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MolotovCocktail

The Science of Star Trek

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Guys, the replicator doesn't create new matter, it simply re-arranges it (as we learned from DS9, when it's running out of iron to use, the cabbages become discoloured) and the teleporter just moves stuff over big distances. Most sci-fi is clever enough not to break the general conservation thing.

This is not the case.

 

All the technical literature for Star Trek (except for the DS9 technical manual, which is an odd aberration) state that the replicators draw power from the warp core (or station/facility reactor) and convert it into matter.

 

The transportation process has never been described by a canon source in enough detail to establish exactly what happens during teleportation.

 

Conservation is irrelevant if you are converting equivalent mass and energy.

 

DS9, for some reason, has an unusually high incidence of throw-away explanations that flatly contradict previous episodes and create new problems for subsequent episodes. The DS9 technical manual is widely known for being completely wacky and disregarding half the known Trek universe (including making basic factual errors about things in Deep Space Nine, such as the size of the Defiant).

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Edtharan.

if that kind of technology was made, it would solve alot of problems people have. reasorces.

 

just out of curiosity, how far off to do you this kind of technology would be, looking at current nanotechnology.

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Star trek technology is no more logical than that of Sponge Bob or Leprechauns. It's just masked with science-sounding gobblygook. Once the fundamental properties of physics are sidestepped 'anything' becomes possible from 'beam me up' to 'talking sponges'. Fudge Relativity or quantum mechanics and 'poof', abracadabra...magic and not science.

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You're right. Every episode should be 2 minutes of peril, then 41 minutes of lecturing in theoretical physics, followed by five seconds of pressing a button that actuates what was discussed in the lecture, and 115 seconds of evading the peril and laughing heartily while learning a moral lesson.

 

That would be much better.

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One of the things that caused me to like DS9 more than the other series, other than Dax:-p , was that it seemed more realistic with their economy. STV also seemed to deal with economics in a little more realistic fashion, its just that their currency was replicator rations.

 

Money is nothing more than a proxy for bartering. When it was not uncommon for a trade negotiation to take place in TNG, which is a larger form of bartering and evidence that resources have value. Even the very first episode of TNG had Dr. Crusher "buying" fabric. Obviously the vendor had to be compensated in some way.

 

While Star Trek put enough effort into real science to make their science fiction more believable, although the transporter annoyed me as too easy an escape from problems for both writers and characters, I really think the total ignoring of economic realities and not being consistent in this matter really made some episodes hard to accept and enjoy.

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Money is nothing more than a proxy for bartering. When it was not uncommon for a trade negotiation to take place in TNG, which is a larger form of bartering and evidence that resources have value. Even the very first episode of TNG had Dr. Crusher "buying" fabric. Obviously the vendor had to be compensated in some way.

Money is not simply another form of bartering because it levels the playing field between the service provider and the customer. There is a good article on the Wikipedia about that which is quite interesting. I know what you mean in ST terms though, Voy used some good plot devices which showed how the fed principles could be bent when needs became dire.

 

While Star Trek put enough effort into real science to make their science fiction more believable, although the transporter annoyed me as too easy an escape from problems for both writers and characters, I really think the total ignoring of economic realities and not being consistent in this matter really made some episodes hard to accept and enjoy.

Agreed.

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You know, the one thing that really bugs me about TNG is Q. He is portrayed as being a God, which of course doesn't quite fit in either science or science fiction.

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You're right. Every episode should be 2 minutes of peril, then 41 minutes of lecturing in theoretical physics, followed by five seconds of pressing a button that actuates what was discussed in the lecture, and 115 seconds of evading the peril and laughing heartily while learning a moral lesson.

 

That would be much better.

 

You wouldn't need 41 minutes of lecturing on the theoretical physics because there isn't any. It takes only 5 seconds for a panel of physicists to all say the word 'baloney'. As soon as the properties of matter and energy are ignored then nothing that follows is rational.

 

Doesn't mean one can't enjoy the 'fantasy' or moral issues, action, etc. but there is no 'technology' that has any basis in reality once one atom, or a subatomic particle, defies the physics of matter and energy.

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You know, the one thing that really bugs me about TNG is Q. He is portrayed as being a God, which of course doesn't quite fit in either science or science fiction.

 

Oh man, Q was about my favorite "villain". I always knew that Q would toy with the crew like a cat toys with a mouse and there wasn't squat the crew could do about it.

 

Many of my favorite lines came from episodes that featured Q. Like when the senior staff was transported to Sherwood Forest and Captain was Robinhood. Worf made one of my all time favorite statements: "I must protest. I am not a merry man!" Seeing Worf in geen tights and a green hat while saying that was priceless.

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You wouldn't need 41 minutes of lecturing on the theoretical physics because there isn't any. It takes only 5 seconds for a panel of physicists to all say the word 'baloney'. As soon as the properties of matter and energy are ignored then nothing that follows is rational.

