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In November, 2005, a cyberbarf story was published about the ABC series LOST which stated as follows:

When you have a hot property, you sell and sell and sell it to death. When one of the forgotten networks, ABC, stumbled upon a quirky, sci-fi survivor drama called LOST, it was merely an hour of filler slotted for a season. But in an oversaturated Reality television cycle, ABC suddenly found itself with an audience. Finding an audience in the wilderness of viewer choices is becoming harder and harder for a network executive. Dramas or sitcoms need writers, actors and a big budget. Actors are picky; directors are pushy; producers are greedy. It is a headache. Reality shows are cheap to produce, the 15 minute of fame seekers are naive and will get paid in alcohol to be humiliated on film.

Networks have lost their sheepish viewers. The previously captive television audience has more and more non-traditional viewing choices: surfing the net, listening to the iPod, surfing 100 channels on the dish, exercising with the iPod, working overtime at your computer cubicle, watching DVDs or movie rentals, editing your own home movies, or reading a book (or computer manual).

So ABC finds itself with a series, which each episode asking more questions than it answers. Each character has his or her own secrets. A plane crash, exotic beach locale, violence, sexual tension, mysteries and fear are the elements being weaved into quilt of human dysfunctional storylines. The rumor is that the creators had no idea that the pilot would be a hit. The creators themselves don't know where the storyline is going, so they continue to throw in new mysterious elements to keep the story engine fueled to the next week. It has turned into this decade's The X-Files, the quirky FBI-UFO cult show.

During the first season, ABC's web site had its LOST home page. The LOST page contained the basic fan-base features of characters, photo galleries, TV Guide style previews, a video snippet, trivia, and message boards. For a television network, it was a pretty good site. The best part of Season One at the site was the episode recaps. Most viewers came into the series at different times, so the plot lines were difficult to follow unless you had a reference. The Season One episode recaps were detailed novellas, complete with details which could have missed just from viewing the show. The episode novellas brought in many more viewers into the storyline and hooked them on the strange twists on the island.

Then for Season Two, ABC shifted its focus. It began re-running episodes later in the week. It also doubled up before the new episodes to get people refreshed for the action. The episodes also included more and more repeated flashbacks (which at this point is mere time filler than story line enhancements). As the episodes get stretched out, the LOST web site got compressed. The long novella episode guide is now a short story summation. If you want more information or information that used to be free, there is a premium link (data mining). More and more merchandise sales is crowding the site links. The commercialization of the show has now taken priority over the show itself. These changes are also fueling the rumor that the network and show creators are at the critical point of collapsing on their own sudden success; jumping the shark before the end of Season Two.

In March, 2006, the show was revisited with a focus on the growth of the internet community:

On the net, there are various theories on the strange storylines: that the survivors are in purgatory, hell, they really are survivors, they are guinea pigs in some government funded stress project, they fallen into a parallel universe, or it is someone's dream (a script writer's get out of jail free card.) The clues, if any, are hidden within the intertwining storylines like the X-Files or Twin Peaks. Some may be diversions, some may be story myths/truths.

The island has told viewers that it contains several laboratory bunkers, where at least two groups of plane survivors, have found. The source of power for these installations appears to be a geothermal or nuclear reactor encased in Chernobyl concrete. There appears that there was some sort of electromagnetic experimentation at least one of the laboratory bunkers.

If one extrapolates the concepts of electricity and magnetism to symbolic literary meaning, a potential story template may emerge. An electromagnetic field generation within the fuselage is the means to connect the various passengers to a central neuro-grid. A mental wi-fi network that is established through subconscious minds of individual passengers.

The airplane is filled with tired or restless passengers uneasy about their long Pacific Ocean flight to the United States. During this long flight, something extraordinary happens to create a lasting connection between certain passengers. Characters that have similar traits tend to bond closer than ones that have dissimilar traits. Each passenger has their own secrets and anxieties about significant real life problems in their lives.

Hurley is the last person on the flight; he is huffing and puffing as he gets into his seat. Since he was the last one on the plane, he sees the rest of the passengers before he gets to his seat in the middle of the economy class. He has with him a comic book that has a polar bear picture, and he has winning, cursed lottery ticket numbers seared into his mind. He has been institutionalized in the past so his mental condition is unknown.

Walt is the young boy who is playing a game next to the father he really does not know. His dog, Vincent, is in the cargo section of the plane. Walt is under stress from losing his mother, and leaving home with a man he does not know or trust. Fantasy would be a preferred escape to his current reality.

Locke is the disabled man who plays strategy games with co-workers during his lunch hour, but dreams that he could make it on an Australian outback expedition. When he is denied his wilderness vacation to show the world his self-reliance despite his handicap, he is disillusioned and broken. His trip down under was pure fantasy, a means to make in lunchroom game playing real.

