Film Theory: Ready Player One’s True THREAT! (SPOILER FREE)

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Ready Player One's The Oasis is virtual reality at it's most advanced state. Yet the real danger lies outside The Oasis - IN REALITY! Right in your very own home. Literally. The Stacks are the deadliest part of the Ready Player One world and I'm about to tell YOU why!
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Fun fact! did you know that i started on youtube in. 2011, the same year ernest cline wrote ready. player one . and look at us now!. we both have published books--nope, i guess. just him. but we both have millions of dollar in incensing. and residuals-noooo again that’s him and. not me. ooh, but hey a blockbuster movie hitting theaters. noooo time soon again that's just ernest cline. well shoot what have i been doing with all my time . screw you ernest, no one likes an overachiever. hello internet, and welcome to film theory,. where the one thing i do have in common with. ernest cline is that we’re both riding the. nostalgia wave to get people to care about. us. feels good, man. feels good. as one of the hardest core nerds out there,. you’d think i’d be sweating through my. tube socks at the idea of ready player one. set in 2044, it’s a futuristic sci-fi movie. about a treasure hunt happening in the most. advanced massive multiplayer online game in. history, called oasis, or "ontologically anthropocentric. sensory immersive simulation. ". it’s got the good guy, wade, fighting the. evil corporation to find the ultimate video. game easter egg that promises to give the. player a massive fortune and control over. the entire game. the premise is truly impressive, but there. are a few bones i gotta pick with this thinig. you see, in the movie the reason why most. people spend all their time in the oasis is. that most of the population lives in irl poverty,. including our hero, wade. and hey, i’m all about the underdog coming. out of nothing and fighting the powers that. be--it’s the story of every good youtuber. i know--but the world of ready player one. gets so ridiculous sometimes that if you actually. look it them using real sci- instead of sci-fi,. our buddy wade literally wouldn’t survive. the opening credits. and no, i’m not talking about some super. advanced technology thing where someone’s. getting zapped with fiber optic cables or. getting their memory wiped by their own haptic. suit. let’s face it, by 2044, technology will. be so advanced that there’s really no way. to predict the state of video games or personal. technology--i can only sit here and salivate. thinking about how great it’ll be and start. worshipping my google overlords now. no, i’m talking way more basic than that:. the biggest threat in this movie isn’t technology. of evil corporations or even really bad eye. strain--it’s the engineering of everyone’s. home. that’s right, in a movie about super futuristic. video games, i’m focused on the civil engineering. and isn’t that why you come here . oh, and fair warning: after this episode,. you’ll never want to visit the empire state. building ever again. wade lives in the “stacks:” monstrous. scrap piles of low-income housing that are. basically upright piles of single-wide trailer. homes. according to the book they’re over 20 levels. high -- twice as tall as the smallest skyscrapers. now in the movie we see the basic structure. of these things: single trailers stuck all. over the place on what the book describes. as “modular scaffolds” made so that they. can just keep stacking these things as high. as they need to go. as more people move to the area, more trailers. get added to the top. but this creates a major support problem that. anyone with a little engineering know-how. can immediately see. it’s not something you really think about. all that often, but turns out there are some. pretty strong reasons why you don’t just. “add on” to skyscrapers after they’re. finished, your trailer stack just becomes. a really deadly game of jenga. starting at the bottom, the stacks have major. problems with the foundation. the bigger (and heavier) any structure is,. the stronger the foundation you need. the foundation for a 1-story house might have. a depth of only 1 meter, but skycrapers have. foundations that go down 50 meters or more,. depending on soil underneath it. to get to a solid base, you sometimes have. to go down hundreds of feet to avoid the building. sinking into soft spots later on. the petronas twin tower in kuala lumpur has. the deepest foundation of any skyscraper in. the world, ranging from 200 to 374 feet in. different places along its base because it’s. built on soft rock. why does the building sink . because of something in civil engineering. called compression force, which is the force. exerted by the top layers of a building on. the bottom layers. think about it: each layer of a building has. to hold up all the layers that get stacked. on top of it. that means that your bottom layers have to. be the strongest and most stable, since they’re. holding the most weight. applying this to the stacks in the movie,. already you can see the issue