We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

A question for our times

Anyone else watching Star Trek: Discovery? ‘Tis quite the novelty in Solent Mansions: my dear husband and I sit down and watch television. On the very day a new episode comes out, my dears, for we will not wait!

Now we all know that by the time the era of Classic Trek rolls around after about a quarter of a century, certain things must have happened:

– the Spore Drive will not merely have dropped out of use, but will have been erased from human and Klingon memory.

– same goes for the holodeck.

– and for standards of starship interior design.

– the Klingons will look like Kang from Day of the Dove, not like Face Paint Thingy or Girl Thingy who can scarcely move under all those bone ridges.

– miniskirts will be back in.

– Captain Lorca will be revealed to be bad and wrong. The Star Trek universe has “proving warmongers wrong” listed higher up in its job description than “entropy”. But it is OK to quietly relish their badassery à la Gene Hunt in Life on Mars while we wait for the inevitable.

The question is how will all that is prophesied come to pass?

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64 comments to A question for our times

  • Julie near Chicago

    Natalie, I was busy elsewhere during the Age of the Trek and never became a Trekkie (except for the movies, and of course the odd snippet while channel-surfing). But your teaser definitely teases. Makes me wish we had TV again! :>)

  • Ken Mitchell

    “The question is how will all that is prophesied come to pass?”

    Alternate reality. The universe of Star Trek: Discovery is the same one as “Man in the High Castle”.

    As a physicist, the silliest number is “2”. Some things are unique; there’s only one of them. If there are two, then there can be MANY. Just so for alternate universes; if there can be two, there can be an infinite number of them.

  • After the steaming pile of tribble shit that was Star Trek: Enterprise, you could not pay me to watch another Star Trek series.

  • George Atkisson

    Over here in the US. I haven’t watched and will not. The entire cast demonstrated their support of the National Anthem protests by kneeling. Every man in our family for the last 100+ years has worn our country’s uniform. My nephew is currently stationed in Seoul, South Korea.

    I hate that politics and PC has become a part of every facet of life. It was done deliberately. They chose their position. I have chosen mine.

  • John Littleton

    I have to agree with George on this. If the cast members hadn’t made me aware of their politics, I would probably have given the show a try. I decided to watch ST:TNG from the beginning instead. I had forgotten how much Riker/alien humping and Troi-cleavage there was on that show. Also, Worf gets beat up A LOT.

  • Mr Ed

    Not having a TV and not having seen any star trek since c. 1992, I have no idea what you are referring to. Is it a re-run of the original?

  • Alisa

    I would watch if it featured a cameo by William Shatner as a conservative crank 😈

  • bobby b

    George, I’m about 98% with you in terms of my dislike for those who hate our system. The NFL, Hollywood, . . . wherever it appears.

    But you do need to make sure you’re not confusing a symbol of some attribute with the attribute itself.

    The things we swear allegiance to – things like honor and freedom and individual autonomy, all of which form the base of our Constitution – these things can become subsumed in the symbol that we wrap them in, and we can forget that the symbol isn’t the honor or the freedom.

    We swore allegiance to certain things, and for the sake of having an agreed-upon focal point, we settled on the flag. The flag then symbolizes, in our minds, all that is great and decent that we value.

    But it turns out that that same flag can symbolize different things to different people. It can symbolize, to some people who have had different experiences than us, bad things.

    So when those people seem to be dishonoring all that we deem honorable – because they’re dishonoring our symbol of that honor – we need to remember that they’re NOT attacking honor and freedom and individual autonomy. They’re attacking those things that the flag has come to symbolize to them.

    The conflict comes from the fact that different groups have chosen the same symbol for different meanings. So, even though I question the correctness of their laying of blame, sometimes I have to remind myself that they may value honor and freedom as much as I do, and they’re simply doing what they can to make ours a better system.

    They’re doing it badly, I think. But that’s not the same as doing bad.

  • Laird

    Star Trek: Enterprise wasn’t that bad. (And I loved the intro and theme song! Best one since TOS.) My favorite series was Deep Space 9, which had a very different feel. Never got into TNG, and the less said about Voyager the better.

