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(Slate)   The worst science mistakes of Star Trek, or why any self-respecting geek should actually hate this show. Ha, "self-respecting" geek   (slate.com) divider line 192
    More: Obvious, Star Trek, geeks  
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7633 clicks; posted to Geek » on 16 May 2013 at 1:11 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-05-16 06:12:53 PM
Kinda surprised dick face hasn't come in to shiat all over... *shrugs*
 
2013-05-16 06:21:12 PM

Ned Stark: StopLurkListen: eyeq360:
aerojockey: My favorite is whenever people from Star Trek get upset that with all their technology they still haven't solved Fermat's Last Theorem.

That episode was made before Andrew Wiles actually solved Fermat's Last Theorem.  And I think that the writers of ST:TNG would even want to delve into higher-level mathematics like Galois transformations, eliptical functions, or the Taniyama conjecture, let alone any other kind of mathematics that might even have remotely been useful.

Did he really solve Fermat's Last Theorem? I thought the Fermat margin note that started it mentioned "I have a solution that is too big to fit in the margin here", and Wiles' proof was 100 pages long. Was Fermat just being modest? Maybe Fermat never did have a solution, and he was joking? Or he had a solution and it was wrong... Also, Wiles' proof took 7 years. If Fermat spent any significant time on something wouldn't he leave some sort of evidence behind?

He found a proof for it though probably not Fermat's.

Or so I'm told.


Unless Fermat had knowledge of Modular Forms and Elliptic Curves, no. There's a video of Wiles' proof on Youtube that explains how he found the proof. It's not a direct proof, but a consequence of two other proofs.
 
2013-05-16 06:23:07 PM

kkinnison: Science fiction, is fiction


Your comma usage is offensive. You should be in front of The Hague.
 
2013-05-16 06:33:45 PM

I_Am_Weasel: Does Slate realize that IT'S A SCIENCE FICTION TELEVISION SHOW!?

Fiction!  Television!  You know.  Fox News.


Some people don't understand the meaning of the word "fiction", apparently. Usually BadAstronomy is above this kind of crazy and deals with actual science, but not always...
 
2013-05-16 06:39:25 PM

Relatively Obscure: Annnd back from the movie.  I rather enjoyed it.


me too. it was exciting.
 
2013-05-16 06:47:41 PM
Holy crap, you greasy nerds.  The transporter swaps you with the matter (air) at your destination. When you beam down Chewbacca, you beam up the air that he's going to displace.
 
2013-05-16 06:54:27 PM

Mikey1969: I_Am_Weasel: Does Slate realize that IT'S A SCIENCE FICTION TELEVISION SHOW!?

Fiction!  Television!  You know.  Fox News.

Some people don't understand the meaning of the word "fiction", apparently. Usually BadAstronomy is above this kind of crazy and deals with actual science, but not always...


Next up : why several alternate Earths from "Sliders" are totes impossible.
 
2013-05-16 06:55:06 PM

BullBearMS: /Garak still my favorite though.

Garak and the Doctor.


Bashir or Holographic?
 
2013-05-16 06:55:41 PM

fusillade762: BullBearMS: /Garak still my favorite though.

Garak and the Doctor.

Bashir or Holographic?


Who?
 
2013-05-16 06:58:26 PM

BafflerMeal: fusillade762: BullBearMS: /Garak still my favorite though.

Garak and the Doctor.

Bashir or Holographic?

Who?


Smirky Arab Boy or Balding Crabby Man.
 
2013-05-16 07:02:16 PM
Good article, Phil.

The one I really have a problem with is when people go 'out of phase', like the TNG episode with Geordi and Ensign Ro.  Apparently, they were out of phase with the walls and people, but not with the floor or artificial gravity.  As soon as they went out of phase, they should have been spat out into the emptiness of space with the first velocity or course change.

timujin: Right... because people watch Star Trek (or Star Wars or Firefly or Battlestar Galactica) because they're looking for hard science.