with the "modular". approach. real buildings calculate how much weight they’re. going to support in advance. a modular building like the stacks isn’t. doing that. every layer you add causes the scaffolds and. all the mobile homes on lower levels to compress. a little bit more, meaning that without a. foundation underneath, eventually these stacks. are going to turn into sinks. i mean you could over-build those bottom layers. on the chance that you have to add more layers. to the top, but then you’re wasting a lot. of money and resources. another alternative is that, yes, the stacks. might not have foundations, but you don’t. have to build deep if you build wide. think like the pyramids, or, i should say,. the pyramids after they figured out that they. need to pay attention to compression force. you want to see what version 1. 0 of the pyramids. looked like . here’s the bent pyramid, for example. this is a weird one, right . i’ve been to cairo and seen this thing,. which is just as bizarre looking in person. there are a few theories on why this pyramid. is this derpy outcast shape, and when you. discount the crazy theories like alien intervention,. you’re left with the exact same problem. we’re facing in ready player one. in the case of the bent pyramid, the bottom. layers are made of limestone, which is a relatively. soft stone that expands and contracts with. moisture. when the early egyptians started building. the structure, the slope of the sides was. too steep, creating too much compressive force. on the foundations as the structure got higher,. causing the limestone to crush down. the builders changed angles mid-way up the. pyramid to lessen the pressure on the structure. to avoid the stones compressing and warping. over time. so wide and flat is an option, but it can. only happen in places where you’re not having. to account for weather. the only place you find wide, flat foundations. today is in warm-weather climates like california. and arizona; in colder climates that hit freezing. temperatures every winter, the ground freezes. and cracks a shallow foundation made of something. like concrete. ready player one takes place in columbus ohio,. which gets 22 inches of snow per year and. makes this kind of foundation a serious no-no. but if the whole my-trailer-stack-is-sinking-into-the-frozen-ohio-ground. isn’t enough, we’ve actually got bigger. problems: the wind. in addition to the vertical force of gravity,. skyscrapers also have to deal with the horizontal. force of wind and that means so do our friends. hanging in the stacks. wind-dampening systems are actually incredibly. high-tech and require some of the most advanced. engineering in the world--not inexpensive. engineering, either, if you’re looking to. pay for your stacks with fewer, well, stacks. for example, the citicorp center in new york. city uses what’s called a tuned mass-damper. to counteract the force of wind on the skyscraper. these types of systems electronically sense. shifting pressure in the building due to wind. the damper then uses hydraulic systems to. quickly push a 400-ton concrete slab weight. back and forth across the top of the building. to shift the structure’s center of gravity. from side to side, counteracting the force. of the wind. so yeah, if you ever visit one of those “world’s. tallest buildings,” just know that there’s. probably a sliding slab of concrete floating. over your head the size of a meteor. no pressure. but even those high tech systems sometimes. aren’t enough, especially when you’re. dealing with the same issues that ready player. one is dealing with: namely, cost. let’s look at the citicorp center in new. york again. i picked this example on purpose because when. it was built it was actually built with one. of the most dangerous design flaws in history. to save money, the building wasn’t initially. constructed using the maximum number of reinforced. joints and they weren’t made out of the. highest possible quality of steel--again,. going back to the idea that better materials. have higher compression forces. it was discovered that if the wind blew on. the building at a diagonal, any hurricane-force. winds of 74 miles/hour hitting new york could. bring the entire building down, crashing onto. all the buildings in the area. those sorts of winds hit new york about once. every fifty years, so obviously a massive. problem, but to save face, the architect worked. in secret with citigroup to have all the bolts. in the building reinforced at night with crews. only working after hours, and managed to fix. it right before hurricane season started. the story didn’t surface to the public for. over 20 years. so yeah, this is not just a movie problem:. there have been some pretty high profile engineering. oopsie-moments that have come close to costing. hundreds or thousands of lives around the. world, with the powers that be sometimes working. behind the scenes to cover them up. of course, the stacks in ready player one. have no sophisticated computer systems counter-acting. the effects of wind like this -- all of their. sophisticated tech is ded
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