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Old 2nd October 2017, 07:10 AM   #241
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Gene (much like Lucas) was a wonderful storyteller and world builder without being all the great of a writer or scripter, so he paradoxically wound up being the best and worst thing about his own work most of the time.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 07:15 AM   #242
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Gene (much like Lucas) was a wonderful storyteller and world builder without being all the great of a writer or scripter, so he paradoxically wound up being the best and worst thing about his own work most of the time.
Good summary.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 09:18 AM   #243
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Well, he didn't actually write much of the script for TNG. Most of the time he more or less just forced the script writers to respect his canon, and not do the usual soap-opera dumb drama except in SPAAACE.

And he was only there for the first three seasons of TNG. Already the end of the third season he had stopped doing much for it.

But if we're talking his WRITING for the show, the last time that's mentioned in the credits is episode 13 of the first season. ("Datalore") That's it.

He wasn't even ALIVE for the last three seasons of TNG. And certainly not for DS9, VOY or ST:Enterprise, where the worst infusions of dumb soap-opera drama happened.

So I'm not sure exactly why people blame HIM blanketly for the sins of "post-TOS Trek", when he wasn't even alive for most of those. Unless he haunted the sets or something
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Old 2nd October 2017, 09:24 AM   #244
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
So I'm not sure exactly why people blame HIM blanketly for the sins of "post-TOS Trek", when he wasn't even alive for most of those. Unless he haunted the sets or something
Because he's the one who pushed for Trek's latter goody-two-shoes, utopian feel. He's the one who made Trek, and there was an incentive to respect his "vision". TOS wasn't much affected, but TMP sure was, which is why Roddenberry was kicked upstairs afterwards and didn't have much to do with the following movies. He put his paws on the show when TNG was made, and it shows in the first season, and even though as you said he had little to do with the creative process afterwards, his presence was still felt. Luckily, DS9 went for a more human approach, with more conflict and issues, even among the main cast.

"Gene Roddenberry's Vision" is an oft-uttered phrase in fandom and among the people involved in the shows.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 09:38 AM   #245
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Thanks for replies. Wesley never struck me as bad character back when I saw TNG. (~15 years ago)

Well, when I get to rewatch it, I'll see if I get to change opinion or not...
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Old 2nd October 2017, 12:33 PM   #246
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Mind you, the "hate" is mostly taking the mickey. I don't think anyone actively HATES him, but he felt annoying and out of place. Kinda like putting truck nuts on the Enterprise would feel.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 01:52 PM   #247
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I think it's informative and interesting that some dislike the early season character and some dislike the late season character.

Wil Wheaton grew up into a genuinely awesome fellow though.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 02:24 PM   #248
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Not even that he was a genuinely awesome actor even during his Star Trek run. His role on Stand By Me was amazing and a full year before his debut on Star Trek.

He just had a poor luck to play a not spectacularly written character during the growing pains part of a show's run in a genre that tends to overly latch onto to less than perfect characters and make them hate sinks.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 02:51 PM   #249
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Not even that he was a genuinely awesome actor even during his Star Trek run. His role on Stand By Me was amazing and a full year before his debut on Star Trek.
Meh. I've found his acting to be pretty ordinary most of the time. I'm much more of a fan when he's off the cuff, like on his show Tabletop. That is a great show.

Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
He just had a poor luck to play a not spectacularly written character during the growing pains part of a show's run in a genre that tends to overly latch onto to less than perfect characters and make them hate sinks.
Does the science fiction genre really do that? I can't think of any other examples.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 02:56 PM   #250
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Meh. I've found his acting to be pretty ordinary most of the time. I'm much more of a fan when he's off the cuff, like on his show Tabletop. That is a great show.
Pretty much any podcast he winds up on is guaranteed to be good.

Quote:
Does the science fiction genre really do that? I can't think of any other examples.
Jarjar, Neelix, Orko, Scrappy Do, Minya, Venus Del Mio, Robin (at times), the Ewoks...
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Old 2nd October 2017, 03:11 PM   #251
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Pretty much any podcast he winds up on is guaranteed to be good.
I'll give you that.

Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Jarjar, Neelix, Orko, Scrappy Do, Minya, Venus Del Mio, Robin (at times), the Ewoks...
Okay... I'll grant that a lot of people dislike some of those characters even if I don't (and I don't recognise some of them anyway). Your point is made.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 03:24 PM   #252
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I don't think it's inherent in the genre, though. Well, except in as much as the writers do occasionally feel like they have free hand to not just jump the shark, but do cartwheels and somersaults over the shark. You know, supposedly to make it more interesting or alien.

Jar-Jar and generally the gungans were a spectacularly bad minstrel stereotype, and Jar Jar didn't reallly contribute anything except brain-dead antics. Seriously, even a cat doesn't stick its tongue on a live wire. How'd that species get to be sentient at all? You'd be hard pressed to find a reason to like that character even if you wanted to.

The Ewoks break suspension disbelief spectacularly, not the least by defeating tanks with sticks and stones.

Neelix is just one of the symptoms of Voyager jumping the shark, but he'd be a tolerable bit of alien colour, if not for the thing that made him super-creepy for a lot of us: his relationship with the ocampa child. He even gets to try to impregnate her at an age where it is stated point blank that it's IIRC like a third of the age where her species normally becomes fertile. In human terms, and doing the proportion, it's like impregnating a 4 year old. Not only that, but the rest of the crew is super-ok with that. And the rationale that, yeah, but she may not get to be pregnant later is... really not cutting the mustard.

But it's not the genre that makes people hate that kind of characters. The same characters would get an even worse reception if the show were set in some late 19'th century exploration setting.

A Jar Jar like brain-dead minstrel representing the locals would actually probably have a higher annoyance factor if it actually made some Filipino or African guy behave that brain-dead.

Or if you tried the Neelix stunt of making a guy from tribe A try to impregnate a girl from tribe B, who incidentally is WAAAAY underage, except with humans on a seafaring exploration ship, I think you'd see some hate that goes above and beyond what Neelix ever had.

And self-insert Garry Stu and Mary Sue characters like Wesley get dissed just as much if not more in other genres. In fact, apparently more, to the extent that a lot of people deliberately exaggerate the shortcomings (especially moral) of their characters, so they don't get dissed as Mary Sues.

If anything, it seems to me like the opposite of your point: SF gets more people to tolerate such badly written characters more than in other genres. A lot of the same people who'd be up in arms if you used a human girl instead of the fictive Ocampa with a Neelix-style character, are more likely to go, meh, it's just some aliens we don't know enough about.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 04:07 PM   #253
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
BTW, about huge ships, while momentum has been mentioned already, let's put some numbers on it.

Let's take a wee little ship, just a little over 240 km in length. It's barely 150 miles for you imperials. It sounds big, but it's not even the size of an Ultra Star Destroyer, which is 260km. An Ultra is what I'm basically building it to be like, but I'm going for round numbers for my back of the napkin maths. So basically 120km in each direction from the centre.

I'll also want it to be able to turn in a circle in, say, two minutes? Not very nimble. I'll even allow it to do so in the most economical way, which is to say, accelerate constantly for a minute and decelerate for another minute.

I'll aso pretend that PI is about 3, because it willl make no big difference for what I'm about to do.

Well, a full circle is 2*PI, so about 6 radians. Doing the full circle in 120 seconds, gives us an average angular velocity of about 6/120=0.05 radians/sec.

BUT we said it will accelerate half the time and decelerate the other half, so that means a top angular velocity of about 0.1/sec when it's turned 180 degrees.

BUT, now comes the fun part. Linear velocity is angular velocity times radius. Well our radius on either end of the ship is 120,000m, so we're peaking at 12,000m/s. We're accelerating to that speed in a minute, so divided by 60s, that gives us an acceleration of about 200m/s2 or about 20g. Not very easy on the crew, let's just say, nor cheap in terms of energy.

