Remember last year, when WordPress had that awesome snowfall feature, and all winter you could watch them fall and be awesome?
Well, yeah, it’s back. Just as awesome as ever. And it’s especially neat for people like me, whose snow experiences normally end here:
Whoo! Let’s stand on a big pile of frozen water and dirt. Snow angels, anyone?
Internet snow is pretty cool.
I think it only shows up on the main pages of the blog (that is to say, not on emails). Still, I always enjoy it. And now that Thanksgiving’s come and gone, it’s just another way to get into the Christmas spirit.
In Biology class for the past few days, we’ve been watching a movie called Gattaca. It’s interesting because it has a bunch of famous actors in it, and hot guys who take off their shirts frequently, but it’s science-based. Set in a dystopian not-so-distant future, Gattaca tells the story of a society who’s taken genetic manipulation too far. Now, people are “designed” to reach their maximum potential by altering their DNA before they’re born. Eliminate disease. Chose your child’s hair, eye, and skin color. Make them smarter, stronger, faster, cooler.
Unfortunately, this kind of a society looks down upon people known as “God-children”– the natural borns. The ones conceived in love, not a lab. These inferior humans are given the worst jobs for low pay, and written off as worthless. Try to escape the system and you fail: your genes can be tested from a sample of your skin, hair, saliva, blood, even an eyelash. They’ll know if you’re a natural born.
So is the state of the world when Vincent Freeman is born. He’s a God child, an inferior human. Born with a heart disease and a predispositioned prejudice against him, he suffers a harsh childhood growing up alongside his genetically-altered and perfect brother Anton. His dreams of flying off into space, reaching the stars and exploring the galaxy, are immediately met with disapproval from even his own parents. He just doesn’t have the potential. He wasn’t made for this.
So Vincent hires a DNA broker, an illegal businessman who makes connections between poor but genetically superior people and rich God children. Vincent pays a man named Jerome Morrow for the use of his genes– Jerome was crippled in a car accident and needs the money to continue his standard of living. The two of them work together to transform Vincent into the kind of Jerome Morrow that could blast off into space. The man who could rise in the ranks of the aerospace company GATTACA to finally follow his dreams.
It’s quite the ambitious storyline, and relies on the careful plotting and incredible acting instead of the normal guns-and-bombs action that theater flicks go for. There’s a few inappropriate parts, and they drop the F-bomb once or twice, which is unfortunate because otherwise it would be a near-perfect movie.
I highly recommend watching it, even if just for the ethical questions it raises. When is it okay–if ever–to genetically mutate unborn children? Does DNA determine potential? Is this where we’re headed as a country?
The movie was made in 1997, which is scary because it so accurately predicts one of our possible futures. Then, most of this technology was unheard of, and the film was just a science fiction nerdfest. Now, it’s a distinct possibility. We already have a lot of the technology needed.
Let me know if you’ve seen it or plan to watch it, because I’d like to talk about it with you.
Cool fact: It opened in theaters on my birthday in 1997. Too bad I couldn’t see PG-13 movies at the time.
Challenge: If you can be the first to identify the genetic irony of the title (Gattaca), you win a prize–a simple drawing commission.