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BigJim
2003-Sep-06, 01:23 AM
I've always liked the TOS episode Court Martial, but there are two major pieces of BA in it that have always annoyed me and which I now feel compelled to address:

1) Captain Kirk says that the ship's audio system can magnify any sounds by a factor of "one to the fourth power." One to the fourth power is one. Also, why would the sound systems detect their heartbeats but not their speech, breathing, or the other systems on the ship whcih made noise?

2) The classic Star Trek velocity error, in which the ship must be thrusting to move. When the engines are switched off, the Enterprise's orbit quickly begins to decay, with no reason given. It provided a plot device to create tension, but it also creates major BA.

Ilya
2003-Sep-06, 02:38 AM
Really Bad Astronomy in a Star Trek episode

Isn't that a redundancy?

Paul Beardsley
2003-Sep-06, 05:52 PM
There was a Next Gen ep that started with Jean Luc announcing that the Enterprise would be going through a globular star cluster. I'd guess that anyone who has seen a globular star cluster through a reasonably good telescope would be interested to see how this would be portrayed.

So, on the occasions when we saw outside the Enterprise, what did we see? Nothing! It was the generic space shot with a couple of moving stars. No attempt had been made to visualise this wonderful phenomenon. The story wasn't about travelling through a globular star cluster at all; it was about silly shenanigans in the holodeck. (Okay, granted this particular holodeck-centred adventure was quite a good one.)

I realised then that Star Trek is neither by nor for people interested in space. Not really interested, anyway - space is at best just a slightly exotic backdrop to add a bit of spice to some mediocre dramas. At worst it's just words: "We're in space. Wow. Now let's go and play at cowboys and Indians in the holodeck."

Good SF makes use of its setting. If Star Trek was any good (and granted, sometimes it is - but usually it isn't) it would be about the sort of adventures one might have if one ventured into space. Instead, we have stories that display no love and no feeling for that amazing environment. When a crewman wants to phase-oscillate the quantum dirhythambulator ("it's only a theory, it's never been tried") he doesn't have to go to a laboratory to do it; he doesn't even get up from his console! Yet when Worf's son gets trapped by a fallen girder, it doesn't occur to anyone that they could release him by switching off the artificial gravity.

Intellectual curiosity just doesn't seem to be a viable motivation in the media these days. When HG Wells' Time Traveller made his trip into the year 802,701, he did it because he wanted to see the future; in the atrocious remake of the film, they had to give him a bogus "human interest" reason for making the trip. Why???

TriangleMan
2003-Sep-08, 05:36 PM
Really Bad Astronomy in a Star Trek episode

Isn't that a redundancy?

Agreed. What we need is a thread "Good Astronomy in Star Trek TOS". That should be a short thread. :lol:

gethen
2003-Sep-08, 06:31 PM
Intellectual curiosity just doesn't seem to be a viable motivation in the media these days. When HG Wells' Time Traveller made his trip into the year 802,701, he did it because he wanted to see the future; in the atrocious remake of the film, they had to give him a bogus "human interest" reason for making the trip. Why???

I couldn't have said it better myself. Even without the 21st Century special effects, the original Time Machine was a better picture for the very reason you state. The supposed love interest was another Hollywood cliche. And the silly explanation for her ability to speak modern English was much worse than the original movie's just not dealing with the issue. Of course, in the original movie, the main character does fall in love with an inhabitant of the future, which doesn't happen in the book either, but it is not the driving force of the story.

daver
2003-Sep-08, 06:41 PM
I've always liked the TOS episode Court Martial, but there are two major pieces of BA in it that have always annoyed me and which I now feel compelled to address:

2) The classic Star Trek velocity error, in which the ship must be thrusting to move. When the engines are switched off, the Enterprise's orbit quickly begins to decay, with no reason given. It provided a plot device to create tension, but it also creates major BA.

Actually, this could be explained away by sloppy terminology. The enterprise usually seems to orbit at maybe 1000 miles altitude (i'm going by the visuals, not by the dialog). And it usually maintains a stationary "orbit". So, it's probably using its engines to maintain position. Turn off the engines and it starts to fall. It would take on the rough order of 10 minutes to encounter the atmosphere.

Donnie B.
2003-Sep-08, 09:09 PM
I've always liked the TOS episode Court Martial, but there are two major pieces of BA in it that have always annoyed me and which I now feel compelled to address:

2) The classic Star Trek velocity error, in which the ship must be thrusting to move. When the engines are switched off, the Enterprise's orbit quickly begins to decay, with no reason given. It provided a plot device to create tension, but it also creates major BA.