To be fair, Star Trek worked harder at making the science at least sound right than the other two.  Star Wars doesn't explain any science, and Firefly... well, I'm still trying to figure out how that engine works, and why the catalyzer on the port compression coil is so damned important.

And please, don't tell me you can break atmo and land after losing your primary buffer panel.  The space shuttle Columbia lost its primary buffer panel and we all know how that ended.

/might be a nerd
 
2013-05-16 07:02:58 PM

FunkOut: BafflerMeal: fusillade762: BullBearMS: /Garak still my favorite though.

Garak and the Doctor.

Bashir or Holographic?

Who?

Smirky Arab Boy or Balding Crabby Man.


Balding Crabby Man > Smirky Arab Boy

Garak pawns them all.
 
2013-05-16 07:04:35 PM

demonfaerie: FunkOut: BafflerMeal: fusillade762: BullBearMS: /Garak still my favorite though.

Garak and the Doctor.

Bashir or Holographic?

Who?

Smirky Arab Boy or Balding Crabby Man.

Balding Crabby Man > Smirky Arab Boy

Garak pawns them all.



Man, I slipped that one right under the radar.  Geronimo!
 
2013-05-16 07:05:53 PM

dittybopper: Communicators could be fine for relatively short range communication between themselves, but you'll note that mostly they are used for communicating with the ship.


This raises an interesting question, are there examples when communications with the ship are down (not infrequent) where the away team communicates with eachother via communicators?

I'm almost certain I can hear in my head an exchange between Riker and Laforge where Riker is saying to a remotely located Laforge that he can't get the ship to respond.
 
2013-05-16 07:06:11 PM

BafflerMeal: fusillade762: BullBearMS: /Garak still my favorite though.

Garak and the Doctor.

Bashir or Holographic?

Who?


www.geeksofdoom.com


FunkOut: Smirky Arab Boy or Balding Crabby Man.


www.treksinscifi.com

What episode is this from??
 
2013-05-16 07:08:11 PM
i feel like there is a HUGE difference between what Star Trek was/is and what people pretend it is.

Star Trek was always more fiction than science.  It was really just space-fantasy.  Especially the original series.
 
2013-05-16 07:15:46 PM

fusillade762: BullBearMS: /Garak still my favorite though.

Garak and the Doctor.

Bashir or Holographic?


Holographic.

/Snark Trek
 
2013-05-16 07:17:33 PM

fusillade762: BafflerMeal: fusillade762: BullBearMS: /Garak still my favorite though.

Garak and the Doctor.

Bashir or Holographic?

Who?

[www.geeksofdoom.com image 533x406]


FunkOut: Smirky Arab Boy or Balding Crabby Man.

[www.treksinscifi.com image 850x649]

What episode is this from??


"Doctor Bashir, I Presume"

that's Zimmerman, not the holo doc
 
2013-05-16 07:17:33 PM

fusillade762: BafflerMeal: fusillade762: BullBearMS: /Garak still my favorite though.

Garak and the Doctor.

Bashir or Holographic?

Who?

[www.geeksofdoom.com image 533x406]


FunkOut: Smirky Arab Boy or Balding Crabby Man.

[www.treksinscifi.com image 850x649]

What episode is this from??



It's from a Voyager episode near the end IIRC.

Also, Bashir is not a 'smirky arab boy'

Ronald D. Moore commented "In my mind, Julian was of Sudanese (like Sid), Indian, or Pakistani extraction, but that the family's roots were probably in England, hence the accents."
 
2013-05-16 07:18:31 PM

fusillade762: My problem with the transporter is the fact that two particles of matter can't exist in the same space at the same time. In WoK Bones is worried about being transported into solid rock, but being transported into air (yes, air is still matter) would be just as disastrous. If it were possible, that is. The signal would just bounce off. The only way the transporter could work is if they put a force field around the landing area and pumped all the air out first.


