My Force Awakens Review

... doesn't exist yet, because, in the fine tradition of my not bothering to see Star Trek: Into Darkness for five months, I took the rare opportunity a couple nights ago to see a film in a theater by going to see The Martian instead.  Great picture!  The classroom ending could've been skipped, but all in all it was remarkably good, even if I had quibbles with the realism at times.

As for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the issue I have, as noted previously (1, 2, 3), is that just as JJ-Trek isn't related to the Trek universe of TOS, TNG, et al., the new Disney universe isn't the same universe as that of Lucas.  I consider this to basically be Vector Prime insofar as events mattering to the original universe or being worthy of analysis.


SMoST: Wheels

If I had the kind of time I did in the old days, I would do an in-depth article about vehicle suspension and handling design uaing the Nemesis dune buggy as example / whipping boy that would constitute a primer of sorts, bringing together sci-fi nerdistry and gearheads / petrolheads.

The Argo buggy is in many ways a real throwback.  Before you assign that statement a level of obviousness with a rank of Captain or above, consider it beyond the mere notion of a dune buggy on Star Trek, or a modern-speed dune buggy with such a huge, obvious engine compartment in the same movie as a lapel-pin transporter device, or the floppy phaser cannon, or the lack of enclosed crew cabin or even windshield, necessitating safety glasses for probably the first time in Trek.


Anti-Anti-Vaxxer Wisdom

Sorry I haven't been around.   Unlike last year's announced end-of-year hiatus, this year's required extra real-world time snuck up on me.

But I couldn't help but post when I chanced upon some things which, while technically unrelated, smacked me as all-too familiar.


New Trek

My interest in the news of the new show peaked at "high curiosity" at seeing the headline about a new Trek series.  Then I read the article itself.  The NY Post has a great write-up that covers the problems.

Don't get me wrong ... I don't want to sound like the old curmudgeon who rejects anything new, because I'm not.

That said, though, I just don't trust modern Hollywood to get within light-years of correctly doing Trek.


Odo's Golden Showers

Someone on Reddit's DaystromInstitute asked the other day whether Odo could enjoy sex.  This led to a thought so terrible that I naturally had to share:


Too Close to the System

I keep seeing the same asinine claim about the Death Squadron's arrival at Hoth.  I don't know if it is always the same guy, but here is the lie as boldly proclaimed by SDN's "Captain Seafort" as proof of FTL sensors:


Bay Decompression Quickie

Thanks to the DaystromInstitute subReddit for the thought, relating to "Cause and Effect"[TNG] in which decompression of the main shuttlebay allowed the ship to avoid a collision.  Quoting myself from there:


Star Trek: Bye-Bye, Losers

ST-v-SW.Net is proud to announce the whatevereth Star Trek series entitled "Star Trek: Bye-Bye Losers", scheduled to premiere on Kim-Jong Il's birthday next year.

Helmed by Jess Zimmerman of pseudo-journalism and Butthead-haircut fame, this prequel series will look at the darker currents of the Star Trek mythos.  For a long while Star Trek has focused on the military expansionism of the Federation via armed warship "exploration" and its insidious Prime Directive by which it allows cultures to slowly develop their worlds for Federation assimilation as new consumers.

Now, Jess Zimmerman's insightful ripped-from-the-headlines vision of the future in which we learn that evil rich people are currently building rockets as part of their plot to escape the Earth they have warmed and polluted will turn Star Trek on its head.  



Hat tip to SDN's Mange:

"Star Wars Aftermath wrote:
In the deep well of Outer Rim space [...] The debris: the pulverized remnants from the comet Kinro, a celestial object once predicted to carve a path clean through the Core Worlds many eons ago, sure to destroy one or several planets and the people on them. The history books suggest that it was the Jedi who banded together, and several gave their lives (some, just their minds) willing the comet to break apart before it ever even punched a hole through the Mid Rim."

So we have a Cosmic Comet controlled by Darth Skeletor, I guess?


Dear Michael Westmore, About Kes

... your "old Kes" make-up was way off.  You should've gone more for the strung-out-on-something pre-op-transsexual quasi-pedo crash-into-the-cop-car look:

Just kidding about some of those, though disturbingly the quasi-pedo thing and cop car thing actually happened.


Star Trek Politics

After the recent disaster of the Trekonomics book, it is quite refreshing to see another old page concept I've never followed up on given a much better, albeit brief, look.  Timothy Sandefur has taken Star Trek politicial philosophy concepts and examples and woven a narrative that is probably not too far off the mark.


The StarfleetJedi Scare

There are but a handful of forums I visit on geeky topics, and frabkly there aren't many devoted to the topic.  Oh, sure, there's Spacebattles and SufficientVelocity, but those are so wide-ranging that the signal-to-noise ratio is atrocious from my perspective, given that I'm not one who cares about three-way match-ups between Guardians of the Galaxy and Goku and Go-Bots.  Also, I generally prefer smaller, cozier forums where one is not drowned out by the sheer mass of posts.

Of the handful I visit, only one is properly dedicated to the Star Trek vs. Star Wars topic, and that's the forum at StarfleetJedi.Net.  (The main site's cool, too.)


QotD 2015-0901 - The Non-Empire's No Cloak

Why doesn't the Federation use cloaking devices?  Treaty-schmeaty ... Redditor "p4nic" has the right answer, put as succinctly as I have ever seen:

"Romulan patent lawyers must be fierce indeed!"


Hugo Puppies

I heard nothing about Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies until recently, but basically some sci-fi conservatives got fed up with the lefty hipster bent to modern sci-fi and the selections of Hugo Awards in particular and organized into a nomination bloc for the Hugos.  So the leftists organized and got a whole bunch of friends to sign up as final voters and then ensured that no awards were given in the final voting.

Basically, then, a maligned resistance group organized and scored a mini-coup, so the existing regime called in a proverbial board invasion to assist in shutting the whole enterprise almost completely down, giving no awards at all in most categories and ignoring native English-speaking science fiction altogether but for crap like Guardians of the Galaxy.  They call this "victory" and also call the conservatives racist for those insidious racial terms like "ChiCom" (Chinese communist, a term with no racial bent I am aware of).

Don't get me wrong ... I appreciate a good strategic self-destruct.   Those Klingon bastards did kill his son, after all, and Anakin did offer the Jedi Cruiser and all its embarked crew to aid Ryloth.

But in this case the irony is that the leftists have confirmed absolutely everything the maligned resistance group had been saying all along.  Sure, it probably had more to do with like-mind groupthink than an organized leftist conspiracy, but now the leftist conspiracy really and truly exists, openly, and feels sufficiently good about themselves to really turn up the stupid.

So much for the Hugo Awards being a meaningful accolade.  Like with the political nonsense that detracted from the work of the Trekonomics guy, they're too busy applauding needless insertions of shout-outs to modern leftism than focusing on, y'know, the sci-fi.

C'est la vie.

Ultimate Proof of Star Wars Superiority

I have found it:

(The proof is that no one has ever been rickrolled in the Mandalorian language.)


QotD 2015-0828 - Sonic Shower Thoughts

"Since he invented warp drive, does that mean Zephram Cochrane gets a C+ in physics?"

- SgtBrowncoat

Go here and see more such things (some have NSFW language, mind you).  I rather like the suggestion of September 7 as "7 of 9 Day" ... I guess as an alternative to May 4 the quote is 'may the catsuit be with you?'


