The science of Breaking Bad: Confessions

September 2, 2013

Breaking Bad | Season 5 | Episode 11 | “Confessions”

Walt and Jesse, on speaking terms for perhaps the last time.

Walt and Jesse, on speaking terms for perhaps the last time.

Just as Walt gets Hank off his back – temporarily, at least – Jesse is coming for revenge. Thrilling television, but nothing for this blog to talk about until Walt starts applying science to his problems again.

This episode is reviewed at Emilia Jordan and the A.V. Club, and you can read more about it at AMC and IMDb.

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The non-science of Fringe: Making Angels

June 9, 2012

Fringe | Season 4 | Episode 11 | “Making Angels”

Peter and Olivia track down a serial killer, again.

Peter and Olivia track down a serial killer, again.

The Fringe team tracks down yet another serial killer; this time one who’s motives may not be entirely evil. Meanwhile, Astrid-2 shows up for a chat.

This episode is debunked at Polite Dissent and Cordial Deconstruction, and you can read more about it at Fox, IMDb and the A.V. Club.

Random thoughts

People should really know better by now than to use a mobile phone while driving. What kind of an example is that to set?

The equations in Neil’s house look like some form of the Schrödinger equation, but (if indeed real equations) are way outside of my experience.

I’m not really sure how an Observer can “lose” something – if September had really lost his glowstick, couldn’t he just have looked into the past to the last time he had it? Presumably he engineered Neil finding it, but why?


The science of Breaking Bad: Crawl Space

September 28, 2011

Breaking Bad | Season 4 | Episode 11 | “Crawl Space”

After twenty years, Gus confronts Tio (Hector) with the results of his actions.

After twenty years, Gus confronts Tio (Hector) with the results of his actions.

Events spin rapidly out of control this week, destroying a wide swath of pristine plot expectations.

You can read more about this episode at AMC, IMDb and the A.V. Club.

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The non-science of Fringe: Reciprocity

February 1, 2011

Fringe : Season 3 : Episode 11 : “Reciprocity”

The team encounters The Machine.

The team encounters The Machine.

Inexplicably, the government and Massive Dynamic have decided to assemble The Machine in order to learn more about it (and absolutely not destroy the universe which was probably Walternate’s plan all along). I don’t think I’ll be able to comment very much on First People technology, being completely made-up as it is.

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

Random thoughts

Do humans put out an unique “electromagnetic signature”? Well, back in Power Hungry (season 1, episode 5) the Fringe team encountered somebody with a vastly amplified one and stated that human fields are normally far too weak to detect. All living things produce weak bioelectromagnetic fields due to the movements of ions, but it is not known whether they are unique to individuals.

Is Peter’s DNA on file? Even if blood typing is quick and DNA sequencing isn’t, the FBI should have been able to match the blood to Peter within a few days.

Theobromine.

Theobromine.

When Olivia shows up to help Astrid read through Fauxlivia’s files, the molecule shown on the screen behind her is theobromine. Theobromine is a mild stimulant found in cocoa (and hence chocolate), and is structurally similar to caffeine. Perhaps Walter is sill experimenting with chocolate milk?


The science of Breaking Bad: Abiquiu

June 8, 2010

Breaking Bad : Season 3 : Episode 11 : “Abiquiu”

Walt reflects on laser tag.

Walt reflects on laser tag.

Jesse’s skimming plan falls flat on both ends, and Skyler brings herself significantly closer to criminal enterprises. There are no new insights into the cooking process, so this episode contains nothing of note. Check back soon!

You can read more about this episode at AMC, IMDb and the A.V. Club.

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The non-science of Fringe: Unearthed

January 17, 2010

Fringe: Season 2: Episode 11: “Unearthed”

Walter in brainstorming mode.

Walter in brainstorming mode.

More out-of-body experiences in this episode, with the usual Fringe trappings of drug-induced trances and brain scans. The usual medical impossibilities and plot deficiencies aside (which are reported on better elsewhere), this episode contained very little worth commenting on. Check back soon!

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

Random thoughts

Hey, is that a shell casing? A clue! Absolutely no chance it could have fingerprints or anything on it, so I’ll just pick it up.

It seems that when FBI agents are sent out to apprehend young people, they are routinely armed with tranquiliser darts. Adults get shot at with regular bullets, of course.


The science of Breaking Bad: Mandala

November 24, 2009

Breaking Bad : Season 2 : Episode 11: “Mandala”

Walt waits for the deal to end all deals.

Walt waits for the deal to end all deals.

Walt and Jesse decide to get out of the distribution business and focus on production, which is significantly safer. Events have conspired to (mostly) keep Walt out of the lab and classroom, so this episode contains nothing of note. Check back soon!

You can read more about this episode at AMC, IMDb and the A.V. Club.

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