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mathyou9
2004-Oct-20, 08:31 AM
This thread is just me nit-picking on my soapbox about Star Trek:

1. From the many away teams sent down to planets, it's clear that almost all planets exhibit the same gravitational force as earth (i.e., I only saw one expisode of DS9 in which an individual aboard was from a planet whose G force was substantially lower than on earth.)

2. Almost all alien life (being very elaborate) is conveniently patterned after the earth human (being rather dull in comparison.) That is, if Commander Riker had to disguise himself as a Klingon it would be rather simple, put on some prosthetics and voila! On the other hand, if a Ferengi wished to disguise himself as a human he would have to undergo major reconstructive surgery (although, I think "deconstrictive surgery" is a better term.)

3. Why do all ships (good or bad) seem to be playing on the same two-dimentional "playing field" if you will. Example: The Enterprise approaches an alien vessel on the same two-dimensional plane (and head-on, mind you); or when the Enterprise is fleeing from a Borg cube or other [bad-guy] ship, the chase is always two-dimensional. Why doesn't Captain Picard just alter his course to flee "upwards" 10 degrees or so. This would surely throw a curve ball at the bad-guys because suddenly the Enterprise would not be visible. Damn that third dimension! :wink: (However, I believe that the last episode of Next Generation had Riker flying Enterprise E [from the future, I think] and he managed to overcome his two-dimensional mind by attacking the bad guys from "below.")

4. Humans are the most clear-speaking race in the Universe. When other species speak, their teeth are so big and cumbersome that it sounds coincidentally the same as if they have fake prop teeth in their mouth.

5. I would think that various Earth ethnicities are unique to earth ONLY (e.g., African, European, Asian, etc.) But clearly I am wrong. For example; we know that Tuvoc, the Black Vulcan on Voyager, is not from earth, but he clearly has all the traits and characteristics of a human of African descent (with the exception of his pointy ears.) :)

6. Almost all aliens within a race share the same hair style and that hair style is a universal constant, i.e., it never changes (e.g., Romulans and Vulcans (with the exception of Tuvoc as his hair is is not straight like other Vulcans :wink: ) etc.) The Human race is the only species where individuals have varied hair styles (and their hair-style happens to always coincide with the hairstyles at the time of production :wink: .)

7. Whenever Data's head was opened up, I always wondered what was with those colored, blinking LEDs. What purpose did they serve? Could he not have been manufactured without blinking LEDs? This is akin to the original series in which computers (aside from being big like the ENIAC and having a lame monotone echoing voice) had big blinking incandescent light bulbs. Did those light bulbs really serve a purpose?

8. Before Wesley Crusher became an ensign, he was just a regular civilian aboard the ship. One would assume that civilians wore civilian attire. If Wesley did wear civilian clothes, why the hell did he wear the same jumpsuit day in and day out? (You know, that grey jumpsuit with a rainbow stripe across the front.) If he were living today and wore that same jumpsuit everyday, he would get made fun of all the time. Also, why did he always seem to hang out with all of the younger kids (was he the only kid his age on the ship?)

9. Why are Vulcans from Vulcan?; Romulans from Romulus?; Acamarians from Acamar?; Kaelonians from Kaelon?; Ramatisians from Ramatis? etc., etc. Yet humans are from earth?

10. Why exactly is there no time dilation in Star Trek

And finally, there is a telltale way to know if an unknown species is good or bad. All Gene Roddenberry had to do was utilize some of George Lucas' [Star Wars] casting styles. That way, if Captain Janeway encountered an unknown alien species, she would know in an instant if that species was inherently good or bad simply by the accent with which they spoke, i.e., in the Universe of George Lucas, all bad guys speak with a British accent. :wink: Such a simple, yet vital way, to survive in the Universe. I don't know why Roddenberry didn't do this.

Thanks for reading. This was all in good fun.

kucharek
2004-Oct-20, 08:36 AM
My six year old son Lukas recently complained about that the ships are always nicely lit from one side even they are supposed to be in deep space with no star nearby.

Fram
2004-Oct-20, 08:45 AM
Kucharek, you can tell your son that every (important) starship has (at least) one cameraship along (like the small fish that leads/follows the shark while being pinned to its belly), which has a huge (HUGE) floodlight.
Now you probably wonder why we never see such a cameraship, but that's of course because they aren't floodlighted (obviously), and as we are in deep space, you cannot see them. QED. I thought everyone knew this? It's like every police car being followed by at least one TV helicopter.

Smart kid, by the way... :D

Meteora
2004-Oct-20, 09:53 AM
To quote MST3K, "Just repeat to yourself it's just a show; I should really just relax." :D

kucharek
2004-Oct-20, 10:16 AM
There was one early TNG episode, in which Riker said, when viewing a breached hull: "They were all sucked into space!" and Data corrects him with "Blown, Sir. Common mistake."
That was a goodie.

TrAI
2004-Oct-20, 10:20 AM
1: most earthlike planets have earthlike gravity perhaps? Or, it is easier to make the episode like that.

2: I think many of the species of humanoids are related in some fashion, though it is rather weird. Of course, it would be more complex to make the series if all aliens were, well, completely alien... And I guess it is much simpler for people watching the show to relate to something more or less humanoid. We really do not have any experience with extra terrestrial life to base characters on...

3. It is easier, I guess.

4. Well, the actors are human, it is easier to add features than remove... The alternative is to use animatronics, animation or CGI. These can be good, but likely harder and more expensive to do in a convincing manner.

5. Se 2.

6. Fashion slaves? :P :wink:

7. I guess the lights in Data’s head are supposed to be indicator lights, some devices have LEDs inside to help in diagnosing faults. As for the blinkenlights on the computers, they are there to look cool, electronic computers are rather abstract in a way, you really can not see them doing anything much, just sitting there, so fitting some lamps makes it more impressive.

8. He probably had many of those suits, and since when is it required of nerds to follow what the mainstream thinks of as fashion anyway? :P
I think you are correct, Wesley were the oldest kid on the ship, and on a starship far out in space, I guess you have to find friends among the people there. Actually, I don't think we saw all that much of the children at all unless it was required for the episode, like when Data made Lal, or the children were abducted(Wesley seemed to look out for them though).

9. Perhaps the humans give the home worlds name after the people living there(or the other way around), we wouldn't know, the universal translator translates names too.

10. Well, they compensate for the effect of acceleration, so I guess that must affect time dilation as well... There is no apparent aberration (http://www.fourmilab.ch/cship/aberration.html) or Doppler shifting (http://www.fourmilab.ch/cship/doppler.html) either.

mathyou9
2004-Oct-20, 11:42 AM
My six year old son Lukas recently complained about that the ships are always nicely lit from one side even they are supposed to be in deep space with no star nearby.
I remember doing exactly the same thing as a kid (namely when the Enterprise was travelling very fast.)

On Earth we are used to seeing moving objects (a car) always being illuminated from a constant, unchanging light source (the Sun.)

A non-critically-thinking person would assume the same thing would happen in space, that is, we see a moving object (the Enterprise travelling faster than the speed of light passing through millions of stars) always being illuminated from a constant, unchanging light source (?? who knows what ??)

TimH
2004-Oct-20, 01:19 PM
This thread is just me nit-picking on my soapbox about Star Trek:

1. From the many away teams sent down to planets, it's clear that almost all planets exhibit the same gravitational force as earth (i.e., I only saw one episode of DS9 in which an individual aboard was from a planet whose G force was substantially lower than on earth.)

The explanation I've heard is a copout but it's something. They usually are headed to 'Class M' planets which are shockingly similar to Earth - similar size, climate, atmosphere etc... that explains the similar gravity


2. Almost all alien life (being very elaborate) is conveniently patterned after the earth human (being rather dull in comparison.) That is, if Commander Riker had to disguise himself as a Klingon it would be rather simple, put on some prosthetics and voila! On the other hand, if a Ferengi wished to disguise himself as a human he would have to undergo major reconstructive surgery (although, I think "deconstrictive surgery" is a better term.)

2 explanations for this one...
1. The show explained this in the last season of TNG - a now extinct race seeded the 'primordial soup' of countless worlds throughout the galaxy with their DNA resulting in the similarities between the species
2. In a weekly show, it gets pretty expensive do anything too creative. CG is cheaper, but still looks a little off and probably puts a serious increase production time. So it's more practical to just slap the bumpy head makeup on someone


3. Why do all ships (good or bad) seem to be playing on the same two-dimensional "playing field" if you will. Example: The Enterprise approaches an alien vessel on the same two-dimensional plane (and head-on, mind you); or when the Enterprise is fleeing from a Borg cube or other [bad-guy] ship, the chase is always two-dimensional. Why doesn't Captain Picard just alter his course to flee "upwards" 10 degrees or so. This would surely throw a curve ball at the bad-guys because suddenly the Enterprise would not be visible. Damn that third dimension! :wink: (However, I believe that the last episode of Next Generation had Riker flying Enterprise E [from the future, I think] and he managed to overcome his two-dimensional mind by attacking the bad guys from "below.")

They sort of cover this in Wrath of Khan (if you haven't seen it by now you probably aren't gonna but - there are spoilers ahead)
In climax where a seriously damaged Enterprise is engaged with Khan's ship, Spock tells Kirk that Khan's tactics indicate 'two-dimensional' thinking. Kirk moves the ship a few hundred meters 'below' Khan's and manages to land the needed shots to force Khan activate his ship's self-destruct in a desperate move to kill Kirk


4. Humans are the most clear-speaking race in the Universe. When other species speak, their teeth are so big and cumbersome that it sounds coincidentally the same as if they have fake prop teeth in their mouth.

I've never really noticed over sized teeth before so I can't comment on this one...


5. I would think that various Earth ethnicities are unique to earth ONLY (e.g., African, European, Asian, etc.) But clearly I am wrong. For example; we know that Tuvoc, the Black Vulcan on Voyager, is not from earth, but he clearly has all the traits and characteristics of a human of African descent (with the exception of his pointy ears.) :)

This kinda, sorta, fits with my answer for your second point. Some of the same DNA is floating around both species so maybe that explains it(?)


6. Almost all aliens within a race share the same hair style and that hair style is a universal constant, i.e., it never changes (e.g., Romulans and Vulcans (with the exception of Tuvoc as his hair is is not straight like other Vulcans :wink: ) etc.) The Human race is the only species where individuals have varied hair styles (and their hair-style happens to always coincide with the hairstyles at the time of production :wink: .)


I'm not sure about this one. We only see a few species consistently. The Vulcans who have adopted a simple, easy to maintain hair style (logic, not vanity based) The Klingons we see are in the military and if you were to look at a the many men and women in the military to day you would see pretty similar hair cuts - the sexes have different cuts, but among the men they are all pretty close, same with the women


7. Whenever Data's head was opened up, I always wondered what was with those colored, blinking LEDs. What purpose did they serve? Could he not have been manufactured without blinking LEDs? This is akin to the original series in which computers (aside from being big like the ENIAC and having a lame monotone echoing voice) had big blinking incandescent light bulbs. Did those light bulbs really serve a purpose?

Just my speculation, but maybe they were a quick indicator of how Data was functioning? Maybe someone notices Data is a bit flakey, they open him up and can tell by the LEDs if everything is ok? Or maybe Soong just liked pretty lights - don't all tech-geeks like cool looking LEDs? ;-)


8. Before Wesley Crusher became an ensign, he was just a regular civilian aboard the ship. One would assume that civilians wore civilian attire. If Wesley did wear civilian clothes, why the hell did he wear the same jumpsuit day in and day out? (You know, that grey jumpsuit with a rainbow stripe across the front.) If he were living today and wore that same jumpsuit everyday, he would get made fun of all the time. Also, why did he always seem to hang out with all of the younger kids (was he the only kid his age on the ship?)

I thought the same thing... maybe Wes was just a spaz and all the older 'cool' kids did, indeed make fun of him. Forcing Wesley to hang with the younger kids. It might also have helped Wes maintain is illusion of superiority... He could tell himself he is smarter than all his friends since he was the only one old enough to go to school


9. Why are Vulcans from Vulcan?; Romulans from Romulus?; Acamarians from Acamar?; Kaelonians from Kaelon?; Ramatisians from Ramatis? etc., etc. Yet humans are from earth?

Ya got me there... no idea. Maybe just to keep things simple? Although Klingons are from Quo-nos (sp?)



10. Why exactly is there no time dilation in Star Trek


I'm sure there is a technobable explanation but I think this is has something to do with the way Warp engines work.



And finally, there is a telltale way to know if an unknown species is good or bad. All Gene Roddenberry had to do was utilize some of George Lucas' [Star Wars] casting styles. That way, if Captain Janeway encountered an unknown alien species, she would know in an instant if that species was inherently good or bad simply by the accent with which they spoke, i.e., in the Universe of George Lucas, all bad guys speak with a British accent. :wink: Such a simple, yet vital way, to survive in the Universe. I don't know why Roddenberry didn't do this. Thanks for reading. This was all in good fun.


I has a similar feeling when I saw Fellowship of the Ring.

The second I saw Christopher Lee (Sauron) coming out to meet Gandolph I knew something was hinkey. How did it never occur to Gandolph that his mentor/buddy looked just like Dracula?! ;-)

Humphrey
2004-Oct-20, 01:20 PM
-Why is it that they have to have a transporter pad to beam down to a planet, but no such need of the technology to beam up from something.
-Why is it that every other aline race, other than humans, also have a single character trait. Romulans are always spy like. Klingons, war like. Yet humans are a mix of everything.
-Why is it that when a panel goes all kablooey does the person who was at it fly across the room? Why cant they just die in their chair?
-

Wally
2004-Oct-20, 01:28 PM
In climax where a seriously damaged Enterprise is engaged with Khan's ship, Spock tells Kirk that Khan's tactics indicate 'two-dimensional' thinking. Kirk moves the ship a few hundred meters 'below' Khan's and manages to land the needed shots to force Khan activate his ship's self-destruct in a desperate move to kill Kirk


Nitpick, TimH. . . Kahn doesn't activate the ship's self-destruct mechanism. He activates the Genesis device.

Stuart
2004-Oct-20, 01:54 PM
-Why is it that they have to have a transporter pad to beam down to a planet, but no such need of the technology to beam up from something.
As far as can be determined transporters disintegrate a person at one end and reform them at the other. That implies that somewhere, there has to be a part of the system that sucks all the matter from the last person going out and stores it until its necessary to reconstitute the next person coming in (hmm there's a good story there). Transporters are evil and one of the primary reasons why the Federation should be destroyed.


Why is it that every other alien race, other than humans, also have a single character trait. Romulans are always spy like. Klingons, war like. Yet humans are a mix of everything.

Its called a brain-bug. (a term coined by the inestimable Michael Wong - to whom we raise our hats). The show can't absorb more than one idea per species so a single factor gets to absorb everything else. Thus, the Ferengi (actually the only "good guys" in the Star Trek universe) are depicted the way they are. The "brain bug" absorbed the idea of a capitalist society and then (translating it into the prevailing Marxist ethos of Star Trek on the way) to become the sole and only characteristic of that race.


Why is it that when a panel goes all kablooey does the person who was at it fly across the room? Why cant they just die in their chair?
-

A better question might be, if they are close enough to the explosion to be blown across the room, why aren't they blown into a random collection of steaks, chops, rump roasts and spare ribs that get sprayed across the compartment?

Meteora
2004-Oct-20, 02:02 PM
A better question might be, if they are close enough to the explosion to be blown across the room, why aren't they blown into a random collection of steaks, chops, rump roasts and spare ribs that get sprayed across the compartment?

I think I can answer this with just one word:

Eeeeyoooooo!!!

kucharek
2004-Oct-20, 02:04 PM
-The room lights, computers and the warp drive draw from the same power source. They always work or quit in unisono.
-Despite the ships are that big, when the environmental control systems (ECS) fail, they are doomed to die within a few minutes
-Either the ECS is a real energy sucker or the shields, weapons or propulsion systems don't need very much energy. When these systems are in danger to go down, they often redirect energy from the ECS to these. Switch off a few lights and voilá, there is enough energy for a good fight.
-Computer consoles are run with at least 5000V so they give nice sparks when hit.
-I guess, it's not necessary to mention that no seatbelts exist in the Trek universe.

TriangleMan
2004-Oct-20, 02:28 PM
- New encounters and unusual phenomena always happen during the main shift when all of the important characters are awake.

- The transporter can lock on and transport people from thousands of kilometers away - so why does everyone walk to the transport room to beam down?

- Why doesn't the ship have more then 2 main weapons? You'd think they'd diversify their arsenal from just phasers and photon torpedos after (yet another) encounter where neither of the weapons were effective.

- Why do some hand-held phasers have that handle that makes them look like small machine guns? It's not like anyone ever rapid-fires a phaser.

TinFoilHat
2004-Oct-20, 02:36 PM
1. From the many away teams sent down to planets, it's clear that almost all planets exhibit the same gravitational force as earth (i.e., I only saw one expisode of DS9 in which an individual aboard was from a planet whose G force was substantially lower than on earth.)
Production limitations. There's really no way to simulate significantly lower or higher gravity without it looking really cheesy and/or costing a fortune. And even if you suceeded, you'd just end up confusing the less bright viewers.

2. Almost all alien life (being very elaborate) is conveniently patterned after the earth human (being rather dull in comparison.) That is, if Commander Riker had to disguise himself as a Klingon it would be rather simple, put on some prosthetics and voila! On the other hand, if a Ferengi wished to disguise himself as a human he would have to undergo major reconstructive surgery (although, I think "deconstrictive surgery" is a better term.)
Because that's a cheap and easy way to make an 'alien' - slap some prostetics on a human. And it gives the advantage of letting the actors still portray facial expressions and give good acting performances. Of course, the fact that all aliens seem to have human-recognizable facial expressions is also pretty stupid.

It's hard to make truly alien characters who can hold their own as compelling characters without looking cheesy. Farscape managed it, sort of, by using some fancy puppets and animatronics. They still looked like puppets. CGI is just starting to work well enough.


4. Humans are the most clear-speaking race in the Universe. When other species speak, their teeth are so big and cumbersome that it sounds coincidentally the same as if they have fake prop teeth in their mouth.
Well, of course. The show is broadcast in English. I bet that when humans speak Klingon, the native Klingons think our pronunciation is awful.

7. Whenever Data's head was opened up, I always wondered what was with those colored, blinking LEDs. What purpose did they serve? Could he not have been manufactured without blinking LEDs? This is akin to the original series in which computers (aside from being big like the ENIAC and having a lame monotone echoing voice) had big blinking incandescent light bulbs. Did those light bulbs really serve a purpose?
Probably. I design electronics for a living, and on my boards I like to stick small LEDs in here and there tied to various status and clock likes for diagnostic purposes. They help with troubleshooting, and look pretty.

8. Before Wesley Crusher became an ensign, he was just a regular civilian aboard the ship. One would assume that civilians wore civilian attire. If Wesley did wear civilian clothes, why the hell did he wear the same jumpsuit day in and day out? (You know, that grey jumpsuit with a rainbow stripe across the front.)

In the enlightened socialist utopia of the Federation, everyone wears the clothing that the Federation scientists have determined is the most efficient design. Wanting to have more than one outfit is outmoded, barbaric 20th-century thinking. Doubleplus ungood.

