Cordial Deconstruction

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

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Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 17, Season 2, White Tulip

Posted by Karl Withakay on April 15, 2010

As usual, an episode synopsis can be found over at Scott’s Polite Dissent.

UPDATE  4-22-10 :  Scott’s review is now up.

When I talked to him 30 minutes before show time, he was planning on doing the review from his hotel room tonight.  I’ll know soon whether he was able to or not.

UPDATE:  It looks circumstances may have conspired against Scott being able to watch & review Fringe tonight, so his post probably won’t be up until Monday.  I should have known that him going swimming with the family 30 min before show time might result in not getting to Fringe in time.  Now I can’t talk to him about it all weekend, nuts.  Well, I’m kind of glad I thought he was going to post tonight so I was bullied into doing my post and getting it out of the way.  My whole schedule for the first half of next week would have been thrown out of whack if I waited until Monday night to do my Deconstruction.

No DVR, but I Managed OK

Well, I managed to write my Deconstruction from the hotel room, watching the episode in real time without benefit of a DVR with only one real problem where I wanted to copy down a more detailed quote than I was able to.

Heart Attack/ Heart Failure, Same Diff, Right?

I could buy collective heart failure caused by some Fringey external source, but heart attacks (otherwise known as myocardial infarctions) are the result of interruptions of the flow of blood to the heart, which causes some of the heart cells to die.  Sorry Peter, but leave the medicine to Walter.   (4-16-10 ETA: That is to say I don’t buy collective heart attacks as even Fringely plausible.)

Some Things for the Search Engines

ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the basic energy source used in cells.  It is produced in the mitochondria, which are often called the fundamental energy centers of cells.

Quote of the Day #1

By Olivia once or twice, depending on how you view repeated time lines:

“Send up the Bishops, please.”

I assume everyone understood she wasn’t asking for a celebrity roast (sendup).

Fringe Unit Attracts Cadets that Passed on the Curve.

So rather than surveiling the location first to determine whether the suspect was present or not, the FBI Fringe unit just raids his premises to find him not there, risking alerting him and scaring him away when he arrives to find them there.  It didn’t really matter in this case since he had to ability to flee at will, but it COULD have mattered.  If he didn’t have the ability to time jump at will, he might have fled when he found the Fringe unit there rather than confront them.

And the Winner is: Olivia (& Me)

My prediction in my early notes was correct:  Olivia was the first to register a sense of déjà vu.

Einstein Sort of Predicted that, But Not Really

Technically, Einstein’s theories do predict that anything that travels faster then the speed of light would travel back in time, and technically, and though the equations are symmetric about the speed of light, various other logical absurdities come up when discussing faster then light travel (losing energy increases velocity– velocity approaches infinity as energy approaches zero).  Also, Einstein also stated that it is impossible for anything with mass to obtain the speed of light, and therefore impossible for any sublight object to obtain superluminal velocity, because it would first have to obtain the speed of light (which is impossible) before transitioning beyond it.

Do Those Come With any Antibiotic Ointment?

Peter Weller’s Character must have a lot of problems with infections with all those implants projecting out of his skin.

Quote of the Day #2

This is where I really missed having a DVR for this episode, having done my Deconstruction from my hotel room in Chicago.  I couldn’t get down the entire quote, so I’ll just put down what I got, and perhaps I will remember to update this post when I get home to my DVR.

EDIT 4-17-10: Thanks to commenter Josh for the full, exact quote.

Alistair Peck to Walter Bishop:

“God is science. God is polio and flu vaccines and MRI machines and artificial hearts. If you’re a man of science, then that’s the only faith we need.”

Laser Sights, Why Did it Have to Be Laser Sights?

I wish Hollywood wasn’t so obsessed with laser sights.  They are specialty use items that aren’t used nearly as much as TV & the movies think they are.  Snipers generally don’t use laser sights at all for numerous reasons.  Laser sights just aren’t as useful as you’d think they would be.  If you have a scope (especially one with an illuminated reticule like a swat sniper would), there’s really no use for the laser sight.  The only thing the laser sight would accomplish to alert the subject that they are being targeted, which serves no purpose unless you want them to duck.   Also, laser sights dim as the distance to the target increases.  In fact, lasers follow the same inverse square law of propagation of radiation that regular light does, such that if the brightness of the laser at, say 10 feet is X, than the brightness of the laser at 100 feet if 1/100 X.  Additionally, laser sights usually don’t have incremented distance adjusters like a scope does (never in my experience).  Once the laser is zeroed in at a certain range, there is no accurate, quick, and easy way of adjusting for a shorter or longer distance to the target as there is with a scope.  Lastly, you’d be surprised how hard it can be to find that laser point at any distance, particularly a long one, especially if the target is in a well lit area.

