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Scotty

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NP: Monday March 27, 2017

107 posts in this topic

8 minutes ago, The Old Hack said:

I suddenly remembered that the Greenpeace aliens actually kind of sort of were a thing in Brin's Uplift universe. And that humans got into big trouble because of our happy-go-lucky mass extinctions in our early years of civilisation and technology.

Also don't forget the alien probe that nearly destroyed the Earth because man had wiped out humpbacks. ;)

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57 minutes ago, ijuin said:

The "somebody stole our key resource and we never knew that it's missing or even existed in the first place" idea was played with for Naquadah in the Stargate franchise--the aliens who had posed as gods thousands of years ago had extracted all of Earth's easy-to-reach deposits of Naquadah, so Earth scientists never knew of this element until they encountered aliens using it in the 1990s. Naquadah allows for, among other things, neutron-free nuclear fission (thus allowing the "atomic power in your pocket" dream of the 1920s-50s to be realized, and a megawatt-class reactor is man-portable).

... apparently, I didn't payed attention, as I certainly watched several seasons of StarGate but didn't realized this. I though Naquadah is just hard to obtain.

57 minutes ago, ijuin said:

Anyway, your idea sounds like a good idea for a SF story--what if the material that is key to FTL is common in the universe, but aliens mined most of it from Earth (and maybe other Solar System bodies) before humans ever became civilized? Maybe we discover a small amount of it on some other Solar System body--just enough to figure out its secrets and outfit ONE expedition of starships to go out and search the galaxy for more . . .

No. We discover small amount enough for TWO expeditions - and we would still be unaware that it's relatively common. Two expeditions will depart in different directions (I would say opposite but 60° makes more sense - or perhaps opposite in circle sense, one clockwise and other counter-clockwise) hoping that at least one of them will be lucky. BOTH will be lucky - because relatively common and because it's not like fuel but more like catalyst - but both will also get into some trouble which would prevent them from returning immediately.

The finale including the answer to which expedition will return to Earth first will be part of last will of author.

42 minutes ago, Don Edwards said:

Suppose that the large majority of earth-like planets have complex life forms and some degree of technological sophistication is not particularly unusual.

Funny is if you take into account that even aliens with better technology might only ASSUME and not really know how common intelligent life is ...

2 minutes ago, Scotty said:

Also don't forget the alien probe that nearly destroyed the Earth because man had wiped out humpbacks. ;)

That wasn't Greenpeace. They only liked the singing. Also were stupid enough to assume two is genetically diverse enough to preserve population.

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2 minutes ago, hkmaly said:

Funny is if you take into account that even aliens with better technology might only ASSUME and not really know how common intelligent life is ...

Some may argue that despite us having technology, we lack intelligence to use it wisely.

Basically Humans tend to look at things as weapons before tools.

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Quote

Basically Humans tend to look at things as weapons before tools.

A weapon is a tool.

A hole punch and a cannon have the same basic function: to make holes. They make holes of different sizes at different ranges and are used in different circumstances, but still, they both make holes. So do a shovel and a drill, among other things.

And the only dangerous weapon is one that can't be trusted to not do its thing spontaneously. (Old dynamite is an example of this.) But in the hands of a dangerous person, anything is a weapon.

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2 hours ago, Don Edwards said:

And the only dangerous weapon is one that can't be trusted to not do its thing spontaneously. (Old dynamite is an example of this.) But in the hands of a dangerous person, anything is a weapon.

Case in point.

I still occasionally wonder exactly how DuPree was planning to kill people with a wedge of cheese. Then I think better of it because I will probably be happier not knowing.

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5 hours ago, The Old Hack said:

Case in point.

I still occasionally wonder exactly how DuPree was planning to kill people with a wedge of cheese. Then I think better of it because I will probably be happier not knowing.

With style and violence, of course.

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10 hours ago, hkmaly said:

That wasn't Greenpeace. They only liked the singing. Also were stupid enough to assume two is genetically diverse enough to preserve population.

