129,538 Posts in 3,480 Topics - by 272 Members - Latest Member: masterarminas
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1  Everything Else / Get a Life! / Re: Astronomy/space exploration thread on: August 25, 2011, 08:15:05 AM
Soyuz blows up

Pretty much self-explanatory.  The Soyuz-U was carrying Progress M-12M to the ISS.  Failure happened at 'around five minutes' or about the same time as third-stage ignition.  No sources seem to agree on whether the third stage exploded or it was a self-destruct from the ground after the stages failed to separate (or perhaps something else).
2  Star Trek / Treknology Expert Forum / Re: "Phadar" on: August 23, 2011, 06:51:34 AM
The Scimitar also had shields up, which makes things more difficult, but presumably that feature will appear on standard Romulan vessels sooner or later.  I suppose Kirk's version in BoT with the 'proximity blast' might ammount to something similar.
3  Everything Else / Get a Life! / Re: Are you capable of killing: Thought provoking quiz. on: August 23, 2011, 06:47:06 AM
I'm still curious as to other people's reactions if they've had to kill something, and will try not to be judgemental about it.  Has anyone here ever been shooting for instance?  The fact that I cocked it up might make some difference to my own.
4  Everything Else / Get a Life! / Re: Are you capable of killing: Thought provoking quiz. on: August 22, 2011, 02:03:23 PM
51%, got the same comments as Xero.

It's 100% if you count animals.  I deliberately killed a Vole once, it was badly injured because the cat had got it, so I chopped it in half with a spade.  Not quite what I was aiming to do, and I wasn't exactly happy about it afterwards.

Pussy.

If you can kill a helpless, wounded animal by cutting it in half, then sit and watch it's head gasping for breath about six inches from your face without some qualms, then I'm very glad we're on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

That's fucked up what you did. You have to destroy the brain, not cut it in half and watch it die slowly you sick fuck.

Changed your tune?

How easy do you think it is to aim at something that small?  I did get the head on the third attempt, but it took time to set up, and the first one caught the middle of the body.  Still better than letting the cat play with it for the next half-hour, and it was dying anyway.  It was not a pleasant experience, and if anyone can do it without any feeling, they certainly are fucked up.
5  Star Trek / Treknology Expert Forum / "Phadar" on: August 21, 2011, 06:27:10 PM
We've all seen the bit in Nemesis where the E-E searched for the Scimitar using her phasers.  It sort-of worked, but presumably they were at far too low a power to do any damage.  I don't think it was the only time we saw phasers being used for finding things either, I remember seeing a shuttle shooting at an anomaly to map it and Voyager looking for a ship inside a reflective asteroid, but this was the only time we saw it with multiple shots from the same array.  So, how practical is this "phadar"?  Can a ship go to the rough location of a cloaked ship and just sweep the sky with low-power phasers until a contact occurs?  Once she hits something, hold the contact and make a full-power shot, or maybe target the contact with torpedoes (you'd obviously avoid hitting friendlies if you can).  The only drawback I can think of is that it might overheat the phasers.
6  Everything Else / Get a Life! / Re: Are you capable of killing: Thought provoking quiz. on: August 21, 2011, 06:17:50 PM
51%, got the same comments as Xero.

It's 100% if you count animals.  I deliberately killed a Vole once, it was badly injured because the cat had got it, so I chopped it in half with a spade.  Not quite what I was aiming to do, and I wasn't exactly happy about it afterwards.

Pussy.

If you can kill a helpless, wounded animal by cutting it in half, then sit and watch it's head gasping for breath about six inches from your face without some qualms, then I'm very glad we're on opposite sides of the Atlantic.
7  Everything Else / Get a Life! / Re: Crop circle creation theory: physics, not aliens on: August 19, 2011, 06:17:29 PM
Any idiot can get to any point in a field without flattening the crop, just walk down the wheel tracks and start to make the circle from there.  Crop circles are just giant, arable graffiti, and each one costs a farmer a good few pounds in lost revenue (thus speaks an English country boy).
8  Everything Else / Get a Life! / Re: Are you capable of killing: Thought provoking quiz. on: August 19, 2011, 06:08:49 PM
51%, got the same comments as Xero.

