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(Forbes)   The suspect science of Star Trek: Discovery makes for a better plot device than for believable science fiction   ( forbes.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Star Trek, Star Trek: Enterprise, Burnham, Stamets assigns Burnham, Discovery, Star Trek: The Next Generation, mutineer Michael Burnham  
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1950 clicks; posted to Geek » on 02 Oct 2017 at 11:20 AM (10 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2017-10-02 03:20:28 PM  

Telos: festus: Telos: Plus my experience with torrenting is that most of the time I get to 99% of the file and all the seeders with that last 1% disappear.

That has never happened to me. Ever. And I download a LOT of things.

I don't believe you. My college roommate actually contributed to writing the software for one of the torrent clients and it happened to him all the time too.

I have money now, I can buy things. I'd just rather buy another beer each month than pay to watch one TV show.

And again, I'll just get it on a thumb drive eventually.


I have seen that happen with really old files.

Otherwise it slows down a bit near the end but never had any issues getting the file.
 
2017-10-02 03:34:51 PM  
Am I the only one who liked most of the other ST variants but hated the pilot episode of Discovery? I probably wouldn't keep watching even if it were on TV or cable, but paying extra for it? Hell no.

As off the rails as it is, I'm enjoying The Orville so much more.
 
2017-10-02 03:42:17 PM  

dywed88: realmolo: Fano: noazark: Fano: If teleporters have infinite range why would you need starships?

The in-universe answer is, they don't.  The plot device "we're out of transporter range" was invoked many times over the course of each series.

The real reason Star Trek has transporters at all is that Gene Roddenberry didn't have the VFX budget to portray the starship Enterprise landing on a planet.  Transporters may be based on (speculative) science ... but it was still mostly a way to cut down the costs of the show.

What about the newer movies? Wasn't that how they blew up Vulcan or something?

Yeah, transporters have limited range, until the plot needs them to have MUCH GREATER range. They usually do some explanation of this in the show, like "So and so figured out a way to make the transporters work over a range of light years!" or something.

Which is fine. But...it's immediately forgotten. Wouldn't EVERYONE IN THE GALAXY want to pursue the technology that allows unlimited (or at least, greatly expanded) transporter range? Yes, they would. But you never hear about it again.

That's why I like "The Culture" series by Iain M. Banks. It has all the crazy "Trek" technology, but it's actually used in realistic ways.

/if you haven't read any of "The Culture" books, do so now. It's easily the greatest science-fiction series of all-time

Outside of the 2009 film have they done that? Sure they would find ways to extend the range at times, but the only one over lightyears that I recall was Scotty in "Star Trek".

There is this technology they are tying to develop on a discovery but it clearly doesn't actually work. At least not yet.


They did it in the first two.
 
2017-10-02 03:53:04 PM  

Fano: I think the problem is they ended up having some sort of war after a transporter malfunction started spewing out clones, and people agreed that Clone Wars are awful.


What about freak accidental deaths then? Like why don't they have a rule where if someone in Starfleet encounters a tragic death, they can be brought back from moments before they died using the transporter data.

Now that I think about it, we've seen the same no-name ensign die over and over....
 
2017-10-02 04:03:56 PM  
My pet analysis is that Trek -- from a Sci-Fi purist POV -- isn't science fiction. Or at least, hasn't been for a long long time.

It's space drama. Set in a futuristic world but not actually dealing with any consequences of theoretical science.

It occurs to me that "science fiction" introduces some concept -- some technology that is now achievable or some dramatic event that occurs to humanity -- and analyzes the ramifications it'd have on the human species. What would culture be like in a universe with no scarcity? What does finding other alien life do to human civilization? What are the impacts on social structures like religion, government, family, etc.?

The original Trek certainly explored these concepts and that would qualify it as Sci-Fi. But it stopped doing that long ago. And they just kept adding new magic tech without ever exploring the civilization-level ramifications.

Instead Trek became primarily character and narrative driven. Exploring parables of modern-day ethics rather than a what-if scenario of what humans could potentially be. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not science fiction anymore in the purest sense.
 