Actually, this could be explained away by sloppy terminology. The enterprise usually seems to orbit at maybe 1000 miles altitude (i'm going by the visuals, not by the dialog). And it usually maintains a stationary "orbit". So, it's probably using its engines to maintain position. Turn off the engines and it starts to fall. It would take on the rough order of 10 minutes to encounter the atmosphere.
But, but, but...

Wouldn't they have to point the impulse engines down (mostly) to do station-keeping at 1000 miles up? And, and, and, wouldn't that mean you wouldn't see them gracefully "banking" around the planet?

1^4 aside, the other issues about the amplified audio were addressed in that episode. Sounds other than the heartbeats were filtered out. This isn't at all out of the question; even today we can do excellent adaptive filtering to remove unwanted signals, if their characteristics are known (and even if they aren't, if the desired signal is well characterized). This is how those Bose noise-cancelling headphones work. On the other hand, you couldn't "cancel out the known heartbeats using a white noise generator" as they did in that episode. But it would be possible to place a mic on each person and use that to cancel the sound.

wedgebert
2003-Sep-09, 02:51 AM
Don't forgot the episode where the Enterprise was attacked in orbit by ground based sonic weapons.

Zamboni
2003-Sep-09, 04:46 AM
Guess there are only a handful of trekkers here (that or they wish to remain unknown)...

Didn't really watch much of the TOS episodes (too 60's) though I managed to catch most of the movies (they keep showing it on TV dunno why).

In the sixth movie (ST: Generations?) a rocket is launched to destroy a sun and Picard is trying to stop it... However aboard the Enterprise the guy is like "we only have 11 seconds before it hits the sun"...

Now is it just me or is that planet REALLY close to the sun to be 11 seconds away? I thought even the moon (our moon) is like a light minute (or 30 seconds whichever) away from Earth, wouldn't Picard and that crazy fella be scorched?

kucharek
2003-Sep-09, 07:34 AM
In the sixth movie (ST: Generations?) a rocket is launched to destroy a sun and Picard is trying to stop it... However aboard the Enterprise the guy is like "we only have 11 seconds before it hits the sun"...

Now is it just me or is that planet REALLY close to the sun to be 11 seconds away? I thought even the moon (our moon) is like a light minute (or 30 seconds whichever) away from Earth, wouldn't Picard and that crazy fella be scorched?

Light speed is 300,000km/s. Moon is some 380,000km away, so it's a little bit more than 1 second. Earth-Sun is some 8 minutes. I guess, that missile has some warp-engine...
But there is a mistake: Very shortly after the mssile reaches the sun, the sun starts to change as seen from the planet - who should be some light minutes away. What I also never understood: When a star collapses, it shouldn't change its gravity field, as its mass stays the same and for orbital/trajectory calculations you can consider bodies being a point size mass. So, if you want to change the trajectory of something passing by in a planetary system, collapsing the star wouldn't help. Also, IIRC, the collapse only changed the trajectory of the nexus, but not the orbit of the planet.

Harald #-o

Pinemarten
2003-Sep-09, 11:37 AM
I've always liked the TOS episode Court Martial, but there are two major pieces of BA in it that have always annoyed me and which I now feel compelled to address:

1) Captain Kirk says that the ship's audio system can magnify any sounds by a factor of "one to the fourth power." One to the fourth power is one. Also, why would the sound systems detect their heartbeats but not their speech, breathing, or the other systems on the ship which made noise?

2) The classic Star Trek velocity error, in which the ship must be thrusting to move. When the engines are switched off, the Enterprise's orbit quickly begins to decay, with no reason given. It provided a plot device to create tension, but it also creates major BA.

1) Sound amplification is done in 'dB gain'.
1dB times 1dB isn't equal to 1dB. I can't remember the formulae but I think it would work out to 2.5dB.
Heartbeats are low frequency, 1/40 to 1/140 Hz. It would be easy to filter out other higher frequencies in the ship.

