Cordial Deconstruction

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

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Posts Tagged ‘hacking’

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 5 Season 4, Novation

Posted by Karl Withakay on November 4, 2011

A Gold/Yellow Episode

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

NüFringe Retrocontinuity Clarifications

-Olivia’s mother died when she was young, and she and her sister were raised by Nina Sharp.

-William Bell is still dead.

Cancer 101

I don’t think the writers understand what cancer is.  Cancer is basically a condition of uncontrolled cellular replication.  Malcolm’s research into encouraging cellular replication would be unlikely to have any direct application to cancer treatment except possibly to replace tissue or organs removed by surgery to remove the cancer, but it would not be able to cure malignancies or metastases (kill or eliminate cancer cells).   The problem in cancer is not primarily with replacing tissue; it is with removing the cancerous cells.  The research would be useless in curing cancer.

Mad Scientists Have Ethics?

William Bell, the man who collaborated with Walter in experimenting on children with an experimental, mind altering drug  (Cortexiphan), shut down a project into cellular replication for the purpose of tissue replacement due to ethical concerns?  WTF?

I’m Gonna Need Some Pliers and, uh, a Set of 30-Weight Ball Bearings

That sure was a neat trick where Peter hacked into a Cisco digital phone system just by crossing a few wires.  You can’t hot wire VOIP.

Did Gas Pumps Get Faster and Gas Get Cheaper?

Malcolm spent about 10 seconds pumping gas and the final reading on the pump was $11.16 and 14 gallons (though he paid $20), which puts gas at 79 cents a gallon and the flow rate at 1.4 gallons/ second.  If I’m ever driving in Rutland Vermont, I’ll make sure to fill up at Newhart Gas, where the fuel flows fast and cheap!

Genetics 101

It would take more than a complete copy of a persons’ genome to create an identical copy of that person.  It is often said the genes are the blueprints of an organism, but that’s not quite accurate.  Genes are more like a cross between a blueprint and a building code.  Many factors affect the final product.  In the analogy, available materials, contractors, worker skill & motivation, weather, etc all affect the form of the final product.  For a human being there are likewise numerous environmental factors and inputs that all affect the final product.  Even identical twins do not have identical fingerprints.

When Is a Copy Not a Copy?

Let’s say that the shape shifters used more than just DNA to copy their victims.  Peter stated that they replicate their victims down to the molecular level.  If that were the case, then they would have brains identical to their victims and think, feel, and act just like their victims, unless the data drive over rode the brain to some extent.  Of course, if they were identical down to the molecular level, they would have no interface to the tech.

Cylon Problem

Peter in regards to the enhanced shape shifters assuming the form of anyone they wanted to:

“Short of performing surgery to find those memory disks, you would have no way of knowing”

Really, there are partially metallic, electronic objects located inside these bodies and they can’t be detected by:



-Metal Detector

-EMF Meter?

Further more, they should be able to confirm identity by EEG.  (Fringe has established the ability to identify a persons’ unique brainwave signature)

Think Fast

Seeing as how at the end, Malcolm seemed convinced that Bell was right about his work, why didn’t Malcolm just throw the vial to the ground instead of trying to run away with it?

Shape Shifter 101/ Fool Me Once, Shame on You…

How stupid is Olivia?  I mean, she’s encountered shape shifters before, and she fell for the same trick again!  Did anyone watching not know the wounded agent was likely the shifter right away?  Anytime a hostile shape shifter leaves your sight, assume the next person you encounter is that same shape shifter!  I weep for the safety of our universe.

Posted in Fringe, Gold/Yellow Episode, Science, Television | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

Deconstruction of an Article on Automobile Hacking

Posted by Karl Withakay on September 1, 2010

I’d like to Cordially Deconstruct just a couple of items from and article I read today titled, “Cars: The next hacking frontier” by Elinor Mills.  The article is about the potential of hacking in today’s increasingly computerized and networked automobiles.  It’s generally a decently written article, but there’s a couple points I want to address.  The first is statement from a report by a team that managed to hack a wireless tire pressure monitoring system of a vehicle.  The article author included the following quote from the report:

“While spoofing low-tire-pressure readings does not appear to be critical at first, it will lead to a dashboard warning and will likely cause the driver to pull over and inspect the tire,” said the report. “This presents ample opportunities for mischief and criminal activities, if past experience is any indication.”

Listen, I don’t dispute that the lack of security in the TPMS displays a seriously concerning lack of attention to the concept of wireless communication security by automotive system designers, but I think the study is over blowing the seriousness of this particular vulnerability to make their point.  I seriously doubt that many drivers would pull over if this light displays on their dashboard.  Most drivers don’t even know what the light means.  I certainly dispute the notion that it “will likely cause the driver to pull over and inspect the tire”.  46% of people surveyed didn’t even know the icon was supposed to be  tire treads, and anyone who knows what the indicator is will likely know they don’t need to worry about it until they get to a service station.  Every time it gets cold, the pressure in my tires decreases in accordance with the ideal gas law, and the indicator lights up on my dashboard.  If my experience is remotely typical, many drivers with cars new enough to have the indicator are already accustomed to ignoring it until they have a convenient moment to deal with it, and certainly wouldn’t pull over right away to inspect their tires.

The article then goes on to mention another report where researchers

“tested how easy it would be to compromise a system by connecting a laptop to the onboard diagnostics port that they then wirelessly controlled via a second laptop in another car.”

Surprise, they were able to control all sorts of computer controlled functions like the anti-lock brakes, engine computer, speedometer display, etc.  The article author concedes,

“Granted, the researchers needed to have physical access to the inside of the car to accomplish the attack. Although that minimizes the likelihood of an attack, it’s not unthinkable to imagine someone getting access to a car dropped off at the mechanic or parking valet.”

OK, and it’s also possible they could plant a GPS tracker, wireless microphone, or bomb in your car, or cut the brake lines and cut a notch in your fan belt as well if they have physical access to the vehicle, all without touching the car’s computer or network system, what’s the point?  The real security concern is the wireless (hands off) vulnerability; just stick with that topic, please.

One area where I think the article author actually underplays a concern is when she writes,

“The threat is primarily theoretical at this point for a number of reasons. First, there isn’t the same financial incentive to hacking cars as there is to hacking online bank accounts.”

Actually, there is a financial incentive in hacking cars; if you could successfully hack a GM car’s On Star system, you could potentially not only disable the alarm, but also unlock and start the vehicle and disable the ability of GM to track and disable the vehicle via On Star, so there’s a minor fail in the other direction for the article.

It was a generally well written article, but a few points were a little sub par.  It may seem like nitpicking, but I usually feel that stretching points and using unnecessary hyperbole to enhance an  article degrades the overall quality of an article, and I needed something to blog about today.

Posted in Criticism, hacking, Media, Science | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

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