10. Why exactly is there no time dilation in Star Trek

They never get close to the speed of light. It may look like they do from the outside, but the ship is travelling at low speed relative to its own spacetime. The warp drive moves the bubble of spacetime surrounding the ship relative to the outside universe. Ok, so it doesn't actually make sense, but that's the explanation.

TrAI
2004-Oct-20, 02:40 PM
-Why is it that they have to have a transporter pad to beam down to a planet, but no such need of the technology to beam up from something.

hmmm... Apparently, transporting can go between two transporters(between ships for example), from a transporter to a location("beaming down"), from location to transporter("beaming up"), or from a location via a transporter to another location(Beam up directly to the bridge)... If you can put something together at the location, you can likely take it apart too.



-Why is it that every other aline race, other than humans, also have a single character trait. Romulans are always spy like. Klingons, war like. Yet humans are a mix of everything.

Their societies are based on certain rules, the followers of Romulus came from a relatively small group that probably had to work in secret and with stealth before leaving the Vulcans, so it likely affected their ideology, the Klingon society is probably based on the fact that they are a very warlike people by nature. We are with the humans most of the time, so we do not get to see many nuances in the societies. It is easy to jump to conclusions about a group, humans do this all the time, for example by seeing an enemy as inherently vicious and warlike.

I would think some people in the star trek universe think of humans as obnoxiously curious people that always stick their nose in where it does not belong


-Why is it that when a panel goes all kablooey does the person who was at it fly across the room? Why cant they just die in their chair?
-

I guess it is done to get the feeling of danger across to the viewer, perhaps it was seen as to boring with just some people standing there reading up information. I don't really know what currents can be made by being hit by phaser fire or torpedoes. Of course they could have over voltage and current protection, but perhaps it is like with lightning, the power in a direct(or near direct) hit to a cable or device can be powerful enough to take out other things on the circuit and connected to a device on that circuit, protections or none. The whole throwing around bit is probably done for dramatic effect…

Several of these things are not unikely Star Trek problems either, many movies and series seem to do such things.

Stuart
2004-Oct-20, 02:41 PM
- Why do some hand-held phasers have that handle that makes them look like small machine guns? It's not like anyone ever rapid-fires a phaser.

Another, better, question might be why are all Star Trek weapons designed so that its impossible to aim them? I was recently at the "Star Trek Experience" show in the Las Vegas Hilton and they had a display case of all the Star Trek personal weapons. There's not one there that can be properly sighted.

I must admit, I'm fiddling around with a story set in a different timeline where a 25th century descendent of Strategic Air Command unleashes its bombers on the Federation. The idea of showing Starfleet's techno-hippies what real weapons operated by real military personnel can do is enticing.

Humphrey
2004-Oct-20, 02:54 PM
I'd love to read that Stuart.


---------------------


I just still have a problem believeing that there is echnology required to scan, dissasemble, and sort moleculesd in a person from a trasnporter pad, but to re-integrate them all they need is a open area. No technology required.

Then to remove them from that area they need none of the process from the beam down. It cannot be that they simply destroy the beamed down clone and make a new clone from memory storage since the experiences gained during the mission travel with the clone.

Well unless the clone on the planet is scanned for all gained knoledge and physical changes. Then they are destroyed. The transporter then takes this information, integrates it into a new clone and materializes that. Thats possible.

Stuart
2004-Oct-20, 03:15 PM
I'd love to read that Stuart.

It isn't up yet and won't be for some time (its one or two down the list of stories to be posted). However, the story that establishes the timeline is called The Big One and can be found Here (http://p074.ezboard.com/fhistorypoliticsandcurrentaffairs68862frm23.showMe ssage?topicID=157.topic)

Its followed by "The Great Game" and there's another story in the work area called "Crusade" that's going into the library shortly. In addition there are a number of short stories in the same timeline that flesh out the world and introduce a variety of characters and concepts.

The latest story "The High Frontier" has just started; it deals with the establishment of the first space stations

Swift
2004-Oct-20, 03:22 PM
2. Almost all alien life (being very elaborate) is conveniently patterned after the earth human (being rather dull in comparison.) That is, if Commander Riker had to disguise himself as a Klingon it would be rather simple, put on some prosthetics and voila! On the other hand, if a Ferengi wished to disguise himself as a human he would have to undergo major reconstructive surgery (although, I think "deconstrictive surgery" is a better term.)
The thing I thought was the most funny, particularly with ST:NG and after, was that the evolution seemed to mostly impact noses and ears. :D



I guess, it's not necessary to mention that no seatbelts exist in the Trek universe.
Seatbelts! Heck, they didn't usually bother to bolt the chairs to the floor!

TrAI
2004-Oct-20, 03:26 PM
- Why do some hand-held phasers have that handle that makes them look like small machine guns? It's not like anyone ever rapid-fires a phaser.

Another, better, question might be why are all Star Trek weapons designed so that its impossible to aim them? I was recently at the "Star Trek Experience" show in the Las Vegas Hilton and they had a display case of all the Star Trek personal weapons. There's not one there that can be properly sighted.

I must admit, I'm fiddling around with a story set in a different timeline where a 25th century descendent of Strategic Air Command unleashes its bombers on the Federation. The idea of showing Starfleet's techno-hippies what real weapons operated by real military personnel can do is enticing.

The problem is that realistically all hand weapons in star trek would have a high certainty of hitting the designated target(I say designated, as they obviously have some sort of auto targeting), but who would watch a bunch of people and aliens being vaporized by phasers/disruptors in the first scene, our heroes being fried by blaster fire before even getting close to the Millennium Falcon, Rambo being spawn killed by some sniper, or what ever?

Simply put a character is immortal unless the story the writer wants to tell needs the character to die. This can deflect anything, you could make a story about someone flying into a black hole and escaping, and the character would do this, the writer is omnipotent in the reality of his/her creation.

Stuart
2004-Oct-20, 03:36 PM
The problem is that realistically all hand weapons in star trek would have a high certainty of hitting the designated target(I say designated, as they obviously have some sort of auto targeting),

Obviously??? I would say its very far from obvious - in fact there is no evidence whatsoever of any sort of system of that ilk. Not in the shows, not by inspecting any of the props used. In fact, its possible to say with utmost confidence there is NO auto-targeting.. What there is is concrete, canon evidence that Starfleet personnel are not only tactically inept but they couldn't hit a barn standing inside it. If that's the best they can do with auto-targeting I shudder to think what they are like without it. Far from having a high probabliity of hitting they have no probability of hitting.


but who would watch a bunch of people and aliens being vaporized by phasers/disruptors in the first scene, our heroes being fried by blaster fire before even getting close to the Millennium Falcon, Rambo being spawn killed by some sniper, or what ever?

It is perfectly possible to have high accuracy rates and tell a good story. What it means is the people doing the fighting have to behave realistically - ie use cover, fire and manoeuver etc. This would of course preclude the use of standard Starfleet tactics - the commander gives a long, boring, pretentions and pompous speech then the troops wander around in disorganized groups without any sort of operational plan or tactical coordination. I'd pitch a USMC platoon up against a Starfleet ground force any day. The idea of Worf going down riddled with M-16 fire is also enticing. And shooting Commander Sisko would be a service to humanity (the charge could be multiple counts of felony bad acting).

On a less homicidal note, accurately depicting weaponry means the series producers would actually have to do some work and think out how to do things. That's the real constraint - it isn't "dramatic tension" its sheer laziness on the part of the production staff.

TimH
2004-Oct-20, 04:19 PM
In climax where a seriously damaged Enterprise is engaged with Khan's ship, Spock tells Kirk that Khan's tactics indicate 'two-dimensional' thinking. Kirk moves the ship a few hundred meters 'below' Khan's and manages to land the needed shots to force Khan activate his ship's self-destruct in a desperate move to kill Kirk


Nitpick, TimH. . . Kahn doesn't activate the ship's self-destruct mechanism. He activates the Genesis device.

D'OH! *hangs head in shame*

I'm feeling like I need to turn in my Spock ears. How could I forget that?!

TrAI
2004-Oct-20, 04:55 PM
Obviously??? I would say its very far from obvious - in fact there is no evidence whatsoever of any sort of system of that ilk. Not in the shows, not by inspecting any of the props used. In fact, its possible to say with utmost confidence there is NO auto-targeting.. What there is is concrete, canon evidence that Starfleet personnel are not only tactically inept but they couldn't hit a barn standing inside it. If that's the best they can do with auto-targeting I shudder to think what they are like without it. Far from having a high probabliity of hitting they have no probability of hitting.

That they hit anything at all without really pointing the weapon at the target is why I thought it obvious that the weapon has auto targeting capabilities(If you fire a normal gun, the bullet will go the same way(approximately) each time you fire, the phaser beam does not, it is emitted towards the target). When they miss it is just as much a plot device as when someone some positronic field inversion generators to stop some enemy...


It is perfectly possible to have high accuracy rates and tell a good story. What it means is the people doing the fighting have to behave realistically - ie use cover, fire and manoeuver etc. This would of course preclude the use of standard Starfleet tactics - the commander gives a long, boring, pretentions and pompous speech then the troops wander around in disorganized groups without any sort of operational plan or tactical coordination. I'd pitch a USMC platoon up against a Starfleet ground force any day. The idea of Worf going down riddled with M-16 fire is also enticing. And shooting Commander Sisko would be a service to humanity (the charge could be multiple counts of felony bad acting).

On a less homicidal note, accurately depicting weaponry means the series producers would actually have to do some work and think out how to do things. That's the real constraint - it isn't "dramatic tension" its sheer laziness on the part of the production staff.

It is perfectly possible to make a realistic story that is good, I am not trying to deny that. It is also possible to make a story that is good but based on completely different rules than in our reality.

I guess that what I am trying to say is that an organization like Starfleet is likely to have well trained personnel, even if not elite soldiers, they would probably have to go through some weapons training, if they can not hit a barn, that is the rules anyone you write about have to follow, even with extra training it is just so much you can improve before you hit some limiting factor. Of course, consistency is optional in many sci-fi universes it seems, that is one of the problems. perhaps I am just feeling that realism as we think of it is not something that fits with the reality of the star trek universe...

At least, one can not compare a real reality with a dramatized reality without conversion. Think about it, The Star Trek series is probably to how the Star Trek reality would have been as some similar series with a more current theme was to real reality. Going by series like A-Team you would think most military people of the time could not do much better than Starfleet personnel… You know, the whole apples and oranges stuff

But, You do seem to have good understanding of all this military stuff and such, so I would think you could write a good story, and some of the Star Trek people could do with some adversity. Just watch out for sly tricks from those Star fleet people like rebuilding people from the last transporter matrix and stuff. :wink:

John Dlugosz
2004-Oct-20, 05:27 PM
As for the blinkenlights on the computers, they are there to look cool, electronic computers are rather abstract in a way, you really can not see them doing anything much, just sitting there, so fitting some lamps makes it more impressive.

Shopping for a new computer case, power supply, etc. a short time ago, I found that they all have lights, some quite elaborate. My "tasteful" one has blue LEDs on the front illuminating the concave surfaces (which also serve no purpose), and the power supply fan is transparent with different colored LEDs set around the rim. The partial reflections change as the blades spin, causing phycodelic additive color effects.

Open it up and it's worse: cables glow, etc. So, here we are in the 21st century and our computers really do have light shows that are more interesting than anything in any old "B" movie. And they are all just decoration.

More seriously, open up a PC and there may be a few lights that are only visible from the inside. Status indicator for the motherboard, network, etc. So why not Data's head?

Or maybe that's all they had at the local Fry's when they were building it.

--John

kucharek
2004-Oct-20, 05:31 PM
You talk about case-modding. Maybe in the Trek-universe, android-modding is just en vogue...

TrAI
2004-Oct-20, 05:42 PM
You talk about case-modding. Maybe in the Trek-universe, android-modding is just en vogue...

Hehe. Seems people like modding stuff, so why not. Though case-mods are done to be visible, so I would think that Data would have a transparent dome if it was done by a case-modder. :wink:

Van Rijn
2004-Oct-20, 11:29 PM
but who would watch a bunch of people and aliens being vaporized by phasers/disruptors in the first scene, our heroes being fried by blaster fire before even getting close to the Millennium Falcon, Rambo being spawn killed by some sniper, or what ever?

It is perfectly possible to have high accuracy rates and tell a good story. What it means is the people doing the fighting have to behave realistically - ie use cover, fire and manoeuver etc. This would of course preclude the use of standard Starfleet tactics - the commander gives a long, boring, pretentions and pompous speech then the troops wander around in disorganized groups without any sort of operational plan or tactical coordination. I'd pitch a USMC platoon up against a Starfleet ground force any day. The idea of Worf going down riddled with M-16 fire is also enticing. And shooting Commander Sisko would be a service to humanity (the charge could be multiple counts of felony bad acting).

On a less homicidal note, accurately depicting weaponry means the series producers would actually have to do some work and think out how to do things. That's the real constraint - it isn't "dramatic tension" its sheer laziness on the part of the production staff.

I don't get into much Star Trek nit-picking, because it is so easy - where do you start? (And don't get me wrong, there was a lot to like in the first 3 1/2 series, I only hate the last 2.) But the weapon issue is interesting for a couple of reasons. When the original series ran, hand held "ray guns" made sense. But given the technology we see today for weapon automation, in the context of the Star Trek universe, far beyond our existing automation technology, it doesn't make sense at all. Reevalutating the technology based on today's ideas would require a serious rethinking of the whole process - but that would not have "fit" into the original Star Trek picture.

The other issue is that they clearly have never had any advisers that understood military doctrine on the various series. I'm certainly no expert, but I've seen plenty of holes. I don't think they are lazy so much as they just don't get the concept. I think there has been a strong "we don't do regular military" attitude there.

Gullible Jones
2004-Oct-20, 11:53 PM
Well, these days there are economy computer cases and flashy expensive ones.

I suppose that Starfleet decided on giving Data their equivalent of an expensive, flashy case. This is backed up by Data's infamous words to Tasha Yar in one of the earlier episodes... :o

mathyou9
2004-Oct-21, 03:42 AM
Some of you may recall the first episode of Next Generation where Wesley and the crew are romping around in the Holodeck. We must keep in mind that anything fabricated in the Holodeck cannot leave the Holodeck. Wesley fell in the stream and got [Holodeck] water all over himself. Yet later when Wesley exited the Holodeck the holographic water managed to slip out of the Holodeck while on Wesley's person, i.e., Wesley was still sopping wet when he exited the Holodeck.

Darasen
2004-Oct-21, 04:42 AM
Mathyou9: Just an FYI According to the ST:TNG Technical manual (yes I read it but it was while waiting at a Dr. office) the Holodeck uses both "holotechnology" but also replicates some things like water (hence you get wet0, Sand and the like.

Wow I feel like a nerd now !!

Tobin Dax
2004-Oct-21, 04:44 AM
You talk about case-modding. Maybe in the Trek-universe, android-modding is just en vogue...

Hehe. Seems people like modding stuff, so why not. Though case-mods are done to be visible, so I would think that Data would have a transparent dome if it was done by a case-modder. :wink:

Maybe. After Capt. Boday from DS9 (a humanoid with a transparent skull, and a toothy grin, as Miles put it :D ), I'm not sure if that would work well for an android either.

Glom
2004-Oct-21, 09:09 AM
May I draw attention to this very excellent thread (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=4796) which became The Stuart Show. It is a very interesting read.

snowcelt
2004-Oct-21, 09:19 AM
May I draw attention to this very excellent thread (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=4796) which became The Stuart Show. It is a very interesting read.

Yeah, I remember that. After a while I would have sworn he had written the entire Star Trek series because of his in depth knowledge. But then of course he was so rabidly contra to the series that if he did write them he must of had a epiphany and attacked what he had done before.

Glom
2004-Oct-21, 09:53 AM
Okay, let's take this thread a little more methodically. Let's start off at the beginning with 'The Cage' [TOS] and work our way from there.

snowcelt
2004-Oct-21, 10:34 AM
Is this the scraped one or am I thinking of the Menagerie?

Maksutov
2004-Oct-21, 11:20 AM
Is this the scraped one or am I thinking of the Menagerie?

The Cage is the pilot which Roddenberry used to sell the show to the network. It was later reprocessed into The Menagerie, Parts One and Two.

Glom
2004-Oct-21, 12:27 PM
I think 'The Cage' was originally going to be called 'The Menagerie'. 'The Cage' was never aired as part of the original run of Star Trek, so it was sitting as Desilu as a wasted episode. When time and budget became a problem, they made a two parter in which the events of 'The Cage' were revealed to Kirk's crew. That way they could use 'The Cage' and would get an episode for free essentially.

Stuart
2004-Oct-21, 12:58 PM
But then of course he was so rabidly contra to the series that if he did write them he must of had a epiphany and attacked what he had done before.

I am not "rabidly contra". What I do say is that

a) the writing standards and production levels of the varying Star Trek seriei have steadily deteriorated

b) the claims made that Star Trek represents a consistent and well-thought out universe are false and that its claims to be based in "real science" are equally false.

c) the Federation as depicted in the various Star Trek episodes is a militarized communist dictatorship with an extraordinarily poor human right record

d) The military forces deployed by the Federation are hopelessly incompetent, poorly equipped, virtually untrained and could easily be defeated by a present-day army (as a matter of fact, we can make a very good argument that (d) comes from (c). Its amazing how often the two go together).

e) The Ferengi are the good guys.

f) The constant use of time travel and the big red reset button has made the various stories pointless and futile. Why watch? You know that at the end the BRRB will click and everything will be OK.

I was a regular watcher of the various Star Trek series right up to about half way through the third series of Enterprise. Then I got so sickened by the havoc that had been wreaked on Star Trek that I stopped watching it and have never returned. A quick look at the viewing figures suggests I'm not alone in that.

Star Trek could be saved, provided some radical changes were made in how it is written and produced. They need to cut our the techno-hippy rubbish, get some writers who know how to put words together, sit down and think out what kind of society they are representing and why. That needs to be co-ordinated with TOS that should be regarded as the true bible. Then they need to lay down a marker saying THIS is where Canon starts. Everything before this point is only Canon if it agrees with what we say now. At least that would be honest.

kucharek
2004-Oct-21, 01:03 PM
-When they beam to a possible dangerous location, they all face into the same direction. I'd say, it would be better to materialize back to back.

snowcelt
2004-Oct-21, 01:41 PM
Sorry Stuart. I was not trying to get your goat; as a matter of fact, I could not agree with your assessment more. As an ex infantryman it was always a disappointment to me to see the Star Trek universe's incompetent soldiers. Not that ST is the only TV show which demonstrates this sloppy trait. In Star Trek, for instance, why would the captain, his 2ic, and his chief of security go into hostile environment alone? Don't they have few enlisted men who are trained to do this.

Every time I think of this I imagine Eisenhower leading a section of generals onto the beaches of Normandy to take out the nasty Germans out by them selves...ludicrise.

Doodler
2004-Oct-21, 02:19 PM
In more than a few places, humans were referred to as Terrans.

Transport to a planet versus transport to another transporter was an equipment issue.