But that's not the funniest part yet. Sure, 20g is bad, but maybe you can put the crew around the middle and store the fuel and stuff at the ends where it gets that bad. But it gets funnier.

The funnier part is torque: each kilo of mass at either end, will push back with a force of 200N or so. On a lever 120,000m long. So that's 24,000,000 Nm. Yep, TWENTY FOUR MILLION. For each kilo of mass at the ends alone.

That's just short of 10 million lbft for EACH pound of mass at the ends, for you imperials.

Yeah, I'm not going to integrate that over the shape and mass of one, but you get the idea. Not sure what materials they make it of, that it doesn't even buckle, much less break as you'd expect.
To be fair you're talking about a universe with repulsor fields so ubiquitous that cars don't even have wheels, they hover. While they're parked. And giant ships can hover instead of orbiting.

They have a pretty good handle on gravity manipulation and using that to turn a giant ship around by applying appropriate forces to its whole length isn't the most inconceivable part of star wars. Torque is only a problem if you apply all your force at one end. If you apply it everywhere as needed, big ships can move about without destroying themselves.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 04:21 PM   #254
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Once you allow gravity manipulation into your universe, it gives you license to make spaceships behave pretty much exactly how you want them to.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 04:48 PM   #255
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It depends on the universe, I guess. Antigravity is ubiquitous in SW, but not very common in ST, for example. And other universes don't have it at all, or at least some species don't have it.

Not every SF universe is star wars, is all I'm saying. I may have taken a SW ship as my random example, but it's not the only universe with huge ships, and in fact not even the universe with the biggest ships.

Edit: plus, even in SW, I don't remember the movies ever showing that they use antigrav for huge accelerations. Sure, they use 1g to keep the people on the floor, and bikes and cars can do 1g-ish (you see them used on smaller moons, but not on bigger things.) It's never stated in any movie that they use it to fight hundreds of gs.

Edit 2: we can surmise that they must have used some kind of antigrav to hold a whole city up on Bespin, although it's not explicitly stated. Well, Bespin is a wee little bit smaller than Jupiter, although it seems to have heavier gasses, so we don't really know. But we'll use the gravity in the upper layers of Jupiter as a yardstick, and IIRC that's about 2.5g. So we still have no data that requires them to be able to generate antigrav fields much stronger than that.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 05:25 PM   #256
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So again I sort of have to ask is there anyway to do sci-fi the "right" way?

This thread has been on the "Never gonna make the fans happy" razor's edge for a good minute now.

At a certain point aren't just going to have to accept that you're not a fan of sci-fi as a genre instead of finding something "wrong" with every possible example of it, pretending there is some way it could be done "right" enough to satisfy you?

I get that genre fans, sci-fi fans especially, are bad about hating the things they love but there has to be a breaking point to that somewhere.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 06:38 PM   #257
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Edit: plus, even in SW, I don't remember the movies ever showing that they use antigrav for huge accelerations. Sure, they use 1g to keep the people on the floor, and bikes and cars can do 1g-ish (you see them used on smaller moons, but not on bigger things.) It's never stated in any movie that they use it to fight hundreds of gs.

Edit 2: we can surmise that they must have used some kind of antigrav to hold a whole city up on Bespin, although it's not explicitly stated. Well, Bespin is a wee little bit smaller than Jupiter, although it seems to have heavier gasses, so we don't really know. But we'll use the gravity in the upper layers of Jupiter as a yardstick, and IIRC that's about 2.5g. So we still have no data that requires them to be able to generate antigrav fields much stronger than that.

Here's the thing about the control of gravity in the SW universe. Watch the scene wherein the Falcon escapes the Death Star.

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There's a subtle use of the artificial gravity there. When they first head for the turrets, Han and Luke are clearly climbing up/down the ladders. But once they get to the seats in the turrets, they're crawling along the ladders, and the gravity in the seats clearly pulls them in a "down" direction that is perpendicular to the ladders. So the gravity vector has been shifted by 90 degrees somewhere along the length of those ladders.