What’s Your Opinion?

Did Peck plan all along to die with his wife rather than save her, or was that a mistake?  Did he inadvertently cause her death by delaying her departure long enough for her car to get T-Boned by the truck?  My opinion is that he planned to die with her, and since his body was not previously discovered with hers in the wreck, she would have died either way.

Good Ending

I really like Pecks anonymous message to Walter, it was very touching.

A Note About Peter Weller

Not only is Peter Weller a fairly accomplished actor, but he also teaches a literature and fine arts class at Syracuse University.  He can also be seen on the excellent non-Hitler or WW II based show Engineering an Empire on the History Channel.


Posted in Fringe, Quotes, Science, Television | 8 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 16, Season 2, Olivia. In the Lab. With the Revolver

Posted by Karl Withakay on April 8, 2010

As usual, an episode synopsis can be found over at Scott’s Polite Dissent.

I’m Mentioning Cytotoxins Just for the Search Engine Hits

Epidermal blistering and tissue necrosis do indeed match the symptoms from cytotoxins, and so this section is designed solely to increase my search engine hits for this Deconstruction review of Fringe.

While I’m at it, I’ll just mention that  Sarcoma appears to be related to connective tissue cells and not the skin, where a cancer would be more likely to be melanoma.  UPDATE:  see Polite Scott’s comment in the comments section where he corrects me on this point.

Refraction/ Reflection/ Fluorescence/ Whatever

As he shines a black light across the first victim’s body, Walter explains what he’s looking for:

“The cells near the point of origin of the cancer should show more progression and hence refract a different color light.”

Walter appears to be a little confused about what he’s doing with the black light.  Refraction is the phenomenon of light bending (changing direction) as it travels from one medium to another, such as from air to water (rainbow) or from air to a glass or plastic lens (optics).  Reflection is what happens when light (or any wave) bounces back off of the interface between two media (mirror).   However, because Walter is using a black light that does not include all the colors of light in the visible spectrum, and is seeing colors not present in his black light source, what he is observing is actually fluorescence.

I’ll leave it to Polite Scott, MD to determine if he wants to address the idea that the more progressed cancer cells would fluoresce differently under a black light than less progressed ones.

Quote of the Week, Sort Of

By Walter:

“When you open your mind to the impossible, sometimes you find the truth.”

To which I have three replies:

“Or you find yourself knee deep in Woo-Woo.”

One should not open one’s mind so much that it falls out.”


“There’s a difference between being open minded and being credulous.”

Legal Malpractice Suit, Aisle Five!

Olivia to a partner in the Law firm where the first victim worked:

“Can we take her files on the Intrepus case?”

The partner in reply:

“Uh, of course, yeah.”

Um, those files are confidential files and subject to attorney-client privilege.  I’m not sure even a court order could get them in the FBI’s hands without the consent of the client.  By turning the files over to the FBI without either a signed client consent/ release or a court order (if Olivia could get a judge to issue one), that law firm is committing gross legal malpractice and that partner could be disbarred or at least face severe disciplinary action by the state bar association.  Additionally, since the partner mentioned that the case was worth “north of eight figures”, the firm could face a civil liability big enough to financially ruin or severely cripple most law firms in the country.

Isn’t the Fringe Unit Supposed to Be On the Lookout For Things Like This?

Five deaths over twenty months from Chicago to Hartford due to previously unheard of ultra-rapid onset of cancer, specifically sarcoma on the skin, and it never register a single blip on the Fringe unit’s radar until one happened in Providence?  Did they just get lucky to notice that one?

Didn’t We All Know That Already?

It seemed so obvious that the killer was one of the Cortexiphan subjects (once the Cortexiphan link was established) that I assumed that was everyone’s working theory, but apparently it took Olivia until 48 minutes into the episode to come to that brilliant conclusion.  I really think the Fringe unit is where the FBI hides all the Zippo lighters without any flints.

