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Sat, Jun 22, 2019, 10:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: A Disquiet Follows My Soul

never knew this was RDM's directorial debut, guess it shows when reviewers hate it for focusing on specific things.
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Sat, Jun 22, 2019, 10:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Sometimes a Great Notion

can't help but think how other writers would mess up this episode
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Sat, Jun 22, 2019, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Covenant


"Are you sure faith is always a bad thing? Children have but faith in their parents to do what’s best for them, and without that, they might not learn how to become responsible adults. "

Well, he did say faith without evidence. If a child has faith in his parents while they beat him daily, then yes, it's a bad thing.

Nothing in this world can be relied upon, which is where religious faith comes in. The paradox is, I find, that faith in God is first required to have evidence of God. In an age where we have utmost faith that what our senses tell us is true, that is something that is extremely difficult to overcome.
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Sat, Jun 22, 2019, 6:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Menage a Troi

Great fun little episode. I don't know why everyone is so hard on Lwaxana, she is funny and looks amazing especially for her age. I first saw this episode when I was about 5 or 6 way back when it first aired. I always loved the fun costumes when I was a kid and the alien makeup. Troi was my fave ( Now as an adult I tend to like Picard, Data or Bev) I loved Troi's outfits and hair and had the action figure. There were not many great female role models for kids my age.
I tend to like the comedy or the romance episodes a lot. I enjoyed them as a child, so it brings me back to that innocent time in my life.
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Sarjenka's Brother
Sat, Jun 22, 2019, 5:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Trouble With Tribbles

If "City on the Edge of Forever" is the best TOS drama, then "The Trouble With Tribbles" is the best dramedy. (I say dramedy because there were dramatic stakes to the episode, which made the comedy all the better).

I think one reason the episode is so good is the characters stay true to character. They didn't have them behaving out of character just to achieve some laughs.

I think this episode is the one that cemented "Star Trek's" place as an enduring franchise. It's also the peak of the TOS to me. I don't see another episode coming up that matches it.

It's also one of the few Trek episodes or movies that puts every single minute to extraordinary use. The others:

City on the Edge of Forever
Mirror, Mirror
Doomsday Machine
The Wrath of Khan
The Undiscovered Country


The Measure of a Man
Yesterday's Enterprise
Best of Both Worlds
Inner Light


The Die is Cast
The Visitor
In the Pale Moonlight
The Siege of AR-558
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Sat, Jun 22, 2019, 8:30am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Covenant

Because this popped up in the comment stream I read the review again.
It is a delight.
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Sat, Jun 22, 2019, 7:01am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Covenant


Are you sure faith is always a bad thing? Children have but faith in their parents to do what’s best for them, and without that, they might not learn how to become responsible adults.
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Sat, Jun 22, 2019, 1:25am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Warlord

Those feet of Neelix as shown in the opening scene....looked like leftover Hobbit prosthetic feet from Lord of the Rings...
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Sat, Jun 22, 2019, 1:21am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Covenant

I like this one because it illustrates nicely the danger of believing things based on faith (i.e. belief without evidence.) There is no conclusion that cannot be arrived at using faith. Is it any wonder that people believe in nonsense when using this unreliable method?
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Nick T
Fri, Jun 21, 2019, 9:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Real Life

This might be the first time a 90’s era Trek episode has made me cry. Really well done and acted. Agree with many from starting annoyed to ending with being touched. It says something that there are 12 years worth of comments for this episode.
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Fri, Jun 21, 2019, 7:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

hello jammer,

i'm agree with you, the klingon ship story was confusing. l'rell had a ship, no? now she is with this other ship serving kol? i dont understand also l'rell and admiral trying an escape. just walking? where?
thank god saru and pahvo story was good. saru is very interesting, i like that the writers play around with his fear and motivate us to think how he fellls like without fear, not sure if humans can understand really, but its good that the subject is explorated.

i like disco until now. better than voyager, only other star trek serie i watched completely. so many boring epsidoes. i still need to see the first two series.
but this episode was not one of the best so far. klingon ship scenes are bad.

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The Man
Fri, Jun 21, 2019, 7:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: A Matter of Time

Actually Nick Poliskey you seem to have an obsession with whining about Robin Williams. This episode was not that great and you pretending that you like it doesn't change that fact.
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Fri, Jun 21, 2019, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Future's End, Part II

I also wondered if it wasn't a violation of the temporal prime directive for the EMH to keep the mobile emitter. After all, Janeway now knew there was a temporal prime directive (if she didn't know before) as Braxton told her about it.
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William B
Fri, Jun 21, 2019, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Explorers

@Jason, my understanding is that the experimental verification is very good, with the caveat that the experimental verification at extreme high speeds (extremely close to the speed of light) is largely from elementary particles -- which means that we might be missing something if extended acceleration breaks down bonds, or something like that. That is a potentially big caveat.