    I’ve been watching Discovery, but it hasn’t really grabbed me yet. (Good theme music, though; it pays proper tribute to the original.) As to those “prophesies”, and without going Ken’s route (have I mentioned how much I hate “alternate realities”?) here are my thoughts: The spore drive is based on some ridiculous interstellar life form which has already been designated as an “endangered species”, so the Federation will simply declare them off limits and ban the technology. (Neither the Klingons nor any other species has that technology, so they just will never develop it.) As to the holodeck and interior design, Discovery is a prototype ship (and was designed to be a science vessel) so no others have the same configuration or amenities. Clearly the holodeck requires a lot of space which can’t be spared in a warship, and in such ships interior design should be minimalist anyway. Women’s fashions will be as capricious in the 23rd century as they are today; miniskirts will probably have come into and gone out of fashion several dozen times by then; TOS just caught one of the “in” times. But the appearance of Klingons? I can’t help you with that one.

  • Alisa

    So when those people seem to be dishonoring all that we deem honorable – because they’re dishonoring our symbol of that honor – we need to remember that they’re NOT attacking honor and freedom and individual autonomy.

    They are not attacking these attributes but are simply ignoring them, choosing instead some other, negative things that were never meant to be attributes of these symbols in the first place. I guess that the only thing I could argue in their defense is ignorance.

  • Laird

    I very much like bobby b’s comment. I’ve always been ambivalent about the “pledge of allegiance”*, and kneeling sends a clear message without being overtly disrespectful unless you choose to view it that way, which says more about you than about them. Flag-burning also sends a message, and I support people’s right to send that one, too. But I still think that displaying your political beliefs shouldn’t be done in a non-political public entertainment event, if only because you’ll piss off a large segment of your audience and ultimately put yourself out of a job. If I were running the NFL I would ban such on-field displays because it hurts the brand. I don’t know anything about the cast of Discovery taking a knee, but if it was done at a political event and not, say, at some promotional event for the series I have no problem with it.

    * Why should I pledge allegiance to a piece of cloth? I can pledge allegiance to “the republic for which it stands”, but I view allegiance as a two-way street, and right now I’m not so convinced that our increasingly authoritarian government is displaying allegiance to me or my individual rights. And I stopped saying “under God” when I was still in high school in the 60’s.

  • Star Trek: Enterprise wasn’t that bad.

    Civilians trying to defend themselves against pirates who have been preying on them and of course, they are the bad guys for wanting to fight back. Fuck Star Trek: Enterprise and the horse it rode in on, indeed fuck Star Trek generally. I have no intention of discovering Discovery as I already know I hate the brand and loath the people who create for it 😡

  • bobby b

    Alisa – aren’t we then doing the same thing when we wave a flag over a football game and ignore what that flag triggers in their perception? I’m just saying, there aren’t any traitors in this mess, just lots of people being stridently non-empathetic.

    Laird – thanks – I agree that smart marketing probably never seeks to alienate half of your market. Maybe they have a good and decent cause – I can’t argue that minorities don’t have a tough time, anywhere – but they’ve done more damage to that cause, and to their livelihood, than good.

  • I don’t watch football. I despise the kneelers. But it’s silly to say “introducing politics to a non-political event” when they’re kneeling as the Star Spangled Banner is sung.

  • Alisa

    Yes we are, Bobby – point is, by doing so ‘we’ choose to acknowledge the positive attributes, and ‘they’ choose the negative. Why is that? And no, I never said that they were traitors.

    but they’ve done more damage to that cause, and to their livelihood, than good

    Indeed.

  • WLD

    I saw the photo of the STD cast taking the knee. I immediately thought, “The Hell with THAT, and the Hell with THEM!” This is particularly annoying, because, up to this point, I really enjoyed watching Michelle Yeoh.

  • But it’s silly to say “introducing politics to a non-political event” when they’re kneeling as the Star Spangled Banner is sung.