Well, now you have a problem with justifying that.

 

If the technology or the physics it is based on is poorly described, then you can't possibly know whether or not it will work, can you? Unless you (a) can somehow determine its fundamental principles and (b) are ruling out any advancements in our understanding of physics within the next four centuries.

 

Doesn't mean one can't enjoy the 'fantasy' or moral issues, action, etc. but there is no 'technology' that has any basis in reality once one atom, or a subatomic particle, defies the physics of matter and energy.

Some of their silly plot devices I agree whole-heartedly on, but I don't see that as being a death-knoll for "all Star Trek technology", particularly since some of it has actually come about since the show first started.

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Doesn't mean one can't enjoy the 'fantasy' or moral issues, action, etc. but there is no 'technology' that has any basis in reality once one atom, or a subatomic particle, defies the physics of matter and energy.

 

Those bastards! They should have called it science fiction instead of misleading us all these years.

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You know, the one thing that really bugs me about TNG is Q. He is portrayed as being a God, which of course doesn't quite fit in either science or science fiction.

 

I don't recall Q ever being considered a god. I'm sure Q never claimed that either. Q was just omnipotent.

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A race that I think is absolutely awesome are the Borg. Sometimes I wonder if we will one day end up like them, as we are certainly developing the technology right now that will allow us to interface with a computer and create cybernetic organisms.

 

If there is anything I do question about them is the fact that they only send 1 ship to attempt to conquer the human race, and the other ones for that matter. Given that they are virtually invincible you'd think they would sent at least a dozen of them. But that is besides the point.

 

Another thing about the Borg is their astonishing ability to regenerate, if you've seen that ability in Picard's first encounter.

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About the Borg, doesn't seem egotistical that Humans have been the only race to have reasonable success standing up to the Borg? That has always troubled me.

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Well, the Federation stood up to them, and the Federation is made up of over 150 races - not just humans.

 

Also remember that the Borg had their asses handed to them by Species 8472, and the Brunali (Icheb's race) would have delivered a serious blow if Captain Kathy and her Space Cru had not interfered.

 

In the novel "Probe", it is directly implied that the Cetacean probe sent to Earth in Star Trek IV fought off a Borg assault on the way here (which further implies it came from the Delta Quadrant).

 

In the novel "Vendetta", the weapon seen in the TOS episode "The Doomsday Machine" is revealed to be a weapon against the Borg. Someone somewhere had a jolly good crack at resisting!

 

In Voyager, there is circumstantial evidence that the Wysanti (Rebi and Azan's race) and the more advanced Norcadians (Mezoti's race and creators of the tsunkatse tournaments) are capable of defending against the Borg in some fashion.

 

In "Strange New Worlds", Q mentions that the Voth could possibly defeat the Borg. Given the cloaking technology that the Voth demonstrated in "Distant Origin", it is possible the Borg do not even know they exist. But I'd put gold-pressed latinum on the Voth in a direct confrontation.

 

We know that the Borg had started to assimilate species in the Delta Quadrant as early as the 15th century, but they did not start their galaxy-wide expansion until about the 23rd century. One would imagine that during this time, they would have been expanding "locally" and annoying the hell out of species in the Delta Quadrant. Many races would have been assimilated and effectively wiped out, but the fact that we see a rich and diverse ecosystem in the DQ means that others must have found ways of fighting the Borg (or at least holding them off) that we just didn't hear about.

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Well, also remember that the story of the Borg is full of plot holes and inconsistencies. In TNG when they were first introduced it was stated that they have been assimilating races for hundreds of thousands of years.

 

Also, the races that were kicking the Borg's asses or could hold them off were more advanced than the humans. It is quite egotistical that a human-led federation is able to be the one that could hold them off or change the outcome in a conflict against the Borg. The Borg are eons ahead of the human race.

 

To give the show credit, the Borg did send only one ship and no matter how advance they are a strategy like that was bound to fail.

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Well, also remember that the story of the Borg is full of plot holes and inconsistencies.

That is certainly true.

 

In TNG when they were first introduced it was stated that they have been assimilating races for hundreds of thousands of years.

Who says this, and when? I am unable to find any references. All the encyclopaedic resources I have read state that the earliest known activity was during Earth's 15th century.

 

Also, the races that were kicking the Borg's asses or could hold them off were more advanced than the humans.

The Brunali, Wysanti, and Norcadians appear to be technologically and culturally inferior to the Federation. It seems that resistance is a product of cultural flexibility and inventiveness, rather than being advanced.

 

It is quite egotistical that a human-led federation is able to be the one that could hold them off or change the outcome in a conflict against the Borg.

We have to compensate for the idea that the show is about humanity's trials and tribulations.

 

The Borg are eons ahead of the human race.

