Thursday, October 29, 2009

Flash Forward extra credit blog #5 - "Gimme Some Truth"

The show begins with a sudden attack on Benford, Special-Agent-in-Charge Wedeck, and other FBI agents as they're leaving a parking garage. A big black panel van smashes into their car, three Asian men emerge from the van and blast the FBI car w/ a rocket propelled grenade. We don't know who survives until probably next week. Despite the call from the mysterious woman in Hong Kong, could this be the moment that Demetri is killed instead of March 15, 2010?

Also in this episode, we see that Special Agent Wedeck is buddies with the President of the United States. Apparently, most of the world's leaders decided not to reveal what occurred in their flash forward, though the show gives us a glimpse into what happened w/ the President's FF. He's lying in bed and is awoken by a Secret Service agent who tells him that "something's happened." The President states that there's too much to do in the present to worry about the future, but with all of the world's leaders staying silent about their FFs, I'm beginning to think that their silence plants the seed for a thousand conspiracy theories within the reality of the show.

- Why the silence?
- What could it possibly give away?
- What do the leaders know that's so vital?
Also, if this unknown event that is looming in the President's future has already occurred before he was woken up, how come the Mosaic or Benford's group hasn't picked up on it from everyone else's stories or another source?

We're also given glimpses into Wedeck's background as he returns to Washington D.C. to testify at the Senate's finance committee. There's a reference to something shady or damaging in his past that involves the senator who's in charge of the committee that would provide funds for his Mosaic task force. What do you think this damaging past could be? But, the President offers Wedeck the important Cabinet post, Director of Homeland Security.

Olivia overhears Benford and his sponsor, Aaron, discussing Benford going to an AA meeting since he's in a stressful situation. She discusses the possibility of Mark drinking again, and Aaron reminds her that alcoholics "never need a reason to drink."

During this episode, the President mentions that "the Chinese see opportunity in chaos." Is this an allusion to chaos theory? The theory could mean trying to find order in random or chaotic systems (1), or in mathematical circles in which a system is highly sensitive to minute changes like the weather (2). Where some people see insanity and mayhem, others see order. In fact, chaos theorists show what might have been a tiny error at the beginning of a chain of events could lead to a much bigger error later on. In other words, things may appear to be random at first, but in fact, they are determined by that tiny error or fluctuation that occurred in the beginning.

You may have heard of something very similar called the butterfly effect:
"The flapping of a single butterfly's wing today produces a tiny change in
the state of the atmosphere. Over a period of time, what the atmosphere actually
does diverges from what it would have done. So, in a month's time, a tornado
that would have devastated the Indonesian coast doesn't happen. Or maybe one
that wasn't going to happen, does."
(Ian Stewart, Does God Play Dice? The Mathematics of Chaos, pg. 141) 1
Add the newest revelation that Olivia's future lover, Lloyd Simcoe, might be involved with the blackout (given the call at the end of this episode), it makes me wonder what went wrong and how he's involved.

With this in mind, there's a couple things to think about (pick two to answer):
1. Do you think that such a thing as the butterfly effect is plausible? Why or why not?
2. Speculate on how Lloyd Simcoe is involved in the blackout and how his relationship w/ Olivia might begin;
3. What would drive Mark Benford to start drinking again? Olivia said it occurred last when he was away from home and testifying in a committee hearing.
4. Why do you think world leaders have chosen not to reveal their FFs?

Due next Friday, November 6 at 11:59 p.m.

To dig deeper into chaos theory, follow these:
3. - an excerpt from a book on chaos by James Gleick;
4. The Chaos Hyper Text book which includes an intro and chaos's application.
5. - The Society for Chaos Theory in psychology and life sciences.
Choas is defined in the following quotes:
"The complicated, aperiodic, attracting orbits of certain (usually low-dimensional) dynamical systems." Philip Holmes - mathematician

"A rapidly expanding field of research to which mathematicians, physicists, hydrodynamicists, ecologists and many others have all made important contributions. And: A newly recognized and ubiquitous class of natural phenomena." Hao Bai-Lin, physicist

"Apparently random recurrent behaviour in a simple deterministic (clockwork-like) system." H. Bruce Stewart, applied mathematician
"The irregular, unpredictable behaviour of deterministic, nonlinear dynamical systems." Roderick V. Jensen, theoretical physicist
"Dynamics with positive, but finite, metric entropy. The translation from mathese is: behaviour that produces informatin (amplifies small uncertainties), but is not utterly unpredictable." James Crutchfield, Santa Cruz collective

"Dynamics freed at last fromt he shackles of order and predictability ... Systems liberated to randomly explore their every dynamical possibility ... Exciting variety, richness of choice, a cornucopia of opportunity." Joseph Ford (3).