It's also possible that the transport effect has a tendency to push matter away from the area being transported to, but that air has a much higher likelihood of being able to be moved than rock does.  Thus creating an 'attempted concurrent spacial location problem' for rock, but not for air.

I was always more impressed with the precision of where their feet ended up, and that they weren't constantly materializing and then dropping an inch or three.  Not to mention materializing upside down or at an angle.

/would have written periodic gags with Wesley materializing stuck in a tree or standing over a puddle
//'attempted concurrent spacial location problem' was a fancy phrase for 'car accident' I heard once
 
2013-05-16 07:20:00 PM

FunkOut: Mikey1969: I_Am_Weasel: Does Slate realize that IT'S A SCIENCE FICTION TELEVISION SHOW!?

Fiction!  Television!  You know.  Fox News.

Some people don't understand the meaning of the word "fiction", apparently. Usually BadAstronomy is above this kind of crazy and deals with actual science, but not always...

Next up : why several alternate Earths from "Sliders" are totes impossible.


Lol, that was nice. Thank you...
 
2013-05-16 07:25:15 PM

NkThrasher: //'attempted concurrent spacial location problem' was a fancy phrase for 'car accident' I heard once


Sounds like the stuff they use for aircraft like "controlled flight into terrain" or "runway incursion".
 
2013-05-16 07:50:14 PM

ArcadianRefugee: Except cell phones require infrastructure; communicators didn't.


Well, fine... satphones, then.  Which do require some infrastructure in orbit, but the communicators needed the ship, so it's a wash.
 
2013-05-16 07:52:47 PM

BafflerMeal: fusillade762: My problem with the transporter is the fact that two particles of matter can't exist in the same space at the same time. In WoK Bones is worried about being transported into solid rock, but being transported into air (yes, air is still matter) would be just as disastrous. If it were possible, that is. The signal would just bounce off. The only way the transporter could work is if they put a force field around the landing area and pumped all the air out first.


I accept your solution.  Problem solved.


Yeah... let's say that such an air-removal field would be sparkly, and there would be a funny high-pitched noise as the air is moved out of the way.
 
2013-05-16 07:57:15 PM
BafflerMeal:

Also, Bashir is not a 'smirky arab boy'

Ronald D. Moore commented "In my mind, Julian was of Sudanese (like Sid), Indian, or Pakistani extraction, but that the family's roots were probably in England, hence the accents."


Oh, but he smirky/
 
2013-05-16 07:59:37 PM

FunkOut: BafflerMeal:

Also, Bashir is not a 'smirky arab boy'

Ronald D. Moore commented "In my mind, Julian was of Sudanese (like Sid), Indian, or Pakistani extraction, but that the family's roots were probably in England, hence the accents."

Oh, but he smirky/


It's like, how much more smirky could this doctor be?  And the answer is none.  None more smirky.
 
2013-05-16 08:00:01 PM

Uncle_Sam's_Titties: fusillade762: BafflerMeal: fusillade762: BullBearMS: /Garak still my favorite though.

Garak and the Doctor.

Bashir or Holographic?

Who?

[www.geeksofdoom.com image 533x406]


FunkOut: Smirky Arab Boy or Balding Crabby Man.

[www.treksinscifi.com image 850x649]

What episode is this from??

"Doctor Bashir, I Presume"

that's Zimmerman, not the holo doc


No, that's an EMH, just not the Voyager EMH.  The blue on the uniform is the indicator as Zimmerman, being an engineer, would have gold on his.
 
2013-05-16 08:13:58 PM

unyon: timujin: Right... because people watch Star Trek (or Star Wars or Firefly or Battlestar Galactica) because they're looking for hard science.

To be fair, Star Trek worked harder at making the science at least sound right than the other two. Star Wars doesn't explain any science, and Firefly... well, I'm still trying to figure out how that engine works, and why the catalyzer on the port compression coil is so damned important.