2)Orbits are a complicated balancing act.
Too fast, and you fly out; too slow, and you hit the planet.
In order for the Enterprise to maintain an orbit low enough for transporter range, they have to maintain constant power. Once the power is cut , their orbit deteriorates rapidly.

tracer
2003-Sep-09, 07:39 PM
Of course, in the original [The Time Machine] movie, the main character does fall in love with an inhabitant of the future, which doesn't happen in the book either,
Partly because, in the book, Weena was covered in white fur. ;)

tracer
2003-Sep-09, 07:42 PM
2)Orbits are a complicated balancing act.
Too fast, and you fly out; too slow, and you hit the planet.
In order for the Enterprise to maintain an orbit low enough for transporter range, they have to maintain constant power. Once the power is cut , their orbit deteriorates rapidly.
In that case, the Enterprise couldn't be said to be in an orbit at all. At best, it could be said to be in "powered stationkeeping" above the planet.

Incidentally, the Space Shuttle has no problem performing that "complicated balancing act." You'd think a starship 3 centuries more advanced than the Space Shuttle could do it, too.

daver
2003-Sep-09, 08:03 PM
2)Orbits are a complicated balancing act.
Too fast, and you fly out; too slow, and you hit the planet.
In order for the Enterprise to maintain an orbit low enough for transporter range, they have to maintain constant power. Once the power is cut , their orbit deteriorates rapidly.
In that case, the Enterprise couldn't be said to be in an orbit at all. At best, it could be said to be in "powered stationkeeping" above the planet.

Incidentally, the Space Shuttle has no problem performing that "complicated balancing act." You'd think a starship 3 centuries more advanced than the Space Shuttle could do it, too.

As i said, sloppy terminology. You want to park the Enterprise within transporter range of some point on the planet. This requires that you use the engines. You could call this a powered orbit, as opposed to a free orbit. Possibly by the time of the Federation powered orbits are more common than free orbits.

kucharek
2003-Sep-09, 08:51 PM
Of course, in the original [The Time Machine] movie, the main character does fall in love with an inhabitant of the future, which doesn't happen in the book either,
Partly because, in the book, Weena was covered in white fur. ;)

??? In Well's book, Weena is also a nice girl. The Morlock are covered with fur, the Eloi, of which Weena is one, are small, fragile people, but otherwise normal people.

Harald

BigJim
2003-Sep-09, 09:55 PM
I've always liked the TOS episode Court Martial, but there are two major pieces of BA in it that have always annoyed me and which I now feel compelled to address:

1) Captain Kirk says that the ship's audio system can magnify any sounds by a factor of "one to the fourth power." One to the fourth power is one. Also, why would the sound systems detect their heartbeats but not their speech, breathing, or the other systems on the ship which made noise?

2) The classic Star Trek velocity error, in which the ship must be thrusting to move. When the engines are switched off, the Enterprise's orbit quickly begins to decay, with no reason given. It provided a plot device to create tension, but it also creates major BA.

1) Sound amplification is done in 'dB gain'.
1dB times 1dB isn't equal to 1dB. I can't remember the formulae but I think it would work out to 2.5dB.
Heartbeats are low frequency, 1/40 to 1/140 Hz. It would be easy to filter out other higher frequencies in the ship.

2)Orbits are a complicated balancing act.
Too fast, and you fly out; too slow, and you hit the planet.
In order for the Enterprise to maintain an orbit low enough for transporter range, they have to maintain constant power. Once the power is cut , their orbit deteriorates rapidly.

So are you saying that "one to the fourth power" actually would amplify the sound? By what factor?

Pinemarten
2003-Sep-10, 08:19 AM
I remember studying 'Darlington amplifiers' in school. They are the basic circuit for many of our amplifiers, not just audio, but any circuit that uses amplification.
One SCR of low power triggers a next SCR of higher power until the desired level is reached.
With our SCRs nowadays we could produce an incredible amplification with just four. Each one could easily increase the signal 100,000 times.
We have SCRs at work that can take 1 watt and trigger a signal of 150,000 watts.
Try that 4 times.

kucharek
2003-Sep-10, 08:25 AM
With our SCRs nowadays we could produce an incredible amplification with just four. Each one could easily increase the signal 100,000 times.
We have SCRs at work that can take 1 watt and trigger a signal of 150,000 watts.
Try that 4 times.

The signal isn't the problem. It's the noise.

