016 Revolution Fan Podcast – The Song Remains The Same

S01E13-The-Song-Remains-The-SameIn this episode of Revolution Fan Podcast, Tom, Jenn, Shelley and Rob talk about Revolution season 1, episode 13, The Song Remains The Same. In Scientific Revolution we discuss nanites. We also update Kill Count and play and talk about your feedback.

On the NBC Revolution website, the Footnotes was another Aaron’s journal entry called Nanites. The Interactive Map showed the locations in this episode in southwestern Pennsylvania outside Pittsburgh. The Revolution Revealed talked about how Rachel was a pacifist with homocidal tendencies.

We started our discussion our discussion of this episode by talking about nanites. We wondered if they had anpodcast-150x150.jpg (150×150) “off” switch or what would have to be done at the Tower to turn the power back on. We wondered how the pendants (and amplifiers) work? Do they just nullify the nanites or are they a power source? Or do they use the electricity that the nanites are holding?

We discussed the night of the blackout and how they replicated around the world in less than a minute. Jenn thinks the shot of the western hemisphere was sped up and it would have taken more time (perhaps the speed of the wind across continents). Tom asked whether there was enough electricity in the ocean for the nanites to spread.

Will these nanites live forever? Or will they replicate before they “die”? Or would they just fade away?

So, was Ben, Rachel, Grace, and Dr. Jaffe’s work be on wireless electricity using nanites? 1 month before the blackout, Randall said every containment test had worked for a year, but Ben and Rachel wanted additional months for testing.

We then asked how Ben would come home before the blackout and say “it’s going to turn off and not turn back on.” Jenn speculated that Ben was working, and could tell that the power was out in Afghanistan, and spreading slowly. He had enough time to get home before the nanites got to Chicago.

We then talked about electromagnetic signals like light, radio waves, sound waves, and so on. It seems that the nanites do not absorb that type of electricity.

The other topics we covered were:

  • The Randall / Neville scene about Neville’s incompetence
  • Neville’s enjoyment of Lionel Richie as a throwback to his old self
  • Miles and Neville interrogating each other
  • Charlie and Jason meeting and the “boy band” lines
  • The Jason and Neville showdown with all the levels of double-crossing
  • Neville killing Nicholas the priest
  • How Neville got the nail that he used to get out of the handcuffs
  • Jason’s skills running and shooting his bow and arrow
  • Monroe has a nuke. Is he planning to detonate it in Georgia? Would the nuclear fallout cause damage in Philadelphia?
  • Rachel and Aaron’s journey across the Plains Nation to the Tower
  • What are Neville and Julia going to do now? It seems like it will be much harder for them to join the rebels
  • The Miles and Rachel scene. We wondered if Charlie is actually Miles’s daughter
  • the goodbyes in the last scene

We wondered why the episode was called The Song Remains The Same. We then talked about the clips from next week where we see the Georgia Federation. They have steam-powered buses.

We went on a tangent about managing a large empire without communication like the British and Romans did.

We talked about our Revolution Questions and Answers page. We got a couple answers from the Pilot. We also talked about the new questions.

We updated Kill Count. The body count is really climbing.

We played a feedback voicemail from Kyle Pope, one of our frequent comment section commenter.

We talked about some of our Twitter feedback. Thanks to Cathryn Jameson, TracyMichelleK Schwartz, Debbie PyleShireen Asad Khan, Teresa C. and others‏ for our Twitter conversations.

Thanks to Angelacor for giving us a review in iTunes, and thanks to those who rated us in iTunes. Please go over to iTunes and give us a rating or review.

Some of our listeners are from countries all around the world. Thanks for listening! Give us a call or email and say “Hi!” Call and leave a voicemail at:

  • (234) 738-3265
  • (234) REV-FAN5

or email revolutionfanpodcast@gmail.com

You can play the song using the play button at the top of the post, or right-click on the “Download” link to save it to your computer.

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12 Responses to 016 Revolution Fan Podcast – The Song Remains The Same

  1. Kyle Pope says:

    One thing I didn’t address when I called in was the subject of the nuclear device so I’d like to comment on that now.

    A nuclear bomb is the last weapon anyone would need or even want in this world unless they were completely insane. Admittedly Monroe is completely insane but Randall isn’t. The planetary population has been decimated. The survivors are huddled into small agrarian communities. There are no large urban, industrial or military infrastructures that nuclear weapons were designed to target. There are no targets in this world worthy of a nuclear strike. What communities that do exist are more valuable intact. When your population needs food you don’t nuke farms and plantations, you capture them.

    How does Monroe plan on deploying a nuclear weapon? To be a weapon a nuclear device needs a delivery system. Without missiles or bomber aircraft how do you deliver the warhead to its target? I suppose you could walk it in but it’s hard to fight a war that way. The only use for the bomb would be as a threat to blackmail the other nations into compliance.

