Another Story Of A 'Fake' Brilliant Inventor? Is 'Scorpion Walter O'Brien' A Real Computer Security Genius?

from the more-of-this-crap? dept

There’s apparently a new TV show on CBS called Scorpion that has received mixed-to-decent reviews. It supposedly is about some computer security geniuses/outcasts who help “solve complex, global problems.” However, Annalee Newitz’s description of the stupidest, most batshit insane hacker scene ever from the first episode, suggests that the show is not worth watching. In the past few years, it had been kind of nice to see Hollywood actually seem to have some clue about accurately portraying hacking in some situations, but that’s all apparently been tossed out the window with Scorpion. Even if you don’t read Newitz’s story (or view the video clip), just know it involves an ethernet cable hanging from a flying plane with a car racing beneath it to download some backup software needed by the airport so planes can land. Yeah.

A big part of the show’s marketing is the claim that the story is partially based on the life of one of the show’s executive producers, Walter O’Brien. CBS News has an article talking up these claims of O’Brien’s amazing feats, helping out its parent company, CBS, who broadcasts the show. But… for such a “genius,” many of O’Brien’s claims are coming under scrutiny, and they’re not holding up well. Having just gone through the whole Shiva Ayyadurai / inventor of email crap, it’s beginning to sound like a similar case of someone pumping up their own past for publicity purposes.

The claims about O’Brien are both odd and oddly specific. Here’s CBS’s reporting:

Walter O?Brien has the fourth highest IQ in the world.

Elsewhere, he claims that he was “diagnosed as a child prodigy with an IQ of 197.” First off, there are significant questions about IQ as a particularly useful measurement of anything. Furthermore, the idea that there’s some definitive list of those with the highest IQs seems equally questionable. A quick Google search will show you a whole bunch of “top 10 lists” of IQs — all of them different, and none of them including anyone named Walter O’Brien.

O’Brien’s story started unraveling when he made the somewhat unwise decision to do a Reddit AMA. Redditors are pretty good at sniffing out completely bogus claims, and it didn’t take them long here. Also, Asher Langton has been doing a bang up job debunking basically every claim that O’Brien makes.

Among other things, O’Brien’s story claims that he began Scorpion Computer Services in the mid-1980s and that “Scorpion has mitigated risk for 7 years on $1.9 trillion of investments and has invented and applied Artificial Intelligence engines to protect United States war fighters in Afghanistan.” It’s not even entirely clear what that means. It goes on:

Since 1988, Scorpion’s team of world class experts partner with clients on a global basis, across industries, to add real measurable value in mission-critical initiatives from planning, to execution, to running the business. Scorpion’s senior management has a collective knowledge of more than 413 technologies, 210 years in IT, and 1,360 projects. Scorpion himself has created over 177 unique technology inventions including ScenGen and WinLocX and is one of the world’s leading experts in the application of computer science and artificial intelligence to solve complex industry challenges.”

Again with the odd, and oddly specific claims. They have knowledge of 413 technologies? Do they have a list somewhere? Does it include the coffee machine in the lunch room? Did they send someone out to get the new iPhone 6 to make it 414? Either way, there are… just a few problems with these claims. As Langton points out, the “headquarters” of Scorpion Computer Services Inc. does not appear to be a particularly large or impressive company. Its headquarters is actually… a UPS store address That report notes that it has one employee, and revenue of $66k. It’s possible that the report is inaccurate, but for such a big and successful company, you’d expect to see… at least a bit more historical evidence of its existence. But there is none.

And then there’s this page (and here’s the web archive version in case O’Brien figures out how to delete the old page), which apparently used to be the site for Walter’s Scorpion computer Services, that, um, looks like it was built on GeoCities — complete with the animated fire torches next to the dreadfully designed logo.

For a big, massively successful company… you’d expect, um, something a bit more professional. Walter’s own Linkedin profile notes that he actually worked at Capital Group for a while, with redditors claiming he was just a QA guy there, though his profile says he was a “technology executive.” Many other claims on the company’s website read like self-promotional gibberish. “We saved $43 billion in opportunity risks over a five-year period.” “We invented an efficiency engine that performs 250 human years of work every 1.5 hrs with over 99% improvement over human error.” By the way, the “see how” link on that last one doesn’t actually show you “how” it just takes you to a page about how the company is a value added reseller “for proven IT products.” The entire website looks like gibberish from someone trying to sound like a real tech company. It reminds me of Jukt Micronics.

Langton also turned up that O’Brien appears to have another “company” called Strike Force, using the same UPS Store address, and with very, very, very, very similar website design and bullshittery. That site has a really bizarre “what others say” page, listing out random referrals for O’Brien, which are generally just the standard empty “personal reference letters” people without much experience tend to ask some former colleagues for when looking for a new job. The first one is from Steven Messino (with the date conveniently stripped off) which looks like the generic job reference letter:

Note that O’Brien claims that Messino is the co-founder of Sun. That’s… not true. Anyone who knows anything about the history of Sun knows it was co-founded by Andy Bechtolsheim, Bill Joy, Scott McNealy and Vinod Khosla in 1982. Messino’s own LinkedIn page shows he joined Sun in 1988. Six years after it was founded. Also, Sun had its IPO in 1986. So it’s not like this was a small company when Messino joined… as a “regional sales manager.”

Basically, everywhere you look, O’Brien’s claims are either massively exaggerated to downright ridiculous.

There are also some odd personal claims about “Homeland Security” coming to find him as a 13-year old boy for hacking into NASA. Except, when he was 13, there was no Homeland Security — an agency established after the September 11, 2001 attacks. O’Brien also claims this:

Scorpion was born and raised in Ireland, and at 16, ranked first in national high speed computer problem solving competitions. At 18, he competed in the World Olympics in Informatics and has ranked as high as the sixth fastest programmer in the world.

Sixth fastest programmer in the world? Really? Some folks on Reddit noted that it doesn’t appear Ireland competed in the “International Olympiad in Informatics” in 1993, though someone else found a report from the University of Sussex, which O’Brien attended, noting that O’Brien had come in 6th in a different contest, but in the Olympiad itself, he came in 90th. I mean that’s great for an 18 year old, but it hardly makes him into some programming genius.

And we won’t even touch the claims that his programming helped catch the Boston Marathon bombers, because… well… really?

Frankly, the parallels with Ayyadurai and the email story are there. It certainly appears that, like Ayyadurai, O’Brien was a bright kid who did some impressive programming as a teenager, but then didn’t appear to amount to all that much noteworthy beyond that. Try searching for any news references or evidence of O’Brien doing anything other than in the last few months in the publicity leading up to this new TV show. However, he is trying to reinvent himself and rewrite his history as some sort of genius programmer responsible for all sorts of amazing things, very little of which seems directly supportable. Of course, CBS doesn’t really care, so long as they have a fun TV show that people watch, but at the very least, they shouldn’t continue to spread the exaggerated myths about O’Brien that appear to have little basis in fact.

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Comments on “Another Story Of A 'Fake' Brilliant Inventor? Is 'Scorpion Walter O'Brien' A Real Computer Security Genius?”

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Jennifer says:

Re: Computer Security Genius

Funny how all these guys can see is the hacker part of the story. Its about how people with very high IQs have problems dealing with people. How when someone who cares helps guide them they can accomplish much more than left to deal with the sheep on their own.
I wish there had been someone to catch how smart I was. I was smarter than all my teacheres from 3rd grade on and was so bored I just got in trouble. The other kids didnt want to study or read all the time so i started smoking weed to dumb myself down so I could have friends. This show is inspiring and is helping me understand myself and my son better.
Really only someone with average or lower IQ would think it was simply about hacking. Of course they hollywood it up to get the dumbasses who dont get the real meaning something to bitch about.

Coyoty (profile) says:

Re: Re: Computer Security Genius

Don’t use this show for inspiration. You are identifying with it because it offers a wish fulfillment reassurance to those who imagine they’ve been superior to everyone else all along.

It’s a TV show, intended to make their demographics identify with them and feel better about themselves. This one is targeted to viewers who identify with genius, so it tells its viewers they’re misunderstood and smart and pats them on the back. (I quit Mensa in grade school because that’s all I saw happening there; a mutual back-patting society.)

If the show were about sports, it would have a dream team of physical misfits for the viewers to vicariously feel athletically superior through.

Validation should come through real-life experiences and efforts, not aggrandizing TV shows.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: scorpion

It’s a TV show. It’s supposed to be entertaining.

I’ve explained probably a dozen times already, that I’m absolutely fine with the TV show being entertaining. My issue is with journalists not doing their job and with the fact that Walter is trying to build his business based on what appear to be false pretenses.

Enjoy the show. That’s great. I have no problem with the show itself, but with the lies about the real life Walter.

If you want absolute truth do the research yourself.

Which, you know, is what I actually did.

Oh, and the Marvel super heroes aren’t real either.

Right. But they also don’t claim to be and aren’t running a company in which they ask for your money based on those false pretenses.

Sinful (profile) says:

Re: JohnG

The show is very entertaining, we have to remember it is a tv show and not always following the suggestions of Walter O’Brien they do go with what will make people watch and do some various leeway with licensing. The person writing this article didn’t research well, Walter’s IQ isn’t listed because he does not have the mansa test of his IQ from his school. If you do type it in for a search it does come up. He also was not arrested by homeland security as the person says in the article it was the FBI and NASA homeland security is not mentioned as the part who arrested him when he was a child. We all have to remember there will be others out there who will be snide and mean to others and based on jealousy and their ability to not measure up to that person so they strike back how they can. I never believe everything I read on the internet it is the “internet” after all. I think we should just enjoy the show with a grain of salt. It is interesting and keeps my attention. With my brain always on high it is hard finding entertaining shows that capture my attention. So with a grain of salt people just take it for what it is a show made to entertain and not always with truthful path that can be followed in entertainment.

Sean Timmons (profile) says:

Re: Re: JohnG

Ok. This took seconds.