Transport to a planet required a transporter to have the ability to focus the energy to which you were converted at a point within its range, or the reconstitution would kill you. Something along the lines of wireless data transmission, the further you are away, the more noise in the signal and the more power you need to put out to get a clear signal. Reconstituting on the ground was somewhere in handwaving territory (relative to the rest of it) since the ship could emit a confinement beam that would put you back together at a target point.

Transporter to transporter was more efficient, it only required a ship to transmit the converted person to the other transporter and the receiver would handle reconstitution.

It steps out of the show's canon a little, but there was some mention in the books of the ability to use a point to point transporter to get from the Earth to the Moon with a station at each end, where a ship could only reach out around 12,000 kilometers under ideal circumstances.

kucharek
2004-Oct-21, 02:23 PM
I never really researched it, but I'm always under the impression that the capabilities of the transporter vary greatly with what is neccessary for drama.

And not to mention that even our smallest tactical nuke seems to have more bang than even the biggest photon-torpedo - which seems to be the ultimate weapon in the Trek universe - can deliver.

ToSeek
2004-Oct-21, 02:36 PM
I think 'The Cage' was originally going to be called 'The Menagerie'. 'The Cage' was never aired as part of the original run of Star Trek, so it was sitting as Desilu as a wasted episode. When time and budget became a problem, they made a two parter in which the events of 'The Cage' were revealed to Kirk's crew. That way they could use 'The Cage' and would get an episode for free essentially.

So far as I know, "The Cage" was always "The Cage.," and the title fits with the theme of the episode better than "The Menagerie." It was the original pilot for the series, originally canned because NBC had issues with it. Roddenberry engaged in a superb piece of (Hugo-award-winning) screenwriting craftmanship in order to be able to reuse almost all of it in "The Menagerie."

Stuart
2004-Oct-21, 02:40 PM
So far as I know, "The Cage" was always "The Cage.," and the title fits with the theme of the episode better than "The Menagerie." It was the original pilot for the series, originally canned because NBC had issues with it. Roddenberry engaged in a superb piece of (Hugo-award-winning) screenwriting craftmanship in order to be able to reuse almost all of it in "The Menagerie."

I've got a copy of the original pilot episode; it is called The Cage and is actually a very interesting piece of work. The re-write that used it for The Menagerie was nothing short of brilliant. If only today's Star Trek showed such skills...........

Humphrey
2004-Oct-21, 02:50 PM
I am with Stuart on this one fully too. Except a few points.

-I am not fully involved in the cannon of TOS. I never watched the series, it was well before my time. Every once in a while i will catch a episode or two, but nuthing substancial. So thus nearly all of my arguments follow this. Very few of them involve cannon.

-The Big Red Reset Button really has started to anoy me. For example in the second part of Enterprises season 4 opener. They hit the Reset button at the very end and everything turned back to how it was. No technoibabble explanation, not even a try at how to explain it. They just did it. That really got to me. I personally felt that they really were trying to save the seriees by imputting decent writing, but then reverted to their old problems.

-My other gripe with the Enterprise and some Voyager is that they focuse less and less on the characters and more on the plots/storylines/graphics more. This is what i feel that makes TNG, DS9, and [what i have seen of] TOS so popular and work very well. They make the plot secondary to the characters in each episode. The characters grow, learn, and have histories we know and get involved with. So far that i have seen Enterprise has little of this. We know a very small amount about the histores of each character. We really do not even know why they do the things they do beyond the facial emotion they have.
This is the problem with Enterprise. Its not random Trek hating. I like Star Trek. Its not a knee jerk reaction. It's a vain attempt to save the series from its own self destruction.



Its been suggested before but i think we need a change beyond the Federation emphasis in the series. Have a series bsed on a Klingon crew. A maquis crew. Someone else. Have the story center around them and make it fun. Watch SG-1 and see what makes that so popular today. They are doing something right, see wat it is.

ToSeek
2004-Oct-21, 02:52 PM
So far as I know, "The Cage" was always "The Cage.," and the title fits with the theme of the episode better than "The Menagerie." It was the original pilot for the series, originally canned because NBC had issues with it. Roddenberry engaged in a superb piece of (Hugo-award-winning) screenwriting craftmanship in order to be able to reuse almost all of it in "The Menagerie."


I've got a copy of the original pilot episode; it is called The Cage and is actually a very interesting piece of work. The re-write that used it for The Menagerie was nothing short of brilliant. If only today's Star Trek showed such skills...........

Even after all this time, there's still nothing quite like first season classic Trek, is there?

Krel
2004-Oct-21, 06:02 PM
I do not think of "Star Trek", and the Next Gen shows as related they are just too different, the just use the same terminology. They even have different explanations for the technologies. Read the writer's bible in "The Making of Star Trek", then listen to the explanations in the Next Gen shows. The phasers do not work the same and are called phasers for different reasons!

To be fair to "Star Trek", when Matt Jefferies designed the phaser 1, he designed it with a pop-up targeting display. It can be seen in several 1st season episodes. In "Man Trap" there is a close-up of the phaser II and you can see the raised site on the phaser 1. The lack of a trigger guard still disturbs me though.

There was also a different caliber of writers back then most had been in the military and had real world experiences, most tv writers now have not. But to be fair to the writers, it must be remembered that they have to follow the instructions of the production company on how the story is to go. Plus there are the rewrites done by the production company.

David.

Wally
2004-Oct-22, 02:29 PM
In climax where a seriously damaged Enterprise is engaged with Khan's ship, Spock tells Kirk that Khan's tactics indicate 'two-dimensional' thinking. Kirk moves the ship a few hundred meters 'below' Khan's and manages to land the needed shots to force Khan activate his ship's self-destruct in a desperate move to kill Kirk


Nitpick, TimH. . . Kahn doesn't activate the ship's self-destruct mechanism. He activates the Genesis device.

D'OH! *hangs head in shame*

I'm feeling like I need to turn in my Spock ears. How could I forget that?!

Remember to turn in BOTH sets Tim! :lol:


It is perfectly possible to have high accuracy rates and tell a good story.

Prime example: The Outlaw, Jose' Wales. =D>

Van Rijn
2004-Oct-23, 12:17 AM
a) the writing standards and production levels of the varying Star Trek seriei have steadily deteriorated

If you're talking about Voyager and Enterprise, I agree, but there were many very good episodes in the earlier series.



b) the claims made that Star Trek represents a consistent and well-thought out universe are false and that its claims to be based in "real science" are equally false.


Well, yes and no. Yes, there is a lot of silliness and they've pulled some pretty stupid things. What set the original Star Trek apart though, is that they actually did make some attempt to forecast technology and to consider the implications of the assumptions they made. Even today, that is almost unheard of in a TV series (B5 is a rare exception). It says something to me that they actually did make some good technological predictions. That's not easy.

Although there weren't nearly as many innovations after the original, I think they continued to do a pretty good job up to Voyager. That was a trainwreck, with weekly doses of technical nonsense.



c) the Federation as depicted in the various Star Trek episodes is a militarized communist dictatorship with an extraordinarily poor human right record


I don't think their idea of the Federation utopia is realistic, but I don't understand the dictatorship and poor human right record comments. Nor do I think there is evidence it is communistic. Are you thinking about the "money" issue? Remember that they have a resource base far beyond ours, and in the Next Generation era, most material goods can be replicated for the asking. By their standards, in most ways, Bill Gates would be considered a very poor man.



d) The military forces deployed by the Federation are hopelessly incompetent, poorly equipped, virtually untrained and could easily be defeated by a present-day army (as a matter of fact, we can make a very good argument that (d) comes from (c). Its amazing how often the two go together).

e) The Ferengi are the good guys.

f) The constant use of time travel and the big red reset button has made the various stories pointless and futile. Why watch? You know that at the end the BRRB will click and everything will be OK.


Agreed that they don't understand military concepts. On E - well, if you take it as a smear on capitalism, I certainly don't agree with that, but the Ferengi also don't understand charity, responsibility, or individual rights.

Issue F is, I think, the worst sin in Voyager and Enterprise. I can live with an occasional Deus ex Machina ending as in the earlier series and movies (Organians, Q, Prophets, etc.) though they always leave a bad taste in my mouth. But the endless "Go back in time to make it all go away" stories killed my interest.

Robert Andersson
2004-Oct-23, 02:21 PM
The second I saw Christopher Lee (Sauron) coming out to meet Gandolph I knew something was hinkey.
As we are nit-picking: Lee played Saruman, which was the character you meant. Sauron is another. And, our beloved wizard's name is Gandalf. :D

Thargoid
2004-Oct-23, 04:58 PM
A better question might be, if they are close enough to the explosion to be blown across the room, why aren't they blown into a random collection of steaks, chops, rump roasts and spare ribs that get sprayed across the compartment?

I think I can answer this with just one word:

Eeeeyoooooo!!!

And how come no one ever wears spacesuits during ship-to-ship combat. I mean, if Klingons were trying to poke holes in my can of air, I'd want to be ready just in case they succeeded. The're good at that sort of thing!

And where are the enlisted rank? It's hard to believe that they can run a ship full of officers without some worker bees, not to mention a few petty officers to harangue them! :)

Thargoid
2004-Oct-23, 05:03 PM
I'd love to read that Stuart.

It isn't up yet and won't be for some time (its one or two down the list of stories to be posted). However, the story that establishes the timeline is called The Big One and can be found Here (http://p074.ezboard.com/fhistorypoliticsandcurrentaffairs68862frm23.showMe ssage?topicID=157.topic)

Its followed by "The Great Game" and there's another story in the work area called "Crusade" that's going into the library shortly. In addition there are a number of short stories in the same timeline that flesh out the world and introduce a variety of characters and concepts.

The latest story "The High Frontier" has just started; it deals with the establishment of the first space stations

You know that Paramount would never go in for it, but I think it would be cool if they made a Star Trek series set in the 25-26 centuries that describes a Federation civil war. Imagine a rebellion against the descendents of Section 31-style ideology.

But what do I know? I'm just another nerd :P

Stuart
2004-Oct-25, 05:31 PM
It says something to me that they actually did make some good technological predictions.

This is a very common claim but it evaporates on close examination. indeed, Star Trek predicts nothing of any real consequence. It tends to be fairly up-to-date in terms of scientific buzz-words, as one might expect since Star Trek is written by people who like to keep up with current developments but that is it.

To take some prime examples often quoted as such "predictions"

Star Trek communicators have nothing to do with cell-phones. Star Trek "communicators" are just standard personal radios that have been miniaturized. The idea that they would get smaller or be designed with a cover to protect the buttons are both demonstrated trends as early as the 1950s.

Star Trek did not predict quasars. Quasars were discovered in the early 1960's, years before TOS aired, and decades before TNG aired.

Star Trek did not predict black holes. John Mitchell theorized about their existence in 1783.

And so it goes. All the "predictions" claimed for Star Trek cannot be supported when examined closely.


I don't understand the dictatorship and poor human right record comments. Nor do I think there is evidence it is communistic. Are you thinking about the "money" issue? Remember that they have a resource base far beyond ours, and in the Next Generation era, most material goods can be replicated for the asking. By their standards, in most ways, Bill Gates would be considered a very poor man.

Lets examine this then.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the Federation is communist . None. Lets look at it in more detail. Communism has the following basic tenets. EDIT - attribution. Some of this material is drawn from Michael Wong's Star Destroyer website since it forms a useful and coherent summary of a complex subject. The material from that site has been blended with other content to form an original entry and its eemployment comes undre the heading of "fair use/research'.

a ) Abolition of property rights. 100% implemented in the TNG era Federation. While Ferengi traders and various others outside the Federation still retain property rights, the Federation seems to have eliminated them. Counsellor Troi and Captain Picard have both boasted about how the accumulation of wealth is no longer an incentive. No wire transfers or electronic asset tracking in the 24th century. Come to think of it, what was the last time you heard about someone buying or selling something from another Federation citizen? Even on the mixed civilian/military spaceport DS9, no one seems to have anything but a handful of room decorations and sentimental momentoes. Quarters are quite clean and barren even when children live there. Which is absurd by the way. This gives the lie to your statement about Bill Gates. You have no supporting evidence whatsoever to back it up and all the canon evidence strongly counters the suggestion.

b ) State seizure of transportation 100% implemented in the TNG era Federation. Vehicles in Star Trek are either government property, or they travel outside the Federation (eg. Ferengi vessels, ships from non-member systems, etc).What was the last time you saw a privately owned personal starship? Starships are either government warships, diplomatic vessels, or transports. The only one-person vehicles (apart from non-Federation vehicles such as Quark's ship or Bajor's spacecraft) are runabouts and shuttles, and they are always government property. Where are all of the ships in the skies over Earth? Even over major metropolitan centres such as San Francisco, we see almost no air traffic whatsoever (certainly nothing like the thick swarms of traffic over Coruscant in Star Wars). In fact, in "Paradise Lost", the USS Lakota was the only starship in orbit around the entire planet! Even in that time of crisis, we didn't see anyone leaving Earth to hide out at a safer location until everything blew over, because none of them had any ships! The same is true of all crises through Star Trek history. No mass exodus of personal vehicles even when the populace had early warning and lots of time to prepare. The result of this monopoly is that Starfleet officers can easily track every movement of any citizen within the Federation. Any security officer can easily rattle off a list of all the places any citizen has gone, how long they were there, etc. Contrast this to real life, where the bus driver wants exact change but he couldn't care less about your ID. Unless you leave the country, nobody asks to see a passport or identification.

c) State seizure of communications 100% implemented in the TNG era Federation.he entire subspace relay system is owned by the Federation government, as described in the DS9 tech manual. There is no private competitor. Since all interstellar communications must use this relay network, this effectively gives the Federation government total control over long distance communications. Furthermore, it appears that local communications systems are government-operated as well, since the government was able to effortlessly impose a complete local news blackout during the attempted coup in "Paradise Lost." High-ranking officers can use secure communications, but no one else seems to be able to encrypt their personal information or communications because any Tom, Dick or Ferengi seems to be able to break into personal files and communications at will. There was an interesting episode in which "the Federation nearly became a military dictatorship" (Paradise Lost) although the truth seems to be that one faction was displacing another - a common factor in military dictatorships BTDTB. In real life, such a near-coup would be accompanied by an enormous flood of negative news reports, both from television and radio stations and across the Internet. But in the Federation, there appear to be no independent news organizations or reporting mechanisms (or at least, none which can function when the government turns off the spigot). In other words, the meek citizens of Earth sat quietly in their homes and waited patiently for the benevolent Federation to tell them what had happened, because they had no other information source.

d ) Elimination of religion and traditional families. Well on the way to being implemented in Star Trek. While the TOS episode "Balance of Terror" began with a wedding in the ship's chapel, no TNG era ship seems to have a chapel at all. Christianity appears to have been purged from society. One of the most extreme examples of this deliberate suppression can be seen in a recent episode of Voyager, the holographic Doctor actually portrayed a Catholic priest and conducted a ceremony, but somehow avoided mentioning the names "God" or "Jesus" entirely! Oddly enough, while Christianity has apparently been wiped out, popular New Age ideas such as transcendental meditation, seances, tribal superstitions, pseudoscientific quasi-religions and Eastern spirituality are all acceptable in the Federation.However, to be fair, the institution of marriage still exists in the Federation. As with all real-life communist states, the Federation probably found Marx's call for the total abolishment of marriage to be unworkable.

e ) State seizure of industry 100% implemented in the TNG era Federation.n hundreds of televised episodes and numerous feature films, we haven't seen a single Federation product which bore the trademark of an independent manufacturer, either in military or civilian situations.There are no known privately owned corporations in the Federation. We never hear a single corporate name, or a complaint about a corporate supplier, or any news of bidding for government contracts. Not even in Quarks Bar. When were you last ina bar that had no advertizing material around? It goes without saying that no one has investments in any of these corporations.There is no patent office. We know that none of the scientists in Star Trek perform research for the purpose of obtaining lucrative patents, because everything they discover instantly enters the public domain. There are no royalties to be collected. No fees for the use of someone else's invention. No one ever has to seek permission to use or abuse any form of intellectual property. There are no trademarks or copyrights. In short, intellectual property rights must have been completely eliminated, since the state claims ownership of all research.

f ) Citizens are forced to work. 100% implemented in the TNG era Federation. Even though everyone is guaranteed a comfortable standard of living by the state, everyone works hard. There are no beach bums. Therefore, since laziness is an innate human characteristic, we can infer that such penalties probably exist, even if we never explicitly see them in action. An alternate explanation for this conundrum would be the possibility that citizens are conditioned to work through brainwashing techniques, but brainwashing would be no better than the use of force.

In short, every requirement of a communist society with the sole exception of the elimination of marriage is met by the Federation. Its a communist state, one more vicious, repressive and pure, unadulteratedly evil than anything Stalin or Mao dreamed up (I'll give you Pol Pot) Just look at the following quotation.


TNG Season 1, Ep# 7: "The Last Outpost"

DATA: The Ferengi are... well, the best description may be "traders."

PICARD: What kind of "traders"?

DATA: A more accurate comparison modern scholars have drawn from Earth history cites the ocean-going "Yankee Traders" of eighteenth and nineteenth century America, sir.

RIKER: From the history of my forebears? "Yankee Traders?"

DATA (nods): Who sail, in this case the galaxy, in search of mercantile and territorial opportunity.

RIKER: And are those scholars saying the Ferengi may not be too different from us?

DATA: Hardly, sir. I believe this analogy refers to the nefarious capitalist manner in which the Ferengi are known to conduct their affairs of commerce.

Note the expressed opinion of capitalism. Damns both the writers and the society they created.The Federation is communist, live with it.

Now lets look at the dictatorship side (In fact any communist society had to be imposed and maintained by force and is effectively a dictatorship. However, the Star Trek Federation is a particularly nasty case.

In the Federation, the concentration of government assets in military hands is almost total: there is very little distinction between "Starfleet" and "Federation". In fact, the terms seem to be used almost interchangeably on the show.Military posts hold enormous prestige in the Federation. Think about this: how many names of real-life sea vessel captains do you know? Do you know the name of the captain of any military vessels? I do, its my job, I bet you don't. Admirals make press, but captains don't. But in Star Trek, Captain Picard is known far and wide, even among civilians. I n "Paradise Lost", a Starfleet admiral nearly assumed control of the entire Federation, and no one could stand in his way but another Starfleet officer (Captain Sisko).When Doctor Bashir's parents were charged with violating the Federation's anti-genetic engineering laws, they wanted to fight the charge but they eventually decided to capitulate and offer themselves up for the sentencing decision ... of a judge wearing a Starfleet uniform! Only an exceptionally influential military would have the ability to try and sentence civilians! Another quote for you.


TNG Season 7, Ep# 161: "Force of Nature"

PICARD: Doctor, if you wanted us to review your research, you could have placed a request through the Science Council.

RABAL: Their resources are limited. It would have taken over a year before they dispatched a science ship to come and evaluate our work.

they had no recourse other than the centralized Science Council bureacracy. Since the Science Council regarded their problem as a low priority issue, that meant they had no recourse at all.

In an open environment, the people of Hekaras Two could have gone to the press. They could have gone to alternate research organizations. They could have spent some money to hire independent researchers. But the Federation is not an open environment. If the government says it's not worth researching, then the game is over. A bit later in the same episode Data makes reference to placing a request with the Federation Science Council for research efforts. Again, there seems to be no other source of scientific research funding but the government-run Federation Science Council; a stifling environment in which to conduct research. By the way, who runs the FederationScience Council? STARFLEET.

