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Messing Around With The Prime Directive 137

One of the humour sites that I enjoy, SatireWire is back with a look at the daily struggles of the Enterprise orbiting the current Earth. Considering the last reaction to Star Trek, I figured people would like this.
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Messing Around With The Prime Directive

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  • What, no commentary from the crew of Voyager: Flying Toilet?

    You'd think they'd violate the Prime Directive to at least put an end to Windows XP.
  • Hemos' brain has disappeared to? Apparently some sort of substance was involved to make that funny.
  • by Alakaboo ( 171129 ) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @03:46AM (#2367338) Homepage

    The previous article [satirewire.com] [satirewire.com] is much funnier (imho), and probably the best I've read from satirewire in a while.

  • The Onion (Score:3, Informative)

    by rsidd ( 6328 ) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @03:49AM (#2367341)
    If anyone was wondering how a humour site can continue in the face of the recent tragedy, take a look at the current issue of The Onion [theonion.com].


    They used to be an amusing diversion to me. Now I respect them more than most of the mainstream press.

    • I thought the conclusion of American Life turns into bad Jerry Bruckheimer movie [theonion.com] was especially appropriate:

      The collective sense of outrage, helplessness, and desperation felt by Americans is beyond comprehension. And it will be years before the full ramifications of the events of Sept. 11 become clear. But one thing is clear: No Austrian bodybuilder, gripping Uzis and striding shirtless through the debris, will save us and make it all better. Shocked and speechless, we are all still waiting for the end credits to roll. They aren't going to
      -- Shocked and speechless.

    • Re:The Onion (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rsidd ( 6328 )
      And of course, a comment on a humour site, in a story about another humour site, is modded down as "offtopic", perhaps because someone's sensibilities were hurt.


      This is a test of the theory that any post which says "Slashdot sucks" will get modded up.

    • I'd like to assure everyone that Generation X's cynical outlook has merely been restrained, rather than decimated by the WTC collapse, and ensuing media appearances. As an affirmed member of generation X, (aka the "cool" generation), I feel as ambivalent as always, and the primary emotional response this disaster provoked was contempt for TV anchorpersons.

      Of course, posting this assurance on slashdot is meaningless, as most of the readership was born too late to be part of generation X.
      • and the primary emotional response this disaster provoked was contempt for TV anchorpersons.


        Roger that.


        • by DGolden ( 17848 ) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @07:17AM (#2367558) Homepage Journal
          One wierd thing I think I noticed (but which I can't prove - never made tapes), was that the soundtracks of the camcorder-footage of the attacks was dubbed - the first few times Sky News (via Fox) here in Europe showed the videos, people were shouting "Shit! Fuck! Fuck!", but then, later the same footage had different people (with a higher proportion of female voices in the mix) going "Oh my God, Lord Help us" and crap like that.

          I think that's appalling, if it's true. Much of western society is on the path to finally freeing itself from the shackles of religion, and the empty promises of religion were most likely the means used by the leaders of the terrorists to motivate the idiots carrying out the attack to commit suicide.

          The original sounds more accurately reflected the current mindset of the vast majority of westerners - there weren't appeals to nebulous higher powers, just exclamations expressing shock.

          Those currently in power, however, would have you believe that many more people follow irrational old belief systems than in reality - in reality, the religious nutters, in both Western and Muslim society, are a small, but vocal and powerful, minority.

          FAITH IS NOT A VIRTUE.
          • Well, not to poke a hole in your conspiracy theory or anything, but I think it's far more likely that they just replaced a handful of expletives with something less "offensive". (How anyone could be offended by someone blurting out "fuck" in response to five thousand people being killed before their eyes, I don't know...)

            I have to say, too, that I didn't notice any such defucking on the CNN stream or radio stations I was listening to at the time.

            But if what you say is true, it's certainly not a good thing. If I go back to a tape archive in twenty years, I'm not going to be interested in how people might have reacted if this was a Disney movie...

            • Well, not to poke a hole in your conspiracy theory or anything, but I think it's far more likely that they just replaced a handful of expletives with something less "offensive"

              Yeah, I wasn't all that seriously suggesting it was a deliberate christian plot, of course - especially since real christians should be more offended, according to their religion, by swearing on God, than by swearing on a mere bodily function...