RichField
2003-Sep-10, 07:01 PM
I remember studying 'Darlington amplifiers' in school. They are the basic circuit for many of our amplifiers, not just audio, but any circuit that uses amplification.
One SCR of low power triggers a next SCR of higher power until the desired level is reached.
With our SCRs nowadays we could produce an incredible amplification with just four. Each one could easily increase the signal 100,000 times.
We have SCRs at work that can take 1 watt and trigger a signal of 150,000 watts.
Try that 4 times.
But that doesn't get you 1 to the fourth power. That would give you 150,000 to the fourth power, that's a definitive amplification factor.

I think BigJim's point is that 1 to the fourth is still one, and multiplying something by one just give the same something, with dB or intensity.
It's true that if two equal sound sorces are added together, their intensities are additive but their dB values are not. If I'm doing the math right, in most cases that results in
A dB + A db < 2A dB. It will produce
A dB + A db = 3 dB + A dB which in the example you were using at 1 dB would actually produce 4 dB.

If they had just said what I think they were going for, ten to the fourth power, this would all be a non issue, which would have incidentally been a 40 dB increase.

tracer
2003-Sep-10, 09:30 PM
You want to park the Enterprise within transporter range of some point on the planet. This requires that you use the engines.
Not if you put the Enterprise in a synchonous orbit, it wouldn't. I seem to remember the transporters have a range of around 50,000 kilometers, so a geo-synchronous orbit at a paltry 35,000 kilometers altitude would put half the surface of the Earth within transporter range.

Donnie B.
2003-Sep-10, 09:47 PM
Um, wait a second, folks. The decibel (dB) is a measure of relative power. That is, it's a ratio: it tells you how powerful a signal is relative to another signal, or to some standard value. (The latter is usually notated in the unit, as in dBa or dBm.)

dB can also be applied to voltage, rather than power (I'm actually more used to this convention). It developed from certain common circuits in which the impedance was fixed (at 50 ohms, typically), so the voltage correlates exactly to the power.

The decibel is measured on a non-linear, logarithmic scale, so doubling the signal voltage gives you an increase of (approximately) 6 dB. One order of magnitude (voltage x 10) produces a change of 20dB.

Because the dB is logarithmic, successive stages of gain, which multiply in the linear domain, cause the dB values to add. So, if you follow a 6dB (2x) gain stage with a 20dB (x10) stage, your overall gain is 26dB, or 20x.

In no way does the existence of the decibel make the "one to the fourth power" remark any less dumb. 1^4 = 1, whether you're talking decibels, volts, watts, or Bartsibrels.

Now, some further technobabble: a Darlington transistor is not an SCR. SCRs are not linear amplifiers, they're switches. They do have a lot of gain and can be cascaded as Pinemarten says, though I've never seen them used that way. It wouldn't really make sense to do so -- you still need a device at the tail end that's chunky enough to handle the load, and very few circuits need to amplify signals more than 150,000x (103db).

Darlington transistors are really just two normal bipolar transistors, cascaded, in one package. They can be used as linear amps (like, for instance, a microphone preamp).

daver
2003-Sep-11, 12:29 AM
You want to park the Enterprise within transporter range of some point on the planet. This requires that you use the engines.
Not if you put the Enterprise in a synchonous orbit, it wouldn't. I seem to remember the transporters have a range of around 50,000 kilometers, so a geo-synchronous orbit at a paltry 35,000 kilometers altitude would put half the surface of the Earth within transporter range.

I don't remember the max range on transporters. Likely it varied from episode to episode, like everything else. As i said, from the visuals it looked as if the Enterprise was orbiting at maybe 1000 miles. Probably someone who knows the dialog can confirm if the Enterprise was ever directed to take up a stationary orbit over some position.

Madcat
2003-Sep-11, 03:54 AM
Hehehe... The transporter... I have a "thing" with the transporter.

That thing breaks something like 5% of the time they need it. That's like a car that breaks every month.

When it breaks, the people on board die horribly. (Horribly, or REALLY HORRIBLY depending on how much cash is available)

When it doesn't start up and remove people from danger, they die horribly.

Even if it does work properly, S-Ts description of the transporter process, which, incidentally, I do believe violates the uncertainty principle, kills you and makes a nice shiny clone for everyone at "your" destination point. In fact, it kills you and eats your atoms for lunch. Said atoms are used to reconstruct a clone of the next poor fool to beam to that transporter station.

Having given this lots of thought, I have two theories about why it remains accepted in Federation society:

1) Feddies are condtioned from birth to commit suicide in the name of scientific research. They use the transporter so that they may die gloriously as martyrs to science.