As far as the practical concerns, I don't know too much about what the engineering challenges would be so I'll just rattle off what I know and what I remember hearing. I'm sure there are big problems I'm not mentioning, but here are a few. The kinetic energy of a fast-moving object basically scales inversely with the time dilation factor, so to get to a speed at which time moves 1/10 as fast on the ship would require at least approximately 10 times the rest mass times c^2 energy input into the object, at minimum -- and that's not even counting that momentum also has to be conserved, which means that a large amount of extra energy would likely have to be input in order to account for the momentum travelling opposite the ship. With enough antimatter this might work out, but it becomes a standard rocketry problem where until the fuel actually leaves the ship, it has to be carried by the ship and still accelerated. I'd have to look into it precisely, but I think it's a problem. There's also the apparent limits on what accelerations a human being can survive. There might be ways around this ("inertial dampeners"!!!) but I'm not sure how much it'd be possible. Acceleration is really experienced within the object's rest frame, so the additional problem is that at "constant acceleration" in the object's own rest frame, the rate at which an object approaches the speed of light in (say) the Earth's frame will slow down. So that's another issue. I'm sure there are others.

Notably though, neither of these two are all *that* relevant when we're talking about even 1/2 the speed of light. The time dilation at 1/2 the speed of light is only a factor of 2/sqrt(3) or about 1.154, and so to a first approximation you can just treat it nonrelativistically. That's still extremely fast, but in a nonrelativistic universe it would only take a little under a year to accelerate to c at one g (the Earth's gravity), by coincidence, so it'd only take about half a year to accelerate to 1/2 the speed of light at a constant speed of 1 g. Sustaining 1g acceleration for a whole year on a space ship would require a lot of fuel, but might not be too bad. The idea of using lasers (as Chrome mentions) is a way of getting around the fuel issue, but creates its own problems. It is a cool feature that lasers exert pressure, and indeed using light reflection to propel an object does seem to be the most efficient way, offhand, due to light's lack of rest mass.
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Fri, Jun 21, 2019, 11:56am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Explorers

Interesting. I had read that NASA was planning to explore Alpha Centauri for the 100 year anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing in 2069. But as this conversation recognizes, the methods to reach that goal just don't exist yet. I heard they were working to use lasers to somehow send probes a quarter lightspeed to AC, but that would still take 20 years of travel.
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Jason R.
Fri, Jun 21, 2019, 11:17am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Explorers

Thanks William that is a really great explanation. I wish I understood more than 1% of it but even the 1% is interesting.

Could I just ask: is this something that is a certainty, or does the hypothesis depend on a lot of speculation? I know time dilation has been proven by putting atomic clocks on airplanes but do we know for sure that it would work this way in practice? With enough energy I could literally travel 1 billion light years in less than a human lifetime from my own POV? It just seems like it can't be true.

And another question: I know getting to close to the speed of light requires ludicrous amounts of energy but is it feasible that one day we could accelerate a ship to some meaningful fraction of light speed (say 1/2 or 1/4) and would time dilation make any practical difference at that speed?

On the subject of Voyager it occurred to me that Janeway should have just accelerated to near ls, arrived at Earth 70,000 years in the future and then done the slingshot around the sun trick to go back in time. But then it occurred to me that even with antimatter she would never have had the energy to accelerate to that speed so no luck.
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William B
Fri, Jun 21, 2019, 10:51am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Explorers


That's a great question about how length contraction can be measured, and in fact it is very difficult to measure directly. I haven't checked the state of the art, so maybe someone has, but because the only things that are easy to accelerate close to light speed in the lab are particles (which, consequently, don't have much "length" to measure, although there are other things like their electromagnetic field which are similar) rather than extended objects, it's not an easy thing to verify directly. However, length contraction follows directly from the constancy of the speed of light and the existence of time dilation, both of which are well studied, as well as the principle of relativity. I'm probably understating the experimental evidence here, but it's more that the strongest and oldest experimental evidence is for the things that imply length contraction rather than length contraction itself.

To use an example that's close to what we're talking about, muons travelling at high speeds penetrate through the Earth's atmosphere with a relatively long decay time, even though the decay time of a muon in its rest frame is very short -- shorter than the time it takes for even a near-light-speed muon to pass through the atmosphere (in Earth's frame). In the Earth frame, the explanation is time dilation: the muon experiences a shorter amount of time between the point it enters the atmosphere and when it hits the Earth than the muon would itself. From the muon's frame, the Earth can still only approach it at *at most* the speed of light. That means that the distance between the upper atmosphere and the surface must be less in the muon's frame, in order for the muon to still experience as little time passing during the time it takes for the Earth to hit the muon. Basically both length contraction and time dilation are consequences of the Lorentz transformations, which transform between inertial frames while keeping the speed of light in vacuum constant.

