Thursday, March 22, 2007

Which Science Fiction Character Are You?

Which Science Fiction Character Are you? Now is the time to find out!

An accomplished diplomat who can virtually do no wrong, you sometimes know it is best to rely on the council of others while holding the reins.

There are some words which I have known since I was a schoolboy. "With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." These words were uttered by Judge Aaron Satie -- as a wisdom, and warning. The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged.

Jean-Luc Picard is a character from the Star Trek United Federation of Planets. Captain Picard commands the Galaxy Class Starship Enterprise NCC 1701-E. Starfleet Academy have trained officers who trust their captain because he has good gut instincts and moral fibre.

Live Long and Prosper Trekkers. Enjoy Your Star Trekking!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Time Travellers.

Time travel is the concept of shifting through time to different locations into the past or the future. Indeed Star Trek's Enterprise starships have travelled to many alternate realities, with transporter malfunctions, intergalactic temporal rips, omnipotent beings and gravity slingshots taking viewers where none have gone before. In Star Trek First Contact, the U.S.S. Enterprise-E travelled back in time to an alternate Earth/Borg reality by entering the temporal vortex - a door into another time - created by a Borg Sphere.

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Humans were assimulated by the Borg in the past with Earth's defences at their weakest. Data's brilliant intellect surmised that the Temporal Wake protected the Enterprise and her crew from the Borg vortex. The Enterprise-E was the only remnant of a timeline not completely errased by the Borg. Captain Picard made the decision to go back and restore Earth's former timeline.

The concept of Time Travel was first introduced by Enrique Gaspar Y Rimbaus in his 1887 book "El Anacronopete" which was the featured time travel machine. In 1895, H.G. Wells wrote the "The Time Machine" story which promoted the time travel idea and gained popularity with an already interested public. Years before in 1888, H.G. Wells wrote the inspirational science fiction story called "The Chronic Argonauts" featuring a time machine theme. This far reaching story and enlightening resource has stimulated the minds of countless sci-fi writers engrossed with time travel.

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The most daring plan of all time to save planet earth required a Klingon Bird of Prey, tricky time travel computations and flying towards the most powerful gravity source available in earths solar system at maximum warp. In this case earth's sun. (or a black hole would do.)

Star Trek IV is a supreme space adventure concerning an extremely powerful and precise computer, Time travel, Captain Kirk's heroic crew of explorers, a Klingon ship, a singing space entity and all that saving earth humbug

Risky business heading back to Earth. Captain Kirks inherited bird of prey is a klingon deathtrap. Dr Mccoys irrational diagnoses of Spock not exactly working on all thrusters makes sense. It was weird hearing Spock using profane language and developing a sense of humour. Weird but cool.

The plan was to slingshot the Bounty around the sun to achieve speeds beyond maximum warp without burning up and exploding into a fireball. Achieving breakaway speed at the correct point in time was really down to Spocks logical computations and flaky memory. Heading into earths past. Admiral Kirk took the Klingon Bounty 200 years back in time from the year 2286 time travelling to 1980's earth. So far out!

Time travel capability for 21st century earthlings is totally theoretical. Do future humans exist with this time travel technology? Who knows. Heavily advertised events are organised by Perth's Destination Day and MIT's Time Traveller Convention inviting future time travellers to a time and location so they can demonstrate their time travel gizmo's to eager humans. Unfortunately futuristic time travellers have yet to reveal themselves to 21st century earthers. Sniff, I'm so choked up. Really I am.

Dr Who is a time traveller moving through time known for buzzing around in the universe. This sci-fi show encapsulates time travelling adventures and other wacky stuff. I have to admit to being a little green about the Doctors spaceship, whovians fondly refer to as the "Tardis." Its easy to under estimate this little ship so beware! Its kitted out with cool time travel technological gizmology, although tbh the ship itself is essentially a plain phone box "type 40" Tardis but of course there is a simple explanation. A malfunctioning chameleon circuit which is supposed to camouflage the ship is permanently stuck rendering the ship in the shape of a 1950's police box.

Dr Who's spacecraft has the technology to take it's crew anywhere in the universe and through time itself with the doctor at the helm. Its important to realise, the Tardis outer hull isn't a reflection on its inner dimensions which illogically are much larger. The Doctors simple explanation? Its got a "dimensionally transcendental" personality. The things alive,  right?

Tardis Long and Prosper Trekkers. (Cringe, yeah I know you love me) Enjoy your Star Trekking.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Commander Data of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC 1701-D

Commander Data of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC 1701-D in Star Trek TNG is a sentient android. This synthetic re-creation of an advanced human being was modelled on one of cybernetics greatest minds. Doctor Noonien Soong and built around 2336. The androids collection of sophisticated neural nets and heuristic algorithms elevated him beyond the mere status of a machine.
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Data was the fifth successful android devoid of emotions and cruelty exhibited by his "evil, emotional" brother Lore. Data has superior construction, is stronger, more intelligent and is designed to live an indefinite lifespan.