Homeland Security.

Also, FBI claims, feel free to read their site…

They would never go to another country to perform legal functions. They work with other countries when international incidents occur.

As for his iq, he himself says he has no proof.

So, your points ate all wrong. Consider your methods of research. They’re bad.

DArtagnan OHara says:

Re: Re: JohnG

It was the FBI from the United States and it was Interpol. People need to check facts I agree. Nowhere did he ever say Homeland Security at anytime. People want to point out his flaws yet there is truth behind his facts and as someone with a high IQ I know completely I have little if any EQ. I can speak truths you don’t want to hear speak and hurt your feelings and not understand or care that I did because lying to me just isn’t logical. We have little feelings for others feelings because we don’t have many.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: JohnG

It was FBI…
What was FBI?

>… and it was Interpol
What was Interpol?

> People need to check facts I agree.
You agree with yourself, but nobody failed to check facts. So, yes, in general people do need to check facts… but that’s not ever been in dispute.

>… yet there is truth behind his facts…
You really should read the article.

>…as someone with a high IQ I…
As someone boasting about a high IQ and not being able to compose a literate sentence, a complete one, or even separate into coherent thoughts I suspect the only high IQ you have is the one your mom told you she was sure you had when you were seven.

>…lying to me isn’t logical.
Nobody was talking to you. Nobody lied to you. Lying isn’t illogical, Mr. Spock.

> We have little feelings for others because…
…you’re sociopaths.

Have a great night, and go get a real IQ test, and then sign up for remedial high-school English if you intend to use English for writing.

If you’re from a country where English is not your primary Language, then skip that last suggestion and just get a real IQ test.

Try not to be disappointed when you find out you’re a sociopath who thinks his/her lack of feelings justifies his/her behavior.

P.S. Go read the article.!

Jon says:

Re: Re:

Ignoring the whole “cable out the front of an aircraft just above stall speed” – Ethernet cable will transfer data MUCH faster than “using wifi, dumbass” – in a theoretical situation, data needing speed is much faster by cable. Now, why an aircraft has a crossover cable anyway, with a remarkably excessively long cable available – well, it’s an entertainment show, so suspension of disbelief is necessary for a fun hour.

Sean Timmons (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Ok, so you are being marked down as not believing this dudes claims of genius and all of that. So, if you would like to discuss the episode from an entertainment only standpoint, why not have the plane land without radar? There could be explosions or at least the shearing of a few wings. It seems odd to try to defend with technology then saying its for entertainment only. The point of using WiFi was that you didn’t need to fly at ten feet over the ground and you could perform the same transmission of data with a lot more leeway. Why, you can set all of the lights to green in the city and go on for miles and miles! Either way, it was unimaginative.

Togashi (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Since 2014, Scorpion’s team of brilliant investors has mitigated the risk of over $2,733,492,382,014.30 of potential tiger attacks. His expert distribution of the tiger-repellant rock has optimized the application of graph theory by solving both the traveling salesman and Chinese postman problems in constant logarithmic time on a TI-89 calculator.

Regret says:

Ugh. His claims that “The U.S. Department of Homeland Security certified Walter as being of National Interest to the United States and transferred him as a National Asset to the US on the same Visa as Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill,” appear to be nothing more than the standard EB 1-1 Visa granted to thousands of people each year. More info here:

MM_Dandy (profile) says:

No! No! No!

…everybody knows that the only right way to connect to the on-board systems is to deliver a team of “operatives” led by Steven Seagal and Kurt Russell on board an aircraft that looks like an F-117A on the outside, but is really a TARDIS by docking with the airliner in-flight.

Oh, and don’t forget, folks, that F-117A/TARDIS was invented by Mr. O’Brien himself.

David Muir (profile) says:

I don’t understand how “Based on a true story” adds value to a television show or movie. Fargo completely destroyed that idea by having such a statement at the beginning of each episode when it is clear the show is pure fiction.

In Scorpion (the TV show) the jet’s ethernet connection to the laptop in the Ferrari was crazy and illogical but it was just the most obvious example of how they’re going for a “cartoon” reality level. I won’t take it seriously, but I can still enjoy it.

The bogus claims about real life accomplishments though… those are not enjoyable at all, even though they are a complete joke.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I have yet to see a TV show or movie that’s “based on a true story” and actually bears any resemblance to the true story it’s “based” on.

You can bet there will be a bunch of made up stuff. The ones I really roll my eyes at are “inspired by a true story”. Why even mention the true story when you’re admitting this has nothing to do with it?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Just being clear here Jack. I’m going to ensure we all understand the comments about the show change nothing about the fact that the article is about the real person. Since the real person hasn’t even done just about anything he claims to gave done in real life, the stretching of truth aspect is way out the window. The show is pure fiction.

As for the show, the reality one must suspend to accept the show as good is appalling. The first episode had a gigantic plot hole. Its been discussed in the comment section ad nauseum. From what I’ve read here, the rest of the episodes haven’t gotten any more believable.

So, a fictional account that doesn’t adhere to basic understanding of technology. But aside from that, I’m sure its great.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I agree.

I’m fine if Hollywood makes up a batshit insane storyline that originated when a writer heard about something that really happened.

In fact, so long as the movie doesn’t take itself seriously as an attempt to portray something that happened or could actually happen, they can be perfectly enjoyable. Get the audience to buy into the absurdity – don’t fool them into believing it is based on reality.

zip says:

bullshittery and IQ

I agree with Mike, everything reeks of “bullshittery” – almost to the point of an obvious-to-most-everyone parody. Kind of like those late-night get-rich-quick infomercials in which sometimes it’s hard to know where to even begin trying to explain to someone why it’s such an obvious scam. But the vast majority of everything on TV is bullshit anyway, from the so-called “reality” shows to the so-called “news” – which is really more of a mix of entertainment, propaganda, and embedded advertising.

IQ tests are funny beasts. An IQ of 197 statistically translates to being in the top 99.9999999950% of people tested – or 1 in 1.5 billion. There have been people claiming IQ scores so ridiculously high that would have put them as the highest-scoring person who ever lived plus will ever live for the next hundred centuries.

OldMugwump (profile) says:

Re: late-night get-rich-quick infomercials

“late-night get-rich-quick infomercials in which sometimes it’s hard to know where to even begin trying to explain to someone why it’s such an obvious scam”

Those things are like the Nigerian 419 scammers – they’re deliberately obvious scams.

They want to filter out everyone with enough brains to give them trouble.

Sadly, if we get old enough, we’ll ally reach that mental level.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: bullshittery and IQ

Not to mention that what your IQ is affected by lots of things not connected to your intelligence, such as: which IQ test you’re taking, what mood you’re in when you take it, etc.

IQ tests are really only good for one thing: they’re reasonably good at predicting how well you’ll do in college. They’re not very good for anything else, including gauging actual intelligence.

Indeed, the very notion that intelligence can be meaningfully represented as a single number flies in the face of everything we know about intelligence.

zip says:

Re: Re: bullshittery and IQ

“Indeed, the very notion that intelligence can be meaningfully represented as a single number flies in the face of everything we know about intelligence.”

Perhaps the greatest factor in life success might be “social intelligence” – a talent that may be far beyond any kind of standardized method to test for it.

Mobius says:

Re: bullshittery and IQ

If an IQ of.197 occurs 1 in 1.5 billion people, then there are 4 people with that IQ or higher walking around Earth right now. Their shows of the four 197+ folks must be

The Kardashians,
The Fill in the Blank – Chef, Show,
Red Reddington on the Blacklist, and

Obviously, on Red Reddington is the real genius. Now that show bad ass!

No use for a name says:

100' long ethernet cable

I saw I thread on fark the other day about this and had no idea what people where talking about, it degenerated quickly into a discussion of the NCIS two geek on computer scenes (that happens in more than one episode.

Why do I care about this again, seriously if you are not watching connections your not watching anything worth watching.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Walter

What did Walter do to piss you off?

Lied to the public about accomplishments he didn’t do.

Everybody reaps what they sow. He is basically a man who promotes himself aggressively.

By lying. Reaping what you so means that when you lie, it comes out and there are consequences.

Go after Goldman Sachs or the Federal Reserve. They seriously lie to the population, Walter is small potatoes.

You must be new here. Do you not think we highlight others’ lies as well?

In the meantimes, since you’re the first person we’ve seen defending Walter, can we ask if you have any personal connection to him?

zip says:

Re: Walter

“What did Walter do to piss you off?”

Anyone with the gall to puff themselves up and parade around as some sort of genius can expect to be taken down — and hard. It’s an old tradition, and these beat-downs make for great spectator sport.

My person favorite was Aaron Barr, head of HBGary Federal, the self-proclaimed “internet security expert” who got hacked wide open and exposed as not only a malodorous character, but an idiot as well.

SwagCoffin (profile) says:

Thank you for this article

Finally, a bit of real journalism that bothered to check some references.

As you might be able to tell from my username, I am one of the posters of Reddit that is referenced in this article. I have known Walter previously, and he is the most exaggerated, ingenuous, and callous person there is. Absolutely, unequivocally, everything out of his mouth or keyboard is a lie. Many of us that knew him actually question his mental health / sanity. He has been dismissed or laid off from every job (that I know of) because of these issues.

Walter’s the type of guy who will be listening in to a conversation, and best everyone there (a topper) – except that his claims are laughably ridiculous. These are actual examples that I’ve summarized from memory (disclaimer: it’s not verbatim). I wish I was making these up –

Example 1:
“I was finally able to lift 225 lbs on the bench!!”
Walter butts in: “Hah! I can lift 500lb!”
“Can you show us some time?”
Walter: “I don’t like to show off, so no. Never.”