    Detonating a nuclear device would be suicide anyway. Monroe could only use a ground level detonation and doing that anywhere on the East Coast would produce tons of deadly fallout that will rain down anywhere the wind takes it, including inside the Monroe Republic. Monroe’s “victory” would consist of him watching himself and his population die slowly of radiation poisoning.

    How was the device even made. The diagrams of the weapon show a large circular or spherical structure at the heart of the weapon. That means this is an implosion device. Think Fat Man (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_Man). That requires plutonium and a sophisticated tamper system to compress the plutonium to critical mass and detonate it. This isn’t something you tinker together in a cement factory no matter how well grounded in nuclear physics you may be. The explosive shell that surrounds the plutonium core must detonate perfectly to instantly and uniformly apply the pressure that compresses the core. If you’re off by the tiniest fraction all you’ve created is a dirty bomb. A gun type weapon would be more plausible in this primitive context. Think Little Boy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Boy). Though a simpler design even a gun type weapon will require the manufacture of highly sophisticated components to build.

    Where did the fissionable material come from and how was it handled? Plutonium and enriched uranium aren’t just lying around. You either have to make it or scavenge it from existing nuclear weapons. Scrounging it from existing weapons would make no sense. Why dismantle a perfectly good nuclear weapon to use the parts to build another nuclear weapon? Plutonium and enriched uranium are intensely radioactive. Plutonium is the most toxic substance ever created. Strictly controlled conditions are needed to handle it without dying. Making these materials is a dangerous and time consuming process. To enrich uranium you first gassify it and spin it in a centrifuge. The heavier uranium isotopes collect along the outside of the centrifuge where it is collected and condensed back into a solid material. It takes batteries of these centrifuges operating for months to produce enough fissionable material for a single bomb. How do you do this in the decaying remains of a cement factory?

    Once again this show is banking on the ignorance of its audience.

    • Tom Snively says:

      Monroe said his plan was to use 1 helicopter, and take out all the rebels, then Georgia, then the whole continent. Looking at the preview for next week’s episode, it looks like 1 helicpoter would not take out all of Georgia – they have their stuff together.

      I get the impression he wants to detonate it in Atlanta. That would do a lot of damage to the George Federation. Maybe he doesn’t realize the fallout risk.


      • Kyle Pope says:

        That gives new definition to “overkill”.

        I can’t imagine that there isn’t someone in Monroe’s high command that doesn’t understand the implication of a nuclear ground burst so close to Monroe territory. He’s going to render everywhere downwind of ground zero uninhabitable to include the Monroe Republic.

        Even if the Monroe Republic survives the fallout every other nation in North America is going to descend on Monroe like the Wrath of God. The last thing they are going to tolerate in their midst is a madman with nuclear weapons and the will to use them.

  2. Kyle Pope says:

    It occurred to me that the device Rachel pulled out of Danny’s body was still functioning. It was also sealed in a glass capsule. Does this mean that any electrical or electronic device that is hermetically sealed against the nanites will function normally? If all it takes to have electrical power without pendants is a clean room then the whole premise of this show just underwent a paradigm shift.

    • Tom Snively says:

      Good question. My thought is that it has similar technology as the pendants. But that would be pretty complicated. We’ll see, probably. 🙂


  3. Benjamin W says:

    I’m not sure they could have done any worse than by having “nanites” be the cause. Does anybody involved in the production have any understanding of how electricity works? No explanation at all would have been better than this.

    What are these nanites using as the ground? Just like a bird can sit on a power line with no harm, so would these nanites, they wouldn’t be able to suck a single milliwatt. If they collectively tried build a bridge to get a ground they would immediately be destroyed by the resulting electrical arc. If they tried to build something larger to contain the current then it would be visible to the naked eye and people would start to suspect things. Not to mention that a string of nanites is going to have a higher resistance than the regular wire, so they couldn’t stop all current from flowing. Where are they dumping all the heat, to avoid being destroyed, that results from them “stealing” megawatts of electricity?

    Any system that operates at any significant voltage would fry any nanites before they could do anything. The ignition voltage of any gas engine would toast nanites faster than they could be built. Hot and low temperatures would also prevent them from working and probably destroy them.

    Where are they getting the energy they need to replicate or even operate once the power goes out for 15 years? Where are they getting the materials? My understanding is they are non-biological, if they were organic the UV rays from the sun would destroy them just like it does for regular bacteria. If they were organic then someone should be noticing all the disappearing animals and vegetation.

