Cordial Deconstruction

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

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Posts Tagged ‘Medicine’

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 10 Season 4, Forced Perspective

Posted by Karl Withakay on January 28, 2012

A Gold/Yellow Episode

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

Occam’s Razor


“The Spanish Flu, isn’t that extinct?”


“Well, the last reported epidemic was in 1919, which makes him a minimum of 91 years old.”

Setting aside Olivia’s deficiency in basic math skills (it is 2012, not 2010 right?), and the fact that the last reported epidemic doesn’t matter as much as the last reported case, what’s more likely, that there’s a man over 93 years old that appears to be about half that age, or that a man managed to expose himself to a virus that wasn’t been circulating in 93 years, but is not truly extinct.  Samples of the Spanish Flu have been recovered from the bodies of its victims and used in research in laboratories fairly recently.   It’s at least as likely, if not more so (to anyone unfamiliar with the nature of the observers, at least) that the man in question had been exposed to the Spanish Flu in one of these laboratories.

HIPPA HIPAA Violation?

So health services informs Broyles of Olivia’s visits without any concern for confidentiality or HIPAA violations?  Do Fringe agents have to sign a waiver/release to allow their supervisors to have access to confidential, personal medical information?

Observer Bias?

Do the Observers’ ability to see/experience all possible futures include those that may result from Peter’s tinkering with The Machine, or is The Machine a confounding variable even they have trouble accounting for?  They didn’t anticipate Peter continuing to exist/ returning after the last use of the machine.  Maybe Olivia doesn’t have to die, after all.

I Be Jammin, Man

It’s a good thing the Fringe team somehow knew that the bomb was triggered by a coded signal rather than just any signal on the frequency.  If the detonator was more primitive, like my old radio controlled car I had as a child, their attempt at jamming could have easily triggered the bomb.

Major Plot Problem

It seems the whole point of the bomb in the truck in the garage beneath the building was that it wouldn’t be possible to get a bomb past the building security check point.  How then did Albert get his vest bomb and detonator through the check point, and why did he bother with the truck bomb at all, since the vest bomb rendered it redundant, and it was less precise than the vest bomb?

By Definition, His Actions Demonstrate He is Ready to Die

Given Albert’s deliberate, premeditated, and well planned actions, and the fact that he had been foreseen to have actually carried out his plan, Olivia’s statement, “I’m not ready to die, and I don’t think that you are ready to die either.” don’t seem too well thought out, but given the situation and the need to think fast, I’ll give her a bit of a pass on not making too much sense there.

I Never Really Loved Mom or Danny


“Why didn’t you tell me?”


“I knew you’d be here.”

She supposedly also knew her mom and brother wouldn’t be there.  I guess she didn’t care about saying goodbye to them.

Stroke Me, Stroke Me…


“They said it was some kind of stroke.”


“Yeah, the overload of electrical activity in her brain was just too much.”

Excessive electrical activity in the brain is called a seizure.  A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to the brain.  Somewhere terminology is getting messed up by someone.  I suppose that the earlier mention of her brain “drawing” elevated levels of oxygen and blood could be interpreted to imply elevated blood pressure, which could lead to an aneurism, which could result in a hemorrhagic stoke if it ruptured, but it wouldn’t be due to any overload of electrical activity in the brain.

Plot Conveniently Unpreventable

How can Walter be so sure that Emily’s death was unpreventable?  Nobody ever mentioned any previous attempts to use drugs to suppress Emily’s ability.  It seems at least plausible that either drugs or surgery could be used in an attempt to suppress her precognition.  Both drugs and various forms of surgery have been used to treat epilepsy (which is what you call it when someone has a neurological condition that causes chronic seizures) with varying degrees of success.

Thick as a Plank, or Just Not Pushing It?

Is Peter really that dense that he accepts Olivia’s protestation that she hasn’t been contacted by an Observer, or is he just letting it slide?

Posted in Fringe, Gold/Yellow Episode, Medicine / Health, Science, Television | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 18 Season 3, Bloodline

Posted by Karl Withakay on March 25, 2011

A Red Episode

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

Mostly For the Search Engines

I believe Viral Propagated Eclampsia (VPE) is a form of elampsia that exists only in the alterverse.  It is apparently not usually associated with women who have experienced preelampsia, like eclampsia is in our universe.  The virus that causes VPE is dormant until pregnancy and undetectable until the 10th to 11th week.  VPE is apparently nearly 100% fatal for both mother and child if the mother tries to carry the child to term and deliver.