    I concur. I have never understood why a national anthem, of all things, would be played at a non-national club sporting event, it seems so jarring and out of place. That struck me as weird even back before I ‘went all libertarian’ in my callow youth 😆

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    One of the things that I thought was not carried through to its’ logical conclusion was the principle behind the Holodeck. Why wasn’t that common through-out the ship? The holodeck was interactive, as though it was composed of nanobots. Why not have this everywhere? A Chair might appear, or grow from the deck, when a crew-member stops walking. The controls morph to the perfect size for that creature’s dimensions. Airlocks grow where they are needed, not at fixed locations, etc…..

  • Ferox

    It’s a fair point about the National Anthem at sporting events, though I am not sure that the US is peculiar in this. At all the World Cups I have watched, both teams anthems are played before the match.

    But introducing deliberately provocative political statements into what is not necessarily a political situation is precarious, at best. If I had to listen to a lecture from my grocer every time I stood in line to buy onions, I would stop going to that store (even if I agreed with him!)

    I could have lived with the obnoxiousness of the anthem protests, however. What drove me away from American football permanently was when some of the black players started showing black power salutes every time they tackled white players. And the league felt that was fine; no action was taken. The double standard and the level of sheer racial hatred shown there was too much for me – I won’t ever watch it again.

    It might be time to attempt to work out the arcane rules of cricket …

  • At all the World Cups I have watched, both teams anthems are played before the match.

    But the World Cup is between national teams, so national anthems seem less out of place. But why do that at club sporting events, particularly if some of the professional players are not even nationals of the country in which they are played to play? It just seems rather incongruous.

  • bobby b

    “I have never understood why a national anthem, of all things, would be played at a non-national club sporting event, it seems so jarring and out of place.”

    Purely American tradition started in the late 1800’s that just stuck. I can remember playing football in high school, and every game was begun with a recorded Anthem while facing the flag. The lack of it would have been far more noticable than its happening. It has become a “and here we go!” sort of signal more than anything else, which is why so many are baffled that so many others can take it so seriously. If you overdo something holy, it just becomes banal.

    Think of it like the trumpets’ “call to the post” before a horse race, except that here the trumpet is metaphor for your mom’s honor.

  • Ferox

    Incongruous or not, it has been the custom here for a hundred years. So it’s hardly controversial. Annoying, maybe. Controversial – no.

    Kneeling for the anthem certainly is controversial, though. It’s not like they were kneeling because they were tired. They were kneeling in order to cause a controversy – that was the specific goal. They wanted to stick a thumb in the eye of people whose views they don’t like. Why shouldn’t the people whose eyes are being gouged desist from continuing to watch?

  • Umbriel

    There are still more incongruities than Ms. Solent mentions — that the “Klingon D-7 cruiser” featured in one Discovery episode looks nothing like those of TOS and the associated movies, for example.

    An avid “Trekker” friend of mine subscribes to something called the “Discoverse” theory — that the series is taking place in an alternate universe (not specifically the “Mirror” universe), and that Lorca is from the TOS universe we know. Unsure what has happened to him, and frustrated by the “wrongness” of this universe, he’s actively trying to “fix” it.

    I find it an interesting theory, which would address all the oddities being discussed, but it’d be an unprecedentedly long set-up if they really mean to ever restore continuity.

  • AlexB

    Still don’t understand the kneeling issue. I get that the intention is questionable, but kneeling is generally considered a respectful thing, isn’t it? Subserviently respectful, as opposed perhaps to standing as equals, but respectful. So what is it about the act that causes the issue? Or is it just a matter of intent?

  • bobby b

    The ingrained, unquestioned tradition has always been that we stand for the National Anthem.

    It doesn’t matter if they are kneeling, lying on the ground, or crabwalking.

