On the EU and Tech Concerns

As I've noted previously, the EU's official continuity policy (OCP) was a creation intended to keep the storylines of individual licensed products continuous and uniform . . . and as we've seen, this care and concern did not necessarily extend into the technological arenas. (That's not a denigration, mind you . . . merely an observation.)

This is how we've ended up with A-Wings with titanium hulls (not unlike the old US spyplane the SR-71 Blackbird) on the one hand, and an uber-advanced neutronium-hulled culture in the other. This is how we ended up with EU fighter weapons that over the years have managed to leap from kilojoules to kilotons and starship weapons that have leapt from terajoules to teratons. In both cases we're looking at an increase of, oh, only about four-hundred twenty billion percent.

Of similar interest is the meandering history of cloaks in the EU. Just check out how many times the author, a writer of SW EU reference books, mentions retcons (retroactive continuity fixes . . . i.e. rationalizations of past continuity glitches and absent info), and how many of the ideas still make only sporadic sense even when repaired.

And yet this is what the EU Completist Vs. Debaters would prefer to use for tech info over the films . . . provided, that is, that they get to choose only the highest possible figures.

(I mean, really . . . how many times did you see Imperial admirals order weapons set to 0.000000000002% yield?)


"Smart Mass Thinking Putty" Armor

Ever since I bought some "Smart Mass Thinking Putty" way back when, I've wondered whether a similar compound might be usable as body armor. To be sure, this wasn't the most obvious idea . . . in general the material acts like somewhat gooey silly putty, and when it doesn't act like silly putty it's because it's been torn or shattered.

However, the basic idea was to have a material that would bend and flow but, in the event of impact, would act like Kevlar plating.

Well, we're not quite there yet, but we're close.

Add this to the list of things that would look goofy on televised sci-fi ("Behold my impenetrable jello armor!") but are actually workable.


Long Chains of Water

I've previously commented on reading about carbon nanotubes managing to create long chains of water in a polymer-like configuration (see link). This amused me, since it would provide a plausible path toward a mechanism for the otherwise-unlikely 'complex strings of water molecules' that were involved in creating the quasi-drunkenness from "Naked Now"[TNG1].

However, it now appears that the 'complex strings of water molecules' might not have been all that unlikely to begin with. According to some reports, long chains of water might actually be water in its normal state (see link). I'm not sure of all the implications of this idea (that is to say, I feel sure this sort of thing would have some sort of verifiable effect on biochemistry, water-as-a-solvent, and so on), but if true I find it even more amusing on a Trek-geek level than the nanotube idea.


Berman on Canon

A hat tip to Wayne Poe, who managed to only slightly misquote Star Trek Communicator #154 . . . a vast improvement over his normal misquotations!

Check out the quote here. (Wayne's version was only different for its artificial paragraph breaking.)


Threshold Cancelled

Hehehehe . . . I love it. I mean, I feel bad that decent folks like Mike Sussman and hottie-mchothots like Carla Gugino are out of work, but the sheer gut-punch to Braga is well-deserved. The guy stomped Trek into the ground, and I freely admit that I'm bitter. I'm quite pleased to see that his utter crappiness has been confirmed in the form of a show that didn't even make it a full season.

The funny part was that I was doing a write-up around the time it premiered, intending to be a little prescient because I knew . . . knew, I say! . . . that Braga the No-Talent Hack was going to kick a particular bit of technology in the balls just as he does with all other technology and science. As soon as I heard that he was going to do a show based on a sound that altered DNA, I knew it was only a matter of time before he utterly failed to consult a science advisor and had it happen over the phone.

"(weird dumbass alien noise)"

The funny part is that Braga's hackery got himself cancelled so fast I never got a chance to finish the write-up!

Anyway, here it is, unfinished, its unfinishedness yet another proof of Braga's suck factor.

(Kickass link that sounds like a Trek fan bitching about Braga's bad writing (but is in fact some other guy bitching about Braga's bad writing) follows.)

It's not even a DNA-mutating disease per se, from what I read before the premiere . . . it's a *magic sound* that, even if it comes through a TV playing a camcorder's recording of the sound, can *alter your DNA*.

Note also that Braga has recently stated that Threshold is based on and grounded in real science.

So, if that's the case, then we ought to be able to ascertain something of this sound, should we not? After all, how long is it until Braga will have one of the Big Bad Aliens calling someone and playing the Sound of Doom, hmm?

The human voice occupies a certain sound frequency range, and ears hear another. Telecomm engineers took advantage of this and discovered that speech could be compressed into a 64kbps data stream with no loss in audible quality. Of course various errors occur, but on a phone call you'll hardly notice.

So, as soon as the aliens pick up the phone, we'll know that the Magic Sound has, at best, the ability to transmit information at 64kbps. That's 64,000 bits per second, or 8 kilobytes per second . . . or ever so slightly faster than a 56k modem.

Human DNA consists of about 3 billion base pairs, with the bases commonly represented as A, C, G, or T. Even if you just number them as 1, 2, 3, 4 and transmit that in binary (say, like 0, 1, 10, 11) you're going to need at least two bits per base pair, and realistically you'll need at least four (i.e. 00, 01, 10, 11 . . . otherwise how would you know that 1011 was 3,4 (i.e. G,T) versus 2,1,2,2 (C,A,C,C) or even 2,1,4 (C,A,T)?). But let's assume two bits for kicks . . . that gives us six billion bits for the human genome . . . or 715 megabytes.

Just try downloading that at 56k!

But this genetic-mutation-Magic-Sound-disease-thing probably wouldn't need to send that many . . . it might only need, say, half a million base pairs, or a million bits. That brings us down to 122 kilobytes, which at 64 kilobits per second (8 kilobytes per second) would only take 15.25 seconds.

"Aha!" you could say . . . "Braga was right! Half a million base pairs is all that a densely-coded virus like Herpes has, so indeed that data could be transmitted!"

You could say that, but you would be stupid. The sound would have to be activating pre-existing DNA in the human genome in the best case . . . otherwise how in the world would simply playing a sound make people have this genetic freakout? There's no mechanism, just magic.

Of course Braga doesn't realize that will be necessary, though he might eventually include that if someone tells him. I say this because in the premiere the sound was capable of making a funny fractal pattern for no apparent reason, and bloodstains would spontaneously reorganize into this pattern. Because, you know, blood cells are mobile little bastards.

"Oh, but Braga's smarter than you. He knew that the alien virus thingy was creating flagella on the red blood cells so they could move and make the pattern. Oh, and some sort of autolocation thingy so they'd know how to orient themselves into the pattern and if they'd done so correctly."


In fact, let's just go ahead and do a complete runthrough of all the bad science (along with the crappy writing) in just the premiere.


1. The smokin'-hot Carla Gugino has almost no hesitation whatsoever in that one of her many doomsday scenarios is coming to pass. I sure wouldn't have minded seeing her bite her lip pensively . . .

. . .

Oh yeah, hi. What I was saying, though, was that Braga doesn't write human beings. He just sort of skips over humanity. Can you imagine if a chopper landed in front of Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens and said "hey, that book Icefire that you wrote about nukes causing a megawave from Antarctica? Yeah, that's happening, so could you maybe hook us up with some of the research you did?" I'd bet hard-earned cash that one or both of them would shit.


See also: Kickass Link

Must Be Getting Senile

I've always had a certain aversion to the Star Trek vs. Star Wars fanfics. Sure, it's a quite popular genre among Vs. Debaters, but I guess I always felt it was a waste of time when there were still facts to be discovered. Or perhaps I didn't like how most of them are so crappy, biased, or both. Or maybe it was just the fact that once you've read one or two you've pretty much read them all. (I mean, how many variations of "Q decided to have a little fun" or "what's that odd spatial anomaly sending us far, far away and across time?" can you really have?) Or, maybe I was still ticked off because the one I started to write about ten years ago got lost in a disk failure. (It featured a spatial anomaly, BTW.)

Whatever the case, much of my weekend was spent working on crafting some preliminary notes for a potential fanfic . . . the ships, the overall plot, dramatis personae, and so on. (At the moment, it features a spatial anomaly, too.) It's probably going to suck given my complete inexperience, but I'm thinking it might be a fun exercise all the same. I'll let you know how it goes.


ST Canon Updates

Wow . . . Star Trek novel authors get really pissed off about canon. It's amusing, really. Whereas Karen Traviss and other SW authors have been polite (if strained) even in the face of SD.Net flamefests and blog comment invasions against them, Trek authors seemingly aren't so well-behaved.

I started asking the proverbial 'too many questions' in the Star Trek Lit forum at TrekBBS in response to a claim that those two of Taylor's novels said to be canon in fact weren't, and that furthermore StarTrek.com wasn't a valid source of Trek information. Specifically, I asked for sources, and pointed out links to my sources so as to explain the reason I was asking.

And then I was surprised to find myself set upon, being flamed like a newbie Trekkie after his first SD.Net post. (They were slightly more well-behaved, but only insofar as language was concerned. Check it out here.)

In any case, as a result of the exchanges I've thus gotten some material for my Trek canon page, and have updated it a bit and added new quotes to the quotes page. The main update to the Trek canon page appears here.

UPDATE: Not all of them in that thread are bad. One of them PM'ed me and we had a manly-hug sort of moment, so don't think too harshly of the whole lot.


TVG Lucas Quote - Minor Modification

One of the canon policy quotes was a few words off, as discovered thanks to my recent eBay activities.

The variant most frequently quoted (the origins of which seem to be lost to history):
"TVGuide: Yet novelists have written "Star Wars" sequels using the same characters and extending their stories.