              It just irritated me, really - I've never really understood what makes a word "bad" or "shameful" - I was punished for using certain words as a child, so I learned not to use them - but I never really did learn why I was not to use them.
              • It just irritated me, really - I've never really understood what makes a word "bad" or "shameful" - I was punished for using certain words as a child, so I learned not to use them - but I never really did learn why I was not to use them.

                Certain words have to be "bad" or "shameful" so that they have impact. Sometimes you need such words to adequately convey your thoughts or emotions, and it would suck if they weren't there at your disposal.

                I think the reason "fuck" and "shit" fall into that category, as opposed to "puppy" and "cornbread" is pretty obvious... ;)

                • I think the reason "fuck" and "shit" fall into that category, as opposed to "puppy" and "cornbread" is pretty obvious... ;)

                  No, not to me. I genuinely have difficulty understanding what makes them "bad" or "shameful". Calling the words "harsh", yes, I can understand that - but again that's only because they're associated with negative reinforcement in my mind.

                  I'd find someone shouting "Die, you!" much more upsetting than someone shouting "Fuck you!" - yet someone saying the former on t.v. is unlikely to be censored, while the latter routinely is (and, in my experience, a fuck is something to be enjoyed...)

                  When I'm surprised, or my emotion glands have kicked in, I tend to go for exclamations like "aaaarghhh!!!!" anyway...
          • Actually, in your quest to blame religion, you got your facts wrong.

            I WAS there, starting with being on the second floor of WTC1 when #1 hit; to walking around both buildings to get to work [ first workaholic thought: "ouch, gotta get to work ASAP, in case out servers in WFC will be affected" ]; to being right under the path of a hitting plane #2, near the wall of WTC2, about 100 feet horisontally from the point of impact. To trying to get across the river to work, with hordes of people trying to escape the City.

            Throughout this all, there were FAR more people saying stuff like "OMG" than people who were swearing. [ i was silent and planning for the short-term and long-term future :) ]

            -DVK


            • Throughout this all, there were FAR more people saying stuff like "OMG" than people who were swearing.

              Maybe. I was on another continent at the time -

              but, as far as my memory recalls, the original soundtrack reveals the people near the camcorder were swearing... and then in later playbacks some audio technician somewhere presunably mixed in a different soundtrack, possibly recorded nearby, not necessarily staged, of "cleaner" stuff.

              I really don't like that sort of crap.

              Unfortunately, I cannot prove this definitively - though my brother says he also noticed, neither of us made recordings.

    • They have done some very good work this week. If you need to laugh a bit, visit them. Unless you are my mom or something, you will not be offended.
  • is to supply fodder for inane plots. Don't get me wrong, I like Star Trek. But does anybody have an exact tally to the dozens of times that the prime directive has been violated??
    • But does anybody have an exact tally to the dozens of times that the prime directive has been violated??

      Well, let's see, at least as many times as they've used some stupid time-travel/temporal anomoly plot-device, but less than the number of hot space-babes that Kirk "did the Prime Directive" with.

    • >But does anybody have an exact tally to the dozens of times that
      >the prime directive has been violated??


      Lesssee. Take the total number of episodes, multiply by one, divide by one, add 0, and raise to the first power. That should give a reasonably active count . . .


      :)


      hawk

  • Anyone else waiting for the fanboys to come pooring out of the woodwork in order to correct the errors in this article regarding Star Trek continuity? Or are they all burned out from the last ST thread?
  • by MartyJG ( 41978 ) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @04:39AM (#2367366) Homepage
    all rolled into one: Top 90 Ways Star Trek Would Change If Slashdot Replaced Starfleet [keepersoflists.org].

    As usual, you need a login to vote (moderate).

  • by The Ultimate Badass ( 450974 ) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @04:43AM (#2367368) Homepage
    One attribute of geeks that I have noticed, is that they cannot sit through a movie without picking the plot to pieces and pedantically attacking every slight deviation from reality. I have nothing in particular against this, when applied to movies that are genuinely bad, such as "Austin Powers 2", but people who apply it to all movies really get up my nose.

    For some reason, however, Star Trek consistently misses out on the "Geek critique". This, despite the fact that Star Trek is guilty of some of the most contrived plots and unscientific pseudo-science.

