How to Have a Recreational Argument

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Reader Comments (52)

Concerning the notion that everything in the original story line since Kirk's birth has now been invalidated, I will simply quote Nero:

"I saw it happen! Don't tell me it didn't happen!"

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

@thatJeff: Please explain what you mean when you say that "you never see the outer hull counter-rotating against the main body of the station". What part of the station are you referring to as the outer hull?

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteveR

Also @ThatJeff: After consulting Google, I find exactly one use of the phrase "time on target" in all of Babylon 5. The phrase is uttered twice, but the second time is Ivonova repeating what Sheridan has just said to her to let him know that she heard and understood. It is also clear (from his internet postings) that JMS understood that the idea is to have all of your artillery hit the target at once, which often means that it is not all fired at once (i.e., a gun that is closer to the target would fire slightly later than one farther from the target, assuming similar muzzle velocities). It does seem (from what I found on Wikipedia) that the phrase is still not used correctly in the episode, so although JMS understood the basic concept, he may not have understood its exact execution. But one usage out of 110 45-minute episodes (that's 82.5 hours) hardly justifies your accusation that they "sure loved to use the term."

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteveR

SteveR: If you look at the station, you'll see the series of spheres has a flat 'platform' mounted on top of it. The spheres are shown rotating in the wide shots, but that platform and all of its stuff stays stationary in relation to the planet that's usually shown in the background. If I recall the high school physics experiment we did, that outer hull should counter-spin in relation to the main body, but it doesn't. I think I even heard in the show that it's supposed to be part of the zero-G area in the station, which means the designers are saying it isn't spinning like the rest of the station.

As for Time on Target; you could be right about the number of times that term is said. I'm basing my response on my memory of the show instead of Google, but I could have sworn it was uttered several times by Sheridan and Ivanova whenever the station was under attack by capital ships, which I believe happened on more than one occasion. Yes, Time on Target means all your shots hit the enemy at the same time so that you can overwhelm the defenses. What I refer to is watching the scenes when they call for a ToT. It was always the same: shots hit in succession, not simultaneously.

Again, these were just minor, niggling things about the show that were just enough to irk me that I lost that sense of disbelief. I did like the way how they handled the fighters--just about everything about them felt right.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThatJeff

ThatJeff: Okay, so concerning the spinning of B5: Would it not be entirely possible to have a portion of the station stabilized with respect to the planet while the rest of the station is spinning at the rate required for the desired gravitational effect? If we accept that the two parts of the station can move in relation to each other, then you could easily have thrusters on each part that would keep one moving at the right speed and keep the other stationary. And these thrusters would probably only have to fire occasionally, so that in most of the wide-angle shots you would not see them (you know, they just happen to fire these thrusters when the station is off-camera).

Concerning ToT, Google did not tell me that the subsequent footage showed sequential, rather than simultaneous weapons impact. It would seem that if JMS truly understood the term, he did not adequately communicate it to the effects department, or correct them after the fact.

I'm just trying to restore your sense of disbelief as much as I can, because if any show deserves it, it's Babylon 5.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteveR

I don't remember some details in Babylon 5, but Earth-built space hardware didn't have artificial gravity (mostly) and so rotated to produce "centrifugal force" where "gravity" was required. But had non-rotating components for convenience of space navigation. This also applied to capital ships.

In the case of B5 station, this could have been merely two space stations parked right next to one another, one rotating, one not, with obvious inconvenience in traversing from one to the other, but no physical paradox. But presumably the two parts were in fact connected, with motors driving the rotating part around relative to the stationary part, and/or vice versa - but this only counteracts friction that would cause the relative movement to slow down. In fact, they could vary the speed as they chose. "Gravity" "downstairs", nearer to the outside hull, would be greater than "upstairs", but not by much if the space is mostly a hollow interior.

A bicyclist in space vacuum (with his spacesuit trousers glued to the saddle) who begins to pedal will find that his rear wheel rotates in one direction and he and the rest of the bicycle rotate in the opposite direction, and as his wheel runs down and stops turning due to friction, so does he - I think. But if we start off with the bicycle stationary but the wheel turning, then the cyclist has to pedal and keep the wheel turning so that he does not start to rotate. That's Babylon 5.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3oHmVhviO8
is video from 1960s film "2001" of a passenger shuttle approaching a rotating space station by navigating to the axis of rotation, projected into space, and then the shuttle itself rotating at the same speed and flying into the dock. Rather them than me, and Babylon 5 only had 40 minutes for the show so they had to use science to do it faster. Mind you, in real life the International Space Station isn't rotating and they do it much, much slower.

And apparently their exercise bicycle doesn't have any wheels.
http://www.space.com/6464-astronauts-patch-space-bicycle.html

As for Time On Target, either the gunners weren't very good at it (it's in space, how good would you be?), or the director chose to show us three simultaneous events one after another. Split-screen is an alternative. In a present-day movie, if you see someone fire a gun and then cut away to see someone at the moment of the bullet hitting them, that is a nearly simultaneous event - but probably specifically not to do in the book of "How to Direct Westerns, For Instance".

Why does twentieth century military even have a word for "Fire simultaneously and overload their deflector force field"?

December 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Carnegie

I say the 2009 movie was not canon.

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbob

@Simes Star Trek takes place in a universe in which every sentient species except for humanity operates on a "One species, one language and one culture" system, every planet has a breathable atmosphere, everyone in the universe speaks English fluently, and almost every sentient species is a biped. If you are willing to accept all of that, then by what right do you call out the new movie for taking dramatic liberties with science and character behavior?

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGregory Bogosian

As a die hard trekkIE (trekker just sounds ridiculous) I have to say - I LOVED the 2009 movie. Captured the spirit of TOS while updating it for our time. And what they got right was the character development. A prequel is a bastard to get right because everyone knows where you're going - and "Star Trek" made that ride unexpected, interesting, and enjoyable.
Punch it!

January 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

@Robert Carnegie :" Why does twentieth century military even have a word for "Fire simultaneously and overload their deflector force field"?"

"Time on Target" came from realising, during WWI, that after the initial barrage the troops went to cover and were harder to kill. If you could get all the shells to land at the same time (near as dammit), you would get maximum killing done. At that point in the early 20th century, the "deflector force field" would have been made of trenches, fox-holes and sand-bags.

So the idea was to hit the target before the deflector force field was raised (i.e. by the troops making sure they were under it).

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSimes

Not only do I agree that the 1970s Star Trek cartoons should be considered canon, I'll go even further. I think at least half of the stories in it were better than *anything* in ST:TNG or the other later series (and especially Enterprise). Moreover, I think *any* one of the animated episodes would have made a better plot for a movie than any of the actual movies were. Especially Yesteryear, Ambergris Element, Beyond the Farthest Star, Albatross, Pirates of Orion, and The Infinite Vulcan. These were MUCH better stories than the one-note Vengeance/blast from the past themed stories of virtually all the movies right down the most recent one.

October 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason Toddman

Take heart; original Spock's presence in the movie establishes that the alternative continuities are still canon to each other, so you're free to accept or reject either or both.

And I think Gene Roddenberry's final word on the cartoon was that it wasn't canon, but programming execs claimed that it was. imo, that leaves room for debate there.

July 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArchive Binging

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