George Lucas: Oh, sure. They're done outside my little universe. "Star Wars" has had a lot of different lives that have been worked on by a lot of different people. It works without me."

The Actual Version (extended to aid in understanding the context):
"What would it take for you to do a third trilogy, with episodes VII, VIII and IX?
Each time I do a trilogy it's 10 years out of my life. I'll finish ”Episode III” and I'll be 60. And the next 20 years after that I want to spend doing something other than ”Star Wars.” If at 80 I'm still lively and having a good time and think I can work hard for another 10 years between 80 and 90, I might consider it. But don't count on it. There's nothing written, and it's not like I'm completing something. I'd have to start from scratch. [The idea of episodes VII, VIII, and IX] was more of a media thing than it was me.
Do you know how many fans would be willing to feed you Cream of Wheat and wheel you around in your chair if you did?
I don't think that's going to happen. Time catches up with you.
Yet novelists have written "Star Wars" sequels using the same characters and extending their stories.
Oh, sure. They're done outside of my little universe. ”Star Wars” has had a lot of different lives that have been worked on by a lot of other people. It works without me."

The wording changes are minor . . . "outside my little universe" versus "outside of my little universe", and "different people" versus "other people". However, the addition of contextual evidence locks the concept up a bit more tightly.

The TV Guide quote still isn't a devastator on par with the canon quotes from Starlog #337 or Cinescape. However, not only does it remain another confirmation, but it's a wee bit stronger now.



I have Star Trek Communicator #154 and the TV Guide with Lucas from 2001 inbound.

I wouldn't have bothered with the TV Guide, but given the difference between the Galvaron rendition of the Starlog #337 quote and the actual quote itself, I figure it might be best to go ahead and have the real deal in front of me.

As for the Communicator, Poe reported a quote on canon out of it that no one else seems to have heard of. When Poe is one's only source the chances of a 'factual problem' rise dramatically, so I'm going to get one and check.

Also, take a peek at the just-released Volumetrics 101 article by 'BHMM' from the STrek-v-SWars.Net forums. I'm trying to catch up on some of the guest article submissions that, much as with the rest of the site, I've been running behind on.


Star Trek on the Web: Old School

So I find some quote from an interview with Jeri Taylor . . . it was an e-mail posted on Usenet. I searched for the subject line of the e-mail . . . something about "Warp 10" . . . and did further searching. Seems it was a Star Trek news service that came via e-mail, way back in the day . . . it's amazing how much of that kind of info just isn't around anymore. But in any case, I happened upon the sort of website I haven't come across in ages.


I mean, wow . . . just check that out. "World Wide Web" . . . hehe. And man, I haven't seen a dithered .gif like that in forever. That's from when VGA was good but the new SVGA was awesome. That's the sort of image I'd have opened up in my old "CShow" DOS program (which was so excited to have 'CompuServe .GIF' support) while using StupenDOS as a shell to navigate directories ("WTF is a folder?") more easily than the File Manager in Win 3.11. And heaven forbid you had a .bmp file you wanted to put on your 5.25 floppy . . . you'd probably have to use pkzip from the command line to make a zipped version, but then that was okay because you were used to doing things outside of Windows, especially when it came to playing games.

And that's when you even had Windows 3.1 or 3.11 available . . . back in those days, you booted to the C:> prompt and if for some odd reason you wanted to go into Windows you typed "win", which if I remember correctly was just a batch file on the C: drive's main directory . . . though it's not like I have my old 486DX4/100 around to hit 'dir/w' on to check. She had SVGA and an eye-popping 540Mb hard drive, with real Sound Blaster sound. Oh, sure, those new Pentiums had come out, but the DX4s could beat them, and didn't have a goofy name either.

Ack! I'm old!



Well, crap. It just occurred to me that I'm about to lose a little feather that's been in my cap. See, typing in 'Star Trek canon' on Google had me coming up first. My Trek canon page has been holding on to the #1 spot for quite some time, in fact.

I have a feeling that's about to change.

See, at one point this year my incomplete Star Wars canon page was in the #2 spot behind Saxton's ancient, erroneous, and never-updated version . . . I assumed that upon completion it would eventually surpass all others. Instead, when Google's bots finally caught the update a few days ago the Google system shuffled it down to the bottom of their sixth page! As of this writing it's back up to the second page, but still.

I'm not an expert on the innards of Google so I can't really say what the cause was . . . I figured actually that there was simply so much 'Star Wars canon' there that it got flagged as one of those 'faker' pages you find online that just have the same word over and over in an effort to boost rank. 'Cause otherwise, I'd have to assume that Google was run by EU Completists. ;)

But, returning to the matter at hand . . . now that I've updated the Trek canon page, I'm waiting to see what happens when Google catches the update. How many pages will it plummet?


A Clockwork Asshat

Someone over at the STrek-v-SWars.Net board mentioned the Spacebattles forums a few days ago, and I decided to go take a gander. The last time I'd looked over there was a couple of weeks after I publicized the Starlog quote, and it hadn't hit there yet.

Well, now it has.

Like clockwork, the rabidly pro-Wars moderator 'HBMC' shut down the thread, saying "Nope. Enough of this. I'm not letting this one continue."

By their actions, you will know them. I'm reminded of the SD.Net weirdo that tried to delete all links to my site from Wikipedia's Trek vs. Wars page. 'Don't debate points -- suppress them!'


Piller 1948-2005

It's a rare thing for TV watchers to really mourn the passing of backstage personnel. Roddenberry's death was one such occasion . . . today we have another.

I've often referred to Michael Piller glowingly . . . he was one of those rare jewels who actually worked on Trek while simultaneously knowing what it was about. Like Roddenberry, he could take the 'ugly little advertising box we call television' and make it work for him, sharing and considering ideas with meaning.

He was neither a writer nor a producer nor a hyphenation of the two . . . he was a working philosopher. His absence was keenly felt after he departed Trek, and would be keenly felt in any Trek history which failed to mention him glowingly.

My sympathies to all who knew him.


ASVS - Hive of Scum and Villainy

After recently being astonished to discover that a bit of Vs. Debate was actually going on at ASVS (instead of just more of the spam I'd seen over the past couple of years), I was reading some of the messages earlier as I worked on updating the SW canon quote disputes page. Give that a peek.

It was like a breath of foul air, seeing the same old BS being employed by the old-timers like Graeme Dice. Attempted distractions via personal attacks, hypocrisy, message-swarms, and general BS gamesmanship designed to allow one to (at least publicly) evade even having to consider the facts still reign supreme there. It was so familiar I was almost tempted to post if even just to mock, but if you think I trust those threat-wielding psychos with so much as my IP address you can think again.

However, I did have to e-mail the participant there, because it was all so familiar. Most of the below won't make sense unless you at least peruse the last couple of days of messages there, but here we go:

Dear sweet justice, they are annoying aren't they?

I was reviewing your thread there while working on updating some canon-related pages, and came across the past couple of days of new material. As "Lord Edam" has suggested elsewhere, they like to lie and try to wear you out by making you revisit old territory. I was getting pissed off just reading that . . . be sure you don't let them give you a coronary. It's like arguing with a clever orator who rejects gravity, except (unlike with gravity) they have no reason to accept the facts in this case, ever, so their only goal is to play the game of evading the truth by any means necessary.

Some of the most egregious BS I saw:

1. "You made the claim that George Lucas said "EU is a parallel separate
universe." George Lucas has never stated that."

This comes from the fellow who has the audacity to call you a "semantics whore". Given that he is calling you a liar for making an obvious (and perfectly accurate) paraphrase, it's clear that the only semantics whore (and hypocritical scumbag) is he himself.

2. Inside sources

Who is this magic inside source who can single-handedly override Lucas? Oh, wait, silly me . . . that can't happen. The very fact that he is making the claim is appallingly sad.

3. 'Rings occur on all large vessels, like the Rebel ships'

Yeah, when shot with the Death Star . . . but he's 'conveniently' forgetting that an ISD explodes in RoTJ with no ring, and (why look!) it wasn't shot with the Death Star. Of course, this has been one of my main points for years, but he can't be bothered with little things like facts.

In short, their efforts continue to be absolutely ludicrous. They have cultivated stupidity into a fine art, though, I'll give them that.

Just had to share.

Spiffy-Tech and the End of the Vs. Debate

As modern technology has improved and we've begun to see some extraordinary things just over the horizon, I've often contemplated the end of the Vs. Debate.

In the not-so-distant future, nano- and other technology advances will bring possibilities largely undreamt of in either Trek or Wars, both of which will rapidly become anachronistic, technologically speaking. The problem is actually going to be worse for Trek, given that there have been so many more hours of it, hours in which technological details have been mentioned. However, it will affect both quite thoroughly.

Take, for instance, simple things like reports. On multiple occasions in Trek, we've seen people tasked with carrying a report to another part of the ship on an electronic padd . . . most notably in "Good Shepherd"[VOY6], but also in TOS (Yeoman Rand) and "Tapestry"[TNG6].

In large degree, this sort of thing was anachronistic when it was written . . . even by TNG6 e-mail was sufficiently prevalent that I can't imagine the writers (even the paper-and-pen Ira Behr) didn't know about it. Certainly it would be more efficient to transmit a report directly to someone else's console or place it on some sort of central shipboard server instead of having some poor guy physically carry a laptop-analogue to another part of the ship.