With good enough gene therapy, genetic engineering, and other birth related technology, building a population from 2 individuals would certainly be possible. A large investment of resources but possible. Though I vaguely remember something about genetic engineering being frowned upon in the Star Trek verse due to Kahn and his ilk.

Also I had another thought of a possible reason for aliens to invade the Earth. To wipe out humans in order to spite another alien species or group that had taken an observational interest in humanity (kinda like hobbyist bird watchers)

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24 minutes ago, Drasvin said:

With good enough gene therapy, genetic engineering, and other birth related technology, building a population from 2 individuals would certainly be possible. A large investment of resources but possible. Though I vaguely remember something about genetic engineering being frowned upon in the Star Trek verse due to Kahn and his ilk.

Also I had another thought of a possible reason for aliens to invade the Earth. To wipe out humans in order to spite another alien species or group that had taken an observational interest in humanity (kinda like hobbyist bird watchers)

If there are enough samples of the DNA left you could even use cloning and gene therapy to replenish the genetic diversity with the original genome. 

Though in Star Trek the issue was needing them now, not in the couple decades it would have taken to recreate the species using scrimshaw and other remains as a genetic basis for cloning

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14 hours ago, hkmaly said:

China.

China.

Estimates vary widely as to the size of the Chinese stockpile.  In 2005, estimates ranged from 80 to 2000.  In 2011 a Georgetown University study estimated 3000, which, considering previous estimates, I choose to look at as an upper-limit with a wide range.  .Even if 3000 is accurate, it still makes them the largest of the small players since the US and Russia have about 3x that number each.

And anyway coordinating a nuclear strike on Russia with China is the least of US concerns.  We should be more concerned about how well Russia and China coordinate on a strike against the US.  One hopes badly.  If I were to guess, the Chinese stockpile is built to dominate the world after a US-Russia nuclear exchange

15 hours ago, hkmaly said:

By allowing to install the neutronium inside without tearing the core?

Or maybe you don't need the exotic matter itself, just that every person who understand neutronium is already employed by exotic matter industries.

Foiled again by the Exotic Matter Worker's Union...

What is "tearing" Mars' core and why wouldn't we want to do it?  Mars has a solid core, which is the reason it doesn't have a magnetic field.  A steady neutronium drip into the core would heat the core back up really nicely and perhaps restore Mars' magnetic field.  You probably don't want to drop a mars-mass worth of neutronium straight onto Mars.  We don't need to re-melt the entire planet, just the iron core.  The best reason to watch how we install the neutronium is not heating mars up too much.

But if we do end up melting the planet, c'est la vie.  We'd need to drop a couple of iceballs on it anyway...

15 hours ago, hkmaly said:

Yes, I was thinking about probe with FTL communication (it may even be slower than quantum entanglement, just 1000c would suffice).

True.  Being able to move troops at 1000C would be better still (Warp 10 in Classic Trek terms.  ...but still takes a long time to get around the galaxy, which is why The Franchise used 4th power warp factors)

15 hours ago, hkmaly said:

Yes, that sounds like good topic for book or several: war between technologically advanced aliens with little or no military training versus top earth strategist

Agreed.  The turning point being when Earth strategists realize the aliens are noobs.

15 hours ago, hkmaly said:

Here where the replicators came in. Well, sure, even the data space might be used for something else, like another season of their longest soap opera, but captain had relatives in congress and they insisted of taking weapons. Not that captain was that afraid, she just hated that soap opera.

That just changes the problem.  War materials, alloys and such are often unique.  A replicator does not create elements, only assembles objects out of a reserve stockpile of component elements.  If warfare requires a lot of electronics and batteries, say, you dig faster and more deeply into the colony's reserve of rare earth elements than colonizing an uninhabited world would require.  The colony would need to mine more from somewhere or deal with crippling shortages.  In the hypothetical novels of professional earthlings vs alien noobs, the noobs want a quick war or they want to seize the resources they need to produce more war materials.   Or you produce substandard stuff with what you have. 