Not really. The most advanced thing we really saw them using in later Voyager episodes was the quantum slipstream drive, and we know from the Voyager timeline that at that time, Starfleet was on the cusp of developing that themselves. We can assess from alternate timelines that they succeeded within twenty years or so.

 

To give the show credit, the Borg did send only one ship and no matter how advance they are a strategy like that was bound to fail.

To be fair, the single ship assault in First Contact did actually succeed (if you remember, they assimilated Earth). The only reason that assault finally failed was because of the relationship between Data, Picard, and the Borg queen, and it had nothing to do with the size of anyone's fleet.

 

Also, it is a bit silly to discount that strategy as "bound to fail" when you consider the thousands of homeworld assimilations that the Borg have successfully carried out against inferior races.

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Who says this, and when? I am unable to find any references. All the encyclopaedic resources I have read state that the earliest known activity was during Earth's 15th century.

 

The bartender Guinan says this after she tells Picard some info about the Borg in the "Q Who?" Here is an exact quote I found on the Wiki:

"Over thousands of centuries, the Borg have encountered and assimilated thousands of species (as attested by Guinan and the Borg Queen). However, little information regarding the true origin of the Borg millennia ago has been divulged in Star Trek canon. In Star Trek: First Contact, the Borg Queen merely states that the Borg were once much like humanity, "flawed and weak," but gradually developed into a partially synthetic species in an ongoing attempt to evolve and perfect themselves."

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borg_%28Star_Trek%29

 

Gotta love wikipedia!

 

The Brunali, Wysanti, and Norcadians appear to be technologically and culturally inferior to the Federation. It seems that resistance is a product of cultural flexibility and inventiveness, rather than being advanced.

 

 

The Brunali hid most their technology and focused on genetic engineering so that it could protect itself against the Borg. And there isn't really a lot of information that was given about the Wysanti or the Norcadians.

 

 

We have to compensate for the idea that the show is about humanity's trials and tribulations.

 

True...

 

Not really. The most advanced thing we really saw them using in later Voyager episodes was the quantum slipstream drive, and we know from the Voyager timeline that at that time, Starfleet was on the cusp of developing that themselves. We can assess from alternate timelines that they succeeded within twenty years or so.

 

Well, I never really watched too much of the Voyager series, so I'll take your word for it. But when they were first introduced and in later episodes and movies they were portrayed as being able to travel through time, counter every weapon and defense known to the Federation, regenerate, apparently having complete knowledge of every race they seem to encounter, etc. If that isn't a demonstration of how much more advanced they are than the humans, then I don't know what is.

 

To be fair, the single ship assault in First Contact did actually succeed (if you remember, they assimilated Earth). The only reason that assault finally failed was because of the relationship between Data, Picard, and the Borg queen, and it had nothing to do with the size of anyone's fleet.

 

Yeah, that is true. The Borg were also successfully assimilating the Enterprise E too, until Data tricked the queen and killed her.

 

Also, it is a bit silly to discount that strategy as "bound to fail" when you consider the thousands of homeworld assimilations that the Borg have successfully carried out against inferior races.

 

Yeah, but sending a single ship like that does set itself up for failure because if it is destroyed then it gives time for the race in question to prepare and put up a much stiffer resistance, as opposed to sending a bunch of ships and getting it over with quickly.

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The bartender Guinan says this after she tells Picard some info about the Borg in the "Q Who?" Here is an exact quote I found on the Wiki:

"Over thousands of centuries, the Borg have encountered and assimilated thousands of species (as attested by Guinan and the Borg Queen). However, little information regarding the true origin of the Borg millennia ago has been divulged in Star Trek canon. In Star Trek: First Contact, the Borg Queen merely states that the Borg were once much like humanity, "flawed and weak," but gradually developed into a partially synthetic species in an ongoing attempt to evolve and perfect themselves."

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borg_%28Star_Trek%29

 

Gotta love wikipedia!

Guinan would have no way of knowing that unless it were such common knowledge that Starfleet knew it too.

Her character and the characteristics of her race suggest that she is dramatising so that Picard is in no doubt whatsoever how grave a threat the Borg are to the Federation. Also bear in mind she was probably drunk.

 

For all her melodrama and posturing, the queen at no point states how long the Borg have been assimilating. How long they have existed, I seem to recall, but not how long they have been techno-raping the galaxy.

 

Remember that nincompoops can also add to the Wikipedia!

 

The control of a "handful of systems" in the Delta Quadrant by the Borg in 1484 is given as an unambiguous fact, not as a character's opinion or a tall tale.

 

Look more closely, at sources that are written by geekier people. In "Q Who" we are told that the original species the Borg came from first appeared a thousand centuries ago. They evolved into cyborgs over that time (mostly in the latter years, one would imagine), but this does not require any kind of assimilation of other species.