Of course, we can invent excuses for this sort of anachronism, such as it being a preventative measure against eavesdropping on shipboard signals. Of course, one of the promises of quantum computing is quantum cryptography, which would theoretically make eavesdropping impossible. But, the history of cryptography (not to mention the existence of subspace doohickeys) would suggest that a way might be found around that, assuming quantum cryptography is even employed in Trek.

(Incidentally, eavesdropping-avoidance is why I always liked the whited-out windows on the older physical and low-res CGI models. In truth it was merely because they couldn't show the interiors easily until the CGI ability and budgets got high enough. But personally, I liked the idea of a "white-out option" since, after all, if you're looking at important ship data you'd hardly want to let the enemy simply peek in your window! And just think of the windows of certain quarters on the Enterprise-D that are within line-of-sight of other windows . . . voyeurs would rejoice!)

Similarly, both Trek and Wars have weapons with various sorts of small scope mechanism, little scanners or whatnot with tiny screens, and other similar things. The basic idea is that of hand-held tools that don't obscure the face of the actor. However, even today we're well on our way to tiny hologram generators that would be far more useful than the tiny screen of a tricorder or the vague, zoomless aiming that comes from a handheld pistol or especially a Type I phaser. They could also be used for augmented reality systems . . . or, alternately, a tricorder-like device (using ultra-wideband and other techniques could be worn visor-like over the eyes or as a helmet. Or, as long as we're at it, just go ahead and do a direct overlay-projection into the eye (or from within via nanotech).

Just imagine the difference between traipsing through the woods on some alien planet looking down every few seconds to check your tricorder as you look for some alien object (not to mention lifesigns of your enemies) versus having a display right in front of you that not only gives you a constant reference of which way to head, but will also pull up little target boxes and show you an augmented view of your surroundings with that badguy behind the tree clearly visible. And then, imagine if that were tied in to your weapon so that you could see exactly where you were aiming even if you were aiming from the hip.

Now picture that happening at night.

(Of course, at night and in a situation of stealth I'd rather have a projectile weapon with a flash suppressor as opposed to a phaser or blaster.)

I'm reminded of a paper I recently read that touched on some of the tactical issues regarding the Winter War between Russia and Finland, which (along with the Continuation War) is an often-forgotten conflict from during WW2. In the paper, we hear of how, during the frigid December of 1939, a Russian motorized division (tanks and other heavies) was basically completely wiped out by a bunch of loggers on skis. The Finns, more experienced with dealing with the bitter cold, could approach quietly at night on the powdery snow via their skis and, shooting from the hip with their Suomi submachine guns, pick off the invaders. Naturally, their only real lighting was from the Russian campfires . . . moonlight was generally scarce in mid-December 1939 (-1938 on the chart).

(Though most people in the modern electrified era with its bright city lights have little conception of just how dark night can really be and thus how well one could probably see on a snow-covered terrain reflecting even a moon-sliver's light, it remains true in the final analysis that it was pretty damned dark.)

Ignoring the enhanced mobility of the Finnish skiers versus the non-skiing Russians being forced to wade and trudge through the deep powder, there's still the fact that they were firing on the enemy at night in hit-and-run attacks, perhaps even 'ski-by shootings'. The Finns favored shooting from the hip with the Suomi, since even the "smokeless" powder would produce enough of a cloud to foul up one's efforts at aiming from the shoulder pretty quickly. Just imagine how much more effective they could've been even with modern night-vision, not to mention a full augmented reality system like the type described above.

But I digress . . .

In short, the writers were generally bound by the limitations of the technology during the time they wrote (or at least the popular knowledge of it), along with some Hollywood-specific limitations . . . hence all the macroscopic components, handheld devices, and so on. Indeed, one of the great things about television and film is that you can actually show some really cool stuff . . . but one of the perils of television and film is that you can't go on talking about it if you're trying to tell a story.

For instance, imagine if Riker walked into a briefing with his sleeve rolled up, incessantly tapping a finger at his exposed arm. The camera closes in and we see him hard at work pressing padd-like touch-screen buttons and making a video display on his arm change. It would look absurd, of course, but that sort of thing isn't too terribly far away.

That would certainly be one way to have a padd on you while also roaming about on an observation mission of some 20th-Century-or-less society, wouldn't it?

Of course, some of the Trek and Wars anachronisms would be intentional. For instance, there's the 'dataport' as seen on DS9, a device allowing direct neural interface with a computer and even mind-to-mind contact (leading to 'net-girl' non-physical prostitution . . . evidently dataports are more advanced than the Prytt psionic neural transceiver from "Attached"[TNG7]). This concept has appeared elsewhere, of course . . . perhaps the most useful version I know of was in 3001, where Arthur C. Clarke mentions that everyone uses "braincaps" which allow a person to directly access all the information of the world, and are self-aware secretaries besides. I don't know of any current research that will give us something that advanced, but I can certainly understand why a person might not want to have one, and why it wouldn't be a good idea to solely rely on it. (On the other hand, I could get a helluva-lot more work done if I didn't have to type everything out, for although I'm a helluva-speedy typist it still takes time. And of course, it's remarkable how quickly we come to rely on things that start out as merely helpful. Cellphones, anyone?)

But that brings us to my final point for the moment. In the end, one of the things from either franchise that will continue to be relevant (beyond the entertainment value of the basic storylines) will be the Borg. In an age where people could integrate and internalize technology into their person to that extent, the concept of holding on to one's humanity will become increasingly important. Thus, although Trek and Wars tech will probably look pretty backwards in a few years (not counting things like hyperdrive and excessive energy production), the two might yet have a little bit of relevance for the future.


The TNG Space Hippies Theory

A thought I've been toying with for the past few months . . .

As mentioned previously, the first war between the Cardassian Union and the UFP appears to have occurred from 2358-2362.

Consider the first couple of seasons of TNG (which starts in 2364) . . . the crew simply does not appear to be a war-hardened force. If anything, they act more like space hippies then quasi-military officers . . . Riker believing combat training to be a "minor province" in the make-up of a starship captain, Picard avoiding holding actual wargames, and so on. There are several examples wherein the idea of 'a generally-peaceful aim' would be a bit of an understatement. This isn't a bad thing in a time which can support it, mind you, but it was almost as if there was a cultivated naivete at times. Certainly it was a much different era than Kirk's TOS.

I think there is a relationship between that era and the Cardassian conflict. From Mosaic, we know that as of 2351 there hadn't been a war or other significant conflict for decades . . . the word "war" was hoped obsolete.

We also know of the Talarian border skirmishes (where the Talarians, near Cardassian space, are a remarkably low-tech people), the Tzenkethi war (apparently of the early 2360's), and so on.

Also, as noted on the Setlik III page in the Tech Archives, the first known use of the TNG pajamas was sometime between 2349 and 2354.

(And you never know . . . there might be a relationship there, too. The militaristic uniforms of the latter-TMP era, worn throughout the first half of the 2300's, might've helped cause some other races to blink faster than they would if the Federation showed up in one-piece speedo pajamas.)

If war was thought obsolete and evidence of unenlightenment . . . if the Federation hadn't been tested in real war for decades . . . if they showed up in pajamas . . . if they seemed to blink out of a spirit of conciliatory friendliness . . . if Earth was a paradise and the rest of the Federation seemed to be following suit quite nicely, with troubles minor . . . then the Federation's adversaries might've taken these things as a sign of weakness. "They are unprepared."

(Certainly if some backwards fartcatchers like the Talarians start rattling sabers with you, you know that you're not projecting anything resembling fear, nor are you absorbing such a society as a member anytime soon.)

In short, I would argue that the first half of the 24th Century saw a steady decline in the rather more martial philosophies of the mid-to-late 23rd Century. Those more martial philosophies were borne of the cold war with the Klingons at the time.

(Indeed, I think the Klingons are why the remarkably TNG-esque Earth Starfleet of the early 2150's were able to become the mid-23rd Century Federation Starfleet. Sure, the Romulans brought everyone together in war, but it was the decades-long cold war with the Klingons that really kept the Federation on its toes.)

After Organia and the eventual peace with the Klingons beginning in the 2290's, there just wasn't the same impetus anymore, and by the early-to-mid-2300's the hippyism had begun. To be sure, we know that during the 2340's the Federation got worried about the Cardassians, but worry is not a direct lead-in to a return to martial philosophies.

It's possible that no one recognized that three separate "western" powers challenged the Federation at the same time for the same reasons . . . this may simply have been viewed as a necessary 'taming of the west'.

In short, the Federation became complacent, and despite a brief spat of trouble with a few rabble-rousers in the west, they really never had much cause to question their complacency.

With the end of the western conflicts of the 2350's and early 2360's, then, it was a new dawning of the Age of Aquarius . . . harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding, no more false or dark derisions, and so on. After all, the west was tame and they'd all soon see the light, the Romulans were being quiet, and by damn even the Klingons are friends! The only real worry was the Ferengi, but even they turned out to be a non-threat.

In other words, the early 2360's resembled the late 1960's in the United States. Sure, there were still hardasses around, but even the hardasses were pleased that the trials of the 2350's were over and might've secretly hoped that all would be well for a long long while.

Of course, as we now know, the idea was wrong. The return of the Romulans in late 2364 got a few balls rolling, but it was the "kick in our complacency" that the Borg produced (thanks Q) which resulted in a scare real enough that the non-warship-building Federation came out with the Defiant Class.

(Had the Federation encountered the wormhole and the Dominion circa 2364, I don't think they would've had the spirit to win.)


In any case, that's the general gist of my idea as to why there's such a gap between the attitudes in early TNG versus late-TNG / DS9. The ideals are still there, but there's a more realistic approach that, while perhaps not working as well at times, has certain merits.