2017-10-02 04:11:10 PM  

imgod2u: Instead Trek became primarily character and narrative driven. Exploring parables of modern-day ethics rather than a what-if scenario of what humans could potentially be. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not science fiction anymore in the purest sense.


Um, that IS what science fiction is in the purest sense. Not fascination with gadgets, but human nature with gadgets as the backdrop.

That's why the science is so easily criticized.
 
2017-10-02 04:13:39 PM  

imgod2u: Fano: I think the problem is they ended up having some sort of war after a transporter malfunction started spewing out clones, and people agreed that Clone Wars are awful.

What about freak accidental deaths then? Like why don't they have a rule where if someone in Starfleet encounters a tragic death, they can be brought back from moments before they died using the transporter data.

Now that I think about it, we've seen the same no-name ensign die over and over....


Ensign Ricky is completing a 5 year tour of duty as commutation of his sentence for Felony Space Perversion. Even if he dies agonizingly in the line of duty he is resurrected until the term is up.
 
2017-10-02 04:17:46 PM  

imgod2u: My pet analysis is that Trek -- from a Sci-Fi purist POV -- isn't science fiction. Or at least, hasn't been for a long long time


True. In the original series, many of the episodes were written by established sci-fi writers of novels and short stories.
 
2017-10-02 04:30:53 PM  
Better than believable science fiction?  Like g-forces and light delay in radio communications and weapons that don't rely on technobabble?

img.fark.netView Full Size


Someone hasn't seen The Expanse.
Okay, technically there is one bit of Alien Goo, and workable fusion reactors.  But beyond that it's pretty damn hard sci-fi.
 
2017-10-02 04:44:14 PM  

Karac: Someone hasn't seen The Expanse.


Too bad we have to wait so freaking long to see the next season.

Oh and no more Dark Matter.

Hey, I liked it.
 
2017-10-02 04:44:42 PM  

imgod2u: Fano: I think the problem is they ended up having some sort of war after a transporter malfunction started spewing out clones, and people agreed that Clone Wars are awful.

What about freak accidental deaths then? Like why don't they have a rule where if someone in Starfleet encounters a tragic death, they can be brought back from moments before they died using the transporter data.

Now that I think about it, we've seen the same no-name ensign die over and over....


There's a very good and very long running webcomic that explores similar issues.  Backups of a person's mind can be stored on computers or even their skin.  So if someone does something like stops an enemy invasion by running into their beachhead and pulling the pin on a antimatter bomb ... then they can be brought back to life as soon as you can grow a new clone body and upload their memories.

img.fark.netView Full Size

img.fark.netView Full Size

img.fark.netView Full Size


Schlock Mercenary.  Very highly recommended, although the early art (the creator hasn't missed even a single day in seventeen years) is self-admittedly bad.
 
2017-10-02 04:47:14 PM  

mjbok: dywed88: realmolo: Fano: noazark: Fano: If teleporters have infinite range why would you need starships?

The in-universe answer is, they don't.  The plot device "we're out of transporter range" was invoked many times over the course of each series.

The real reason Star Trek has transporters at all is that Gene Roddenberry didn't have the VFX budget to portray the starship Enterprise landing on a planet.  Transporters may be based on (speculative) science ... but it was still mostly a way to cut down the costs of the show.

What about the newer movies? Wasn't that how they blew up Vulcan or something?

Yeah, transporters have limited range, until the plot needs them to have MUCH GREATER range. They usually do some explanation of this in the show, like "So and so figured out a way to make the transporters work over a range of light years!" or something.

Which is fine. But...it's immediately forgotten. Wouldn't EVERYONE IN THE GALAXY want to pursue the technology that allows unlimited (or at least, greatly expanded) transporter range? Yes, they would. But you never hear about it again.

That's why I like "The Culture" series by Iain M. Banks. It has all the crazy "Trek" technology, but it's actually used in realistic ways.

/if you haven't read any of "The Culture" books, do so now. It's easily the greatest science-fiction series of all-time

Outside of the 2009 film have they done that? Sure they would find ways to extend the range at times, but the only one over lightyears that I recall was Scotty in "Star Trek".

There is this technology they are tying to develop on a discovery but it clearly doesn't actually work. At least not yet.