2) They like the swirly lights.

daver
2003-Sep-11, 04:37 PM
Hehehe... The transporter... I have a "thing" with the transporter.

That thing breaks something like 5% of the time they need it. That's like a car that breaks every month.

When it breaks, the people on board die horribly. (Horribly, or REALLY HORRIBLY depending on how much cash is available)


The first transporter accident that killed people was in the first movie. No fatalities during TOS (except for the stupid dog in the two Kirks episode) (i'm not counting the people who were beamed down to a planet that was no longer there--the transporter worked as designed then).

Maybe the nit-wit offspring of a Federation president imagined himself to be a transporter engineer, and inserted the Dr. Delambre body scramble feature.




When it doesn't start up and remove people from danger, they die horribly.

Even if it does work properly, S-Ts description of the transporter process, which, incidentally, I do believe violates the uncertainty principle, kills you and makes a nice shiny clone for everyone at "your" destination point. In fact, it kills you and eats your atoms for lunch. Said atoms are used to reconstruct a clone of the next poor fool to beam to that transporter station.


Yes, that explanation sucks. One of the many failings of TNG was that they had a chance to put in a reasonable explanation for transporters and bungled badly.



Having given this lots of thought, I have two theories about why it remains accepted in Federation society:

1) Feddies are condtioned from birth to commit suicide in the name of scientific research. They use the transporter so that they may die gloriously as martyrs to science.

2) They like the swirly lights.

How about, if you're standing in just the right spot, you get to see the bodies materialize before the clothes do. The transporter controls happen to be just in front of this spot.

Roy Batty
2003-Sep-11, 05:09 PM
How about, if you're standing in just the right spot, you get to see the bodies materialize before the clothes do. The transporter controls happen to be just in front of this spot.

Heh heh, now you've got me looking real close at Voyager episodes with 7 of 9 on away missions... :wink: 8)

Stuart
2003-Sep-11, 05:28 PM
I don't remember the max range on transporters. Likely it varied from episode to episode, like everything else. As i said, from the visuals it looked as if the Enterprise was orbiting at maybe 1000 miles. Probably someone who knows the dialog can confirm if the Enterprise was ever directed to take up a stationary orbit over some position.

Some help.


TNG Season 1, Ep# 19: "Coming of Age"
PICARD: Lock off the bay launch doors.
WORF: Too late, sir. He's using the flight emergency override...
GEORDI: Smart kid.
TASHA: He's launching!
PICARD: Enterprise to shuttlecraft. Mister Kurland.
JAKE: Captain Picard. I'm going to Beltane Nine to sign onto a freighter. Tell my father I'm sorry.
PICARD: Tell him in person. Bring the ship back. Now.
JAKE: No. I can't face him. I'm leaving. I've lost power!
RIKER: All he's got left are his maneuvering jets.
GEORDI: At that trajectory, he'll hit the atmosphere and melt at two hundred kilometers.
PICARD: Probable impact?
DATA: Atmospheric entry... seventy-eight seconds.
PICARD: Options?
TASHA: He's out of transporter range.
WORF: Tractor beam?
RIKER: Won't work. He's too far away for a positive lock.

This appears strange since Jake is out of transport range yet they were able to transport Wesley to and from the planet's surface. Even so, they can't transport Jake off a shuttle which is between the Enterprise and the planet. The key fact appears to be that Jake is in a moving spacecraft rather than a planet. Moving vehicles seem to present more problems for transporters than planetary surfaces (which, although technically in motion, are very predictable). Incidently, this ties into the fire control problem endemic to the Star Trek Universe - ie they can't hit a barn standing inside it.


TNG Season 2, Ep# 34: "A Matter of Honor"
WORF: We are getting an emergency signal from a command transponder. Location nine-three-five mark six-one-three... Frequency and code designate it as Commander Riker.
PICARD: Chief O'Brien, align with emergency transponder signal.
CHIEF O'BRIEN: Yes Captain. We are not yet in safe range for a transfer and defensive shields are still in place.
PICARD: We may have to stretch it a little. On my command.
WORF: Forty-eight thousand.
DATA: Lieutenant Worf to the Transporter Room. Doctor Pulaski will accompany you. Mendon take over the count.
MENDON: Yes sir. Forty-five thousand and still closing.
MENDON: Forty-four thousand.
PICARD: Transporter Room, ready. You will control defensive shields...
CHIEF O'BRIEN: Ready sir.
MENDON: Forty thousand...
KLAG: Forty thousand.
KARGAN: Prepare to drop cloaking shields and fire. Steady...
PICARD: Transporter Room, energize.
(Kargan is transported off the Pagh's bridge, having been tricked by Riker into confiscating and then activating his transponder)

OK, we have the Enterprise and the Pagh closing at a rate of a few hundred km/s (based on the rate at which the ranges were called out), and at forty thousand kilometres range, they suddenly drop their shields and beam Kargan aboard. This means that transporter range is roughly 40,000 km. The degree of error is not great here.