Children of Borg History

As I attempted to post to the comments:

"Just came across this and wanted to say "you're welcome".  The video leans quite heavily on work and specific concepts I pioneered.  See http://www.st-v-sw.net/archive/TAborg.html .  See also DITL's article for the Federation-centric side, the other half of this video.  I'll be sure to credit you for this eminently watchable spin on the old page!   Thanks!"

I refer to this video:


Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek

I am very pleased to see the widespread discussion of my old idea of Trek being a post-scarcity economic model.

Almost a year ago I noted, regarding finding an old claim of the Federation as communist:
"Fortunately, it appears that my old post-scarcity argument has been discussed and written about by others since (not saying they got it from me, mind you . . . just that it was the logical idea), so maybe this silly idea is on its way toward fading."
By "others since" I referred to a variety of articles, and the list is only increasing.   There's Medium.com and Slate that pondered it in 2013.  Here it is on io9 last year, and it made The Federalist.

And, there's even a book on it now being covered by the Washington Post.   I can't keep up now . . . while this post lingered as a draft even Bloomberg got in on the act, doing a decent job of it.


O N03$, h4x0r$!!

("1-Bammer-12, 1-Bammer-12, proceed to BFE to investigate a report of a Signal 404.  Possible mental instability on scene.")

I've had a lot of distractions of late, most notably being Pluto on Twitter, so haven't paid Brian Young much attention.  This has apparently caused him to have some sort of episode, as Brian now claims that nefarious evildoers are trying to hack his site to silence him, and he has his local Alabama PD on the case!


The Ninth Planet

With the NASA probe New Horizons just around the bend from the ninth planet, I thought it a good time to once again tell Mike whatzisname, who arranged for a vote against Pluto even more sleazy than the cheat passage of ObamaCare, to publicly suck it.

Quoting myself from this Flare thread:


QotD 2015-0707: Synthelard

While searching for something else, I found an ASVS post of mine from May 2000.  Someone was talking about easy living in the Federation, and someone else suggested avoiding the result.  Then I chime in:
>> That or hook a replicator up to a big solar panel and eat ice cream and
>> chocolate all day.
>Just make sure to run the exercise programs, or you'd be a blimp 
Nah, he wouldn't have to exercise.  If they have Synthehol
instead of alcohol, they could probably have Synthelard.
Ironically, Olestra already existed at this point, which very nearly qualifies!  Sadly, my alternate name for it never took off.  ;-)

More importantly, where is my synthehol, anyway?   They were working on it.  It should go over a lot better than Olestra did with its side effects... after all, it isn't like drinking doesn't already have plenty of side effects, some identical.   The diarrhea is referred to as "whiskey s**ts", and abdominal cramping is matched by months of abdominal pain due to unplanned offspring.

Heck, Olestra was tame ... no table dancing, puking, hangovers, or gnawed-off arms ever resulted from a bag of Olean chips.


QotD 2015-0702: Pernicious Falsehood

From the "brother, ain't that the truth!" files:

"Unfortunately, it is not always possible to produce a rationally persuasive argument for a true conclusion. The problem is that the rationally persuasive and deductively valid argument, by its nature, is not uniformly effective against all types of pernicious falsehood."

 - Richard Goode


Words and Pictures

I've been noticing something odd.  There's been some popular attention on the topic, split into two camps based on medium as much as preference.

"Nerdier" by CollegeHumor

Yes, this:

I love it, especially because it is all original-universes for both.

My comment on it on their Youtube channel:

I appreciate the fact that they un-self-consciously had a canon debate while arguing who's nerdier.  That's like using metrics to decide who looks nerdier by calculating facial feature nearness to the golden ratio.

Either way, I certainly can't make fun of anybody for being a Vs. nerd.  Have you *seen* my screen name?


Midichlorians & Anaphasics

I can't believe I never posted this here, though it was something I whipped up when the blog was dark from 2010 through 2012.  It was just a fun little effort to connect the "magic green clouds" of both Star Trek and Star Wars.

To reiterate, this was tongue-in-cheek, though I suppose one could make the case more seriously if one was bent on the connection.  I say that since I was reminded of it by, and went hunting for it for, this thread on the Force in Star Trek's Milky Way.   But, it would be best to review the Yoda arc of TCW's sixth season and update/discard this as needed.

The below is a minor edit with pictures for clarity and episode names added, plus relevant tweaks:


ISD Crew

Saw that the blog was getting hundreds thousands of extra views from Reddit, and followed the trail back to the interesting question of ISD crew counts. Given the remarkably low population densities seen on Republic Attack Cruisers (Jedi Cruiser) in wartime plus clone numbers in the millions, I rather doubt the idea of 25000 or 50000 guys on Imperial Star Destroyers.  In The Clone Wars there would've only been a handful of ships, or else a bunch of non-clones stacked like sardines somewhere.  But I could go with up to 5,000 or so, though I would prefer rather less ... 1500 or thereabouts.

But the point here is to refer to the other link from Redditor Mailanka on sub crew duties.


The Idazmi7 Response

 . . . with apologies to Sothis5 for ganking his title.

Basically, the Idazmi fellow noted in the "Elsewhere Be Dragons" post has supposedly responded via an intermediary in the comments thereto. Well, actually, that's not quite accurate . . . he's responded via an intermediary who has posted it as a Google doc, because supposedly Idazmi cannot post to Google stuff even anonymously due to some sort of ISP thing.

I consider this rather odd given his voluminous comment postings to Google's own Youtube (which demands Google+ access), and given that Blogger is also a Google property to which one could post anonymously anyway, but let's just roll with it.

First, let's give his response a clean quoting:


Elsewhere Be Dragons: Partisanship Mapping

A sort of "big picture" post, but with specific references to assorted Vs. Debate personalities

I have more than a passing interest in politics, so I think this makes for a helpful representation.  Let us imagine a Vs. Debate nerd spectrum.  While we could use color or any direction, let us use the common "left" and "right", with psychosis meeting on the extremities in some sort of Atari wraparound of weirdness, just as in real political life where the anti-vaxxers and 9/11 Truthers and such occupy both edges.


Admiral Narsu

I can't vouch for the validity of the below . . . it's just something an old friend forwarded to my first e-mail address in December of 1995.

Waitasec.  Holy crap, that's just shy of 20 years ago.  I've had e-mail for 20 years.  God I'm old.  Wow, the internet is old.  Let's do something else now.  Who's with me?  We're going outside!  The big blue room beckons!

Er, ah, er, ahem.  Um, where was I, again?   Oh, right.

Anyway, that was an e-mail address associated with a bulletin board.  For you youngsters out there, that doesn't mean the old cork thing on a wall . . . it was like a micro-internet that you dialed in to with an actual modem.   And briefly, things got wild where you could actually get an e-mail address through them, but that was toward the end of the whole BBS thing-as-a-thing anyway.

Oh god, I'm still old.

Right, so, moving on, I've redacted as much of the below as I felt appropriate.

 BBS: #######
Date: 12-26-95 (17:17)             Number: 2768
From: Z#######@AOL.COM             Refer#: NONE
  To: #######                      Recvd: NO  (PVT)
Subj: Fwd: #######                 Conf: (103) INET E-MAI
From: Z#######@aol.com
To: #######@final.com
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 1995 00:43:39 -0500
Subject: Fwd: #######

Got this the other day....
Forwarded message:
From:   #######@####### (Uttam Narsu)
Sender: #######@#######
To:     z#######@aol.com
Date: 95-12-21 12:40:27 EST

Cool page!