It's 100% if you count animals.  I deliberately killed a Vole once, it was badly injured because the cat had got it, so I chopped it in half with a spade.  Not quite what I was aiming to do, and I wasn't exactly happy about it afterwards.
9  Star Trek / General Trek Discussion / Re: Off Topic Discussion - Direct Ask & Answer on: August 05, 2011, 07:09:04 AM
But, but zoom ins are kewl...  Tongue    I'd image that they are capable of doing shots similar to what was seen in Trek XI, and I would agree that shots similar to those would be good.


With all this talk of remastered TNG I hope remastered versions of DS9 and VOY get released afterwards.  DS9 mainly so they can replace all that stock footage (or at least all the space battle scenes) in the final episode and put some Ambassadors and maybe a Sovie or two in some of the battle scenes.  VOY mainly so they can add some battle scars to the ship, or at the very least make parts of the hull change color to indicate that they are repairing the ship with whatever they can scrounge up.

Now that would be good.  "We got that one from the Borg, that one from Species 8472..." on a battered ship in hostile territory.  It's something they should have done with the actual series.  The DS9 battle scenes were pretty good for what they were.  The only reason they didn't have Sovs turning up is that they were saving them for the movies.  Not entirely realistic, they'd want their best ships in the front lines, but Paramount policy.  Instead, they had lots of Galaxies, so we saw nearly all the 12 supposed to exist.  The odd Ambassador and maybe a Sov or two should take care of that.
10  Star Trek / General Trek Discussion / Re: Off Topic Discussion - Direct Ask & Answer on: August 04, 2011, 08:23:02 PM
Physical model/CGI.  Well, let's be honest, I'm biased.  That's chiefly because I used to make a lot of models and have great respect for the people who can make something so convincing.  The odd shot of the four-foot model did stand out a bit because of the extra hull details (compare the two Memory Alpha links below).  In general, I was thinking more of being subtle, and using almost everything from the original footage, just tweaking it a little and perhaps adding things where it would not be too obvious.  This is rooted in pure nostalgia.  You're probably right, it'll look a lot more dynamic and very realistic.  Still, I'd miss the models.
I like TOS-R (I'm getting Season 3 on Sunday, it's a birthday present).  If they ever did a completely-redone TNG-R, I would pray that one of the Freeview channels decides to show it.  Otherwise, that's the next three-and-a-half years of birthdays and Christmases taken care of - works out just right at one episode per week (Wednesday, six o'clock).

Four-foot model
http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20080321164834/memoryalpha/en/images/0/00/USS_Enterprise-D%2C_TNG_Season_3-7.jpg
Six-foot model
http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20070526211539/memoryalpha/en/images/f/fc/USS_Enterprise-D%2C_2364.jpg
11  Star Trek / General Trek Discussion / Re: Off Topic Discussion - Direct Ask & Answer on: August 02, 2011, 06:56:16 AM
It'd be interesting to see what changes they make to various ships that were thrown together and reused because of limited funds.  I was just watching Conspiracy the other day, and in that instance it would be cool to actually see the three other ships, one of which was an Ambassador class, that meet the Enterprise at Dytallix B.

Personally, I wouldn't mind if they went back and made a few changes to canon in terms of various ships being of a certain class.  For example, we saw numerous reuses of the Excelsior and Miranda class variants, but with new VFX, they could introduce the Nebula Class far earlier and have many more Ambassador class ships present from day one.  And of course, we would ultimately get a new and improved graveyard scene at Wolf 359.  I don't think they could add anything to the actual battle without disrupting the flow of the episode, but the aftermath when the Enterprise finally gets there could certainly benefit from being updated.  Though maybe they could add something more to the martian defense perimeter, such as showing Utopia Plantia in the background as the Cube passes Mars.  That could be really cool.

One thing I hope they do is to at least make Earth look like there is a space faring race inhabiting the planet, to say nothing of being the capital of the Federation.  Aside from the space dock, or McKinley station, we never see any sort of orbital presence.  The Enterprise always rolls up and is the only ship anywhere to be seen.  Are we to believe there is no other Starfleet activity and no civilian activity in Earth orbit?

