“Death is the only inescapable, unavoidable, sure thing. We are sentenced to die the day we’re born.” – Gary Gilmore
Immortality, the long sought after answer to the only thing we haven’t figured out how to prevent yet. From the quest to discover the elixir of life to the times of modern day science, people have searched for ages to discover the ‘cure to death’ as we currently understand it.
This February, Netflix threw their gambit into the mix with the release of their latest Netflix Original Altered Carbon.
Based on the trilogy by Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon presents a dystopian reality where humanity has found a solution for living forever. Set to take place over 350 years in the future, the audience is exposed to a world where the human conscious can be downloaded into a ‘stack’ and transferred between bodies, otherwise known as ‘sleeves’, therefore allowing a person to live for as long as their stack remains intact.
As with most Netflix Original’s that hit the screen, the hype behind Altered Carbon took audiences by storm. As a means to promote the show before the premiere, the company has some interesting marketing strategies that left viewers reeling.
At this year’s CES, Netflix had set up a booth, which for all intents and purposes, had attendees believing that the future originally envisioned by Morgan was not far away. Showcasing perfected artificial bodies, PsychaSec, the company responsible for creating high-end sleeves for the wealthy in Altered Carbon, had set itself up to promote and encourage attendees to sign up for an upgrade. For those who had yet to learn about this new release from Netflix, the booth left an unsettling feeling and had visitors questioning the validity of what they were seeing.
Similarly, a couple weeks before the show was available for viewing, Netflix released a video exploring the “History of Immortality.” What starts off as an in-depth discussion on the topic, including Richard Morgan himself, alongside key speakers like Steve Aoki, Jesse Wellens and Martine Rothblatt, turns into an advertisement for PsychaSec. Once again, Netflix does a great job pulling you in to try and understand the topic at hand, only to blindside you with the advertisement.
If you haven’t already had the chance to view the video, here it is:
For a show surrounding a topic that has long attracted scholars and scientists alike to explore further, Netflix surely selected a series that will draw in viewers for a while. Whether or not we will one day discover the solution to mortality remains to be seen, however, the uncertainty has never stopped us before. Altered Carbon revitalizes the human desire to question our current reality, as most sci-fi features are want to do, and leaves you waiting for what’s next.
Despite receiving mixed critical views, as a whole Altered Carbon was all anyone wanted to talk about after it’s release. Add another 👍🏽 to your list of Original’s released Netflix.
Next time, before you find yourself scrolling through the never-ending list of movies and TV series available and trying to decide what to watch. As well as wasting an hour of your time, select Altered Carbon right from the get-go and figure out your opinions on the matters involved so that you too, can join in on all the office conversations surrounding the show.
Wakanda IRL — What Could Go Wrong?
Apparently a lot.
We’re all coming out of Marvel’s latest release on a high. Yes, Black Panther was an amazing movie. Yes, the soundtrack was lit, and yes, it would be really cool if a place like Wakanda actually existed IRL!
Well it does…kind of.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) is lush with resources of cobalt. It’s not the vibranium that was used to make Captain America’s shield, but it’s important nonetheless. The sometimes forgotten metal plays essential roles in our day to day lives. Smartphones, laptops, and electric cars all run off of lithium-ion batteries, all of which use cobalt as a key component. From uses in cancer treatments to the construction of alloys for aircraft engines, we have taken this metal and integrated it into many everyday uses.
Which is great, a little different from Wakanda, where the stores of vibranium were a well kept secret from the rest of the world, despite all the amazing creations that it led to. However, Wakanda as a country was also better off then the DR Congo has ever been.
Colonization by the Europeans in Congo began in the late 15th and early 16th century. From the exploitation of their natural resources, to suffering years of civil unrest, the people of Congo have constantly suffered from times of turmoil. Genocide, slave trading and child labour, are but a a few of the horrors the country has been forced to face. Since 1998, five million people from the DR Congo have died from war or disease. In an article released by The Guardian, it was stated that children as young as the age of seven were being forced to mine for the cobalt that gets used in most household brands today.
As more awareness is created and the realities of the situation in the DR Congo are brought to the forefront, we can only hope that those with the power to make a difference step forward. Apple, Sony and Samsung, all companies that require sources of cobalt for their products, have made claims to take steps against any supplier that violates human rights.
The world was given a chance to get this right the first time. With bountiful resources, a beautiful country with even more beautiful people, the ‘real life’ Wakanda had started off with much opportunity and potential. It took an unstable government, vicious dictators, and unethical capitalists to bring the DR Congo to the state it has now become. Black Panther’s Wakanda paints a radical vision for all of us, of what it could have been.
The World Mourns the Loss of a Great Mind: Stephen Hawking
On March 14th, 2018, the world had to say goodbye to one of the greatest mind’s of our generation, Stephen Hawking.
“It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.” – S. Hawking
Professor Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with a rare case of motor neuron disease at the age of 21 and was only given two years to live. Despite the continual deterioration of his condition, he was able to live out his life to the age of 76 and continue to do the work that he so loved.
Author of renowned A Brief History of Time, and known for his work on relativity and black holes, Hawking was able to take his research to new levels despite being wheelchair bound and forced to use a voice synthesizer to communicate.
According to his official website,
“Professor Stephen Hawking ha[d] thirteen honorary degrees. He was awarded CBE (1982), Companion of Honour (1989) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009). He [was] the recipient of many awards, medals and prizes, most notably the Fundamental Physics prize (2013), Copley Medal (2006) and the Wolf Foundation prize (1988). He [was] a Fellow of the Royal Society and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.”
All of his award and acclaims notwithstanding, Hawking was also a loving father to three children who gave the following statement following the passing of their father,
“We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.”
The world lost a great mind yesterday and as his close friends and family gather to mourn their loss, hopefully it gives some comfort to know, that he will not soon be forgotten.
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