Just wanted to point out a misprint. You've got my name spelled as
Admiral 'Uttan' Narsu, instead of 'Uttam'. An old friend who was a
writer on STTNG, inserted it into an episode of the series as a lark.
Unfortuanately, his handwriting is far from the best, and it has made it
into print (STTNG Encyclopedia by Okuda) with the misspelling.

If you had a name as different as mine, who's put up with it for too
long, you'd understand why I'm particular about the spelling!

Anyway, if you have the time and desire, could you change the 'n' to
'm'? If you can't, or it's too much of a hassle, no problem.

Live Long and Prosper.
"I don't believe that libraries should be drab places, where people
sit in silence, and that's been the main reason for our policy of
employing wild animals as librarians."
                         -The Late Library Board Member Graham Chapman

| Uttam M. Narsu                      E-mail: #######@#######        |
|                                                                    |
#######, Inc.                     Tel:  (401) ###-#### x ####      |
################ RI #####       Fax:  (401) ###-####             |
|                                                                    |

Incidentally, there's an Uttam Narsu who apparently pitched a story to CSI.   Any Trek alum at CSI who might've had a hand in that?   Was Ira Behr involved?   He's the one who joked that he was a luddite who still used paper, after all.

Of course, at that point, we all did.   I remember, because I'm evidently a fossil.


QotD 2015-0607: About Your Childhood

... And What So-and-So Hollywood Person Supposedly Did To It:
"You know, it really pisses me off how some fans [...] take a writing decision they don't like and treat it as a personal attack on them/fans by the creator, as if they generally spend their time coming up with ways to spite the fans. I mean its possible, but it doesn't seem like something that would happen a lot. Frankly it comes off as paranoid and creepy." 
- "The Romulan Republic", "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens" thread at SDN, Fri Jun 05, 2015 


SMoST: Picard is Wimpy Scum

From the "Some Mistakes of Star Trek" series ...

We all know Picard was written as the weakest captain ever in Generations … to the point that the testosterone-free Kirk of "The Enemy Within" seems like a veritable strongman dictator by comparison.   The justification is supposed to be his grief over the loss of his brother and young nephew at the start of the film.

However, when given access soon after to a means that enables him to go "anywhere" and at "any time", mere moments after seeing his nephew in an anomaly-induced mind-trip, he seemingly doesn't even give a thought to his recently-departed family.   This remains the case even while he's hearing Captain Kirk discuss his own empty house, brought about by too much duty and not enough living.


Space and Orbit

I followed a link to my site back to this spiffy post from a like-interested fellow.  In it, he discusses the energy that a Star Destroyer would have to dump when de-orbiting to crash as in the new film trailer.

I rather liked the cut of his intellectual jib, but the flaw of his calculation was pointed out by a commenter.  The simple fact is that Star Wars ships are rarely seen in what we would call an orbit.  Sure, they're often in space above a planet at orbital altitudes, but that's not the same thing.


New Post Series - SMoST

SMoST stands for "Some Mistakes of Star Trek".  I have composed many such posts over the past couple of months which you'll see soon, and there are more coming in this new series.

This won't be the usual bashing of Voyager and such, but instead aims to be notes pointing out certain philosophical failings, characterization errors, world-building flops, certain tech issues, and that sort of thing.  "Writing fails" would be a way of putting it, but I am thinking of "concept fails" more generally.  Ideally, this is stuff that isn't usually covered by the normal Trek-hate crowd.

One example is something I already covered in the first half of this post about Picard's mistake at Galorndon Core.  But hey, that one's pretty boring, in some ways.

How about this one, then? ... Ben Sisko is a racist.


Real Aircraft Belly Landings

Just mentally comparing here the low-velocity, tangential-angle crashes with planets seen in Generations, "Jedi Crash", or the Rako Hardeen arc of TCW with some real world examples.

First up, a test of an F-16, one of the smallest modern fighter jets at 15m:


Modern Revolver vs. Phaser

Another SciFights oddity, still on the phasers versus tanks stuff, with a little fun about how Brian Young fancies himself the only person to have ever gazed upon a firearm in real life.

In fairness, this is probably at least partially true given the number of Californians, Europeans, and other undesirables involved in the debates.  (Just kidding, Europe. I'd never insult you by comparing you to California.)  But while I am sure he's probably a better long-range shot than I am, the simple fact is that he is no more a firearms expert than I am.


Raising Ship By Raising Shields

Y'know, shields are wonderful things.   One thing we have never seen anyone use them for, however, is lift-off.

Inspired by Buckminster Fuller, I was thinking the other day of using shields in a Cloud Nine fashion, making a big enough shield bubble to let minor air temperature changes float the ship.

But, vacuum would work better, even if it was a bit more taxing to the shields due to pressure difference.   Start with skin-tight shields and then expand them outward laterally and upward, leaving a vacuum in their wake.  At a quoted lifting force of 1.28 grams per liter (based on the displaced mass of air at sea level), my math suggests that a 700,000 tonne starship like Voyager could be lifted by a vacuum volume of 546,875,000 cubic meters.

That's a sphere of 1,014 meters in diameter, or a hemisphere of about twice that depending on how you fit the ship in exactly.

We have seen the Enterprise extend shields to protect a ship at a stated range of five kilometers, IIRC, so in principle it might be doable.  And that doesn't even bring subspace mass-lightening into the equation.

Certainly it would be an interesting way to soft-land a starship rather than crash*, assuming you can figure out how to drop the shield gently on touchdown.   I can't imagine a sudden shut-off, producing a mad rush as air tried to fill a kilometer-wide void, would be healthy for any ship that needed to be using the technique in the first place.

(* In the case of the E-D saucer, of course, it seems this wouldn't be useful as the shields did not seem to be online. )


Admissions of Stunning Calibre

Vince of GalacticEmpireWars.com (who I commonly have referred to as Clonetrooper Vince as his site often seemed to be an HTML text version of Young's video arguments) has made a startling post at StarfleetJedi.Net.


Tarkula Rasa, Pt. II: The List

Following on from the Tarkula Rasa post about the Star Wars reboot, let me just point out that the big logical defense of this I am polishing off is getting a good re-write thanks to the recent release of the "Ultimate Star Wars" reference book, which proves the point I was making to the letter.  Suffice it to say, I picked a great time to announce the rejection of the new Disney mish-mash universe as a break with the Lucas universe rather than a continuation.

Case in point, the old EU idea of Darth Maul's TPM vessel having a cloak has reared its ugly head, despite (a) "no ship that small having a cloaking device", (b) no evidence of it in the film, script, or novel, and (c) all the trouble Filoni described regarding getting a design for the cloaked ship from "Cat and Mouse"[TCW2] through Lucas, if even the other way around.  Had Maul's ship been intended to cloak, Lucas would've made it so.

In other words, the new universe is rewriting the "immovable objects" of the Lucas canon to match the defunct universe of the EU, creating a new hodge-podge universe of technical and logical inconsistency that would make Voyager proud to exist.  The inmates are running the asylum.

Sure, it isn't all bad ... they get the Death Star sizes right ... but that strikes me as more the luck of a stopped clock (thanks to prior lobbying by the Death Star manual guys per an old Chee tweet) than a reasoned conclusion.

