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Conrad
2002-Apr-11, 08:30 AM
This just popped into my head in the shower this morning.
"Phasers!" I thought. The most devastating hand-held weapons ever invented. Vapourise anything they hit, or stun people with the same effect as an anvil applied to the head.
But! the hand-held versions don't have any sights! How do Kirk et al manage to hit anything when they fire from the hip? Did the show edit out all the misses ("Oops!Sorry, vapourised a Red Shirt. Casting! More extras!").
And that's the Original Series. The Next Gen phasers look like a grocery-labelling gun; how on earth could you aim one of those?

Okay, not really to do with astronomy, but it did make me wonder ...

Firefox
2002-Apr-11, 10:38 AM
I used to be a fan of Star Trek and phasers until I started visiting some of the "militant" Star Wars sites. These sites are apparently written by people with some background in physics and a resounding hatred for die-hard Trekkies who think the Federation would wipe the floor with the Empire.

Not that I agree with everything they say, but I'd rather have a blaster at my side than a phaser. :)

Chuck
2002-Apr-11, 01:40 PM
Maybe they can't aim those things. If they could, phaser battles would last less then one second. Not very dramatic.

informant
2002-Apr-11, 05:03 PM
Maybe they have a computerized automatic targeting system (let's be optimistic /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif).

Silas
2002-Apr-11, 05:07 PM
Since the beam from a phaser is so bright, it lets you track as you shoot. Think about going outside at night and "hunting" rabbits with a flashlight. You can move the light a lot faster than the rabbit can run.

(Me, I favor setting it on a wide dispersed "fan" of energy, and just burning the front half-inch of flesh off of everyone downrange...)

Silas

CJSF
2002-Apr-11, 05:54 PM
There's a whole field of "Star Trek Rationalization" out there... like:

In the episode "Timescape", the Enterprise and a Romulan ship get stuck in time that is almost at a stand-still for Picard, Troi, Data and Geordi... in one scene you see a Romulan firing a disrupter at Dr. Crusher, frozen in time. The beam is not parallel to the disruptor chamber/barrel and is angled down. So you can "rationalize" that ST weapons (be they disruptors or phasers) have the ability to "intelligently" correct their beam direction at a target...

(Nice way to rationalize away a mistake or misalignment by the special effects crew!)

/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

CJSF

Donnie B.
2002-Apr-11, 06:46 PM
Well heck, if you can build an autofocus camera, you ought to be able to build an auto-aim phaser.

And while you're at it, you can make it recognize the faces of all your crewmates so it won't accidentally hit any of them... unless, of course, they're wearing a red velour shirt!

Silas
2002-Apr-11, 07:52 PM
On 2002-04-11 14:46, Donnie B. wrote:
Well heck, if you can build an autofocus camera, you ought to be able to build an auto-aim phaser.

And while you're at it, you can make it recognize the faces of all your crewmates so it won't accidentally hit any of them... unless, of course, they're wearing a red velour shirt!



That reminds me of the invention a friend of mine was playing with: he called it "Murder Helper." Basically, it blocked the trigger of an automatic weapon until such time as it recognized a human target in the line of fire. Why waste all those bullets...

(Most of us preferred the "Nuderizer," which filtered a tv signal and substituted nudes for clothed persons.)

Sociologically, it's clear that the Star Trek universe has very, very little value for individual life. Otherwise, phasers would be set on stun *by default* and adjusting one upward to killing force would be a shocking dramatic event.

Nice, though, that it doesn't leave you with any messy old corpses to have to haul away...

Silas

Chip
2002-Apr-11, 08:27 PM
On 2002-04-11 15:52, Silas wrote:
"...(Most of us preferred the "Nuderizer," which filtered a tv signal and substituted nudes for clothed persons.)..."



A bit better for reruns of Baywatch rather than Star Trek! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

I like the Star Trek where the aliens have water that makes you speed up in time. Conversely, your crewmates s-l-o-w d-o-w-n to a stand still. There's a scene where Kirk fires a phaser at one of his type of favorite "alien" (i.e. blond girl in Go-Go boots) and the beam goes s-l-o-w, while she merely steps out of the way.

There's a whole mess of problems with that one!

Would not the speed of light remain "c" no matter how "fast" or "slow" time was moving for individuals (who are also interacting within the same reference frame?)