Skills and Decision Making Ability of a Ninja…Not

Confronted in the hallway outside her apartment by a man she believes can kill her with a single touch, an armed and presumably well-trained FBI agent does what?

A.)  Draws her weapon, points it at the suspect and orders him to stay back,  get on his knees, and put his hands on his head, NOW.


B.)  Turns her back on the suspect, attempts to retreat back into her apartment, and looses loses possession of her firearm attempting to close the door against the efforts of the suspect.

Guess which one Olivia did?  The wheel is turning, but there’s just no spark.

Got Cancer, How About Coma Therapy?  Maybe They’ll Find a Cure While you’re Out!

Why would a medically induced coma have any effect on the progression of the guy’s cancer?  Is it a special kind of cancer that can only grow when you’re conscious?  Does it require chemicals or hormones only produced by your body when you’re awake?

Posted in Fringe, Quotes, Science, Television | 7 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 14, Season 2, Jacksonville

Posted by Karl Withakay on February 4, 2010

As usual, an episode synopsis can be found over at Scott’s Polite Dissent.

When You Have All the Time in the World, You Rarely Need It.

It’s a pretty light Deconstruction tonight, which is annoying.  I’m taking tomorrow off from work, and could stay up as late as I want, and this is the earliest I’ve ever finished writing a Fringe Deconstruction.  It’s not even 10PM (Central Time) yet, although the fact that I watched the show in real time also had some influence in my finishing before 10.

There’s No Woo Like Quantum Woo

Describing a “Quantum Tectonic Event”-


“Imagine a sudden momentary disturbance at a subatomic level.  The energy disperses the atoms, literally tearing the very fabric of reality itself.”


“Meaning that all the atoms come apart, but when they reassemble, they come together all wrong.”

It’s got the word quantum in it, so it must be science, right?

It sounds like Walter and Peter are describing a spontaneous transporter incident to and from the same location without the Heisenberg compensators to keep things from going badly awry.

Riding In Style

Does the FBI really use Lincoln Navigators?  I guess the Fringe division is not getting its budget trimmed or frozen.  A few Lincoln Navigators here and there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

Mass-Energy Deferred?

So the sum total of mass-energy in each of the two universes must be conserved, but just like momentum, that conservation can be deferred.

I Wonder What the Significance of Those Numbers Could Be?

5-20-10 (5,20,10 or 5 20 10 to help the search engine searches)


“Five, Twenty, Ten.  I always use the same combination, but I can’t remember the significance.”

Perhaps Walter should check Fox’s schedule for Fringe.  This was the winter finale for Fringe.  The final eight episodes of this season will begin airing on April 1, which puts the season finale on May 20th, 2010.  Coincidence?  I think not.  I smell something big coming for the season finale in May.  (That reminds me: I need to find something else to regularly blog about for a few months)

Building Without People?

That building didn’t look like it had been abandoned for more than one year, let alone 25 years.  I watch Life Without People, and they regularly feature actual buildings that have been abandoned for that long, and they look far worse than the rooms in that building did.  The rooms in the show had a relatively light layer of dust and some cobwebs, and looked no worse than the workroom in my dad’s basement.  Buildings featured in Life Without People that have been abandoned for 20 years have much thicker dust, leaking roofs, faded and pealing paint and wallpaper, broken windows, mold, etc.  You can’t hardly believe how badly a building can decay in only 10, let alone 25 years.

Is That Regular or Diet?

That IV of cortexiphan looked a lot like a bag of Cherry Coke.

Quote Of the Show


“There are times where the only choices you have left are bad ones.”

I Must be Psychic, and So Can You!

Hands up anyone who didn’t predict Olivia would see Peter shimmer as soon as that plot point was mentioned.  No hands?  I didn’t think so.

Posted in Fringe, Quotes, Science, Television | 1 Comment »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 12, Season 2, What Lies Below

Posted by Karl Withakay on January 21, 2010

As usual, an episode synopsis can be found over at Scott’s Polite Dissent.

It’s Late, So Forgive Me If This isn’t Well Proof Read

I was out late seeing my friend’s band perform at a local bar/club.

Scott Will Have A Lot Of Material to Blog About

Two nose bleeds, some CPR, and mention of vasculitis & arterial fistula in the first seven minutes.  I’m sure he will mention the current thoughts on compression only resuscitation.