Of further interest would be the period around 2380 or so, with the end of the devastating Dominion War. I can't help but wonder how the Federation's attitude would be circa 2400.


Hull Temperature Data

In "Coda"[VOY3], we get to see yet another Voyager shuttle crash. The shuttle Sacajawea, variously shown as a Type-6 or a Type-8 shuttlecraft, encounters a powerful and sudden ion storm disturbance in the atmosphere of some planet or other.

After taking a series of ion lightning hits, the shuttle loses attitude control and navigational systems. Janeway soon reports:

"Altitude: 12 kilometers. Hull temperature: 4,000 degrees. We have to reduce speed!"

That would seem to imply that they were nearing some maximum tolerance . . . though I suppose it could also refer to simply slowing down before colliding with a planet.

Also, in Mosaic[VOY], we get some Voyager-specific hull temperatures. The highest stated maximum is 17,000 degrees, though we do hear of minutes passing between the 14,000 and 15,000 degree marks, along with a number of minutes on the way up to 14,000. The hull doesn't boil off and there's no mention of permanent damage (though it does get up to 62 degrees on the bridge), so this is apparently a readily-survivable (though probably highly-inadvisable) hull temperature.

Also, I've updated the Tech Archives with some unfinished materials from Pathways and Mosaic, as part of continuing work on defining and dating the Cardassian Conflict (with the war still appearing to fall in the 2358-2362 timeframe). Check it out here.


Dominion War Convoys

" . . . With the safe arrival of the convoy PQ1 to the Vegan system, our escort duties are now complete, and I've set course for home."

That's from "The Sound of Her Voice"[DSN6]. That implies that at maximum, there could be 6,760 convoys by such a numbering scheme (26 x 26 x 10), with that one being the 2,721st, more likely than not.

Of course, the idea of a convoy going toward Vega (i.e. awfully close to Earth) doesn't make that much sense.

But just for kicks, we know that a convoy in "Waltz"[DSN6] was carrying 30,000 troops. If each convoy carried that many, then the total Federation ground force could number 81,630,000 troops.

Note that this is just a number . . . not a maximum, minimum, or recommended estimate.


Remarkable Applicability

Still such an excellent quote:

"Gradually the Greeks lost their brilliance, which had been as the bright freshness of early youth. This is painfully obvious in their literature, if not in other forms of art. Their initiative vanished; they ceased to create and began to comment. Patriotism, with rare exceptions, became an empty name, for few had the high spirit and energy to translate into action man's duty to the State. Vacillation, indecision, fitful outbursts of unhealthy activity followed by cowardly depression, selfish cruelty, and criminal weakness are characteristic of the public life of Greece from the struggle with Macedonia to the final conquest by the arms of Rome. No one can fail to be struck by the marked difference between the period from Marathon to the Peloponnesian War and the period from Alexander to Mummius. Philosophy also suffered, and became deeply pessimistic even in the hands of its best and noblest exponents. 'Absence of feeling,' 'absence of care'--such were the highest goals of human endeavour."

From Malaria and Greek History, 1909


Canon Wars revision

My overview and replies to the EU Completist responses to the Starlog quote are incomplete, I'm afraid. The weekend was simply too lovely weather-wise for me to even dream of staying indoors. But, I did remember this evening that I was going to try to get that done, at which point I started appending the info to the "Quote-Specific Argument Overview". This, of course, was a mistake, because man that thing is out of date. And thus a general update to that page is underway, and will include the Starlog bits.

In brief, though, the 'strongest' counterclaim . . . or perhaps (given the general absence of strength) the term 'meatiest' should be used . . . is from the ASVS thread wherein they simply try to use the old "intrude" bit. (In other words, they try to reinterpret the 2002 Cinescape quote by taking the word "intrude" and discarding or otherwise ignoring the context. That sort of 'reasoning' has long since been dealt with on the Quote-Specific Arguments page.

At ASVS, that merged with the claim which sounds great, but has no meat at all. The 'Production Defense', as I call it, is the claim that every time Lucas speaks of parallel universes he is only referring to either (a) the act of film-making vs. publishing/gamecrafting/et cetera, or (b) the people who engage in the latter.

There's no particular logic behind the claim that I can see, and indeed that's the very claim that I can't seem to get any of them to explain the rationale behind. It basically runs like this:

Them: "He's just talking about production."
Me: "How so?"
Them: "He's talking about production."
Me: "And you came to this conclusion because . . . "
Them: "Because he's talking about production."
Me: ('fro-slap)

Anyway, more to come


About ST-v-SW.Net: The Store

Where the hell did that come from?

Spur of the moment thing, really. I was sitting there really thinking about buying a shirt online that featured a hysterical re-do of the Sistine Chapel when it dawned on me that I wouldn't mind having an ST-v-SW.Net shirt.

Are you making money off of it?

No, not really. I just went ahead and put the shop up because I thought it was nifty. I don't expect to sell anything.

In any case, the shop is free for the person who runs it (i.e. I don't have to pay them for it) . . . people make money off of them by putting in a mark-up. I went ahead and marked things up by just enough to get to the next integer or half-integer (i.e. their weirdly-priced $16.45 shirts would go to $17.00), but that hardly counts. Even if a shirt a week were to be sold, at the end of a year I'd have, oh, about twenty-five bucks. In short, if I were in it for the money I'd put up ad banners or a Paypal contribution link or something.

In any case, though, any money earned (i.e. all 55 cents, since of course I did buy a shirt) will be used for upkeep of ST-v-SW.Net.

Is this legal?

"I will make it legal."

Okay, well, maybe not. But seriously, I'm not infringing on anyone's copyrights or anything . . . hence the boring designs which don't feature ships fighting or character names or quotes or anything fun like that. The closest I come is with the use of the site symbol chevron in its "Battle of Britain" configuration . . . something very similar to the site symbol chevron was recently used in "In A Mirror, Darkly"[ENT4]. However, my symbol came before that, and is sufficiently different than any predecessor.

Further, with the BoB modification it is an independent design using elements of an independent design that is a formerly-unique variation of a previously-little-known Trek design. That alone makes it more original than most TV or songs available today.

I have this great idea for a new shirt/whatever . . .

Send it in! If it's really cool I'll see if I can whip one up for you and add it to the store. Or you can make one yourself via the folks who are providing the store for me.

Anyway, I figured this would be useful for clearing up any potential questions. If I get questions not related to the ones above I'll edit this accordingly.

And You Will Know Them By The Trail of The Annoyed

In case you've ever thought that the SD.Netters just come after me, think again. They've sprayed their collective venom against many a real or imagined foe, going off to invade places that just aren't interested.

Perhaps the most amusingly disturbing fight they've picked has been with the very people who make the EU they (normally) defend to the death. I've previously mentioned their issue with Pablo Hidalgo, who downplayed the import of number-crunching fans like Saxton. This of course offended them no end, and a year and a half ago it resulted in all manner of outrage among SD.Net denizens. They bitched and moaned all over SD.Net and even the StarWars.com forums, flinging insults every which way . . . even Saxton got involved. They even called for a letter-writing campaign to try to get Hidalgo ousted.

He's still around. Oh, and Ossus got banned from StarWars.com. Oops.

Now, they've picked another fight. A recent issue of Star Wars Insider had an article on the Grand Army of the Republic. If you'll recall, AoTC implies about 1.2 million clones. The article, discussing a time around RoTS some three years later, gives the Republic a total of about three million. Seems about right, to me.

The rabid Warsies of SD.Net, however, considered this to be far too small, and thus began flaming the authors all over the internet, not only at their SD.Net haven but also on the forums of TheForce.Net. Now they've even carried the matter to the StarWars.com blogs of the offending authors, calling a very nice lady and the fellow who helped with the article some remarkable names and giving all manner of hell to anyone else they can find, including (inevitably) Pablo Hidalgo. The mods of StarWars.com are being kept busy trying to ensure that their personal attacks and other flames aren't allowed to go out of control . . . which of course has the SD.Net crew attacking the mods, now, as well.

They're basically just a few steps away from those freaks who sent death threats to the EU author who was tasked to kill Chewbacca. And of course, given that the SD.Net crowd is not unfamiliar with composing death threats, I'm sure Karen Traviss, Ryan Kaufmann, and Pablo Hidalgo have or will get some very interesting mail from these weirdos. I'm just waiting for them to start trying to call them at home while holding satellite photos of their homes.

So let's see . . . reason, common sense, me, Lucas companies personnel, EU authors . . . yes, their list of Enemies of the State is growing. But hey, what do we know? Only the SD.Netters know what real Star Wars is. We should let them write it.

Of course, now that they're up to claiming rapid-fire 50 teraton per shot ship weapons (an increase of 250 times over the already-absurd ICS 200 gigaton crap), I'm sure most of what they wrote would be zeroes and commas (aNd t3h C4pt41n uNl34$#3d t3h 700,000,0000,00,,000,000,,000 uB3rt0n tUrB0l4z0Rz 4nD 400,000,000,00,0000,,00 g1g4cl0n3z!!!!!!1111one111!!!!!11shift+one!).

But come now . . . who'd really want to read that?


Poe: Lord of the Dance

As noted in the comments to the last post, there has been a bit more chatter discovered at ASVS, of all places . . . a locale I've long thought dead as far as Vs. Debating went. I'll be making a general response to the various claims found there. None of it is any more impressive than the other online responses . . . more "intrude" nonsense, anti-contextual wordplay, claims of Lucas Licensing going rogue, and so on.

But what I've been highly amused by has been Poe. He's been one of the most vocal opponents of the Starlog quote, which granted isn't saying much this time out.