Example 2:
“Yeah guys I’m leaving for Vegas tomorrow, it’s going to take me 4 hours or so to get there (275 miles) so I’m going to leave a little early.”
Walter butts in: “Last time I went, I got there in 1hr in my Lotus”
“Hmm, Walter, there’s many things wrong with that statement. You got there from here in 1hr?”
Walter: “Yup. In my Lotus.”
“Walter, I won’t go into the physical impossibility of this as it speaks for itself. You know, like having to hit speeds over 500MPH to be able to average a speed of 275MPH. But forget that, let’s talk about this thing about your Lotus. You don’t have a Lotus. You have a 1988 Toyota MR2 with a spoiler and incomplete body kit (this is around 2005). If you did have a Lotus, you’d know that the whole point of Lotus is handling and NOT speed, and you’d know not to make such a comment.”
Walter visibly disturbed by this comment: “No, I mean before I moved here.”
“But, you moved to California from Ireland… WTF are you talking about??”
(Walter pulls his cell phone out of his pocket and steps away even though his cell phone never rang or buzzed)

I know I’m just some random dude on the internet and all of you are under no obligation to believe any of this, but as this fraudster is exposed for what he is in the coming days by more reputable sources, these stories will seem more believable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Thank you for this article

SwagCoffin –

You’re absolutely dead on! I’ve known Walter since his days at Capital and he’s the biggest bs’r I’ve known..

He also claims to have a $500k Lambo that looks like a put together piece of crap from a bunch of sht from the junk yard.

The fact that others have caught on to his ’embellishments’ and are calling him out, make me smile! I hate the fng prick.

DGeorge says:

Re: Thank you for this article

I know Walter and I have my own set of stories about that dude. I concur, the guy is mental.

I was his technical interviewer when he was a candidate for an open QA position at a major financial firm. He told me in the interview that he had interviewed with Bill Gates to be his Chief Software Engineer for 1.5 million a year salary, but he (Walter) turned Bill down because the position was too restrictive as to intellectual property rights.

This from a guy applying for a 80K QA position. I reported that he knew enough about QA but he was a head case and I recommended that he not be hired. I was overruled by the hiring manager.

Both she and Walter were laid off a while later.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Thank you for this article

Ha Ha. Went to University of Sussex with this guy in he early 90’s. Quickly learned to totally ignore anything he said or claimed to of done. If I remember non of his school work could be considered genius and he didn’t graduate top of the class. If you knew all that he was nice enough. All power to him for getting a show – maybe this is a good thing for all involved. Can’t think of a better source of totally unrealistic and fabricated plot lines…

Wormwoodbush (profile) says:

Re: Thank you for this article

I dated a guy like that once….wait, no I’m STILL dating a guy like that (not for much longer)! Self promotes, narcissistic personality disorder, has to top or better everyone who says anything. Claims to have vast knowledge of industries he’s had nothing to do with (like health care, I’m a nurse and he constantly tries to tell me I did something wrong, or how I could have done it better. He is mechanically gifted and can fix or build almost anything, but he can’t stop himself from bragging about that and telling you all the in-depth details over hours of mind numbing one sided conversation! Oh and he actually loves to tell everyone how smart he is and how good and wonderful he is!! I’ve never met anyone like him before

Joe says:

CBS don't care?

Surely CBS knew this guy was a scam, but wanted to have the ‘based on true story’ to get people hooked?

No idea how they’re going to run a whole season on a guy who well done nothing lol.

He aids the US government but can’t build a website? How about his youtube videos being in 240p!!

I have no doubts he scammed a couple of millions from people who ‘invested’ with him but didn’t pursue legal action thinking it was ‘lost’ in the market.

John85851 (profile) says:

Doesn't he have his own domain name?

Changing the subject slightly, what kind of “genius” doesn’t use his own domain name? Why is his site on a “” domain and and not something like “”? In fact, why didn’t this genius (and obvious millionaire) buy the “” domain name?

And obviously, if he’s such a programming genius, why is his website crap? And why don’t the pages end in a programming language, such as asp, aspx, or even php?

Or are these two ideas not part of the “413 technologies” that his team specializes in?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Doesn't he have his own domain name?

One can be a genius without having PR or aesthetic sensibilities.

“why don’t the pages end in a programming language, such as asp, aspx, or even php? “

This means nothing. There is literally no reason why pages have to have such suffixes no matter what language is used for them. In fact, when I see them, it makes me think of the site as being less professional, not more.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: What is a genius?

This is a common misunderstanding of what “genius” means. It doesn’t actually mean “really, really smart”. Many, maybe most, geniuses aren’t insanely smart. What makes someone a genius is a knack for making intuitive leaps that tend to be correct. Most geniuses are also obsessive about their fields of interest, and so they tend to be very expert in them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: What is a genius?

“Many, maybe most, geniuses aren’t insanely smart.”

But a shockingly high percentage are, indeed, “insanely smart” — as the link between insanity and intelligence is well documented.

The “mad scientist” stereotype is more than just myth, with psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and manic-depression afflicting a disproportionally large number of the highly creative and intelligent people that we tend to think of as geniuses of one sort or another.

Hello (profile) says:

Re: Re: What is a genius?

That makes a great deal of sense. I have been reflecting on the fact that a genius can fail due to absolute boredom with the subject at hand. Interest is a form of energy. The more energy, the more power to move through the information organization steps. When I have observed a genius at work, it seemed that he went through the same learning stages, just faster. I have wondered if it was simply a brain cell power situation, perhaps with the mitochondria in the brain cells. I have also reflected on the role of education in the life of a genius. A genius may be able to originate some things, but education may also play a huge part in helping a genius to truly thrive.

SwagCoffin (profile) says:

So, where's the follow-up?

Mike Masnick, are you going to be following up on O’Brien’s bullshit further like you did for the Shiva Ayyadurai inventor of email bullshit? In a sea of other news outlets just parroting his and CBS’s bullshit, Techdirt is an oasis.

Can’t wait to see the next piece on Walter O’Brien being called out!

Mike McGowan says:

IQ tests don't prove how "intelligent" you are...

…they prove how good you are at taking IQ tests.

Yes, there is often (but not always) some correlation between a high score on an IQ test and some easily-demonstrable proof of knowledge attainment and/or recall of facts and/or mathematical/linguistic ability and/or general “connection spotting” skills (rarely all of those in a single individual though it has been reported there are some people who are spectacularly adept in all these areas).

But in my personal experience with many people who score highly on IQ tests (I’m an IT/Sci-Fi/quiz geek and so are lots of my friends/colleagues/associates/acquaintances from the past 30 years, many of whom allegedly score 150+ on IQ tests) and from my extensive reading on this subject over the past 30+ years, it appears to me that in many cases (impossible (for me at least at the current time) to quantify precisely since nobody has ever published (which probably means there’s never been) a long-term, repeated study on a large enough scale to provide figures which could reasonably be considered truly meaningful) it simply cannot be shown reliably that a person who scores 170 on an IQ test is significantly smarter than a person who ONLY scores 140, though of course in many cases it may be possible to demonstrate that they’re vastly more capable/knowledgeable in one or more specific areas.

Larissa says:

Best article and comments ever!

After watching the first episode I wanted to know if the hacking into NASA story was true. I’m no techie but I sounded too far fetched. I said “bullshit” out loud while watching the plane, ferrari, ethernet cable scene. I love a good action sequence but that was way beyond my suspension of disbelief capabilities. The comments on this post are hilarious and more entertaining than the show itself!

Jonathan says:

Complete Shit

Alright first off you have no evidence to support your argument. You only used quotes to support the other side of your argument. Secondly why the fuck would someone go through all this trouble just to fucking lie. And all your quotes were from the same sources I found mine. You literally just searched his name

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:



Call him ‘Scorp.’ His dog is O’Brian.


He didn’t start anything. Mike Masnick wrote the article and he definitely started some reality fact checks.


No. No, it doesn’t. When making up shit on the Internet and you’re wrong it doesn’t create a rule for everyone else.


Time to go back to therapy.

I find discussing things with disconnected individuals just not very fun. It gives me no joy; they think we’re having a conversation; in reality (the real reality, not the one in the disconnected person’s mind) there will never be a meeting of the minds.

I wish you well. Hit caps-lock once to return to lower-case.


sharon says:

get a grip

Why can’t people just enjoy something whether it is real, based on fact or an actual story or pure bullshit. The acting is more than decent & there is a lot of humor in the show. Parts about the autistic child Ralph seem to depict real life issues.
So again get a grip let this be a show with acting & not a stupid reality show, depicting supposed real life bullshit!!

Sitric O'Toole says:

Re: get a grip

Hey Sharon,

No one here, or over on the follow up article, is talking about the quality of the T.V. show.

We’re talking about a charlatan who has lied to the world about serious issues.

e.g. Saying his software was used to kill 2600 people in the gulf war. See his interview at techmanity. And there is a plethora more.

You are either trolling, or part of CBS propaganda team trying to deflect from Walter O’Brien’s made up life.

James Weddle (user link) says:

Liberty Valance anyone?

Bummer to hear O’Brien isn’t the real deal, apparently. Good luck slowing CBS’s roll tho’ because, as the quote from Liberty Valance states, ‘…When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” Hollywood loves a good legend.

Side note: My son, who has Aspie’s, not only loves the show but emotionally requested that we watch the first episode together. He wanted to show me how hard it is for him to understand/communicate with “the normals”. Ultimately, I could give a s*** if Hollywood or O’Brien “gets away with it.” A) It’s what they do, B) the legend has merit in my world.

AJ says:

Inconsistancies in your article

I know you think you are being a good investigative journalist, but you are twisting a lot of facts. #1. The website you linked is from a defunct Ireland Online (an even crappier cousin of AOL) account. You gave a webarchive address “in case he takes it down” but the simple fact is, that site hasn’t been on the web since 2005. It was last updated in 2002. What did YOUR website look like in 2002? Probably like it was made on Geocities. The current website, , should be more to your “professional” standard. #2. The letter from Steven Messino. Have you, or anyone ever tried to contact him to see if the letter was fake? You seem to enjoy implying that it is. #3. If the guy exaggerated who gives a crap? He was a computer programmer looking for a job. Tell me you didn’t exaggerate on your resume to make yourself look better. Or throughout this entire article, for that matter.