His extraordinary abilities include mental and physical tasks, governed by an ethical subroutine which has excelled him in Starfleet to Operations Manager aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise-D. Data has a distinguished record of service in Starfleet. His impressive array of medals and awards include decorations for honor, commendations for gallantry, the Star Cross, Starfleet Medal of Honor (with Clusters) and the Legion of Honour.

Captain Picard of the Enterprise-D depended heavily on his immortal androids advice and help in starship operations, however its a hoot to hear Data's precise calculations annoying Picard, who more or less tells him to shut up. Dr Soong is Data's creator and father. Data has a pulse and a circulatory system that distributes biochemical lubricants and regulates microhydraulic power. His respiration system is responsible for thermal regulation.

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Data is brilliant and resembles a real, living, breathing, talking, humanoid, however in Star trek Nemisis he survived the vacuum of space in a successful attempt to rescue his captain Jean Luc Picard from the evil Shinzon.

He is also capable of operating in an environment hazardous to organic carbon life forms such as the one in the movie "First Contact" when a coolant leak snuffed out the Borg Queen and melted all organic life within main engineering. Luckily Captain Picard climbed to safety! Yay! Shame about the Queen.

Our immortal heroes life ended in 2379, when in a bid to save the Enterprise-E from thalaron radiation, the Operations Manager blew the Scimitar and himself to bits. Everyone was saddened by the loss. Our heroic android, Data is sensationally played by Brent Spiner and unequalled in the world of science fiction. Brent Spiner is popular, has a huge fanbase as confirmed by the BBC and is loved by the fans. (Please come back and do another Star Trek movie Brent!)

Data is constructed out of approximately 24.6kg of tripolymer composites and 11.8kg of molybdenum-cobalt alloys, with a polyalloy upper spine support and a skull of cortenide and duranium, all covered by 1.3kg of skin bioplast sheeting. Thats 37.7kg!

Our metal friend is one heavy dude and tough guy who can beat Klingons and Borgs hands-down in combat. He is far faster and stronger than any living being in history. Even Lt Commander Worf is no match for Starfleet's superior being. He is strong enough to lift Worf over his head. Believe it, nor does he require food or need sleep. Data never feels tired or gets angry with people.

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Rust doesnt affect Dr Soong's creation however people do. Starfleets exclusive android strives to be more than what he is, and human relationships are an emotional problem for him. The reason he gives to Geordi is logical.
"I will never exceed the sum of my programming, will you help me Geordi?"

Im 2371, Data has been equipped with an emotion chip which later malfunctions and becomes fused. He experiences a whole host of human emotions from happiness to sadness, remorse, anger, hate and fear. When fear is near data can turn off his emotion . Captain Picard has confessed
"Data, there are times when I envy you" - Picard.

Data can control his body so precisely and has mastered superior mental techniques such as surgery, dancing, sign language, the Vulcan Nerve Pinch, starship operations, isolinear chip replacement, poker, romantic multiple techniques, master painting, superb musical ability, k-lling and superior computational ability.

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Dr Noonien Soong's most impressive feat of engineering is the creation of a stable positronic brain which allows his ethical son the memory capacity of 800 quadrillion bits and a total linear computational speed rate of 60 trillion operations per second. Data has far exceeded his human friends with his superior abilities but he'd gladly give it up to be human.

Once information has been asimilated into the androids mind, he never forgets it. When he played the self important Sirna Kolrami, Master Strategist at his game Strategema, second time round, Data was able to rely on his fast recall and experiences from the first game and logically computed the best course of action to wipe that smug smile off Kolrami's face. Data wiped the floor with Kolrami. Yessss! Yee-ha! You won Data, Yay! everyone was delighted.

His ability to process a large number of thoughts at once is extremely valuable. Kolrami of course had never been defeated (even though it was a stalemate) and felt humiliated. The fact the Master Strategist could'nt beat Data meant he'd lost in his mind.
"You've made a mockery of me" he said and stormed off.

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Data's impressive positronic brain allows him to interface with other computer systems. He is able to connect directly to the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D and control ship systems from main engineering. The Enterprise's android has also interfaced with a partially mechanical Locutus of Borg and learnt how to defeat the Borg by communicating with Picard. He sends a signal telling the collective to go to sleep, saving the Enterprise-D from total destruction with the Borg.

Measure of a Man is a very special turning point for Data. His civil rights as a sentient being are called into question but thanks to Captain Picard's defense and the presiding officer Captain Phillipa Louvois' ruling that Data is a sentient being, a precedant is set for all artifical lifeforms entitling them to civil rights granted under the United Federation of Planets.

Live Long and Prosper! Enjoy Your Star Trekking!

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