What Are The Odds? Part I

No mention is made as to how the virus is contracted, nor of why having a sister that was a carrier of VPE would put you in the highest risk group of possible carriers of the VPE virus with an 80% chance of having the virus.  The virus can’t be contracted from the mother during pregnancy, as mothers with VPE can’t successfully deliver children, and no mention is made of Fauxlivia’s mother (or father) having it anyway.  So why would a having a sister being a carrier of the virus put you at an 80% risk of carrying the virus?  Is there a genetic component that makes you vulnerable to contracting the virus?  It would have to be carried on the X chromosome.  If it was a dominant gene that caused the vulnerability, and it came only from her father, her odds of being vulnerable would be 50-50.  If it was recessive and came both from her father and her mother (who did not have the problem because she carried only one copy of the recessive gene) the odds of her having the gene would be only 25%.  I don’t see how it could be genetically related and Fauxlivia’s odds of being a carrier be 80%.  Maybe if I thought about it for a while, I could come up with some complex combination of multiple genetic factors that could come out to an 80% risk for Fauxlivia when her mother did not have the problem, but nothing comes to mind off the top of my head.  I suppose it could be some environmental exposure that has to occur during childhood or puberty, such that if Rachel was exposed, the odds are 80% that Fauxlivia was exposed.

Menacing Liquids for Injection

They always seems to be strongly colored in colors other than red don’t they?  Blue, green, orange, they never seem to be red or clear or light yellow, like most of the liquids I see injected or fed into people by medical professionals in the real universe.

Take a Pill, Pretty Please With Sugar On Top

So, the abductors have state of the art medical equipment and supplies, and they expect the patient they are restraining against her will to take a pill to render her unconscious?  Is their some reason they couldn’t just inject her or use an IV to deliver the sedative?

White Rabbit/ What Kind of Pill is That Anyway?

The Nurse told Fauxlivia that she should start feeling the effects of the pill right away, but pills don’t work in a matter of seconds, and an instantly dissolving medication would make spitting the out the pill that was placed in her mouth very difficult.

Do Mentats have an Autism Spectrum Disorder?

I think it’s a really interesting attention to detail that Mentat Astrid tends to avoid eye contact with whomever she is talking to, similar to what is typical of someone with Autism or Asperger’s syndrome.

What Are The Odds? Part II

Mentat Astrid:

“I’ve reviewed the traffic for a three block radius around Agent Dunham’s residence.  There’s an anomaly.  The same commercial vehicle has cruised past her building six times in the past week.  The chances of that are 1 in 760,000.  It is a clear statistical outlier.”

Boy the Alterverse sure is a strange place, because in our universe, it’s very common for commercial vehicles to take the same route on a daily basis.  Maybe the cabbie had a regular fare that always took the same route past Fauxlivia’s building every day.  This just strikes me as a forced way to conveniently work the cabbie into the episode.

Mr. Cobblepot’s Opus

In the Alterverse, Opus is a peahen and not a penguin.

No HIPPA in the Alterverse?

I suppose it’s possible that Fauxlivia signed a release to allow the doctors to disclose her private medical information, sucha s the fact that Fauxlivia was positive for VPE to her mother.  I’ll have to ask Polite Scott if it would be OK to disclose that kind of information without a release form in that situation, if the mother had been present during the examination.

Well Secured

Fauxlia wasn’t secured to the gurney very well.  There was a lot of play in those wrist straps.  Considering that her upper body wasn’t strapped down or restrained, it looks like she should have been able to reach the wrist restraints with her teeth.  Of course, if she was properly restrained, the stage would wouldn’t be with the scalpel on the floor for her later escape.

It’s All Part of the Plan

I think it’s clear the Walternate was lying when he said the pregnancy wasn’t part of the plan for Fauxlivia’s mission.  It seems likely that the child may be a substitute for Peter in the universe destroying doomsday machine.

Someday a Real Rain Will Come and Wash all this Scum Off the Streets

Travis Bickle was the main character in the movie Taxi Driver, which in this universe, was a Martin Scorsese pictue, but in the Alterverse, it was a Francis Ford Coppola picture.  Either that or O’Charlie is worse than Lincoln at movie trivia.

More Forced Cabbie

Again the show finds a way to force the cabbie into the episode.  Of course he can get there faster, cabbies know all the shortcuts.  I really liked the cabbie character in previous episodes, but his his presence in this episode is really forced.  It seems unnatural and unnecessary.  I assume they are laying the groundwork for a later and more relevant appearance of the cabbie character.