That said, I thought it might be best to share the list of what's in, in rough order of precedence, using as our starting point the old "Putting it All Together" list from CanonWars:
And so, we come to the following way of understanding the layers of the canon, as a sort of "rule of thumb":
Media History Status
The Films I-VI
The Clone Wars
(See note 1)
The films created by George Lucas from his screenplays, but based directly on his vision.  Special Editions created to conform more closely to that vision.
The Clone Wars, initially intended to be a separate animal, was quickly graced with constant story, script,  and editorial oversight by Lucas.
The Supreme Canon, absolute and inviolable, with Lucas also noting he made no distinction between TCW and the live-action films.

To coin a phrase, this is the real story of Star Wars.
Screenplays I-VI Created by George Lucas;  his roadmap to the films.  SE versions conform more closely to his vision. Excellent guides to the absolute canon, with high canonicity in their own right.  Effectively inseparable from the films.
Novelizations I-VI
(See note 2)
Written by other authors with Lucas's guidance and definitively known line-editing in the case of the prequels, based on scripts and film production and pre-production materials "Very accurate depictions" of the absolute canon; generally play the role of very accurate and fact-filled 'historical fiction' regarding the events compared to the 'documentary' of the films.
NPR Radio Plays IV-VI
(See note 3)
Written by Brian Daley, based on the films, scripts, and novelizations, with liberal sprinklings of original and EU creations Expanded version of the absolute canon, but with far less canonicity. 

There are assorted caveats and details to ponder, so let's ponder them below:

1.  This includes the pre-Disney Blu-Ray versions of the films as the highest canon, though earlier efforts may be cited as part of commentary on changes.  Also included is The Clone Wars movie and series.  Differences do exist between the broadcast version of the TCW episodes and the Blu-Rays, but one would think the Blu-Rays should take precedence.  I have not yet reviewed the Netflix versions with the thought of determining which version they match.

Note that TCW includes the completed episodes that were shown on Netflix instead of Cartoon Network, known as "Season 6" or "The Lost Missions", as well as the not-quite-complete arc shown on StarWars.com in 2014, known as the "Crystal Crisis on Utapau" story reel arc.

However, none of the TCW stories currently known as being shifted to other formats (e.g. Darth Maul comics or the Ventress novel) are included.  And, much as I enjoy the previews of the Rebels second season that shows the future of a dozen TCW characters, I cannot consider it as anything more than a possible future in another universe.

2.  Quoting from CanonWars re: the 'historical fiction' idea:
"Thus, the novel's description of what Han said is, indeed, very accurate, but not perfect . . . but this does not render the rest of the canon (i.e. that which is not the absolute canon of the films) in error.   And, it means that we can still accept the officially-recognized canon of the novels as such.  For instance, take a look at the novel's additions to Han's comments to Luke.  It is filled with minor technical details . . . the ship is "back in normal space", there's mention of the "nav'puter" and "galactic atlas" in matters of navigation, "one planetary diameter" as a safe hyperspace exit point, and there's the interesting reference to "wild energy" (radiation?) and a sufficient amount of remaining solid matter to suggest a planetary amount of material after the Death Star's destruction of Alderaan.   These are facts that we are not told in the film, and though we know Han did not make these comments to Luke, it is probably safe to accept these as historically accurate facts, worked in as part of the "very accurate depiction" of events, unless there's reason from the films to dismiss the probability.   Similar occurrences from the radio plays would involve a lesser safety factor . . . those are not referred to as "very accurate depictions", and often aren't."
Let's also ponder the Karen Traviss novelization of The Clone Wars film.  In 2014, in a tweet following up from the Disney announcement, Del Rey stated that the novelizations of the films were still canon. but in a twist they also included the Traviss novel.  Unlike the other prequel-era novels, this one did not get the Lucas treatment of editorial oversight, but was instead treated as an EU work.  As such, it is also out of bounds.

3.  As noted at CanonWars, the radio play treatment is historical, grandfathered in from early canon statements and in honor of their importance to early Star Wars history.  But as noted when I wrote that a decade ago, I had no wish to have Brian Daley's contributions outweigh those of Lucas insofar as hours of content.  The ANH radio play almost outweighed the original trilogy, by that score.

As such, the CanonWars designation in the chart above had included this restriction:  "Mildly useful as a clarification tool, but not for the original (i.e. non-film) material.  May not override or add significantly to higher canon."

However, that's no longer as much of a concern.  With The Clone Wars, the Lucas-helmed canon now far outweighs Daley.  As such, I am willing to relax the prohibitions a little.  Still, even though Daley and the gang had unprecedented access to Star Wars resources, including scripts, notes, production materials like notes and drawings, the novelizations, and even sound design, the fact is that one thing Daley did not have access to was Lucas himself.
"AN: Jasman asks, "Did you get to work with George Lucas directly on any of you projects?"
BD: No, although I always received guidance and overview from his organization. When you realize that Geroge is running a business empire, doing his own projects, trying for some kind of personal life and standing at the center of a universe of tie-in projects, it's not surprising that he's busy frying his own fish. What I've heard from him and others about his reaction to my various works has been very positive, however-- very gracious."
Thus, it seems fitting to apply a twist on the normal EU Completist "canon unless contradicted" logic and consider the Daley work as a low level 'canon, unless contrary'.  Or, to rephrase it as per the novelization caveats above, "it is probably safe to accept these as historically accurate facts {...} unless there's reason from the films ..." or novelizations "... to dismiss the probability."   However, arguments entirely based on the radio dramas without additional backing from the higher canon are still to be avoided.

More on all this is probably sure to come, so stay tuned.


The Wrath of Voyager

In "The 37's", a Ford truck takes up residence in Voyager's shuttlebay.   In a hysterical Youtube video, Voyager takes her revenge by landing on CVN-78, the  Ford.

Good thing the deck was clear.

Naturally, I totally dig the size comparison aspect.  The ships are actually almost the same length, which is proper scaling.  But, sadly, whereas the Ford displaces around 100,000 tonnes, Voyager is seven times heavier.   So not only would the arresting cables snap, but I am pretty sure the catapult would do very little.

Oh, and there's that whole upper deck collapse problem.  And the immediate sinking thing.  But other than those small issues, it'd be all good.


Response to Young's December Defender

Back in March I wondered aloud where the hell a comment of mine had gone.  Turns out it was in my overstuffed drafts folder as a full post, dating from Christmastime and forgotten over the holidays.   Oops.

I do consider it an important post considering it includes a rough timeline of Brian Young's feud pitting SciFights against ST-v-SW.Net, a feud to which I am the late arrival.

  So, without further ado:

Phaser vs. Tank, Pt. II

Before we continue from the last Phaser vs. Tank post, let's stop for a moment and review where we are.  As I initially said:
"Do you not think a phaser can kill a tank?  Say, an old Sherman?   If you think it could, what evidence do you have that an AT-ST would be more difficult?"
In the last post it was demonstrated adequately that a phaser can one-shot a Sherman just as readily as a Sherman can one-shot Mr. Dude-with-Phaser, and in equivalent timeframes.

And thus my initial point was proven.

I also note that no inflationist has yet attempted to claim that the AT-ST is better-protected.

"Oh, sh..."

What Young has done instead is to try and muddy the waters, all while claiming his foes are "fanatical" "fanatics", not viewing things "objectively", that they are unwilling to 'comprehend the discussion beyond their anger' (following this up with some all-caps shouting), and so on.