    They are simply, pointedly, not standing.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Another thing is the use of the metric system. It’s fine for Earth, but should we impose it on innocent aliens?
    So what could replace SI (System International)?
    SETI is listening for signals on hydrogen wavelengths. The commonest length is 8+1/4 inches, or 21cm. All aliens would find this length throughout the Universe. So why not have this as the new length? Perhaps we could call it a ‘Span’, and keep the decimal prefixes. A Kilospan would be 210m, etc. If hydrogen is frozen, a cube of sides of 1span weighs about 1.67kg (app.), which could be a new weight, a Universal mass, or Umass. All kinds of things would be possible.
    Perhaps, in any episodes of Star-Trek, crew members could be discussing the merits of safe metrics as opposed to GUS (Gray’s Universal Standards).

  • Roué le Jour

    Face Paint Thingy or Girl Thingy

    I call Star Trek aliens Homo apliqué.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Sorry- 1 Umass would be about 1.2kg. If light travelled 1,000,000,000 spans (1 Gigaspan), this would take 7/10s of a second. This could be a convenient time interval to use, so we could call it a moment.

  • The best science fiction does not date. The worst science fiction is obviously ‘of its time’ when watched just a decade later. Add to that, ST’s decision to make series in anti-chronological order required a level of mental discipline that a cast of kneelers was never likely to have. Whether a cast of kneelers (or UK equivalent) would stop me watching depends entirely on whether I’m rewarding them by doing so. A decade later, if they’re on a free channel and my set is not part of anyone’s viewing stats, then probably not). I always knew it was fiction, and the courageous caring hero(ine) may be Weinstein’s buddy in private life, let alone that more trivial thing, a kneeler. And unlike Natalie, I can bear to wait till it’s on free view – or maybe its my mean Scots heritage. 🙂 I’ve written alternate plots in my head to resolve the follies of StarWars, and once wrote out, just to prove to myself how much better I could do it, a better plot for an episode of Deep Space 9, but I think today’s ST is as unsavable as the casts’ politics.

    That said, when we decided to watch The Grand Tour, both the profitability to me of Amazon Prime delivery and the entertainment of the show figured high, but the fact that a spike in sales thumbed a nose at BBC management was no disincentive. Today’s world has been deliberately politicised by one side of the culture wars and they have their reward: I think of such things.

  • bloke in spain

    Startrek in any of it’s incarnations, has never been SF. Either science fiction – because the science is crap. Or speculative fiction. Because speculation about possible futures is an unexplored country for Hollywood screenwriters. Startrek is the same formula gave the world Rawhide. Cowboys & Indians with spaceships. The plotlines are anachronistic. Current obsessions played out on a fantasy stage. And that’s mostly suburban Los Angeles. In thinking if not locations. (Don’t get me started on the unexpurgated drivel that is Dr Who. I’m old enough to remember the first episode & grew out of it before the end of the second series. Actors in silver boiler suits with lengths of vacuum cleaner hose stapled to the sleeves. Still. Beat the sink plungers & Mini indicator lights of the Darleks)

    Be good to see some speculative fiction on the small screen. Maybe encourage people to consider where we’re headed. The Expanse on Netflix makes a fair shot at it, apart from failure to appreciate the dimensions of the solar system & not really getting orbital mechanics or deltaV.

  • The Expanse on Netflix makes a fair shot at it

    A very fair shot at it. I am an unabashed Drummer fanboy 😀

  • Britain is a good test case for the issue raised by bobby b (November 14, 2017 at 9:04 pm) because we are less flag-waving than you (and indeed, than any nation I know), so imagining the kneeler transposed to the UK and thinking how they’d behave here is a good test of whether and when bobby b’s charity is deserved or not in a given case.

    Past a certain age, it is you, not the propaganda you’ve been fed, that is responsible for your choices. Past a certain age, if all your ire is focussed on Britain, western civ., etc., and all your excuses on their enemies, then you reveal you are like the hard-left intellectuals Orwell observed in 1939: when the British ruling class declared war on Hitler, they discovered that in fact it was the British ruling class they really hated. I can well believe that the kneeling athletes are stupid and ignorant, and the kneeling actors stupider and more ignorant, but some people involved choose to hate the western culture that made slavery rare much more than the other cultures that would still be doing it today had our power never been, while others choose to listen to them.