What Are the Odds? Part III

“Accelerated pregnancy” must be not especially uncommon in the Alterverse, since everybody seems familiar with the concept, and nobody is surprised when it is mentioned.  However, how come nobody has ever stumbled across accelerated pregnancy as a solution for a pregnant woman with VPE?  Apparently something lead Walternate to think it might work.

Should I Just Leave this Comment Out?

Hey, I’m a heterosexual guy that finds Fauxlivia to be pretty hot.  I can’t help wondering if hoping that the show runners will go for realism here by making Fauxlivia’s boobs bigger due to the pregnancy.

I Don’t usually Comment On the Previews for the Next Episode, but…

I know I’m not the only one who thinks next week’s episode looks a little like a rip-off of the movie inception.

Posted in Fringe, Red Episode, Science, Television | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 1, Season 3, Olivia

Posted by Karl Withakay on September 23, 2010

(A Red Episode)

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

It seemed to me there was less to Deconstruct in this episode as it didn’t involve a Fringe incident and dealt mostly with the drama of Olivia in the alternate universe, but after finishing this post, maybe I was mistaken.

Ultra Low Security Establishment

OK, first they escort a potentially dangerous, combat trained prisoner using only one guard and no restraints.  Then they have no guard(s) posted outside the room during the treatment, and the guards on patrol in the hallways are best suited to be a mall cops rather than guards at a secure government installation.  (No offense intended to mall cops.)  Next they release her from her restraints when she starts having breathing problems so they can sit her up rather than say, bag her while she is still restrained.  (They’re conducting medical experiments on her, they have to have the  equipment and trained personnel to deal with medical emergencies, right?)  Finally the doors are locked only with a key code and no swipe card, they allow the prisoner to observe the code being entered, and all the doors internal and external have the same code.  If I ever get locked up in a super secret, government facility, this is the one I want to be locked up in.

Magic “Memory” White Blood Cells

I think the writers are confused about what is meant by the term “memory B Cells” and “memory T cells” in regards to B cell lymphocytes and T Cell lymphocytes (types of white blood cells) in the immune system.  The term does not refer to memory in regards to the ability to consciously recollect things; it is an anthropomorphic characterization of the T & B Cell’s ability to chemically “recognize” antigens from pathogens the immune system has “seen” before.  In no way do these cells have anything to do with memories stored in the brain.

Alternate Universe Presidential Trivia

In case you couldn’t make out what was being said on the radio:

In the alternate universe, not only is former president Kennedy still alive, but he is still actively involved in government service.  He is currently stepping down from his role as UN ambassador to head the agency in charge of slowing down ecological breakdown.

Cab Driver AND Women’s Clothes Buyer

How did the cab driver know what size clothes to buy Olivia?  She didn’t tell him her size.  Was she about the same size as his wife, or does he have a lot of experience in buying clothes for women of different sizes?

Alternate Universe Advertising Trivia

GlatterFlug (German for “smooth flight”) offers daily flights to the moon. “Don’t give her diamonds, give her the moon.”

Magic High Explosive Incendiary 5.7X28mm Ammo, Standard Issue

One shot from Olivia’s gun and the propane tanks explodes in a massive fireball.  It looks good on TV, but the Mythbusters can tell you it doesn’t happen like that.

Olivia was using a FN Five Seven pistol that could have been using SS190 copper jacketed rounds that do contain a steel penetrator, so a spark is not completely out of the question, but I’m still comfortable saying the explosion wouldn’t happen.

Adrenaline Carries Blood Cells Across the Blood Brain Barrier?

Scott will probably have more to say on this, but that’s the kind of thing the blood brain barrier prevents.  It’s generally not a good thing when things that normally don’t cross the BBB manage to do so.

Question To Be Answered:

Will we see the cabbie again?

Is Olivia truly converted into Bolivia II, or is she faking?

Identity Assumption Plausibility Problem

How can Bolivia I effectively pass herself off as Olivia in our universe without any of Olivia’s memories?  I would think her complete lack of knowledge of Olivia’s past has to catch up with her pretty soon.  “Geez Olivia, don’t you remember anything from before you returned from the alternate universe?  Wait a minute…travel between universes must give long haired, female FIB agents amnesia.  Yeah, that’s the ticket!”

UPDATE:  From My Notes

I had a couple of things in my notes, but forgot to mention them in my post.

Apparently in the alternate universe Manhattan is spelled with one t, and there is a vaccination for typhus, neither of which is true in this universe.  🙂

Posted in Fringe, Medicine / Health, Red Episode, Science, Television | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

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