If they have such good control of gravity that a tramp freighter from the boondocks of the Outer Rim can play around with it that subtly, they likely can do almost anything with it.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 07:14 PM   #258
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There's a difference between generally being able to do X, and being able to do any amount of X, up to infinity. E.g., my cat certainly can kill, but it can't kill an elephant.

As I was saying, it's supportable from the movies that they can do antigravity up to about 2.5g. Let's say 3g. But it's equally supportable that they can't just shoot a fighter up by antigravity, or they wouldn't have thrusters. So there's some limit somewhere, where that control over gravity breaks down.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 07:56 PM   #259
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
So again I sort of have to ask is there anyway to do sci-fi the "right" way?

This thread has been on the "Never gonna make the fans happy" razor's edge for a good minute now.

At a certain point aren't just going to have to accept that you're not a fan of sci-fi as a genre instead of finding something "wrong" with every possible example of it, pretending there is some way it could be done "right" enough to satisfy you?

I get that genre fans, sci-fi fans especially, are bad about hating the things they love but there has to be a breaking point to that somewhere.
Ah, THAT excuse. Life is so easy when you can do rationalizations like, oh, those guys aren't the REAL fans, only WE get it right, innit?

And "pretending"? Ooer. You should apply for Randi's million, if you're that good at knowing exactly how I ACTUALLY feel about a whole genre and what I may or may not fake

How about addressing my point that the exact same behaviours I criticized in some characters would actually be LESS welcome by the fans of any other genre? You know, if you're going to claim that SF fans are a different breed.


Anyway, to get to the point, I don't know about the others, but my expectation for ALL genres is: try to avoid stuff that breaks suspension of disbelief, or breaks the natural expectations (if you didn't sleep in school), unless you absolutely need it for the story. Kinda like the Chekhov's Gun principle, really.

And if IS needed, then please at least put a lampshade on it.

And I don't even care if it's SF or the Vikings or Game Of Thrones.

If an actual germanic shield wall would work just as fine as a funky Roman fulcum -- except without being an immobile anti-cavalry formation like the fulcum -- then why show the latter and pretend it's the former? That's from Vikings or, for that matter, Last Kingdom, not from some SF. Is there some story-related point in introducing that kind of inaccuracies?

Or unless changing the order of nobility ranks, so a viscount is way above a marquis, is actually going to play some role in the story, why reverse them? That's from Dragon Age Inquisition, so not exactly in space. Anyone from the UK or who paid any attention in history class in any west European country, is coming with some baggage of information about how those ranks work. At best you're asking them to do the extra effort to forget all that and learn the order of yours, and at worst you create a "wait, WHAT? A viscount is going to disown a marquis?" moment.

Does the story need that? No. Would it work any worse without that inaccuracy? No, not reallly. Then, really, WHY?

And I don't think it's that unfair a request that people at least hit Wikipedia and find out how something works or what it actually meant, before creating their own dumb BS. And I'm not even asking that they stick to the real thing. Just basically ask themselves what role is their going against reality going to play in the story, if any.

Again, no different than Checkhov's Gun as a principle. Is that gun actually going to be shot? Will it play ANY role in the actual story? If not, well, would the story work any worse if you left that gun out?

Same with reinventing reality, really.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 04:19 AM   #260
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Hans,
You raised many interesting points. Early on you discussed black holes and their event horizons, and the fact that given the technology of FTL travel one could even fly out from inside the event horizon. My first objection that popped into mind concerned tidal stresses, which you later addressed in the context of planetary masses. But you never went back to black holes, for which the tidal stresses near the even horizon would rip apart such a tiny object as a person. And so no spacecraft could safely pass through the event horizon; it would be nicely disassembled, even in freefall.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 06:13 AM   #261
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IIRC, I mentioned right at the event horizon one something like "whether it can withstand the tidal forces at that distance is another question".

Well, you probably know most of this if you even ask the question, but I'm going to take it slow and long winded anyway.

The short answer is that it depends on your size and the size of the black hole. Since what counts for tidal forces in the gradient of the gravity field, and the distance over which you "feel" that gradient.