  • Alisa

    Still don’t understand the kneeling issue. I get that the intention is questionable, but kneeling is generally considered a respectful thing, isn’t it? Subserviently respectful, as opposed perhaps to standing as equals, but respectful. So what is it about the act that causes the issue? Or is it just a matter of intent?

    IIRC, these protests began with someone sitting down during the singing of the anthem. Then the protesters quickly understood that that was going a bit overboard for most fans, and so adopted the kneeling “compromise”. Most fans still seem to be unimpressed though.

  • Is it a side topic, or very much on-topic, to wonder about science fiction (or in this case, speculative fiction) about science fiction – how could it have been different?

    – Dr Who exists today for the sole and simple reason that the Daleks were alien in a way Homo appliqué could never be (good one, Roué le Jour, November 15, 2017 at 6:45 am). The BBC originally planned the show as historical-educational – many visits of the tardis to earth’s past – with aliens occasionally thrown in to grab the childish punters’ attention. Without the huge impact of the Daleks, the beeb would have killed it much earlier than the 80s and would never have revived it.

    – StarTrek’s first series got attention by sheer chance. The pilot had the future nurse Chapel cast as No 1 and Leonard Nimoy as a bit-part alien of vague (but fairly emotional) character. As was cliche for a 60s show, the female authority figure was scripted as outwardly cold and logical but with strong inward emotions. When the station executives demanded she be dropped from the part (because they were so sexist according to the narrative, because she could not act it and had only been cast for it through being Roddenberry’s mistress according to others), Nimoy was hastily shoved into it, retaining his alien pointy ears and acquiring the outward-logic, inward-emotion persona, now casually rewritten as a feature of his alien culture. The rest is history: everyone involved was as surprised as pleased when they slowly realised Spock was making the show a winner. And without that first series fact, the 80’s revival would no more have considered using the name than any of the other long-and-justly forgotten SF series of its time (which would have simplified the reconciliation problems Natalie posted).

    So one of the most famous SF series owes it all to utterly unpredicted chance, and the other to a single writer’s idea in what management saw as a secondary area of the show. There might be a political argument against statism lurking inside all of that.

  • The first Star Trek movie with the new cast was so unsatisfying that I stopped being interested in seeing more Trek, and stopped paying attention to news about it. I’ve seen discussions of the new series, but they haven’t inspired any curiosity. Our household’s current list of shows to watch when we have the time focuses on The Expanse and Orphan Black.

    (The original Trek series, with all its failings, had a balance of action/adventure, character interaction, and sense of wonder. The film that started the new Trek universe had action/adventure turned way up and sense of wonder turned way down. Not what I look for in movies.)

  • Britain is a good test case for the issue raised by bobby b (November 14, 2017 at 9:04 pm) because we are less flag-waving than you

    Yes, when I lived in the USA, I found probably the whole flag-thing perhaps the second largest source of culture-shock (and I roll Presidential reverence in with that same thing, something that seems to have rather faded now).

  • Our household’s current list of shows to watch when we have the time focuses on The Expanse and Orphan Black.

    We have similar taste. I am in awe of Tatiana Maslany’s stunning indeed almost terrifying range as an actress!

  • Mr Ed

    On the anthem question, I recall as a child asking a relative who worked for the US Navy in London if Americans were as patriotic as they seemed as it struck me as odd when so many identified as ‘HyphenAmericans”. I was told that they were extremely patriotic, far more overtly than British people, and it is indeed a significant cultural difference to the UK.

    Of course what the kneelers are indicating is that they are not ‘Deplorables’, but are the enlightened ones.

    On Star Trek, Sir Patrick Stewart said that he was in a hotel watching what turned out to be Red Dwarf and thought he should call his lawyers about a Star Trek rip-off programme, then something made him laugh so he forgot about the idea.

  • Confused Old Misfit

    On national anthems:
    The national anthem of Canada is played before National Hockey League games and is usually sung enthusiastically by the arena audiences. Even when the game is being played between “Canadian” teams.