Look, I get that you are into technology. I get that if Walter O’Brien is a fake, you want to expose him. Everyone would. However, doing so by misrepresenting evidence is actionable (libel), and kinda just makes you a douche. Do more investigation, write another article with real facts, actual verifiable research, and I will be glad to read it. Otherwise, gonna have to send you to jelly school.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Inconsistancies in your article

#1. The website you linked is from a defunct Ireland Online (an even crappier cousin of AOL) account. You gave a webarchive address “in case he takes it down” but the simple fact is, that site hasn’t been on the web since 2005. It was last updated in 2002. What did YOUR website look like in 2002? Probably like it was made on Geocities. The current website, , should be more to your “professional” standard.

First, that site is, in fact, still on the web, that’s how it was found. Second, he claimed that by 2002 it was a massive business that had been around since 1988. I know what websites of similar businesses looked like in 2002 — and it wasn’t like that. Third, our website in 2002 looked like this: And we were a 1 man operation at the time. The business side looked like this: I’d argue that both are a hell of a lot more professional than Walter’s at that age, but we weren’t pretending to be a giant multibillion dollar business built on saving the world. Fourth, we do discuss his current website and it’s a joke. It’s all meaningless buzzwords and empty content.

#2. The letter from Steven Messino. Have you, or anyone ever tried to contact him to see if the letter was fake? You seem to enjoy implying that it is

I don’t think the letter is fake. I think Walter is ridiculous in pretending that Messino is the founder of Sun Microsystems. He’s not. He joined many years after the company was founded, long after the company was public, and he was a middle-level manager. It just shows Walter’s exaggerating (extremely).

#3. If the guy exaggerated who gives a crap? He was a computer programmer looking for a job. Tell me you didn’t exaggerate on your resume to make yourself look better.

Yes. But that’s not what he’s doing now. Now he’s claiming to be the 4th smartest man in the world, who has saved countless lives, stopped wars, caught terrorists and the like — and he’s asking people to give him money. Lots of it. Don’t you think it’s worth exploring the details of whether or not he’s an honest individual? If he was still a young 20-something looking for a job, you’d have a point. But he’s not.

Or throughout this entire article, for that matter.

Feel free to point out anything we actually got wrong.

However, doing so by misrepresenting evidence is actionable (libel), and kinda just makes you a douche.

Would you like me to school you on defamation law, as well? Because you’re wrong.

Do more investigation, write another article with real facts, actual verifiable research, and I will be glad to read it.

Here you go:

Sean Timmons (profile) says:

Re: Re: Inconsistancies in your article

I’m sorry but someone should have given Mr. Masnick the biggest high five ever for this. I mean, he owned that comment so freaking hard!!! Read his rebuttal again and just bask in its brilliance. I wish I could see AJ’s face as he closed his browser promising himself he would never return to the scene of the crime.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:


Seriously, troll, learn to spell.

Look, I get it, you want to be clever.

Instead you’re illiterate, rambling, nonsensical, make claims offering nothing to support them, and in all other ways show yourself to be a moron.

It’s ok to be a moron. Just don’t expect to convince anyone that everyone else is wrong.

Cheers and all that, or whatever you morons sign your letters with when you’re in RealityLand™.


Aerokossa (profile) says:

Re: Scorpian

Agreed. Who cares if its true or not. TV and Movies have LONG since the 60s lied about truths to sell a tv show or movie as real life. Cannibal Holocaust, Guinea Pig 2, The entire Faces of Death Series, and thats just the early fake snuff films people thought were based on truth. And more recent one that started it all again, Blair Witch Project, a movie that had a fake website that made claims to its truth more than a year before the movie came out, and the list goes on. Its Entertainment People. Dont get me wrong, the article is interesting, but to have done so much research on this just to prove its wrong seems like a huge waste of time to me because since the first few episodes I could clearly tell it wasnt based on a true story. I did think there were some truths to the story but it was clearly not all true. In fact even some of the movies and tv shows that are claimed to be true stories and are even in the history books have some serious exaggerations to the story lines and some lies to make it for a better movie or series. That is what hollywood does. The make ENTERTAINMENT. You want history. Watch the History Channel, or go read some books. Dont look for prime time tv series for history. Thats just stupid. Now Im going to go read the article about the email thing that is mentioned in this article. Hope its more entertaining than this one. And sorry if anyone is offended by what I had to say. Not sorry for saying it, just sorry you are offended.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Re: Re: Illiterate non-apology

You’re not sorry anyone’s offended by your illiterate offtopic rant. You’re just trying to claim your privileged status to spew on public forums because you feelz your opinionz are more important than the topic being discussed.

You are wrong.

Next time you feel like opining off-topic and spewing on a public forum, knowing you’re wrong in doing so, and pretending it’s ok because your narcissistic attitude of “not caring about others’ opinions” somehow makes that right…


just don’t.

Now go slink off into the sewer from whence you came.

P.S. If any of the words I used upset you, or triggered you, or micro-triggered you, just read them again.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

It's not about the show


What the point of the article you didn’t read is is that it is being hyped as TRUE and the news critters from that same network are hyping him up as TRUE and he’s using his fame from these false praises to drum up business for his FAKE company.

Names left out to give them less exposure.

I’m sorry if it’s TLDR to read the article, but when you go to the effort to comment on it, at least have the decency to know what you’re commenting on. And no, it’s not “the last five shiny words that got my attention”, it’s the whole article.


DJ says:


I think the guy who wrote the above article is a tad bit jeleous that the show is doing so well. People are tired of the same old “reality” shows that are swamping TV. They want a bit of escapeism and they get it with this show. The characters are likeable, they have flaws, and they don’t exactly fit in with the normal crowd. Kind of like The Big Bang Theory, but with more action. I’ll keep watching and Mr. Masnick can keep writing his drivel until he finds a real job.

Evan says:

WOB Email Addresses...

I’d be very interested in knowing why 13 different email addresses clearly related/belonging to WOB are attached to a man known as Dustin Cook living in TX. WOB falsely claims to own a Lamborghini Countach in his Adam Carolla interview (hence the countach addys), and is a verified WOB email address. The other 11 are all related to the scorpon/countach addresses as well. Very interesting…

Bill says:


Really? You research and then write an article on whether Walter O’Brien is a fake? That’s the best you have to spend your time doing. Dude, it’s a TV show for crying out loud ! Who really cares about Walter O’Brien? If the show is entertaining, then great. If not, so what? Either way, 99.99% of the people watching the show will never actually know who or what the real Walter O’Brien is.

Sean Timmons (profile) says:

Re: scorpion

OK, since you didn’t read the entire article and completely ignored all of the comments, allow me to reply to you.

This article is about Walter O’Brien. This article is NOT about a television show.

This article shows theultiple lies told by Walter O’Brien. Walter O’Brien is attempting to use this false information to sell products.

This article does exactly what it should, digging (and it didn’t even take a ton of research) into the claims made by this individual on his own web site.

Clearly, the only reason you are reading this is because you saw the guys name and got excited. Feel free to read all of the coents, some of them from former coworkers of his. Then you may understand why the article was written.

Feel free to complain about my method of reply as well.

Bill says:

Re: Re: scorpion

I apologize for accidentally stumbling on this article and incurring the wrath of the truly haunted souls who reside in this space!

What is the obsession you guys have about correcting other people’s views about this article? Like it or not, IT IS ABOUT THE TV SHOW! If it weren’t for the TV show no one would be reading this article in the first place.

What you odd folk don’t seem to get is, several of us are saying that we don’t really care about O’Brien personally or how he is milking the publicity from this show. It doesn’t matter. If people are taken in by him, that’s on them.

I don’t usually make comments or get into discussions with people on the Internet. This particular article prompted a comment because it seemed to me that the writer and a lot of the commentators were caught up in a really worthless discussion. Now it seems I too have joined up with a bunch of pathetic people who really need to find something useful to do with their time! My bad.


nasch says:

Re: Re: Re: scorpion

Like it or not, IT IS ABOUT THE TV SHOW!

That depends on what you mean by “about”. If you mean that it includes some mention of the TV show, then yes, that is true. If you mean that the main topic of the article is the show, then no. You may have even noticed that the headline doesn’t mention the show.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: scorpion

What is the obsession you guys have about correcting other people’s views about this article? Like it or not, IT IS ABOUT THE TV SHOW! If it weren’t for the TV show no one would be reading this article in the first place.

That is simply not true, Bill. Techdirt ran a couple of articles about a guy who makes the claim he invented email and that guy doesn’t have a TV show.

As has been repeated, ad nauseam, in the article itself and in the comment sections – it’s not about the show, it’s about a real life person lying about their real life credentials and the achievements of a real life company.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:


I’m very sad.

I have friends with challenged children.

They can’t read.

Like you.

It’s not about whether fictional shows are entertaining. It’s whether real people pretend this is real and then try to have real careers based on that fictional.

Fictional shows are great. Let them say what they will.

Trying to use those to pretend this IDIOT is either a genius (he’s not) or help his career (he’s an IDIOT) or hire him (he’s an IDIOT) or help him out…

That’s retarded. Oops. I used the R-word. Sorry, Bill, you’re retarded.


Bill says:

Re: Sadness

Mr. Gavron,
I am astonished by your comments on my commentary. You call me retarded. You call other people names in this thread. You criticize people left and right. You are an angry soul! You need to do something with your life rather than spending time arguing with strangers on the Internet.

You have some unresolved issues that you need to get help with. Clearly you need to call attention to yourself and want people to think you are smart. But the way you are doing it doesn’t accomplish that. Instead you are coming across as belligerent and unintelligent (which you are!).

Get some help.


Ehud Gavron (profile) says:


One cannot apologize for others’ behavior. When one issues an apology it should be for the hurt one has caused others.

I understand you presume to tell Techdirt writers, editors, and readers what appropriate topics are and that this doesn’t fit the Bill Standard. Looks like all the other commenters disagree.