As noted in earlier posts, he originally claimed that the Galvaron rendition of the quote was production based, a claim that wasn't really supportable. And, now that the full Starlog quote has appeared, the claim makes no sense at all.

Which, I imagine, is why Poe has avoided the full quote like the plague.

His first post-Starlog response was to simply post a number of non-Lucas quotes . . . one was hearsay, another a previously-quoted Chee statement, a couple of attempts to support the Creator Involvement Thesis, and so on. In short, nothing substantial.

Then, he updated his website with a heavily-edited version of the ASVS thread from June 2002 . . . three and a half years ago . . . where I directly questioned the ASVS use of the EU for the first time.

Actually I have to thank Wayne . . . it's rather pleasant to see that I was on the right track back then, even though that was a month before the "parallel universe" quote and some time before I knew of the 2001 TV Guide quote. It's like looking at the first seeds of what was to become the new canon page.

In any case, Wayne claims that since he feels my position at the time was "ripped [...] to shreds", that my current argument is likewise dashed. Given the seed analogy, I suppose he would also feel that by beating up newborns, he can claim to have "kicked the butts of 20 year old men" a couple of decades later. (I'm also amused at how he edited the posts to make me appear to be the aggressor in regards to ASVS-standard personal attack tactics. So many dishonest people are willing to slack off and just do things halfway, but Poe gives dishonesty that extra personal touch that is the mark of quality.)

But I digress . . . Poe's exhaustive quotation and editing of a three and a half year old argument is amusing on many levels, but basically is bordering on a straw man. Indeed, by claiming that he and his won three years ago and hence my new canon page and the Starlog quote are defeated, that's pretty much exactly what it is.

And so, feeling that this was a successful maneuver, Poe repeated it. Poe's third post-Starlog response involves denying the "easy victory", quoting the incomplete Galvaron rendition of the Starlog quote to the SD.Net denizens, making his production claim again, and then quoting a post by "Lord Edam" at ASVS against "Mike4ty4", who had shared the Galvaron rendition with them. Poe, automatically declaring Edam's EU Completist position victorious in that thread, thus claims that my position about the quote is wrong.

Thus we end up with two straw men. First, Wayne is unable or unwilling to respond to the full Starlog quote. Second, he is unable or unwilling to respond to me. And thus, he takes the watered-down quote and (... if Mike4ty4 will forgive me ...) watered-down argument and declares victory with those, and thus victory against the full quote and a complete argument thereon.

It's people like Poe (and web boards like SD.Net) that make you really stop and question democracy. Deviousness and idiocy are far too commonplace for comfort.

Ah, well . . . it's the best we've got. But, at least reality is not subject to a popular vote . . . much to SD.Net's chagrin and dismay.


An Easy Victory?

So is that it? Is the canon argument all wrapped up? Looks like it from here right now.

Frankly, I expected that there would be more of an uproar over the Starlog quote among the Vs. Debate EU Completists, but thus far it simply hasn't happened. Usually by this point several competing forms of BS would've appeared already, along with one thoroughly convoluted re-interpretation. This last one, by virtue of being so subtly full of it that it takes several minutes of thought for the average person to untangle, would become the standard line. I then publicize the rebuttal to their BS, and they ignore it.

However, this time there's simply been no substantive counterargument whatsoever. What little "counterargumentative chatter" I've seen about the quote is so easily brushed aside that I almost feel bad taking the time to type it out.

Of course, there have been no concessions either, which is to be expected. I suppose they're just trying to ignore it for as long as possible, which is unusual for them to do with the original quote.

In any case, I'll give them more time. I prefer to avoid even the appearance of overconfidence, and thus do not bust out with the dick-waving and declarations of victory at all . . . or at least, not immediately.

(Indeed, over at STrek-v-SWars I've been semi-patiently waiting for a guy to explain why he keeps denying that the Starlog quote means what everyone thinks it means. This I do in the spirit of honest inquiry, but it's been days now and he's refused to answer the question.

Also, expect a post soon wherein I actually do trouble myself to type out the quick responses to the EU-Phile reactions observed thus far, such as 'Lucas's words are to be ignored' and the "It's a fake!" objection, among others.)


Ecce Starlog


Click thumbnail to pop up a larger image. (Page's third column has been cropped.)

The quote:
The portions of both columns are put together

Starlog: Calculate the Yield of This Quote

"STARLOG: The Star Wars Universe is so large and diverse.  Do you ever find yourself confused by the subsidiary material that's in the novels, comics, and other offshoots?

LUCAS:  I don't read that stuff. I haven't read any of the novels.  I don't know anything about that world.  That's a different world than my world.  But I do try to keep it consistent.  The way I do it now is they have a Star Wars Encyclopedia.  So if I come up with a name or something else, I look it up and see if it has already been used.  When I said [other people] could make their own Star Wars stories, we decided that, like Star Trek, we would have two universes: My universe and then this other one.  They try to make their universe as consistent with mine as possible, but obviously they get enthusiastic and want to go off in other directions."

- George Lucas, Flannelled One, Aug. 2005 - "New Hopes" interview in Starlog #337

Scans forthcoming.


Errata: Starlog

The Starlog #337 is currently scheduled to arrive tomorrow. I'll attempt to have quotes and scans posted by the weekend if not sooner.


At Last

It seems like I've been working on it for ages, and I think that, in fact, I have. But at last, the Star Wars canon page update is published.

I won't call it 'done', but it's very close. The related pages need updating, I'm missing a few newer quotes on the quote list pages, and I forgot to update the Addenda bit on the TV show with the Sansweet-Dicenso quote. But frankly, I'm damned tired of elucidating the SW canon for now, and would rather spit it out 99% perfect than have it on my drive doing nothing for one more day. I'll correct the remaining 1% over the next week or two and will update accordingly.

Canon Pages

I've decided to go ahead and move forward with finishing up the canon page rewrite even without the Starlog magazine in-hand. I am working on getting that done today.

Speaking of the Starlog, here's the story of it as recounted to PayPal and any eBay user who wants to deal with the devious scoundrels I tried to buy it from.


Here We Go Again

It's sad when you can look up at the outer bands of yet another major hurricane and be like "oh, please, Rita? She's only a Category Three now."

Anyway, it just dawned on me that the ST-v-SW.Net servers were in Texas somewhere, and when I checked the hosting company's website I found this little gem:

Houston is an ideal location for the primary data center because of the absence of natural disasters [...]


So, it's worth noting that the site may go down this weekend.

(And yes, it's still worth noting even in spite of the fact that certain SD.Net sickos will try to spin my mention of that detail.)


Oh Please

Alternate Title: "Even SD.Net is Spinning Katrina"

I've just been shown something disgusting.

In the rather off-topic ventings from yesterday, I made reference to how politicians, pundits, and other undesirables were attempting to turn the death and destruction in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast to their advantage. It is a disgusting thing I spoke of.

Today, Wayne Poe took the example of disgusting behavior and made it his own, attempting to spin my mere mention of the hurricane from the Sunday before it hit into another attack against me.

Shame on you, Poe.

True, mention of the hurricane had no particular place on a weblog dedicated to "Quick Notes, Personal Observations, and Other Vs. Debate Miscellany", but I felt the need anyway. I was here, after all. But the fact is, spin-doctoring of a natural disaster into an attack on one's adversaries has no place anywhere. And frankly, if you'll forgive the cheap shot, it's remarkable that a man who weighs 450 pounds can spin anything without having a coronary. I presume gravitational eddies are involved.

So how did Wayne disgust me yet again? Let's have some background here:

You see, before the storm the big story in this weblog . . . which, it seems I must reiterate, is about the Star Trek vs. Star Wars debate and hence focuses exclusively on that topic . . . was the Starlog quote from Lucas. My copy of this magazine was inbound, and after ordering it Tuesday Aug. 23 I noted that it was to arrive in a couple of days.

The storm that was to become Katrina was declared Tropical Depression #12 hours after the post. I made no mention of this in the weblog, which is unsurprising given that this is not the Weather Channel website.

The morning of Sunday Aug. 28 . . . which, for those like Wayne who are slow at math, is five days later . . . I noted that the package had not, in fact, arrived "a couple of days" after Tuesday. This was noted as being due to screwups on the part of the sender of the magazine, who is evidently also slow at math.

By this point, Katrina had already struck Florida and was responsible for the deaths of several people. Computer models had, for 42 hours (see Katrina Discussion #14), already indicated a recurvature that would take the intensifying storm (predicted as of the 27th to be a possible Category 5) dangerously close to New Orleans on or about the afternoon of the 29th. As the unofficial weatherman of my office, with my browser grabbing the NOAA RSS feeds every three hours and with my watchings of the spaghetti models elsewhere, I kept well abreast of the storm and was aware of the change in estimated track.

Naturally, no mention of any facts in the above paragraph had been made anywhere on ST-v-SW.Net. This makes sense for two reasons.

1. As noted previously, I don't share more on the site than my opinions on the Vs. Debate, because the SD.Net people are freaks who will use anything you say to try to stalk or harass you (and this is a case in point).

2. The weblog for ST-v-SW.Net is not equivalent to CNN, MSNBC, InstaPundit, Weather Underground, or anything else besides "Quick Notes, Personal Observations, and Other Vs. Debate Miscellany". Even the Weather Channel doesn't report basic news. If you're looking for national news and weather or commentary on same, you should not be at this website.

On Sunday, some 20 hours before the storm hit, the mayor of New Orleans belatedly ordered an evacuation of the city. (Yes, that was commentary. Consider it a freebie, much like any mentions of weather here lately.)