    For instance:

    • Spock's pure logic: This is literally impossible. Biological brains are based on pattern matching, which necessitates illogical responses.
    • The dilithium crystals: As a fuel source, these are contrived beyond belief. Any good crystallographer knows that crytalline structures are too inert to supply decent energy returns. Try burning a diamond, if you don't believe me.
    • Warp factor 9: The idea that they could exceed the speed of light exactly nine times is ludicrous. As you move further from the speed of light, the rate at which speed increases grows immeasurably larger. It would be impossible to achieve any reasonable system of measurement at these speeds.
    • No plants on the enterprise: Anyone else notice this? You need plants to breathe, fools.
    • Artificial gravity: This was never explained. In any series.
    • Beaming down: There's no way this could possible work. Even if you could reconstruct a body at the other end, without some kind of receiving device, it would be dead on arrival.

      Despite all these obvious flaws, Star Trek gets a free ride from the geek critics. Favouritism? Hypocrisy? Blindness? I suspect the problem is really just that geeks criticise films to demonstrate their superior intellect, over the Hollywood film-makers and the audience. Since Star Trek films are considered to be a product of more thoughtful and knowledgeable writers, it does not occur to geeks that these films could be open to criticism.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Not quite, but again, we're discussing snake oil: Spock's pure logic: No one, even Spock, ever said that his thoughs are from pure logic. He was trined to do so. He was born half human, half volcan, and he learned to be as much logical as possible. When he mind-melded with McCoy, and then back to his reborn body, he lost much of his human peculiarity, and he was able to be more logical than before. The dilithium crystal: You might be correct, but the low entropy in a crystalline structire could be broken if enough energy will start a controlled reacton. Also, who knows exactly what they do with the crystal? Burning them might not be the correct interpretation, in fact, Scotty was able to regenerate Klingon's crystals by injecting photons collected from a nuclear rector. There might be atom scaled reactions here. Warp factor 9: this means not 9 times the speed of light, but c^9. According to their theory, the upper limit is c^10 anyway. No plants: no tradition kitchens either. They synthetize whatever they need. Implying they have control on atomic and sub-atomic reaction (see dilithium crystals). If they can synthetize a roasted chiken, surely they can the same with oxygen. Artificial gravity: read many (real) publications about the missing 'gravitone' particle. Also don't forget inertia. Beaiming down: cororrect, but see plants and crystals.
      • c^9 ? It's meaningless to multiply a speed by itself like that, since the result depends on the units in which you define c!

        • c is defined as ~2.99792*10^8 meters per second
      • Actually, I think it's c*(w^5), where w is the warp speed, in TNG. In TOS, they used a different scale, where the speed is c*(w^3). This is why the Excelsior could hit warp 12 no problem, but the Enterprise D can't.
    • > Spock's pure logic
      I agree with that.

      > The dilithium crystals
      I thought they are used to direct the anti-matter, rather than as a power source themself?

      > Warp factor 9:
      errrmm... don't forget sub-space. Also warp 9 is NOT nice times the speed of light. The warp factors are an exponential scale.

      > No plants on the enterprise:
      I can't remember if I've seen any or not to be honest, but can't air be recycled anyway?

      > Artificial gravity:
      IIRC, there are devices that emit gravitons, which are theoretical conveys of gravitation.

      > Beaming down:
      People are working on the problem.
    • by Minupla ( 62455 ) <`minupla' `at' `gmail.com'> on Saturday September 29, 2001 @05:59AM (#2367448) Homepage Journal
      *grins* I'll skip the nitpick of the tech details in your post, because I'm sure there'll be no shortage of people jumping in to pull out their ST Tech Refs out of their bookshelves and quote chapter and verse, and speak to why I think ST gets a free ride from geeks.

      Firstly, in anything resembling a recent generation (ie: 90%+ of the population of /.) some form of ST was likely a very early introduction to SciFi to them. It's a base premise for most SciFi geeks, they don't really examine it because they internalized it before their critical thinking skills were up to scratch (this is also why you will see people arguing that TOS was the best trek. You tend to form your critical opinion of something the first time you watch it, if you watch it the first time when you're 8 years old, you're less likely to consider the lack of a recieving teleport station.)