Another quote for you.


TNG Season 2, Ep# 45: "Manhunt"
DATA: Captain, we are now receiving Starfleet orders granting a Lwaxana....

MRS. TROI: Lwaxana Troi, daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Riix, heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed.

DATA: ... full ambassadorial status, sir.

Starfleet grants her ambassadorial status! WHOA is that damning. Governments - and ONLY governments - grant ambassadorial status. Ambassadorial power is a function of sovereignty at both ends. A military organization can only grant ambassadorial status if it controls the government. What would be the reaction in Washington if the USMC started giving people ambassadorial privileges? Proof positive - the Federation is a military dictatorship.

There is repeated canon evidence of massive Federation violations of basic human rights. Across the board. For example, in Star Trek, people are apparently so accustomed to intrusions upon their private affairs that no one is remotely concerned about the presence of a telepath, even one who has demonstrated an eagerness to peek, unbidden, into the thoughts of every person in her vicinity. Star Trek is pervasively and systematically racist both as a television series and as the society it depicts. Take this quote.


TNG Season 1, Ep# 20: "Heart of Glory"

PICARD: Where are they now?

TASHA: They are with Worf on Deck Seventeen.

PICARD: Deck Seventeen?

TASHA: Yes, sir -- next to the auxiliary turbolift to the Battle Bridge. Shall I alert Lieutenant Worf?

PICARD: No. Send a security team to Deck Seventeen.

RIKER: Captain, you don't think Worf would allow them access to the Battle Bridge?

PICARD: Right now, Number One, we cannot assume anything.

both Riker and Picard no longer trust Lieutenant Worf, simply because he's with other Klingons and they assume that his loyalties are therefore in doubt.

Imagine if a real-life police officer discovered that two black suspects are in the custody of a black police officer, and immediately assumed that the officer could no longer be trusted. Would that strike you as racist?


TNG Season 2, Ep# 40: "The Icarus Factor"

WESLEY: You try talking to Worf. I'm telling you, he's not ... normal ... for Worf.

DATA: There is, of course, a genetic predisposition toward hostility among all Klingons, although Worf does seem unusually out of sorts.

Klingons have a genetic predisposition toward hostility, eh?This sort of pseudoscientific racial generalization strikes me as eerily similar to certain nineteenth and early twentieth century European "medical evaluations" of non-caucasian races, in which numerous behaviours, strengths and deficiencies were described as genetically inherited traits by "medical experts" without a shred of meaningful scientific evidence.


TNG Season 1, Ep# 1: "Encounter At Farpoint"

ZORN: Captain, the Ferengi would be very interested in a base like this.

PICARD: Fine. I hope they find you as tasty as their other past associates.

The Federation has almost no knowledge of the Ferengi at this point, but it has apparently disseminated negative misinformation to its officers anyway. It had already "educated" its youth with these unfavourable characterizations, as Tom Paris and Ensign Kim both demonstrated in the Voyager pilot episode "Caretaker" with their statements about the Academy warning all cadets about Ferengi dishonesty. Odd behaviour for a society that claims to have "evolved" beyond racism.

Lets look at other human rights abuses,


TNG Season 1, Ep# 26: "The Neutral Zone"

PICARD: A lot has changed in three hundred years. People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of "things". We have eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We have grown out of our infancy.

Tasha Yar's home planet was a Federation world, and it collapsed into poverty and crime. And how did the Federation deal with this? By revoking their membership! I guess this policy (dump 'em when they run into trouble) allows them to maintain their claim to being a povery-free zone.

Quite frankly, it's a bit like rich neighbourhoods where nobody is poor; of course nobody is poor, because they won't let the poor people in! If anyone in the rich neighbourhood becomes poor, he's gone. And even though their wealth may very well be derived from the exploitation of poverty elsewhere, they get to prance around in their nice clothes and pretend that they have solved all material problems.

We already know that the Federation engages in trade with backward worlds while witholding technology from them (for their own good, of course). Can there be any serious doubt that this policy keeps these underprivileged worlds from improving their status? The Federation takes raw materials from backward planets, refuses to give them the advanced technology that they need in order to improve their condition, and boasts that they have eliminated poverty. Hmmm ... I'm reluctant to employ an over-used Marxist term, but the word "exploitation" does come to mind.

[i]Again, case made. So we have defined the Federation as a racist military dictatorship that practices massive human rights abuse. And that trekkies hold this up as an example of a Utopian society????????

Agreed that they don't understand military concepts.

Not quite what I said. I said they were so militarily inept that they stood no chance of prevailing against today's military forces. They are hopel;ess, incompetent imbeciles. They are so pathetically equipped that a 17th century arquebus would be a step forward. They haven't a clue. My dog has more operational and strategic insight than a Starfleet officer - AND STARFLEET IS PROUD OF IT. Picard and Riker demonstrate asinine stupidity when claiming that tactical skills are "minor" for a starship captain. Tactical skills are what keep his ship from turning into a drifting debris field. Again, this is indicative of politicized militaries where running governments has replaced their military responsibilities.



the Ferengi also don't understand charity, responsibility, or individual rights.

Demonstrably wrong on all counts; in fact Ferengi accent on personal rights is extremely significant - the leading one being property rights. In fact, Ferengi society is based around extreme respect for ithat most important of all human rights. Quark keeps his siblings around even though they are incompetent liabilities - its obvious that Ferengi charity is on an individual basis as well. In fact the whole basis behind the Ferengi libels in Star Trek is that they are individualists with strong emphasis on basic individual rights - and that's anathema to the Star Trek ethos.

papageno
2004-Oct-25, 05:49 PM
Who would have thought?
The Ferengis are the good guys! :)

NoXion
2004-Oct-25, 07:32 PM
Apologies in advance to the BA...

The Human society in Star Trek has little to do with communism. Unless you got your idea of communism from 50's propaganda and Tom Clancy novels.


a ) Abolition of property rights. 100% implemented in the TNG era Federation. While Ferengi traders and various others outside the Federation still retain property rights, the Federation seems to have eliminated them. Counsellor Troi and Captain Picard have both boasted about how the accumulation of wealth is no longer an incentive. No wire transfers or electronic asset tracking in the 24th century. Come to think of it, what was the last time you heard about someone buying or selling something from another Federation citizen? Even on the mixed civilian/military spaceport DS9, no one seems to have anything but a handful of room decorations and sentimental momentoes. Quarters are quite clean and barren even when children live there. Which is absurd by the way. This gives the lie to your statement about Bill Gates. You have no supporting evidence whatsoever to back it up and all the canon evidence strongly counters the suggestion.

This strongly suggests to me that there is still some sort of limitation factor on the amount of material goods one can own, despite the fact that the resources of an entire galaxy are at their disposal. This is an inconsistency.
Also, what is the point of a monetary economy when one can simply replicate gold, diamonds, and anything else of value?


b ) State seizure of transportation
c) State seizure of communications
e ) State seizure of industry

What state? There is no state in communist society.


d ) Elimination of religion and traditional families. Well on the way to being implemented in Star Trek. While the TOS episode "Balance of Terror" began with a wedding in the ship's chapel, no TNG era ship seems to have a chapel at all. Christianity appears to have been purged from society. One of the most extreme examples of this deliberate suppression can be seen in a recent episode of Voyager, the holographic Doctor actually portrayed a Catholic priest and conducted a ceremony, but somehow avoided mentioning the names "God" or "Jesus" entirely! Oddly enough, while Christianity has apparently been wiped out, popular New Age ideas such as transcendental meditation, seances, tribal superstitions, pseudoscientific quasi-religions and Eastern spirituality are all acceptable in the Federation.However, to be fair, the institution of marriage still exists in the Federation. As with all real-life communist states, the Federation probably found Marx's call for the total abolishment of marriage to be unworkable.

even more evidence against the case for Star Trek society being communist. Communists are materialists and as such regard all superstitions as bunk, not just Xianity.
Marriage is a financial institution that simply would not be necessary in a non-monetary society.


f ) Citizens are forced to work. 100% implemented in the TNG era Federation. Even though everyone is guaranteed a comfortable standard of living by the state, everyone works hard. There are no beach bums. Therefore, since laziness is an innate human characteristic, we can infer that such penalties probably exist, even if we never explicitly see them in action. An alternate explanation for this conundrum would be the possibility that citizens are conditioned to work through brainwashing techniques, but brainwashing would be no better than the use of force.

Emphasis added.

Have you any proof for the innate laziness of humans? Sure, most humans would probably rather be at the beach than at the workplace, but this is because most work in current society is boring, tiring, and detrimental to mental and physical health. How on earth do you think we ever managed to invent the wheel or farming if we were 'naturally lazy'? Why spend all that time and effort knocking up a chariot, training some horses and learning how to use the damn thing when you can simply walk and take as many rests as you want along the way? Why bother fiddling about with seeds and ploughs when you can simply pluck nature's bounty from around you? It is rather obvious that humans find useful and constructive work fulfilling.
What is the point in forcing people to do what machines can do better?


Note the expressed opinion of capitalism. Damns both the writers and the society they created.The Federation is communist, live with it.

Simply because one has a low opinion of capitalism does not mean they are communist. Nazis dislike Capitalism because it is 'jewish'. Does that make the Federation Nazis? no. Neither does it make them communist, as they have a fully functional state apparatus.
(A side note; Marx said that the state apparatus, after being taken over by the former wage-slaves, would 'wither away' this has turned out to be wrong. This does not mean the entire Marxist paradigm is wrong, it merely means that instead of taking over the state apparatus, the proletariat must smash it.)


Klingons have a genetic predisposition toward hostility, eh?This sort of pseudoscientific racial generalization strikes me as eerily similar to certain nineteenth and early twentieth century European "medical evaluations" of non-caucasian races, in which numerous behaviours, strengths and deficiencies were described as genetically inherited traits by "medical experts" without a shred of meaningful scientific evidence.

This is more like Nazi thinking to me. no variant of communism, statist or not, divides humanity along racial lines.


We already know that the Federation engages in trade with backward worlds while witholding technology from them (for their own good, of course). Can there be any serious doubt that this policy keeps these underprivileged worlds from improving their status? The Federation takes raw materials from backward planets, refuses to give them the advanced technology that they need in order to improve their condition, and boasts that they have eliminated poverty. Hmmm ... I'm reluctant to employ an over-used Marxist term, but the word "exploitation" does come to mind.

And capitalists don't do this sort of thing?


Demonstrably wrong on all counts; in fact Ferengi accent on personal rights is extremely significant - the leading one being property rights.

So you consider owning property to be more important than being able to go out in public and wear clothes? You consider it virtuous of a species to oppress approximately 50% of it's population?

Furthermore, this looks like an article you cut and pasted from a Geocities site. Try to come up with some original material, and kindly refrain using threads about fictional societies to attack idealogies that you only learned about from it's enemies.

Demigrog
2004-Oct-25, 07:57 PM
Furthermore, this looks like an article you cut and pasted from a Geocities site. Try to come up with some original material, and kindly refrain using threads about fictional societies to attack idealogies that you only learned about from it's enemies.

Some of us enjoy Stuart's contributions, so kindly refrain from bashing that which you disagree with. I'd also be very careful accusing someone of plagerism...

NoXion
2004-Oct-25, 08:11 PM
I was wrong, it's not from a Geocities site, but it's suspiciously similar to http://www.stardestroyer.net/Empire/Essays/Trek-Marxism.html


Some of us enjoy Stuart's contributions, so kindly refrain from bashing that which you disagree with.

I don't think pointing out theoretical holes counts as 'bashing'.
Why is he allowed to bash communism while I'm not allowed to criticize his submitted articles?

Stuart
2004-Oct-25, 08:18 PM
[quote="NoXion"]I was wrong, it's not from a Geocities site, but it's suspiciously similar to http://www.stardestroyer.net/Empire/Essays/Trek-Marxism.html

I do draw from Michael Wong's site (and have contributed to it) - and have acknowledged said contributions as source material when used before. I didn't do so this time because we've already been over this ground and I assumed people were familiar with it. It is, however, only a limited part of the subject matter covered and is used as a matter of convenience.

As for "bashing communism" I didn't actually do that. What I have actually done is listed the characteristics of communist states (as described by Marx himself by the way - I've read Das Kapital - have you?) and shown how the Star Trek Federation reflects those beliefs. If you think that constitutes "bashing" itprobably reflects your own guilty conscience.

If you really wish to discuss communism, this is not the place to do it. I would suggest you come over to our website (the address I have also given elsewhere and do not wish to bore people by repeating.) for the purpose.

NoXion
2004-Oct-25, 08:21 PM
[quote=NoXion]I was wrong, it's not from a Geocities site, but it's suspiciously similar to http://www.stardestroyer.net/Empire/Essays/Trek-Marxism.html

I do draw from Michael Wong's site (and have contributed to it) - and have acknowledged said contributions as source material when used before. I didn't do so this time because we've already been over this ground and I assumed people were familiar with it. It is, however, only a limited part of the subject matter covered and is used as a matetr of convenience.

You're forgiven :D But the thought just occurred to me that the article might not be entirely serious... 8-[

Humphrey
2004-Oct-25, 08:31 PM
I was wrong, it's not from a Geocities site, but it's suspiciously similar to http://www.stardestroyer.net/Empire/Essays/Trek-Marxism.html


Some of us enjoy Stuart's contributions, so kindly refrain from bashing that which you disagree with.

I don't think pointing out theoretical holes counts as 'bashing'.
Why is he allowed to bash communism while I'm not allowed to criticize his submitted articles?

No offense is ment, but how do you know that Stuart did not write that? No author is named.

[edit: stuart replied while i was typing. nevermind]

Stuart
2004-Oct-25, 08:32 PM
You're forgiven :D But the thought just occurred to me that the article might not be entirely serious... 8-[

Its deadly serious and so am I. Michael Wong and I agree on many things, disagree on some others but on one this issue we share a unity of opinion - we both despise communism and its Nazi alter ego.

By the way, I strongly urge you to read Das Kapital. You'll find the description of a Marxist state and how its run there. The extent to which the Federation adopts communist policies and forms is chilling.

Stuart
2004-Oct-25, 08:35 PM
No offense is ment, but how do you know that Stuart did not write that? No author is named.

As it happened, I didn't do this bit although I have sent in some added information and artwork etc. that Mike's used

However, sadly I think we better drop this topic since its getting nasty.

Makgraf
2004-Oct-26, 02:32 AM
I really enjoyed your essay, but I think you're shading the Federation in too harsh a light.


a ) Abolition of property rights. 100% implemented in the TNG era Federation. While Ferengi traders and various others outside the Federation still retain property rights, the Federation seems to have eliminated them. Counsellor Troi and Captain Picard have both boasted about how the accumulation of wealth is no longer an incentive. No wire transfers or electronic asset tracking in the 24th century. Come to think of it, what was the last time you heard about someone buying or selling something from another Federation citizen? Even on the mixed civilian/military spaceport DS9, no one seems to have anything but a handful of room decorations and sentimental momentoes. Quarters are quite clean and barren even when children live there. Which is absurd by the way. This gives the lie to your statement about Bill Gates. You have no supporting evidence whatsoever to back it up and all the canon evidence strongly counters the suggestion.
But what use is wealth when you can get anything for "free". It's not exactly free, springing from energy but energy is cheap and plentiful. Of course there's art, handcrafted objects, organic food etc any of the other information based products. But if I had my transporter, my replicator and my holodeck already I probably wouldn't make pursing wealth the main focus of my life. I'd be set, I wouldn't need a handmade sculpture or the such.


f ) Citizens are forced to work. 100% implemented in the TNG era Federation. Even though everyone is guaranteed a comfortable standard of living by the state, everyone works hard. There are no beach bums. Therefore, since laziness is an innate human characteristic, we can infer that such penalties probably exist, even if we never explicitly see them in action. An alternate explanation for this conundrum would be the possibility that citizens are conditioned to work through brainwashing techniques, but brainwashing would be no better than the use of force.
But does everyone work hard? The problem is we don't get to see "everyone", the only (almost) slice of Federation life we get is Starfleet. The only city we see is San Francisco, a Starfleet dominated city (also Paris in the movies, also I may have forgotton something). So the fact that we see motivated hard-workers in a motivated hard-working organization doesn't say anything one way or the other about the general population. How do we know that everyone else in the entire federation aren't just holo-junkies, spending 24/7 in the 'decks and having their food beamed in (or replicated).


In short, every requirement of a communist society with the sole exception of the elimination of marriage is met by the Federation. Its a communist state, one more vicious, repressive and pure, unadulteratedly evil than anything Stalin or Mao dreamed up (I'll give you Pol Pot) Just look at the following quotation.
We don't have any evidance of systematic mass-murder by the Federation. Despite the fact they have the ability to destroy entire planets (i.e. kill everything on them) we don't see them using this to impose any "final solutions" of klingons, cardassians etc. The Federation could have access to biogenic weapons and chooses not to use them. In fact when a rogue faction of the Federation does try this by introducing a virus into the founders, Starfleet (in the forms of Our Heros™) stops it.


Think about this: how many names of real-life sea vessel captains do you know? Do you know the name of the captain of any military vessels?
But Starfleet is primarily (at least in TNG) a research/exploration organization. So Picard is known not for his skills as a warrior but as an explorer. A better analogy is how many Englishmen would know Captain Cook's name or how many Spaniards that of Columbus during those respective time periods. Also, Picard is famous (or infamous) for the massacre at Wolf 359.


[i]There is repeated canon evidence of massive Federation violations of basic human rights. Across the board. For example, in Star Trek, people are apparently so accustomed to intrusions upon their private affairs that no one is remotely concerned about the presence of a telepath...
And more disturbingly that they have a telepath acting for the prosecution in The Drumhead. But I think that's because privacy has probably shrivilled up in the Federation. We already see it dying in our society, will it really be able to last hundreds of years into the future?

Given that the Federation is ruled by an appointed council and mainly run by the "military" (Most of the ambassadors we see are ex-Starfleet) your article really did make me see the Federation badly. But I don't think it's as bad as you show it.

nomuse
2004-Oct-26, 06:49 AM
I hate to toss my hat in a ring where the sawdust is already starting to look a little bloody. But understanding we do this because it is fun...and also accepting I know very little about theoretical communism (aside from reading some of the interesting comics put out by the Chinese Communist Party) and do not intend to make any comment on same...

The argument "what use is wealth when...(we can replicate anything)" falls down quickly on the evidence of the shows. Over and over we are shown the importance of items that can not be replicated, or told that such-and-such is "too costly/too power-intensive/too dangerous" to replicate. So there are practical limits, at the least. Further, from buying tribbles on TOS to Voyager trading for parts we are shown that barter and negotiables still thrive in all corners of the galaxy. So perhaps cadets at Starfleet Academy have all their needs replicated. I have a strong feeling that the folks in Oakland are still making do as best they can, however.

What is more insidious is where these limits are. Starfleet has replicators. They don't exactly give them away. And even on Starfleet vessels, the upper management always seem to find a slot on the holodeck when they want one. ("I'm sorry, Machinest Mate Swenson, you and your shift will have to run your yearly Jeffries Tube Maintenance Re-familiarization later. Me and my buddy Worf are going to get drunk on synthahol and chat up robot babes.")