Then around lunchtime Sunday, I posted that I might be down for awhile. That post was done out of sheer necessity . . . I'd have preferred the death-threat-slinging, stalk-happy Rabid Warsies of SD.Net not have evidence that I still live in the area where they think I do as opposed to, say, Connecticut.


And so we come back to Poe. The crux of Poe's attack is based on the fact that in the Sunday morning post about the multiple Starlog shipping screwups, I mentioned Hurricane Katrina's possible complete destruction of New Orleans in passing, and joked (albeit nervously) that my Starlog might be found floating in the city after the storm's passing.

So, to Wayne's twisted mind, I take the debate too seriously because my "first thought" upon hearing of a danger to New Orleans was about my magazine, despite the 40+ hour difference between my hearing of the predicted path and it occurring to me that the magazine might be delayed, a thought which caused me to make note of that fact in the blog.

His attack was not based on the nervous Atlantis joke which, unfortunately for the residents of New Orleans, stopped being funny when the levees really did finally break a couple of days later. Nor does he try to claim some sort of moral high ground over his perception of the event . . . not that he could, given that he was soaking up (more than his fair share of) California sunshine and enjoying all the comforts of 21st Century living while I watched trees snapping, buildings being damaged, and debris flying all over the damned place at 100mph only to then enjoy a week worrying about family and friends and food and water and heat and West Nile and looters and crazy people shooting each other over bags of ice.

But actually, Wayne doesn't even really acknowledge the chronology at all, once again displaying the hallmark SD.Net tactic of anti-chronological thinking. He claims that the magazine constituted my "first thoughts about the devastation of New Orleans", and the other SD.Net nitwits also attempt to pretend that the magazine reference was my reaction to the event. It isn't until several posts down that someone finally troubles himself to correct them on the matter, noting that my comment came before the storm and not after.

Anti-chronological thinking (e.g. "America was willing to drop A-bombs on Hiroshima, and thus Pearl Harbor was justified") is a hallmark of SD.Net, and so is the (faux) mindreading of people that Poe tries to claim as an ability. After all, does he not make a claim wherein he says he knows what my thoughts were, and when? How could he possibly do this when he can barely comprehend what I say?

Besides which, if we just go by Wayne's posts on SD.Net and try to claim psychic ability because of them, Wayne's "first thought" upon the destruction of New Orleans was to update his own Vs. Debate website and then announce at SD.Net that "THE BORG VS THE EMPIRE page has now returned!" (Tuesday, Aug. 30, 5am), and later to misrepresent "Regeneration"[ENT2]. He didn't comment on Katrina at all until Wednesday, when he cracked a joke about it. Either Wayne takes the Vs. Debate too seriously, or else one's postings cannot be used as a guide to one's psychic mindreading gobbledygook.

In any case, with the wind taken out of their collective sail by the guy who mentioned the correct chronology, another one of them then decides to claim that having one's friends and family who live in the affected areas come out the storm alive and well and having one's own location show no significant damage is not, in fact, the best a person could hope for under the circumstances.

I suppose that's true if you throw reason and logic out of the window. The best anyone could hope for when they have an ENORMOUS F***ING HURRICANE with GUSTS OF MACH 0.25 bearing down on them is that the hurricane would've magically dissipated before reaching shore, producing no damage and no loss of or affect on human life whatsoever. Alternately, I suppose I could've wished that everyone in the affected areas was able to magically relocate to Alaska.

Of course, any such idea is absurd, so no logical person actually wished for that sort of thing.

In short, the SD.Net crowd is once again exemplifying the worst possible traits of human behavior, and making light of a natural disaster to do so. All the participants in that thread who are following Wayne's disgusting lead can officially go off themselves right now, as far as I'm concerned. You disgust me.


I'd said the wind fell out of their sails once someone pointed out that the Atlantis comment came from before the storm and not after. I was wrong . . . nevermind. SD.Net denizens in that thread are continuing to claim that I should've expressed "regret that 1000's of people are dead not bitching that his [...] magazine went missing".

Idiots . . . there were not thousands dead Sunday! How can one express regret for an event that has not occurred? I realize Wayne fancies himself a psychic mindreader, but I was not aware that I was expected to engage in psychic prognostications.

Besides which, has it not occurred to these people that the day after the hurricane hit Wayne Poe was updating his infrequently-updated website? And then he had the audacity to claim that I take the debate too seriously because, in his anti-chronological thinking, I talked about the debate after Katrina? Can you say "projection"?

Perhaps the nervous humor of mentioning Atlantis the day before Katrina hit (bearing in mind that I'm in the bloody path of anything that hits N.O.) was not in the best of all possible tastes, but I'm sure people would think the same way about jokes involving asteroids hitting Earth if one were to do so tomorrow. Right now we'd laugh . . . tomorrow we'd rebuke.

In short, SD.Net people are so incredibly desperate and obsessed with attacking me that, taking a cue from their favorite politicians, they are attempting to make use of the death of thousands as their ammunition. I find that utterly disgusting, and if you don't, then I cordially invite you to get the hell off my website . . . I wouldn't want you reading it anyway.

That's all I have to say on the matter. I'm sure they'll try to spin some sort of face-saving response out of this, but at this point there's nothing they could say that could keep them from looking like nasty low-brow bastards whose worth to human society is questionable at best.



With sustained winds reported at 95mph (152km/h) and gusts to 125, my area got schooled but wasn't hit nearly so bad as the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Some of my friends there have lost everything.

Getting information in this area has been limited, but with the restoration of power and internet over the past couple of days I've finally managed to get a better handle on what's going on, and of course to see the inevitable spin doctoring of politicians, journalists, and pundits.

(To those people I'd just like to say: It's a natural disaster, assholes. Quit trying to use it for political gain. I can't stand seeing people who, out of ignorance, stupidity, or poor ideology, keep trying to say "why aren't they doing such-and-such" and "why haven't they done so-and-so". They're doing everything humanly possible, and if bychance they're not using your idea (for I've often heard people say "why aren't they" when they are), it's probably because it can't be done right now. An area the size of the state of Wyoming has been partying like it's 1799 over the past week, and that simply doesn't allow for rapid response. I know how bad things were here, dozens of miles inland, and you don't. So don't go trying to pretend that Bush or Blanco or Barbour or whoever should've been able to personally lead a magic carpet ride of supplies to the affected areas within ten minutes when, in reality, it was bloody impossible to travel four miles away even here unless you walked, and carefully too.)

The only part of the hurricane that is a "national disgrace" is the behavior of some in New Orleans who have abandoned all pretense of law or logic. I can certainly understand the police overseeing the gathering of supplies from a closed store, and even the raiding of a closed store for food and medical supplies if you have none, but people looting stores for TVs and Nikes are simple thieves. And frankly, when I heard that idiots were shooting at the rescue helicopters, my first thought was that they should just send in Apaches. Yes yes, I know that a lot of the people who were left in New Orleans were "disadvantaged", lesser-educated, and so on, but that's no excuse for shooting at the damned rescue chopper and you can't pretend that it is. We have an army for use against enemies foreign and domestic . . . I have no problem with its use in the latter case against street thugs trying to prevent rescue operations.

But I digress . . .

This hurricane was a historic event, and frankly I'm glad to have seen it with my own eyes. To my knowledge everyone I know in the affected areas is alive and well, and I personally suffered no appreciable damage. I think that's about the best outcome that anyone could hope for.


Katrina and the Waves

There will be no "Walking on Sunshine" this time, I'm afraid. Chances are getting increasingly good that I'll be offline for some period of time, meaning no updates. I'll post a little note after the hurricane when I'm back in action.

Do Starlogs Float Like Real Logs?

Thanks to the idiocy of the people I ordered my Starlog #337 from, it did not arrive Thursday or Friday. So much for ordering 2nd Day Air.

Adding to my annoyance, they didn't even send it 2nd Day. So, it would probably arrive Tuesday at the earliest, a full week after it was ordered.

Ah, but there's another catch. You see, it's likely that the package was routed through New Orleans. So, in addition to the possible complete destruction of the city that Hurricane Katrina could cause, someone might also find, floating in the debris of that modern-day Atlantis, a UPS Ground package with my name on it.

In short, don't expect transcripts or scans from #337 anytime soon.


On With the Wailings and the Gnashings of Teeth

(Edited ... see below)

I've seen the Rayten blog post reposted at some of the Star Wars forums that are home to "EU Defense Force" groups. At GalacticSenate.com for instance, someone posted Rayten's blog with a little sad emoticon afterward.

Of course, then a guy came back with a cockamamie theory as to how, if Rayten was accurate, Lucas could be re-understood and/or dismissed:

Alright, here's by theory. GL says a lot of stuff in interviews etc. but none of it actually has bearing on the actual Star Wars story.

This is the 'Boba Evasion' . . . SD.Netters claim that Lucas's belief that Boba died is irrelevant since he's alive in the EU, not realizing what it means on a policy level. Similarly, this guy is claiming that Lucas's belief about parallel universes doesn't show up in the movies (i.e. Mace Windu never says "perhaps we can contact the alternate universe for help!" at which point Z-95 Headhunters come flying every which way), and thus Lucas can be dismissed. Just as with the 'Boba Evasion', the guy is trying to miss the point and thus ignore the obvious.

What is official is the continuity ladder, where the EU is part of the Star Wars galaxy unless it contradicts something in the movies.

In other words, 'don't listen to Lucas . . . he doesn't know what he's talking about. Leland Chee alone knows what's going on, and is the only source for real Star Wars and canon policy statements.'

