Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Friendly reminder that 22nd century transporters weren't that great

Still some bugs to work out. And sticks...and a few rocks too.
Image: Memory Alpha.
I think I'll stick with the shuttles, thanks.

For context, this is from an episode of Enterprise called "Strange New World" where the crew explores an Earth-like planet, get caught up in a storm, and go super paranoid and whacked out on each other. This unfortunate crewman, Ethan Novakovich, ends up in such a state that Archer orders him beamed up and well, that happens.

Transporters were still a new technology back in Enterprise's era and evidently the computer couldn't tell the difference between him and the debris swirling around him. The transporters themselves weren't used all that much on the show, if I remember correctly, which I thought was a nice touch to the whole "this is all new to us" vibe that Enterprise was going for.

Oh and Novakovich? He lived, thanks to Scott Bakula.
This character was originally to have died in "Strange New World" and, as such, would have been the first member of the crew to die aboard the NX-class Enterprise. During filming of the episode, Scott Bakula (who played Captain Archer) was concerned that it didn't seem right to kill off Novakovich without dealing with the loss (as originally written, Novakovich's death was not dissimilar to that of the many security guards who died in the original Star Trek series). The producers agreed and revised the episode's script so that Novakovich lived (although the character was never seen again).
 His disappearance can easily be explained as him being shipped off to a hospital for recovery/rehab or being traumatized by his ordeal, he put in for a transfer. Of course, he was a Crewman Second Class, so he could have stayed and faded back in with all of the other low ranked crewmen.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The day we've all dreaded has arrived: Stan Lee has died, age 95

There are no words to adequately describe that man's impact on pop culture, so I'll just say thanks Stan Lee for giving us so many superheroes.


What boredom and a bare knowledge of MS Paint hath wrought!

This is certainly a gaggle of interesting starships

I stumbled across the existence of these ships on Memory Beta a while back and after finding a better picture via Google (which unfortunately, won't tell me where I found it at), I thought I'd post it here.

Image: Don Hillenbrand.
The picture is titled Into The Breach and was created by a Don Hillenbrand for the ever popular Ships of the Line calendars, specifically the 2011 edition. The premise of the picture is that the Enterprise-A has teamed up with all of these ships to take on an unseen enemy and given the amount of firepower being poured out, it must have been one hell of a battle! As you can see, it's an interesting assortment of ships. Unfortunately, none of them have no information about them, not even class names. Instead, Memory Beta uses "type" to describe them. Starship Schematics does provide names as well as different views of each ship, so that's helpful. Using all of that info, let's ID each ship:

The two ships (one very prominently in the foreground and another in the background) with their secondary hulls mounted above the saucer are labeled as John Glenn-type. Starship Schematics lists these as being corvettes, which is more than a little silly because in both the real world and science fiction, corvettes are typically very small ships and the John Glenns don't look small at all. It's obviously a kitbash of the Constitution-class, so it stands to reason that it would be the same size.

I'll admit that I didn't like the John Glenn at first because of the way they look, but it and all of the others have quickly grown on me. I am curious how much faster the two impulse engines on the saucer make the ship go, if there is a speed improvement, that is.

The Excelsior-class kitbashes with the sensor pod is the Sun Tzu-type. I like the way it obviously foreshadows the much later Nebula-class with its own AWACs-style sensor pod. I also like the idea of Starfleet having ships like this back in the 23rd century when they would have been needed the most in keeping an eye on the Klingons and Romulans.

The two ships in the foreground firing the green phasers (I guess that's what they are???) are Valley Forge-type. I initially thought it was a kitbash of the Oberth, and these two pictures from Starship Schematics seem to support that assumption.

It looks like a combination of a Constitution-class command hull, secondary hull, and nacelles with the pylons and that flat section behind the saucer. The Valley Forge is probably my favorite of the bunch. I even started creating fanon/headcanon background fluff for them, which I might post later on.

That leaves one last ship and that's the other one firing a green beam unseen enemy. This is is labeled the Hillenbrand-type on the Schematics page and the Hildebrand on the picture below, but I'm going with the former.

The Hillenbrand is clearly a kitbash of the Miranda-class. From the side, the secondary hull looks like a Connie, but the front view shows it as being wider than a Connie's. The deflector dish is different too, so that makes me wonder if that's an original design. Considering the Sun Tzu's foreshadowing, it might be a nod towards the deflector dishes of the Galaxy and Nebula-classes.