  1. 1. I think the butterfly effect is extremely plausible. The little things that we think affect nothing really can affect everything; maybe not entirely as big as the tornado example though.

    2. I just watched the episode after this one and I don't really know how to answer this without using my knowledge. Lloyd finds out that Olivia is the woman from his FF and there is a conflict scene between him and Benford. I'm sort of leaning towards the idea that Lloyd will use this discovery to his advantage and try to begin the affair in order to get close to Mark to stop the investigation.

    4. I have a strong feeling that most leaders FFs were bad. I'm thinking they don't want to put the United States into a state of panic and even though that will most likely end in disaters of conspiracy theorys, right now its for the best.

    I answered 3 because the 1st is short. :)

  2. 3) I think that Mark Benford will start drinking again because it is something that has already occurred in his past. He used to be an alcoholic and he’s been sober for six years now. Olivia has never cheated n Mark (to our understanding) and in her flash-forward, she was with Simon. However, Mark was an alcoholic in the past probably because of stress and hardship, and I believe that he will start drinking again as the date of the flash-forward gets closer and closer. Mark will be so stressed because he believes strongly that the flash-forwards will come true and in his flash-forward, it looks like there will be an attempted assassination on his life. Mark will begin drinking again out of paranoia, stress, and fear.
    4) World leaders have chosen not to reveal their flash-forwards because they know that since they are such huge figures and people look up to them as powerful men and woman – if the flash-forwards hold a negative or threatening future, they don’t want to scare their nations. For instance, the President’s flash-forward was a secret service agent or someone in the white-house telling the President that something has happened and that he needs to attend to it right away. Most people would probably interpret this pessimistically as if we were hit by a terrorist attack or something horrible.
    Nawar Dimitry 2nd Period

  3. 3. Mark Benford could be driven to drink again by a great many factors. For example, the distance (both physical and emotional) betwixt him and his wife, the stress at work from all of his co-workers depending on him, and or the knowledge of a potential lapse in judgment and drinking again constantly lapping against his brain. The reason why it probably happened before is because she wasn’t present enough in his life to keep reminding him not to.

    4. The world leaders chose wisely, in my opinion , to not reveal there flash forwards. Revealing there flash forwards could cause a great deal of raucous for any nation whether internal or external. If a whole population was aware of what a very powerful person was doing in six months it could cause a serious issue, involving civil unrest or worse war.

    Daniel Sherwood

  4. 3. During Mark Bedford’s flash-forward, he appeared to be drinking. I think the factor that would have caused him to start drinking again is that in his flash-forward he is drunk and he might think that because he is drunk in his flash-forward, he needs to start again. Also, Mark was an alcoholic in his past, and because of all of the stress and problems that are going on with his wife and in the FBI, he needs some sort of calming. Also, Olivia told Mark that in her flash-forward she was with another man, and that could have been a factor as well.
    4. I think that the world leaders have chosen to not reveal their flash-forwards because everyone in the world looks up to them and if their flash-forwards are something shady or something that will be happening to the world, they probably want to try and stop it before all of their flash-forwards come true. If the world leaders had bad flash-forwards, the whole world will be put in an uproar and it would make everything worse.

  5. 3. I think that Benford will relapse because, as of right now, all of his flash forwards are starting to come true. For example, the bracelet his daughter made, he was wearing that in his vision. Also, this thing happened in the past because he used to be an alcoholic and is going on seven years of sobriety. But I think that Benford will start up again because of all the stress he has, like being the sole reason for this whole Mosaic online thing. Everyone is counting on him to be right about this blackout, and I feel that this will cause him to drink again.
    4. I think that world leaders are choosing not to tell the public what they saw in the flash forwards because they are in the spotlight. Everyone is looking up to them to see what they should and everyone wants their questions to be answered. If the visions that these leaders saw, some of them might contain harmful or frightening information that could potentially scare everyone and make them even scared about this whole situation than before.