Essentially the difference between your closest and farthest point is (1/r12 - 1/r22)MG. For objects that are very small compared to the size of the black hole, or for really approximate back-of-the-napkin calculations, we can pretend it's just the gradient times the size of that object.

Well, the gradient is the derivative in respect to r, of r-2, which is an elementary one. It's -2r-3. So the gradient is inversely proportional to the CUBE of the distance from the centre.

So as you've figured out by now, a small black hole would indeed rip you apart, a supermassive one, probably not so much.

Well, let's do some maths. Sagittarius A*, the biggest black hole in the Milky Way, and the one at the centre of it all, is about 12 million km in radius and has a mass of 4.1 million solar masses.

Well, much as I love screwing up the maths myself, there are gravity calculators out there. I'll use a random one, namely this one: https://www.ajdesigner.com/phpgravit...e.php#ajscroll

at 12,000,000 kilometres, one killo will weigh: 3778966.7737303 N
at 12,000,001 kilometres, one killo will weigh: 3778966.1439025 N

Of course, in free fall what matters is the difference, which is just a little over half a newton over a whole 1000m distance. Or for you imperials, every pound at the far end of our 1km long ship, would effectively pull back on our hull with a force of about an ounce.

But that's actually not respecting action and reaction, from the point of view of our free falling ship. What it would feel is really a half an ounce pull in each direction. That's what each pound of mass at the very tip or end of our ship contributes.

You can integrate over the length and shape of the ship, but really it's not a whole lot. I mean, sure, it could cause some warping and stretching, but I have doubts that it would actually take apart a hull that's built to resist photon torpedoes.

Of course, most black holes you'll meet will probably be under 10 solar masses or so, which would really rip you apart at the event horizon. Other points in between, well, your mileage may vary.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 06:30 PM   #262
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And now for something completely different

Speaking of black holes and FTL, well, I figured let's try something positive for a change. So rather than complain about a trope, I will present an idea that is actually correct as per GR, but it doesn't seem to be done much.

Namely: Schwarzschild wormholes, also known as Einstein–Rosen bridges. (So you even get to name-drop Einstein. How cool is that?

Thing is, on a Penrose diagram, a Blackhole has not one but TWO event horizons. One is the one we see, and one is, well... SOMEWHERE. It would be an universe just like ours, or maybe it IS another place in ours, which observes its own event horizon to the same black hole.

Thing is, you NEED FTL to use it as a wormhole, because both "doors" lead to just inside the event horizon of a black hole. So if you don't have SOME way to get OUT of a black hole (which FTL would do just fine), you're screwed.

And it would have to be a really big one, so the tidal forces don't rip you apart.

So what would happen if you go into such a black hole and out again? Nobody knows, really. You might just exit in the same place. You might end up in a mirror universe. If Susskind is right about entanglement, you might end up half-way across the universe, outside a completely different black hole. Or something entirely different.

Since nobody really has a testable answer, you can actually take your pick.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 06:52 PM   #263
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Yeah, cool idea, and I've never actually seen it done.

It's also interesting that getting from the exterior of one black hole to the exterior of the other would also depend on how old they are, as the length of the "bridge" expands at the speed of light.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 07:02 PM   #264
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Something else I've never seen done:

In sci-fi we usually see a few kinds of power source: nuclear fusion or anti-matter or just some made up technobabble with no real world counterpart.

An idea I like is using a micro-black hole as a power source. If you have the technology to make a small black hole (maybe in some sort of collider) then it will give off Hawking radiation. Large black holes are extremely cold, but for a small enough black hole you that radiation can be relatively high intensity gamma rays.
At the same time you can feed new matter into the black hole, and if you do it well enough you can make up for the loss of mass through Hawking radiation by the injection of new mass. What that means is you'll basically be turning the energy in any kind of matter you want to toss in directly into gamma rays. Then you just need to harvest that energy to do work.