“I don’t usually make comments or get into discussions…”
Better to be thought an ass than open your mouth and be proven one.


Bill says:

Re: Apologies

Apparently you have not read my response to you personally that was sent on October 21 at 5:59pm.

You need help sir and quickly. Clearly you have some anger management issues that need attention immediately. If you don’t, you are likely to become a danger to yourself and others.

I suspect that most of your family and friends are concerned about this issue. I also suspect that you are already alienated from some of them.

It is not my intention to be hurtful, just helpful.

In the meantime, I need to say good-bye to this very strange group of people. There are now even more odd fellows taking me on as if I were attacking Abraham Lincoln or motherhood! The problem is that you are all so myopic in your perception of things, you do not comprehend what you are reading.

I actually do have a real life and I will get back to it.
It’s been a hoot!


Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Apologies

In the meantime, I need to say good-bye to this very strange group of people.

Ummm, you are one the giving armchair psychiatric diagnoses to someone you’ve never met across the internet, yet we are the “strange” ones. OK, whatever.

There are now even more odd fellows taking me on as if I were attacking Abraham Lincoln or motherhood!

Nope, not taking you on, just correcting your ill-conceived misconceptions.

The problem is that you are all so myopic in your perception of things, you do not comprehend what you are reading.

You the one who thinks this entire article and all the comments are about the TV show, when in reality it’s not at all and we are ones with reading comprehension problems? Okie dokey, Bill, got it.

I actually do have a real life and I will get back to it.

So do I, Bill, I have a wife, kids, grandkids, a house and a job. Not really sure what that has to do with anything though.

It’s been a hoot!

Not really, but have a nice life anyways. 🙂

YES (profile) says:

What the hell is wrong with the people on here I WAS IN HIS CLASS IN SCHOOL HE DID GO TO THE OLYMPICS.HOW IS IT FAIR FOR YOU TO SAY HES FULL OF SHIT AND PUT UP STORIES ON HERE WITH OUT GIVING HIM A CHANCE TO SAY NO THATS MOT TRUE OR YES IT IS.Walter has helped friends of mine who’s companies where in desperate need of help with some things and has not asked for a single cent

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Literacy is a lost art


It’s fair is that this isn’t Walter’s web page so nobody has to wait for his say so to write about him. If you were in his class in school or he in yours, clearly his “genius” couldn’t possibly include high-school level English writing. It also lacks understanding of fairness, right to free speech, and not being a douche on the Internet.

Walter has helped friends of mine who’s companies where in desperate need of help with some things and has not asked for a single cent

Ah, my congratulations for locating the lit-up button labeled “Caps Lock” and having the wherewithal to press it. No, you have no friends who’s[sic] companies were helped by Walter. Mostly because you have no friends that own companies, and secondly because Walter is a scam. Occam’s Razor and all that…


Yes, that begrudgery is a horrible horrible business. Got it once while in the bush. Fortunately some ointment makes it all go away, just like you. (Note: for it to be begrudgery, the moron being discussed must actually have an enviable success… and that’s not the case with Dear Ol’ Lying Walter.)

As for “ID[sic] BACK OFF NOW” I suggest that you do, in fact, back off now. All the way off the nearest cliff. You’ve already fallen far off the cliff of literacy or making yourself understood [to be anything other than a troll jerk].

In case you think I’m mot serious, I mot certainly am.


Sean Timmons (profile) says:

What I'd love to know

Is how much of the crazy ass stuff on the show is what he believes is reality. I admit to watching the show and it’s gotten quite humorous. Something something old computers. Only one person can perform an update. Programmers are terrible it seems.

OK, let Mr stop talking about the show before I get another nutjob fired up.

Guy is a douche. Heard him

Don't Even Waste Your Time, Replying, Because I Wo says:

I find all the comments on this page..

I have to say that I find all the comments on this page that are hell-bent are thrashing and disapproving of this show, to be quite sad, because honestly, it’s pathetic to watch as this lonely people come on here and complain, complain, and complain some more. You think that because you don’t think that it is a good show, it should be taken off? Ha, no. There is a theory called being “well-rounded” so these stuck-up pricks who are too busy doing just the opposite need to get off their asses and live a little. I am so tired of seeing the bullshit complaints and not actual “criticism” like criticism as what to improve upon to, together make the show better.

This world is fucked.

If You Complain, Don’t Condone ANYTHING ELSE.

nasch says:

Re: I find all the comments on this page..

I have to say that I find all the comments on this page that are hell-bent are thrashing and disapproving of this show, to be quite sad, because honestly, it’s pathetic to watch as this lonely people come on here and complain, complain, and complain some more.

I find all the comments on this page hell-bent on defending the show to be quite sad, because honestly, it’s pathetic to watch as these people are incapable of understanding what an article is about. Oops, I wasn’t supposed to reply.

Sean Timmons (profile) says:

Re: Re: I find all the comments on this page..

Can I reply to your reply? I feel like we have been trapped on an infinite loop!

Now, everyone… You are not allowed to state that the logic used in the show is flawed. That makes you a horrible human being. You should ensure you are going outside and spending time with your famioies instead of spending five minutes a day writing responses to inane statements.

I wish I didn’t have this dysfunction that makes me feel the need to see accurate information. I’ll begin accepting incorrect beliefs and add some new Facebook friends.

Sean Timmons (profile) says:

Re: "Why don't you all get a life"

I’m going to take the heat on this one. I couldn’t help myself earlier and asked a question about the show. I apologize who heartedly. I gave them an inch. All it takes.

Oh.. Wait.. Let me see if this works…

If you see this message, you must post this article to your Facebook account five times in five days or you will die in some as yet decided naaty accident.

There. This thread is officially dead.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

VPNs make circuits have bigger bandwidth capacities

This one time, I needed to transfer medical results from an on-site exam machine to a doctor to save a patient’s life. The patient held critical national-security information that he just acquired from a recently-deceased enemy combatant. He had to survive to give us the intel.

1.544Mbps (1.536Mbps for transport) would not have sufficed. So we brought up an L2 VPN and cross-scripted side-vector downloads to get the data to the doctor stat. That guy lived. The data got to our spooks. That’s how I roll. Scorpion.

Real WOB says:

Re: VPNs make circuits have bigger bandwidth capacities

No no no Ehud. How many times have we gone over this? If you use a 1.544Mbps line then you risk overheating his syncopated 1.44Mb floppy drive. It has to be a 10/100 Mbps ethernet cord dropped from a moving plane to prevent loss of packets otherwise the BIOS will infect the ROM and unintentionally fry the flux-capacitor.

Now that that’s been covered …
I Walter O’Brien approve this article.

Sean Timmons (profile) says:

Re: Get over it

OK. At this point you are officially stupid. The article and the comments regarding the article have been so incredibly clear in stating that this is not about the show. This is about the man claiming to be a tech expert and selling his services in, like, for realels life. You clearly have the fifth highest IQ ever recorded.

somelad says:

Walter OBrien

I went to school with him in Ireland for two years when he was 13. He was no genius…was only modest academically. We all lived in a very rural area….there was no phone line in his homne which I visited many times and no way of connecting to any outside computer. I knew his brother slightly as well. I remember his as being prone to flights of fantasy and wild boasts which were easily disproved…..seems nothing has changed!

Anonymous Coward says:


Wow, 6 weeks on, and this thread still has legs.

I think I see why. I just Googled “Walter O’Brien” & “scorpion” and this Techdirt page is the third site listed.

Though personally I prefer the other page’s title, “The Mythical And Almost Certainly Made Up ‘Legend’ Of Walter O’Brien Continues To Grow” — even if the “almost” part is provably untrue.

Does anyone think there’s any chance that this pathological liar will ever come clean and admit it was all a gigantic fraud?

Herc67 (profile) says:

Walter O'Brian

It’s a Television show! Do you disect shows like “Once Upon a Time” also. TV is produced to sell commercial air time and somewhere down the line for people to enjoy after a hard day. CBS makes some of the best entertainment shows on Network TV. I love NCIS, do you want to tear that apart also. Most television shows based “On Real People” have little more to do with reality than a name or a concept. If you pick them all apart what is left to enjoy. The Scorpion Web Page is obviously made to help generate interest in the SHOW!!! Not the other way around. TV producers often make up Web Sites to help sell a program. Do you “‘Believe” everything you read on the Internet. If so you have bigger problems than Walter O’Brian’s qualifications to have a show based on his “life”. If people didn’t like to suspend reality and enjoy an action based dramady they would not be able to sell the Air Time to make the show profitable. It is profitable because people enjoy it. Not because they are looking to hire Walter O’Brian or even care about the real O’Brian, but because of the story’s and action. I’ll bet you don’t like Magic Shows either, not because you don’t believe in Magic, but because you can’t believe the “Magician’s Patter”.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

No it's not a television show

> It’s a Television[sic] show

No it’s not.

> Do you disect[sic]…

No nobody does.

> ….also[sic

No not that either.

> interest in the SHOW[sic]!!!
Seriously learn to write past a third-grade level.

> If people didn’t like to suspend reality…

Honestly if you really mean suspension of disbelief you should focus your illiterate self on that.

Between Walter “I’m an idiot” Scorpion OBrien and you this is just ridiculous.

Nobody gives a rat’s ass about the show. Only idiots have read this far and didn’t quite catch that. It’s about Walter being a lying scumbag make believe genius. He’s exactly that. A make believe genius.

It’s ok. The more people keep making this a current story the more it will continue. I can’t wait for another of Walter’s friends to chime in and ask why I still care (because the truth wants to be set free, and it shall be, so there you go).


Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Mom had pride.

Mr Timmons — seeing as you’ve joined here and all your ten posts have been in defense of Walter “Not a Genius” O’Brian I suspect that your threat to respond calling everyone else idiots is a waste of your time.

