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Thread: Biological Energy?

  1. #1 Biological Energy? 
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    Hello, me and my friend were talking about the movie "The Matrix" Today, and we got on the topic of how the machines made their energy (human bodies) and we began to wonder if that was actually possible. Now Im not asking if we can grab humans and turn them into generators. But with this ability to clone animal tissue and genetically modify that tissue could it be possible to make a organism thats sole purpose was the production of energy?

    Also how does the body turn fat into energy? Im aware of the circulation and other such things, but as what point does the fat cells, protien cells, carbs and sugar molecules turn into usbale energy?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    No it's not possible, the energy has to come from somewhere, and the only thing being put off by animals is heat. This heat comes from the inefficiency of human metabolism, it would be more efficient just to make a pile of sugar and burn it directly with a match.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    I was always amazed that the robots of the matrix were so averse to nuclear power.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  5. #4  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    don't electronic circuits get damaged by radiation ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  6. #5  
    Forum Masters Degree Numsgil's Avatar
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    I always understood that the machines were using the humans' minds as power. Meaning computational power. Meaning the humans are the hardware the machines run on. Likewise with the Matrix. The reason a human can "hack" the matrix and affect the simulation is that, once jacked in, the Matrix assigns computational authority for objects to the nearest humans. Like a new server in a server farm coming online, and computational load being distributed accordingly. All these computations were performed in the sub conscious of the jacked in human, so to control the Matrix like Neo could you had to be able to detect the computations being processed by your subconscious and specifically feed the Matrix back faulty information (ie: the calculation for the integration of motion of the bullet suddenly returns 0 for velocity).

    This was why Neo had to physically travel from point A to point B to affect the outcome at point B (like saving Trinity).
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  7. #6  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    It was body heat, rather than mind power.

    Here's an exerpt from the script:

    Morpheus: "A singular consciousness that spawned an entire race of machines. We don't know who struck first, us or them. But we know that it was us that scorched the sky. At the time they were dependent on solar power and it was believed that they would be unable to survive without an energy source as abundant as the sun. Throughout human history, we have been dependent on machines to survive. Fate it seems is not without a sense of irony. The human body generates more bio-electricity than a 120-volt battery and over 25,000 BTU's of body heat. Combined with a form of fusion the machines have found all the energy they would ever need."


    I always felt that this was a particularly weak part of the Matrix storyline. Had it been mind-power as you thought, then maybe this part of the plot wouldn't have seemed so silly. Keeping alive all those people and feeding them to collect heat doesn't really make much sense considering what other technologies the machines could have devised or made use of.

    I don't know where the "bio-electricity" part comes in though. And why combine this and the body heat with a "form of fusion". Never made sense to me.
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    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
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    It's garbage. They just needed a plot device to explain why the machines were keeping humans in the matrix. They could have used fusion, given that the world surely still had loads of water. Or they could just have set up solar panels above the cloud layer. They show us a hover thing get above the clouds at one point so it's couldn't be that hard.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    I think they were just fond of humans in that AI kind of maternal way and couldn't stand the idea of being in the universe without us. So they came up with that silly notion that they need us for energy and the people fighting them swallowed it like it was candy.
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  10. #9  
    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    I think they were just fond of humans in that AI kind of maternal way and couldn't stand the idea of being in the universe without us. So they came up with that silly notion that they need us for energy and the people fighting them swallowed it like it was candy.
    Those AIs. So needy.
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  11. #10  
    Forum Masters Degree Numsgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    It was body heat, rather than mind power.

    Here's an exerpt from the script:

    Morpheus: "A singular consciousness that spawned an entire race of machines. We don't know who struck first, us or them. But we know that it was us that scorched the sky. At the time they were dependent on solar power and it was believed that they would be unable to survive without an energy source as abundant as the sun. Throughout human history, we have been dependent on machines to survive. Fate it seems is not without a sense of irony. The human body generates more bio-electricity than a 120-volt battery and over 25,000 BTU's of body heat. Combined with a form of fusion the machines have found all the energy they would ever need."


    I always felt that this was a particularly weak part of the Matrix storyline. Had it been mind-power as you thought, then maybe this part of the plot wouldn't have seemed so silly. Keeping alive all those people and feeding them to collect heat doesn't really make much sense considering what other technologies the machines could have devised or made use of.

    I don't know where the "bio-electricity" part comes in though. And why combine this and the body heat with a "form of fusion". Never made sense to me.
    I don't always listen to the actual "science" dialog is scifi shows. It's usually better to sort of fill in your own science which is consistent with the action you see.

    It's like in Star Wars. With the Millenial Falcon making the Kessel Run in "less than twelve parsecs". You just have to sort of role your eyes and fill in the blanks with something that actually makes sense. Like you're watching a bad historical documentary and the director got some of the details wrong.
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  12. #11  
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    Heat is thermal energy, movement is kinetic energy. Yes animals can "make energy."

    Microorganisms are being engineered to produced hydrocarbos for use as fuel.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    In the movie, the line included 'supplemented by some fusion', which makes a joke of the whole thing. We just have to conclude that movie makers are scientific morons. Not much of a surprise!

    I always thought that the twist in Matrix III should have been that a human before Neo managed to overcome the AI's and control them. He then became the supreme dictator, and kept all the humans in storage because he was human and wanted to control them, even if only in the virtual reality. That would make far more sense than the ridiculous ending the movie makers came up with. Neo's ultimate battle would then be against another human to gain control of the AI's so that he could free the human race.
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  14. #13  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    In the movie, the line included 'supplemented by some fusion', which makes a joke of the whole thing. We just have to conclude that movie makers are scientific morons. Not much of a surprise!

    I always thought that the twist in Matrix III should have been that a human before Neo managed to overcome the AI's and control them. He then became the supreme dictator, and kept all the humans in storage because he was human and wanted to control them, even if only in the virtual reality. That would make far more sense than the ridiculous ending the movie makers came up with. Neo's ultimate battle would then be against another human to gain control of the AI's so that he could free the human race.
    Now skeptic, we all know that a truly intriguing and interesting plot must give way to total annihilation of a completely non-human evil enemy so that we don't have to have any conflicted feelings like guilt when the good guys win. In the battle of "us vs them" we don't like to think that one of "them" is actually one of "us."
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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