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Posts Tagged ‘number stations’

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 6, Season 3, 6955 kHz

Posted by Karl Withakay on November 11, 2010

A Blue Episode

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

Science Fiction is Often Cooler When Derived From Reality

Number stations are a real phenomenon that I’d heard of before this episode, but I don’t remember where from; maybe I don’t remember because I listened to one.  The stations are pretty much exactly as portrayed in the episode, minus the multiplexed memory wiping signal, and they are reported to have been around since WWI.  They broadcast a series of numbers, words, or letters in a artificially generated voice, tunes or Morse code.  It is generally believed that the transmissions are used to send messages to spies.  It’s a fascinating subject, and is also an excellent basis for a Fringe episode.

Magic Maglev

Broyles describing the floating mystery box:

“It’s not floating, exactly.  Apparently it’s got some sort of magnetics inside.”

OK, but unless the rack also had “magnetics inside”, that doesn’t explain how the box was able to float

Maybe He’s Thinking of Using an iPad?

I don’t know where Peter gets “It’s impossible to do microelectronics with gloves on.” from.  I found links for selling gloves “ideal for use in microelectronics”, links about latex glove allergies in microelectronics applications,  links selling gloveboxes for microelectronics, and a nifty picture of someone wearing gloves while handling a silicon wafer of integrated circuits, and that only took me a few seconds to find.

Analog Demodulation

Considering that Walter didn’t know what about the signal was responsible for the amnesia, he shouldn’t have been so sure that his wa-wa peddle would alter the signal enough to make it safe to listen to.  I would have patched it directly into a computer (without any speaker output), run the audio through a speech to text application to get the numbers, and used an audio program to analyze the waveform to see if there was a multiplexed signal.

Physical Abnormality Almost Always = Evil (In Pop Entertainment)

As soon as I saw the different color eyes, I thought, “There’s no way this guy isn’t evil.”  At Least he didn’t have a humpback.  The real question is, since he turned out to be a shape shifter, did the original person he copied have different colored eyes, and was he therefore also evil?

Bad Planning or Bad Transistor?

So did he not check the device until he got on site, or did the transistor go bad while he was setting the device up?  Rather than having a spare of every individual transistor and integrated circuit that might go bad to do a field repair with, wouldn’t it have made more sense to carry a spare finished, complete board or better yet, a spare device?  By the way, why didn’t he get the spare transistor from the same place he got all the other apparently untraceable parts?  He didn’t buy the transistor after he discovered the bad one; he already had it with him.  Are the writers trying to get me to believe that the only traceable part in either of the two devices was the one replacement transistor?

Wait A Minute…

Uh, how did the bad guy know what frequency the pilot would tune to when trying to re-establish contact with the tower?  (Why was the pilot communicating with the tower over the amateur frequency of 4029kHz before switching to 6880kHz, which is just past the amateur, aeronautical mobile range when neither frequency is used for air traffic control?)

Quotes of the Show: Amusing Dialog

Walter while unpacking another of the devices he can’t figure out:

“Fantastic, now I have bookends.”

Walter to Nina:

“Nina, if I’d have known you were coming, I’d have baked a cake.”

Astrid to Nina:

“He means that…literally.”

For the search Engines

The complete number sequence from the 3rd ring of the calendar was as follows:

8, 21, 16, 7, 11, 8, 10, 13, 12, 34, 17, 9, 15, 8, 42, 40, 27, 11, 9, 21, 18, 12

The 2nd ring had the following text:

Light Meets Dark, Period of Darkness, Dark Meets Light, Period of Light

The Inner ring was numbered 1 through 6, and the outer ring was marked 10- 360 degrees by 10’s.

Walter Is Not an Evolutionary Biologist, and it Shows.

Walter in response to Astrid considering the concept of ancient people who evolved before the dinosaurs absurd:

“Why should we be so arrogant as to assume we’re the first Homo Sapiens who walked the Earth?

Hey, if Walter wants to postulate that we are not the first intelligent species to walk the Earth, fine.  If he wants to postulate that we may not be the first bipedal intelligent species to evolve, fine.  But for Walter to suggest that the species Home Sapiens could have evolved before the first true mammals existed and then later evolved again into the same species displays a total lack of understanding of evolution, common descent, genetics, and the concept of a species.

Neither Verified Nor a Theory

Walter really shouldn’t think that a random work of fiction “verfiies” any of the speculations or conjectures that he liberally calls “theories”.  It correlates with his ideas, and may even support them, but it certainly doesn’t verify anything.

Walter Is Also Not An Astrophysicist or Cosmologist

“The Big Bang and its counterpart, the Big Crunch.  The universe expanding and contracting and expanding.  And endless cycle of creation and destruction.”

This one’s a little more of a nit pick, but Walter’s a little out of date on the Big Crunch.  The expansion of the universe is in fact accelerating and not slowing down, and therefore unlikely to end in a big crunch.

Is Peter an Expert on Eastern European Military Grade Electronics?

What makes a transistor military grade, anyway?  Why would they need to be licensed?  We’re not talking about integrated circuits here.  It’s a simple transistor.  Maybe it’s manufactured to very precise standards, and is very reliable (but not so reliable one didn’t go bad), but what could require it to be licensed?  I suppose it might have been radiation hardened, and maybe the government wants to know who’s using hardened components.  That might make sense since such components might be used in a nuclear weapon.  I still want to know how Peter is such an expert on military grade Polish components.

Tom Cruise’s War of The Worlds Plausibility Problem Resurfaces

How deep are these weapon components buried (seemingly buried for many years) such that nobody has ever accidentally dug one up before, and yet they can be unearthed with conventional construction equipment in an evening?

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Posted in Blue Episode, Fringe, Science, Space, Television | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

 
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