We can assume that during the long flight, many passengers will doze off and sleep. Hurley, being very tired, could be the first to go into dreamland. And this is the focal point to explain why so many individual, symbolic and memory images of diverse passengers seem to appear in the island survivor story scenes. Human responses and functions are controlled by small electro-impulses. The brain is a mesh of electric on-off switches like your home computer. When a person dreams, the subconscious mind is activated; here is where a person's darkest fears, secrets, phobias, dark impulses or emotions can run wild. If you add the concept of an atmospheric electromagnetic anomaly affecting the entire plane, then you could have the sci-fi equivalent of a subconscious wi-fi dream network among the sleeping passengers.

Each passenger's personal life history stored in their minds can be mined for plot lines, supporting characters, and symbolic storyline twists. Deeply imbedded in each character's past are demons, vile secrets and various forms of mental quirks that could a therapist's children in graduate school for decades.

The foundation for this sci-fi network needs to be found. In each network, there is a central server, a router, a hub and various connected nodes. The nodes could be the individual passengers in REM sleep. The server would have the program that feeds the storyline and forces the commands, action and reaction from the nodes. It would need to have the imagination components to feed into realistic background settings; fantasy and game sphere realities. The hub is who is in charge of the administration of the game; who gets to connect or reconnect. Who exists and who does not exist in the game field is part of the show's mystery.

The island exists in the collective minds of the passengers who have connected into this game net. The passengers participation in this role playing game is embellished by their own collective imaginations magnified by their subconscious fears. There is a saying that “ like minds” think alike. In the show, it appears that like character minds gravitate toward each other. Kate and Sawyer have criminal minds. That is there connection. Locke and Eko have a spiritual mind, a perspective of faith over science, that has given them a connection. Claire and Charlie had the concept of responsibility thrust upon them, and now each must grasp with their new responsibilities. It is also interesting to note that the Others appear to be a collection of children, like Walt. Children tend to congregate away from adults in most social settings. Children have like minds; they have imaginative role playing experiences. The Others in the storyline could be an adaptation of Lord of the Flies meets Laura Croft Tomb Raider.

How could other passengers “see” Kate's symbolic horse in the jungle; Hurley's polar bear being shot; Eko's African drug plane crashed on a Pacific Island? Those powerful images had to have been extracted from each individuals' minds and shared with the other characters. Bits and pieces of random memories and experiences are processed together into a collective dreamscape. When an individual dreams, it may seem like a long movie but it actuality in may only be a few seconds; in minutes in dream time seem like hours. So a long flight in dream time could seem like weeks or months. (World War II was started and ended in various three hour movies). Theater of the mind is a powerful thing.

The show's characters seem to be on the same wavelength because they collectively have group moments. But at other times, other characters go off into small groups, like porting to a private chat room on the net. But what happens with people “die” in the show. Under this theory, that character's node or connection to the story server is terminated. On the airplane, that means that they wake up from their sleep state. How a character can get reconnected taut storyline, or shows up in later episodes (usually as a ghostly imagine in the jungle) could either be a collective memory, or the administrator allowing a limited connection back into the neuro-network. It could also “explain” why it took so long for the rear portion of the plane to “re-connect” to the forward passengers. Could Hurley's numbers be this electromagnetic IP address?

Just like human DNA is made up of four components, each weekly storyline is a mixture of four basic character compounds. The mixture of these compounds can equate to the shifting behaviors of the characters. One could call the story compounds H, I, J and K. H for Hurley, because of the elements (lottery numbers, polar bear comics, mental state) that are tied to him from the pilot episode and expanded through Season 1. I for the Island, which has turned into its own sinister character, with strange inhabitants and invisible monsters. J for Jack, the first person to take charge of the storyline and became the default leader. K for Kate, who has the most twisted secrets hiding behind her girl-next-store smile. How these four elements interact seems to be central to the storylines besides the typical themes (good v. evil; right v. wrong; mortality v. immortality; faith v. science.) Just as a mad chemist can throw elements together to create new element compounds (some with explosive results), so could four different imaginations.

Can network system analysis help explain the LOST world? In a typical one-person shooter video game, the object of the game is to score the most quality kills. In the growing expansion of on-line fantasy gaming communities on the Internet, the object of the game is to interact with others, create content, and develop as a virtual being within the confines of the cyber environment. LOST could be the representation of an on-line community thrust into a wild, survivor game environment. The countdown clock of 108 minutes is like a game engine timer; you must complete the task in order to get to the next play level. Failure to execute terminates the game. So the story engine is timed to reset the characters every 108 minutes in dream time (which could be as little as 108 seconds in real time).