In my very humble opinion Walter O’Brian is a fraud, a charalatan, an idiot, and trades on a reputation he neither owns, deserves, earned, nor merits. As I said earlier, I love that trolls like you continue this “discussion.” It only leads to trending stories about the NOT-A-GENIUS Walter O’Brian continuing to top the google charts.

And it makes techdirt advertising money. About the only way this would be any more delicious is if the fraud himself showed up sceaming “I am not stupid!!! I’m a genius, I am! Mom told me when I was seven.”

Sadly, mom lied.


Sean Timmons (profile) says:

Re: Mom had pride.

So,not for nothing but all of my comments have been to those who claim that this article is about the show. I know it can be confusing when reading the comments as they are displayed by default. View my comments in thread and perhaps it will help clarify who I’ve been addressing each time. Just saying… I’ve been saying he’s a scam artist of a human being. Not making yourself look good attacking someone who’s been agreeing with you the entire time.

Walter James O'Brien (no, really) (user link) says:

Eccentric genius does not make IT work, busting a sweat and working together does

I have not had a TV since 1986; in looking for available URL’s already taken for my name I happened across this posting then took a look at the previews for the show on YouTube.

Some people may have a predisposition toward higher achievement in specific fields but there is nothing in History to point to genius as having any social or economic value. Smart is as smart does: even great scientific breakthroughs were and still are a product more of dozens or even thousands of people working together rather than individual achievement. Whenever an honest high achiever gets an award in public the first words out of their mouth is “I would like to thank all the people who made this possible but we do not have the time tonight to list them all.”

I have an older sister and little brother now fully grown with their own families who made a penny or two in IT and they are bright but their fortunes were made through aeons of relentlessly cheerful hard work and through working with others (both started out in the Eighties working for H. Ross Perot’s EDS and are now independent consultants).

It is baffling to me why the focus is on an Irish personality as opposed to American. My guess is that in the phone book there are squillions of Walter O’Briens so it makes life easier for the studio legal section as people can and do sue if they do not like how their names are used in movies and TV. Trinity College in Dublin has a wonderful IT incubator but compared to any “cowtown” university in the USA it is no great shakes.

I think the show looks like a complete bore along the lines of the old show McGiver or how ever it was spelled but TV shows are there to sell soap flakes, beer, cars and toys at Xmas.

Most firms concerned with solving critical Federal IT issues are like Data Solutions and Technology Inc. in Charlottesville, Va. & elsewhere.

These types of firms are unerringly stable, non-eccentric, pleasant to work with even under stress, and not given to grandstanding or hunting for a magic bullet. Their main concern is on doing things right the first time.

I do not know why the focus is not on how the business of hacking and coding is actually done as I know a few next-to-the-metal coders and they are brilliant as a rule though again genius is not the word which is relevant but rather thoughtful and hard-working.

My work is in construction cost estimating for power plant projects and I also do production line economics for machined metal parts for Federal contractors but small family owned businesses are my focus rather than going after the big fish. IT is a bit far afield for me but it does not appear to be a haven for eccentrics as the show seems to present itself as being.

Everyone I know in the IT field is solid as a rock in their personal lives as much as is possible today. I do not think it is fair nor accurate to portray them as being off-the-wall.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Met Scorpion's people today

> Red Reddington is the real genius. Now that show bad ass!

AMEN to that!!!

I stopped at a traffic light earlier and a guy came over to wipe my window. I could tell from his shirt that he was a part of the Scorpions team.

There were a lot of cars idling and some driving so it was hard to hear but this is how the conversation appeared to me:

I asked him how it was to work with them – “How do you like Scorpion?”

He told me “Scorpion’s in Iraq, Man!” He seemed awfully excited about that.

I said “Is he working out there?”

“Yeah working out here!”

I asked if he liked his job “Do you love your work?”

“Yes I would love to work!”

The light having turned, I said goodbye and drove away. He must have felt his cover was blown because later when I went through the same intersection, he wasn’t there.

Scorpions rock, man.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That’s awesome. I have a 229 IQ. Jealous?

If you are bullied for being a smug a hole, you deserve it. If you think the ability to think makes you better than other people, you are the problem.

Anyway, this entire article is about the man not the show. He is a liar and a fraud. Walter OBrien is clearly no smarter than me. Too bad I didn’t send an email to a producer. Guess I should have done the wrong thing.

Choc11 (profile) says:

Am I the only one who sees how much free pub this asinine show is getting? This whole thread and all these articles and tweets and comments trying to disprove how smart this dude is, or how made up all his idiotic claims are just promotes his show for free.
I don’t care if his IQ is 197 or not. I can tell you he’s smart enough to get all of you to talk about him and the TV show that he makes money on for FREE!

Wake up people! Yes he lied. Yes the TV show is not based on a true story. Yes his bank account gets bigger the more “research” you all do to debunk his story. He is a “genius” and you all help him prove it every time he cashes a check!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If you think people are going on the internet to research Walter O’Brien and finding out from this site that a show exists, I have bad news for you.

If you were to read the comments above, you’d notice the vast majority are people who have already watched the show. Many stopped after realizing the incredibly insulting (to those with a technological bent) scenarios being presented.

So, no. I’m not concerned that this article exists. Perhaps you will join us in providing facts to the general population.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

That's just fine

We don’t care about the show. If it does well, that’s awesome! So many people getting paid and not out of work. No worries.

Walter O’Brien’s lies is a different topic. That’s getting lots of press. That shouldn’t hurt the show. If it hurts Walter’s ability to con clients, that’s a public service.

Now I have to go dangle an Ethernet cord from my boat into the ocean to save self-booting laser sharks.

Randi Ellen Zeff (profile) says:


I love the show, the last show on the 15th, I really found it hard to sit still, I don’t really care about Walter O’Brien, I just wanted to find out who Walter O’Brien was, I would imagine he is getting paid for doing this, I also would imagine a lot of research goes into their shows, at least I would think so, the last show about inserting a tube into that little boys arm and telling him not to breath and he could get oxygen, which I really would find remarkable that anyone would not breath even if they were getting oxygen through their veins if they were conscientious, do they research that to see if that is even possible?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Scorpion

Honestly, no. Extensive research us not done. Otherwise claiming the story is based on real events would not have gotten past first steps of research.

That said… Reddit has multiple people discussing this particuoar episode and though they don’t even bother asking if the method of blood cycling would work, I can help with this point…

If one receives merely a single bubble of air into their veins they die. It happens often enough. This this episode is not believable.

However, though you do have questions about the show and I am happy to refute items that are obviously falsified, please do keep in mind that the article above is about the man, not the show.

You did prove my point that folks come here after seeing the show, so I do appreciate that. If you wanted to know about the man the show is supposed to be based upon, please do read the article above.

It is definitely one thing to watch the show for what it is, a TV show. No argument there. To add the layer of “truth” is sort of like saying all those shows on TruTV aren’t setups. Know the show is not reality and we can all high five over it.

Ramdi Ellen Zeff (profile) says:


Sorry, but it is you who are keeping him alive, who cares what he does, the show is excellent, it is too bad he has any part in it but like anything at all, the bigger deal you make of him the bigger deal he is, sorry for my spelling error, I was in the middle of something else……I thought I hit the other button…..


gogo says:


When was the last time you fucking saw a realistic tv show.
Also i bet your just jelous of him i could just tell by your sentence construction that your IQ is nowhere near his, so please do me a favor and shut the fuck up, and the day you achieve something that is willing of making a show about then and only then can you talk shit. Thank you
yours sincerely, Fuck Off

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Scorp supports show their IQs

Walter O’Brien makes up stuff about his history. His clients should research him before they pay him. That’s my honest opinion, and it seems to be shared by everyone else except his illiterati fans.

That being said I’m so jelous[sic] about anything you say that I’m willing of[sic] making a show about then[sic] bwahahahahaha!

Humor was missing from this discussion of the fact that Walter O’Brien is a fraud. Thank you for keeping the discussion alive.


Randi Ellen Zeff (profile) says:


Before I leave this ridiculous conversation with you very rude people let me leave you with some humor; I don’t care if Walter O’Brien is a fraud or not BUT someone believed him enough to make a tv show about him and PAY him probably a great deal of money that they are NOT paying any of you so keep at it and keep putting him down all you want, I am going to keep watching the show and maybe a lot of other people will also and he is going to keep making money that you are all NOT going to be. I BELIEVE YOU ALL ARE JEALOUS!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL!

Sean Timmons (profile) says:

Re: Scorpion

So since you aren’t him, what is your intetest in keeping him rich?

Of course all besides the point. We’ve tried and tried to make sense but it seems you lack it.

One more time people. This is not about some TV show. If you read the article, hard is may be to read, you will see it is about the human being. It is in everyone’s best interest to know true things about others. TV shows come and go and let’s face it, no one knows how much he makes off the show, if anything.

He doesn’t write the shows and he clearly doesn’t know much about how tech works. There is no jealousy to be had. Just facts. If you don’t like facts why did you look up a story about him? Oh. Hm. Caught in your own pointless web.

Merry Christmas to you too!

Oh and thank you for keeping this article at the top of Google searches. People are learning.

Randi Ellen Zeff (profile) says:


I am very nice, how do you think I got here, I came to read about the man, somewhere I did read he consults on the show, that would tell me, he probably does get paid something also, this show revolves around him and Scorpion. That’s it, yes, people die from air bubbles everyday, I am very much aware of that, air bubbles was not what I was asking about. I will, obviously, have to either find my answer on the internet or consult with a friend in the medical field. I do not want to discuss the tv show, I do not care who likes it or does not, if he is a fraud so be it, I am NOT hiring him and I agree, people should do their homework and not hire him on the basis of a tv ahow, I am not disagreeing with anything what has been said here, each and everytime, I have said, I don’t care, I just like the show, is that a crime, I find you people extremely rude, again, this is how I ended up here, trying to learn about the man, I get updates from tv guide regarding when it is on, if it is new and what it is about, thank you for all your time, I have 4 grandchildren to attend to right now, they need gifts. Have a very happy holiday.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Scorpion

It looks like the confusion here is all related to how this site’s comments are formatted. It can be hard to tell who is replying to whom.