TriangleMan
2004-Oct-26, 11:39 AM
Whoa, this thread got really deep suddenly! :o

Stuart has provided excellent points on the nature of the Federation but I'm still not sure if the Federation were intended to be communist per se. But when you look at the period when Roddenbery developed TOS, the late 1960s, american youth culture was definately not pro-capitalism. "Hippie" culture was taking off and young people were embracing New Age philosophy, eastern religion, and had idealistic opinions about peace and equality - some even embraced Marxism. How many BABB posters can remember when young people used "capitalist" as a derogatory word?

I think Roddenbery's work reflected those attitudes in trying to portray what people in the 1960s thought a near-utopian futuristic society would be like. Had Roddenbery intended it to be communist I'm sure he would have included more stereotypical references to it ("Commander Kirk" more references to "the people", a military that was more regimental and strict) but I can see how it could be interpreted as such. TOS was definately not capitalist, maybe socialist would be a better term?

SeanF
2004-Oct-26, 01:13 PM
Klingons have a genetic predisposition toward hostility, eh? This sort of pseudoscientific racial generalization strikes me as eerily similar to certain nineteenth and early twentieth century European "medical evaluations" of non-caucasian races, in which numerous behaviours, strengths and deficiencies were described as genetically inherited traits by "medical experts" without a shred of meaningful scientific evidence.
It strikes me as being eerily similar to this:


. . . laziness is an innate human characteristic . . .
;)

snowcelt
2004-Oct-26, 01:29 PM
The more I think about what Stuart has to say about the Communistic society of Roddenberry's universe, the more I have too agree.

For example. I can not count how many times the main characters, and the red shirts whom accompany them, are under armed. It seems that they always get attacked by the enemy of the week, and the guy with the phaser is incapacitated and everyone else is doing the scramble-across-the-floor/cave surface/deck to pick up the only weapon available.

Looks like a typical commie scenario. Back in WWll, in Stalingrad for instance, the Russians would send in waves of troops against the Germans. The first line or two would have weapons and the rest, without arms, would be told to pick up the weapon of the guy who fell in front of him and carry on the charge.

NOTE. Before anyone says I saw this in a movie, yes I did. I thought it was ** until I did some research and found out that, indeed, this did happen in Stalingrad and elsewhere during the first couple of years of the Great Patriotic War.

Does anyone see a pattern? Only a society which has little regard for individual rights would do something like this.

Demigrog
2004-Oct-26, 05:13 PM
I think we’re giving the ‘Trek producers and writers too much credit. Many of the “questionable” aspects of Federation life can be easily chalked up to bad writing, production cost cutting, and lack of continuity. To paraphrase a cliché, never attribute to political agenda that which can be explained by incompetence.

Re material possessions and lack thereof: the sets on Star Trek are reused for multiple scenes, and the more props there are the more time consuming (expensive) it is to prep each scene—not to mention more difficult to maintain continuity. Also, logically a spacecraft would be a bad place to have lots of knickknacks sitting around, especially as the camera gets shaken hard at least once a week.

Re property rights: Apparently people still own real estate, as Picard’s family still has their old vineyards. Granted, that is about the only example I can think of after umpteen seasons of four series, but I’m not a Trekkie so my memory may be bad. I think the subject is intentionally avoided by the writers, as it is rarely germane to the plot. The novels rarely elaborate either, though TOS novels do so more than TNG. Kirk, for example, bought a cabin and land on Centauris, and Spock’s family is often cited as being one of the richest on Vulcan. The series plots rarely involved Federation civilians sufficiently to see where they lived, which I figure is a result of keeping production costs down—exterior shots that would establish “property” are expensive.

Re money: Occasionally there is money changing hands, but rarely within the Federation. Again, they get away with this mostly because the plots so rarely involve civilians. Even in a society where manufacturing is almost free, services are still going to cost money, and original works (antiques, art, clothing, furniture, fine food, “status symbol” hand-made items, etc) are going to be major objects of commerce. ‘Trek does not show any of that, of course, which I attribute to lack of thinking things through on the part of the writers and producers. They were determined to create a money-free society, but failed to think through the implications.

Re human nature: Stuart pointed out that humans are inherently lazy. I wouldn’t put it quite so harshly, but the 20th century effectively proved that removing rewards for hard work results in stagnation and decline. ‘Trek seems to make the naïve assumption that human nature will change by the 24th century. Further, ‘Trek seems to consider that a good thing, which is not at all clear. A few later episodes dealt with the “softness” of the Federation peoples, but never explored the problem in a realistic way (though I admittedly missed most of the later seasons of DS9 and Voyager).

Re starfleet involvement in government: I chalk this one up to simple lack of creativity in ‘Trek writers. The ‘Trek universe never really established any sense of what life was like in the Federation, and its governance is no exception. Beyond vague references to democracy etc, you never see any signs of it in actual practice. In fact, the Romulan Empire is the only government I remember having a real legislature (on screen, anyway). The novels do better at this, but even they are vague in regards to the Federation. So, to represent government without having to spend half of an episode establishing characters and institutions, they use Starfleet—so enlightened that it is not really military anyway, right?


Anyway, lunch break is over…

Stuart
2004-Oct-26, 05:31 PM
Klingons have a genetic predisposition toward hostility, eh? This sort of pseudoscientific racial generalization strikes me as eerily similar to certain nineteenth and early twentieth century European "medical evaluations" of non-caucasian races, in which numerous behaviours, strengths and deficiencies were described as genetically inherited traits by "medical experts" without a shred of meaningful scientific evidence.
It strikes me as being eerily similar to this:


. . . laziness is an innate human characteristic . . .


Actually, I would say that, while superficially, in reality they are profoundly opposed. The "racial generalization" is a division of the human race into various subsets, ostensibly on grounds of certain claimed characteristics but in reality by a superficial appearance of "race". It is, therefore, fundamentally a divisive and prejudical comment. My comment about inherent laziness is applied to the whole human race and is a flat statement that all members of the human race, whatever apparent differences there are in their appearance, share basic characteristics. It is, therefore, a unifying and non-prejudicial observation.

Now, that pair of comments are linked because we only have actual knowledge (as opposed to virtual knowledge) of one species, the humans. Therefore, we can make an observed statement about humans. The scriptwriters, when they make such comments about Klingons, are doing so from that human knowledge frame and therefore relating themselves to the first part of the paired statements

NoXion
2004-Oct-26, 06:05 PM
Its deadly serious and so am I. Michael Wong and I agree on many things, disagree on some others but on one this issue we share a unity of opinion - we both despise communism and its Nazi alter ego.

Communism is about the emancipation of the entire human race, while Nazism is about the glorification of the 'white race' and the subjugation of others. How can you possibly say that they are related? Diametric opposites certainly.

I'm not going to write a whole website on why the 20th century communist paradigm was flawed, someone has done it already. (http://redstar2000papers.fightcapitalism.net)
I will leave this discussion before the BA locks this thread. if you have any questions, read the given web address and PM me. Leave those flamethrowers at home.

Stuart
2004-Oct-26, 06:09 PM
The Human society in Star Trek has little to do with communism. Unless you got your idea of communism from 50's propaganda and Tom Clancy novels.

I got my ideas on communism from Karl Marx and Engels. Who, by the way, never did a stroke of work in their lives. Also, by observing communist societies as first hand. Also I must point out that this is not discussion on communism but on how the Federation displays the characteristics of a communist system - the specifics of which come from Das Kapital. Your coment is a blatant ad-hominem -and ad hominems are against the rules here.


Also, what is the point of a monetary economy when one can simply replicate gold, diamonds, and anything else of value?

Wrong again. Star Trek is full of material that states a wide variety of objects and materials cannot be replicated. For example, in DS9, there are frequent references to trade in such goods and valuables. Also check for the number of times items for the ships are supplied because they cannot be replicated


What state? There is no state in communist society.

Wrong yet again. I strongly urge you to read Das Kapital. I know its a painful experience to have to read such ignorant and illiterate garbage but it will save you from making such obvious errors. The workings of a communist state are clearly laid out by Marx and Engels.


even more evidence against the case for Star Trek society being communist. Communists are materialists and as such regard all superstitions as bunk, not just Xianity. Marriage is a financial institution that simply would not be necessary in a non-monetary society.

Wrong yet again. In fact communist societies are uniquely well-suited to the spread of pseudoscience and superstition due to their state control of all media and their rigid suppression of all viewpoints that dissent frlom the officially-approved orthodoxy. Hence the official dogma of lysenkoism that contaminated Soviet biology and their military funding of pseudoscientific ideas such as remote viewing, x-ray vision and faith healing. The Star Trek universe acceptance of pseudoscience where it has been accepted as "official" orthdoxy is telling.


Have you any proof for the innate laziness of humans? Sure, most humans would probably rather be at the beach than at the workplace, but this is because most work in current society is boring, tiring, and detrimental to mental and physical health. How on earth do you think we ever managed to invent the wheel or farming if we were 'naturally lazy'? Why spend all that time and effort knocking up a chariot, training some horses and learning how to use the damn thing when you can simply walk and take as many rests as you want along the way? Why bother fiddling about with seeds and ploughs when you can simply pluck nature's bounty from around you? It is rather obvious that humans find useful and constructive work fulfilling. What is the point in forcing people to do what machines can do better?

Observation. People invent machines because they don't want to work hard. Given a chance they find the easiest way of doing things. The interpretation laziness=bad is yours (and again fits the described ethic). I don't happen to regard people being lazy as a bad thing; in fact its a good one. The problem is, however, how work is enforced in a Star Trek civilization


Simply because one has a low opinion of capitalism does not mean they are communist. Nazis dislike Capitalism because it is 'jewish'. Does that make the Federation Nazis? no. Neither does it make them communist, as they have a fully functional state apparatus.
On the contrary, the use of the phraseology tells us much about the mind-set of the people who wrote it. It is extremely revealing. Yopur attempt to deny it by sophistry is equally revealing


(A side note; Marx said that the state apparatus, after being taken over by the former wage-slaves, would 'wither away' this has turned out to be wrong. This does not mean the entire Marxist paradigm is wrong, it merely means that instead of taking over the state apparatus, the proletariat must smash it.)

Actually is does mean the entire Marxist paradigm was wrong. And your "smash it" comment speaks volumes about you. None of it good or creditable.


This is more like Nazi thinking to me. no variant of communism, statist or not, divides humanity along racial lines.
Wrong once again. I described the Federation as a racist, communist, military dictatorship. We had left communism behind and are now talking about examples of racism. Not necessarily related (although in reality, communist societies are deeply racist. Try being a Hmong in Vietnam, A Kurgan in the USSR or a Uighur in China). After that, we proceeded to look at why th Federation displays all the characteristics of a military dictatorship.


And capitalists don't do this sort of thing?
So what? Remember an old saying about two wrongs? The key point is that the Federation makes that its official policy not that other people may do so also.


So you consider owning property to be more important than being able to go out in public and wear clothes?
Absolutely, in case it hadn't occured to you, food and clothing are property. If property rights don't exist, then nor do people's rights to eat, drink or wear clothes or anything else. Property rights are the one absolute that underlie everything else. Food is property and you can't eat if somebody says you have no right to it and takes it.


You consider it virtuous of a species to oppress approximately 50% of it's population?
I don't make the claim that any society is uniquely good or bad. Mostly they are blends of both and the art of living is to benefit from one while avoiding the other. Nor do I make judgements based on the propaganda of the federation that has already shown that it lies about the Ferengi as a matter of course (from Episode 1 of TNG onwards - I already gave references to that. Even admitting Federation comments to be true, in the worst possible interpretation, its better to live with the Ferengi who oppress half their population than the racist, communist military dictatorship of the Federation that oppresses virtually all of them


Furthermore, this looks like an article you cut and pasted from a Geocities site. Try to come up with some original material, and kindly refrain using threads about fictional societies
Just who do you think you are? You have no authority to give out orders here, only Doctor Plait has that right. He commands here. When Dr Plait gives instructions, I will obey them to the best of my ability. Your orders, I ignore.

to attack idealogies that you only learned about from it's enemies.
Wrong yet again. As it happens I have observed (and lived in) communist-run countris so I know what they are like and how they work at first hand - as well as being versed in the theoretical aspects. So I know from real, practical experience what I'm talking about. And, by the way, 'enemies of communism" is just about the whole civilized human race.

Stuart
2004-Oct-26, 06:14 PM
Communism is about the emancipation of the entire human race,

Rubbish. Utter rubbish. Communist states are a history of repression and exploitation - just like the Federation. And, the way communism is structured, thats the only way it can be. That is why we can look at teh Federation, see certain characteristics and work back to what causes them,


while Nazism is about the glorification of the 'white race' and the subjugation of others. How can you possibly say that they are related?
Beacuse both result in identical states. There is no essential difference between Pol Pot's Kampuchea and Nazi Germany. Or have you never heard of The Killing Fields - I haven't just heard of them, I've seen them and smelt them. Subjugation of all but a self-chosen elite is integral to both systems - and integral to the Federation's organizational set-up.


I will leave this discussion before the BA locks this thread.
I had already suggested we drop this topic. You are the one continuing it and your I'm leaving now" is just a childish attempt to get the last word.


Leave those flamethrowers at home.
You do love giving orders don't you. I will point out you are the one that turned a fairly light-hearted discussion of Federation policies into a political flame war. Don't expect me to pay any attention to your comments when they are so thoroughly dishonest.

Glom
2004-Oct-26, 06:58 PM
Marriage is a financial institution that simply would not be necessary in a non-monetary society.

Find a girl/boyfriend. That's an order. It's quite a soulless attitude to believe that money is the only reason two people would want to get married.

Van Rijn
2004-Oct-27, 08:29 AM
It says something to me that they actually did make some good technological predictions.

This is a very common claim but it evaporates on close examination. indeed, Star Trek predicts nothing of any real consequence. It tends to be fairly up-to-date in terms of scientific buzz-words, as one might expect since Star Trek is written by people who like to keep up with current developments but that is it.

To take some prime examples often quoted as such "predictions"

Star Trek communicators have nothing to do with cell-phones. Star Trek "communicators" are just standard personal radios that have been miniaturized. The idea that they would get smaller or be designed with a cover to protect the buttons are both demonstrated trends as early as the 1950s.


They allowed selective addressing, and were far more than a simple radio. But also, I was considering tablet PCs, handheld computer/scanners, scanner suites (when "radar" was a big deal), advanced medical diagnostics, highly automated/computer control, computer graphics displays in general use, high capacity "floppy disks" in regular use, etc.



And so it goes. All the "predictions" claimed for Star Trek cannot be supported when examined closely.

No prediction is ever perfect, and no doubt you will complain about my characterization. But I remember thinking "Wouldn't it be amazing if something like that existed, but I'll probably never see it" when I watched the show during the original run, then that great feeling when I actually saw something like it in real life.



a ) Abolition of property rights. 100% implemented in the TNG era Federation. While Ferengi traders and various others outside the Federation still retain property rights, the Federation seems to have eliminated them. Counsellor Troi and Captain Picard have both boasted about how the accumulation of wealth is no longer an incentive. No wire transfers or electronic asset tracking in the 24th century. Come to think of it, what was the last time you heard about someone buying or selling something from another Federation citizen? Even on the mixed civilian/military spaceport DS9, no one seems to have anything but a handful of room decorations and sentimental momentoes. Quarters are quite clean and barren even when children live there. Which is absurd by the way. This gives the lie to your statement about Bill Gates. You have no supporting evidence whatsoever to back it up and all the canon evidence strongly counters the suggestion.


Supporting evidence: You can live in any fantasy world of your choosing if you want, can have perfect meals and most material goods for the asking, can travel around a planet in an instant, can visit or live on thousands of worlds, and have radically improved health care over present day.

And as others have mentioned, this is a TV show, with a standard Vulcan look, a standard Klingon look, Romulan, etc. all with virtually identical clothing. Be happy they have enough money to do this much. Back in the original series most sets looked the same with lots of cardboard and paper mache. You're reading meaning into practical series development issues. Unless it is ACTUALLY MENTIONED, it can't be assumed.


d ) Elimination of religion and traditional families. Well on the way to being implemented in Star Trek. While the TOS episode "Balance of Terror" began with a wedding in the ship's chapel, no TNG era ship seems to have a chapel at all. Christianity appears to have been purged from society. One of the most extreme examples of this deliberate suppression can be seen in a recent episode of Voyager, the holographic Doctor actually portrayed a Catholic priest and conducted a ceremony, but somehow avoided mentioning the names "God" or "Jesus" entirely! Oddly enough, while Christianity has apparently been wiped out, popular New Age ideas such as transcendental meditation, seances, tribal superstitions, pseudoscientific quasi-religions and Eastern spirituality are all acceptable in the Federation.However, to be fair, the institution of marriage still exists in the Federation. As with all real-life communist states, the Federation probably found Marx's call for the total abolishment of marriage to be unworkable.


Not only is there no mention of a religious ban, but religions are mentioned - Worf's Klingon religion is one of the most notable [added in edit]. Methinks they don't want to tread very closely on realworld established religion on a popular tv show.



f ) Citizens are forced to work. 100% implemented in the TNG era Federation. Even though everyone is guaranteed a comfortable standard of living by the state, everyone works hard. There are no beach bums. Therefore, since laziness is an innate human characteristic, we can infer that such penalties probably exist, even if we never explicitly see them in action. An alternate explanation for this conundrum would be the possibility that citizens are conditioned to work through brainwashing techniques, but brainwashing would be no better than the use of force.


I would understand a complaint that they don't flesh out Federation socieity well, but this is pure speculation without any basis.


Klingons have a genetic predisposition toward hostility, eh?This sort of pseudoscientific racial generalization strikes me as eerily similar to certain nineteenth and early twentieth century European "medical evaluations" of non-caucasian races, in which numerous behaviours, strengths and deficiencies were described as genetically inherited traits by "medical experts" without a shred of meaningful scientific evidence.

Uh ... they are aliens. They are not another race of humans, and cannot breed with humans without "help." It is quite possible for them to be predisposed to hostility. Frankly, one of my complaints about Star Trek is that most of the aliens are portrayed as being far too human. They SHOULD have different characteristics, and this interbreeding thing is taken way too far, even with the hand-waving about ancient connections.


Agreed that they don't understand military concepts.

Not quite what I said. I said they were so militarily inept that they stood no chance of prevailing against today's military forces.

I meant that the writers don't understand military concepts, and the producers haven't bothered to bring in experts on the subject.




the Ferengi also don't understand charity, responsibility, or individual rights.

Demonstrably wrong on all counts; in fact Ferengi accent on personal rights is extremely significant - the leading one being property rights. In fact, Ferengi society is based around extreme respect for ithat most important of all human rights. Quark keeps his siblings around even though they are incompetent liabilities - its obvious that Ferengi charity is on an individual basis as well. In fact the whole basis behind the Ferengi libels in Star Trek is that they are individualists with strong emphasis on basic individual rights - and that's anathema to the Star Trek ethos.

Oh, sure, and it is just fine to kill relatives, sell dangerous junk that will kill you if you look at it wrong, sell weapons that can kill millions, and kidnap non-Ferengis.