When in Doubt, Quarantine

Considering the air gaps I saw around the door, Walter and Astrid should have been isolated as a precaution.

Proper Safety Protocol Part I

There is no way that Walter would have been allowed to take samples back to his lab to work on.  This was an unknown, fast acting, highly deadly pathogen of unknown transmission method for which no vaccine or other treatment existed.  Bio Safety Level 4 biocontainment procedures would be required and no work would be performed outside a BSL-4 lab.

From Wikipedia:

“This level is required for work with dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high individual risk of aerosol-transmitted laboratory infections, agents which cause severe to fatal disease in humans for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other various hemorrhagic diseases. When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a Hazmat suit and a self-contained oxygen supply is mandatory. The entrance and exit of a Level Four biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors opening at the same time.”

Proper Safety Protocol Part II

It probably wasn’t such a good idea for Peter to wash the blood off his hands in the sink either.

Also from Wikipedia:

“All air and water service going to and coming from a biosafety level 4 lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate the possibility of an accidental release.”

Not So Far Fetched

Walter describes a virus that behaves with intelligence to alter the behavior of its victims in order to facilitate its transmission to new hosts.  While intelligent viruses are the stuff of comic books, the concept of a pathogen or parasite modifying host behavior to facilitate transmission is not pure fiction.  In nature there are numerous examples of this type of phenomenon:  Hairworms and grasshoppers,  Toxoplsam gondii and mice, Cordyceps fungus and ants are all examples of parasites altering host behaviors to perpetuate their life cycles.

Level Six Eradication?

I couldn’t find anything on a level 6 eradication using google.  The closest I got was a reference to level 6 pandemics in a Wikipedia article on pandemics.

Pandemic Infection Simulator

The computer simulation of the virus outbreak reminded me of the uber-cool Zombie Infection Simulator.  On a side note, can the deepest depths of Africa and Greenland really be overrun by infection in two weeks as was shown in the simulation?

Has Walter Ever Heard of Aerosol Transmission of Fluids?

Walter takes off his helmet, remarking that it doesn’t matter because the virus isn’t airborne and is transmitted by bodily fluid such as blood and saliva.  OK, but early in the episode, he witnessed a victim die and expel a spray of blood colored droplets form their mouth in an aerosol like mist, so maybe short range airborne transmission is a transmission vector.  He and Astrid weren’t very careful handling the body either, there was a lot of potential for splash/splatter of fluids.

Quote of the Show

From Walter:  “I can’t let Peter die again.”  Not that there was any doubt left, but this confirms that this is not the real Harry Kim, I mean Peter Bishop.


Not all glycosides contain sulfur.  Ones that do are called thioglycosidesHorseradish contains singirin, which is a sulfur containing glycoside.  None of the neuraminidase inhibitors listed on the Wikipedia page contain sulfur, but I suppose their could be a “sulfur based” one.

Fentanyl, Is that Such a Good Idea?

Fentanyl may have been the agent used by Russian authorities to subdue Chechen separatists that took over a crowded theater in 2002.  It didn’t work out too well in 2002, and many people were probably killed by the gas.  (Similar to tranq darts, which I’ve covered before, anything delivered in such an uncontrolled manner that is capable of acting that fast is going to have a big chance of being lethal)  Still, it’s better than just killing everyone in a “level 6 eradication”, I guess.

Posted in Fringe, Quotes, Science, Television | 3 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 11, Season 2, Johari Window

Posted by Karl Withakay on January 14, 2010

1-15-10 Note:  Scott’s synopsis & review over at Polite Dissent will be delayed for at least one day.

1-18-10 Note:  Scott’s review with synopsis is finally up.

Why Was This Referred to the Fringe Division?

So some state troopers are killed, and there was a disfigured child involved that the officers reported as being initially not appearing disfigured, and we scramble the FBI Fringe division?  Was it a slow day?  On the surface, that wouldn’t seem like a Fringe case to me.

FBI Fringe Division, Offering Discount, Express Autopsies Since 2008

When they arrive on scene, Broyles informed the team that they haven’t found a single print or shell casing.  Later Broyles reports back to Olivia on the autopsy results:

“We didn’t get anything from the autopsies.  Looks like the troopers were killed with 12 gauge shotgun blasts.”

I’m sure an autopsy report would contain more information than that:

-Were they shot with shot or slugs?

-If slugs, rifled or sabot?