They did it in the first two.


Which episodes?

Not saying it didn't happen, but want to see when as I don't recall it.
 
2017-10-02 04:53:48 PM  

ImpendingCynic: Am I the only one who liked most of the other ST variants but hated the pilot episode of Discovery? I probably wouldn't keep watching even if it were on TV or cable, but paying extra for it? Hell no.

As off the rails as it is, I'm enjoying The Orville so much more.


As I said in the thread last week, Discovery two part premier would have made a good Star Trek film. I am still waiting to see how the series works on an episode by episode basis. So far I feel it is in the "worth watching" category, however I am not getting much of a feeling for the characters and having the lead not be in command is just weird. But I also feel that if you changed the names, you would lose absolutely nothing from the series. They aren't really leveraging the universe or anything.

When I saw this episode I was hoping that they were working on what would eventually become the basis the Genesis Device. It fit perfectly with the military taking over a civilian project to weaponize it after war broke out. Who knows, maybe the Genesis Device is an offshoot of this project.
 
2017-10-02 04:56:01 PM  

imgod2u: My pet analysis is that Trek -- from a Sci-Fi purist POV -- isn't science fiction. Or at least, hasn't been for a long long time.

It's space drama. Set in a futuristic world but not actually dealing with any consequences of theoretical science.

It occurs to me that "science fiction" introduces some concept -- some technology that is now achievable or some dramatic event that occurs to humanity -- and analyzes the ramifications it'd have on the human species. What would culture be like in a universe with no scarcity? What does finding other alien life do to human civilization? What are the impacts on social structures like religion, government, family, etc.?


Yes, this is generally the difference between Sci-fi and fantasy: In Fantasy, the tech/magic is used to tell a story. In Sci-fi, the tech/magic IS the story. In other words:

Fantasy: The tech works as intended.
Sci-fi: Will the tech work as intended?

Star Trek has had some sci-fi elements in it before, but not recently, and in none of the movies. This new one is just a space action series that is barely even Star Trek let alone sci-fi.
 
2017-10-02 05:05:32 PM  

Karac: imgod2u: Fano: I think the problem is they ended up having some sort of war after a transporter malfunction started spewing out clones, and people agreed that Clone Wars are awful.

What about freak accidental deaths then? Like why don't they have a rule where if someone in Starfleet encounters a tragic death, they can be brought back from moments before they died using the transporter data.

Now that I think about it, we've seen the same no-name ensign die over and over....

There's a very good and very long running webcomic that explores similar issues.  Backups of a person's mind can be stored on computers or even their skin.  So if someone does something like stops an enemy invasion by running into their beachhead and pulling the pin on a antimatter bomb ... then they can be brought back to life as soon as you can grow a new clone body and upload their memories.

[img.fark.net image 780x227]
[img.fark.net image 780x232]
[img.fark.net image 780x232]

Schlock Mercenary.  Very highly recommended, although the early art (the creator hasn't missed even a single day in seventeen years) is self-admittedly bad.


I love Schlock Mercenary, and it over a decade this is the first I've seen it referenced in the wild.

Tayler likes the hard science, but he doesn't let it get in the way of the story or the joke.
 
2017-10-02 05:14:04 PM  

Ishkur: Yes, this is generally the difference between Sci-fi and fantasy: In Fantasy, the tech/magic is used to tell a story. In Sci-fi, the tech/magic IS the story. In other words:

Fantasy: The tech works as intended.
Sci-fi: Will the tech work as intended?

Star Trek has had some sci-fi elements in it before, but not recently, and in none of the movies. This new one is just a space action series that is barely even Star Trek let alone sci-fi.


I remember a long time ago someone told me SciFi was defined as "How would this technology effect human behavior" whereas fantasy just used magic/technology as a plot device.

So "The Machine Stops" is sci-fi by that definition because it questions how we would actually interact with each other and find satisfying lives our only communication to other humans was through a computer. (That was far more prophetic than I gave it credit for in college!)

Star Wars is more akin to fantasy because the technologies don't matter that much to the story, you could replace X-Wings with horses and the story would still be roughly the same.

I think Star Trek walks that line, and at its best falls into the first category.
 