Of course it's much easier said than done. You'll have to have some way to keep the black hole in place. I'm thinking use a charged black hole and control it with magnets. You'll have to get the new matter in through the stream of high intensity radiation. As you toss it in the forces on that new matter will accelerate it in a way similar to the accretion disk of any other black hole and that will probably lead to problems. If you put too little stuff in your black hole will start losing mass, meaning the energy output will go up leading to less mass, etc. and you can get a catastrophic explosion. Finally I haven't actually done the math to figure out what the maximum power output of such a black hole would be, and it might be that while large it's too small for the purposes of something like star trek, though I suppose you could have many such holes in your engines. I'm sure there are other issues.

Still, given that there's no way that I can think of to actually make large amounts of antimatter this seems to be one of the most viable energy systems for starcraft. Plus it would just be cool. I'm surprised I've never seen it, though I'm sure it's been done in fiction.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 07:11 PM   #265
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I think it's cannon in Star Trek that the reason Romulan cloaking devices are so effective is that instead of the matter/anti-matter reaction that most of the major powers use they use an artificial singularity, so while it's possible (although hardly easy) to detect a cloaked Klingon ship via all the various emissions its systems give off, especially if the ship's reactor shielding isn't on point) while a Romulan Ship traveling at cloak only gives off a very tiny amount of Hawkings Radiation (which the Romulans are pretty good at shielding/collecting) which is much harder to detect since you have to be looking for a small amount of a very specific amount of radiation.

Not sure how well it translates to real world physics, but it's a clever enough little plot detail on a technobabble level.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 08:57 PM   #266
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Whether there's a direct connection with the cloaking technology or not, it's definitely canon that Romulan warbirds in the TNG era use a "forced singularity" as a power source. It's stated in an explanatory line in a late TNG episode, when a couple of life-forms that live in higher dimensions thought it looked like a good nest to lay their eggs in, and the attempt to do so injured them and screwed up the local intersections of the dimensions, thus radically slowing down time on the ship to an apparent stand-still from the Romulan-human perspective.

The episode was also noteworthy for a few other reasons:
  • They found a use for Troi that fit her background & expertise, when she needed to very quickly assess someone's medical condition and decide what to do about it. (Psychiatrists are medical doctors.)
  • We got to see Picard go all loopy from a side effect of the time-frozen environment on his brain.
  • Worf raised a security concern, it was taken seriously, and his recommendation was carried out. (The Romulans asked for a computer to temporarily replace one of theirs, he told Picard that they must not give away Federation technology, and Picard said they would just need to settle for an older declassified system.)

* * *

In TOS, Scotty got a stolen Romulan cloaking device to cloak the Enterprise. I guess they used the same power source as the Federation back then.
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Old 4th October 2017, 01:27 AM   #267
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Why would they need to be crewed at a 'density' similar to a present day Aircraft Carrier?
Lots more automation, service droids etc would mean a smaller crew was required.
I've not said they do. What I have said is that IF they were, they would have immense crews. And IF they were not, the ships would feel virtually empty.

I'm perfectly happy to believe a mile long spaceship has a crew of 1,000. What then bugs me is that we should then see crews walking around the interior and it would be this creepily empty place where you can wander for hours without ever seeing another person.

In fact, think of Alien. That's exactly the vibe the Nostromo/refinery had, with this huge ship that was basically miles and miles of dark empty corridors.

Instead we almost uniformly see ships with busy corridors, crowded crew quarters, etc -whether it makes sense or not.
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Old 4th October 2017, 02:29 AM   #268
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
I think it's cannon in Star Trek that the reason Romulan cloaking devices are so effective is that instead of the matter/anti-matter reaction that most of the major powers use they use an artificial singularity
I don't think the two were ever linked.
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Old 4th October 2017, 03:51 AM   #269
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Originally Posted by Seismosaurus View Post
I've not said they do. What I have said is that IF they were, they would have immense crews. And IF they were not, the ships would feel virtually empty.

I'm perfectly happy to believe a mile long spaceship has a crew of 1,000. What then bugs me is that we should then see crews walking around the interior and it would be this creepily empty place where you can wander for hours without ever seeing another person.