Really, if they do a TNG update, they have their work cut out for them.
I like most of those, but I wouldn't change the ship classes.  However, there's nothing to say that some of the ships we didn't see weren't a newer class.  Dyllatix B is the obvious one, it would be good to see the other ships make an appearance.  There's no reason why they can't make minor changes to the Excelsiors, perhaps even as far as making one a Block 2/Enterprise-B type.  Still, I hope they leave the Enterprise-D just as she is, that six-foot model was a beauty, and I don't want it replaced with CGI.
12  Star Trek / General Trek Discussion / Re: Off Topic Discussion - Direct Ask & Answer on: August 02, 2011, 06:50:10 AM
As long as it's subtle, I'm all for it.  TOS-R could be subtle sometimes, but a lot of it was in-your-face updating.  It looks good, but it's a matter of taste whether it went too far or not.
13  Everything Else / Get a Life! / Re: General News and Current Events Topic III on: July 29, 2011, 07:28:44 AM
Christian terrorism. That's what the news won't ever call it despite it being what it is.
He's a Christian who wants to initiate a crusade against the heathen Muslims for corrupting European culture. Terrorists are Muslims who want to initiate a jihad against infidel Christians for corrupting Arabian culture. The words are different so they're completely different things. Roll Eyes
He's also working alone rather than as part of an organised network.  One difference is that terrorism has an interest in never achieving its aims, because the terrorists would essentially have to retire, losing power and influence.  Unless they plan on becoming a government themselves, then continuous conflict is good for them.
Still, it's another occasion when a lone gunman caused chaos because there was nobody to oppose him.
14  Everything Else / Get a Life! / Re: Astronomy/space exploration thread on: July 21, 2011, 04:14:11 AM
And the Shuttle programme comes to an end with a perfect landing.  Always a relief when that happens.  Watched it live, it was just before 11:00 our time.  End of an era, but let's hope a new one begins in a few years.  I'm crossing the Atlantic again next year, hoping to visit KSC Atlantis will still be there, so I'll get the chance to see her.
If I'd written the last episode of Voyager, it would have ended in a similar way.
Just to make sure there's no confusion here. This Atlas has little to nothing to do with the Atlas that launched Mercury capsules. The last rocket that was an evolutionary derivative of those was the Atlas II in the '90s. The Atlas V is an evolution of the Atlas III which was pretty much a complete redesign and uses a Russian engine. The V's only been flying since 2002.
Didn't quite think that one through, but I was thinking of the name more than anything.
Quote
Branson's little venture is still humming along. Scaled Composites is currently working on a series of manned glide tests for the Spaceship 2 (Enterprise and her eventual sister Voyager) and they should be working up to engine firings later this year. I predict she'll be going suborbital by this time next year though passenger flights might not start until 2013. There's no commercial orbit prize beyond NASA's CcDev process that's shepherding the CST and Dreamchaser. Then there's the commercial resupply contracts for the ISS that will start next year. Dragon may even start unmanned resupply in October/November if NASA and the Russians approve combining their second and third test flights. However, Google is sponsoring a Lunar X-Prize for private groups/companies to build a lunar lander-rover combo. Not quite the same as manned spaceflight but interesting as it would be the first non-government craft to leave Earth orbit.
Hmm, it'll be interesting to see.  We'll wait for developments.
15  Everything Else / Get a Life! / Re: Law May Outlaw stop people from putting copyrighted stuff on the internet. on: July 20, 2011, 05:19:40 PM
Something like this cropped up in Parliament last year, then got filibustered (not quite sure by whom) and ran out of time.  It was close to the election anyway, so it was more about the government (who are now the opposition) saying that they were on the side of the entertainment industry.  The favour was not returned.  It will probably happen again, but is not likely to get very far.