I really should save my time for other pursuits here, but I probably had the same thought 15 years ago when others from the same bunch of insulting blowhards were similarly wrong on the internet.  So, let's play:


Inflationist 2nd Teaser

If I had more time and skill, I would 'correct' the second teaser to show what inflationists must 'see' when watching it.

For instance, the TIE shoots at the Falcon over sand, presumably hitting sand offscreen to no effect. I would white out the screen and then show a mushroom cloud and glass landscape.

The upside-down Executor would have all the sand blown off it by blast effects from the shots. Hell, this being the future, maybe the TIE could shoot under it and blast it into orbit. There's room for a *little* advancement, right?

I would also insert a scene of the TIE in the ship hangar pausing before unleashing fire while the pilot turns his guns down to 0.0000000000000000000000000000002% of max yield. I am thinking a row of keypads for each digit stretching across the front of the cockpit.

The stormtrooper guy breathes with his helmet off, which should produce gale force winds for miles.

What else am I missing?


Phaser vs.Tank, Pt. I

Young's at it again.

I've noted previously his penchant for attacking ST-v-SW.Net and myself, usually without naming names, and here we are again.

Long story short, Clonetrooper Vince and Tyralak of ASVS brought up the old notion that a hand phaser could destroy an AT-ST, acting incredulous.  I reply thusly:
"Do you not think a phaser can kill a tank?  Say, an old Sherman?   If you think it could, what evidence do you have that an AT-ST would be more difficult?."
Thus begat two videos in which Young utterly misses the point and attempts to argue that Starfleet personnel are going to rush a tank over open ground, or similar nonsense.  He also cherry-picks one example of phasers being used for a cutting action and declares that it'll take ages to slice open a tank.  Ugh.   So, let's take it from the top ...

Steel in Star Wars

It appears I never posted much about this.  Here's a little quickie, quoting myself from the now-broken ASVS.org forum regarding vessel densities in Star Wars:

And that really fits in with the more authentic Star Wars realism perspective that was prevalent before fusion and steel became re-imagined as hypermatter and neutronium in recent years. 
The TPM novelization refers to Coruscant as steel alloys and glass. The ascension cables were steel-clawed. The ANH script refers to the door sealing the chasm that Luke and Leia swing over as steel. The ANH novelization refers to the Death Star exterior as steel and references its "steely horizon". The RotJ novelization refers to Boba as "steel-masked" and Luke's hand as being made of steel. The floor of the Emperor's room in the Death Star is made of steel. The Imperial shuttle has a "steely hull", and its landing ramp is described as chilly steel. The bunker corridors are made of steel. Melted steel floats amongst the debris of the final battle. 
And, of course, there's the hydrofoamed permacrete and other weight-saving measures of that nature as I've mentioned before and will no doubt mention repeatedly. 
These bits don't support super-dense ships, but instead point toward more readily-comprehensible densities and masses.            

I'll have more on this at some point.

Baakonite Bat'leths

Here we have a Trek materials post, with thanks to Chakoteya, coming from "Blood Oath"[DSN2]:
DAX: Computer. I want a Klingon bat'leth, tip to tip one hundred and sixteen centimetres, weight five point three kilos with an exterior handgripping diameter of five centimetres. Blades composite baakonite.
KOLOTH: Ah, a warrior's configuration. Now what are you going to do with it? 
Note the weight given there.  Unless Koloth was practicing in a high-g environment and Dax was doing the math in her head (not obviously the case), we can assume that is the mass.  So the traditional Klingon sword of honor masses 5.3 kilograms, or over 11.5 pounds.

That's pretty crazy.  Crazier still is how far I'm about to take that.


QotD 2015-0407 - Proper Use of a Lamppost

"To this subculture science is either the enemy, or it is used (as Andrew Lang famously quipped) like a drunk uses a lamppost, for support rather than illumination." 
 - https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/microwaves-and-nutrition/
I am, naturally, reminded of certain opponents of mine, even some who ought to know better..  Some people try to brain about science but sciencing and braining are just so hard.

It is easier to just listen to Dr. Oz, medicine's enemy within, and swish oil around in your mouth to remove toxins (conveniently making mayo at the same time until your mouth dries out, though the mayo is just evidence of toxin removal, or something).

Speaking of scientific illiteracy ...


Bloggerus Modificatus Sanctus Dominus Cheesy-Poofs

I finally got fed up enough with my antique Blogger template to do something about it.   I may make a few more tweaks but I think I like it.   It's unusually serif-y of me, but the titles look awesome (hence the ridiculousness of the one above) and the mobile version, though lacking the serif-y fonts, looks great to me.

Included is the new "Reaction" feature at the bottom of posts, which I am using as a place to have a "Like" button and more.

This is just for amusement, mind you…  the idea is for the blog to get converted away from Blogger as soon as I get back to the nuts and bolts of the new site.  But until then, I thought it'd be fun.


Tarkula Rasa

"A wildly inconsistent universe is neither deeply enjoyable nor intellectually stimulating nor subject to (or worthy of) analysis."  - Me, just now

Several months ago, I said:
As far as I'm concerned, the default position ought to be that what's contrary to the inviolable Lucas canon is invalid.  But really, that's not likely to remain an enjoyable position simply because, as more and more self-referential EU new canon stuff is made, such a thing would be a point of divergence. 
Nevertheless, the facts are what the facts are, and if the facts are that the new canon is contradictory, fans are either stuck with (1) accepting it without question, (2) making their own choices, or (3) going with the retcon reports from Chee and other folks about what's considered authoritative just like back in the EU days.  That's messy. 
My hope would be that what I've seen are just some EU holdovers and eventually things will shake out, but the problem there is that the precedents are being set now.

Watch this space.
And here we are.

I am working on a much larger post, but suffice it to say for now that, much as I do not view any aspect of the Star Trek reboot as having anything to do with the prime Trek universe (as detailed in the as-yet-unpublished "Not Our Spock" page wherein I detail why Nimoy wasn't playing the TOS character in 2009) , the recent Star Wars reboot, initially supposed by many to primarily affect the EU only, in reality has taken both pre-existing universes and made a new one, one rapidly contradicting the Disney position that the Lucas canon was to be held as immovable objects to which new stories would have to align.  Rather than be stuck doing line-item vetoes and arguing retcons forever, I think it best to simply close the door on the new canon.

As such, I am putting a hold on any analysis of the new universe and not including its separate facts into my analyses of the canon Star Wars universe of Lucas.


Off By Three

So we're talking at StarfleetJedi.net about the Death Star exhaust port and who could hit it with the proper intel.   I noted that "Given the accuracy concerns of Malcolm Reed in "Fight or Flight"[ENT1], when a 0.02% (three meter) inaccuracy on a target was grounds for him to have a panic attack, I'd wager Enterprise NX-01 could take care of it, if they had all the intel.  And it'd be fun to see them try to get in range."

I decided to have a further look at the spatial torpedo test.


It Has Always Been So

I was watching the silent science fiction epic "Woman in the Moon" (Frau im Mond) from 1929.  I'd heard of and watched "Metropolis", also by Fritz Lang, but never this.  This is by far the better of the two, even if the effects and such are grander in the latter.  This one is more realistic, with no demonic man-eating machines and evil shaky-bitch robotic psychopaths set against a Wellsian Eloi vs Morlock class-warfare-nonsense backdrop.  Instead, we have a normal society launching a rocket to the moon.