I'm reminded of a 1980s incident where a Soviet fighter pilot defected to the West by landing his MiG in Japan.  The Soviets got the fighter back but not before several frezied days of analysis by western experts.  One of the more surprising things to come of it was the MiG was made of ordinary steel not some ultra-light aircraft-grade titanium steel as the US would have done and did.

15 hours ago, hkmaly said:

Just one of them. It's very likely that the other three would be aborted by the first one anyway.

The colonizing race would only be changing *who* aborted the other the planets possible sentient races...

14 hours ago, Don Edwards said:

Suppose that the large majority of earth-like planets have complex life forms and some degree of technological sophistication is not particularly unusual.

Then every colonization force needs to either (a) be a follow-on to a scouting mission - the scouts get word back BEFORE the colony launches, with the resulting communications and time-delay problems, or (b) be an invasion force.

Then you're screwed unless you're first.  Remember how rare it is to run into another race that is actually near your own tech level...

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9 hours ago, The Old Hack said:

Case in point.

I still occasionally wonder exactly how DuPree was planning to kill people with a wedge of cheese. Then I think better of it because I will probably be happier not knowing.

I love Foglio's pictogram-speak.

I was thinking of the early days of Larry Nivin's Known Space universe and and one of the first Earth-launched starships known as the Angel's Pencil.  A Kzinti warship approached the Angel's Pencil under a gravitic drive using accelerations of hundreds of G-forces while the Earth ship was just plowing along at 1G using a crude photonic drive.  Kzinti telepaths reported that the ship was unarmed.  The Kzinti moved in for the easy kill.

...And got carved up with the photon drive.

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4 hours ago, Vorlonagent said:

I love Foglio's pictogram-speak.

I was thinking of the early days of Larry Nivin's Known Space universe and and one of the first Earth-launched starships known as the Angel's Pencil.  A Kzinti warship approached the Angel's Pencil under a gravitic drive using accelerations of hundreds of G-forces while the Earth ship was just plowing along at 1G using a crude photonic drive.  Kzinti telepaths reported that the ship was unarmed.  The Kzinti moved in for the easy kill.

...And got carved up with the photon drive.

Yeah, I remember that one. Classic sci fi of the times, set to the tune of Terra uber alles. Not that I am complaining, a lot of it was great fun!

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18 hours ago, Scotty said:
18 hours ago, hkmaly said:

Funny is if you take into account that even aliens with better technology might only ASSUME and not really know how common intelligent life is ...

Some may argue that despite us having technology, we lack intelligence to use it wisely.

Definitely not true. We totally have enough intelligence to use it wisely ... sure, not on first try, but that's not due to lack of intelligence.

7 hours ago, Sjmcc13 said:
8 hours ago, Drasvin said:

With good enough gene therapy, genetic engineering, and other birth related technology, building a population from 2 individuals would certainly be possible. A large investment of resources but possible. Though I vaguely remember something about genetic engineering being frowned upon in the Star Trek verse due to Kahn and his ilk.

Also I had another thought of a possible reason for aliens to invade the Earth. To wipe out humans in order to spite another alien species or group that had taken an observational interest in humanity (kinda like hobbyist bird watchers)

If there are enough samples of the DNA left you could even use cloning and gene therapy to replenish the genetic diversity with the original genome. 

Though in Star Trek the issue was needing them now, not in the couple decades it would have taken to recreate the species using scrimshaw and other remains as a genetic basis for cloning

It's possible genetic engineering was only forbidden to apply to human. Maybe we should ask someone who knows more about how totally forbidden genetic engineering is ... like Dr. Julian Bashir.