  • Paul McLaughlan

    I always looked forward to the time when they would explain the variance in Klingon faces. We had to wait for Enterprise to clear it up – and it wasn’t terrible. But then Discovery creates an unforced error by changing the Klingons again. With regards the Spore drive, the expert is Stamets (the other expert died in an accident on the sister ship) and in last episode Stamets looks like he’d become like a P12 in Babylon 5 (transitioning into a non-corporeal being). Therefore I fully expect Starfleet to deem it too dangerous and the Discovery to be blown to pieces at the end of the series, destroying the prototype. One other point though, I understood it to be only 10 years before Kirk… Which makes this “Discoverse” theory more likely…

    Pity about the flag thing – I didn’t know and, unless I can purge it from my memory, will probably ruin my future viewing!

  • Sam Duncan

    “Another thing is the use of the metric system. It’s fine for Earth, but should we impose it on innocent aliens?”

    One thing we can be more or less certain about is that when we finally contact an alien civilization, it won’t be using base ten. There’s always a chance, but it’d be a hell of a coincidence. A universal system would have to be based on powers of two or, more practically, twelve.

  • Paul Marks

    As David Cullen (“Computing Forever”) on Youtube points out – “Star Trek: Discovery” is written by people by people who do not know much about the Star Trek franchise – indeed (as Natalie points out) are showing stuff that is radically inconsistent with the “classic” Star Trek (made in 1967 – but continually re shown, so how can the writers have missed it?) which is supposed to occur only a few years in the future of “Star Trek Discovery”.

    As for the purpose of the new show – the writers and actors have been clear about that. The purpose of the new show is not to make money (as with Hollywood generally now commercial success is considered to be some sort mark-of-shame) – the purpose of the show is to push feminism and to show evil Klingons as “Donald Trump supporters” with a racialist and nationalist agenda.

    Only leftist politics matters to the entertainment industry – nothing else, even money does not matter to them any more. Although it would be interesting to take the writers and the actors at their word and NOT PAY THEM FOR THEIR WORK.

  • Watchman

    Slightly random thought here, but the NFL is apparently looking at the possibility of a franchise in London (Jacksonville were favourite to move, but as they have become better this year maybe that will change). So what would be played at the start of the home games in London, and would people kneel?

    Personally I worry that we are not supporting the kneelers – it’s their choice, and those opposed to them seem to be relying on social cohesion, which is the standard fallback argument for an enemy of freedom. We might not agree with the cause of the protests (although I am also pretty sure we should be against a violent and militarised police force, which is the image many of the protestors are evoking), but we don’t just support freedom for people who think like us do we?

  • Watchman

    Deep Space Nine was always the best Star Trek, as the relative lack of mobility forced them to have to develop themes amongst characters and races/polities in the vicinity of the station (or the other end of the wormhole). But it was nothing compared to the briliance that was the fourth season of Babylon Five. That had the huge advantage of the government of Earth turning out to be the bad guys.

  • Darrell

    I broke a longstanding personal boycott of going to the movies in order to see the first Star Trek reboot. I left the movie wishing I’d not bothered.

    I’m a bit surprised nobody’s mentioned Firefly. It seems to be libertarians’ sci fi cup of tea. Of course some would say it’s not really sci fi at all, though. As a lifelong fan of science fiction, I have to say I’ve mostly given up on it–it’s become hopelessly PC.

  • Alisa

    but we don’t just support freedom for people who think like us do we?

    Oh not again, please? They can think, say and do what they like, and I can criticize their thoughts, words and deeds. Next?

  • Perry, I’m totally with you on that. She’s one of the big selling points for that show, though it doesn’t hurt that the SF is significantly harder than usual for television. I’m really impressed at her ability to play clone A, and clone B pretending to be clone A, and clone B not pretending to be anyone else—and have them all distinguishable. If Eliza Dushku had half that acting ability Dollhouse would have been a much better series. . . .