As for the rest of your arguments - I think you are reading far too much of your own biases into the show, and I don't see the evidence for a "communist state." I certainly don't think they have portrayed a realistic society, but then, I don't think they are trying very hard to do so.

Stuart
2004-Oct-27, 01:27 PM
They allowed selective addressing, and were far more than a simple radio.
As did the combat net radios developed in the late 1950s and in use from the very early 1960s onwards.


But also, I was considering tablet PCs, handheld computer/scanners, scanner suites (when "radar" was a big deal)
Integrated radar suites were already in use in warships from the mid-1950s (arguably the late 1940s) onwards. Integrated radar suites on land had been introduced in the early 1940s for controlling anti-aircraft fire. As for hand-held computers and scanners, they featured ina number of 1940s, 1950s and 1960s science fiction films. If we think about it, its natural - hand calculators already existed in the form of sliderules and the abacus. Star Trek is just following tradition, not predicting developments.


advanced medical diagnostics

Not predicted by Star Trek. Pointing a salt /pepper shaker at somebody and saying "He's Dead Jim" is not advanced medical diagnostics. Its justa vague statement that in the 24th centiry medicine is better.


highly automated/computer control, computer graphics displays in general use,

Already in extensive use by the mid 1950s. They developed out of manual plots on warships during WW2. By the 1950s tactical situations developed so fast that manual plotting couldn't keep up so automatic plot extraction was applied to radars and then use dto keep the plot on a visual display. By 1964, that had resulted in a system called Typhon which gave visual computer-generated graphical display plots comparable to that obtained by AEGIS today.


high capacity "floppy disks" in regular use, etc.
I can't remember seeing any sort of floppy disk being taken out of a computer and transferred to another. Anyway, by the late 1950s, data transfer by moving floppy disks around was obsolete. We were already electronically datalinking it (a system called NTDS - Naval Tactical Data System) .


I remember thinking "Wouldn't it be amazing if something like that existed, but I'll probably never see it" when I watched the show during the original run, then that great feeling when I actually saw something like it in real life.

No offense meant but you were probably quite young then. So was I, the catch was I then went to work in an environment (military R&D) where really advanced technology is commonplace. As a result, I lost my impression of what constitutes "advanced technology" very quickly. Star Trek is basically Buck Rodgers or Flash Gordon technology (I mean the old series, not the later versions) They look good but we really wouldn't do things that way.


Supporting evidence: You can live in any fantasy world of your choosing if you want, can have perfect meals and most material goods for the asking, can travel around a planet in an instant, can visit or live on thousands of worlds, and have radically improved health care over present day.

Hang ona second. Do we know any of that? We know that a small, self perpetuating elite live like that but what about the bulk of the population? These are all just assertions, can you provide references to suggest that support them? By the way, note the fate of Tasha Yar's world - it went wrong so the Federation dumped it and left them to stew.


Not only is there no mention of a religious ban, but religions are mentioned - Worf's Klingon religion is one of the most notable [added in edit]. Methinks they don't want to tread very closely on realworld established religion on a popular tv show.

Actually, Rodenberry's distaste for religion is well-documented - the referencesto it in TOS were introduced at the insistence of the network (one of the redeeming features that makes TOS work was that Rodenberry was kept on a short leash) Bajoran religious matters were later introduced as a counterbalance to the earlier strongly anti-religious bias of the earlier shows in order to show religion in a more positive light. However, Christianity remained a taboo subject.


Uh ... they are aliens. They are not another race of humans, and cannot breed with humans without "help." It is quite possible for them to be predisposed to hostility. Frankly, one of my complaints about Star Trek is that most of the aliens are portrayed as being far too human. They SHOULD have different characteristics, and this interbreeding thing is taken way too far, even with the hand-waving about ancient connections.

On one level I agree with you here and concede the point. On another though, the way these non-human species are presented is exceptionally racist - for example, the extraction of a single characteristic and building an entire society around it. Societies don't work like that they are blends of many different characteristics. On a third level, the way the Federation is presented, is as an intensively racist organization. Their treatment of the Ferengi in the opening episodes of both TNG and VOY iis a good example of that. As an exercise, try taking a comment about the Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians etc and substituting "Black" or "Hispanic" or "Asian" for it and see how it sounds. You'd be amazed how often what semes innocuous applied to an "alien" race becomes unforgivable when applied to people we know and associate with.


I meant that the writers don't understand military concepts, and the producers haven't bothered to bring in experts on the subject.

Agreed, and that is pretty damning of the prevailing ethos and beliefs that permeate the Star Trek consciousness. Stargate SG-1 gains enormously form the fact that the USAF special forces guys read the scripts prior to filming and point out how it would really be done. A popular program such as Star Trek could easily do the same.


Oh, sure, and it is just fine to kill relatives, sell dangerous junk that will kill you if you look at it wrong, sell weapons that can kill millions, and kidnap non-Ferengis.

Very impassioned but can you quote examples of the above. As for selling dangerous junk etc I have just one thing to say. F-104G Starfighter (or MiG-21 if you don't want to use that example). The Ferengis as presented in the episodes are particularly ruthless traders and their characterization is held up to ridicule American society (one of the in-jokes is that Ferengi is a term used in India for westerners in general and Americans in particular - now look at the production credits for TNG). We know that the Federation systematically lies about the Ferengi (for example the portayal of Ferengi as cowards in DS-9 yet it is quite clear from TNG Season 2, Ep# 47: "Peak Performance" that the Ferengi are actually have a determined and capable military. Until we see a story from a Ferengi point of view, we can't really comment on them. We don't really know why or how their society functions other than the distorted Federation picture of it.


As for the rest of your arguments - I think you are reading far too much of your own biases into the show, and I don't see the evidence for a "communist state." I certainly don't think they have portrayed a realistic society, but then, I don't think they are trying very hard to do so.

Its there, just look for it. But I agree with your last phrase absolutely and its damning. If somebody is going to create a consistent universe they have to create a workable society for it to take place in. Whether it was done deliberately or from sloppiness and neglect is really irrelevent though. Its confusing two arguments. One is "how did the Federation get to be depicted this way" and the other is "assuming the Federation is as depicted in the TV series and films (the books are not Canon material), what sort of society is it?" And I would suggest to you that my assessment of that society as being a racist, communist military dictatorship remains substantially unchallenged.

SeanF
2004-Oct-27, 01:38 PM
high capacity "floppy disks" in regular use, etc.
I can't remember seeing any sort of floppy disk being taken out of a computer and transferred to another.
Oh, sure they did. They had those little plastic square things - actually pretty close in size and shape to 3.5" floppies.

The only specific example of using them the way you say that pops to mind, unfortunately, was in the alternate universe of the episode "Mirror, Mirror."

They ask the computer for a method of recreating the transporter accident. Kirk puts a cartridge in the slot, says "Record procedure," then takes the cartridge out and hands it to Scotty to take with him.

Like I said, this did take place in the mirror universe, but it was clearly not anything new or unusual to the characters. Plus, I'm pretty sure they were used the same way in other episodes.

ToSeek
2004-Oct-27, 02:37 PM
high capacity "floppy disks" in regular use, etc.
I can't remember seeing any sort of floppy disk being taken out of a computer and transferred to another.
Oh, sure they did. They had those little plastic square things - actually pretty close in size and shape to 3.5" floppies.

The only specific example of using them the way you say that pops to mind, unfortunately, was in the alternate universe of the episode "Mirror, Mirror."


As I recall, Spock has a whole handful of them in "Menagerie" when he's faking communications from the starbase to give the Enterprise false orders - obviously he recorded the messages on one computer initially, and is now feeding them through another.

Glom
2004-Oct-27, 03:09 PM
I think Avery Brook was probably responsible for getting a bit of Christianity inserted into DS9. Brock Peters apparently quoted a bit from the Bible in 'Far Beyond the Stars' and Sisko recognised it and the interaction was kind of like Christians talking. Perhaps Sisko's just one of those cultists. :)

Actually, one thing I didn't like was in 'Badda Bing Badda Bang' when Sisko got all upset over the Vic Fontaine program because it was set in 1962 in Las Vegas where, in reality, racism was rife. Sisko didn't like the idea of Kasidy and Jake enjoying the program because by doing so, they were ignoring the fact that if they were really in that setting, they'd be relegated to sweeping the floor and taking out the rubbish. I didn't like the idea that in the 24th century, Sisko was still get all "my black people" about things. By the 24th century, his distaste for the racism of the period should have been a generic distaste of racism rather than a specific "my people were oppressed thing".

In the episode of Red Dwarf IV 'Dimension Jump', in the alternate reality, the Dwarfers all had counterpoint roles to their roles in our dimension. In the case of the Cat, since in our dimension, he was a super cool cat, in the alternate dimension, he should be a slobby cleaner. Then someone pointed out that it could be taken to be racist since they'd be getting the black guy to be a cleaner. In the end, they changed Danny John-Jules's character to a padre, which personally a think works better because the countepoint is that he is a very straight, modest, caring and dedicated character rather than the decadent, selfish and lazy character of the Cat.

However, in the DVD feature Built to Last, they discussed this aspect and pointed out that the potentially un-PC situation was stumbled upon by Grant and Naylor purely by coincidence since they were not thinking at all in terms of race and it brought to the light the fact in throughout Red Dwarf, where two of the main characters are black, race has never been mentioned. Red Dwarf is not a show defined as being about two black guys and two white guys plus occasionally a computer and a stunningly gorgeous women. Craig Charles said that this provides a positive vision for the future where race will not be a dividing factor in society and the issue will be irrelevant, despite the fact that there are no aliens to make the issue seem smaller. However, in DS9, it seemed like in the 24th century, race still is a prominent divider in human society despite all the other aliens around.

Stuart
2004-Oct-27, 03:40 PM
high capacity "floppy disks" in regular use, etc.
I can't remember seeing any sort of floppy disk being taken out of a computer and transferred to another.
Oh, sure they did. They had those little plastic square things - actually pretty close in size and shape to 3.5" floppies.

The only specific example of using them the way you say that pops to mind, unfortunately, was in the alternate universe of the episode "Mirror, Mirror."


As I recall, Spock has a whole handful of them in "Menagerie" when he's faking communications from the starbase to give the Enterprise false orders - obviously he recorded the messages on one computer initially, and is now feeding them through another.

We were certainly using take cartridges for data storage back then. I'd have to look my old manuals up to see if we had removable disk storage; I don't think we did; I think we still used tape storage. However, in othe applications, hard-disk storage was used. For example, radio messages were stored on gramaphone-like disks (looked just like an old 78 ) and taken around. That system (dictaphone) was in use from the 1930s. So I don't think that suggesting computers would use removable disk storage can be credited as a prophecy; its just another application of a well-known technology. Certainly claiming that by the mid-1960s is a bit rich; if Star Trek had been around in say 1959, it would indeed by a prophecy.

There's another aspect to this. If we take any science fiction series and look at its various components, we could probably find parallel aspects of modern life that it "predicted". Its the old intelligence rule - look hard enough for something and you'll find it, even if it isn't there.

SeanF
2004-Oct-27, 04:25 PM
Actually, one thing I didn't like was in 'Badda Bing Badda Bang' when Sisko got all upset over the Vic Fontaine program because it was set in 1962 in Las Vegas where, in reality, racism was rife. Sisko didn't like the idea of Kasidy and Jake enjoying the program because by doing so, they were ignoring the fact that if they were really in that setting, they'd be relegated to sweeping the floor and taking out the rubbish. I didn't like the idea that in the 24th century, Sisko was still get all "my black people" about things. By the 24th century, his distaste for the racism of the period should have been a generic distaste of racism rather than a specific "my people were oppressed thing".
You want to know something that totally ticked me off in an episode of DS9? Watch the episode "Cardassians."

On the basis of an anonymous tip of suspected abuse given to Dr. Bashir by a patron in Quark's (a bar, for pity's sake), Sisko takes custody of a child away from his adoptive father (non-Starfleet personnel - arguably not even Federation citizens) by threat of force. :o

Stuart
2004-Oct-27, 05:08 PM
You want to know something that totally ticked me off in an episode of DS9? Watch the episode "Cardassians." On the basis of an anonymous tip of suspected abuse given to Dr. Bashir by a patron in Quark's (a bar, for pity's sake), Sisko takes custody of a child away from his adoptive father (non-Starfleet personnel - arguably not even Federation citizens) by threat of force.

Again, though, that does fit into my thesis on the fundamental nature of the Federation. Their ruling elite is used to behaving in a very high-handed and dictatorial manner that's quite without any hint of restraint or responsibility. Again, very typical of both military dictatorships and communist regimes where the ruling elites have a very pronounced tendancy to regard themselves as being above the law. Actually, there is a very nasty side to this, far more so than appears at first glance.


NG Season 1, Ep# 9: "Justice"

PICARD: Can we please get to the facts concerning our crewmember? (pauses a moment) Yes, some people then felt it was necessary. But we've learned how to detect the seeds of criminal behavior... Capital punishment is no longer justified in our world as a deterrent.

Now, this is very interesting; Picard is claiming that "crime" in teh Federation is eliminated by detecting the seeds of criminal behavior and eliminating them. From this, it appears that the Federation is so confident of their psychological profiling that they declare people guilty of crimes before they commit them, and use that determination as a basis for imprisonment or whatever.

However, there is a catch to this. We have canon cases of crime that isn't prevented in the Federation. The most glaring is Tasha Yar's entire homeworld that become inundated with violent crime and got booted out of tehFederation as a result. However, much more seriously we have very senior officials in Star Fleet, for example Admiral Pressman in "The Pegasus", Admiral Kennellyin in "Ensign Ro", Admiral Jameson in "Too Short a Season", Admiral Leyton in "Paradise Lost", Doctor Bashir's parents in "Doctor Bashir, I Presume", and of course, Captain Picard himself, all of whom have committed very serious offenses. So what gives here.

There is a clue; when faced with an anomaly, look for a common factor. What is the common factor that allowed these people through the screening process. Its glaring - they were all loyal to the state. In fact, many of them committed their crimes out of an honest belief that they were acting in the best interests of the Federation. In other words, what the testing is looking for is loyalty to the state; it passes people who qualify on that basis regardless of their readings in any other. It also follows that they must fail anybody who does not pass the "loyalty to the state" criteria regardless of their results in any other area.


This throws new light on Picard's comments. What he is actually saying is that Federation children are screened at an early age for their loyalty to the state and any who fail are "processed". Criminality has nothing to do with it, its loyalty to the Federation that is the criteria. So shildren are punished for the disloyalty that they may show some time in the future. That puts Dr Bashir (another criminal by the way) in a new perspective. When he took custody of the child, he was simply acting in the established Federation tradition.

nomuse
2004-Oct-27, 08:35 PM
We were certainly using take cartridges for data storage back then. I'd have to look my old manuals up to see if we had removable disk storage; I don't think we did; I think we still used tape storage. However, in othe applications, hard-disk storage was used. For example, radio messages were stored on gramaphone-like disks (looked just like an old 78 ) and taken around. That system (dictaphone) was in use from the 1930s. So I don't think that suggesting computers would use removable disk storage can be credited as a prophecy; its just another application of a well-known technology. Certainly claiming that by the mid-1960s is a bit rich; if Star Trek had been around in say 1959, it would indeed by a prophecy.

There's another aspect to this. If we take any science fiction series and look at its various components, we could probably find parallel aspects of modern life that it "predicted". Its the old intelligence rule - look hard enough for something and you'll find it, even if it isn't there.

I have a little book collecting a series of postcards drawn in 1899, depicting with tongue in cheek the far-off future of the year 2000. Several Illustrations of Edison wax cylinders being delivered instead of newspapers, or sent as letters. Not only pre-dating Star Trek's little cubes, but also demonstrating a physical mechanism!

(Oh, back when I got my hands on a Roland S10 sampler, I took one look at the "QD" micro-floppies it used and said "So THIS is what they used on the Enterprise!")

Makgraf
2004-Oct-27, 10:28 PM
We don't have any evidance of systematic mass-murder by the Federation. Despite the fact they have the ability to destroy entire planets (i.e. kill everything on them) we don't see them using this to impose any "final solutions" of klingons, cardassians etc. The Federation could have access to biogenic weapons and chooses not to use them. In fact when a rogue faction of the Federation does try this by introducing a virus into the founders, Starfleet (in the forms of Our Heros™) stops it.

After thinking about the Federation in a more paranoid light, I think I'm wrong here. After all, I have no evidance that Section 31 is "rogue faction". Sloan was the protege of the head of Starfleet Intelligence (Fujimori? Sp?) and has connections with many powerful Starfleet officers (Ross). It seems simpler that it's just another division of Starfleet Intelligence than an eloborate conspiracy that's been maintained for hundreds of years. So the attempted Founder genocide would have been done by Starfleet. Likewise the Enterprise contemplated introducing a program into the Borg Collective that would destroy it, wiping out the Borg. Though they decided not to go through with it, they are rebuked by Starfleet and told they should in the future.

As for destroying planets (by this I mean destroying life on the surface), maybe the Federation doesn't because then their planets would be fair game to the other powers. The corollorary to this is that the Federation would have no hesistation destroying planets if the occupants couldn't strike back. And in fact this happens, when Sisko launches Trilithium weapons against Maquis planets to try to get Eddington to surrender.

Sigma_Orionis
2004-Oct-27, 10:42 PM
My 2 cents:

From what I can recall of every piece of Sci-Fi I have read, the genre has not been too succesful at predicting advances in computer technology. About the only one (that I remember) that seems to be more-or-less "on the money" was Arthur C. Clarke's 'minisec' (mentioned in the novel "Imperial Earth") where he basically described what seems to be by today's standards a PDA. This novel was written in the 1930s.

As for the Federation being a Communist state. I never gave too much thought to that. In non-canon sources like the board game 'Starfleet Battles or its computer equivalent 'Starfleet Command' (at least in version 1) The Federation is portrayed more as a Commercial Power than a Militaristic one. I did notice that in canon-sources it was supposed to be some sort of irritating 'futuristic utopia', particularly on STNG and the first seasons of DS9 and Voyager, and I think that was part of the reasons behind all the criticism B&B got. OTOH a great deal of the sci-fi I have read (particularly if it was written in the 70s and 80s) the society of the future is portrayed as totalitarian (usually leaning to the right, but totalitarian nonetheless).

Van Rijn
2004-Oct-27, 11:06 PM
Not predicted by Star Trek. Pointing a salt /pepper shaker at somebody and saying "He's Dead Jim" is not advanced medical diagnostics. Its justa vague statement that in the 24th centiry medicine is better.


I was thinking about the selectable medical diagnostic displays in medbay and on tricorders.



I can't remember seeing any sort of floppy disk being taken out of a computer and transferred to another. Anyway, by the late 1950s, data transfer by moving floppy disks around was obsolete. We were already electronically datalinking it (a system called NTDS - Naval Tactical Data System).

My multicolor Iomega floppy disk cartridges were almost identical in size and color to what they showed. The Star Trek ones were constantly used for video, sound, text, etc.