When it does, the EU is responsible for righting the mistake. Realistically, there is no way Mr. Lucas can keep up with everything in the EU. He is a busy man, and most fans can't even keep up with everything. So, because he probably likes to "have control" over all things Star Wars, he dismisses what he doesn't know as quasi-Star Wars. But, in reality, his actions speak louder than words. If he had wanted to undermine the EU, he had many opportunities to do so, with Coruscant and other places. But, instead he includes names like Quinlan Vos, Aayla Secura and others that originate in the EU. To me, that says more than something he says in Starlog Magazine, because it effects the actual galaxy and a magazine article doesn't. So, until GL blatantly puts something into the movies or TV shows that unalterably contradicts something I read in the books, the uncontradicted EU will always stand on the same level as the movies.

In other words, the guy is saying two things:

{1} Although Lucas has buttraped the EU on multiple occasions by not following along with its backstory, as long as the EU can be retconned then it's okay (which is illogical, since anything can be retconned if you dismiss enough of what was there before). That "unalterably contradicts" bit is quite insidious, really. But in any case, we already knew that the makers of the EU are warping the EU to try to fit what Lucas does, so I'm not seeing how the fact of retconning can change or override what Lucas said.

{2} Lucas ganking occasional things from the EU (like blue-skinned hottie Aayla Secura) overrides his repeated statements that it is a parallel universe. How? No idea. He could gank the entire flippin' Expanded Universe, but so long as he declared it a different universe then it is a different universe and must be treated accordingly.

In any case, while there is no logic to the fellow's arguments, we do at least get to see that yes, the militant EU-philes are going to ignore Lucas and make up any inane argument to try to maintain their belief system.

==========EDIT 12:15p

Well, now we're seeing another evasion maneuver. Wayne Poe responded to my comment on StarWars.com's BCaT forum with the following:

Now that I've read the actual quote [i.e. the one I provided from "Galvaron"], I feel much better about it. Lucas doesn't invalidate the EU at all in this interview. He is saying, once again, that the filmed portion of the overall story of Star Wars is his story alone to tell. I'm afraid those "infidel purist cossacks" of yours are once again sadly mistaken. But we al[ready knew that!

Above, Wayne extends the 'Production Evasion'. This was the attempted counter to the earlier parallel universe quotes. The 'Production Evasion' is the claim that the different worlds and different universes somehow refers to who is making what, as opposed to differing storylines and timelines. Of course, it doesn't work, since Lucas would have to refer to "my world, which is a select period of time" from the Cinescape quote to refer to 1977-1983, for instance.

My reply:

Taken without context, I suppose one could almost view Lucas's comment as being a reference to who's doing the producing of what. However, per Lucas's DVD commentary et cetera, he maintains that Boba Fett died in RoTJ, as opposed to being found "somewhat indigestible" and going on to other things per the EU. That's proof of separate futures, and thus separate timelines . . . which is thoroughly consistent with the idea that there are "two" separate, "different", "parallel" universes as he has repeatedly stated.

That said, however, the EU does get changed to try to fit in with what Lucas creates (or in the case of Boba's comeback, authorizes), per Sue R. and Leland C., so despite any declaration of dual universes the EU will always try to conform with the Lucas universe. In any case, though, there's an actual thread on the topic, lest we bore those here any further.

(I did go back and edit it when I recalled the 1977-1983 point.)

So, let's review the three escape maneuvers attempted in regards to the quote:

1. EU retconning keeps the universes the same no matter what Lucas says.
2. Lucas borrowing from the EU overrides any declaration he makes.
3. Lucas meant to talk about backstage production issues.

Wow . . . what crap so far.


Sometimes You Just Can't Resist

I know, I know . . . it was bad of me, but I just couldn't resist. As noted earlier, Wayne Poe had exhibited fear of the Starlog quote, but had (in SD.Net fashion) wrapped his message in moronic, insulting, faux-arrogant bluster.

So here I was, pondering the fact that once again I have every right to engage in an activity I try to avoid. Call it gloating, dick-waving, or what-have-you . . . I had the high ground, but an opponent was claiming to have it while cowering at the base of my hill.

It was just their obnoxious refusal to accede to fact back in the day, and to do so while insulting those who'd shown them the facts, that caused me to produce this website to begin with. And there it was again.

So, like I said . . . I couldn't resist:

Can anyone quote this {...} it sounds like wish fulfillment misrepresentation from the irrationalist "The EU is not canon" crowd.

Well, "Galvaron" quoted it last month. But, he could very well be part of the Purist Conspiracy, and thus one of the dirty lying irrational infidel purist cossacks you refer to. In any event:

I don't read that stuff. I haven't read any of the novels. I don't know anything about that world. That's a different world than my world... We decided that, like Star Trek, we would have two universes: My universe and then this other one.

If so, it still doesn't invalidate the EU ... as Sansweet said, that sort of call is probably best left up to one's "point of view". So it would just mean you, personally, choose to enjoy and accept the fine creative merchandise produced by Licensing under the careful, thoughtful guidance of BCaT VIPs. Others may not, but who cares?

Of course, some may be confused by that last paragraph, but they shouldn't be. At no point have purists suggested that it is wrong or evil to like the EU, any more than it would be wrong or evil to like a Star Trek novel. The reverse is not true. The problem is militant EU-philes like Wayne who've always tried to ram the EU down the collective throat of everyone, insulting and maligning those who disagree.

Accepting the EU as part of Lucas's film universe is a subjective, personal choice to go with Licensing's merchandising canon. If you claim to go by an objective standard of listening to the owner/maker of Star Wars, then of course the EU wouldn't apply. That's just how it is, and no amount of whining and complaining and bitching and moaning and insulting can change that.

Of course, human history is replete with examples of people who believe their subjective opinion should be enforced as objective law, so I don't see the canon debate going away anytime soon. However, quotes like the Starlog one (assuming Galvaron was accurate) can only help to make the logical bankruptcy of the EU militants even more clear than it already was.

Reported Quote from Starlog

Yes, I'm enjoying myself thoroughly, and will continue to break news as it develops. ;)

According to an SW.com forum poster, we have the following:

I don't read that stuff. I haven't read any of the novels. I don't know anything about that world. That's a different world than my world... We decided that, like Star Trek, we would have two universes: My universe and then this other one.

Yes, I think I'm going to enjoy owning that issue . . . if you'll forgive the double entendre.


In a couple of days, it will be here:

Then we'll see if I can have yet another quote to pound them over the head with. ;)

Incidentally, Wayne Poe already replied on the StarWars.com forum to the message I'd quoted from there:

"Can anyone quote this article directly? Because frankly, it sounds like wish fulfillment misrepresentation from the irrationalist "The EU is not canon" crowd."

Once you see past the bluster (which, as always, is extensive), you'll note that there's a hint of fear there. Wayne's not the type to want a direct quote for the sake of scientific thoroughness, after all. A pretty good translation would be "OMFG what? Nooooo!"


Sue Rostoni on Lucas's Canon Policy

Just to once again confirm what I've said she said before, we have this lovely post from the StarWars.com forums:

"eddie": "Sue, or any other Vip, can you tell us a little more about GL's official stance towards the EU? or do you, like the most of us, have not the slightest idea. I read the following in Rayten's blog:

Within the issue of Starlog magazine with the War of the Worlds cover is an interview article with George Lucas. He stated something which he had said before, which is that he doesn't follow the SW EU, he doesn't read the books or comics. He also said that when they started doing all this (which is allowing other storytellers to tell their own SW tales), he had decreed that the Star Wars Universe would be split into two just like Star Trek (I don't know nuts about Star Trek, so don't ask me about that), one would be his own universe (the six episode movie saga), the other would be a whole other universe (the Expanded Universe). He continued to say that the EU tries as much as possible to tie in to his own universe, but sometimes they move into a whole other line of their own.

Sue Rostoni: "Yeah, this is pretty much what I've heard, except that people have said he reads the comics."

(Note: I'm not sure, but I think this might be the June issue of Starlog, which would be #336 by my reckoning. I'm trying to locate one, since although Rayten was pretty thorough in what he said, it's still hearsay.)

Of course, Rostoni has made this point several times before, but the SD.Netters have invariably twisted whatever she said into a pretzel and gotten the completely wrong idea. The underlying problem, of course, is that they are unable to synthesize data or understand it in context, because they are so blinded by their desire for a preferred outcome.

I'm not going to gloat about it . . . I'm just saying that there's a lesson here for anyone involved in the debates, or in anything else. Indeed, the outcome of the Vs. Debate itself is entirely unimportant. What's important are the lessons you should be learning from it . . . how to think and reason given a subject's rules. And of course, thanks to the other side of the aisle you get to see some interesting psychological problems . . . such as people threatening others for disagreeing over their beliefs about science fiction programs. (Indeed, my personal opinion is that the other side of the aisle has many people providing many examples of how not to behave, but that's neither here nor there.)

But I digress. Regarding that lesson, let's take a look at some of the things Rostoni has said in the past about Lucas's position on things:

"In general, George does not take the EU into account when he's making his movies."

"It's our job to manipulate the EU into fitting George's future movies, which often contradict stuff we've done."

"He doesn't see the extended universe as "his" Star Wars, but as "ours.""

"Yes, the books follow the continuity of the films as best we can taking into account that George follows his own continuity, and rightly so."

Even from these four lines, logical suppositions can be formed. It would, for instance, probably be inaccurate to say that, in Rostoni's opinion, Lucas works closely with the EU-makers to keep continuity between his films and the EU and vice versa. And it would probably be accurate to say that, in Rostoni's opinion, Lucas doesn't pay much attention to the EU continuity, instead making his own that does not fit in with the EU (until she goes back to try to make the EU fit).