We learn in "Dragon's Teeth" that when the Vaadwuar who fled obliteration by the Turei placed themselves in suspended animation, the Borg were at that time in control of only a handful of systems. This was in 1484.

 

What is notable about the dialogue is that the Vaadwuar who converses with Seven of Nine says "the Borg", rather than "the Borg Collective", and "they controlled", rather than "they had assimilated". This supports the idea that the crusade for involuntary assimilation of other species did not really get started until about that time.

 

 

The Brunali hid most their technology and focused on genetic engineering so that it could protect itself against the Borg.

The Brunali did nothing that the Federation could not do, though. If you remember, the thrust of the episode "Good Shepherd" was that the Starfleet crew were appalled by the Brunali's willingness to use their own children as genetic weapons against the Collective. This is what I meant by "resistance is a product of cultural flexibility" -- the Brunali conceived of and deployed this final solution because they were not as advanced as the Federation.

 

And there isn't really a lot of information that was given about the Wysanti or the Norcadians.

No, that's why I said it was circumstantial. We know that members of those races have been assimilated, but in the areas of space where those drones were first encountered, and around the same time period, we see groups from both races going about their normal business (i.e. - they have not fled the area completely, and they are not extinct).

This suggests that to them, the occasional Borg assault is an occupational hazard and a bit of a nuisance, rather than being their major concern as a species. A bit like local muggers.

 

Well, I never really watched too much of the Voyager series, so I'll take your word for it. But when they were first introduced and in later episodes and movies they were portrayed as being able to travel through time, counter every weapon and defense known to the Federation, regenerate,

Something being unexpected does not make it more advanced. Although the Borg use an eclectic technological approach, they are not inventive; they use what they acquire from other species. Whether or not the technology of an advanced race makes the Borg more advanced upon its assimilation is a matter of opinion, because the most effective deployment of a technology often relies on free-thinking individuals making strategic decisions.

 

There are many species less advanced than the Borg and the Federation who we have seen repelling all known weapons, or travelling through time. The Devidians who infiltrated 19th century San Francisco in "Time's Arrow" are a good example.

 

apparently having complete knowledge of every race they seem to encounter, etc.

This is patently not true - the Borg only hold information that they assimilate. Indeed, the first time we ever saw them in "Q Who", their first act was to board the Enterprise and attempt to extract the contents of the LCARS database.

 

If that isn't a demonstration of how much more advanced they are than the humans, then I don't know what is.

A demonstration of advancement needs to be defined around some kind of principle. Technologically advanced? A bit, depends what they have encountered recently. Ethically advanced? They have no ethical structure to speak of. Economically advanced? That's certainly a tricky one.

 

 

Yeah, but sending a single ship like that does set itself up for failure because if it is destroyed then it gives time for the race in question to prepare and put up a much stiffer resistance, as opposed to sending a bunch of ships and getting it over with quickly.

To the Borg, this would represent a contradiction. Their approach protects them from inefficient losses.

Factor: If the target species cannot resist, one cube will be enough

Factor: If the target species resists, one cube might not be enough.

Factor: How many cubes are enough?

Solution: Send one cube. If the target species resists, reformulate approach.

 

We see two combat scenarios where more than one Borg ship attends:

 

The first is during the war with Species 8472. At this time, the Collective was in real trouble and knew it - it is likely that the Borg were attempting to ascertain how many cubes it would take to knock out a single 8472 dreadnought.

 

The second was the assimilation of species 10026 in "Dark Frontier" - there were two cubes and the queen's diamond flagship present during this assault. We are told that the single-planet species has been troublesome, and that their weapons have been developed to penetrate Borg shielding (this species may be the Nihydron from "Year of Hell" - their ships used the same CGI model).

 

This is another example of someone standing up to the Borg. However in this particular case, the Collective determined that - because of the unique ability of 10026 to continue to damage Borg ships after shield adaptation - the species merited a more forceful attack, with multiple targets. Incidentally, there were 39 ships defending during the battle; sound familiar? :D

 

In First Contact, it's likely the Borg sent one ship because the Queen/Collective was over-confident about the chances of success. Well, I say "over confident"; accurately confident is more like it. But if the Borg were to launch a further attack on the Federation, I would expect it to utilise a much more significant force.

 

Incidentally, there is (again circumstantial) evidence that the Borg cube at Wolf 359 was not alone, and neither was the cube that attacked Sector 001 in 2373. In both instances, we later encounter drones (or the memories of drones, see "Infinite Regress") who were assimilated during these invasions. Since the lead cube was destroyed in each case, we must assume that other cubes (or support vessels capable of significant transwarp jumps) were present in the Beta and Alpha quadrants during each incursion.

 

 

I sometimes wonder how the Borg would have turned out if the studio had been willing to pay for Maurice Hurley's original "insectoid race" concept :confused:

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