Science faction

I’m a sucker for good science fiction, so I decided to take a chance on the Sci Fi Channel’s new “let’s give viewers something to watch until Battlestar Galactica is back” program—also known as Eureka. The show is about the goings-on in the fictional Pacific Northwest town of Eureka, which just happens be populated by the country’s foremost scientific minds. As you might guess, that leads to all sorts of unusual events.

So why am I writing about a TV show? Well, beside the obvious connection between sci-fi and many Mac users, I was struck by something interesting in this week’s episode, “Right as Raynes.” Not to spoil anything, but the plot involves a computer virus afflicting the town’s unique OS. As I watched the episode on my 5G iPod while riding my stationary bike, I was struck by an exchange between the jack-of-all-trades character, Henry, played by Joe Morton, and Colin Ferguson’s Jack Carter, the law in those parts.

Joe Morton responds to a question about whether what he sees on his computer screen is the glitch causing the town’s problems. “Glitch?” he replies. “No, that’s a virus” To which Colin Ferguson pipes in with, “You guys shoulda switched to Macs.”

What I found interesting was that instead of the usual suspects—Apple PR, in-the-know analysts, and so on—the truth that, for every proof-of-concept malware for OS X, Windows PCs suffer from tens of thousands of viruses, spyware, and the like was coming from a cable TV show about fictional events targeted to the masses. Here’s to yet another reason to love sci-fi.

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