  6. #1: I think that Lloyd is some sort of crazy sweet quantum physicist along with Simon and they decided to do a crazy sweet experiment on the whole world and it went not the way that they wanted. I think that Lloyd is going to end up dead in the long run. His relationship with Olivia, however, will blossom because Mark starts drinking again. Olivia then will kick Mark out of the house and lean on Lloyd for support through the divorce process. Then they will dance around in their underwear and sexy lingerie even though their kids are around, it’s whatever though.
    #4: I think that world leaders have not shared their flashforward’s because some of them might be embarrassing (like being on the toilet) or they might have some scary end-of-the-world secrets that they are to scared to believe themselves. Some world leaders will try to stop their FF from happen and some will be too afraid to face it.

    ps i'm pretty sure Nawar meant that Olivia will be with Lloyd not Simon.


  7. 3. I think the thing that drives Mark Benford to drink is the growing concern that his wife is going to end their marriage with the other guy. I feel that eventually they won’t be able to trust one another because of the vision that he had with them. Maybe even at one point he’ll expose that in his flash forward he was drinking which will cause more doubt in their relationship. I think that he felt that since he couldn’t prevent the visions that his wife had that the only thing he had control over was his drinking.

    4. I believe that the leaders of FF don’t want to reveal their visions because they probably aren’t what they want them to be or might cause panic around the nation. It is possible that they want to keep everyone blind from their flash forward so no one can use it to harm or black mail them.

    Collin Parson
    2nd hour

  8. 3.I think that Mark will begin drinking again (1) because he's stressed out about his wife cheating on him, and the structure of his family falling apart. (2) because he saw himself drinking in the vision so he begins to drink anyway (3) He may be stressed from work, and needs a way out....

    4. I think that most world leaders dont choose to reveal their FF's because they are scared it will influence the nation in a negative way. They don't want to stir up more chaos in a situation like the one they are in. They can't let the nation see them sweat so they've all chosen to keep the FF's a secret.

    - Shar Rogers

  9. The butterfly effect is perfectly plausible. The butterfly effect states that one small change in the past could eventually lead to a much larger change in the future. This directly relates to Flash Forward because the characters are given glimpse of their future, were figuring out now whether these glimpses will come true, or whether the characters can change them. Take Mark’s flash forward where he is in the office working looking at the information board with all the clues on it. If he wouldn’t have seen or remembered the little yellow note that said “D Gibbons”, he wouldn’t have gone searching for this “D Gibbons” which led to a series of events causing the death of a police officer in an abandoned doll factory.

    Olivia mentioned that Mark has begun repeating past actions that led to his last “slip up”, the lying and the dishonestly... exc. He’s obviously under a lot of pressure with the case and the fact that he was drinking in his vision. He’s also worried about the end of his marriage and family, which was seen in Olivia’s vision. The buildup of stress and preoccupation will eventually lead to the downfall of his sobriety.


  10. 3. Obviously being away from home and testifying in a committee hearing imposed a lot of stress on Mark Benford. Right now, Mark is dealing with a lot of stress from his flash forward. Everything is continuously coming true and the next thing that seems to happen is his wife supposedly ending the marriage for another man. Since he saw himself drinking in his flash forward, that could also be a trigger for his problem again.

    4. World leaders have chosen to not reveal their flash forwards because it could cause a lot of chaos. The government is somewhat looked up to and having a “serious” type of flash forward could cause a great deal of many problems. I think it is very smart they’re not sharing their flash forwards because nothing is exactly true until it happens and if the government thinks their flash forward is going to happen, they can try to stop it before anything happens.

    Sammi Small
    (sorry i was absent friday, just saw this blog!)

  11. 2. I think that Lloyd Simcoe was one of the main people conspiring to cause the blackout. I think that he and some other guys planned the "experiment" and that it went wrong. I think that Lloyd tried to distance himself from the other bad guys and they will not let him do that. I think that now that he has met Olivia's husband, Mark, he does not want Olivia's or his flash forward to come true but he knows that it is fate. I think that Lloyd will try to go from being a bad guy to being a good guy and helping Mark out.
    4. I think that the world leaders have chosen not to reveal their flash forwards because they know that they could cause a lot of chaos. Despite whether of not the world leaders' flash forwards were good or not, they definitely want them to stay private. Their flash forwards could reveal many things; such as the outcomes of important court cases, who will be alive or not, who will still be in office or newly elected or many other personal things.
    Lauren Peterson


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