2017-10-02 05:16:40 PM  

Telos: festus: Telos: Plus my experience with torrenting is that most of the time I get to 99% of the file and all the seeders with that last 1% disappear.

That has never happened to me. Ever. And I download a LOT of things.

I don't believe you. My college roommate actually contributed to writing the software for one of the torrent clients and it happened to him all the time too.

I have money now, I can buy things. I'd just rather buy another beer each month than pay to watch one TV show.

And again, I'll just get it on a thumb drive eventually.


If you're downloading any modern TV show or movie, something with a bunch of seeds, you won't get stuck at 99%.  If you're downloading something older with only a few seeds (like, just a couple), you might get stuck late in the download.  Solution:  keep it running anyway.  In a few days a seed will randomly pop up and the file will finish.

I've hit 99% lots of times.  I've failed to have it finish very rarely, only on very old torrents that aren't often seeded.  Even then, I get surprised sometimes.  I now just leave 99% files running for weeks, you'd be surprised how many of them finally finish just when you think it's not gonna happen.
 
2017-10-02 05:18:36 PM  

Sgt. Expendable: Karac: imgod2u: Fano: I think the problem is they ended up having some sort of war after a transporter malfunction started spewing out clones, and people agreed that Clone Wars are awful.

What about freak accidental deaths then? Like why don't they have a rule where if someone in Starfleet encounters a tragic death, they can be brought back from moments before they died using the transporter data.

Now that I think about it, we've seen the same no-name ensign die over and over....

There's a very good and very long running webcomic that explores similar issues.  Backups of a person's mind can be stored on computers or even their skin.  So if someone does something like stops an enemy invasion by running into their beachhead and pulling the pin on a antimatter bomb ... then they can be brought back to life as soon as you can grow a new clone body and upload their memories.

[img.fark.net image 780x227]
[img.fark.net image 780x232]
[img.fark.net image 780x232]

Schlock Mercenary.  Very highly recommended, although the early art (the creator hasn't missed even a single day in seventeen years) is self-admittedly bad.

I love Schlock Mercenary, and it over a decade this is the first I've seen it referenced in the wild.

Tayler likes the hard science, but he doesn't let it get in the way of the story or the joke.


Really? I have seen it referenced here occasionally.

Never read most of it, certainly has great moments from ones I have seen, though. I do find that sometimes there is too much build up to the jokes.

I first stumbled across it when I was looking to see if there was anyone to cite for the quote: "The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy, no more no less"

I was pretty surprised that line didn't have a long history, it is something I had heard and used since I was a kid. But the only citation I could find wasn't Schlock Mercenary.
 
2017-10-02 05:21:39 PM  

Telos: Star Wars is more akin to fantasy


Star Wars IS fantasy: Peasant, wizard, rogue and warrior rescue princess from the dark lord's castle. That's literally what it's about.
 
2017-10-02 05:26:20 PM  

Telos: Ishkur: Yes, this is generally the difference between Sci-fi and fantasy: In Fantasy, the tech/magic is used to tell a story. In Sci-fi, the tech/magic IS the story. In other words:

Fantasy: The tech works as intended.
Sci-fi: Will the tech work as intended?

Star Trek has had some sci-fi elements in it before, but not recently, and in none of the movies. This new one is just a space action series that is barely even Star Trek let alone sci-fi.

I remember a long time ago someone told me SciFi was defined as "How would this technology effect human behavior" whereas fantasy just used magic/technology as a plot device.

So "The Machine Stops" is sci-fi by that definition because it questions how we would actually interact with each other and find satisfying lives our only communication to other humans was through a computer. (That was far more prophetic than I gave it credit for in college!)

Star Wars is more akin to fantasy because the technologies don't matter that much to the story, you could replace X-Wings with horses and the story would still be roughly the same.

I think Star Trek walks that line, and at its best falls into the first category.


I am very much a fan of classifying science fantasy separately from science fiction, however I do recognize it is a spectrum rather than discrete categories. Even hard science fiction often relies on some fantasy elements and even fantasy like ASOIAF seems to have some almost scientific elements (they appear to be setting up a battle between the science of the Maesters and magic).