Not sure if I've got the details right.
16  Everything Else / Get a Life! / Re: Astronomy/space exploration thread on: July 20, 2011, 05:09:59 PM
There's two American prospects that are looking very strong right now, Dragon and CST-100. Between the two, I'm favoring manned Dragon being the first to the station though CST got a big boost yesterday when NASA signed an agreement with ULA that should increase the pace on man-rating the Atlas V which is probably the best suited booster to loft the CST. Both these should be flying by 2015 or so, probably closer to 2017.
The rework of Orion is looking like it will probably go ahead but not to the ISS, just beyond Earth orbit. It's problem is it still lacks a booster. The SLS will probably never make it out of congress's design process, which is a horrible idea, in an acceptable form and Delta IVH, the only EELV with enough oomph to loft an Orion, is not planned for man-rating yet.
I wouldn't put a lot of stock in ESA talk about making a manned ATV. They've been talking about that since '07 and nothing's come of it. Also not sure how much stock I put in Russia's PPTS concept though they seem to have more solid concepts down for it's Rus-M booster.

This looks interesting, and I shall be watching developments closely.  Curious that they're considering using Atlas, but then good designs last.  "Congressional design" sounds like a very bad idea.  I'm trying to imagine a spacecraft designed by Parliament, or even a governmental committee.  The manned ATV looks like being another Hermes, something that could probably have been made to work, but there was just not the will to do so.  All the same, I wouldn't mind seeing at least a partial British effort in manned spaceflight.  Prospero is still up there somewhere, but only because they cancelled it when it was practically on the launchpad, so the quickest way to get rid of it was upwards.

Quote
A lot of people are bemoaning the retirement of STS, and in all reality the girls could've kept flying for a few more years, like it's the end of NASA. That's not the right attitude to have. Things are happening and while there isn't a unified single plan, read: government effort, it's past time low Earth orbit was opened to commercial operators. There will be US ships flying again, probably with less of a gap in capability than there was between Apollo and STS. They just won't be NASA run. There's a new space race on to get that flag, we'll see who wants it more: SpaceX or Boeing.

Now that I agree with.  NASA certainly did not stop with the end of Apollo and Skylab.  It seems to be a sort of generational change.  If you look at the last few shuttle crews, they were almost all veterans.  Whenever the next wave of spaceflight starts, we'll almost certainly have a new generation of astronauts to fly in them.  I also agree that we need some commercial operators up there, especially if that drives competition.  Competition always seems to speed things up.

Also, remembering the X-Prize, I've occasionally wondered whether there should be a Y-Prize for the first commercial spacecraft to orbit the Earth.  SpaceShip 1 isn't actually capable of surviving an orbital re-entry, but there were plenty of other projects going for the prize, some of which would have had full orbital capability.  Not that we've heard much of SpaceShip 1 (V.S.S. Enterprise  Undecided ) recently, Branson's probably waiting for the economy to pick up so that he'll have space tourists to carry.
17  Everything Else / Get a Life! / Re: Astronomy/space exploration thread on: July 19, 2011, 07:39:21 AM
Atlantis undocked for the final time early this morning.  Everything going according to plan, should be a safe landing.  They left a flag on the station for the next manned American spacecraft to collect and take home.  I hope I'll see it before the station is supposed to deorbit in 2020.  Not quite sure what will collect it, whether some sort of revival of Orion or something new.  I just hope I'll see it.  Meanwhile ESA is supposed to be working on a manned version of the ATV, so we might see an alternative to Soyuz up there in about five years.
18  Everything Else / Get a Life! / Re: Man builds his own million dollar Bugatti supercar by hand on: July 17, 2011, 06:33:32 PM
Reminds me of the pedal-powered Porsche that's running around somewhere.  Saw it on Top Gear once, where it set the record for the slowest lap of the test track.  I'm half-expecting the Cougatti to turn up on there one day, but it might not be quite as fast as a Veyron.
19  Everything Else / Get a Life! / Re: Politics and Government Thread on: July 17, 2011, 06:27:04 PM

Oh dear...   Roll Eyes   Somehow, I don't think the Letchworth Broadway will be showing that one.  Is she still thinking of standing for president next time round, or is once more than enough?
20  Everything Else / Get a Life! / Re: Astronomy/space exploration thread on: July 08, 2011, 09:56:02 AM
Just seen her go.  Had a bit of trouble getting the vent hood off, had to hold the countdown at T-31 sec for about two minutes.  Good launch when she did go.  Awesome sight, as ever.