To extend the example of the muon, here's what happens to the space ship during the round trip. It's in the Earth frame. Then it accelerates (say in a very short time) until it's moving near the speed of light, in Earth's frame. It travels to the star, and will get to the star in the Earth-star frame in just over ten years, because the Earth and star both measure its speed as being near light speed. Then it slows down, say touches down on the surface, and then accelerates and races back to the Earth, and then slows down and stops. Once again, the star-Earth frame distance is ten light years, and the ship is going at near light speed, so it takes ten more years (and change), for a round trip of twenty years on Earth. However, time dilation means that the space ship crew has barely aged during this time.

(This is Einstein's Twin "Paradox," which is that if one twin remained on Earth and the other went on the space ship, the Earth twin would age 20 years but the space ship twin would barely age at all. The "paradox" is that it appears to violate the tenet of (special) relativity that all frames are equally valid. In truth it does not, because the space ship was not staying in a constant inertial frame the whole time. An inertial frame is a "constant speed" frame, without acceleration, and so the space ship, due to its periods of acceleration, did not remain in a single frame the whole time, and thus broke the symmetry with Earth.)

But anyway, we know how much the ship crew has aged, and we know how much time has passed on Earth. It just remains to explain how this is explained in the space ship crew's frame. The way that transforming between frames work is that if A appears to travel at speed v in B's frame, B will appear to travel at speed -v in A's frame (equal and opposite). This means that if the space ship is travelling at near light speed in the Earth-star frame, then in the ship's frame, Earth and the star will appear to be moving at near light speed in the ship's frame. Note that the ship is *not moving* in its own frame. So it would seem at first glance that it would take another 10 LY for the ship to experience the journey, not because the ship is moving (in its own frame, it is still) but because the ship now has to wait for the star to come around and arrive at the ship, and the star is only going at near light speed. The key is that the Earth-star distance is shortened, by a factor equal to the time dilation factor. This is why the travel time is not merely halved -- it's not just that the ship and the star are both approach in each other, but that the ship is waiting for the star to cover a *much smaller than 10 LY* distance, which the star can do with ease. Similarly for the travel from the star to Earth. So the acceleration and deceleration is the "only" hard part. Because objects tend to stay in their own inertial frames, it's the accelerating between inertial frames that is the difficult part -- that and resynchronizing watches.

(Part of the reason I mentioned the "round trip" is that simultaneity is actually problematic in relativity -- while it's relatively intuitive to say that it takes light ten years to go from Earth to a star, in different frames what constitutes the "same time" on Earth and the star will be different, and so the most consistent way to measure a time for a trip is with a single clock at one location, rather than two synchronized clocks at different locations.)

Hope this made sense! It's actually easier with the math, but then maybe this isn't the time for a Lorentz transformations special relativity math lesson.

@Jason, your understanding is correct. Assuming Voyager could have accelerated up to very high sublight speeds, it could have made it to Earth in very little time at all, assuming they didn't care that they'd be arriving on an Earth 70000 light years later. If that were their plan, one assumes Janeway would have ditched her engagement ring sooner. (Although this does raise the other point that if Mark wanted to wait for Janeway, and if somehow he knew she would be back in 70000 years, he could "just" accelerate a ship to near light speed and go on a round trip to get back coinciding with her arrival. It be funny like that.)
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Jason R.
Fri, Jun 21, 2019, 4:16am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Explorers

"If the ship accelerated to near light speed and did a circuit from Earth to the star and back, the space ship crew would experience it as a very short trip over which Earthers aged just over 20 years."

That was what I thought but I am just recently discovering this stuff as a layperson.

Correct me if I am wrong, but assuming you could get your ship to nearly light speed (dodging cosmic rays, deadly dust particles and using more energy than the entire world could produce ...) you could basically go gallivanting around the universe Traveller style touring the cosmos from end to end and come out young enough to enjoy early retirement?

(With the caveat of course that when you got home the sun would have burned out, and everyone you knew would be dust.)

