Popular Mechanics debunks the science on “Fringe.”

The folks at Popular Mechanics have started a web-only series devoted to fact checking the fringe science that shows up on Fringe. They’ve done the first three episodes so far and I look forward to reading about the rest. The first installment looks at 6 events from the pilot episode and knocks each one of them down. One of them I hadn’t noticed when I watched was the fact that the CDC was the first on the scene checking out the plane where all the people melted and they end up torching the plane on the runway:

Would the CDC really burn a plane?
In Fringe’s premiere episode, the CDC was the first in the plane, and after taking some air samples, the government agency set it ablaze on the runway—but even this is fabricated. In reality, state and local health departments are the first on the scene, and the CDC has to be invited in. Even then, they wouldn’t actually be the ones with the torches.

“When appropriate, we make recommendations for ways to decontaminate things,” says the CDC’s Rotz. This would most likely involve quarantining the plane in a separate hanger or, at most, applying heat using autoclave-like equipment to burn off any hazardous contaminants before disposing of the plane. “It wouldn’t be lighting a match.”

It says something about how accustomed to standard TV tropes I’ve become that I didn’t even think about that one. At least one or two of the comments left on the article show why this debunking is a good public service:

Does no one else remember when the “experts” declared that flying by humans was impossible? They are hammers, and all they can see are nails.

Nope, don’t remember that myself, but then I wasn’t around back before 1903 when the Wright Brothers managed to get their asses up in the air for at least a short while, but for the record not all “experts” claimed human flight was impossible. Some did, but not all of them.

Thanks for the review—sounds like pure scifi, which is fine as long as people don’t take it seriously. However, on the last point: there is no way to get information out of a dead person’s brain now—but if they were to be cryonically preserved, they could probably be uploaded and then questioned in a few decades. Click my website link above for more info.

Look for cryogenics to show up in an upcoming episode of Fringe. It fits in with all the other nonsense pretty well.

2 thoughts on “Popular Mechanics debunks the science on “Fringe.”

  1. Is cryogenics any more nonsense than than warp drives or transporters? It is, at the end of the day, a science fiction show, and honestly I didn’t find it actually saying any of the fringe science in it was real.

    But that’s just me. wink

  2. Warp drives and transporters don’t exist either. And it’s not that the show is saying the fringe science is real, it’s the idiot I was quoting that was. Which was my point. grin

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