    I suggested somewhere, perhaps not here, that they should just say it’s a EM suppression field that is being sustained by energy from Earths magnetic field and that would have worked fine. Specific enough as to be plausible, but vague enough to not have to say how it actually works. Just like hyperdrive in Star Wars, Androids in Aliens, and the transporter in Star Trek. The writers got too specific and they’re gonna be ripped a new one for all the holes this creates. The whole explanation is simply absurd.

    It’s been said that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the public, NBC seems to be trying to prove that wrong.

    • Tom Snively says:

      Good stuff, Benjamin. I’ve forgotten everything I ever learned about electricity. I think I’ll read some of this in our next episode for Scientific Revolution.


      • Benjamin W says:

        There is an additional problem I just through of.

        There are induction flashlights that are completely hermetically sealed. The one I am familiar with is the LED “NightStar” series. I have half a dozen of them spread around my house, garage, and vehicles. (Never have to worry about dead batteries.) There is no way for anything to get out or in once the flashlight is manufactured. So after the nanites went active, these flashlights would continue to work, which would immediately lead people to theorize that it was something physical causing electricity to not work.

        While out of production, there are tens of thousands of NightStar flashlights in the US and people would quickly find that they still worked and word about this would spread.

        Virtually all high end flashlights are also waterproof, which would keep the nanites out until the batteries were changed, which would again point people to a germ theory of the blackout.

        • Kyle Pope says:

          Here’s a bigger problem: Submarines.

          Unless these things can swim they would not be able to affect any submerged submarine. The nanites would certainly be unable to survive the corrosive properties of sea water in addition to the fact that a good deal of the world’s submarine fleets routinely operate beneath polar ice. So long as the submarines didn’t surface and open their hatches they’d be fine. That is until they ran out of food.

          • Tom Snively says:

            It’s an interesting point but I’m not sure it’s a bigger problem. At the blackout, if you are right, they’d probably lose radio communication with all non-submarines. They might continue to operate. But they would not know about the nanites, and they would not still be submerged 15 years later…


  4. Kyle Pope says:

    Submarines are a bigger problem because what does a boomer (nuclear ballistic missile submarine) do when it loses all communication with its command authority? What assumption will it make when the world goes silent? What final orders do all those American and Russian sub commanders have if they have reason to believe their homelands have succumbed to nuclear attack? Since SLBMs (submarine launched ballistic missiles) are designed to survive water, air and the vacuum of space they will be sealed against nanite incursion. They will fly normally and detonate over their targets just as designed because the nanites will not affect them.

    This also raises the question of how the nanites will be affected by the EMP burst from a nuclear detonation. Since Monroe has a nuke and the intent to use it there is the possibility that any nanites caught by the EMP would be destroyed restoring electricity to the area surrounding the blast until new nanites can drift in.

    • Benjamin W says:

      The only time EMP occurs at distances greater than the blast radius is at high altitudes.

      How on earth would these nanites actually be able to function if they are the size of a virus? Viruses are the computer equivalent of a Micro SD card with a program on it, they are incapable of any biological function on their own, they must be “connected” to a much larger system and cannot replicate on their own.

      Someone else has already done the math on how many atoms in a virus:

      The mass of a average sized virus is about 1.5 femtograms (1.5*10^{-15} g)and viruses are mad up primarily of protiens. Some coat themselves in sugars or other substances but these tend to be the bigger ones. Protein is roughly 70% carbon, 12% nitrogen, 10% oxygen, and 7% hydrogen by mass. We then break down the mass of the virus into these parts and get:

      C: 1.05E-14g
      N: 1.95E-16g
      O: 1.50E-16g
      H: 1.05E-16g

      I will work through the remainder of the calculation for carbon and then just give the results for the others. The process should be redily duplicatable.

      Consulting a periodic table we find that carbon is 12g/mol = 12 g / 6*10^23 atoms.

      1.05E-14g / ( 12 g / 6E23 atoms ) = 1.05E-14g * 6E23 atoms / 12 g
      The units cancel and we multiply the terms in the numerator:
      = 6.3E9 atoms / 12 = 5.25E8 atoms = 525,000,000 atoms of carbon.

      Repeating for the other elements we get
      C: 525,000,000
      N: 8,360,000
      O: 5,630,000
      H: 63,000,000

      For a total of approximately 600,000,000 (six hundred million atoms)

      That is NOT much material to work with, just the programming to include self replication alone would take up a large portion of that, then you have to have processing capabilities and then there is the structure of the nanite itself. Where are you going to have any room in there for a fuel tank to operate all this?

      Bacteria sized nanites give you more “room”, but now you have something visible under a regular optical microscope and something too large to remain airborn for any distance.

      At least in Star Trek the nanoprobes. as far as I know, weren’t airborn, they had to be injected, signifying bacteria sized machines.

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