-If not slugs and there were no shells left behind, how do you know they were 12 gauge and not 10 or 16; did they find 12 gauge wads at the scene?

-If shot, bird or buck, and what size of either?

-Was the shot plated?

-If plated, copper, nickel, or something else?

-Did they find any traces of buffer in the shot?

-Was there any powder residue on the bodies indicating if they were shot at point blank range?

I Am Not an Animal, I Am a Human Being!

Why does the Fringe team think it is OK to refer to these unfortunate people as creatures and beasts just because they are disfigured?

Expect the Unexpected

Poor Astrid hasn’t learned to brace herself before looking inside a body bag in Walter’s lab yet.  She’ll catch on sooner or later.

How do YOU Define “Abruptly”?

Quote from Walter:

“Butterfly has two stages of life.  It’s one of the few creatures with a demonstrated ability to abruptly change its body structure.”

Metamorphosis times vary by species and other factors, but my internet research shows it takes about 1-2 weeks for most species of caterpillars to emerge from their cocoons as butterflies like the Monarch.  I would hardly call that abrupt; it’s not like they’re werewolves or anything.

Oh My God, It’s Full of Stars

Quote from Walter:

“A friend of mine once wrote that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”

That was written by science fiction author and originator of the communications satellite Arthur Clarke.

Nice Red Herring, By the Way

I kind of liked the red herring with the butterfly, with the writers trying to make us think the people were actually changing form; it’s boring when the protagonists figure the answer out on the first try.

Quote of the Show

After Peter tells Walter that he’s proud of him, Walter replies with a sad, remorseful expression on his face:

“I’m glad you see me the way you do, very glad indeed.”

It was a touching moment that showed Walter isn’t proud of many of the things he’s done in his life.

Finally Some Text to Generate Search Engine Hits for People Who Think this Was Fringe, Episode 12, Season 2 or Fringe Season 2, Episode 12

Since Monday’s episode was an episode left over from season 1, Johari Window was actually episode 11, and not episode 12 of season 2 of Fringe.

Posted in Fringe, Quotes, Science, Television | 1 Comment »

Minor comments on Fringe, “Night of Desirable Objects”

Posted by Karl Withakay on September 25, 2009

OK, for a synopsis of this episode, head over to Scott’s review at Polite Dissent.

It was a better episode than the previous one, but again there was nothing major to Deconstruct like an electron microscope record player that reads embedded sound waves off of a glass pane, so it’s another post of minor comments.


Sheriff Golytely, are you serious with that name?  How did Scott miss that one?

I miss the “Fringe will return in xx seconds” messages, it took all the guesswork out of skipping commercials.

The giant periodic table on the wall tells us that room was a lab, because most labs have giant periodic tables on the wall, right?

It is nice to see a TV show or movie where scars and bruises actually persist from one episode to another.

Where did all the dirt go?  If you did a hole/tunnel as big as the ones the creature dug in this episode, you have to do something with all the dirt.  For example: there was a large hold dug through the bottom of the coffin through which the creature escaped, but there was no dirt in the coffin.  Dig a tunnel much bigger than a mole hole, and you won’t be able to just compress the dirt around the hole; you’ve got to excavate it and dispose of the dirt somewhere.

Watch the following films for examples of dirt disposal from tunneling:

The Great Escape

The McKenzie Break

Best line,  “We’re all victims of our own gene pool, someone must have peed in yours.”  -Walter Bishop to Sherriff Golytely

Which universe is the show set in where an FBI agent can negligently discharge her firearm in a civilian’s house and not at least face an automatic review process?

I need to write a post on my thoughts on parallel universes and how similar or different I think they could be to our own.  (Put simply, I think they’d either be identical or completely dissimilar, bearing no resemblance to ours to the level of different starts and galaxies forming or even totally different sets of physical laws and universal constants.

Momentum does not appear to be conserved between the universes.  That is to say, if Olivia’s body is imparted with momentum from a car crashing in to her vehicle in this universe,that momentum does not carry over when she is transported to the parallel universe (she didn’t fly into the parallel universe), but is contained in this universe, waiting for her return.  This creates some very interesting implications and conundrums for conservation of mass-energy between universes:  Momentum can not be exchanged between the universes, but mass-energy can…There’s an entire post there as well.

Posted in Fringe, Quotes, Science, Television | Leave a Comment »

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