Cordial Deconstruction

Observations from our shared single objective reality in a materialistic, naturalistic, & macro-deterministic universe.

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Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 6 Season 5 Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There

Posted by Karl Withakay on November 10, 2012

A Dreary Blue Episode

As always, an episode synopsis should eventually be found over at Scott’s Polite Dissent

Pythonesque

Apparently the method of entering the pocket universe was developed by the Ministry of Silly Walks

Pocket Physics Science

Either the pocket universe includes a fully functional and self sustaining & maintaining power grid or generator, or the physics of the pocket universe cause light bulbs to illuminate without power.

Also, although the universe was very Escher-like, at least it wasn’t intentionally designed to be a Castrovalva-type trap.

Prop Convenience Theater?

It seems like the Observers have functioning security cameras only in locations that are convenient to advancing or complicating the plot as the writers desire.  Most times, the Fringe team can wander around in broad daylight, at will, in populated areas without any concern for being spotted, but every once in  a while, they get unlucky and get spotted & identified by one of the apparently very rare functioning Observer security cameras.  Do the Observers have budget problems that are preventing them from fully deploying or maintaining their electronic observation net?

If We Were to Go By The Book…

Assuming the rate of time flow in the pocket universe is fairly constant relative to the passage of time in the corresponding local region of our universe, then if 5 days passing for Cecil in the pocketverse equated to 20 years passing in our universe, it follows that there is roughly a 1:1461 correlation in time flow, such that every hour spent in the pocketverse should translate to about 60 days passing in our universe.  For every minute spent in the pocketverse, about 1 day passes in our universe.

Astrid mentions working with Walter the previous night , and even though Walter’s bed has not been slept in, it’s clear he did not get to the building where the portal was before daylight, and it’s also pretty clear the team went looking for him that same day, also arriving in daylight.  Thus the team couldn’t have been much more than about 10 hours behind Walter, at most.  Doing the math tells us that Walter should have only experienced the passage of, at most, about 25 seconds in time in the pocketverse before Olivia and Peter arrived there.  Walter probably would still have been in the room when Olivia and Peter arrived.

Posted in Dreary Blue Episode, Fringe, Prop Convenience Theater, Science, Television, time | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Fringe Post May Be Delayed Until Saturday

Posted by Karl Withakay on November 9, 2012

FYI:  The Deconstruction review of this week’s episode of Fringe may not be posted tonight.

If it does no get published tonight, it should be up by about 1PM CST Saturday.   Regardless, I’ll probably still beat Polite Scott to publication, seeing as he still hasn’t done last week’s episode yet.

Posted in Fringe, Television, This Blog | Leave a Comment »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 5 Season 5 An Origin Story

Posted by Karl Withakay on November 4, 2012

A Dreary Blue Episode

As always, an episode synopsis will be found over at Scott’s Polite Dissent

The Etta Cave?

Presumably that was Etta’s secret hideout apartment that Peter and Olivia were in at the beginning of the episode.  Otherwise, you’d think it wouldn’t be a safe place to be, given that the Observers know about Etta being Resistance.  Regardless, that release for the secret stash wasn’t very well hidden.  Peter wasn’t even really searching for anything, and he just stumbled across it by accident.

You Say Tomato…

I’m not sure why Astrid was pronouncing ethane eeth-uh-noll (with a long E sound) rather than eth-uh-noll (with a short e sound).    Is she British?

The Observers, All Tech & No Technique?

It’s no wonder the Resistance hasn’t been squashed yet, despite their frequent missteps and poor decisions.  The Observers seem to have no idea how to run a police state or an investigation.  In addition to not having observation cameras on every street corner or eyes in the sky and not monitoring all wireless communications, it apparently never occurred to them that it might be a good idea to keep their wormhole/portal locations under observation both before and after transport in case the Resistance might get curious and investigate, stake out, or attack  such locations.  If I was with the Fringe team, I would not have wanted to be so openly wandering around in broad daylight at the portal site investigating the scene.  It seems a bit brazen and likely to arose suspicion.

Tickling the Dragon’s Tail

Peter has the components of a device in the lab that he should at least suspect may be capable of destroying all of Manhattan (or more), and he plays around with it, randomly putting pieces together to see if they go together.  All of Manhattan is lucky he just got a little shock.

Number One With a Bullet

Peter said that the power coming off the device was “off the charts.”  Which charts?  He had already shocked himself with it and he wasn’t dead.  Either there wasn’t that much power in it, or he was extremely lucky to not be dead.  If it really did have “off the charts” power in it, Peter should absolutely not been tinkering with it so casually.

One One Eight Seven at Hunterwasser…

Peter’s interrogation of the Observer was even more Blade Runner-esque than the the Observer led security interview in the previous episode.  It was an outright homage or ripp-off, depending on how you look at it.