In the opening credits, my jaw dropped when I saw the name of one of the film's technical consultants, Hermann Oberth.

And indeed, the film clearly benefits.  The completed multi-stage rocket is rolled out from a massive hangar on a rolling gantry platform (using rail instead of treads), and the launch plot revolves in part around the issues of escape velocity and the rocket's acceleration effects on those aboard.

The state of lunar science at the time included Hansen's notion from the 1850s that there might be atmosphere on the far side of the moon in a great depression in the surface.  This, plus the idea that they were going there to find gold, are the silliest points to modern viewers, along with the divining rods being used to locate water in the form of muddy lunar soil.

But if we focus on the rocket, we see something all too familiar in the form of unrealistic special effects.  Both the launch from the peculiar water bath on Earth and the launch from the moon's surface show the rocket suddenly zipping away at a constant, abnormally-high velocity.  After all the talk of acceleration and the long, luxurious scenes of the rocket being rolled into place like a space shuttle, the warp-speed departure was jarring.

Reminds me of more than a few sci-fi scenes where the FX work, supposedly done a certain way for for audience benefit, just doesn't work for smart audiences.


QotD 2015-0326 - Tubes

From a post on Heir to the Jedi at SDN:
"Ch 15 pg 165 wrote:
Though the Empire strictly controlled the interstellar HoloNet, the Kupohans had a local system infonet set up almost of necessity to exchange weather information and help ships land safely.
The existence of planetary internets. No word on if they're a series of tubes or not."
Thanks for the giggle, Balrog.


Inside Baseball, Pt. II: New Site SitRep

So here is where I am now for those wondering.

All existing pages have been automagically converted to AsciiDoc and Markdown formats so the content is fairly readily usable whichever way I need to go.  A few pages that are probably coming over unchanged have seen a little cleanup work done (the magic doesn't make them ready to just drop in, sadly).

Referencing the Inside Baseball post, I am currently building up the system by which I will publish the site.

The battle plan revolves around Pelican, a static site generator that accepts Markdown by design, and formerly AsciiDoc too (albeit now only via plugin).  It won't work server-side unless you have a webhost that allows full Python execution, however, which would mean a virtual private server or Amazon S3 mumbo-jumbo with its buckets of unique jargon which I loathe.  Both cost a little bit, and options can be found where server security is maintained automatically, but as a professional cheapskate and someone who didn't want to run a whole server for this (even a virtual one) I really didn't want to go that route.  I could just use my desktop, but I've been trying to get away from leaving it running.

Enter the Pi.  I acquired a Raspberry Pi some time ago for experimentation, and Pelican will execute on it happily.  However, I don't want to develop content on it.  The goal is thus to write elsewhere and leave the Pi as a headless Pelican execution server.  With Dropbox integration (a pain in the ass on the ARM-based Pi but doable, I am told), I can write pages anywhere.

So, creating a page or post will look like this:

1.  Make notes or pages saved in .txt format within my directory of choice.  I can even leave them in the content directory that Pelican will later see, because it will ignore them.
2.  Once complete, rename to the appropriate extension.
3.  Dropbox will upload to their servers, and the Pi will download the new version based on a regular cron job.
4.  Either another regular cron job or a file-change watchdog (haven't gotten there yet) will execute Pelican, rebuilding the static output of the site.  (I most likely will want to do the latter.)
5.  This static output will automatically be uploaded to my existing webhost.
6.  Profit.  And cake. (But both of those are a lie.  I have neither ads nor frosting.)
7. Regularly back up the Dropbox folder.

Compared to the old 2002 era workflow, this has the advantage of allowing me to write from anywhere more readily and easily.  All I need is a connection and a text editor (or even a browser through which I can log in to Dropbox) so I can make changes on the go.  Even sans connectivity, if I make a change on a device of mine that can sync a Dropbox folder (e.g. a laptop) it'll hit as soon as I get back to civilization.  I can even schedule when a page drops!

Pictures are a bit of a question, since I rather like my old sorting, but I can still link to old pics as-is.

But, the plan relies on two external objects (Dropbox and the Pi).  However, even if one or both break, or if I do, the site is still there for as long as the hosting bill is paid up or as long as The Wayback Machine works, because it is static.

And, I don't see Dropbox going away (there are alternatives even if they break their API a la Twitter), and provided I can find an RPi B for sale I can go ahead and get backup hardware now.  (Good idea ... I should write that down.  Oh, wait ... does this qualify?)

One more option worth noting is that in the current plan, Blogger could go away in favor of keeping it all in-house.  But then the only good way to do comments would be Disqus, at which point I might as well have it for pages, too.  But that can be decided on further down the road.

The main hurdle will probably be getting my site to look just right.  Jinja templates are a whole new animal for me, and I am not looking forward to that part of the Pelican build.

More to come ...


Color Perception

So a picture of a dress freaked out the nettubes Thursday.  My favorite response:

That anyone saw white and gold is very strange to me and somewhat disturbing, though polls indicate at least 2/3rds of people see white and old instead of reality.  Even when other pictures of the dress were posted, including from the manufacturer, some have refused to concede, claiming conspiracy.  (Meanwhile, one blue-black camp member replied to the proof of blue-black with "THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!", much to my nerdy pleasure.)

Of course we have probably all seen assorted optical illusions, some of which deal with color perception like the orange/brown shadowed object on a chessboard that is actually the same color (courtesy of Wikipedia):

And I presume you're all aware of the blind spot a few degrees outboard of your center of vision that is normally not perceived.

The brain engages in many such 'post-production' camera-correction efforts.  What makes this one strange is that it is such a stark contrast with no obvious solution like the orange/brown thing, and has to do with perception in such a basic way.

See, I have long used color as an example when discussing perception and objective reality.  Despite eye contruction variations and visual cortex differences, generally we can all expect that we can all agree that light of such and such nanometer wavelength is red.  That is to say, even if the output of your eye and brain, piped into mine, looked green or yellow or ultraviolet, we both know that everyone knows it as red and all agree on that.

It is distressing to learn that this example is not necessarily correct at such a scale.  It disturbs people because it is a basic issue of perception.  It's one thing to show the same facts to a commie bastard and a Constitutionalist American and have them disagree on the correct conclusion, but we would commonly expect them to at least concur on the basic color of an item.  I know sane and truthful people who inexplicably (to me) saw it as white and gold.

Of course, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't happy to have been firmly in the blue-black camp since the first moment.  Apparently, this suggests I have superior color discernment, in addition to my being able to pick up on spatial orientation cues that others miss.

I am led to wonder if perhaps there haven't been a few Vs. Debate events where folks are similarly color-blind, or at least color-illusory.  I thought of the last objection on this page, the old "band of brightness" debate, and some others where folks seemed to me to be actively refusing to see the obvious.  Perhaps they were, or perhaps they really are blind, by comparison.

Either way, I don't feel bad about responding to their flames with equal fire.  If you're blind or daft, don't flame ... in the debate of the blind, the one-eyed nerd is king.


That Which is Diburnium

(Another materials post, this time from TOS, and in which we get to reference entirely too much knowledge of the casting of the 1960's Batman tales.)