No offense meant but you were probably quite young then. So was I, the catch was I then went to work in an environment (military R&D) where really advanced technology is commonplace. As a result, I lost my impression of what constitutes "advanced technology" very quickly. Star Trek is basically Buck Rodgers or Flash Gordon technology (I mean the old series, not the later versions) They look good but we really wouldn't do things that way.


And I'm a computer programmer who builds embedded projects for fun. I'm not exactly unfamiliar with advanced technology, in or out of my field. I simply don't view this the same way. As I said before, I was sure you would find fault with my characterization. You can always find precedents if you look hard enough, and I would never expect specifics from a science fiction book or tv show. I just don't think these were at all obvious at the time.



Supporting evidence: You can live in any fantasy world of your choosing if you want, can have perfect meals and most material goods for the asking, can travel around a planet in an instant, can visit or live on thousands of worlds, and have radically improved health care over present day.

Hang ona second. Do we know any of that? We know that a small, self perpetuating elite live like that but what about the bulk of the population? These are all just assertions, can you provide references to suggest that support them? By the way, note the fate of Tasha Yar's world - it went wrong so the Federation dumped it and left them to stew.


There are numorous comments that nobody goes wanting. Suggesting there is an elite is YOUR assertion. As for Tasha Yar's world, I thought that was a case of the Prime Directive in operation: You can go off and found your own society for good or ill. If the Federation went in, they WOULD be imposing their will on others.



Oh, sure, and it is just fine to kill relatives, sell dangerous junk that will kill you if you look at it wrong, sell weapons that can kill millions, and kidnap non-Ferengis.

Very impassioned but can you quote examples of the above.

(1) Rom tried to kill Quark, Quark was proud of him. And then there was his cousin ...

(2) The Grand Negis was happy that the Gamma Quadrant would provide new customers that hadn't learned to be wary of Ferengi products, and there are numerous references to cheap/bad/dangerous Ferengi hardware.

(3) Quark and his cousin sold WMDs near DS9 (though Quark thinks better of it because of Federation influence on his attitude).

(4) Ferengi DaiMon Tog kidnaped Troi, Lwaxana and Riker, because he wanted Lwaxani.


And I would suggest to you that my assessment of that society as being a racist, communist military dictatorship remains substantially unchallenged.

I wasn't trying to change your mind. I was curious what your argument was, and it is interesting, but I don't agree with it. Some of the Federation superiority attitude grates, and I certainly wouldn't have written it the same way, but then I think about how I view the U.S. or Britian of a couple of centuries ago, or certain other cultures today. There are things I can admire, but a lot I don't. Someone from two centuries ago would find many things shocking today, and there would be a great deal they wouldn't understand.

nomuse
2004-Oct-27, 11:10 PM
In no particular order...

The societies of the future tend to be portrayed as militaristic and even totalitarian because the societies depicted tend to be involved in an all-out war. That's in television and the movies, mind you, less so in written fiction where conflicts more interesting and subtle are allowed to drive the plot.

If one applies the Michael Wong methods, one is not allowed to assume "there is big business; we just didn't see it." Treating everything shown on screen as "The Documentary Evidence" (to paraphrase another movie) we are allowed, nay, encouraged to hypothesize based on what we are shown. And dissuaded from attempting to argue "they might have shown this, but what they meant to show was this..." which goes down a long sorry path into "they meant it to be non-racist but they were trapped by the assumptions of their own time..." until you end up making any ad hoc assumption you desire. As Mike argues, the only "fact" we can all agree on is photographic and recorded dialog. Intentions are far to open to endless revisionist interpretation.

Our view of the Federation does tend to be of the frontier, from the point of view of the equivalent of the Federal Marshall-comma-US Cavalry.

Out on the frontier the Feds are clearly bullies, but that isn't uncalled for. There's a lot of space and very few ships, and if they have to slap around a civilian scientist and confisticate his equipment, do a forced relocation of a colony, or turn back the ships of a minor power trying to flex its muscles, then so be it.

Unfortunately, there are scenes that are clearly in the centers of civilization, and what we don't see SHOULD have made itself more obvious. If there is big business, why don't we hear about competive bidding, see civilian contractors, notice brand names and maker's marks on equipment?

What I see in the Federation is a lot more subtle then rule by conspiracy or overt totalitarianism. It is more rule by conformism; a vision of society and the place of individuals within it that seems so outwardly sensible that it distorts all thinking, the information distributed, the reactions to other societies, and especially the reactions to non-conformists within their own ranks. The starship has as ranking member (but OUTSIDE of the regular chain of command) a psychologist responsible for making sure everyone on board follows the correct group-think. There is evidence that people holding strong beliefs are sorted out, perhaps as early as childhood, and gently but firmly shown the proper ways to think. If they continue to balk and resist this retraining, they are considered to have a "genetic or chemical imbalance" (cf "Whom Gods Destroy") and are either operated on or isolated from society.

Every society does this to some extent. The Federation merely does it very pervasively and persuasively. And for all the lip service about the Prime Directive or IDIC, the societies that join the Federation tend to do so after they have become as similar as possible TO the Federation.

toolazytotypemyname
2004-Oct-28, 12:32 AM
I've noticed in general on this site a certain degree of contempt for 'Enterprise'. But I will say that I find some aspects of it to be very refreshing. On the last episode, in the background you could see repairs being made with a welder! Numerous times during the past season similar cases of realistic tools were being used to make repairs. Quite a difference from in TNG or DS9, where either Data or Chief O'brien would push a series of membrane keyboard touchscreens and reroute the power or some such nonsense.

Another thing I noticed on the new show compared to the older ones is how much smaller the bridge and hallways are and how much poorer the lighting is. I remember reading something written by an old Navy submarine captain talking about Seaquest one time and how unrealistic it was.

The commandos actually crouch and take cover and aim their weapons.

Of course it still has the same old problems. Hundreds of people on board but only 6 or 8 of them seem to do anything useful or necessary. And when did humans forget how to build fuses or circuit breakers?

JonnyWishbone
2004-Oct-28, 05:26 AM
My 2 cents:

From what I can recall of every piece of Sci-Fi I have read, the genre has not been too succesful at predicting advances in computer technology. About the only one (that I remember) that seems to be more-or-less "on the money" was Arthur C. Clarke's 'minisec' (mentioned in the novel "Imperial Earth") where he basically described what seems to be by today's standards a PDA. This novel was written in the 1930s.

You're right about the computer stuff, but the Clarke novel you mentioned is from the 1970's. Btw, Heinlein (who I like a lot, and who got a lot of stuff 'right' or at least 'close' in terms of speculation [not that that's the point of sf]) had interstellar navigators using slide rules in a couple of his 1950s novels. Those were the days.

Take care, Jon

papageno
2004-Oct-28, 09:08 AM
I've noticed in general on this site a certain degree of contempt for 'Enterprise'. But I will say that I find some aspects of it to be very refreshing. On the last episode, in the background you could see repairs being made with a welder! Numerous times during the past season similar cases of realistic tools were being used to make repairs. Quite a difference from in TNG or DS9, where either Data or Chief O'brien would push a series of membrane keyboard touchscreens and reroute the power or some such nonsense.


But they have "hyperspanners" (which look like tweezers)!

kucharek
2004-Oct-28, 09:25 AM
Another thing that makes no sense: Why do they always have to tell the stardate themselves when they do entries in the computer logbooks? A good one surely automatically registers the time at which an entry was made. I mean, even todays answering machines can do this! :)

Harald

nomuse
2004-Oct-28, 10:25 AM
Whoosh, mon, and here I was thinking those were called hydrospanners (perhaps Chewie dropped one of his?) I'll take a sonic screwdriver against either of them, any day.

A truly predictive show would be difficult to watch. You'd spend most of the time just trying to figure out what was obvious to the people there -- imagine a reproduction of the life of one of the Tudor kings done entirely in period dialect, including the names. Ouch!

I also like the grungier look of Enterprise, and in general it is visually believable as a bridge between what was shown in First Contact and what was shown in TOS. Of course, we would have had a lot less trouble if we only had to bridge from the modern world to TOS (or from the 60's to TOS, yet!) Throwing First Contact into the mix creates lots of problems. Come to think, the whole history of Star Trek would make much more sense if it was assumed to diverge from our own at roughly the year the original series stopped shooting. Then you could actually have the Eugenics Wars in the timeline given in "Space Seed", and you'd have better weasel-room around the growth of computers and computer science.

Problem with Enterprise is regardless of what they call them, it all works at least as well as the equivalents on TNG...there are times that Enterprise looks like it could take on some of Voyager's enemies! Of course, we can look forward to the giant leaps of technology into TOS, when phasers develop the ability to stun without harming and Starfleet fields their one and only indirect fire weapon (a tiny mortar used in "Arena.") Pity those technologies didn't last, but then, Starfleet also carefully dropped such little helpers as injectable psionic powers, friendly contact with super-powered energy beings, practical immortality, advanced androids....

The big problem with Enterprise is that it tells the stories that were already tired by Voyager. It has long since ceased to transcend formulae, and it has grown increasingly catatonic; Star Trek is now an exercise into looking into its own navel, creating difficulties and solving them in ways that are entirely internal to its made-up universe. Enterprise's worst fault is that it continues to tell Voyager and TNG stories dispite every evidence that things should work differently -- and wasting the story potential that is inherent in the concept.

mathyou9
2004-Oct-28, 10:54 AM
Another thing that makes no sense: Why do they always have to tell the stardate themselves when they do entries in the computer logbooks? A good one surely automatically registers the time at which an entry was made. I mean, even todays answering machines can do this! :)

Harald

LOL, I never even thought of this. I guess it is for our convenience so that we [as the audience] can know what stardate things happen on. But even then, does anyone [in the audience] really care what the stardate is? (well, besides the Trekker/Trekkie extremest who could tell you the stardate of every episode.)

What is a "stardate" based upon, anyway? An earth day? what? Just curious.

SeanF
2004-Oct-28, 01:19 PM
Of course, we can look forward to the giant leaps of technology into TOS, when phasers develop the ability to stun without harming . . .
Uh, that's already happened. In the very first Enterprise episode, Reed made mention of the phaser having two settings, stun and kill.

"It'd be best not to confuse them."

:)

Glom
2004-Oct-28, 04:51 PM
And Archer took it into a combat situation without any training on it.

Sigma_Orionis
2004-Oct-28, 06:27 PM
My 2 cents:

From what I can recall of every piece of Sci-Fi I have read, the genre has not been too succesful at predicting advances in computer technology. About the only one (that I remember) that seems to be more-or-less "on the money" was Arthur C. Clarke's 'minisec' (mentioned in the novel "Imperial Earth") where he basically described what seems to be by today's standards a PDA. This novel was written in the 1930s.

You're right about the computer stuff, but the Clarke novel you mentioned is from the 1970's. Btw, Heinlein (who I like a lot, and who got a lot of stuff 'right' or at least 'close' in terms of speculation [not that that's the point of sf]) had interstellar navigators using slide rules in a couple of his 1950s novels. Those were the days.

Take care, Jon

You are quite right, I had it confused with some other Clarke Novel.

nomuse
2004-Oct-28, 07:29 PM
Of course, we can look forward to the giant leaps of technology into TOS, when phasers develop the ability to stun without harming . . .
Uh, that's already happened. In the very first Enterprise episode, Reed made mention of the phaser having two settings, stun and kill.

"It'd be best not to confuse them."

:)

But is this "old stun" (which was like nitrous oxide without the headache) or "new stun" (which is more like being clubbed unconscious and will cause permanent injury if used more than once in a short period)?

BlueAnodizeAl
2004-Oct-28, 08:38 PM
What is a "stardate" based upon, anyway? An earth day? what? Just curious.

They talk about it in the book, Federation. The stardate calendar is a complex but meaningful way for a ship to keep track of time since the fleet's individual clocks experiance time at slightly different relativistic rates (while in warp).

nomuse
2004-Oct-28, 08:59 PM
One of the more amusing flights of fancy a friend of mine came up with was in regards to the universal translator.

DS-9 in at least one episode implied strongly that everyone on the station wore, constantly, a universal translator, and thus were speaking their own language when on the station (the Ferengar were wearing theirs in their ears.)

The problem being...you have a full-time natural-language translator turning what you say into the appropriate and well-enunciated language for whomever you are speaking with. How many years, even months, would it take before you began to get as sloppy in your speech as the speech regonition software would allow? Even more, since it is learning and adapting to you all the while, it would not be long before stock phrases were essentially indexed; you'd say "Grmls" and the translator would say "Welcome, honored customer, to my humble establishment."

If you started using the translator at a young enough age, in fact, you'd never learn to speak ANY language but the idioglossia you and the translator came up with between you.

Fortunately there is plenty of competing evidence that this was a silly bit written for a few episodes, and in general left out of the canon.

Moondust
2004-Oct-28, 10:25 PM
One more thing about the "floppy disks" on TOS. An excellent episode that shows it's use is The Tholian Web. When Spock and McCoy view Kirk's last orders when he is presumed dead. Spock takes a disk from a satchel in Kirk's quarters and places the disk in the slot which then plays a video of Kirk's last comments to the pair.

wedgebert
2004-Oct-28, 10:48 PM
Don't forget the amazing power of the universal translator to not only let you understand everyone around you, but to also alter your visual perceptions so that they lips match the new words.

Van Rijn
2004-Oct-28, 11:18 PM
Don't forget the amazing power of the universal translator to not only let you understand everyone around you, but to also alter your visual perceptions so that they lips match the new words.

Yep *AND* it can translate instantaneously, even though you may need to hear a word in context to do a proper translation. I've speculated that it has a telepathic receiver to read surface thoughts and a holographic projector to provide lip synching. :roll:

Seriously, whenever they do bring up the universal translator in these situations, my eyes do roll, and I think "Just STOP this ridiculous technobabble hand waving and get on with the story!"

toolazytotypemyname
2004-Oct-28, 11:20 PM
[quote="nomuse"]

The problem being...you have a full-time natural-language translator turning what you say into the appropriate and well-enunciated language for whomever you are speaking with. /quote]

wouldn't also be like watching a poorly dubbed movie, only in person?

toolazytotypemyname
2004-Oct-28, 11:23 PM
Come to think, the whole history of Star Trek would make much more sense if it was assumed to diverge from our own at roughly the year the original series stopped shooting. Then you could actually have the Eugenics Wars in the timeline given in "Space Seed", and you'd have better weasel-room around the growth of computers and computer science.


Yeah, shouldn't Khan have tried to take over Earth about 10 years ago or something like that?

I always thought that Roddenberry should have set the story much further in the future. But then again, at the time, he probably figured the show would get cancelled and no one would still be talking about it 40 years hence.

nomuse
2004-Oct-28, 11:30 PM
[quote=nomuse]

The problem being...you have a full-time natural-language translator turning what you say into the appropriate and well-enunciated language for whomever you are speaking with. /quote]

wouldn't also be like watching a poorly dubbed movie, only in person?

Actually, my friend's reaction when he learnt of the DS9 translator was "Quark! Quark! There's this strange echo coming out of your ear! And it seems to be talking English!"


The ability of the Universal Translator is one of my "Aha!" observations along with the seamless operation of the Comm system and the poor labels on all the controls, that the computer is vastly more competent then it is made out to be. In fact, convicing argument can be made that in STNG the crew are babbling idiots pushing buttons randomly while the computer does all the real work of running the starship.

Krel
2004-Oct-29, 01:02 AM
I always thought that Roddenberry should have set the story much further in the future. But then again, at the time, he probably figured the show would get cancelled and no one would still be talking about it 40 years hence.

I once read that when Gene Roddenberry did "Star Trek", there was no fixed time. It could be a couple of hundred years in the future, or a thousand years in the future. Remember in "The Squire of Gothos" Spock said that it would have taken the light images from Earth 800 years to reach their position, that would have put them in the 2600's. GR didn't want the show to have a fixed date so none was mentioned. It wasn't until the movies that it was decided that the show should take place in the 2200's.

I think that it was in "The Making of Star Trek" that GR said that much of the tech in the show was based on current day technology. I remember him saying that Doctor McCoy's air hypo was based on the big gun type air hypos that were in use in the 60's. It may have be just a story put out for publicity, but maybe not.

A funny thing, is that it is believed that the datacards used on "Star Trek" were nothing more than base board molding cut into short lenghts, and painted bright colors. STAR TREK, in COLOR!

David.

nomuse
2004-Oct-29, 03:58 AM
Oh, no, no, no. Those were cellular memory units with an architectural structure, on an organic celluose subtrate.

Whoops. That wasn't good trek-babble. Didn't include "configure," "frequency" or "warp plasma" and nothing had to have its polarity inverted.

Chip
2004-Oct-29, 06:30 AM
About Phasers:

At first I thought phasers were not good science becuse if a beam is fired toward you at the speed of light, you wouldn't see it until it reached you. But - if phasers are plasma weapons, then they fire a beam of matter that moves very fast, but under the speed of light. You would see the beam coming (if it were in the visible light range,) because the beam is also emitting light which travels faster.

www.phasers.net

tracer
2004-Oct-29, 07:31 AM
... the only problem with that theory being that the early-seasons' ST:TNG Writers Bible, written by Roddenberry himself, flatly states that phaser beams travel at the speed of light.

TriangleMan
2004-Oct-29, 11:03 AM
if phasers are plasma weapons, then they fire a beam of matter that moves very fast, but under the speed of light. You would see the beam coming (if it were in the visible light range,) because the beam is also emitting light which travels faster.

And so they're an improvement over firearms . . . how? :)

Demigrog
2004-Oct-29, 03:35 PM
At least 'Trek didn't totally ignore the language problem, unlike Stargate SG1 (though they fully realize the sillyness of it-- the Wormhole X-Treme episode made fun of it). Or, maybe I should say SG1 didn't make the silly mistake of trying to explain why the entire universe speaks English.




Come to think, the whole history of Star Trek would make much more sense if it was assumed to diverge from our own at roughly the year the original series stopped shooting. Then you could actually have the Eugenics Wars in the timeline given in "Space Seed", and you'd have better weasel-room around the growth of computers and computer science.


Yeah, shouldn't Khan have tried to take over Earth about 10 years ago or something like that?

Read the Eugenics Wars novels. Kahn was the evil mastermind behind much of the evil events of the last 20 years, including the hole in the Ozone layer, the civil wars in the Balkans, and flesh eating bacteria. Sounds silly, but Greg Cox actually did a great job making it work.

Sigma_Orionis
2004-Oct-29, 05:23 PM
Oh, no, no, no. Those were cellular memory units with an architectural structure, on an organic celluose subtrate.

Whoops. That wasn't good trek-babble. Didn't include "configure," "frequency" or "warp plasma" and nothing had to have its polarity inverted.

You forgot to mention "Quantum"......

iFire
2004-Oct-29, 06:38 PM
At least 'Trek didn't totally ignore the language problem, unlike Stargate SG1 (though they fully realize the sillyness of it-- the Wormhole X-Treme episode made fun of it). Or, maybe I should say SG1 didn't make the silly mistake of trying to explain why the entire universe speaks English.


The Wormhole X-Treme episode was funny. I sometimes wonder why everyone in SG-1, and Atlantis speaks English, but they never try to explain it, so I don't think about it too much, since the entire show violates such trivial things as physics anyway (wormholes, bullets sparking, and lots of other things) I tend to ignore it.

