Emailing Yourself


Wed, 12 Mar 1997 15:15:33 -0600

From: (Rev. Ivan Stang)


The SubGenius Foundation, Inc.




EMAILING YOURSELF ((not for reprint))

Rev. Ivan Stang 697 words



I suddenly and paranoically wondered what it would be like if we could

email physical objects, including living organisms, over the Internet.

They do it all the time on STAR TREK, and wirelessly to boot. Scottie

makes it all look so easy. But think of the Transporter in the early days

of its development, when it was more like the gizmo in David Cronenberg's

THE FLY remake. Glitches in that process caused a big mess indeed, and

Jeff Goldblum was just sending himself across a room through great big fat

cables. Imagine if he had been doing that through a 14.4 AOL connection.

I know, I know, there are a few more technical breakthroughs to be made

before we can render an entire human being, every synapse and eyebrow mite

included, as a binary. No doubt we'll have to start out modestly, turning

things like golf balls into 15-jillion-meg files and hoping they're still

round when they decode on the other end, and not inside out, with the

deadly poison from the center coating the outside, and the "skin" all

wadded up down in the center. Jeff Goldblum initially had that problem

with his lab rats.

But even when they get the process down, one wouldn't want to email one's

self anywhere. Even Zipped, it would take too long and cost more than a

plane flight, and the risk of corruption in transit would be too high.

Instead you would send a "copy" of yourself in extremely low-res,

compressed form -- some kind of fast-growing, "just add water" sort of

clone -- a veritable "GIF version" of you.

You could email yourself saying "HI GRANDMA" to your grandma. First you

would stand in your cloning stall, set it to record for 5 seconds, and say

your piece. You'd hit "SAVE AS: HIGRANNY.CLO," compress that file, and

send it as an email attachment. To make a comparison, if you are a 600 dpi

Photoshop document, the clone you email Granny is a JPEG compressed at

Lowest Quality, around 5%, all blurry around the edges and none too

aromatic, either.

After a two hour download, the clone of you would materialize in Granny's

Downloads Tank, stumble out, say its message and then collapse on her

floor in a smelly pile of putrescence. I would imagine that Download Tanks

will be equipped with drains and a water hose.

Let's be practical here, and consider that merely transmitting patterns of

electrons isn't enough. The mass and matter of the physical object being

reconstituted on the receiving end has to come from somewhere. Even a low

res person would require the organic ingredients of at least one large

sheep. Anyone who planned to get much bodily email would have to keep a

freezer full of frozen animals (probably cheap clones). This whole

approach is obviously too expensive, not to mention aesthetically

disconcerting. If you thought about what that juicy emailed hamburger

looked like before it was reconsituted, you wouldn't be able to take the

first bite.

A more hygenic technique might be to email just a few cells scraped from

you. Granny's Eudora Pro 666 would not only decompress the cell but

insta-clone it into a brainless vegetable that looked exactly like you.

The problem would be in getting it to say "Hi, Granny." Probably, the main

users of this technique would be the cybersex and porno binaries crowd.

Badly krakked versions of Anna Nichole Smith and other starlets would be

traded illegally in binaries newsgroups, eating up bandwidth better used

for emailing, say, medicines, sips of fine rare wines or boxes of Girl

Scout cookies.

And think of the types of viruses that would start circulating! Viruses

that wouldn't stop at eating just your <i>computer's</i> memory.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

"Perhaps... Perhaps there are some things that Man was not meant to know.

When Man, in his great vanity, meddles with the Unknown, and seeks to pry

into the secrets of God, Nature will surely exact a terrible price."

-- narrator at the end of GODZILLA, or GORGO, or JURASSIC PARK, or one of those.


Copyright 1997 by Rev. Ivan Stang / 1st Orthodox Stangian

MegaFisTemple Lodge of People's Covenant Church of the

Wrath of Dobbs Yeti, Resurrected / The SubGenius Foundation,Inc.

PO Box 140306 Dallas TX 75214 / Fax 214-320-1561 / PRABOB -- SubSITE of Slack