In "That Which Survives"[TOS3] the Enterprise encounters a peculiar, unnamed world.  Described as hollow later in the episode (and full of replicas of one of the actresses to play Catwoman in the 60's), we are told the Catwoman planet reads as only thousands of years old, is approximately the size of Earth's moon, yet has a mass and atmosphere comparable to Earth's.
SPOCK: I suggest no supernatural explanation, Captain. I merely point out that the facts do not fit any known categories of planets.
KIRK: Let's take the facts one by one. That should explain something.
SPOCK: Undoubtedly. The age of this planet would seem to be only a few thousand years. It would be impossible for vegetation to evolve in so short a period.
KIRK: Its size is approximately that of Earth's moon.
SPOCK: But its mass and atmosphere are similar to Earth.
KIRK: That would be difficult to explain.
SPOCK: It would be impossible, Captain. An atmosphere could not evolve in so short a period of time.
KIRK: And yet it has.
SPOCK: Evidently. But the inconsistencies are so compounded as to present a seemingly impossible phenomenon.
KIRK: But a fascinating one, Mister Spock.
SPOCK: Precisely, Captain. 
The basic substance the world is made of is later identified as a diburnium-osmium alloy which couldn't have happened naturally (and indeed the world was an outpost of the Kalandans, led by Losira, that died out thousands of years prior).   The material looks like pink rock on the rocky world and even exists just under a thin layer of topsoil, where there is any soil.  However, when Kirk tries to dig a grave for an unfortunate crewman using his phaser, he discovers to his surprise that it doesn't work.  With thanks as always to Chakoteya.Net:
SULU: That's the same red rock.
KIRK: My phaser didn't cut through it.
MCCOY: Whatever it is, it has a mighty high melting point.
KIRK: Eight thousand degrees centigrade. It looks like igneous rock, but infinitely denser.  
In other words, Kirk seemed to believe the alloy had a melting point of 8000 degrees, presumably because it would be somewhat superior to what is phaser would be expected to generate.   And further, while it looked like simple igneous rock (which has an average density of around 3000 kg/m^3), Kirk believed it was "infinitely" more dense ... an exaggeration, naturally, but not the sort of thing one would say in lieu of 'just a wee bit'.

(Kirk does use the term that way, after all.  In "Errand of Mercy" he compares a possible fate to living under Klingon occupation and says they'd be infinitely better off.  In "Whom Gods Destroy" Kirk claims to Garth, who is trying to get a passphrase from Kirk, that there are an infinite number of countermoves to a particular move in 3-D chess, a game with X pieces and Y possible squares to inhabit.)

Note also Kirk's surprise at not cutting through the 'rock'.  He clearly expected his brief shot to either cut the grave or at least get it good and started, not merely pock-mark the surface (and in a rectangle, no less!).  But instead, the lieutenant is buried beneath some other gray rocks scattered about the surface.

While the Catwoman planet is identified as being hollow, we are not told any details of the depth of the alloy layer.  However, we can get some estimates for the planet as a whole.  After all, if it is approximately the size of the moon then it is around 3500km in diameter, or around a quarter that of Earth.  But the real story is in volume.  The moon's volume is about 2.1958×1010 km3 ... a mere two percent of the volume of the Earth.

This means that for the planet to have the same mass as Earth, it must be about fifty times more dense than the average density of Earth.  Earth's total density is about 5,500 kg/m^3, meaning the Catwoman planet density should be somewhere in the range of 275,000 kg/m^3!

Um, yeah.  That's a lot.  Like, crazypants a lot. That's 275 times denser than water, and almost 100 times denser than the igneous rock average from earlier (making Kirk's "infinitely" close enough).  It's also 35 times denser than steel, and almost twice the density at the core of the sun!

Suffice it to say, you won't see an element of that density anywhere on the periodic table, or a material like that on modern Earth outside of a collider.  And the scary thing is that it is alloyed with osmium, one of the densest elements known at a 'mere' 22,500 kg/m^3, twice the density of lead.  If the ratio of diburnium and osmium was 50/50 by volume, diburnium would be almost twice as dense as our 275,000 kg/m^3 figure!  And that doesn't even touch on the hollowness.

(Also note that osmium's melting point is about 3000 degrees, rather less than 8000.  Indeed, the highest known melting points top out around 4200 degrees, which is the melting point of tantalum hafnium carbide.   In other words, Kirk thinks his phaser ought to be able to melt (or worse) a grave-sized amount of anything we know of today.)

It seems little wonder, then, that Spock marveled at the material used by the Kelvans in "By Any Other Name":
SPOCK: Fascinating material. Similar to diburnium, but considerably more dense. I doubt even phaser fire could disturb its molecular structure. 

SCOTT: This is it. Now all we have to do
SPOCK: Whatever it is we must do, it is impossible.
SPOCK: This material surrounding the projector is the same as I discovered on the planet. Readings indicate it is impervious to any of our weapons. We cannot penetrate the casing to get to the machine. 
If the material is considerably more dense than 275,000kg/m^3 (or even higher depending on the osmium content on the Catwoman planet), then it is no wonder the phasers couldn't begin to touch it!  If it was a cool million kilograms per cubic meter, it would only be 1000 times less dense than a white dwarf!

There is, however, one problem with the information we are provided.

The Moon has one-sixth of Earth's gravity ... 16% or so ... despite only having 1.2% of its mass.  The reason the gravity is so high is that the radius is so small.  At Earth's radius ... that is to say, if you could make a massless surface to stand on at a distance from the core equal to the distance of Earth's surface to Earth's core ... the gravity would be 1.2% of Earth's, or around 1/83rd instead of 1/6th.

Catwoman's planet, meanwhile, is said to have Earth's mass and the moon's size.  That means the surface gravity should be over 13g.  (And lest one be tempted to think that things will be different because the world may be hollow, as I have seen some commenters online succumb to, bear in mind the shell theorem.)

One easy solution would be to have the world be in a tidal lock with a nearby massive but dim sun, perhaps something like a brown dwarf, but unfortunately this won't work . . . the planet has at least a partial day-night cycle of greater and lesser studio lighting and sky color.  We might then suppose instead a massive, dense moon in a geosynchronous orbit ... this works rather better, inasmuch as it keeps the light levels as high as they were observed in the supposedly night-time scenes, though of course there is no mention of a moon nor is it spotted in Enterprise orbit scenes.  However, the moon would have to be even more interesting than the planet itself to have enough gravity at a distance to subtract up to 12g.

In any case, the presence of an Earth-normal atmosphere as Spock also mentioned does constrain us.  Higher gravity equals a higher atmospheric density, but if the atmosphere is Earth-like then the gravity should be, as well.  We can fudge a little here and assume he simply meant the atmosphere was the same at the surface, meaning it was several times thinner under normal gravitational circumstances, but then we're still faced with the gravity problem of Kirk and company running around effortlessly while weighing something like 2000 pounds, a feat Shatner wouldn't perform again until Generations.

Even fudging the numbers a bit ... 1.33 Moon radii and 0.66 Earth masses, for instance ... we still come out just shy of 5g.  And to match the visuals I'd want no more than 1.5g on the highest end.  Even pretending the densest part of the planet is on the opposing surface (thus faking 2 Moon radii out of it, despite whatever odd atmospheric effects this might cause), we still only get down to 2.2g.

The gravity problem is significant, and we are constrained to the idea that whatever causes the beamdown site to have 1g should be a permanent phenomenon.  After all, when the Enterprise was thought lost, Kirk's concerns were food and water, not the notion of having something happen that would subject them to 13+ times Earth's gravity at some point.

