The non-science of Fringe: The Dreamscape

Fringe: Season 1: Episode 9: “The Dreamscape”

Nina in her role as puppeteer.

Nina in her role as puppeteer.

Not satisfied with the usual kidnapping and shootings, Shadowy OrganisationTM has developed a way to simply scare people to death – with toads! This episode was refreshingly easy to watch.

This episode is debunked at Popular Mechanics, and you can read more about it at Fox, IMDb and the A.V. Club.

Are butterflies the new bees? When clouds of them flew out of the air conditioner, I was reminded (not for the first time) of The X-Files.

“The hard drive is password protected. Once we break the encryption, we’ll send you his data.” Think so? If he’s done his job properly – which, as a Massive Dynamic employee, he may well have done – it could require more computing power than currently exists.

Judging by the icons and application/message windows, it looks like Olivia’s computer is running Windows 98. However, it’s branded as “symb_OS” and is apparently manufactured by “Standard Soft”.

The immersion tank debacle has been mentioned before, but I would be more interested to know how Olivia, who’s floating in a sealed steel tank with her ears in the water, can hear Walter, who’s talking normally outside.

Obey the toad

Bufotenin

Bufotenin

If you were alone at night and investigating a highly suspicious basement, would you open a crate that appeared to be moving around? Olivia’s actions made me wonder whether the DHS charges her for non-emergency call-outs. I was half-expecting the crate to be full of butterflies, but instead we were given the Colorado river toad (Bufo alvarius), the presence of which in Boston must have involved illegal movement across state lines. The toad produces hallucinogenic venoms, which (along with some other chemicals) are what scared our victim to death.

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