8 hours ago, Drasvin said:

Also I had another thought of a possible reason for aliens to invade the Earth. To wipe out humans in order to spite another alien species or group that had taken an observational interest in humanity (kinda like hobbyist bird watchers)

Makes sense. Although I would expect the bird watchers would then intervene.

4 hours ago, Vorlonagent said:

What is "tearing" Mars' core and why wouldn't we want to do it?  Mars has a solid core, which is the reason it doesn't have a magnetic field.  A steady neutronium drip into the core would heat the core back up really nicely and perhaps restore Mars' magnetic field.  You probably don't want to drop a mars-mass worth of neutronium straight onto Mars.  We don't need to re-melt the entire planet, just the iron core.  The best reason to watch how we install the neutronium is not heating mars up too much.

But if we do end up melting the planet, c'est la vie.  We'd need to drop a couple of iceballs on it anyway..

Hmmmm ... isn't neutronium normally unstable in "normal" pressures?

Well, perhaps it would be better if we let the experts from exotic matter industry compute if they need exotic matter or not.

4 hours ago, Vorlonagent said:

War materials, alloys and such are often unique.  A replicator does not create elements, only assembles objects out of a reserve stockpile of component elements.  If warfare requires a lot of electronics and batteries, say, you dig faster and more deeply into the colony's reserve of rare earth elements than colonizing an uninhabited world would require.

I wouldn't be so sure that warfare requires more than the machines expected to be used for terraformation ... but it's true that by using the elements for warfare would mean you won't have them for original purpose.

4 hours ago, Vorlonagent said:

The colony would need to mine more from somewhere or deal with crippling shortages.  In the hypothetical novels of professional earthlings vs alien noobs, the noobs want a quick war or they want to seize the resources they need to produce more war materials.   Or you produce substandard stuff with what you have. 

They would probably want to steal resources from us, yes. So, first attack will likely be on something they can use to build more war technology.

4 hours ago, Vorlonagent said:

I was thinking of the early days of Larry Nivin's Known Space universe and and one of the first Earth-launched starships known as the Angel's Pencil.  A Kzinti warship approached the Angel's Pencil under a gravitic drive using accelerations of hundreds of G-forces while the Earth ship was just plowing along at 1G using a crude photonic drive.  Kzinti telepaths reported that the ship was unarmed.  The Kzinti moved in for the easy kill.

This reminds me the Uplift Universe again. In at least one instance, dolphins in supposedly unarmed ship needed to attack actual warship ... they used water. The idea being that water was probably not showing well on sensors but with the high relative velocity was still dangerous ...

 

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45 minutes ago, hkmaly said:

It's possible genetic engineering was only forbidden to apply to human. Maybe we should ask someone who knows more about how totally forbidden genetic engineering is ... like Dr. Julian Bashir.

Probably meant to apply to humans only due to the Eugenics Wars. I doubt the Federation feels nearly as threatened by genetically manipulated superintelligent sheep.

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1 hour ago, hkmaly said:

Makes sense. Although I would expect the bird watchers would then intervene.

 

1 hour ago, hkmaly said:

Hmmmm ... isn't neutronium normally unstable in "normal" pressures?

Well, perhaps it would be better if we let the experts from exotic matter industry compute if they need exotic matter or not.

Neutronium is a teensy bit unstable in small doses, yes.  We may have to drop the mars-mass ball on Mars at once then do the iceball thing to cool it down again.  There go all the landmarks but hey we get a lot of real estate out of the deal.

1 hour ago, hkmaly said:

I wouldn't be so sure that warfare requires more than the machines expected to be used for terraformation ... but it's true that by using the elements for warfare would mean you won't have them for original purpose.

They would probably want to steal resources from us, yes. So, first attack will likely be on something they can use to build more war technology.

If you can terraform, you don't need earth, unless you just mostly like earth an need to terraform it just a little to get it just right. 