Demigrog
2004-Oct-29, 06:44 PM
I sometimes wonder why everyone in SG-1, and Atlantis speaks English, but they never try to explain it

What makes it funnier on SG1 is that they drag Dr. Jackson around to translate all of these ancient written languages, when everyone speaks English anyway.

kucharek
2004-Oct-29, 06:47 PM
I sometimes wonder why everyone in SG-1, and Atlantis speaks English, but they never try to explain it

What makes it funnier on SG1 is that they drag Dr. Jackson around to translate all of these ancient written languages, when everyone speaks English anyway.

Why not? You find also lots of ancient written languages here on Earth and everyone speaks English anyway. :P

iFire
2004-Oct-29, 07:27 PM
I sometimes wonder why everyone in SG-1, and Atlantis speaks English, but they never try to explain it

What makes it funnier on SG1 is that they drag Dr. Jackson around to translate all of these ancient written languages, when everyone speaks English anyway.

Why not? You find also lots of ancient written languages here on Earth and everyone speaks English anyway. :P

Yea, but on Earth at lest we have some varience of languages... whilst in SG-1 English (American English (Real English #-o) even) seems to be all what is spoken, except for like the [one aliens's whos name is weird and funkily spelt] and the Unas.

nomuse
2004-Oct-29, 07:28 PM
Now what would be nice is if they ran into people who spoke English as well as a a New York cab driver!

Both SG1 and Enterprise took a stab at showing there was language to deal with. Somehow Hoshii did amazing work over the first year and they have since stopped needing her. Daniel, of course, hasn't translated anything living since the movie -- with some notable exeptions. On the other hand, both of them were almost as much a hand-wavy as the Universal Translator (right...one guy speaks fluent Sumerian and knows how to pronounce Linear B?) What was nice is that they showed a struggle to achieve communication, and the results were still imperfect at best.

teddyv
2004-Oct-29, 08:15 PM
Hello everyone, I'm new on the boards, only discovering recently.

Don't know if this has been bought up before (didn't want to read all the posts) but it seems to me that the cloaking shields as used by the Romulans and Klingons should be obselete since in ST6, Kirk et al made a heat-seeking torpedo.

Why this was never thought of before and why they did not continue to develop this is beyond my imagination. They could probably take this further in the sensing capabilities of the torpedo to analyse for subspace warping etc. Also since the cloking is usually not perfect, a torpedo with the stars in memory could internally reference against itself (a la the Tomahawk missile referencing maps to find its way).

nomuse
2004-Oct-29, 08:23 PM
Lemme get this right. Kirk invented a heat-seeking missle?

I know there was a reason Jim liked reading about naval history! Heh, but just imagine what an experienced fire control team from the late 50's could come up with, transported into Star Trek land!

BTW, my first cite for a heat-seeking (air-to-ground) was in "The King Maker," one of the Lester Dent Doc Savages, published in the late 30's. He even used an IR lamp as a decoy (not that he quite described the source that way....)

teddyv
2004-Oct-29, 08:29 PM
Well I wouldn't say invented it, rather Spock realized (after the Enterprise was being pounded by the Bird of Prey (cloaked), that all ships expend plasma, and they happened to have equipment on board for detecting "gaseous anomalies". Spock and McCoy altered a torpedo which promptly tracked the cloaked ship and nailed it in the "tailpipe".

Cheers.

Moose
2004-Oct-29, 08:48 PM
No doubt the Klingons figured out the vulnerability and retrofitted their ships at the next opportunity (no doubt at great expense, not that the Klingon warrior caste has any use for accountants), rendering Kirk's modification obsolete.

Van Rijn
2004-Oct-29, 08:50 PM
At least 'Trek didn't totally ignore the language problem, unlike Stargate SG1 (though they fully realize the sillyness of it-- the Wormhole X-Treme episode made fun of it). Or, maybe I should say SG1 didn't make the silly mistake of trying to explain why the entire universe speaks English.


In the beginning of the series, they didn't ignore the language problem: Danial Jackson was a language expert and served as translator. But, as with Star Trek, the language issue puts a big crimp in story telling on an hourly TV show, so this issue faded out over time. It is a common problem: For instance, ETs in a Japanese movie usually speak japanese and have distinctly asian features ...

teddyv
2004-Oct-29, 08:55 PM
That's an obvious solution, except that its effectiveness (1 for 1) would suggest that Starfleet would have put some further R&D into the concept. Based on TNG, there does not appear to be a lot of difference between the Bird of Prey from the movies to the that in TNG and elsewhere.

Also, in ST6, the point of the movie was the negotiation of a peace treaty between the Klingons and the Federation because the Klingons were broke and required outside assistance to save their homeworld.

Makgraf
2004-Oct-30, 12:12 AM
That's an obvious solution, except that its effectiveness (1 for 1) would suggest that Starfleet would have put some further R&D into the concept. Based on TNG, there does not appear to be a lot of difference between the Bird of Prey from the movies to the that in TNG and elsewhere.

Also, in ST6, the point of the movie was the negotiation of a peace treaty between the Klingons and the Federation because the Klingons were broke and required outside assistance to save their homeworld.
It's been a while since I saw ST6, but couldn't they shoot Chang's BoP because it had been modified to fire while cloaked? So maybe that's why we haven't seen any fire-while-cloaked ships since, because they're vulnerable to heat-seeking torpedos.

I think that the Klingons rebuilt their industrial base pretty quickly. They seem to be a first-rate power in TNG/DS9 and in the Yesterday's Enterprise alternate universe they were beating the Federation and had been fighting them for 20 odd years.

teddyv
2004-Oct-30, 12:21 AM
Good comment. Yes, Chang's ship was unshielded due to it being cloaked, but what difference would shields make to exhaust. My thoughts are: something was designed which worked effectively, why wouldn't the technology be continued and advanced?

mathyou9
2004-Oct-30, 02:07 AM
... Based on TNG, there does not appear to be a lot of difference between the Bird of Prey from the movies to the that in TNG and elsewhere.
That's quite literally true. After Chang's ship became uncloaked (in Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country) it was fired upon by Kirk and Sulu and then it exploded. Then in Star Trek Generations the Enterprise is fired upon by those female Klingons in a Bird of Prey.

After the Bird of Prey (in Generations) is made vulnerable by Data, Riker fires a torpedo that hits the Bird of Prey and eventually it explodes, it being identical to the Bird of Prey explosion in ST6. The chances that two entirely different Birds of Prey at different times exploding exactly in the same way has got to be billions to one. :wink:

Oh, and while I am talking about chances of billions to one, there is an African-American character aboard Enterprise-B (in Generations) who looks exactly like Tuvoc from Voyager. With the exception of pointy ears, anyone could swear that these to individuals are identical twins. The chances are billions to one. :wink:

And while I am nit-picking Generations, there is a scene where Data is searching for life forms. As he is doing so, he is singing, "Lifeforms..." to a Latin beat. The audible noises his buttons make blend harmoniously with Data's singing. What are the chances that the buttons blend perfectly with Data's singing. Just the fact that the buttons make musical tones is highly unlikely (as they normally just beep.) And the fact that Data was utilizing a major key and his button tones happened to be in the same major key are a billion to one odds. I mean, what would have happened had Data starting singing his song and the button tones used a minor scale (or mixolydian scale or phrygian scale or even an Eastern scale that sounds entirely different.) The chances are billions to one. :wink:

Demigrog
2004-Oct-31, 12:17 AM
Hello everyone, I'm new on the boards, only discovering recently.

Don't know if this has been bought up before (didn't want to read all the posts) but it seems to me that the cloaking shields as used by the Romulans and Klingons should be obselete since in ST6, Kirk et al made a heat-seeking torpedo.

Why this was never thought of before and why they did not continue to develop this is beyond my imagination. They could probably take this further in the sensing capabilities of the torpedo to analyse for subspace warping etc. Also since the cloking is usually not perfect, a torpedo with the stars in memory could internally reference against itself (a la the Tomahawk missile referencing maps to find its way).

In the novelization of ST6, this is explained better. The fire-while-cloaked technology was not perfect, and exaust that is normally also cloaked was, in this case, visible to sensors.

Actually, ST6 made a lot more sense in the novel, as the movie cut out the Klingon attack that injured Carol Marcus, leading to Kirk's uncharacteristic bigotism.

Wolverine
2004-Oct-31, 01:22 AM
Although there are many, comedian Kevin Pollak brought to light my favorite nit-pick of all, years ago.

"You guys watch Star Trek: The Next Generation?

I like Captain Picard, y'know, the bald guy. He's pretty cool.
Although, I hate to think, that in the 24th century, they haven't found a cure yet for baldness!

Whaddaya got, cancer? *Bwee-wee-wee* Cured!!!

Bald? Pfff... sorry."

:lol:

Van Rijn
2004-Oct-31, 02:25 AM
Bald? Pfff... sorry."
:lol:

Yes, exactly. I had that complaint when I saw the first episode of TNG. Present day example of advancing technology: A few years after I saw Kirk get his glasses (supposedly centuries from now), I stopped wearing them because of Lasik surgery. I don't think for a second that we have a clue what technology will be like a few centuries out, but between advanced knowledge of biology, nanotechnology and transporter technology, in the Star Trek universe, aging should be a thing of the past, let alone balding - unless, of course, they WANT to be bald.

Ilya
2004-Oct-31, 04:03 AM
Bald? Pfff... sorry."
:lol:

Yes, exactly. I had that complaint when I saw the first episode of TNG. Present day example of advancing technology: A few years after I saw Kirk get his glasses (supposedly centuries from now), I stopped wearing them because of Lasik surgery. I don't think for a second that we have a clue what technology will be like a few centuries out, but between advanced knowledge of biology, nanotechnology and transporter technology, in the Star Trek universe, aging should be a thing of the past, let alone balding - unless, of course, they WANT to be bald.

It is entirely possible that Picard likes being bald. His (much younger) clone is also bald, so they both were probably born that way, and Picard got used to it growing up. Kirk's glasses COULD be an affectation... but that's stretching credulity.

Kaptain K
2004-Oct-31, 04:07 AM
I sometimes wonder why everyone in SG-1, and Atlantis speaks English, but they never try to explain it

What makes it funnier on SG1 is that they drag Dr. Jackson around to translate all of these ancient written languages, when everyone speaks English anyway.
In Edgar Rice Burrough's John Carter of Mars series (written in the '30s), all Barsoomians speak the same language, but each city/state has its own written language!

Arkstatler
2004-Oct-31, 04:15 AM
Bald? Pfff... sorry."
:lol:

Yes, exactly. I had that complaint when I saw the first episode of TNG. Present day example of advancing technology: A few years after I saw Kirk get his glasses (supposedly centuries from now), I stopped wearing them because of Lasik surgery. I don't think for a second that we have a clue what technology will be like a few centuries out, but between advanced knowledge of biology, nanotechnology and transporter technology, in the Star Trek universe, aging should be a thing of the past, let alone balding - unless, of course, they WANT to be bald.

In The Wrath of Khan when McCoy gives Kirk the glasses for his birthday there is an exchange along the lines of:
"For most of my patients your age I would prescribe Retinax".
"I'm alergic".

I took that to mean there was a medical procedure to restore an eye to its youthful condition (restore the lost elasticity) and correct its optical problems, but that some people are unable to have the procedure.

And Patrick Stewart has said on the issue of baldness, it isn't that they don't have a cure, it is just that nobody cares.

And there are people today, with full heads of perfectly good hair, that decide to just shave it off.

DataCable
2004-Oct-31, 06:06 AM
It is entirely possible that Picard likes being bald. His (much younger) clone is also bald, so they both were probably born that way, and Picard got used to it growing up.
Nemesis was an abberation. Previously, through flashbacks (of various sorts) Picard was shown with a full head of hair soon after graduating from the Academy ("Tapestry") and still posessing hair (though thinning) after the loss of the Stargazer ("Violations").

JonnyWishbone
2004-Oct-31, 07:20 AM
I suppose one could explain away the anomaly of Nemesis by suggesting that Picard knew he was going to go bald when he was in the Academy and shaved his head at some point to 'try it out.' And then someone snapped a picture. As to the clone...well, maybe he was shaving his head. Or maybe his hair follicles aged quicker than the rest of him. Darned Romulan fast-growing clones! They didn't get the hair right!

Take care, Jon

Wolverine
2004-Oct-31, 12:54 PM
Nemesis was an abberation. Previously, through flashbacks (of various sorts) Picard was shown with a full head of hair soon after graduating from the Academy ("Tapestry") and still posessing hair (though thinning) after the loss of the Stargazer ("Violations").

Hair today, gone tomorrow...

Humots
2004-Oct-31, 09:03 PM
Here's one thought, at least about baldness.

Robert Silverberg and Robert Heinlein have both written stories in which the human lifespan has been greatly extended, and in which people in positions of authority (like starship captains) deliberately maintain an appearance of age. They could look much younger, but they want people reminded of their actual age and experience.

The Supreme Canuck
2004-Oct-31, 09:07 PM
I suppose one could explain away the anomaly of Nemesis by suggesting that Picard knew he was going to go bald when he was in the Academy and shaved his head at some point to 'try it out.'

Maybe it was frosh week.

JonnyWishbone
2004-Nov-01, 04:43 AM
Here's one thought, at least about baldness.

Robert Silverberg and Robert Heinlein have both written stories in which the human lifespan has been greatly extended, and in which people in positions of authority (like starship captains) deliberately maintain an appearance of age. They could look much younger, but they want people reminded of their actual age and experience.

Well, you know what happened. After the Eugenics Wars, various committees and governments had to come up with a law explaining exactly where tampering with human beings could start and stop. Baldness was probably traded off for something else. As we've seen with Dr. Bashir, enhanced dart-playing skills are also on the 'Illegal' list. But there's more to the refusal to eliminate baldness.

Noting the mullets on both Khan's crew and on the 'Augments' now on Enterprise, I think we can see that tampering with the Laws of Nature governing baldness was deemed verboten because so many of the genetic superman had such full, rich hair. Picard's shiny pate is a testimony to the victory of normal, unaugmented humans over the mullet-enriched overmen of Khan's master race. It's what we're fighting for!

Take care, Jon

Wally
2004-Nov-01, 05:10 PM
Although there are many, comedian Kevin Pollak brought to light my favorite nit-pick of all, years ago.

"You guys watch Star Trek: The Next Generation?

I like Captain Picard, y'know, the bald guy. He's pretty cool.
Although, I hate to think, that in the 24th century, they haven't found a cure yet for baldness!

Whaddaya got, cancer? *Bwee-wee-wee* Cured!!!

Bald? Pfff... sorry."

:lol:

Very funny comedian. Does one of the best Kirk impressions of anyone out there! =D>

Careless
2004-Nov-07, 07:44 AM
My 2 cents:

From what I can recall of every piece of Sci-Fi I have read, the genre has not been too succesful at predicting advances in computer technology. About the only one (that I remember) that seems to be more-or-less "on the money" was Arthur C. Clarke's 'minisec' (mentioned in the novel "Imperial Earth") where he basically described what seems to be by today's standards a PDA. This novel was written in the 1930s.

You're right about the computer stuff, but the Clarke novel you mentioned is from the 1970's. Btw, Heinlein (who I like a lot, and who got a lot of stuff 'right' or at least 'close' in terms of speculation [not that that's the point of sf]) had interstellar navigators using slide rules in a couple of his 1950s novels. Those were the days.

Take care, Jon

You are quite right, I had it confused with some other Clarke Novel.
From what I know, clarke didn't start getting published until the 50s. (He was born in 1917 btw)

Makgraf
2004-Nov-07, 08:04 AM
My 2 cents:

From what I can recall of every piece of Sci-Fi I have read, the genre has not been too succesful at predicting advances in computer technology. About the only one (that I remember) that seems to be more-or-less "on the money" was Arthur C. Clarke's 'minisec' (mentioned in the novel "Imperial Earth") where he basically described what seems to be by today's standards a PDA. This novel was written in the 1930s.

You're right about the computer stuff, but the Clarke novel you mentioned is from the 1970's. Btw, Heinlein (who I like a lot, and who got a lot of stuff 'right' or at least 'close' in terms of speculation [not that that's the point of sf]) had interstellar navigators using slide rules in a couple of his 1950s novels. Those were the days.

Take care, Jon

You are quite right, I had it confused with some other Clarke Novel.
From what I know, clarke didn't start getting published until the 50s. (He was born in 1917 btw)
Yup he started getting novels published in the '50s. I didn't know about short stories so I checked with google and he had a short story–Rescue Party–published in 1946.

PeterFab
2004-Nov-07, 11:06 AM
My 2 cents:

From what I can recall of every piece of Sci-Fi I have read, the genre has not been too succesful at predicting advances in computer technology. About the only one (that I remember) that seems to be more-or-less "on the money" was Arthur C. Clarke's 'minisec' (mentioned in the novel "Imperial Earth") where he basically described what seems to be by today's standards a PDA. This novel was written in the 1930s.

You're right about the computer stuff, but the Clarke novel you mentioned is from the 1970's. Btw, Heinlein (who I like a lot, and who got a lot of stuff 'right' or at least 'close' in terms of speculation [not that that's the point of sf]) had interstellar navigators using slide rules in a couple of his 1950s novels. Those were the days.

Take care, Jon

You are quite right, I had it confused with some other Clarke Novel.
From what I know, clarke didn't start getting published until the 50s. (He was born in 1917 btw)
Yup he started getting novels published in the '50s. I didn't know about short stories so I checked with google and he had a short story–Rescue Party–published in 1946.

Clarke's first short story 'Loophole' was published in 1946.

Makgraf
2004-Nov-07, 09:07 PM
My 2 cents:

From what I can recall of every piece of Sci-Fi I have read, the genre has not been too succesful at predicting advances in computer technology. About the only one (that I remember) that seems to be more-or-less "on the money" was Arthur C. Clarke's 'minisec' (mentioned in the novel "Imperial Earth") where he basically described what seems to be by today's standards a PDA. This novel was written in the 1930s.

You're right about the computer stuff, but the Clarke novel you mentioned is from the 1970's. Btw, Heinlein (who I like a lot, and who got a lot of stuff 'right' or at least 'close' in terms of speculation [not that that's the point of sf]) had interstellar navigators using slide rules in a couple of his 1950s novels. Those were the days.

Take care, Jon

You are quite right, I had it confused with some other Clarke Novel.
From what I know, clarke didn't start getting published until the 50s. (He was born in 1917 btw)
Yup he started getting novels published in the '50s. I didn't know about short stories so I checked with google and he had a short story–Rescue Party–published in 1946.

Clarke's first short story 'Loophole' was published in 1946.
Rescue Party was the first story he sold professionally, appearing in the May 1946 Astounding. Loophole was sold later but it appeared in the April 1946 issue. So Loophole was published earlier, but sold later. And of course he had a bunch of stories in amateur magazines.

Sigma_Orionis
2004-Nov-08, 08:34 PM
Rescue Party was the first story he sold professionally, appearing in the May 1946 Astounding. Loophole was sold later but it appeared in the April 1946 issue. So Loophole was published earlier, but sold later. And of course he had a bunch of stories in amateur magazines.

I finally found the Clarke Novel I confused with Imperial Earth, it was 'Earthlight' and it was published in 1955 so I got that wrong as well.