That said, I was thanking you for making my point to another poster who indicated that our discussion on this thread would help the shows ratings. You helped me make my point to them by stating that you came here after watching the show.

That said, you have consistently contradicted yourself. You said,

“I don’t care if Walter O’Brien is a fraud or not”

“I don’t really care about Walter O’Brien, I just wanted to find out who Walter O’Brien was”

” this is how I ended up here, trying to learn about the man”

So which is it?

You initially asked if the tubing thing was possible, which is a TV Walter O’Brien, question, not a real Walter O’Brien question.

Thus, you are asking that question on the wrong web page. Much like going to food networks site and asking for the differences between SQL Server and Teradata.

Now, I will do you a kindness and provide you with links to articles that have nothing whatsoever to do with the subject at hand.

Randi Ellen Zeff (profile) says:


You are right, I did contradict myself, I wanted to know more about Walter O’Brien that is why I came here, I was curious, if he really had that high of an IQ, etc., that was it, the fact that he is a fraud, so I learned something about the man, am I disappointed, not really. I guess, I did ask the wrong question here, thank you for helping me out and being so KIND. It was my first visit here.

Hasan Hussein says:

Einstien's I.Q.

The opening claim that Einstein had an IQ of 160 is an estimate and not from actual testing. This estimate is historically accurate.
One of Einstein’s close personal friends –and I forget his name– was president of the American Philosophical Society and a vigorous critic of I.Q. tests. This should be easy to find in a biography.
So when Einstein did take an I.Q. test, he deliberately marked incorrect answers and his “score” came out at about 80.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Einstein's I.Q.

Walter O’Brien is a fraud and uses made up credentials to get paid by real-life clients who don’t know he’s a fraud. This article up top is about Walter O’Brien the fraud.

This article is NOT ABOUT THE SHOW.
Nobody is discussing THE SHOW.

So “the opening claim” has nothing to do with Walter O’Brien and is just whatever passes for television these days.

NOBODY cares about THE SHOW here. The article is about the man.

Let me know if you missed that.


John Burke (profile) says:

The zipper on the monster costume

I’m great at suspending disbelief. I am able to overlook some of the most far-fetched insults to science and common sense in the interest of being entertained, especially for the sake of classic hero-villain stories. As a kid I was easily able to ignore the zipper on the monster costume. Some things, though, I just can’t ignore, as when Arnold survived nearly zero atmosphere in “Total Recall.” That scene ruined the whole otherwise-equally-implausible flick! The fake claims by the real Walter O’Brien have done the same thing for the TV series, which I will promptly delete from TiVo. For sure I would have been able to look the other way if CBS had only peddled it as fantasy. The characters are affable enough and the episodes fun, but the key character is now a glaring fake!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The zipper on the monster costume

I must wanted to commend you sir.

This has been a pretty glaring issue and for some reason folks come to this board and defend the show because it’s just a show. He is quite the abysmal human being and I just don’t know whether the network people don’t know or don’t care.

At some point we have to start expecting “reality” to be just that. The blurring of lines just gives me the heebees!

I’m off to watch something more believable – Doctor Who. 🙂

Randi Ellen Zeff (profile) says:


It is a tv show, like every other tv show, the only difference is it says, inspired by someone’s life, does anyone watch any of those NCIS shows, I only like one, seems tv is taken up by those, what is up with those, Person of Interest, my all time
favorite, a show, although, ahead of its time, A TV SHOW, that is what Scorpion is, I like it, a lot of people do, believable? Someone should give them some guns already, they put them in these situations that are extremely dangerous with NO weapons, that pisses me off, but it is a TV SHOW………

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Scorpion

You continue to be the problem here. I know you’re stupid at this point. You’ve proven it by now. You’ve ignored every single person who has told you the article is about the real human being. He does exist and these are his claims… That he has a 197 IQ. That he created a program that was used to bomb people in Iraq. That he was important in finding the Boston bombers. Amongst other things. This human being said these things.

If he did not have a TV show you would likely never have read this article. But if he made these claims as part of a conference, I bet the article would still have been written. Presumably you enjoy the show. Go watch it. No one cares.

Think of it another way. Gee, Bill Cosby sure looks like he raped some people. I don’t remember that episode! Right, because we aren’t talking about the TV show. We’re talking about real life. Get it? I’m sure you don’t.

Randi Ellen Zeff (profile) says:

Annoymous Coward


Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

This isn't about Bill Cosby, just that poser O'Brien

Walter O’Brien is a fraud. He makes up stuff and pretends he did any of it and then gets people to hire him based on that.

This article discusses Walter O’Brien — the fraud. Feel free to keep bringing it to the top of search engine results. It won’t change the facts. Walter O’Brien is still a fraud.

Bill Cosby as a fraud is being discussed here:

I know it’s confusing that “different URLs” lead to “different articles” that discuss “different subjects” but try and pay attention and see if you can grok the concept.

This article is about Walter O’Brien — the fraud.

Thanks for helping keep it at the top of the search rankings.

Take your Bill Cosby opinion solicitation elsewhere, sweetheart.


Randi Ellen Zeff (profile) says:


Oh, let it go already, if the two of YOU would let it diseapper, it would, it is YOU and your attitudes that bring me back. I don’t know what gives you the right to speak to people like they are trash. Who the hell do you think you are. What makes you better than anyone else, where does this come from. Did you have terrible childhoods. Your IQ’s are higher than everyone else’s? Even if they were, that still would not give you the right. Let it die and it will die, why does this man bother you so very much is it because he is making money off of it, because I will bet money he is, they are using his name, is that the part that is killing you, he is a fake and he is getting paid for it? Some people just get lucky in life and some don’t. Let it go and I will go……PLEASE!

Coyoty (profile) says:


You keep commenting to an article about how the real O’Brien is a fraud. Of course that’s what people are going to talk about here. It is not about the TV show. That’s why people don’t want to talk about that. It’s like constantly bringing up vampire hunting in the comments to a documentary about Abraham Lincoln. The TV show is irrelevant to this article. Stop confusing reality with fantasy.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:


Look, Randy Ellen Zeff, you troll, Walter O’Brien is a fraud and a scam artist. Every post you make keeps bringing this to the forefront of discussions about what a loser he is. Good job!

What gives me the right to speak to you as trash? Well I talk to you and you think you’re trash so there you go.

I appreciate you want to discuss my childhood (was yours really bad so you think other people’s childhoods are important to how they post online) or IQs (you seem obsessed with yours and Walter “the Fraud” Obrien’s)… or something?

Let it die? Let it die? Dude, you keep bringing it back to life.

You will bet money? *LOL* You have no money. You’re a self-admitted obsessive-compulsive trash-talking loser with no money or IQ or friends — all things you think are important.

There’s nothing killing me or us. It’s killing you. Please hurry it up as you’re annoying.

“Let it go and I will go….”

No. You will go or you won’t go. Nobody cares.

Walter O’Brien is a fraud. He will be no matter what you do.

You’re an idiot. If you go you’re an idiot who left. If you stay you’re an idiot who stayed. Enjoy.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Walter O'Brien The Fake

“It’s is not about the TV show”.

“That’s why people don’t want to talk about that.”
Oh but they do.

This article is about Walter O’Brien the fraud. It’s not about the TV show. People who want to talk about the TV show should go wherever it’s being discussed… TVGUIDE.COM or wherever.

“Stop confusing reality with fantasy”
Again you’re back to the show.

Walter O’Brien is a fraud. There’s no fantasy there at all except in his head and the heads of the people who employ him.

Sean Timmons (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Bad references

I did, and I believe Walter O’Brien is a genius,
(Ignoring the fact that he has never produced an iota of evidence)

just like the many others that are out there.
(2% of the population. You may be talking to some)

We’re just taught that hackers are bad
(Some people are taught this. These people are unaware of what white hats are. They are also not the target audience for this article but thank you for reading with us. We like to add folks to our group)

and that Geniuses are frauds
(I have never heard this. I mean, Einstein was a genius. DaVinci was. Tesla definitely was a tortured one. People may argue that IQ tests don’t necessarily capture true genius but that’s not fraud)

which is not always the case.
(Rarely is?)

The point is, had he said “I’m a pilot!” And then he has no license and as proof says GE flew missions in Iraq when there is no evidence he was in the army you may wish to be skeptical. Or are you calling everyone who disproves his assertions a liar? Unfortunately must be one or the other.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Bad references

True, thanks for actually replying with something smart and worthwhile reading. I didn’t mean that Genius’s are frauds necessarily, i just meant that there are people who think that way and I agree with you on the IQ test. And two I’m not calling anyone a liar,everyone has a right to their opinion.

Sean Timmons (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Bad references

As far as the lying thing, I’m referring to the multiple people who have indicated that Walter O’Brien’s claims are false. The people who have worked with him. The people who publish documentation that refute his claims. In order to believe his claims, you must then believe that the proof documents provided that contradict his comments are false. Thus, you really are in a position of believing his claims or believing theirsm either way, someone must be lying. Both things cannot be true.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Bad references

Dude I thought i’d let you know the website you used as refence is not the real website, that’s a rip off.

Are you referring to the image that was prefaced with: …which apparently used to be the site for Walter’s Scorpion computer Services.?

The link you provided appears, not once, but twice within the body of the article. Not sure what you are trying to prove (or disprove) with your comment.