As you said, Star Trek is closer to the fiction side of the spectrum than Star Wars. But pretty much everything is on that spectrum somewhere and that is why the two genres are often lumped together (despite people always complaining about it).

At their best, both are used to examine human nature and how people's lives are impacted by technology/magic, etc.
 
2017-10-02 05:28:13 PM  

Ishkur: Telos: Star Wars is more akin to fantasy

Star Wars IS fantasy: Peasant, wizard, rogue and warrior rescue princess from the dark lord's castle. That's literally what it's about.


Well, there's the Samurai redemption story in there too. Granted that was added on in Empire and RotJ.
 
2017-10-02 05:32:43 PM  

Ishkur: Telos: Star Wars is more akin to fantasy

Star Wars IS fantasy: Peasant, wizard, rogue and warrior rescue princess from the dark lord's castle. That's literally what it's about.


with borrowed tech from Star Trek.
 
2017-10-02 05:35:34 PM  

dywed88: At their best, both are used to examine human nature and how people's lives are impacted by technology/magic, etc.


I have a pretty hard time seeing any science fiction aspects to, say, Star Wars. Which was basically samurai/hero's journey set in space. So you could say that if something lacks any meaningful reliance on actual futuristic science/tech for the story to be whole, it is sufficiently non-sci-fi.

Trek's conceptual universe (pre-DS9) can be sufficiently described as Sci-Fi. As the catalysts for humans unifying together and forming the Utopian Federation hinged on:
1. First contact causing a civilization-wide philosophical change.
2. Tech that allowed FTL travel (TOS) and wiped out scarcity of physical possessions (TNG).

The rest of the tech had no meaningful impact on human society on small or large scales. And so you can call each episode a space drama more than sci-fi.
 
2017-10-02 06:14:00 PM  

imgod2u: dywed88: At their best, both are used to examine human nature and how people's lives are impacted by technology/magic, etc.

I have a pretty hard time seeing any science fiction aspects to, say, Star Wars. Which was basically samurai/hero's journey set in space. So you could say that if something lacks any meaningful reliance on actual futuristic science/tech for the story to be whole, it is sufficiently non-sci-fi.

Trek's conceptual universe (pre-DS9) can be sufficiently described as Sci-Fi. As the catalysts for humans unifying together and forming the Utopian Federation hinged on:
1. First contact causing a civilization-wide philosophical change.
2. Tech that allowed FTL travel (TOS) and wiped out scarcity of physical possessions (TNG).

The rest of the tech had no meaningful impact on human society on small or large scales. And so you can call each episode a space drama more than sci-fi.


Like I said, it is a spectrum. Star Wars is pretty close to the fantasy side (well within what I like to call Science Fantasy) while Star Trek is slightly closer to the Science Fiction side.
 
2017-10-02 06:46:57 PM  
The speculative fiction element of ST is the whole "human society has gotten over our warlike ways, what is a humanity that doesn't engage in war like?"  It's not the actual technobabble... all of the widgets and other stuff is stylistic bullshiat, not science fiction.  And that doesn't matter, because, again, it's not the fundamental part that makes the show science fiction, just supporting hand-waving to add the "IN SPAAAAAAAACE" to what is otherwise a british naval adventure story from the 1800s.
 
2017-10-02 07:01:15 PM  

dywed88: mjbok: dywed88: realmolo: Fano: noazark: Fano: If teleporters have infinite range why would you need starships?

The in-universe answer is, they don't.  The plot device "we're out of transporter range" was invoked many times over the course of each series.

The real reason Star Trek has transporters at all is that Gene Roddenberry didn't have the VFX budget to portray the starship Enterprise landing on a planet.  Transporters may be based on (speculative) science ... but it was still mostly a way to cut down the costs of the show.

What about the newer movies? Wasn't that how they blew up Vulcan or something?

Yeah, transporters have limited range, until the plot needs them to have MUCH GREATER range. They usually do some explanation of this in the show, like "So and so figured out a way to make the transporters work over a range of light years!" or something.

Which is fine. But...it's immediately forgotten. Wouldn't EVERYONE IN THE GALAXY want to pursue the technology that allows unlimited (or at least, greatly expanded) transporter range? Yes, they would. But you never hear about it again.

