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Spring? Not yet. / RANT

There is serious, spring-like birdsong going on outside, and the sun is up and bright, and I can almost FEEL the upness and the brightness of said sun, but it's only 13 degrees (F).

*flops back onto bed with the disappointment of a thwarted walk*

I was seriously considering going to the park until I checked the temperature. It's really gotta be at least 30 for that.

This next bit is grim.

Apparently, Sarah Connor is not John Connor's mother. Because her blood type is O (negative, not that this matters) and John's is AB (negative, I think).

ARGH. *tears hair* It's not that hard to get these things checked in a script (or book or story) people. HIRE ME if you don't have any geeky and/or pedant friends. I know enough things, and the things I don't know, I check. If you're gonna go ahead and say that the mom is O and the son is AB, this HAS to be a set-up for "she's not really my mom." And if that's the set-up for The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I'll eat my left shoe, because the whole series is predicated on "she's my mom." (Or rather, "I'm her son.") The necessity of biological motherhood (and fatherhood) to the plot of the whole Terminator series is RATHER SIGNIFICANT.

I was a biology geek in school, and I'd have known this stunk badly--maybe not since I did my first punett square in 6th grade, but certainly by 10th grade, and probably somewhere in 8th. Maybe it's not that obvious to everyone who has ever done a modicum of the biological study of humans. Maybe I am totally over-reacting on how obvious I think this is--I did major in biological anthropology, and I sometimes overestimate just how much other people know (or even care) about things like this, and I also sometimes underestimate how much I actually learned in college. But I work in a library and haven't done anything at all with my degree (beyond the paces I put it through towards writing science fiction), so I tend to think of myself as an uneducated layman--which would be fair, but is also a little bit not fair, because I do also spend time mentally calculating possible genotypes of friends and family whenever I notice certain traits. ALL THE SAME, THEY COULD HAVE CALLED ME, AND I WOULD HAVE TOLD THEM THAT THEY DIDN'T NEED TO BUILD FAKE TENSION WITH THE RARITY OF THE AB BLOOD-TYPE when the tension was really about something else anyway, and a B or an A blood type would have worked just as well and would not have introduced the impossibility of Sarah being John's biological mother*.


*A and B are co-dominant. If you're AB, you got an A gene from one parent and a B gene from another parent. O is recessive. If you're O, you have no B or A anywhere in ya, because you only express O if your genotype is OO. You can't then give a B or an A gene--you don't have one to give. No O can give birth to or father an AB kid. The other parent can supply an A or a B, but can't supply both to one kid, so an OO (expressed as an O, like Sarah), depending on the genotype of the other parent, can produce and O, A or B kids, but never ever ever ever an AB. EVER.

Knowing all of this (and a few other things) is how they used to do paternity tests, in the days before DNA testing. It couldn't give conclusive results, but it did rule out impossible fathers. Such as O fathers and AB kids.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 23rd, 2008 02:57 pm (UTC)
I spent about a hot minute trying to work out what the chances are that two brothers would both be AB (so that the nephew could inherit that trait and donate blood to his uncle) before realizing that even if the statistics worked out, the inheritance rules don't.

But, I've also never heard of an EMT performing thoracic surgery.

I suspect that medicine is the final frontier of the scriptwriter's handwave.
Feb. 23rd, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
This sort of shit bothers me all the time. I'm a medical technologist, which means I perform testing on patient samples in a clinical laboratory. I worked in a blood bank for several years, and so if I had seen this episode I probably would have stroked out. Mendellian genetics, anyone?

Obviously, I didn't watch the episode, and so I don't know why they were building tension with blood types anyway. BUT, if they were implying that John needed a transfusion and his type is really rare--AB--and so it's hard to find a donor, that's a bunch of crap. Transfusion medicine gets a little more complex than punett squares, but I'll get into the basics. Red blood cells have antigens--A, B, or none--that correspond with blood types (A,B, and O, respectively). Through the course of living on earth, we're exposed to a lot of pollens and stuff that basically form cross-reacting antibodies against the antigens our body doesn't have. (If you're A, your body won't make an antibody that fights off the A antigen. This is how an A person has anti-B antibodies without ever having been exposed to B blood.) These cross-reacting antibodies are the basic building-block of transfusion medicine.

Okay. You're John Connor. Your type is AB. This means your blood has the A and B antigen--and most importantly--NO antibodies against either A or B. This means you can receive A blood, B blood, O blood, and AB blood. Rh (negative or positive) doesn't really matter in this case because John is a guy (Rh antibodies are BAD in women who could become pregnant.) There is no tension. Anyone can give you blood; you just really can't give your blood to anyone else but an AB person. Now, if the tension was that Sarah needed the blood, then I agree with your assessment: give John A or B blood, which would make it impossible for John to donate for Sarah but not impossible for them to be mother/son. This, however, would have still pissed me off had I watched the show: blood banks exist for a reason, people! Folks DONATE blood for this very reason! There is no real reason NOT to use banked blood.

Now, if that wasn't the basis for the episode angst ... oops. Sorry to dump all that science on you. I just get as jacked up as you do about apparent lack of research.
Feb. 24th, 2008 04:25 pm (UTC)
Doh! And I knew that, too! AB is the UNIVERSAL RECIPIENT!! (sigh) Of course, it just shows the difference in our personal blood-related interests. :)
Feb. 23rd, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC)
Here's your out:

The only indication that Sarah is O- comes from Cameron. It doesn't seem like she has the ability to type blood, or she should have known that Uncle Reese was AB. Cameron probably doesn't know her blood type when she's sent back, so she'd have to learn it.

Granted, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to play out that way, because Sarah would probably speak up when it was Cameron said it. There is the point that she's savvy enough to not just shout out "No I'm not!", and Charley makes it all moot about 2 seconds later so in the end she doesn't need to correct Cameron. She can quietly note that the robot doesn't know everything.

OR, the writers could just be stupid. I mean, I did have to come up with a kludgy reason for how Cromartie's head got through the time bubble.
Feb. 23rd, 2008 04:18 pm (UTC)
Your antigens a splode.

The real question is: Did you immediately yell at the TV, or did you fume for a while? It's always fun when you're sitting at home in a theater with friends from school, minding your own business, and are suddenly confronted with Terrible Movie Logic That Someone Thought Looked Cool. Then, of course, you need to rant for 5 minutes about how it couldn't happen politely educate everyone around you about why it wouldn't work.

Them: "It's a movie where they're building a spaceship where people travel faster than light and meet aliens! So what if it was built on the surface?"

Me: "You're missing some key aspects here..."
Feb. 23rd, 2008 11:15 pm (UTC)
Dr. Scott from Polite Dissent gave some other (unlikely) possibilities as well earlier this week.

Edited at 2008-02-23 11:15 pm (UTC)
Feb. 24th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)
Now, I didn't know all that blood stuff, and it was very interesting. My mom is AB- and I'm A-, and now I understand how that happens. So, if nothing else, your rant has served to enlighten me. Doesn't that make you feel better?
You'll have to let me know if the writers continue to be stupid so I don't bother investing time in the show (even if River and my girl Lena are in it).
Feb. 24th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
Yes, it does make me feel better. And that means, also, either your dad is A or O. And if your Dad is A, your baby will either be A or AB (depends on what Anthony is). If your dad is O, though, it could go lots of different ways (again, depending on Anthony).

Also, Sarah Connor, in spite of the goofy blood typing and a few other things, is really quite good. Watchable. Plus Summer and Lena!
Feb. 25th, 2008 01:38 am (UTC)
This reminds me- did you hear about the space kimchi?
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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