Good-Bye, Mr. Bond

Never pause to say anything to your target before you shoot them, especially if they are super-fast Observers from the future with the ability to phase jump from one location to the other.  It may not always end so well if you do.

Better Than  Nothing

Astrid’s technique of looking for patterns in the Observer text that might correspond to dates and times wasn’t a particularly bad idea.  Though I would suspect the Observers might use such an extremely complex and foreign method of representing dates an time that such a technique might not work, it was probably the best thing they had to go on.

Posted in Blue Episode, Fringe, Science, Television | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

This Week’s Fringe Post Delayed

Posted by Karl Withakay on November 2, 2012

FYI:

I am attending a trivia event for charity Friday night, and will be seeing Wreck-It Ralph on Saturday morning with my friends and their little ones (and hanging out with my friends the rest of Saturday after the movie), so the week’s Fringe Deconstruction review likely won’t be up until Sunday, likely around noon central time.

Posted in Fringe, Television, This Blog | Leave a Comment »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 4 Season 5 The Bullet That Saved the World

Posted by Karl Withakay on October 26, 2012

A Dreary Blue Episode

As always, an episode synopsis will be found over at Scott’s Polite Dissent

Suck It

Peter probably wouldn’t have been able to siphon off gas form that car. Many, if not most cars today are designed to prevent siphoning

What’s Old is New Again.

Apparently, once the Observers took over, automobile design and style stagnated since all the vehicles look what you see driving around today in 2012. Clothing fashion hasn’t changed much either. Considering how far off the predictions of future-current style was in movies 20+ years ago, maybe it’s not worth nitpicking about. (ex: Back to the Future)

More Notes About the Future

There’s no more baseball

Twenty dollar bills from the current day seem to be valuable collector’s items with worth a significant premium over face value.

Why Aren’t We Smart Again, Walter?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to extract all the video tapes from amber right away rather than extracting one, completing the task from the tape, extract another tape, complete its task, lather, rinse, repeat, etc? If they extracted all the tapes at once, they wouldn’t have to worry as much about the lab being discovered because they wouldn’t have to abandon all the still ambered tapes. It would also allow them the possibility of completing the tapes’ tasks in a more optimized order.

And Now For Something Completely Different

Walter says:

“There was a time when we solved Fringe cases. It’s time we created a few of our own.”

WTF? That’s nothing especially new. Weren’t nearly all of the Fringe cases at least indirectly caused by Walter?

Constant as the Northern Star

It wasn’t a particularly good idea to hide the plans in the vent in the subway station. What if the station had been demolished, renovated, or had the air ducts replaced?

Quote of the Show

“Don’t you understand? This is Greek to me, except that I read Greek. This is all Aramaic to me. Not the northern dialect- I do speak a little.”

How Many Early ‘70s Vista Cruisers Are There in 2036?

If the Fringe team had any sense, it wouldn’t have mattered that the Loyalist placed a tracker on their car because they would have ditched it after fleeing the firefight. Really, there can’t be many 1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruisers driving around in 2036. Once it was seen fleeing the scene, continuing to drive that car would be equivalent to towing a billboard that said, “We’re the Resistance” in flashing neon letters.

Broyles, Continuing the Fringe Tradition of Excellence

Broyles didn’t want Etta to tell Olivia, Peter, and Walter about him in case they were read by Observers so he wouldn’t be outed as Resistance. Why isn’t that a concern anymore? None of then has yet learned how to effectively block the Observers, and Walter’s already been captured and read once. Any one of them could still be caught and read. Good move, Colonel Broyles.

Return of Prop Convenience Theater

That 4th generation, delayed fuse anti-matter baton with a 100m blast radius that can’t be deactivated once armed sure came in handy, didn’t it? It likely wouldn’t have much antimatter in it since just ½ milligram of antimatter reacting with ½ milligram of matter would have an explosive yield of 21.5 tons of TNT.

Big Brother, They Are Not

I am constantly baffled by the Observers techniques for observing. They occasionally have holographic footage of suspects at large, and yet whatever captures this holographic footage appears to not be particularly ubiquitous as they really see very little of what’s going on. You’d think they would have cameras, spy drones, and satellites all over the place recording everything that goes on, at least in populated areas. You’d also think they would be constantly monitoring all communications in real time, but apparently you’d be wrong.

Why No Female Observers?

No further comment at this time.

I wonder What’s Going On In the Alterverse

Were they also taken over by Observers?

Posted in Dreary Blue Episode, Fringe, Prop Convenience Theater, Quotes, Television | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 3 Season 5 The Recordist

Posted by Karl Withakay on October 12, 2012

A Dreary Blue Episode

As always, an episode synopsis will be found over at Scott’s Polite Dissent

Where’s the Black Guardian?