  • Laird

    Glad to see mentions here of Babylon 5 and Firefly. Two of the best SF series ever; the only ones for which I own the complete DVD sets and actually watch them occasionally. And to follow up on Watchman’s comment about B5 season 4, in the X-Files the government was always the bad guy, too.

  • The Jannie

    Star Trek? What a load of . . . Don’t let me sway you, watch it all you like: this is my usual expression . . .

  • Johnnydub

    STD is as the name suggests a wart on ones bits…. the critiques of it being leftist crap are spot on….

    I’m surprised no one has yet mentioned the Orville (is it showing in the UK? I am familiar with the bittorrent means of snaffling content…)

    Its way more ST than STD and is also quite silly at times – but entertaining and occasionally properly good…

  • If Eliza Dushku had half that acting ability Dollhouse would have been a much better series. . . .

    For sure. In Orphan Black, sometimes I had to remind myself that Rachael, Cosima, Helena (holy FUCK, Helena!!!) and Sarah (etc.) were actually the same actress! A true acting tour de force the like of which I have never seen before.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Sam, whilst you are right that we can’t know what base aliens might prefer, we could at least use GUS standards! The span could have many prefixes, but the basic span would be the same in all, and we might then translate between them, like currencies now.

  • bobby b

    Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray
    November 15, 2017 at 5:32 am

    “Perhaps, in any episodes of Star-Trek, crew members could be discussing the merits of safe metrics as opposed to GUS (Gray’s Universal Standards).”

    Old hat. Done to death. If I had a nickel for every 90’s sit-com that got cheap jokes out of safe metrics versus GUS . . .

    (Okay, I’ll bite. I’m neither a techie nor a Trekkie, so I have to Bing stuff like this, but “Gray’s Universal Standards” appears nowhere. ???)

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    I invented GUS to describe this new Universal system. I mentioned it briefly to Greg Bear, who used to write science fiction, when he visited Sydney many years ago. When I read that the 21cm hydrogen wavelength was everywhere in the Universe, I thought- there’s something that humans and aliens can agree on! Then I tried to develop it further, by including mass, and tempo, etc.
    Sam, we might grow up thinking in both Decimal and Octimal. A Dekospan is ten spans, and an Oktospan is eight spans (and an oktometre could be eight metres, if you wanted to play around with bases.) I don’t think that bases would be an impediment- people here and in Britain use metrics and Imperial all the time!

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Also, Greg Bear introduced me to exponential numbering. It seems you just need to count the zeroes, and use that. A kilometer is 1 with three zeroes (1000), so could be written as 1m3. A millimeter is negative (0.001), so could be written as 1m-3. 2500m could be 25m2, etc. So no need for prefixes.

  • Surellin

    Someone really should have thought before giving a television show a name that inevitably will be abbreviated “STD”.

  • Paul Marks

    I must confess that I have never watched “The Expanse” or “Orphan Black” – clearly I have missed good shows.

    As for Deep Space Nine – I doubt Watchman, or anyone else here, would be shocked by what my favourite episode of that is. A very true-to-life episode – and “I think I can live with it”.

  • Laird

    What’s the title, Paul?

  • Patrick Crozier

    “On Star Trek, Sir Patrick Stewart said that he was in a hotel watching what turned out to be Red Dwarf and thought he should call his lawyers about a Star Trek rip-off programme, then something made him laugh so he forgot about the idea.”

    Heh.

  • Paul Marks

    That would be telling Laird.

  • Paul Marks

    O.K. Laird – Series Six, Episode 19.

    “In The Pale Moonlight”.

  • Brian Swisher

    Paul – is it In the Pale Moonlight?

  • Paul Marks

    Correct Brian.

    Laird – you liked the theme tune of “Enterprise”?

    I am astonished – utterly astonished.

    Unless you mean the theme tune from the “Mirror Universe” in “Enterprise”.

  • Laird

    Paul, why are you astonished? It’s a lovely tune, meaningful lyrics, and I very much like the photographic montage behind it showing the history of human exploration in 80 seconds. What’s not to like?

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