MacGyver Season 1 Episode 4 Hacks

Let’s keep this going.  Honestly, there might be some mistakes in some of these early episodes.  I need to rewatch all of season 1 – sometimes the script that I work on ends up being slightly different than the final production.  Oh well, the science is still the same.  Right?

Episode 104: Wire Cutter

Network Cable Trap

(plausible, physical hack)

Basically, MacGyver sets up a type of trap powered by a falling server rack that pulls a network cable into a loop to lift a baddie.  It’s just a classic physical hack.

Radioactive Depleted Uranium

(not a hack)

Just a quick note – depleted uranium is used in ammunition and it is indeed radioactive.

Tubular Lock Pick

(physical hack, plausible)

Everyone knows those locks for bikes with the round keys, right?  So apparently, some of these can be “cracked” using the outer case of a plastic pen.

Not sure how many locks this would work on – but clearly it’s possible.

Aerosol Can Explosion

(unlikely, explosion, bullets)

OK, I’m having trouble remembering this one.  MacGyver gets of these mobility scooters (a slow scooter for people that have trouble walking).  He hacks the engine (I think it’s electric) to make it go faster.  Then he puts aerosol cans on the scooter so that one of them sprays stuff at the other.  When a bullet hits a can, the whole thing explodes.

The problem: bullets don’t really make sparks.  I’m pretty sure the MythBusters tested this – but I can’t find the episode right now.

If you DO make sparks, then yes – the stuff will explode (ish).

Note about Russian computers

There was a bunch of discussion on this episode about how to hack a 1960s era Russian computer.  What would it look like? What would the programming language be?  How would you hack it?  Tough stuff.  Maybe I will save this discussion for a future post (remind me later).

Computer AC-DC Converter

(Real, computer, electricity)

Electricity from the wall is AC (alternating current).  Your computer runs on DC (direct current).  In this hack, MacGyver takes a DC battery from a laptop and uses it in a computer.  This would basically work.  The only problem is power – some of those old computers were hogs.

Flour Explosion

(real, explosion, chemistry)

Flour is indeed explosive. If you get it in the air, then each “flour particle” (not really particles) has a large surface area to mass ratio and can burn super fast.  Burns so fast it explodes.

You can do this at home.  It’s only slightly dangerous.

Hook and Barrel

(physical, plausible)

MacGyver hooks a cable to a barrel and the other end to a mechanic creeper.  When he pushes the barrel down some stairs, it pulls the creeper.  Classic.

Belt Ring Belay Thingy

(plausible, physical)

The ring on a belt is used to run a rope through to act as a brake.  This would probably work.

Improvised Keyboard

(plausible, computer, electricity)

It depends on what kind of computer keyboard this would be – but keys are pretty simple things.  It’s possible to make a key out of some everyday items and connect it to a broken keyboard.  Of course, this would take a bit longer than you would expect to get it to work.

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