The problem with an open-source story engine, the series can fail to live up to the expectations of the viewers. The more questions poised, the more answers are needed; and some reality in how passengers got to, lived and died on the island need to logically explained in order for the show not to fall flat like some series finales (Twin Peaks or X-Files).

A month later, there was follow-up commentary:

We theorized the relationship between the LOST plot characters and a virtual wi-fi passenger dream network. Now, with the episode, Dave, the writers of the show clearly indicate that Hurley's mental institutionalization may not have been completed as originally thought by the audience.

Before this episode aired in early April, there was a clear direction of the show. The main characters each have some criminal past. Sawyer, the con man. Kate, the homocidal girl next door. Jin, the Korean mob enforcer. Then we have the criminally negligent aspect of Jack's life: if he let his father operate in a drunken condition as set forth in the flashbacks, he could also have been criminally and professionally responsible. And did he really cure his wife from that incurable spinal injury or was it a delusion?

As an ancillary story line theory, this pattern of criminal behavior and mental illness has to have a connection. Even Locke, the one who found solice in his Hatch, has a terrible father complex that never seems to get resolved. His father we learn is another con man; and in the end, Locke becomes his runner on a scam, and he loses his finance, Helen, in the airport motel parking lot. (The final evil twist to this story line would be that Locke goes to the airport to make a final confrontation with his father, only to find his father boarding the plane to South America with Helen! The perfect inside-out con.) We will probably learn that Locke has had some nervous breakdown over his failed relationships.

So we have a host of characters with mental conditions whose lives have been intertwined on a remote island. Viewers presumed that this premise of a plane crash as being true. But what if only the flashbacks are true, and the island is false? This sets up the proposition that all the characters are mental patients in a criminal institution. (At the end of Dave, we see Lilly as a patient in the same room as Hurley). The Others are really the Orderlies, the ones who control what goes on in the mental institution (the “island”). The evil head honcho of the Dharma Institute is probably the head pysch doctor of the mental hospital.

If the story engine as previously described begins in Hurley's head, but the interaction with his other patients could be explained by mental illness treatment plans. If Dharma is under a DOD contract to experiment on humans for research, for example, in conditioning a group of soldiers to think the same in battle, then the evil hospital administrators would be manipulating the characters in ways they don't quite understand. The electromagnetic element of the story line could be a reference to old electro-shock therapy. The idea that the patients must continue to take their “meds” suggests that an experimental electromagnetic field and psycho-tropic drug protocol may be at work to bind the patients into one great lab experiment. Just like the Pavlov dog experiment, Locke was convinced to press the same number sequence over and over again, for no apparent reason.

So instead of being caught in a high altitude dreamscape, the LOST characters may be a band of mental patients joined in a form of drug induced group therapy. If we see an episode with Nurse Ratchet coming down the hallway with a cattle prod, then this theory would be confirmed as a modern version of Cuckoo's Nest.

This month (February, 2009) begins the final season of LOST. Before the Sixth Season begins, the only absolute fact known is that the viewer really does not know anything about the real premise of the show. Viewers may think What Happened Happened, but in the thousands of conflicting internet fan theories, observations, speculations and head shaking, no truth has been told. Viewers may think they know what they have seen; but the story and its images so far could be like a magician showing you an illusion, a misdirection, a red herring tangent. Many fans have serious questions about the Show's finale. Ratings began to slip after Season Three, and interruptions in scheduling and writer's strike did not help with the continuity of the program schedule. There is many uneasy true fans as the final 18 hours is about to unfold.

To catch up on LOST, the best sites for reviews, antedotes, news, commentary and theories are:, the official site of the network which has an archive of all the shows;, a lively community of intelligent lost theorists;, another fan site devoted to unraveling the mysteries of the Island;

LOSTheorY, a newer site that attempts to unravel the Big Premise and story lines of the show;

darkufo, a site known for its theorists and easter egg investigations of each episode;

Jeff Jensen's excessively researched theories at Entertainment Weekly; and

lostpedia, the encyclopedia of all things LOST.








Question: Whether tablet computers will take significant market share from lap tops?

* Educated Guess

* Possible

* Probable

* Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

* Doubtful

* Vapor Dream

Question: Whether NFL Owners will use a threatened lock out in 2011 to not resign television contracts to place most of the games on their own NFL network (pay per view) in 2012?

* Educated Guess

* Possible

* Probable

* Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

* Doubtful

* Vapor Dream

Question: Whether C0mcast's purchase of NBC Universal is the desperate business model to capture as much content as possible to put on their cable channels to hold viewers from the internet entertainment options?