We can assume that space is at a premium in most colony fleets, however.  They're not going to bring resources with them that they can get in sol system.  And they're not going to bring more difficult-to-get resources than they expect to need to set up a colony capable of providing for itself and maybe a bit more just to allow for mistakes accidents and inefficiency.  (Remember we're talking about a colonization fleet that is thinking about retooling itself to be an invasion force not an invasion planned as an invasion from the get-go)

They're going to want to hit hard, hit fast, demoralize and deprive Earthers of any hope of resistance before we understand they're actually untrained and short on resources and grab resources for both continuing military operations and making the colony work because they spent colonization resources on warfare.

1 hour ago, hkmaly said:

This reminds me the Uplift Universe again. In at least one instance, dolphins in supposedly unarmed ship needed to attack actual warship ... they used water. The idea being that water was probably not showing well on sensors but with the high relative velocity was still dangerous ...\

Inspired choice.  Just about anything at a high enough velocity is dangerous.

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1 hour ago, The Old Hack said:
2 hours ago, hkmaly said:

It's possible genetic engineering was only forbidden to apply to human. Maybe we should ask someone who knows more about how totally forbidden genetic engineering is ... like Dr. Julian Bashir.

Probably meant to apply to humans only due to the Eugenics Wars. I doubt the Federation feels nearly as threatened by genetically manipulated superintelligent sheep.

Actually, related article specifies that DNA resequencing of sentient beings for any reason other than repairing serious birth defects was illegal in the Federation ... but I suppose the genetic manipulation Phlox done on Klingons wouldn't be problem :)

...

...

(Because he wasn't in Federation while doing it.)

1 hour ago, Vorlonagent said:

They're going to want to hit hard, hit fast, demoralize and deprive Earthers of any hope of resistance before we understand they're actually untrained and short on resources and grab resources for both continuing military operations and making the colony work because they spent colonization resources on warfare.

Yes, definitely.

... but that would be hard. Earthers are notoriously hard to demoralize and even harder to make unable to fight. Lot of us tend to fallback to suicide attacks when morale is down. Yeah, they don't know what they are against.

1 hour ago, Vorlonagent said:

Inspired choice.  Just about anything at a high enough velocity is dangerous.

Yes. In fact, at velocity high enough, any payload you could put in the missile, including antimatter, is insignificant to the kinetic energy released by impact.

... although the relative velocity in that Uplift Universe case wasn't nearly as big.

 

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2 hours ago, Vorlonagent said:

Neutronium is a teensy bit unstable in small doses, yes.  We may have to drop the mars-mass ball on Mars at once then do the iceball thing to cool it down again.  There go all the landmarks but hey we get a lot of real estate out of the deal.

In the Heavy Gear game I was in, there was a planet called Caprice which was a lot like Mars in terms of it's environment though closer to Earth size, I think gravity on the surface was .9 or something close to ours. Anyway there was a habitable zone on the planet called the Cat's Eye Trench which was deep enough that it was easy to keep climate controlled and have a breathable atmosphere compared to the rest of the planet. Terraforming consisted of focused bombardment of various sites with meteorites gathered from the asteroid belt in the system. The meteors sent in were a mix of rock and ice and it was a slow process because they didn't want to do to much too fast and overshoot their goal. At the time we played, the atmosphere had become such that forms of lichen were able to survive and grow in caves just below the surface and they figured about 200 years of focused bombardments would raise the surface temperature, carbon dioxide and atmospheric density enough for more complex plant life to take hold and start producing oxygen.

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3 hours ago, hkmaly said:

Actually, related article specifies that DNA resequencing of sentient beings for any reason other than repairing serious birth defects was illegal in the Federation ... but I suppose the genetic manipulation Phlox done on Klingons wouldn't be problem :)

...

...

(Because he wasn't in Federation while doing it.)

Yes, definitely.

... but that would be hard. Earthers are notoriously hard to demoralize and even harder to make unable to fight. Lot of us tend to fallback to suicide attacks when morale is down. Yeah, they don't know what they are against.