Randi Ellen Zeff (profile) says:

Bad references

I am not sure what a genius is, I don’t believe IQ test are acutate test, everyday you can get a different reading depending on what you ate for breakfast, different than having a license for being a pilot, what I know is a genius does NOT speak down to people, does not look down at what other people believe in even if they don’t believe, I have many friends that are witnesses and even though I am not, I respect that they are, I am also Jewish, I don’t look down at people for having different beliefs than me and my friends respect that my beliefs are different than theirs. If you believe in Scientology, I respect that, I would love to learn about it, talk to me, teach me, don’t try to convert me. Anonymous Coward, I have seen what he writes, how he talks to people, what he says, he is NO genius, I have watched him insult every single person in here and every single thing, we all acknowledge he believes Walter O’Brien is a fake, why is it so important to him that we all feel the same way he does, that he pounds it into our heads? We get it, we know how he feels, does that give him the right to insult us, what we believe in, what others believe in? How rude can you be or are Ehud Gavron and he the same person, by the way Ehud, who now knows I am Jewish also, don’t ever call me “sweetheart” again, I am NOT your sweetheart, I am NOT the person that brought this back up again, I got 10 e-mails notifing me that someone else did. Again, I don’t care if Walter O’Brien is a fake or not, unlike you, it doesn’t bother me, I don’t care if he is making a million dollars a year off his business and off this show, he did something right to become famous because, HE IS FAMOUS, everyone knows his name, that is why we are all here……. give it up already!!!

nasch says:

Re: Bad references

what I know is a genius does NOT speak down to people, does not look down at what other people believe in even if they don’t believe,

That is a very strange definition of genius.

Anonymous Coward, I have seen what he writes, how he talks to people, what he says, he is NO genius,

Anonymous Coward is not a person, it is a label attached to anyone who does not choose some other name for his post. There could be thousands of different people writing as Anonymous Coward.

he did something right to become famous because, HE IS FAMOUS

So everyone who is famous deserves to be famous? Does everyone who is rich deserve to be rich, too?

Sean Timmons (profile) says:

I am loving the anonymous coward thing. You’d have thought shed notice by now that it was a way of saying “no user name” but I suppose its not obvious.

I am fascinated by the zeal with which she defends someone she doesn’t appear to know for reasons beyond understanding. I mean, if it’s her relative, we’d get it. If his claims were rational we’d get it. Had he merely claimed he was really smart and left it at that, I’d understand defending it. Oh well. Some things we will never understand.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Walter O'Brien The Fake

Mean people suck. So do liars. In this case we have journalists who are not mean exposing the liars. That’s not mean.

Walter O’Brien is a phony. He trades on things he’s never done to get people to pay him. If I were personally taken advantage of by such a scheme I’d say “fraudulent people suck.” That’s not mean.

Perhaps though it’s just that he’s delusional. In that case reporting about it so others can not be sucked into the fraud is also not mean.

In short whether he is your realative[sic] or not, his delusions are discussed. That’s not the same as putting down his beliefs.

Of course you read the original article, right?


Randi Ellen Zeff (profile) says:

Walter O'Brien The Fake

I don’t care what you call Walter O’Brien, I am talking about the way people talk to each other in here. To get off the subject for a second, the world sucks, my husband opened a franchise in New England, 1 in RI, 1 in Boston, then we were trying to put another 1 on the North Shore, we fought like hell, the town won’t let us. Opened onther in NH. My son was about 10 at the time, always there, everyone knew him. Long story short, my husband past away, restaurants went bankrupt, closed. A few years later, the restaurant we fought like hell to open, they let someone open right there. Big article in the Boston Globe, big paper, front page of whatever secontion, how these people, obviously different people people, brought this franchise to NE, my son is now 16, he sees this and brings it to me, he is 16 but still a kid. What do you do, I am mad as hell. I found the woman who wrote the article, I sent her all the articles I had of us trying to open the restaurant, how we opened the restaurant in other locations, told her how hurt my son was, how he had lost his dad, told the bitch she should learn to do her homework before she prints a story, you know what she does, she writes him a letter saying she is sorry. That made him feel a whole lot better, NOT! They have a story, they don’t care, it was Hooters Restaurant, Hooters comes to New England! She went there, she interviewed these people and no one ever told her any different……….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Walter O'Brien The Fake

Hold on there. You mean, people lied for a story? But accoridng to you that doesn’t happen! Walter O’Brien is a genius with a higher IQ than Einstein! He said so! Are you telling me he is a liar?

I can only assume you’re jealous of the company that opened the restaurant and you’re bitter because you couldn’t keep the franchises afloat yourself. Why are you so jealous of them? They don’t have a problem with you. You go on this site and you talk bad about them and they can’t even respond to you.

You complain about how others talk on this board, then you write this. Pot -> Kettle “you’re black!”

Anonymous Coward says:

I see this page on the top of Techdirt’s “Hot Topics” and I can’t believe there are still people here five months later defending this pathetic liar named Walter O’Brien. Masnick and co. moved on long ago, yet there are still people beating this dead horse.

But now it’s all starting to make sense. It looks like Walter O’Brien may be a Scientologist, or at the very least, he hangs out with Scientologists.

Scientology is a most peculiar “religion” because, among other things, adherents are specifically taught detailed lessons about how to argue with critics, and strongly encouraged to “confront and shatter suppression” (“suppression” in Scientology-speak means criticism and doubt)

Anyone who has dealt with Scientologists online before knows that they’re very persistent buggers who will always try to distort and divert the subject off-topic rather than address the issues head-on. The Scientology cult even has a major department, the Office of Special Affairs, that is dedicated to fighting these battles.

That’s not to say that these deluded defenders of Walter O’Brien are necessarily Scientologists, but it does seem like they’re using many of the same tactics.

Kinda Smart says:

Is it possible your inferior intellect isn't capable of perceiving O'Brien's claims for their true accuracy?

Mike Masnick,

Is it possible that your not smart enough to understand that a genius see’s the world differently from how you do? Is it possible that this is why the genius wrote his website in a way that you deem unprofessional only because it differs substantially from how a low intelligence average individual would do it “professionally”? Is it possible homeland security existed but hidden from the public until an excuse like 9/11 allowed the U.S. to broadcast its existence and pretend to only now create it as a response? I’m not saying your wrong bc maybe your right but I find it extraordinarily annoying when average people all around me, including you, assume that what they are capable of perceiving must be true and use that flawed perception to ridicule those who surpass their intellect but lack a grasp on meaningless “professional” or “socially acceptable” ways of fitting into this world.

Sean Timmons (profile) says:

Re: Re: Is it possible your inferior intellect isn't capable of perceiving O'Brien's claims for their true accuracy?

Ahh, dang it. You’re brilliant. I’m voting funny as well.

Port Mike has a low intelligence because the anonymous dude says so.

So, should I ask if 9/11 really happened or if there were two shooters on the moon or if the JFK tape was made by the Nazis to aid the Russians in Ukraine?

Graham (user link) says:

IQ typo


So I think it’s a typo.

I think the ‘1’ in 197 was really the side of the box in which the IQ was written.

Oh and using a heart-lung machine to feed oxygen to a drowning boy?

Yeah, right.

Wouldn’t a long length of poly tube as a breather do the job.
…but then I’m not a (1)97 IQ genius.

The show is fun, but way too far-fetched.

Can’t help noticing the obvious Microsoft product placement.

manwiththetruth (profile) says:

The bottom line

Many comments were made about the attempt to download older version software from a plane that possessed it by stringing an Ethernet cable at high velocity. But the whole story line was about how the tower used updated software and they needed the old version. Any “genius” would tell you that the company that made that updated version keeps the old version on file. They don’t just throw it away when they make a new version. Even Microsoft has Windows 1.0 on file. Rather than doing a Rube Goldberg to get it, just go to the company and ask for a copy. Problem solved in 5 minutes. Only that doesn’t sell a TV show. I have a tested IQ of 152. (Documentation available.) But let me tell you even geniuses can do stupid things. When I took the test to get that number I skipped a few questions that I felt were hard. I finished the test in less than the allotted time but assumed I couldn’t go back and work on the ones I skipped. But in reality I could have, yet no one explained that before starting otherwise it might have been higher. No one’s immune to making an “oops”. The pilot episode was totally laughable because of the aforementioned reason. Following episodes got a little more palatable yet still make me roll my eyes. If you show the general public you can stop the microwave from flashing 12:00 they’ll believe anything.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Tested IQ of 152 - moron

Walter O’Brien is a fraud.

Walter O’Brien uses his fake credentials to get jobs where he fleeces his customers.

The article is about Walter O’Brien, and this has been pointed out so many times it takes a real genius to come along and –again– talk about the show.

“I have a tested IQ of 152.”

No, you do not.

“Documentation available.”

Your posting (above) documents the opposite. No further documentation is needed.

The rest of the discussion (about the show, not the man) is offtopic, irrelevant, and does nothing more than continue keeping this thread at the top of google searches for:

Walter O’Brien is a fraud.

“If you show the general public…”

You, sir, are worse than the general public. Not only do you think that the microwave “flashes” 12:00, but you think yourself smarter than the general public for this.

Perhaps you should go get that documentation, and then you and your mommy and your daddy can go ask Mr. Therapist for a big lollypop and a refund.

Rube Goldberg called. Said not to bring up his name ever again when talking about morons.



Sean Timmons (profile) says:

The bottom line

I’m thinking that commenter was mostly saying the entire show is ludicrous by that the specific issue with previous versions is possibly understandable.

The problem here are the annoying presumptions displayed in the show that:

A) being a genius means you know everything about everything. This is something unintelligent people think about smart people.

B) Somewhat related to A), that no one working in the tower knows anything about handling this absurd situation

C) That all communication going into a giantic city is only directed through one central hub, and that things like COWs and COLTs don’t exist.

D) That this was delivered as even based on fact, yet no news report of a huge network outage in LA.

E) none of this matters because the actual human being has shown no actual ability to use a computer more effectively than my dead grandmother.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Not quite getting the idea

Walter O’Brien is a charlatan. He makes up stuff about his past to get consulting clients to hire him.

That’s discussed in this article.

The TV show is not discussed here. This includes what happens on the show, and stuff like “cable out in front of an aircraft” and other random noise coming out of the mouths of people who didn’t bother to read the article.

Really. It’s about Walter O’Brien the fraud, not some fictional TV show.

TL;DR? This is not a discussion about the TV show. Never was.