      B) frankly Trek at least tries, usually :). Voyager had a hydroponics bay, for instance. Most geeks won't nitpick 2001 ethier, for similar reasons. An effort was made to preserve scientific reality (2001 is probably the best movie I've ever seen for that.)

      C) Reality is teaching us that maybe we don't know as much as we thought we did. Teleportation seems much more realistic after the successful teleportation of a photon using quantum entanglement.

      D) Trek isn't (mostly) about the tech. It's a vehicle for making observations on the human condition, ethics, etc. It provides a mirror in which we can view ourselves. As a child I learned a lot by watching aliens in TNG and how they viewed our race.

      E) Geeks, like everyone else appreciate a bit of optimism in their lives, especially now. At least for me, I'm far more likely to tear apart a planet of the apes, we blew ourselves up, sort of movie then I am a movie where the future seems pretty desirable overall. As a human, I want us to go where Trek is.

      For what it's worth, those are my thoughts.

      Minupla
    • by j7953 ( 457666 ) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @06:00AM (#2367449)
      ... pattern matching, which necessitates illogical responses.

      You'd better not tell Larry Wall.

    • Hmmmm
      Well most people have said it all so far, so ive jsut got a few things to add.

      Dylithium Crystals: They are used as a cage to control and contain the matter:antimatter reaction.

      Hydroponics: U can get Rebreathers right now, which scrub the CO2 from the air, and make it breathable. When us humans breath in a lungfull of air, we dont extract all of that oxygen, infact we get less than a third of it, so the rest gets breathed back out. Also, notice theres no plants on Mir/Spaceshuttle/ISS (except for use in experiments.

      Warp factor 9: As someone said, this is actually exponential, but as explained in the series, they are actually bending space so theoretically they arent breaking laws.

    • No plants on the enterprise? Ever see plants on the space shuttle or the ISS? How do they breathe?
    • Firstly, I'd make the point that, although I qualify as a geek as much as most here, I don't particularly like Star Trek. Secondly, your specfic examples and justfications are bunk (but I'll save my counterarguments till later).

      What I'm really trying to say, though, is just because the physics doesn't always match with our current understanding doesn't necessarily make the show bad. Buffy The Vampire Slayer's entire premises are in blatant contravention of just about everybody's personal beliefs about the true nature of the universe, but many here would still reckon it's a cool show.

      Star Trek is clearly sci-fi/fantasy rather than hard sci-fi. If viewed as such, the kind of hand-waves and dramatic license that you've pointed out are entirely acceptable.

      My personal objection to Star Trek is that it uses such fantastical dodges as ways to cover holes in the plot, rather than putting in the effort to write more plausible scripts.

      • Buffy The Vampire Slayer's entire premises are in blatant contravention of just about everybody's personal beliefs about the true nature of the universe, but many here would still reckon it's a cool show.

        Yes, but is it cool because of the stories and characters, or is it cool because Buffy, Willow, Anya, Harmony, etc. are way hot?

        Mind you, the Vulcan Science Officer is nothing to sneeze at either. I'd gladly rub lotion onto her!

    • by Markonen ( 56381 ) <marko.karppinen@fi> on Saturday September 29, 2001 @09:23AM (#2367829)
      Here we go:

      1. Spock's logic. The Star Trek Encyclopedia states that "Spock was raised with an older half-brother, Sybok, until Sybok was ostracized from Vulcan society because he rejected the Vulcan dogma of pure logic." This means that the "pure logic" isn't a feature of the Vulcan brain per se, but a norm of behavior in the Vulcan society. In other words, they just *try* to be as logical as possible.

      2. Dilithium crystals are not used a power sources in the Star Trek universe. It is used to *regulate* the matter/antimatter reactions that provide the energy necessary to warp time-space.

      3. Warp speed. Here's a quick roundup of warp factors' correlation to the speed of light:
      • Warp factor 1, 1 c
      • Warp factor 2, 10 c
      • Warp factor 3, 39 c
      • Warp factor 4, 102 c
      • Warp factor 5, 214 c
      • Warp factor 6, 392 c
      • Warp factor 7, 656 c
      • Warp factor 8, 1024 c
      • Warp factor 9, 1516 c
      • Warp factor 9.2, 1649 c
      • Warp factor 9.6, 1909 c
      • Warp factor 9.9, 3053 c
      • Warp factor 9.99, 7912 c
      • Warp factor 9.9999, 199516 c
      • Warp factor 10, infinite c

      Of these speeds, factor 5 is the cruising speed of Enterprise-D. Its maximum rated speed is factor 9.6, although 9.9 can be maintained for 10 minutes. Warp factor 9.9999 is the propagation speed of subspace radio, and factor 10, obviously, can never be reached.