That is fair and perhaps why people get their knickers in a twist when they don't or when they mess up.  But it also kind of makes my point.  Star Wars is easily twice as popular (based on number of fans) as Star Trek and, as you wrote, they don't even try to explain the science most of the time.  Hell, when they do, like with midichlorians, that's what makes for the twisty knickers.

And please, don't tell me you can break atmo and land after losing your primary buffer panel. The space shuttle Columbia lost its primary buffer panel and we all know how that ended.

My only thought is that they had a secondary buffer panel.  And hopefully a tertiary, since the damned things apparently just pop off.

/might be a nerd

Might?
 
2013-05-16 08:51:05 PM

Eddie T. Head: Uncle_Sam's_Titties: fusillade762: BafflerMeal: fusillade762: BullBearMS: /Garak still my favorite though.

Garak and the Doctor.

Bashir or Holographic?

Who?

[www.geeksofdoom.com image 533x406]


FunkOut: Smirky Arab Boy or Balding Crabby Man.

[www.treksinscifi.com image 850x649]

What episode is this from??

"Doctor Bashir, I Presume"

that's Zimmerman, not the holo doc

No, that's an EMH, just not the Voyager EMH.  The blue on the uniform is the indicator as Zimmerman, being an engineer, would have gold on his.


aw shiat... shiat shiat shiat shiat shiat. honestly baby, this kind of thing has never happened to me before!


/hangs head in shame
//walks away
///puts episode on to confirm you are actually correct
//you probably are
/slashies
 
2013-05-16 08:57:06 PM
www.slate.com
This whole scene was stylized and in Spock's memory; we're not actually seeing Vulcan as Spock saw it in that moment, but as how he imagined it would look like being eaten alive by the artificial plot black hole.
 
2013-05-16 08:57:10 PM

Eddie T. Head: No, that's an EMH, just not the Voyager EMH. The blue on the uniform is the indicator as Zimmerman, being an engineer, would have gold on his.


Damn, son.  I tip my hat.
 
2013-05-16 08:57:44 PM
I miss Star Trek 2.0
That was actually a lot of fun.  It gave a new perspective on TOS.  The stock market game was pretty interesting, too.
 
2013-05-16 09:04:46 PM
aggh... god.. choking on my own rage here
 
2013-05-16 09:09:03 PM
Perhaps I'm using a different definition of successful breeding than the Bad Astronomer.
 
2013-05-16 10:00:08 PM

unyon: timujin: Right... because people watch Star Trek (or Star Wars or Firefly or Battlestar Galactica) because they're looking for hard science.

To be fair, Star Trek worked harder at making the science at least sound right than the other two.  Star Wars doesn't explain any science, and Firefly... well, I'm still trying to figure out how that engine works, and why the catalyzer on the port compression coil is so damned important.


I'd argue that Firefly was "harder" than the other two for the simple fact that they didn't have FTL. Not to mention aliens, transporters, etc.
 
2013-05-16 10:05:36 PM
The mistake that bugs me the most is very simple;
When spaceships happen upon each other in space, it would be an incredible coincidence if they were oriented in the same plane, as if the universe was 2D.
Yet this ALWAYS happens in the Star Trek universe.
 
2013-05-16 10:08:20 PM

unyon: Good article, Phil.

The one I really have a problem with is when people go 'out of phase', like the TNG episode with Geordi and Ensign Ro.  Apparently, they were out of phase with the walls and people, but not with the floor or artificial gravity.  As soon as they went out of phase, they should have been spat out into the emptiness of space with the first velocity or course change.

timujin: Right... because people watch Star Trek (or Star Wars or Firefly or Battlestar Galactica) because they're looking for hard science.

To be fair, Star Trek worked harder at making the science at least sound right than the other two.  Star Wars doesn't explain any science, and Firefly... well, I'm still trying to figure out how that engine works, and why the catalyzer on the port compression coil is so damned important.

And please, don't tell me you can break atmo and land after losing your primary buffer panel.  The space shuttle Columbia lost its primary buffer panel and we all know how that ended.

