Peer to Peer Magazine

March 2011

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Find out what a long-distance call can really cost in . . . T he first time I saw THIS ISLAND EARTH — summer of ‘55 — I thought, “Wow! An Earth scientist and a creature from another planet conversing across space on a giant TV screen? Unbelievable.” Today, of course, we call that videoconferencing. Watching this “Mystery Science Theater 3000” camp classic today, what I find unbelievable is how silly and cheesy that fridge-sized communication thingy looks, especially compared to the tiny webcam in my laptop monitor and the razor-thin TV gracing my den. And yet, between that nutty triangle-shaped viewing screen, flying saucers, weird-looking aliens and, of course, a stout- chested hero and his equally stout-chested girlfriend, the good-awful THIS ISLAND EARTH still stirs the wide-eyed (and Social Security-eligible) kid in me. The fun begins when tall, dark and rumble-throated Dr. Cal Meacham (Rex Reason), a genius in all things nuclear and a doggone good jet pilot to boot, receives (from an unfamiliar company called Ryberg Electronics) a mysterious metal-paged IKEA-type assembly manual for something called an interocitor. Dozens of wooden crates containing hundreds of strange components then arrive at his lab. 90 www.iltanet.org Peer to Peer Working their way through the complex instructions, Cal and his goofy sidekick manage to build the device — what it does, neither man has a clue. They turn it on and a man’s face swims into view, his platinum hair and weirdly bulging forehead a none too subtle alert that this guy definitely isn’t from the neighborhood. Exeter, as the alien introduces himself, warmly congratulates Cal on successfully building the alien communications device and invites him to be flown to a secret U.S. site where he, and other Earth scientists who passed the same aptitude test, will brainstorm ideas for world peace. Here comes the inviolate Saturday matinee rule that requires a movie to include enough twists and turns to allow for at least four visits to the candy counter. So, we quickly learn that the polite and, seemingly, benevolent Exeter has something much more sinister in store for Cal and his fellow brainstormers: an involuntary, intergalactic trip to his home planet, Metaluna, to rescue it from being destroyed by a hostile race from a neighboring planet called Zahgon. Cal jumps through various Metalunan and Zahgonian hoops, including battling genetically-engineered aliens, ducking death rays and falling in love with fellow scientist,

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