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Campus Damocles, and Regenesis

The internet has been off on campus for two days–not in professors’ offices, and mostly not in department offices, but in a lot of classrooms, and of course the wifi is off. One person told me her Wibro (roaming wifi-like service) even seemed to be blocked–or nonfunctional, in any case–on campus. The official explanation is that pigeons disabled the power and internet on campus two days ago, but the idea that they haven’t managed to fix it since then, is growing more and more, well… you read my blog, and you know that except for an outage on Wednesday, there’s been no interruptions on my connection. I’m sure you can do the kind of math people I know are doing.

I was asked what I thought of it, and I said it was ironic. I told a story about the life of Alan Turing. (And not just part 8, on his death; much of the rest of it I told, and the whole is relevant.) I mentioned that in the light of this, if one considers how people seem to have the impression that there’s a blockage of the Internet in one of the most wired campuses I’ve ever been on, in one of the most wired countries on Earth, the ironies stack extremely deep.

Internet blockage? Ah, metus est plenus tyrannis? The only thing I really can say is that open discussion would help a lot in clearing up rumors… if they are rumors.

Anyway, I’m a little worn out on that issue, so I’m going to turn to the other thing that has been floating around in my brain the last few weeks, and that is. Regenesis. As in, the Canadian SF TV show that was, well, wait… a second, was it SF?
I guess it depends on how you define SF. If you think SF is about costumes, aliens, and spaceships, you will not see this as SF. But if you think SF is about science, ideas, and mind-blowing weird speculations, then yeah, this is definitely SF.

To the website’s credit, a reviewer at io9 did call it a “biotech drama” (link below) but for me it’s basically SF, just… set in the present.

There’s crazy science-fictional premises, there’s world-spanning threats, and there’s interesting characters who act a lot more like scientists than one finds in a lot of media. As Jeff Lester wrote in his intro/review of the show at io9, “One of my favorite things about ReGenesis is whenever anyone comes out to a seemingly-impossible result with their testing, they’re told they’ve made a mistake and to re-do their work again and again—which is the reaction you’d expect from real scientists when faced with such a scenario.”

Still, as I’ve been watching, I wonder what real scientists–especially geneticists and biotech researchers–thought of the show. I imagine that a few developed a kind of drinking game of some sort, though I’m not sure what they’d use as a trigger for their shots.

For my part, I love the show, I’m crazy about it. I love Bob, the brilliant scientist with aspergers–and, by Season 4, a much weirder condition than that–and I love Mayko, whose struggles throughout Season 3 are as fascinating as her insights are early on. Carlos, a Mexican physician and researcher, is also a brilliant character, very moral and conflicted, a religious gay man with a deeply logical sensibility. And then there’s David Sandström, a grouchy genius-type character with a penchant for slipping into and out of relationships.

There are ways in which I feel like the show is almost more honest about human embodiment–the fact we all walk around in bodies–than perhaps any TV show I’ve seen: for a while, it seemed like Sangström would jolt out of bed nude at least once per season, never in a deeply sexual way but simply in a way that suggested that, yeah, some people sleep naked, and wake up, and their bodies are there, not immediately and magically covered with clothing.

I will say, the Disease du Jour approach has begun to wear on me, a few episodes into Season 4. I mean, how many diseases can the members of the NORBAC facility contract before they’re all going to die off? (Someone has to die sooner or later.) Still, the show captivates, as everyone commenting on it has noted. I saw the first season back when it was new, but believed it had been a mini-series and didn’t know there was more till someone commented about it somewhere on this blog, I think. I remember being very much drawn in by Season 1, and I probably should have re-watched it to get up to speed on how things ended off… but I was so eager to see what was going to happen with each of the characters.

If you like the show, you probably know about the NorBAC site, where some of the show’s affiliated ARG was presented, and the affiliated podcast. But if you don’t know the show, I suggest you start with episode one. And if, like me, you get nothing much from Sandström’s conflict with his daughter, well… keep going. It’s worth it, and you’ll be free of her annoying presence by Season 2.

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