The way finding is going, you'll be lucky to get any manned spaceflight at all.  Chances are, the next man on the Moon will be Chinese.  From the only nation stupid enough to abandon its space programme, you have my sympathy.
21  Everything Else / Get a Life! / Re: Astronomy/space exploration thread on: July 07, 2011, 10:23:43 AM
Weather reports suggest the launch is likely to be scrubbed.  Next likely window is Sunday.  I hope the BBC decide to screen it live like they did the first Shuttle-Mir docking.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/rainy-weather-likely-to-delay-nasas-atlantis-shuttle-launch-friday/2011/07/07/gIQAP8B51H_blog.html
22  Everything Else / Get a Life! / Re: The Founding Fathers, unzipped on: July 06, 2011, 04:45:03 PM
Hmm, interesting.  I was in Boston last year, and (like many other tourists) went on the Freedom Trail.  A most curious experience for an Anglo-Irish Eurosceptic Monarchist.  The first thing the tour guide said was roughly, "Everything you learned about [insert long list of famous people from the eighteenth century] is wrong."  We're all subject to this, and plenty of politicians have abused history to make a point before, and drawn false parallels.  Outside "The Mother of Parliaments" (conveniently forgetting the Roman Senate) is a statue of Oliver Cromwell, who supposedly gave us parliamentary democracy and came in 7th in a television poll to find the greatest Britons.  He also ordered the killing of lots of people in my family's old home town, had huge quantities of religious art destroyed and effectively abolished Parliament when it no longer agreed with him.  I'd count him a dictator, along with Napoleon and Stalin, but my views are equally coloured.

There's probably no way we will ever agree on history, each generation views it through the same eyes that it views its present, and every point of view comes to it with fixed ideas.  It's a matter of perception, and I doubt we will ever see any truth from it.
23  Star Trek / General Trek Discussion / Re: Favorite shuttle? on: July 06, 2011, 04:27:23 PM
Data's scout/runabout from Insurrection is my favorite, though I wish we had an official class name.  Second and third would probably be the Danube Class Runabout Type-9/Class 2 speed boat shuttle from Voyager.

I like the scout too though Ive always felt it would have made a better fighter for starfleet.

It's a nice design, certainly, and capable of carrying torpedoes judging by "Insurrection".  A bit big to go in a standard shuttlebay, maybe, although the big bay in the top of a Galaxy or Akira might accept it.  They might be the small version that Runabouts carry, but I imagine you could mount a couple of full-size ones somewhere, even if you have to carry them externally.

Just out of curiosity, anyone have any ideas about the Type9/Class 2 thing.  My take on it is that Class 2 represents some sort of purpose designation, "Personnel Shuttle" maybe, or just a plain size thing.  It would thus be a catchall for any shuttlecraft of the same size and shape.  British road vehicles use something similar for MOT test (Class 2 means a motorbike, a private car is Class 4).
24  Star Trek / General Trek Discussion / Re: Favorite shuttle? on: June 27, 2011, 08:35:21 PM
Starfleet
1) Delta Flyer
2) Danube-class Runabout
3) The Enterprise-E's shuttle from Insurrection
4) Data's scout ship from Insurrection
5) The Shuttlepod from ENT
6) Argo shuttle from Nemesis (practicality of the dune-buggy aside, I like the way the shuttle looks)

Alien Shuttles
1) Romulan Shuttle
2) Scorpion fighter (aside from the fact that the single cannon is in a bad position I like the look of it)

Non-canon: The Valkyrie fighter from the game ST: Invasion. (Only the Mk I version though, the other two don't look like Star Trek shuttles at all, image in the link only shows the Mk I version).

I'd forgotten the Romulan shuttle.  Nice design, it looks quite imposing for its size (when not invisible).
25  Star Trek / General Trek Discussion / Re: Favorite shuttle? on: June 27, 2011, 04:24:57 PM
Hello again, I've reappeared.

I also like the TOS shuttle.  It's simple, but effective, just a box with engines.  That's all you need in a craft like that.

I've also often wondered whether there would be civil versions of Starfleet shuttles.  There might be millions of the things all over the Federation.  Then, I'd want a little one like the Type 14 for hopping about in and a bigger Danube-sized runabout as a yacht.
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