While watching the third episode of Scorpion, I realized that I have no idea whether I like this show or not. Last week’s biotech episode was disappointing. Episode 3 brought the Scorpion crew back to more familiar territory, centering the plot on a scheme to the bomb the internet. This turns into a mixed bag for someone with a modicum of technical knowledge.
On the one hand, thank you very much for pointing out that the intertubes is an actual physical thing that exists in the world.
It really is. Despite using words like “the cloud” and “virtual” at every possible turn, the internet has a physical backbone that is subject to both attack and incompetence. For example, if you abandon a six tonne anchor, you may just sever both undersea cables that provide internet service throughout the Middle East. So win! for Scorpion! Pointing out that the physical infrastructure of the internet exists rocks.
Head over to BuiltVisible and you can actually explore an interactive map of the cables we rely on everyday.
But then…the internet is also a decentralized network of networks. Which basically means anything you send over the internet gets broken into a ton of tiny pieces and then finds its own path to its destination, and knocking out one hub shouldn’t wipe out the internet for the entire “southwest.” That was kind of the whole point of the original research project (Arpanet) – a battle hardened communications network. So…fail! for Scorpion because oh so wrong.
And, perhaps the most egregious misinformation in the episode, traffic lights? Really?! Traffic lights have a similar control structure to the internet, but they aren’t actually controlled by the internet. They use radio frequencies, which wouldn’t be affected by blowing up the “hard cables” or alternatively the “internet equipment in the basement” – the target of the attack and illustrated with random copper wire and what looks to be a cord from the handset of an old public phone.
If anyone is counting: that is one win and two fails for this episode.
Except I still kind of love this stupid freakin’ show. That rubix cube race scene at the beginning of the episode – I loved it so hard I rewound it and watched it twice.
Not to mention when the group was talking about video surveillance techniques – all kinds of witty repartee up in there.
As an awkward geek type, not gonna lie, I totally relate to these stereotypical geek archetypes.
I assume this is the kind of secret shame a lawyer who loved Ally McBeal or The Practice felt? Or maybe a doc who nods along with the multiple plane crash plotline of Grey’s Anatomy? And, I for one am reveling in that secret shame. And so, a toast, to Scorpion. I will bask in your absurdity and rail against your inaccurate depictions of technology until CBS decides you are too expensive to make, which is probably quite soon.