      4. Plants on Enterprise. Someone already answered this one correctly. The ships life-support systems are fitted to provide breathable air without any biological components.

      5. Artificial gravity. Starfleet vessels are fitted with gravitational units that generate the synthetic gravity field aboard the vessel. A key component of the unit is the graviton field generator, which, obviously, generates a field of gravitons; the elementary particles that transmit gravitational force in the Star Trek universe.

      6. Beaming down. It is true that the physics of the transporter are pretty much out of this world. Without going into details, all the different physical problems of the concept seem to be taken care of by a separate component to the transporter system: some of the funniest components are the Heisenberg compensator (go figure) or the transporter's "pattern enhancer". The true story is that The Original Series' effects budget couldn't possibly cope with landing the Enterprise or even a shuttle in every episode. The transporter's instantaneus speed also helps to keep out mundane tasks like shuttle travel out of the show.
      • Of these speeds, factor 5 is the cruising speed of Enterprise-D. Its maximum rated speed is factor 9.6, although 9.9 can be maintained for 10 minutes. Warp factor 9.9999 is the propagation speed of subspace radio, and factor 10, obviously, can never be reached.

        I really liked that cool episode of Voyager where they reached Warp 10. For some reason, travelling that fast causes biological de-evolution over the span of 1/2 an episode.

        6. Beaming down. It is true that the physics of the transporter are pretty much out of this world. Without going into details, all the different physical problems of the concept seem to be taken care of by a separate component to the transporter system: some of the funniest components are the Heisenberg compensator (go figure) or the transporter's "pattern enhancer". The true story is that The Original Series' effects budget couldn't possibly cope with landing the Enterprise or even a shuttle in every episode. The transporter's instantaneus speed also helps to keep out mundane tasks like shuttle travel out of the show.

        Further to that, in TNG, there was an episode where Barkley (sp?) was beamed down in some kind of weird blue thing. That was the one with the strange transporter monsters... (I don't remember more than that, tho)

        MIKE
        ---------------
        Beware the JabberOrk!
      • This is the sort of nitpick that proves that I am a geek. However, I'm not that big of a geek since I don't know the answer.

        Didn't the "Enterprise of the Future" commanded by Riker in "All Good Things" go Warp factor 13?

        In any event, it seems like capping it at 10 leads to making advances from 9.6 to 9.7 cause for excitement. In any case, I doubt that an increase of that sort is as impressive to viewers as Warp 13!

        • okay, heres another geek to explain it:
          in TOS, they had a warp scale where warp 10 and over was very fast, but stil possible, then in TNG it was made so warp 10 was infinie speed, and then for "All Good Things" i think it was explained in some official or quasi-official source that the warp scale was once again redone... no idea why :P
        • Re:Warp 13 (Score:4, Funny)

          by bero-rh ( 98815 ) <bero@redhaRASPt.com minus berry> on Saturday September 29, 2001 @01:35PM (#2368505) Homepage
          Redefinition of the scale. Imagine:

          Worf: The Borg ship is following us and catching up!
          Picard: Increase speed to warp 9.99999999999999999999999999999345671235...
          [Borg ship destroys enterprise before Picard could finish stating the speed]

          Similarily, I can easily tell you my old small car can go 180, and most British and American people won't believe me (because they'll think in terms of mph while I'm talking about kph).
        • I'm just making this up, but maybe warp 10 is like an asymptote and it can be approached from either direction but never reached. Though I guess you have to go warp 10 before reaching warp 13... unless they find a way to jump from warp 9.999999999999999999999999999... to warp 10.000000000000000000000...00001, maybe with a huge transporter...

          Like I said, I made it up.
        • Re:Warp 13 (Score:2, Funny)

          by Bob McCown ( 8411 )
          So, could NCC-SpinalTap go to warp 11?
      • The true story is that The Original Series' effects budget couldn't possibly cope with landing the Enterprise or even a shuttle in every episode.