That's why I like "The Culture" series by Iain M. Banks. It has all the crazy "Trek" technology, but it's actually used in realistic ways.

/if you haven't read any of "The Culture" books, do so now. It's easily the greatest science-fiction series of all-time

Outside of the 2009 film have they done that? Sure they would find ways to extend the range at times, but the only one over lightyears that I recall was Scotty in "Star Trek".

There is this technology they are tying to develop on a discovery but it clearly doesn't actually work. At least not yet.

They did it in the first two.

Which episodes?

Not saying it didn't happen, but want to see when as I don't recall it.


First two nuTrek movies.  Kirk used it in the first one.  Sherlock did in the second.
 
2017-10-02 08:04:01 PM  
Who knew Forbes was such a big believer in piracy? The story contains the entire plot of the third episode.
 
2017-10-02 08:09:59 PM  

hackwrench: Who knew Forbes was such a big believer in piracy? The story contains the entire plot of the third episode.


Unless I'm missing something, how is that piracy?
 
2017-10-02 08:11:38 PM  

festus: rummonkey: Not worth paying for yet another streaming service, but not bad

TORRENTS

Telos: (Don't know about discovery, I'm not paying to watch it...)

TORRENTS

Man I thought Americans were supposed to be switched on and knowledgeable about basic internet things ...


We also like to completely boycott things we are't willing to pay for.
 
2017-10-02 08:13:23 PM  

hackwrench: We also like to completely boycott things we are't willing to pay for.


Lars begs to differ.
 
2017-10-02 11:09:37 PM  

Karac: Better than believable science fiction?  Like g-forces and light delay in radio communications and weapons that don't rely on technobabble?

[img.fark.net image 850x478]

Someone hasn't seen The Expanse.
Okay, technically there is one bit of Alien Goo, and workable fusion reactors.  But beyond that it's pretty damn hard sci-fi.


We've been without a good space opera for too long. And Avasarala is 10 lbs of awesome sauce in a 5 lb bag, I'm glad they pushed her to main cast out of the gate.

/books don't suck either.
 
2017-10-02 11:44:38 PM  

ajgeek: Karac: Better than believable science fiction?  Like g-forces and light delay in radio communications and weapons that don't rely on technobabble?

[img.fark.net image 850x478]

Someone hasn't seen The Expanse.
Okay, technically there is one bit of Alien Goo, and workable fusion reactors.  But beyond that it's pretty damn hard sci-fi.

We've been without a good space opera for too long. And Avasarala is 10 lbs of awesome sauce in a 5 lb bag, I'm glad they pushed her to main cast out of the gate.

/books don't suck either.


That actress has been pretty good in all the things I've seen her in.  Mostly TV.  The one movie I remember is she was the doctor with the mutant cure in the third X-Men film; and that was a small enough part that she can hardly be blamed for the entire movie.
 
2017-10-03 10:40:55 AM  
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2017-10-03 03:56:53 PM  

Karac:
There's a very good and very long running webcomic that explores similar issues.  Backups of a person's mind can be stored on computers or even their skin.  So if someone does something like stops an enemy invasion by running into their beachhead and pulling the pin on a antimatter bomb ... then they can be brought back to life as soon as you can grow a new clone body and upload their memories.

[img.fark.net image 780x227]
[img.fark.net image 780x232]
[img.fark.net image 780x232]

Schlock Mercenary.  Very highly recommended, although the early art (the creator hasn't missed even a single day in seventeen years) is self-admittedly bad.


Sgt. Expendable: I love Schlock Mercenary, and it over a decade this is the first I've seen it referenced in the wild.

Tayler likes the hard science, but he doesn't let it get in the way of the story or the joke.


Schlock Merc gets a shout-out on Fark at least twice a year, IMX.

Creator is a former marketing/engineer-type at Novell; I used to run into him on press tours and at BrainScare. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any people I know who are more diligent than Howard. I don't follow his comic, but I will always endorse his work ethic.

I can name several webcomic creators who could learn a thing or three from him about keeping a buffer filled, in case life gets in the way of drawing.
 
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