But travelling at sublight you basically can (from your own point of view) do the 70,000 light year Star Trek Voyager tour more or less instantly - despite the fictional Voyager having warp drive and being able to travel faster than light!
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Fri, Jun 21, 2019, 3:59am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

I don't think tonal inconsistency is a problem, tonal variance is required for story telling, and I think their mixture of serious and sarcastic is superb (Want me to use another S?) It's an experiment, yes, but it only enhances my viewing

Whose to say some humans will never be incompetent in the future. Why must space-faring ships be devoid of humour - certainly isn't for sea-faring vessels!
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Peter G.
Fri, Jun 21, 2019, 1:36am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Explorers

@ William B,

Thanks for the correction. I wasn't aware of length contraction; but how can that experimentally be measured? (sorry to onlookers for going a bit off topic)

Anyhow even if the destination races towards you at the same speed you race towards it, would that not simply double the effective rate of progress and halve the travel time from the spaceman perspective? That's a savings, but not that much of one compared with travelling incredibly far distances, I would think. Gotta find those warp eddies...
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William B
Thu, Jun 20, 2019, 11:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Explorers


This is actually my field of study, so I wanted to clarify this. What you're describing is actually several different related relativistic effects, but they don't really work the way you describe.

"From the perspective of people on Earth it's true the spacemen would age less slowly, but from the perspective of the relativistic spacemen the rest of the universe would age faster."

This is correct.

"So not only would the local frame of reference seem 'normal' (meaning a 10 LY journey would take just over 10 years at nearly the speed of light) but by the time they got there everyone they knew would be dead and far more than 10 years would have passed on Earth in the meantime."

This is not really correct in the scenario Jason was describing. The issue is that length contraction also occurs, so that if a star was 10 LY from Earth in the galactic rest frame, it would only be a small fraction of that distance away in the ship's rest frame. This means that the "10 LY trip" would be a much shorter distance. The star approaches the space ship at the same speed as the ship approaches the star, so the time experienced for this trip in the space ship frame is very short. So the ratio of proper time experienced during the trip between the ship and the galactic rest frame is still large, but the distance is significantly reduced in the ship's frame. If the ship accelerated to near light speed and did a circuit from Earth to the star and back, the space ship crew would experience it as a very short trip over which Earthers aged just over 20 years.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jun 20, 2019, 9:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Explorers

@ Jason R.

"But then there was something I thought pretty remarkable - if somehow you could get a ship to a significant fraction of the speed of light (which a human could easily survive in principle) you wouldn't need a warp drive to explore the universe. From the point of view of the crew you could explore our galaxy and every galaxy within a human lifetime - at sublight speeds! "

Are you referring to relativistic time dilation? The way that would work is unfortunately far less convenient than that. From the perspective of people on Earth it's true the spacemen would age less slowly, but from the perspective of the relativistic spacemen the rest of the universe would age faster. So not only would the local frame of reference seem 'normal' (meaning a 10 LY journey would take just over 10 years at nearly the speed of light) but by the time they got there everyone they knew would be dead and far more than 10 years would have passed on Earth in the meantime. If the spacemen were actually going at the speed of light, in theory the entire universe around them would go through infinite time passed instantly, as the time dilation is non-linearly calculated. The closer you are to being in a speed-of-light gravity well (such as the event horizon of a black hole, or at a sufficient amount of acceleration in outer space, which are identical cases to each other) the more exponentially time decelerates for you from the perspective of everyone else, and the more time accelerates for them from the spaceman perspective. So all going near the speed of light would do is create an incredible discrepancy in 'how long it's been' since you left, whereas from the spaceman perspective you're still moving towards the destination at regular speed. It's a terrible deal all around, unless you're sick of your co-workers and want to return to meet a new generation.

The Hyperion book series deals briefly with how much time is lost when people are travelling in normal space at relativistic speeds. In short there's no free lunch, and space/physics is *so* weird that it makes seemingly no sense from a regular everyday perspective. There are other, equally weird aspects to relativity as well.
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Thu, Jun 20, 2019, 9:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Revelations

Stephen Moffatt would have made it time wimey wibbly wobbley
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Thu, Jun 20, 2019, 9:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: The Hub

so many series can learn from these episodes
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Jason R.
Thu, Jun 20, 2019, 6:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Explorers

"Bloody hell I didn't realise how badly I want humankind to travel to another galaxy. Seeing Sisko and son get to Cardassia made me feel way more than I thought it would."

I used to take it as a given that mankind would one day reach the stars - it comes from growing up with Trek.

But even setting aside the risk that we might be destroyed by nuclear war or climate change or economic collapse before this could be achieved, the technical challenges of reaching Alpha Centauri, just a piddling 4 light years away, are daunting to put it mildly.

Unless someone pulls a warp drive out of their rear end (which might as well be sorcery frankly) it will probably never happen. We would be lucky to build machines capable of interstellar travel. For humans to do it? Maybe impossible.

But then there was something I thought pretty remarkable - if somehow you could get a ship to a significant fraction of the speed of light (which a human could easily survive in principle) you wouldn't need a warp drive to explore the universe. From the point of view of the crew you could explore our galaxy and every galaxy within a human lifetime - at sublight speeds!

We think Trek is stranger than reality but it turns out it isn't nearly strange enough!
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