In fact, think of Alien. That's exactly the vibe the Nostromo/refinery had, with this huge ship that was basically miles and miles of dark empty corridors.

Instead we almost uniformly see ships with busy corridors, crowded crew quarters, etc -whether it makes sense or not.
As I said earlier most of those ships are portrayed as having some sort of fast transport system to get from place to place inside of them. Why would they build vast hallways for the crew to wander around in when the crew isn't large enough to need that space? They need space to live (crew quarters) and work, and they can use their turbolifts to get from one to the other. The spaces that are built for people should be small and crowded, as anything else is a waste of resources.
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Old 4th October 2017, 04:08 AM   #270
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Yeah, cool idea, and I've never actually seen it done.

It's also interesting that getting from the exterior of one black hole to the exterior of the other would also depend on how old they are, as the length of the "bridge" expands at the speed of light.
Crysis 3 used it.
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Old 4th October 2017, 04:24 AM   #271
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
As I said earlier most of those ships are portrayed as having some sort of fast transport system to get from place to place inside of them. Why would they build vast hallways for the crew to wander around in when the crew isn't large enough to need that space? They need space to live (crew quarters) and work, and they can use their turbolifts to get from one to the other. The spaces that are built for people should be small and crowded, as anything else is a waste of resources.
Star Trek has turbolifts, but other franchises generally don't show us anything like that, so we would need to just imagine that they're there around the next corner in the hallways we do see (next to the bathrooms we also don't see). And Star Trek also explicitly shows us diagrams of ships full of hallways which the designers have even admitted must stand empty most of the time because there's just so much space devoted to them.
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Old 4th October 2017, 04:30 AM   #272
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
Star Trek has turbolifts, but other franchises generally don't show us anything like that, so we would need to just imagine that they're there around the next corner in the hallways we do see (next to the bathrooms we also don't see).
I'm pretty sure they have them in star wars, at least in the Death Star. Babylon 5 had them, at least on the station though. There wasn't that much action taking place on ships that we would necessarily have seen it. I think I remember them from Battlestar Galactica, though I might be making that up. I just recently watched The Expanse and they had them in that.


ETA: It's also not exactly necessary to have turbolifts if the populated part of the ship is all close together.
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Old 4th October 2017, 08:37 AM   #273
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Actually, I like the Romulan singularity for a lot more reasons than detection.

1. For a start, it has 100% matter-to-energy conversion rate. Matter and anti-matter in a warp core like the Feds use would actually be far less efficient than people think.

And, as usual, let's do some maths. You knew I was gonna do that, right? And before we start, something most probably already know, but just to have all the premises on paper... err... in screen: each particle can only annihilate with its antiparticle version.

Well, electrons and positrons are the happy case. They convert into two gamma photons, so 100% conversion rate. Nice.

The trouble are the protons, which in hydrogen are responsible for almost 1900 times more mass than the electrons. In a proto-antiproton annihilation only 0.5% of the energy goes instantly into gamma rays. It also produces on the average 1.5 neutral pions and 3 charged pions. The neutral ones almost immediately decay into gamma rays, so that's good too. The charged ones decay into muons and neutrinos within 20m or so.

And that's the problem, since you can't actually do much with muons and neutrinos for power production. You can't use neutrinos to heat something or whatever, because they don't interact much with normal matter.

Best you can do, I suppose, since these are charged, is direct them out as propulsion mass. Or, I suppose, it might be why Fed vessels run more on warp-core plasma than straight-up electricity. I assume that that "plasma" is those charged particles directed down conduits.

By comparison, a Romulan singularity gives you straight-up gamma rays, at a 100% conversion rate. Which is less of an engineering problem to get useful energy out of.


2. The micro-singularity IS the energy storage too. You don't have to carry tons of antimatter around.

Not many people seem to realize, but even assuming 100% efficiency, gram of matter and one gram of antimatter you should get 1.8×1014 joules of energy or about 43 kilotons. Sure, it's huge, but when you look at the insane numbers listed for the warp-core power for Fed ships, they would be burning through antimatter like a battleship burns through oil. Quite literally.