        Not to mention how long these sequences would take. They landed Voyager a couple of times and each time there was a big hubbub, and I think it took about 2-3 minutes to land the ship. When a program only has 46 minutes per episode, 2 minutes is a hell of a lot to waste. Granted, they could cut it down if it was every episode, or just say "land the ship" and cut to a pic of the ship on the planet, but transporters opened up a whole other avenue from which to draw stories. Among all the ST series there have probably be at least 20 episodes that revolved around "transporter mishaps". Like when Geordi and Ro got transported into another phase of existence [startrek.com] and everybody thought they were dead. They could walk through walls, but how come they didn't fall through the floor off the ship? How did they get in a shuttle and fly to the Romulan ship? Or how about when Dr Pulaski got that old-age virus thing and they used the transporter to re-sequence/filter her DNA [startrek.com] with a hair follicle from a brush of hers? If they can do that, why don't they do that every time somebody has screwy DNA problems?

        These are just a couple of the little mistakes that I love to find and laugh at, but don't really subtract from my enjoyment of the show.
    • To counter some of your points:

      Warp Factor 9 is NOT simply nine times the speed of light. Warp is not a linear scale, but rather increases in an exponential manner.

      Did anyone notice that the Apollo or Space Shuttle missions had no plants? They used oxygen canisters and air scrubbers. If this is possible in our time, then an equally viable solution is possible several centuries in the future.
    • Warp factor 9: The idea that they could exceed the speed of light exactly nine times is ludicrous. As you move further from the speed of light, the rate at which speed increases grows immeasurably larger. It would be impossible to achieve any reasonable system of measurement at these speeds.

      Warp One = Speed of light

      Warp Nine = 1649 times faster than Speed of light!

      It's not linear, more like asymptotic curve. And it doesn't matter if impossible to measure speeds, it's sci-fi.

      No plants on the enterprise: Anyone else notice this? You need plants to breathe, fools.

      Today, a nuclear submarine doesn't need to surface for months for a time, only to take aboard food, water, and mail! And they don't have any plants aboard either! What about the MIR space station? It was up there for over a decade without any plants either. How do those two things do it? They recycle air! Oh wow, modern technology, perhaps they do that on the Enterprise too! Nope, cannot be, it takes apart your arguement.

    • Star Trek falls into cliches. It kills off one-appearance characters practically every episode while leaving the major characters alone. It makes up new science whenever it needs a plot device. I personally feel that Trek has gone down hill since Voyager, and I'm not terribly optimistic about the new series. However, Star Trek is not guilty of the complete disregard for science you accuse it of. When possible, the writers do come up with plausible explanations.
      Spock's pure logic: This is literally impossible. Biological brains are based on pattern matching, which necessitates illogical responses.
      Actually, Vulcans are naturally more emotional and illogical than humans are, but suppress illogic and emotion through meditation and training. A human could learn to do this, too, especially given a 200-year lifespan to do it.
      The dilithium crystals: As a fuel source, these are contrived beyond belief. Any good crystallographer knows that crytalline structures are too inert to supply decent energy returns. Try burning a diamond, if you don't believe me.
      The dilithium crystal is not a fuel source, it regulates the reactions which power the ship. The real fuel source is deuterium and anti-matter; reactions of these do release a lot of energy.
      Warp factor 9: The idea that they could exceed the speed of light exactly nine times is ludicrous. As you move further from the speed of light, the rate at which speed increases grows immeasurably larger. It would be impossible to achieve any reasonable system of measurement at these speeds.
      The warp scale is not linear. Warp 1 is the speed of light. Warp 10 is infinite speed; Warp factors approaching warp 10 approach infinite speed.
      No plants on the enterprise: Anyone else notice this? You need plants to breathe, fools.
      When you're light years away from any star, providing the light to keep plants alive gets non-trivial. And, do you seriously believe that photosynthesis is the *only* reaction which can convert CO2 into O2?
      Artificial gravity: This was never explained. In any series.
      True, but just about every sci-fi series has to have it, because it's simply not practical to film in zero gravity.
      • True, but just about every sci-fi series has to have it, because it's simply not practical to film in zero gravity.