/might be a nerd


The thing that bothers me about Firefly is that it apparently all occurs in the same solar system.  A solar system with way too many planets to be plausible and where somehow both China and America managed to get to at some point.
 
2013-05-16 10:35:29 PM

SN1987a goes boom: The thing that bothers me about Firefly is that it apparently all occurs in the same solar system. A solar system with way too many planets to be plausible and where somehow both China and America managed to get to at some point.


It's actually a solar system with too many suns ;)  One primary that is orbited by planets as well as other stars that in turn have their own planets:

http://www.fireflywiki.net/Firefly/FireflyUniverse

fusillade762: I'd argue that Firefly was "harder" than the other two for the simple fact that they didn't have FTL. Not to mention aliens, transporters, etc.


Maybe yes, maybe no.  See the above link for clarification.  Well, not exactly clarification, but further explanation at least.
 
2013-05-16 10:46:30 PM
 
2013-05-16 11:51:32 PM

0Icky0: The mistake that bugs me the most is very simple;
When spaceships happen upon each other in space, it would be an incredible coincidence if they were oriented in the same plane, as if the universe was 2D.
Yet this ALWAYS happens in the Star Trek universe.


Except when it doesn't (Star Trek II). Though of course they seem to think they're geniuses for considering it.

Oh, also, this scene from "All Good Things" comes to mind:

www.startrek.com

And I'm sure the Defiant attacked from above or below a number of times, but I can't find any pics.
 
2013-05-17 12:11:57 AM
At this point in time, I'm not sure if I'm more angry at the bad writing, the bad science, or the fact that you guys only seem to whine for hundreds of posts bout Star Trek. Because in the pony threads, you run detractors out by sheer force of hidden sexual desire.
 
2013-05-17 12:50:09 AM

0Icky0: The mistake that bugs me the most is very simple;
When spaceships happen upon each other in space, it would be an incredible coincidence if they were oriented in the same plane, as if the universe was 2D.
Yet this ALWAYS happens in the Star Trek universe.


No, not always. Just watch the phaser banks fire. Perhaps because they appear oriented in the same plane on the view screen it gives the illusion they're always in the same plane during combat, but the cutaway scenes of the phasers firing shows a pretty wide arc of fire. Watch the Federation fight the Borg for instance.
 
2013-05-17 01:23:12 AM
The thing that bothers me about Firefly is that it apparently all occurs in the same solar system.  A solar system with way too many planets to be plausible and where somehow both China and America managed to get to at some point.

I think they all got there at the same time, and the cultures may well have been well on their way to merging well prior to leaving earth-that-was.  The solar system is a multi-solar system, with red dwarfs orbiting a central white sun.  Each of those systems has planets and moons, which is where the 'dozens of planets and hundreds of moons' numbers come from.  So it's solar systems inside a solar system.
 
2013-05-17 01:28:10 AM

fusillade762: IC Stars: fusillade762: My problem with the transporter is the fact that two particles of matter can't exist in the same space at the same time. In WoK Bones is worried about being transported into solid rock, but being transported into air (yes, air is still matter) would be just as disastrous. If it were possible, that is. The signal would just bounce off. The only way the transporter could work is if they put a force field around the landing area and pumped all the air out first.

Did you forget that there is still a lot of empty space inside solid rock?

Sure, but you're bound to have atoms attempting to be in the same space. Or is the human body going to be squeezed into the little pockets where there is empty space? And wouldn't the same problem still exist with air?


If it did happen, you'd explode.
 
2013-05-17 01:35:43 AM

0Icky0: The mistake that bugs me the most is very simple;
When spaceships happen upon each other in space, it would be an incredible coincidence if they were oriented in the same plane, as if the universe was 2D.
Yet this ALWAYS happens in the Star Trek universe.


When they encounter one another, they do it intentionally. It's like getting into an elevator: you just turn around and face the door. There's no law or external reason to do so: you just do. You could walk in and just stop, facing the crowd within, but you don't; it's a social no-no.