In fact, that also answers the question of size to crew ratio: most of the space inside would be just fuel storage.

By way of comparison, a romulan ship would have all its energy inside a cubic micrometre or so.


3. Antimatter is actually a crap way to store energy.

I mean, sure, it has the density, but if you were to, say, convert electricity to antimatter to store that energy, the maximum theoretical efficiency you could POSSIBLY achieve is 50%. Why? Well, the Law of Baryon Number Conservation says that when turning energy into matter, equal amounts of matter and antimatter must be created. So half of your power goes into making more ordinary hydrogen.

By way of comparison, a black hole converts energy into mass also at a 100% efficiency.


4. It's actually easier to control the output than some would think. You don't just have to throw matter in to keep the black hole from shrinking and exploding. You can control it by just supplying photons for it to absorb back.

If it absorbs more than it emits by Hawking radiation, it charges, if not, it's got a positive energy output. And you can control exactly what that difference is.
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Old 4th October 2017, 08:39 AM   #274
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Well, I should probably also add a disadvantage: in case it goes boom, like warp cores tend to do on a regular basis in ST, with a singularity ALL your energy stores would go kablooie inside microseconds. THAT is going to be a more massive explosion than any Fed warp core breach.

Though, I suppose, on the positive side, if you had to eject the warp core, you could probably eject that heavily charged singularity at near relativistic speeds away from your ship. That is, if you built your ship to have a massive accelerator as a way to eject the core. You'll still be dead in the water... err... in space, but it might increase your chances of being dead in space instead of being a giant fireball.
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Old 4th October 2017, 08:48 AM   #275
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Do they have turbines?
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Old 4th October 2017, 10:37 AM   #276
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Not sure exactly what the Romulans do with the energy radiated by their singularity. They tend to be a rather secretive bunch
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Old 4th October 2017, 10:39 AM   #277
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, I should probably also add a disadvantage: in case it goes boom, like warp cores tend to do on a regular basis in ST, with a singularity ALL your energy stores would go kablooie inside microseconds. THAT is going to be a more massive explosion than any Fed warp core breach.
What do you mean? How would a black hole go boom? The only downside is that you can't shut it off.
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Old 4th October 2017, 11:17 AM   #278
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
What do you mean? How would a black hole go boom? The only downside is that you can't shut it off.
Quite easily, in fact. The smaller it gets, the faster it evaporates.

A wee little black hole with a mass of 2.28×105 kg, i.e., just 228 tons, would evaporate in almost exactly 1 second. Problem is, all that mass is converted into energy. Namely, 2×1022J or 5×106 megatons of TNT worth of energy.

That thing is literally going to put out as much energy as 100,000 Tsar Bombas, the most hideously overpowered nuke we ever detonated on Earth so far. And all that within a second.

Mind you, just to make it clear, you only need to worry about it for REALLY small black holes. Any black hole with more mass than the Moon or so, is colder than the cosmic background radiation, so essentially it absorbs energy faster than it evaporates.

A black hole with the mass of the moon is just 1mm or so in radius, so anything that you're likely to deal with in SF is probably going to have to be more massive than that.

Edit: anyway, in case it wasn't clear, the ones the Romulans use would have to be really small ones, so they put out a net positive power as they evaporate. Which leads to the problem that if you let them discharge past a point, and can't somehow force an equilibrium, the power output starts pretty much going exponential with time. So, yeah, your reactor gets damaged enough so it can't force that equilibrium any more, it goes boom.
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Old 4th October 2017, 11:27 AM   #279
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BTW, another rather trivial corolary, is that if you have to power a bigger ship, what you want is not a bigger black hole. You want either an even smaller one, but then it doesn't store as much energy, and poses other engineering challenges, or... several of them. Realistically, to make a bigger Romulan ship, probably the easiest way would be to have several of those singularity warp cores.

Which would probably also have the side effect that if you have to eject one of them, you're not yet dead in the water.
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Old 4th October 2017, 11:27 AM   #280
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Sounds like a stupid way to power your starship.
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