Overall, they're very interesting ship designs. Like I said earlier, I didn't like them at first, but then they grew on me. Hell, it beats most other fan designs I've seen and they're head and shoulders better than the stuff FASA was coming up with with their games.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Notes on a blog: Imported posts

Just an FYI, I just imported several posts from a Star Trek blog I had up until like five minutes ago. It was no longer needed because I can just post Trek stuff on here. I kept the original dates on all but two posts, which I think deserve attention. Those two will post tomorrow and on Tuesday.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Thanks, Chris Evans

Saw this on Twitter.

Source: Twitter.
To say that Chris Evans portrayal of Captain America is iconic would be the understatement of the year. I would easily rank him up there with Christopher Reeves, Hugh Jackman, and Evans' co-star Robert Downy, Jr.. He managed to do something that I didn't think was possible: he made Captain America a star. What I mean is that on the surface, you wouldn't expect Captain America to make a successful transition from comic to big screen. After all, we're talking about a patriotic superhero decked in a red, white, and blue costume named Captain America.

And yet, Chris Evans made him seem as big of a deal as any of the other more well known and popular heroes like Spider-Man, Batman, and Superman. Even in the Avengers movies when the character is sharing the screen with the likes of Iron Man and Thor, Cap still holds his own by dint of Chris Evans' presence in the costume.

I take my hat off to Chris Evans, thank him for giving us a great Captain America, and wish him the best. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Nerd Trash Person of the Month for October: Jodie Whittaker

No surprise there. The new season of Doctor Who starts this month and we'll finally get to see the first female incarnation of The Doctor in action!

Source: PIP/CAMERA PRESS / The Times.

Via: Daily Jodie Whittaker Twitter.

Via: Daily Jodie Whittaker Twitter.

Via: Daily Jodie Whittaker Twitter.

Notes on a Blog: New header

It was time for a change.

The woman is some actress named Aisling Knight from a movie called Charlotte Wakes. I came across the picture and knew immediately that I had to use it as a header for this blog. There's another version without the blue background, but I thought it was a bit too NSFW because you could still see her nipples despite my best efforts at position the text.

Here's the official trailer for Into the Spider-Verse starring Spider-Ham and some other people

Spider-Ham, Spider-Ham, does whatever a Spider-Ham can.

Arthur Ashkin, Donna Strickland, and Gerard Mourou awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for lasers

And it's been getting a lot of buzz because in addition to Ashkin not being the oldest Nobel Laureate, Donna Strickland is just the third woman and the first in 55 years to win the Physics Prize. What's interesting is that they won the award for two completely different things. Arthur Ashkin creating something called "optical tweezers", while Strickland and Mourou's award is for "their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses." according to the Nobel Prize's press release. Scientific American also has an article about it.

I'll be honest, I have like zero clues about what that means because while I love science, I'm still a plebe when it comes to understanding a lot of it, which is why I'm trying to educate myself on the subject. Fortunately, the official Nobel Twitter posted a handy-dandy graphic explaining Ashkin's accomplishment and it's pretty neat-o.

Interestingly, this article in Quanta Magazine says that work based on Ashkin's discovery led to other physicists winning the Nobel Prize in 1997 and 2001.

There's no helpful graph for Mourou and Strickland's achievement, but Quanta Magazine gives a rundown on what they did:
Mourou, most recently of the Γ‰cole Polytechnique in France, and Strickland, a professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, developed a way to create extremely short, intense laser pulses. Now called chirped pulse amplification, the method is used in corrective eye surgeries and has become the standard in physics laboratories around the world.

Strickland was a Ph.D. student working with Mourou at the University of Rochester when they discovered the trick for amplifying laser pulses in 1985. That trick was to first stretch out a short pulse of laser light using an “optical grating,” so that the high-frequency component of the pulse lags behind the low-frequency component. This stretched-out, “chirped” pulse could then be amplified without damaging the laser. The pulse was then passed through a second grating to recompress it. “Different people were trying to get short pulses amplified in different ways,” Strickland explained. “It was thinking outside the box to stretch first and then amplify.”
Their discovery has a wide range of applications from biology to materials science to medicine, so they should be quite pleased with themselves. All three of them.
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