Yes. In fact, at velocity high enough, any payload you could put in the missile, including antimatter, is insignificant to the kinetic energy released by impact.

... although the relative velocity in that Uplift Universe case wasn't nearly as big.

 

1/2 mass × velocity2 is a real bitch.

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11 hours ago, hkmaly said:

Actually, related article specifies that DNA resequencing of sentient beings for any reason other than repairing serious birth defects was illegal in the Federation ... but I suppose the genetic manipulation Phlox done on Klingons wouldn't be problem :)

If I remember correctly, didn't the Klingons find out about the Eugenics stuff Humans did and then attempt to use it for themselves? And then kidnapped Phlox to make him fix the problems their attempt caused?

Though personally, I thought it was one of situations where the writers felt they needed to explain why Klingons looked the way they did in TOS, because the Trials and Tribbleations episode of DS9 had the cast react to them and Worf refusing to go into details and being embarrassed about it.

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On 3/30/2017 at 9:27 PM, Scotty said:

Some may argue that despite us having technology, we lack intelligence to use it wisely.

Basically Humans tend to look at things as weapons before tools.

More to the point, our reach has exceeded our grasp, killing-wise. Basically, our instincts are built for melee combat, where each enemy is killed in a discrete action. Such instincts don't apply as well to modern bombardment-based warfare where you push a button and unleash a bomb that annihilates a whole bunch of people at once. Our subconscious instincts are not really able to distinguish clearly between killing one enemy and killing all of them at once, which in turn makes it disturbingly easy to engage in massive overkill and collateral damage. Fire a rifle, launch a nuclear missile, it's all the same in terms of the psychological/emotional reactions of the one pulling the trigger--it does NOT take one million times as much resolve to launch a nuke that will kill a million people as to fire a bullet that will kill one person.

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21 hours ago, mlooney said:

1/2 mass × velocity2 is a real bitch.

Actually 1/2 mass x velocity2 wouldn't be so bad and would be definitely less than antimatter. The correct equation is

13 hours ago, Scotty said:

If I remember correctly, didn't the Klingons find out about the Eugenics stuff Humans did and then attempt to use it for themselves? And then kidnapped Phlox to make him fix the problems their attempt caused?

Yes.

13 hours ago, Scotty said:

Though personally, I thought it was one of situations where the writers felt they needed to explain why Klingons looked the way they did in TOS, because the Trials and Tribbleations episode of DS9 had the cast react to them and Worf refusing to go into details and being embarrassed about it.

The way Klingon looked in TOS and in movies would still allow alternative explanations, although it's debatable if they would be better. TNG didn't changed that. But Trials and Trible-ations made most of them unworkable, so it forced solution like this.

10 hours ago, ijuin said:

More to the point, our reach has exceeded our grasp, killing-wise. Basically, our instincts are built for melee combat, where each enemy is killed in a discrete action.

... yes, it would be sort of unrealistic to expect our instinct will be able to adapt in mere few centuries. This sort of change takes thousands of years ... if beneficial from evolution standpoint.

10 hours ago, ijuin said:

Fire a rifle, launch a nuclear missile, it's all the same in terms of the psychological/emotional reactions of the one pulling the trigger--it does NOT take one million times as much resolve to launch a nuke that will kill a million people as to fire a bullet that will kill one person.

For lot of people launching a nuke is EASIER than killing someone with knife, even if that someone is tied or something. In fact, ESPECIALLY if tied - tying someone makes easier to kill him physically but harder psychologically.

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Just now, hkmaly said:

The way Klingon looked in TOS and in movies would still allow alternative explanations, although it's debatable if they would be better. TNG didn't changed that. But Trials and Trible-ations made most of them unworkable, so it forced solution like this.

It's because of the differences in budget that we get such glaring differences in stuff like set design and make up, ST: The Motion Picture gets around it by giving us the Enterprise 1701 Refit. It was pretty strange when the Enterprise series came out and we saw the NX-01 looking more advanced that the TOS 1701 despite being 100 years before TOS and we're likely going to see a similar difference when the new Trek series comes out that's set about 10 years before TOS.