        A weekly series, no. But some scenes in the movie Apollo 13 were filmed in NASA's "vomit comet", a jet aircraft that flies a parabolic profile that simulates zero-g for brief periods of time (~30 seconds, IIRC).

        k.
    • One attribute of geeks that I have noticed, is that they cannot sit through a movie without picking the plot to pieces and pedantically attacking every slight deviation from reality. I have nothing in particular against this, when applied to movies that are genuinely bad, such as "Austin Powers 2", but people who apply it to all movies really get up my nose.

      How can you make fun of Austin Powers 2? I mean sure it was bad, but they specifically say "don't worry about the technicalities, just sit back and have fun"! If a movies says "this is not supposed to be realistic," how can you pick on it for not being realistic?!

    • Don't look at me. I dropped out of Starfleet Academy before we studied this stuff.

      I can tell you how the isolinear optical chips work, though.
    • er, more than once there was a scene in the arboritum of NCC-1701 Enterprise. go back and watch the series again.

      but as has been shown through numerous REAL LIFE examples, plants are not necessarily needed for O2.
    • As I remember the tech manual for Kirk's Enterprise, warp was supposed to be a cubic formula. Warp 1 = c, warp 2= 8c, warp 3 = 27c, ... warp 10 = 1000c. (The last number makes sense out of Voyager's 70 years home at almost warp 10: 70,000 light years is indeed a good ways across the galaxy. Not that there is any reason that 1000c should be harder to break than 729c = warp 9.) Of course, this makes nonsense out of all Kirk's puttering around at warp 2 or 3. That's a couple of months to Proximus Centauri, and maybe you'd find one inhabitable planet a year, allowing the producers to compress the "five year mission" into five episodes...

      However, the producers of SNG might have had different ideas, and in general interpreting warp was in the hands of various scriptwriters, most of whom can't do enough math to balance a checkbook.

      Why do us old geeks love Star Trek so much? You should see the other crap that counted as SF in film and TV back then. Wait, that's cruel and unusual punishment -- force Bin Laden to watch it, instead...
    • Interesting. I think the post below which talks about development of critical analysis &c. is useful in explaining this phenomenon. Meanwhile, I've rationalized the 99% preponderance of humanoid aliens with silly forheads as follows: aliens as presented are /symbolic/. They aren't meant to be literal interpretations of alien life forms, but simply symbolic (low-budget) pointers to alien customs, thought patterns, and social structures. Since the show(s) are much more about "human" interactions than anything else, the lack of realistic physical representations (or accurate technical details, for that matter) doesn't bother me much in Star Trek.

      What's interesting to note is that I often have difficulty applying the "Symbol Paradigm" to other sci-fi movies and shows - instead judging them on their literal characteristics.

      Clearly, Star Trek would be an abysmal failure if it was judged on its literal implementation!
    • Don't forget that the whole 'beaming down' thing essentially involves 'faxing' a copy of a person to the destination, destroying the original in the process. Every time someone beams anywhere, they're killed and a copy of themselves is constructed at the endpoint.

      Max
    • > For some reason, however, Star Trek consistently misses out on the "Geek critique"

      At least one science fiction convention panel on "Bad Science" that started "we'll ignore Star Trek, because there are far too many fish in that particular barrel", but that's not exactly missing out on geek critique.

      Lots of geeks know the "science" in Star Trek sucks hugely. Some of them enjoy it anyway - Stephen Hawking was prepared to play himself, commenting (AFAIR) that getting people interested in science and space was more important than the details of a TV show.

      See http://ssdoo.gsfc.nasa.gov/education/just_for_fun/ startrek.html for some more geek critique.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    How can they interfere? We're right on schedule. Enterprise is 150 years from now, and in the series premier they complained that the Vulcans had been keeping the humans tied down for a hundred years. That only gives us 50 years to get WW3 out of the way and have that drunken leach invent warp drive. If the nukes don't get me I might even live to see it. Woo hoo!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The cat doesn't take on an existence (or lack thereof!) until it's observed!
  • Captain Jean Luc Picard is sitting impatiently in his chair. He adjusts his uniform.

    PICARD
    Ensign. Take us to planet Earth, Maximum warp.

    He motions forward with his index finger.

    PICARD
    Engage!

    Silence. Stillness.