Do phasers fire hot matter plasma that has mass and a sub-light speed yet glows, emitting light at the speed of light, but the mass of the moving energy (matter) is slowed down, hence the beam appears "slow"??

Or do phasers fire at the speed of light, and time has somehow slowed down (via ingested water - let's not go there...) so that the speed of light is still "c" but "time" has slowed - except from the viewpoint of both the people who remain accelerated in time relative to the rest of the crew, and the crew relative to the acclerated people...in the same frame (the ship)....confused? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Mr. X
2002-Apr-11, 11:44 PM
Well I'm sure everyone wants to hear my ranting about Star Trek weapons, looks for the "oops, sheilds[sic]" thread where you can read my long ranting about the overall cruminess of the phaser...

I'll just shut up now... /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Hauteden
2002-Apr-12, 02:28 AM
CAUTION SERIOUS ANSWER HERE.

There is a technique in shooting firearms that could account for what you see when it comes to phasers. It is a form of "Blind" Shooting wherein the shooter can close their eyes and fire a weapon. The weapon should then hit the same basic area in relation to body position everytime. It only really becomes neccesary to "aim" the further away the target is positioned. With practice this technique can be honed to provide a skill some would refer to as "quick-draw"

END SERIOUS ANSWER



On 2002-04-11 04:30, Conrad wrote:
But! the hand-held versions don't have any sights! How do Kirk et al manage to hit anything when they fire from the hip?


Actually Kirk was in fact that good. He wasn't ever suppose to miss but if I remember correctly it did happen on occasion. Now as for the other characters I can't speak for them.



On 2002-04-11 15:52, Silas wrote:
That reminds me of the invention a friend of mine was playing with: he called it "Murder Helper." Basically, it blocked the trigger of an automatic weapon until such time as it recognized a human target in the line of fire. Why waste all those bullets...



This is not as much fantasy as some would believe. The US military is refining such a system as part of their Land Warrior program. Friendly Soldiers would wear a transponder that would identify the wearer as Friend the firing mechanism of the weapon would temporarily disable until it no longer pointed at the transponder.



On 2002-04-11 15:52, Silas wrote:
Sociologically, it's clear that the Star Trek universe has very, very little value for individual life. Otherwise, phasers would be set on stun *by default* and adjusting one upward to killing force would be a shocking dramatic event.


Actually when on board a Galaxy Class Vessel(TNG Enterprise), and I am going to assume other contemporary class vessels, The computer controlled all weapons to be set for Stun level-3 or below. To get the phaser to a more lethal status the user had to enter in an override code.


Well there is my input for this topic. Hope it clears some stuff up.

Laters

Hauteden

David Hall
2002-Apr-12, 03:59 AM
Silas wrote:

(Most of us preferred the "Nuderizer," which filtered a tv signal and substituted nudes for clothed persons.)



That would be great if there was a switch to filter in only females/males (according to the gender one prefers), and maybe age as well. Otherwise the thought of Earnest Borgnine or Abe Vigoda in the buff would make me want to pass. :-8 /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif




Hautenden wrote:

This is not as much fantasy as some would believe. The US military is refining such a system as part of their Land Warrior program. Friendly Soldiers would wear a transponder that would identify the wearer as Friend the firing mechanism of the weapon would temporarily disable until it no longer pointed at the transponder.


Great, that's just what a soldier needs; a beeping signal allowing the enemy to zero in on you directly. All they need to do is capture one of our weapons or transponders and have an electronically capable person figure out how to modify them for use in their own weapons. Suddenly we're automatic targets. Leave me out of this one. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif


Actually, I think a better phaser-like weapon would be one that fired a continuous beam so you could sweep it over your enemies at will. A Niven-style laser for example.

Hauteden
2002-Apr-12, 07:26 AM
On 2002-04-11 23:59, David Hall wrote:
Great, that's just what a soldier needs; a beeping signal allowing the enemy to zero in on you directly. All they need to do is capture one of our weapons or transponders and have an electronically capable person figure out how to modify them for use in their own weapons. Suddenly we're automatic targets. Leave me out of this one. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif


Yeah, tell me about it, it is a great idea and in certain situations it would be life saver. I would just like the option of turning it on-an-off.

I don't know what scares me more, technology that I saw in movies and games over 10 years ago becoming reality or the technology I see in movies and games today becoming reality in 10 years /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_eek.gif

Laters

Hauteden