In this episode of (original) Doctor Who, The Ribos Operation, the Doctor and Romana seek out the first segment of the Key to Time (needed to set the universe right), which is disguised as a lump of jethrik, a rare and powerful mineral, from the rural planet of Ribos where it supposedly came from a local mine.

Scratch that, wrong show.  What I meant to say is:

In this episode of Fringe, The Recordist, the Fringe team seeks out the first component for Walter’s plan to defeat the Observers and set the world right, which is a rare and powerful mineral, from a mine in rural Pennsylvania.

Can You Hear Me Now?

I would think that the Observers are intercepting and monitoring all communications, including wireless communications, and that they have the processing power to analyze it all in real time, such that if someone were calling the Fringe team to warn them the observers were tracking them, the Observers would know about it.  If the Fringe team is using some sort of advanced encryption tech that even the Observers can’t decipher, the Observers should at least be able to detect that signal, and any such encrypted signal should be a massive red flag for resistance activity, right?  For plot convenience sake, we’ll have to assume some sort of special transmission technology/ technique that goes unnoticed by the Observers.

Old School/New School

What detected the Fringe team’s van on the roadside in rural Pennsylvania, and why couldn’t whatever it was be used to search for the van’s current location?  Why did the Loyalists need to conduct a search using ground vehicles?  Are there no air vehicles or spy satellites with infra-red imaging in the future?

In The Year 2036/ Oh My Aching Button Finger…

Apples are available in pill form, much like in The Jetsons.  It seems like either those pills must have some sort of apatite suppressant in them, or they somehow expand to fill the stomach a bit, otherwise although they might be able to provide nutrition, they couldn’t satisfy hunger very well.

Time to Bug Out

“You’ve got what you came here for.  Now leave before the Invaders find you here.”

The Recordists want the Fringe team to leave to prevent the Loyalists/Observers from finding their settlement, but regardless of whether or not the Fringe team leads the baddies away from the settlement, they already know that the team has been in the general area.  It seems likely the hostiles would want to search the area to find out what the Fringe team was doing there.  I think it’s not safe to stay in the settlement anymore; it’s going to be found.

In Two Weeks:

I can’t wait two weeks to cover the line spoken by Walter in the preview for the next episode.  Walter says:

“There was a time when we solved Fringe cases.  It’s time we created a few of our own.”

WTF?  That’s nothing especially new.  Weren’t nearly all of the Fringe cases at least indirectly caused by Walter?

Very Minor Trivia Note

The first three episodes of this season all feature words in the episode titles not found in my spell checker:  Transilience, Absentia, and Recordist.

Posted in Dreary Blue Episode, Fringe, Science, Television | Tagged: , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 2 Season 5 In Absentia

Posted by Karl Withakay on October 5, 2012

A Dreary Blue Episode

As always, an episode synopsis will be found over at Scott’s Polite Dissent

Angels and the Devil in the Details

Speaking about the angel device Etta says,

“It stirs up and destabilizes every atom in his body.  A full charge steals around 25, 30 years.”

She also says that it is based on Observer tech designed to prepare them for time travel, but that the loyalists adapted it to use against the resistance as an interrogation/torture device.

First, let’s be clear, the device can’t be actually aging people by making time pass faster for them than the rest of the world, because the victim would die of dehydration (or boredom) after only a few days passed for them, long before they visibly aged.

Second, and I’ve dealt with this before, more than once or twice, existing hair does not turn white from age, fright, stress, etc.  Dig up a corpse that’s been dead for decades, and the hair won’t have turned white or gray.

Third, we have a word to describe what happens to  atoms when they become unstable, it’s called radioactivity and it will do worse than visibly age you; if every atom in your body were destabilized, you’d die fairly quickly.*  You could make a semi-decent argument that Etta meant chemically unstable since she referred to atoms and not nuclei, even though simple searches for the term unstable atom yield results where all the top hits are referring to radioactivity and not chemical instability.  The word she probably should have used if that’s what she meant was molecules.

Also, I’m not sure why destabilizing atoms (chemically or otherwise) would give the victim the appearance of visibly aging and shorten their remaining lifespan to correspond with their aged appearance.  The effects of aging are the result of processes that occur over time and how the body and its systems function due to those effects.  You likely wouldn’t see effects like instant white hair (already covered) or wrinkled skin; it’s unlikely any fast chemical process or damage would so closely mimic the effects of aging in such short a short time span.

The Eyes Have It

In case you were thinking that maybe the writers got it wrong and were getting retina scanning wrong and mistakenly changing it into iris scanning, iris identification is another method of biometric identification.  Though Wikipedia notes that the the iris identification article does not supply sufficient sources for the shortcomings section, that section notes that many commercial iris scanners today are able to be fooled with a high quality image in lieu of an actual eye.  If this is true, then apparently the technology does not improve enough by the year 2036 to be truly secure, at least not when Walter’s around.