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6 hours ago, Scotty said:
18 hours ago, hkmaly said:

The way Klingon looked in TOS and in movies would still allow alternative explanations, although it's debatable if they would be better. TNG didn't changed that. But Trials and Trible-ations made most of them unworkable, so it forced solution like this.

It's because of the differences in budget that we get such glaring differences in stuff like set design and make up, ST: The Motion Picture gets around it by giving us the Enterprise 1701 Refit. It was pretty strange when the Enterprise series came out and we saw the NX-01 looking more advanced that the TOS 1701 despite being 100 years before TOS and we're likely going to see a similar difference when the new Trek series comes out that's set about 10 years before TOS.

IN-UNIVERSE EXPLANATION. The out-of-universe explanation is obvious.

BTW, I've read books about Romulan war which tried to explain THIS one. Basically, the consoles on NCC-1701 are looking more primitive because Romulans were using some sort of remote control weapon and when they developed countermeasures they ended with this more primitive look which was much more resistant to it.

While the difference seem too much, it has at least SOME logic. Similarly to why computers used by NASA in space are generally more primitive (although not that much) than the ones we have on tables because older technology is more resistant to cosmic radiation and stuff like that.

Maybe they had the right idea and just overdid it.

(Note that the possibility to remote control ship was mentioned in The Wrath of Khan when Kirk entered prefix code 16309 and lowered Reliant's shields. I suppose people developing those systems learnt from the people who though four digits is enough for PIN and 16 enough for credit card number. Well ... autodestruct codes seems to be similarly short. Only one with decent password was Data.)

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One justification for making the code for lowering the shields short and simple is so that staff can actually memorize it--any string of digits longer than about 16 digits is hard for humans to memorize. The more critical part of the authentication was the part of convincing the Reliant's computer that yes, this order was indeed coming from Rear Admiral James T. Kirk (i.e. user authentication)--it can be inferred that Kirk, being a flag officer, had authorization to override the Reliant's systems.

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8 minutes ago, ijuin said:

One justification for making the code for lowering the shields short and simple

That wasn't code for lowering the shields. It was PREFIX code. Kirk basically send "Reliant, 16309, lower the shields", or possibly 1864-16309-4703 with 4703 actually meaning lowering shields but Kirk didn't needed to remember it as I suspect he just entered the prefix code and then pressed the button normally used for lowering shields.

12 minutes ago, ijuin said:

any string of digits longer than about 16 digits is hard for humans to memorize.

I think the limit is 7 ... oh, wait, that was short term memory. Anyway, I don't think anyone was supposed to memorize that and Kirk looked for Reliant in database or something.

20 minutes ago, ijuin said:

The more critical part of the authentication was the part of convincing the Reliant's computer that yes, this order was indeed coming from Rear Admiral James T. Kirk (i.e. user authentication)--it can be inferred that Kirk, being a flag officer, had authorization to override the Reliant's systems.

That might be possible, although that part of authentication was also shown to not work so well against Data ...

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1 hour ago, hkmaly said:

That might be possible, although that part of authentication was also shown to not work so well against Data ...

Yes, but sapient beings capable of perfectly imitating another person's voice print sufficiently to fool a starship's main computer are presumably rare enough that Starfleet never thought that it would be a security issue. Of course, this was before the Federation encountered The Founders . . .

On Enterprise-era control consoles looking more complex than TOS-era ones, consider the comparison between the controls for a steam locomotive and an electric locomotive. The steam engine has various gauges for temperature, pressure, water level, oil pressure, etc., and a bunch of levers to control it all. The electric engine meanwhile has a throttle, a brake, a speedometer, and a few diagnostic lights, making the control scheme much simpler despite being more advanced technology than the steam engine.

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