Such reasonable inferences are not, however, what the SD.Net EU-philes believe. Indeed, from the last quote above, Wayne Poe declared that "Rostoni completely dashed all of [G2k's] hopes of making the EU illegitimate".

" . . . The hell?" . . . that was roughly my reaction when I saw him say that, and it still is. Now that Rostoni has made her point about her beliefs on Lucas clearer, though, is it possible that Wayne and his fellows would reconsider that belief?

Qui-Gon: "Hmm . . . not likely."

It's too easy to just mock them. I mean, any number of jokes about the Iraqi Information Minister come to mind instantly. And it's not useful to get angry with them, except insofar as it can help to fuel the complete deconstruction of their position. And given their threats (like Wayne's death threat postings, et cetera), it isn't like you can pity them, really. And, of course, since these people are the pro-SW intelligentsia (as scary a fact as that is), I personally can't really just ignore them.

And so, I just get to keep making posts like this. In any case, though, one must avoid getting too terribly smug, for although I disagree with the notion that a stopped clock is right twice a day (it's just lucky), the sentiment is still accurate. You never know when even the worst idiotic scoundrels might make a valid point.

I'll be waiting . . . though I won't be holding my breath.


Canon Thesis

I'm nearing completion on the canon page rewrite that I got stuck in the middle of previously. And, out of curiosity, I decided to stop and see just how big the page really was.

With Arial 10-point font, the document would currently print out to over 20 pages according to Windows Wordpad. Double-spaced, that would be the equivalent of a 40 page research paper. At a ballpark figure of 250 words per double-spaced page, that's about 10,000 words.

Funny . . . 9,998 extra words simply because the Star Wars EU-philes refuse to accept just two: "parallel universe".


Not With a Whimper but a Bang

I thought I'd been keeping a pretty close eye on nanotech news, but it seems I was mistaken. I'd never seen a macro-scale object composed of nanotech materials, and assumed that such a thing was still years away . . . I was under the impression we were still screwing around with micro-scale objects.

Silly me.

At the University of Texas in Dallas, a new way of creating carbon nanotubes has very quickly resulted in the ability to make sheets of carbon nanotube material at a rate of seven meters per minute. We were already able to make sheets of some sort, but nowhere near these sizes and rates. In other words, boys and girls, humanity just hit the nano-bigtime (though perhaps we can find a less contradictory way to put it).

These sheets have extraordinary potential. And perhaps most interesting of all, these sheets are transparent.

Read more about it here. Suffice it to say the near-future just got a lot more interesting . . . the potential applications boggle the mind.


Bordering on the Verge of the Boundary at the Edge of the Threshold

So, I'm feeling bad.

You see, I am awash in an almost absurd sense of glee at the fact that Braga's Threshold (think X-Files meets Lost)is getting crapped on by reviewers. But it's not just any sort of crap. It's just the same sort of turds that were dropped on Braga's outings in Voyager and Enterprise.

The Futon Critic, for instance, notes that "thanks to the miracle of technobabble", it's discovered that a weird alien sound is a transmission capable of altering DNA, even if you only hear the sound via a camcorder's recording of it. (So what's next, aliens can call you and alter your DNA? Do you have any idea how absurd that is?)

Hmm . . . crappy sci-fi ideas not based on a respect for and grasp of science, but merely an amalgam of scientific terms thrown together in a hodge-podge of nonsense? Yep, that's Brannon Braga alright.

Oh, but it gets better. Regarding the actors, "none of them can escape the predictable, half-baked plot or their vanilla characterizations". Wait, wait . . .is this guy talking about the new show or one of Braga's episodes from the first couple of seasons of Enterprise? Hard to tell, innit?

And, of course, there's the final crowning commentary as the fellow whizzes all over the whole thing:

If anything "Threshold" feels like your average Saturday night B-movie on the Sci Fi Channel, except with better casting (Carla Gugino instead of Stacy Haiduk, Brian Van Holt instead of David Keith, etc. - you get the picture). Coincidentally enough, there was a 2003 Sci Fi Channel original also entitled "Threshold" which the network's press materials described as: "An astronaut returns to Earth, unknowingly carrying the DNA of an insectoid extraterrestrial life — which soon infects others, turning them monstrous. When their numbers reach threshold, they will swarm ... and you will either live in fear, or be the fear. Nicholas Lea (The X-Files) and Jamie Luner (Profiler) star." Basically, it's not exactly a ringing endorsement when a Sci Fi Channel Saturday original beat you to the punch with such similarly hokey material (except the infected people don't turn into bugs). In terms of execution, it's equally as predictable as you can see all the twists coming, including the fade out "surprise" which comes off as eye-rolling instead of shocking. And in terms of characterization, we're given few windows into each character's lives except for Dr. Caffrey who because of her hectic work schedule is (brace yourself) prone to eating meals alone with her dog. Overall, there's nothing here you haven't seen before and done much better elsewhere. Out of all the supernatural newcomers this season, "Threshold" is by far the worst.

Ah . . . wonderful. That's right, folks . . . let's let everyone acknowledge that Braga is a hack who shouldn't be writing for the Home Shopping Network, much less anything prime-time.

(The only reason they let him near Mission: Impossible 2 is because Ron Moore (now of BSG) was keeping him in check, siphoning Braga's brain for absurd shit he'd have never thought of, which he could then recreate into rational plot elements. This, of course, was their arrangement when they were a Trek team, too.)

Of course, I'm sure that a string of Braga failures would not make the powers that be go "heeeyyyy, waitaminute! Weren't we letting this hack run Trek? Maybe that was the problem!" Nonetheless, such a thing can only serve as vindication to the Trek fans who wanted more Trek but were forced to watch Braga-Trek and have their brain cells commit suicide.


But, as noted, I'm feeling bad. You see, there's collateral damage to Braga's suck factor. Mike Sussman and some other Trek-related folks ended up following Braga to Threshold, meaning that the more it sucks the less chance they have of being employed . . . again. While some could argue that this was their own silly mistake (after all, Manny Coto is now doing one of the highest-rated shows on TV, 24), the fact remains that there are some good people who don't deserve to suffer from gleeful anti-Braga fervor.

However, after careful consideration, in my opinion Threshold should burn anyway, 'cause as far as I'm concerned Braga only took the good people there so that they could serve as Iraqi-style human shields.

I don't negotiate with artistic terrorists.


The Borg

Incidentally, the new Borg page is based on an unfinished blog entry from two months ago . . . that one and the tetryon entry were started almost back-to-back. The Borg entry got graduated into a real page (albeit in the Archive), but after getting the page built and about 60% of the work done I never got back around to finishing it until this weekend.

So, that's one of the not-quite-new-but-at-least-never-before-seen pages I mentioned in regards to Coming Site Updates.



Good Point by Abel G. Pena

Abel G. Pena, a frequent article contributor to Star Wars Insider, has a webpage featuring his somewhat perverse take on canon policies (more on that to come with the canon page update).

While I don't agree with his opinion on how canonicity should be determined, I *do* strongly agree with his position on Star Wars authors and how they should approach the canon issue:

"It is especially dangerous to Star Wars continuity when an author working within the mythos harbors this attitude of canon and apocrypha, for he or she is the one with the power to shape the universe, so to speak. In the name of equality, Star Wars authors must bear the burden of objectivity; in their case, there can be no distinction between good and bad, old and new when it comes to inclusion. Authors must not shy away from seemingly daunting contradictions, it is in fact their duty to directly reference and rectify contradictory elements of the Star Wars universe in their texts, regardless of their personal attitudes toward them. Continuity errors are bound to occur even with an active vigilance against them, but if this action is not taken, the number of inconsistencies will become enormous, and consequently lead to more and more events being labeled apocryphal and being tossed out. This fate will befall the works of even those authors who are presently considered "current," as their works inevitably age like all the rest, and thus fall victim to the same neglect that now systematically renders older materials apocryphal, the practice perpetuating until the Star Wars mythos collapses into a marginally linked web of confusion and inconsistency, in which references to certain events, people, and other things become meaningless, for they may not even officially exist. This is precisely the end which Lucasfilm Licensing intended to circumvent when it reopened the Star Wars universe in the early 1990s and requested that Timothy Zahn conform his new material with that previously established by West End Games."

In reading that paragraph, I could not help but think of Curtis Saxton. Author of the Incredible Cross-Sections children's books that have been the subject of such controversy in the Vs. Debate, Saxton included firepower figures which required willful disregard for the films in favor of comic books and other largest-locatable examples from the EU, utterly disregarding direct EU statements of kilojoule fighter weapons and mega- or terajoule capital ship weapons doing profound damage to other vessels. Then, for the Episode III ICS, these figures were boosted still further, without any evidence to suggest that this should be so. As many online have theorized, this is probably largely due to his status as a former Vs. Debate participant, and his long association with them. (Indeed, there is plenty of evidence in support of such a contention, given that Vs. Debaters aided in calculations for the ICS books, and had as a stated goal the enhancement of SW over ST.)

As a result, the technology of most EU materials and that of Saxtonian EU are in massive conflict, and Saxton himself has fallen afoul of Pena's point. One wonders how Saxton's interpretations will age over the years. As it stands now, the EU continues to evolve in separate directions . . . some make use of the children's books and suggest awe-inspiring power, others follow the movies and most adult fiction and make use of much smaller power levels.

As time passes, this divergence will be interesting to monitor.