    PICARD
    Ensign?

    WESLEY
    The ship is not responding, sir.

    Picard activates his communicator.

    PICARD
    Picard to Laforge

    GEORDIE
    Yes captain?

    PICARD
    Geordie... is there something wrong with the engines?

    GEORDIE
    We're experiencing difficulties with the neon lights chamber.

    PICARD
    The what?

    GEORDIE
    The neon lights ch... I mean the dilithium chamber.

    PICARD
    Do you think you might have it repaired?

    Geordie chuckles.

    GEORDIE
    Why wouldn't I? Frankly captain, I don't know why you even bother to ask such questions. I can repair just about anything by rerouting... oh wait, no that wont work.

    PICARD
    What won't work?

    GEORDIE
    Nevermind... the dilithium crystals must be replaced.

    WESLEY
    Oh is that all? We'll beam down to Coridan and steal...

    PICARD
    Silence boy. It's not that simple... you see, there's a little thing known as the Prime Guideline, which is one of our most im...

    WESLEY
    Spare me, captain... I've heard it a million times...

    PICARD
    Well, nevertheless...

    RIKER
    Captain...

    PICARD
    Number One?

    RIKER
    I believe we might be able to obtain...

    Picard chuckles. Riker looks offended.

    RIKER
    Captain?

    PICARD
    Oh, sorry Number One, I was just thinking that it's lucky for you that you aren't second in command...

    Riker makes an angry face as the camera closes up on him.

    CUT TO:
    Commercial
  • After some thought and one hot Earl Grey tea, Capt. Jean-Luc Picard approaches the crew on his decision...

    "After much thought and consideration, I've decided that we need to intervene and put a stop to this endless bickering!"

    Capt. Picard looks to Lt. Cmdr. Worf, "Arm torpedos!..Raise shields"

    Worf still not knowing whom to attack says,"Captain, who did you decide to attack?"

    Which Picard responds with,"I don't care! If our 401K accounts are to recover and I'm to retire next session for some other series called 'DS9', we need to put a stop to this horrific, roller coaster of a ride on the stock market!"

    *Worf presses the big red button labeled 'attack bad dudes'.*

    *A bright flash occurs as the Enterprise fires it's weapons*

    Picard yells to Riker," Quit starring at Deanna's chest and tell me what the 'Temporal imaging sensor' reads!"

    Riker sheepishly replies,"You did it Captain! Our retirement funds are stabilizing and returning to normal"

    Picard,"Excellent Number One, let's get out of here. This spinning globe is making me dizzy"

    Doctor Crusher states,"Captian? How did you remember about our retirement funds? I'd totally forgotten about them."

    Picard replies,"Easy Beverly, I'm a bald, old, white dude. It's my job to be up tight and think about money."

  • "I mean, look, it's really cool to sit up here in our sexless spandex uniforms, downing Klavorian Synth-Ale and pretending we're not all running the Caligula program on the Holodeck

    This is just genius. A future where all your needs are met? Yeah, its going to be a hedonistic orgy.

  • "State of the Art" by Iain M. Banks... much funnier and covers the same ground.
  • In the new series, Erath does not yet have a prime
    directive. However, Vulcan may have, which the
    reason for their reticence.
  • Instead of just being able to moderate the replies, I'd like to be able to mod the Slashdot news article itself..
  • The Keeper of Lists site is WAY funnier than the pointer you put up. LAME!!!!!

    http://keepersoflists.org/index.php?lid=610
  • There's a new site, Gagpipe [gagpipe.com] [gagpipe.com], that sifts through the best comedy sites around (e.g satirewire, the onion) and allows you to navigate them all. It's in beta now, but is shaping up to be this: rather good.
  • ObFunny: Brunching Shuttlecocks has a great spoof of the decon gel [brunching.com].

    BTW, will crew members always decontamination in pairs?

    -B
  • There is widespread relief that there now may be no more Die Hard movies.
    Poor Troi. Wrong again. [corona.bc.ca]
  • Okay I know a girl vulcan got to have some breaties but give me break did they have to look like she could float in a black hole for the duration of eternity? I mean is that what it comes down to a girl and the measure of her beauty even on Vulcan? I did not see the male vulcans wearing penis enhanced leotards to make all the girls cream their pants?

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