out that in your argument of intelligent aliens appearing humanoid is a serious flaw that a lot of sci fi movies and TV shows make.  I mean humans shouldn't be the only technological species in nature.  I mean, the human body itself is actually a jury-rigged piece of work.  With it, humans are able to make the most basic of technologies.  I mean, why do humans have only two hands?  Why not four or eight or even sixteen?    I mean think about it, a humanoid with 16 fully functional arms and hands is simply more efficient and productive than one with just 2.  I mean sure, that many arms and hands would require a more complex nervous system with a more complex brain and a highly efficient metabolism. 
The human body has a lot of shortcomings when it comes to technological sophistication.  So imagine if you would an alien with a more complex body design, four legs, 16 arms and hands, 3 heads, ears which can naturally detect infra-sound and ultrasound and eyes which can sense a wider spectrum (including  infrared, ultraviolet, x-rays and  gamma radiation) than the limited spectrum we can see.
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AndyC
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« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2010, 11:14:36 AM »

A lot of those enhanced features you describe present more problems than just controlling them. For one thing, I'm not sure how that many arms could attach to the body and maintain their dexterity. Assuming there is even an arrangement of muscles that would work for more than two arms, they wouldn't have the same strength or range of movement. And then there's the matter of designing technology to fit it. Can you imagine what a spacesuit would look like? Or even a chair? The human body is not at all "jury rigged." It's a pretty efficiently laid out machine.

Also keep in mind that the organism you described has to evolve from a lower order of life. I don't know what it would take to go from a single cell to 20 complex limbs and three heads, but in the last 250,000,000 years or so, the number of heads and limbs on the more complex organisms has remained fairly consistent. Think of how long ago our evolutionary path split off from that of reptiles, and how many of the most basic anatomical traits we share, such as two eyes, four limbs, a skeleton inside with a backbone and central nervous system, two nostrils, a jaw with teeth, a similar set of internal organs. There aren't many land vertebrates that don't have that, and you'll notice snakes aren't more complex.

Likewise, the vast majority of arthropods have the same basic layout, with things like centipedes and millipedes being more of an evolutionary oddity. Bear in mind that the relative simplicity and short life cycle of invertibrates allow nature a lot more opportunity to experiment. And yet the vast majority of species have three body segments, six legs, and two antennae. Evolution is not a wasteful process. In the long run, it doesn't produce any more change than it needs to.

And in the case of a technological species, evolution needs to do much less. As soon as we reached the point of developing technology, we started using it to augment our abilities and shape our environment to suit us as we are. That is basically what a tool user does - find ways to overcome its limitations. People made simple tools, domesticated animals, manipulated the world around them and eventually developed the technology to take a few steps into space. We travel with great speed in our cars and planes, perform hour after hour of repetitive labour with our robots, see the tiniest and farthest of objects, perform billions of calculations per second, communicate with people anywhere in the world, travel deep below the sea or out into space, move massive objects, build massive structures, and although I wouldn't want to do it, we can destroy a city in one stroke. People do a hell of a lot with just a keyboard, mouse and monitor.

That said, why the hell would we need sixteen arms and three heads? What we have seems to work well enough.

And when you think about it, with our medical technology, we are becoming more and more able to maintain a physical ideal that works in opposition to the sort of diversity and mutation that fuels evolution.

But, for the sake of argument, let's say evolution would take us into weird new forms, even though there's no need to adapt to our environment when it's been adapted to us. The aliens in "I Come in Peace" are not that far ahead of us. Maybe a few hundred years. These aren't mysterious godlike beings beyond our understanding. They're drug dealers, not unlike our own criminals, except with a spaceship. In technological terms, they're ahead of us. In evolutionary terms, we're at the same stage.

Besides, I didn't say every technological species in the universe would be humanoid. I said it's entirely possible for evolution to follow a parallel course on another world, and probably fewer alternative courses than you might think.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2010, 11:32:22 AM by AndyC » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2010, 11:55:40 AM »

I mean, the human body itself is actually a jury-rigged piece of work.  With it, humans are able to make the most basic of technologies.  I mean, why do humans have only two hands?  Why not four or eight or even sixteen?    I mean think about it, a humanoid with 16 fully functional arms and hands is simply more efficient and productive than one with just 2.  I mean sure, that many arms and hands would require a more complex nervous system with a more complex brain and a highly efficient metabolism

I think you answered your own question.  Building more arms would require a greater investment of biological resources, and extra limbs probably don't increase the fitness of the organism enough to justify the expense of creating them.  The efficiency of evolution suggests that four limbs are probably the optimal number for a large creature.  Natural selection had the chance to pick mutants with extra limbs but it never did so.     
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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2010, 01:34:11 PM »