Just to confirm that.


TNG Season 7, Ep# 167: "Lower Decks"
PICARD: How close are we to the Cardassian border?
DATA: Less than five thousand kilometers.
WORF: Sir, I am detecting an object ... five meters in length. It appears to be an escape pod.
RIKER: They must have been forced to abandon ship.
PICARD: How far inside Cardassian space is it?
WORF: Over fifty thousand kilometers.
PICARD: How the hell are we going to get it out of there?

This is neat; an escape pod 55,000 km away is beyond their transporter range. This helps us confirm the 40,000 km range figure from earlier episodes. As I've said before, consistency isn't a Star Trek problem - look hard enough and there are basic rules of equipment performance that apply regardless (which is why I think that, despite denials, there must be a series Bible somewhere). Its continuity that's the problem (which is why I think, despite denials, B&B are morons.)

Edited to remove fumble-finger typo that got described as a bad word

Grey
2003-Sep-11, 07:55 PM
This appears strange since Jake is out of transport range yet they were able to transport Wesley to and from the planet's surface. Even so, they can't transport Jake off a shuttle which is between the Enterprise and the planet. The key fact appears to be that Jake is in a moving spacecraft rather than a planet. Moving vehicles seem to present more problems for transporters than planetary surfaces (which, although technically in motion, are very predictable). Incidently, this ties into the fire control problem endemic to the Star Trek Universe - ie they can't hit a barn standing inside it.
I'd certainly say that the key fact has nothing to do with it being more difficult to target a moving ship (although that's an ingenious explanation after the fact). Rather, for plot reasons, they wanted to have Picard talk Jake through, rather than having an easy solution. The technology of Star Trek always fails when the writers think it's necessary for the plot. :)

Stuart
2003-Sep-11, 08:24 PM
I'd certainly say that the key fact has nothing to do with it being more difficult to target a moving ship (although that's an ingenious explanation after the fact). Rather, for plot reasons, they wanted to have Picard talk Jake through, rather than having an easy solution. The technology of Star Trek always fails when the writers think it's necessary for the plot. :)

But "plot devices" and "dramatic tension" aren't valid arguments. They're just ways of evading finding answers to the hard issues and questions. Treating the Star Trek universe as real means trying to find a reasonable explanations for the various details shown and reconciling the irreconcilable. Its about the only fun thing left in Star Trek now.

captain swoop
2003-Sep-12, 07:55 AM
I'd certainly say that the key fact has nothing to do with it being more difficult to target a moving ship (although that's an ingenious explanation after the fact). Rather, for plot reasons, they wanted to have Picard talk Jake through, rather than having an easy solution. The technology of Star Trek always fails when the writers think it's necessary for the plot. :)

But "plot devices" and "dramatic tension" aren't valid arguments. They're just ways of evading finding answers to the hard issues and questions. Treating the Star Trek universe as real means trying to find a reasonable explanations for the various details shown and reconciling the irreconcilable. Its about the only fun thing left in Star Trek now.

You keep saying this but it I see it as obvious that these thing are done for reasons of plot developmentt and dramatic tension. If the transporters had worked in this example there goes a lump of plot and drama. It happens in all tv action shows, drama sci-fi or not, if it didn't then things would be very mundane.

Chuck
2003-Sep-12, 03:34 PM
Transporter range is affected by stellar activity, gas, dust, radiation, alien technological devices, and the compositions of any nearby moons, asteroids, meteoroids, planetary rings, and storms on the nearest planet. We can just assume that the excuse is there and not worry about which it might be this time.

ToSeek
2003-Sep-12, 04:03 PM
You keep saying this but it I see it as obvious that these thing are done for reasons of plot developmentt and dramatic tension. If the transporters had worked in this example there goes a lump of plot and drama. It happens in all tv action shows, drama sci-fi or not, if it didn't then things would be very mundane.