Same thing in space. You meet someone, you do so "face to face". Which means upright.

In combat, now, that's a whole 'nother beast.
 
2013-05-17 01:39:53 AM

fusillade762: I'd argue that Firefly was "harder" than the other two for the simple fact that they didn't have FTL. Not to mention aliens, transporters, etc.


That was it's charm.  Other than location, culture, and language, it didn't feel like either technology or people had actually changed very much at all.
 
2013-05-17 02:18:23 AM

theresnothinglft: Mad_Radhu: theresnothinglft: The biggest mistake in the reboot is that the transporter was able to teleport people onto a moving starship at warp and at across great distances.  Say like beaming from Saturn to Earth in the case of the end of that reboot.  This revelation instantly makes starship travel obsolete.

Worse the transporter also shows they can remotely manipulate objects on a quantum level.  In no way is the transporter a 1 shot fire all the atomic goo signal at the target location and it assembles itself correctly.  This goes to ask why they didn't just lock onto the red matter and transporter it into an unstable state.  Also why didn't they just transport the core of one of those torpedos on Nero's ship outside of its casing?

And even better yet, if the transporter is all that great then why does the scanner technology suck to the point where they can't tell if a room is a cargo bay or not from 6 billion miles off?

1. The advanced transport tech was invented by future Scotty after the end of Nemesis, so we don't know what it did to the galaxy. It may well changed how people traveled in space, but we just didn't see it on screen. It's possible old Spock made him hold off on making it public knowledge until the time is right because he doesn't want to screw up the new timeline any further.

2. You can't transport through shields. That's why you don't see boarding parties happen until the shields are down generally, unless it is like Best of Both Worlds where they took the shuttle inside the Borg shield before they transported on to grab Locutus.

These points don't apply to Abram's universe because he rewrote it.  It would have been more compelling if Abram's writers stuck to the original points regarding the transporter:
1.  Thing fails half the time until next gen and later, then it's fairly reliable.
2.  40,000 Km max range (I might be wrong with this number but it seriously wasn't any further than the earth to the moon)
3.  Transporter signal can't ...


You are going to rage with the fire of a thousand suns after watching the movie.

Let me spoil it for you: Chekov DOESN'T fire the gun at the end of the movie.
 
2013-05-17 02:31:54 AM

0Icky0: The mistake that bugs me the most is very simple;
When spaceships happen upon each other in space, it would be an incredible coincidence if they were oriented in the same plane, as if the universe was 2D.
Yet this ALWAYS happens in the Star Trek universe.


Here's the thing I've learned while playing space sims.  While you might approach another ship from an oblique angle, unless you manage to attack them unawares they will orient themselves to be facing you, as that is the direction their weapons generally face.  Regardless of your relative position to the rest of the universe, you will appear to be on the same plane in relation to each other.

While they might not explicitly refer to this alignment in Star Trek, I give them the benefit of the doubt that it takes place.
 
2013-05-17 02:55:06 AM
One thing I always hated about Star Trek is how the crew of the various ships can miraculously come up with ways to do things or technologies which are better than the existing ways or technologies. Like how one engineer on the Enterprise can somehow figure out how to make their engines more efficient while all of Starfleet Research, many people whose job it is to figure those things out, can't. Then instead of having to do lots of testing and get approval from the higher ups for such a change, they just say "What the hell, screw safety and established methods, make those changes and fire up those engines."
 
2013-05-17 03:41:31 AM

Befuddled: One thing I always hated about Star Trek is how the crew of the various ships can miraculously come up with ways to do things or technologies which are better than the existing ways or technologies. Like how one engineer on the Enterprise can somehow figure out how to make their engines more efficient while all of Starfleet Research, many people whose job it is to figure those things out, can't. Then instead of having to do lots of testing and get approval from the higher ups for such a change, they just say "What the hell, screw safety and established methods, make those changes and fire up those engines."


4.bp.blogspot.com

I'm done re-kafoobling the energy motron ... or whatever.
 
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