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Almost like actual science

The crew of the U.S.S Dead Space was kind enough to scatter little audio and text logs around the ship as they were being torn apart by ravenous alien zombies, kind of like their ship was a big facebook wall. They’re there, I presume, to build “atmosphere,” that intangible quality of experience that can be nurtured but not bought. I just found kind of an infuriating one, from one “scientist” to another:

Like bacteria, the organism infects other cells through osmosis, then mutates and reproduces agamogenetically.

Agamogenetically is a real word, not a made-up sci fi word, so they’re in the clear there. But if there’s one thing I learned in high school biology, it’s the definition of osmosis: the diffusion of water across a semi-permeable membrane. It is certainly not a means for anything to infect anything else… unless by infect, you mean hydrate. Bacteria don’t “infect other cells” this way because they’re not water molecules. Also, because bacteria don’t “infect” other cells, seeing as they are single cells themselves. Cells are into some kinky shit, but they don’t enter one another.

It’s kind of funny: I’ve come to accept and expect a sub-7th-grade understanding of science from our news media, but for some reason, I feel like the nerds at EA should know better. If nothing else, this kind of glaring error in a “scientific” document achieves the opposite of immersion in a medium that’s striving for it.

Posted in Games, Technology.


2 Responses

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  1. Bryan says

    Wow. The game authors can’t be complete scientific renobs, can they?

    Maybe it’s just shorthand: “the organism [produces toxins that dissolve in the water around the cell, which] infects other cells through osmosis.”

    But why do they say it “then mutates and reproduces agamogenetically”? First, the order should be reversed, since mutation is something that happens across generations. But worse, there’s no god-fearing reason to say “reproduces agamogenetically” when you can just say “divides.” Assholes could have used the 30 seconds it takes to find a big-science-word to just look up how pathogen infection works.

    Nice find.

    • Zach Musgrave says

      Oh snap. It just occurred to me that maybe they were using future science and they’ve completely overturned all of modern biology. That would make me the idiot!



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