I mean, the human body itself is actually a jury-rigged piece of work.  With it, humans are able to make the most basic of technologies.  I mean, why do humans have only two hands?  Why not four or eight or even sixteen?    I mean think about it, a humanoid with 16 fully functional arms and hands is simply more efficient and productive than one with just 2.  I mean sure, that many arms and hands would require a more complex nervous system with a more complex brain and a highly efficient metabolism

I think you answered your own question.  Building more arms would require a greater investment of biological resources, and extra limbs probably don't increase the fitness of the organism enough to justify the expense of creating them.  The efficiency of evolution suggests that four limbs are probably the optimal number for a large creature.  Natural selection had the chance to pick mutants with extra limbs but it never did so.     

But what about giant spiders, Rev? We all know that those exist and they have eight legs. Can you explain that one? Huh?
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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2010, 02:02:13 PM »

Optical illusion. Giant spiders are full of tricks like that, carrying mirrors, walking one behind the other. They're a bit self-conscious about having fewer legs than the little spiders, so it's best to pretend you don't notice.
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2010, 03:05:31 PM »

Optical illusion. Giant spiders are full of tricks like that, carrying mirrors, walking one behind the other. They're a bit self-conscious about having fewer legs than the little spiders, so it's best to pretend you don't notice.

Or a bunch of tiny spiders just cover an old VW Bug with fur and fake legs and drive around hoping for the best. The red tail lights make for nifty giant spider eyes.
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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2010, 04:07:04 PM »

I mean, the human body itself is actually a jury-rigged piece of work.  With it, humans are able to make the most basic of technologies.  I mean, why do humans have only two hands?  Why not four or eight or even sixteen?    I mean think about it, a humanoid with 16 fully functional arms and hands is simply more efficient and productive than one with just 2.  I mean sure, that many arms and hands would require a more complex nervous system with a more complex brain and a highly efficient metabolism

I think you answered your own question.  Building more arms would require a greater investment of biological resources, and extra limbs probably don't increase the fitness of the organism enough to justify the expense of creating them.  The efficiency of evolution suggests that four limbs are probably the optimal number for a large creature.  Natural selection had the chance to pick mutants with extra limbs but it never did so.     

But what about giant spiders, Rev? We all know that those exist and they have eight legs. Can you explain that one? Huh?

Giant spiders are always created by radiation, by being caught crawling around on the Nevada Testing Site when the A-bomb blows up or nibbling irradiated rutabagas or something.  Being products of radiation, they're always sterile.  A horny giant spider can't reproduce, even if he could find a giant lady spider who wasn't creeped out of her exoskeleton by him.  Therefore, there are no species of giant spiders---only isolated individual mutants. 
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WyreWizard
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« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2010, 05:08:34 PM »

Giant spiders are always created by radiation, by being caught crawling around on the Nevada Testing Site when the A-bomb blows up or nibbling irradiated rutabagas or something.  Being products of radiation, they're always sterile.  A horny giant spider can't reproduce, even if he could find a giant lady spider who wasn't creeped out of her exoskeleton by him.  Therefore, there are no species of giant spiders---only isolated individual mutants. 

Believe it or not, there were giant spiders on Earth 300 million years ago.  But these guys weren't hundreds of feet tall weighing several tons.  Nope.  They were only an estimated 2 feet in length and almost a foot in height, which is roughly the size of a house cat.  It wasn't radiation that created these guys.  You see, 300 million years ago there was almost twice as much oxygen as there is today.  The nitrogen to oxygen ratio was about 50/45.  So with that much oxygen, land dwelling invertebrates, including insects and arachnids grew much larger than they do today.  The largest of these was a dragonfly-like insect which had an estimated 4-foot wingspan!  I don't know about you, but seeing something like that flying around in a swamp would freak me out!
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AndyC
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« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2010, 11:06:13 PM »

True. That's one of the things limiting the size of a lot of creepy crawlies. Their respiratory systems are not efficient enough to sustain a larger body. Not sure whether the bugs in the Carboniferous Period were still limited by the available oxygen, or whether they'd run up against the weight limit of an arthropod exoskeleton, which really can't support anything too big on land. Could be that any spider with a body bigger than roughly the size of your head wouldn't be able to stand. I know for sure that a giant one would collapse under its own weight.

But that would make for a really short movie. I suppose you could make a feature-length movie in which the spider mutates, grows to about the size of a Golden Retriever, can no longer move and starts to suffocate. Then you pad out the run time with an hour of vultures pecking at the poor thing.
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