* Educated Guess

* Possible

* Probable

* Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

* Doubtful

* Vapor Dream












Network American television has been on the long, slow ratings decline. Only major controversy, like NBC's botched Late Night scheduling, can create a temporary blimp in viewership. There are so many alternative modes of entertainment viewership that television has fractured into thousands of pieces. Social networking, video games, internet surfing, on demand movies, sports, and specialty cable channels have consolidated their little pieces of the pie with a small nitche markets.

Television used to be the major distribution channel for shows and sporting events. The networks controlled the means of content production and what was showed to the general public. So programs had to meet the general average which translated over time to the lowest common denominator. Plain vanilla formula dramas and sit coms were the vain until cable brought a hundred channels into the home. Each channel then fought for the same viewers the networks had locked up. And cable could take chances, be more risky, and over time it has taken away a majority of network viewers.

The video recorder and current time shifting recorders like TiVo have made advertisers weary of playing premium prices for ads which may be readily skipped by the viewers. Time shifting viewing habits also allowed people to migrate away from the television toward their computers and cell phones. People are creatures of habit and the next generation is addicted to those means of communication.

So content originators are trying to keep their hold on as many revenue streams as possible to offset this commercial splinter. A successful show can be boxed into season sets to be sold at the Best Buy. Certain studios dream of the spin off of a successful show into the realm of full length movies like the Star Trek or X-Files franchises. Foreign creators who long to syndicate their programs in America try to hold back bootleg copyright materials from showing up on the net or YouTube. The most biggest conflict for foreign programs is the fansubs of Japanese anime. Someone copies the Japanese program, then puts English subtitles on it, then distributes the derivative work over the internet, thereby costing the Japanese creators the rights to do the same.

Born from the problem is a potential solution. Companies are trying to beat the copiers by releasing their own subtitled episodes within a week or so of the original airing in Japan. They are using their own websites or American distributors to license these programs. They are using these stop gap measures in order to see a full dubbed series to a cable network. The successful Naruto franchise is following this script, with releases of subs on its own site, and selling the rights to English dubs to the Disney channel.

These internet episodes contain limited commercial interruptions, three or four during the half hour program. And this may be the key to how television programming melds content and advertising in the future. A host website contains an archive of episodes to be viewed on demand. Imbedded in the episodes are 20 second commercials. Advertisers can target specific demographics in this matter. They can also get accurate views of their advertising, too.

Will television networks migrate their entire programming to the internet? It is doubtful, especially for first run content. Commercial television stations are in the same situation as commercial radio stations were when the concept of internet radio was the hot topic. High licensing and royalty fees killed any successful prospect of internet radio taking off. A stock market bubble and huge talent contracts have all but killed satellite operators.

But there is a seed of a business plan to meet the demand of internet users for specific programs: on demand, advertisement imbedded, episode archives.





WE thought there was no need for Apple (Computer) to eat its own product lines by introducing a small computer, like a netbook or a tablet. Tablets have been around for a long time. They have never taken off like they were intended, to replace paper and a clipboard. Bar code scanners took care of inventory on-the-go controls. Cheap netbooks cut into the introductory lap top market.

Apple product levels are hitting on all cylinders, even in a deep recession. Pundits have been pushing for years that Apple has to bite the bullet and shed the luxury computer maker icon status to maintain market share with cheaper introductory product lines. But that goes against the Apple mission statement. The old Apple technoheads thought the last Apple PDA, the Newton, was a great little device, but it was too far ahead of the public.

Smartphones, like the iPhone, have taken the handheld PDA market. They are powerful mini-computers and communication devices. Even the iTouch, the Apple iPhone without the telephone contract, sells well because it is not tied a telecom carrier. So it was hard to see the need for Apple to throw in a new product above the iTouch but below the entry iBook.

But Apple announced its new CREATION on January 27, 2010. The rumor mills believed it was the long awaited iTablet, iSlate, iPad or some other bigger than an iPhone but smaller than a laptop device. Well, it is called the iPad, which will be shipping by April 1, 2010. Apple CEO Steve Jobs was clear not to call the new device a netbook or a tablet device. Instead, it is being positioned between a iPhone and a Mac laptop. As the Newton PDA was the grandfather to the iPhone, the first Powerbooks were the grandfather for the iPad. Well, not really. It appears the iPad is more an iPhone on steroids. Whether market sales can follow the magical hype of the new design will not be known until this summer.





I hope you enjoyed the run of the Rapter and Dr. Philistine comics. I have decided to relax on a quiet beach until I get my next assignment. Cheers. ---Cynth, cyberLady


THE STEAM PUNK SPECIAL EDITION featured new Music from Chicago Ski & the (audio) Real News:


(mp3/4:14 length)




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