Music Note

The song that was playing on Walter’s record player before it was ambered (and after it was de-ambered) was Knights in White Satin by The Moody Blues.

Gun Note

The gun Peter was carrying was an FN P90.

Footnote

*Unless Proton Decay turns out to be real, in which case every atom in the entire universe is already unstable, just with a very, very, very, very, very long half life, like 10^34+ years long.

Posted in Dreary Blue Episode, Fringe, Science, Television | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 1 Season 5 Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11

Posted by Karl Withakay on September 29, 2012

A Dreary Blue Episode

As always, an episode synopsis will be found over at Scott’s Polite Dissent

Scrabble Knock Off Notes

The words in Astrid’s Scrabble-like game before she attempted to play NAUGAHYDE were:

TILE

PART

DE

FLEET

HOPE

GALIUM*

And off by itself, not connected to any other word: NA

(This variation of Scrabble must have rules that allow at lest one word to be off by itself.)

Walter Has a Hard Drive in His Head?

At one point Peter said, “The plan was fragmented and hidden on Walter’s hard drive by September.”

Was Peter using hard drive as a colloquial term for brain, like noggin, or did Walter actually get a hard drive installed in his head?

Something to Think About

If Walter and September were really cunning & devious, then the plan in Walter’s head is a trap intended to lead the Observers to their own defeat, and the capture of Walter and the extraction of the plan were both intentional.

Stuff to Look Forward to in the Year 2036

Naugahyde has been out of use for so long, the word is no longer in Scrabble dictionaries.

They are still using paper money, the bills still looks like current U.S. Federal Reserve Notes, and they still haven’t gotten rid of the one dollar bill.

Inflation can’t have been a particularly out of control problem between now and 2036, as they still have a one dollar bill, and $3000 is still a lot of money.

They still have tea to drink as a beverage.

People eat eggs in the form of egg sticks.

Walnuts are rare and extremely valuable, literally worth their weight in gold. (At least in today’s gold prices.)

Merry go rounds are distant memories.

Some time in the not too distant future, both battery and music CD &/or CD player technology are radically improved such that a dusty CD can be wiped off and played in the CD player of an abandoned cab that has been sitting idle for many years.

Amber Gypsies have some sort of camp where people can visit their loved ones encased in amber, much like visiting a cemetery, but on a pay per view basis.

For the right price, really disturbed individuals can purchase someone encased in amber to use as a coffee table.

* Gallium is apparently spelled with only one L, at least when playing Astrid’s Scrabble like game.

Posted in Dreary Blue Episode, Fringe, Science, Television | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Fringe Season 5 Premiere Post Will Be Delayed by Real Life

Posted by Karl Withakay on September 28, 2012

My Deconstruction review of the Fringe Season 5 premiere will be be delayed until tomorrow.  I am going to spend some time with a friend I haven’t seen in over a month due to serious medical complications his newborn son has been going through.  My friend is at home with his other kid tonight while his wife is at the hospital with the baby, and he’d like some time not thinking  hospital thoughts, so I will be delaying Fringe until Saturday because as much as I love writing my reviews, there’s no question that friendship is more important to me.

I expect to have the review up no later than 1 PM CDT Saturday.

Posted in Fringe, Television, This Blog | Leave a Comment »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 21 Season 4 Brave New World, Part 2 of 2

Posted by Karl Withakay on May 11, 2012

A Gold/Yellow Episode

As always, an episode synopsis will be found over at Scott’s Polite Dissent

Quote of the Show

William Bell:

“As scientists, we’re taught that fate is nothing more than the convergence of a series of probabilities into one potential outcome, that there’s no such thing as divine intervention.”

Forgotten Point About Last Week’s Episode

Somehow I skipped over it in my note when writing last week’s post, but since Olivia mentioned Bell’s attempt to ignite the underground oil reserve, in this episode, I’ll cover it here.  Just superheating up an oil reserve wouldn’t ignite it unless there was sufficient oxygen present to support combustion.  You can’t burn petroleum with oxygen.

Like Father, Like Son: Peter’s a Chip of the Old Block

Walter would have been proud of Peter’s reanimation of Jessica’s corpse in an attempt to extract Walter’s whereabouts.

Was that a Light Saber Needle Peter Used?

I’ve never stuck a syringe into a human skull before (I have dissected a fetal pig), but it didn’t seem to take very much effort to get that needle into Jessica’s skull.

Alacadabra!

That was a nice implementation of a classic illusion/ special effects technique of inserting and removing the telescoping probe from Olivia’s skull.  Walter even bit down on it to supposedly prevent it form collapsing since we could tell it was a telescoping probe/pointer.

Posted in Fringe, Gold/Yellow Episode, Science, Television | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

 
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