It seems to me the best solution is to add a little extra complexity to the stellar dwarf idea, such as the dwarf itself having a dim side that allows for the brighter/darker cycle.   This has one delightful side benefit . . . it also would mean that we could say the Catwoman Planet orbited the Riddler Star . . . here referring to the fact that the guy who played the Riddler in the 60's also played one of the last two folks from Cheron from "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", a world where the people's skin was white on one side and black on the other.

The benefits here are tremendous from an explanatory perspective.   For instance, Spock specifically noted a mass and atmosphere similar to Earth's.   Earlier we tried to fudge this last point, but if we don't fudge it then we ought to have a planet with an atmosphere several times denser than ours at the surface.  But if a significant area of the planet shows much less gravity due to the presence of a nearby star to which it is tidally locked, then a large part of the atmosphere would be subject to Earth-ocean-tidal-esque forces and perhaps not seem so dense.  The only possible glitch I see is that I have no idea what this would do insofar as wind patterns.

Should you find the Riddler Star idea distasteful, bear in mind that most alternatives are unpleasant, either from Occam's perspective or in other ways.  We could suppose all sorts of off-the-wall ideas, such as a localized or near-surface 'natural' anti-grav effect (one would think that would have been worth a mention), or one projected from the ship (a temporary condition, one would think, after the ship's abrupt departure, and an incredible can of worms to open ... not to mention the fact that the tremor felt at beamdown would've had an obvious cause, rather than being a mystery).  There could've been an also-beamed-down gravity modifier (same notation), or a conveniently invisible bio-augmentation-handwavium apparatus worn by the crew (which would presumably be a doodad that could run out of gas, making it another of Kirk's concerns ... see also "Melora"[DS9]).  Another idea is of a subspace field of some kind, with Spock having reported the unadjusted mass . . . but the planet is specified to not even have a magnetic field, so one would think a high-energy subspace field would have been worth a note.

The only other alternative I can see is to simply dismiss the statements of Spock, Kirk, Sulu (who identified the planet's composition), and others, treating them all as dim-witted fools who didn't know what the devil they were talking about.

I'm generally no fan of this analysis method.   It may be the standard approach by Star Wars tech inflationists, but that doesn't mean it's any good, and indeed the opposite is indicated.   Their approach is to disregard Trek character statements at the first sign of an excuse to do so, so that they may then insert their own claptrap unimpeded.  After all, they became SW tech inflationists in order to twist the fusion and steel of Star Wars canon into something that would "make it a better comparison to Trek", so it only follows that they would be Trek deflationists at the same expense of canon.

Literally, you'd have to have Spock getting the mass wrong, Kirk getting the reason his phaser had an issue wrong, Sulu being wrong about the planet, and even McCoy and D'Amato saying some dumb things in there.   And, of course, they'd all be working from balky sensor equipment on ship or in hand.  That just doesn't mesh.  If the entire planet's gravity was 1g, then the mass of the world would be 7.5% Earth's mass, makng the density fairly close to osmium.  So Kirk's line about "infinitely denser" would actually only reflect a difference of six or seven times, and Spock, who spends the entire episode badgering people about precision, would be off by 92.5%.

In other words, you have to throw out all sense of any reliability in Trek, making the entire Trek tech analysis field a pointless enterprise (even moreso than just because we should all go outside and soak in some sunshine).

That's a bad idea anyway, but also for another reason . . . the things you'd be tossing out are all consistent with each other.   Kirk's analysis, Spock's report, and so on all point toward the same sort of densities and physical properties.   Only the observed gravity at the beamdown site suggests anything different.

And the place obviously has a sun of some sort, so it becomes the most likely explanatory culprit.

Now, if only we had some solid data on tetraburnium ...


Voyager is the New Tactical


Surefire's come out with a tactical light that instead of being mounted on the weapon, head, or just being handheld, is worn on the wrist.

And I'm all like "wait, so Neelix is tacti-cool now?"

No.  No he is not, but only because Neelix cannot be anything with the word "cool" in it.


QotD 2015-0114 - Rebel Scum

You know, considering how SDN types try to paint StarfleetJedi as a hive of Trekkie scum and villainy, there's an awful lot of protest of Gizmodo's recent pro-Trek stance at SFJ.  Here is but one example ... I have seen this thought expressed before but never as well:
"Star Trek's series typically present the crème de la crème of the Federation, disciplined rocket scientists aboard state of the art military vessels. Star Wars generally has us following back world civilians, guerrillas, politicians, warrior monks and front line troopers. It's more like taking a story set on a 1960's, or even a 1980's nuclear submarine, where the environment is cutting edge, and advanced technology and weaponry is commonly referred to. Then we compare it to a story following a modern day soldier in his barracks, where nobody talks about advanced technology, we never see any nuclear weapons in use, and it would be easy to miss the implications of the smart phone in his pocket, or the satellite positioning and other electronics in his "crude" gasoline powered vehicle. Without previous knowledge of these environments, an observer of such "fictional" environments could easily conclude that the former scenario represented a far more technologically advanced society and military."
- Darth Spock at StarfeetJedi - http://www.starfleetjedi.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6701&p=51640#p51640

My response:

This is an interesting point, DS, except we have also seen TCW, which is basically like NCIS or something inasmuch as having a well-funded more-or-less military group of jetsetting specialists with all manner of fancy toys at their disposal, with the bonus that they are also leaders of a war effort.

In that sense, by your argument, Star Wars has it better than Trek, some would argue.



Looks like one of my pages ...


I like this guy.

Anyway, he got 25g for the loop into the asteroid monster by the Falcon.  Pretty close to my Falcon figures.

Update: As I posted to comments, though:

Actually, on further review, there is more camera motion than I prefer here, plus a tiny FX flub. First, the Falcon appears from top of frame and if you watch her against the stars she traverses her own length in about seven frames at 25fps for a speed (at 35m length) of about 125m/s. Then the camera really whips about ... note the extra stars that become visible from over the horizon ... at which point she seems to traverse in 4ish frames against the asteroid horizon, et cetera. Then we hit the boo-boo (after the end of your .gif) where the animators used the 3- to 4-frame rate to draw in the shadows but the Falcon itself takes 7 frames to disappear beyond the rim of the hole. 
Point being, I think her downward velocity does not actually exceed 125m/s or thereabouts. And that is just the end of the loop. 
That comes out to 115 m/s^2, or about 11.75g, by your equation. 

The calculation he used assumed a constant velocity in the loop of 267m/s, so the difference is significant.

QotD 2015-0103

From the comments to the recent Gizmodo article discussing Trek tech versus Wars tech we have this gem:
"As much as I enjoy this discussion, it seems clear to me that the Federation wins this fight. Why? 
Pictured is the navigational deflector, or more commonly "main deflector dish" of the Enterprise NCC-1701-D. It's primary purpose is to prevent particles from damaging the starship while at warp speeds, where even a tiny impact could impart catastrophic damage to the vessel. However, in practice, the main deflector can be modified in a number of ways in order to produce whatever effect the script writers happen to need at the time. Need to beam your crew of a planet, but there's an anti-neutrino storm preventing transporter activity? Use the deflector dish to beam a stream of neutrinos to counteract the field.

In other words, the f***ing thing is magic, and the Federation has them. I've seen the real power in the universe, and it ain't the Death Star, and it sure ain't the Force. It's this thing. "
"Sammy baby" comment, 2014-1229