I haven't seen too many non-sf shows have similar problems, but maybe they cover their tracks better. The given situation strikes me as equivalent to creating drama by insisting that a particular car can only go 30 mph when it was established earlier that it could do 70.

Glom
2003-Sep-13, 07:07 PM
There was a Next Gen ep that started with Jean Luc announcing that the Enterprise would be going through a globular star cluster. I'd guess that anyone who has seen a globular star cluster through a reasonably good telescope would be interested to see how this would be portrayed.

So, on the occasions when we saw outside the Enterprise, what did we see? Nothing! It was the generic space shot with a couple of moving stars. No attempt had been made to visualise this wonderful phenomenon.

The story wasn't about travelling through a globular star cluster at all; it was about silly shenanigans in the holodeck. (Okay, granted this particular holodeck-centred adventure was quite a good one.)

I realised then that Star Trek is neither by nor for people interested in space. Not really interested, anyway - space is at best just a slightly exotic backdrop to add a bit of spice to some mediocre dramas. At worst it's just words: "We're in space. Wow. Now let's go and play at cowboys and Indians in the holodeck."

Good SF makes use of its setting. If Star Trek was any good (and granted, sometimes it is - but usually it isn't) it would be about the sort of adventures one might have if one ventured into space. Instead, we have stories that display no love and no feeling for that amazing environment. When a crewman wants to phase-oscillate the quantum dirhythambulator ("it's only a theory, it's never been tried") he doesn't have to go to a laboratory to do it; he doesn't even get up from his console! Yet when Worf's son gets trapped by a fallen girder, it doesn't occur to anyone that they could release him by switching off the artificial gravity.

Intellectual curiosity just doesn't seem to be a viable motivation in the media these days. When HG Wells' Time Traveller made his trip into the year 802,701, he did it because he wanted to see the future; in the atrocious remake of the film, they had to give him a bogus "human interest" reason for making the trip. Why???

I agree with pretty much all of that. Lack of awe and wonder is a serious problem. It reached a height in 'Rogue Planet' [ENT] when the rogue planet became the least important thing in the episode. The problem is that the public don't really want awe and wonder in space exploration. An SG1 episode that did the game quite well, 'One False Step', has generally been condemned by the fans as boring.

Of course, it would help if they dropped the bloody holodecks. They can't even keep away from them in Enterprise. We've had enough of the going awry and threatening the crew. I think the most intelligent line in all of Trek was in 'The Arsenal of Freedom' [TNG] when Picard and Data was eyeballing the EP607 and contemplating how to stop it from attacking the Enterprise and Beverly says, "Why don't you just turn it off?"

Madcat
2003-Sep-13, 07:25 PM
What possible excuse did the producers of Enterprise find to explain the prescence of holodecks on that Enterprise? They were introduced as relatively new technology in TNG. They also weren't on the real fake Enterprise, which these bozos claim came later. You know, when I first heard they would do the "original captain" show, I thought it was gonna be Pike. I was almost excited too.

RichField
2003-Sep-18, 04:04 PM
Um, wait a second, folks. The decibel (dB) is a measure of relative power. That is, it's a ratio: it tells you how powerful a signal is relative to another signal, or to some standard value. (The latter is usually notated in the unit, as in dBa or dBm.)

dB can also be applied to voltage, rather than power (I'm actually more used to this convention). It developed from certain common circuits in which the impedance was fixed (at 50 ohms, typically), so the voltage correlates exactly to the power.

The decibel is measured on a non-linear, logarithmic scale, so doubling the signal voltage gives you an increase of (approximately) 6 dB. One order of magnitude (voltage x 10) produces a change of 20dB.

Because the dB is logarithmic, successive stages of gain, which multiply in the linear domain, cause the dB values to add. So, if you follow a 6dB (2x) gain stage with a 20dB (x10) stage, your overall gain is 26dB, or 20x.

In no way does the existence of the decibel make the "one to the fourth power" remark any less dumb. 1^4 = 1, whether you're talking decibels, volts, watts, or Bartsibrels.

snip


Doesn't the factor of two come from the fact that the power is proportional to the square of the amplitude. The 6 dB and 20 dB values clicked for electrical systems when I read them, but I think that comes from the derivation when switching from power to voltage as you mention.

I think when using power, as is the case with sound, the squared term is dropped and 10 dB => 10x.

Please feel free to correct any mistakes I've made.