TACHYON WAVES, WARP DRIVE, AND INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINES

Garry and I have been watching “Star Trek: Next Generation.” We missed the show’s initial run. 1987 through 1994 were our busiest years. Rebuilding a life. Restarting a career. Buying houses. Getting married. Moving. Moving again.

Watching TV wasn’t a big item on our agenda.

BBC America is showing the series, albeit not in any particular order. We are catching up, watching two or three episodes per night.

star trek next gen cast

They do a lot of tech talk on the Enterprise. I accept it with alacrity. No problem. Pass the warp drive. I’ll have a side order of tachyon particles. I understand that science as well as I understand ours.

Which is to say, not at all. Tachyon energy is crucial to all kinds of weaponry and fuel. They are part of what powers the warp engines on the Enterprise. The warp engines are what lets the Enterprise be the Enterprise, travel at speeds faster than light … fast enough to explore the universe. Slither through wormholes. Travel through time.

For your information, a tachyon particle moves faster than light. The complementary particle types are luxon (particles which move at the speed of light) and bradyon (particles which move slower than light). If you live in the Star Trek universe, tachyon particles are as common as dirt. Or electricity.

I understand exactly as much about tachyon waves and warp drives as I do about the internal combustion engine. True, I studied this stuff in junior high school (middle school to you kids). The information didn’t “take,” and whatever is going on under my car’s hood is a mystery. As is the electricity that powers this computer. As is all technology.

enterprise next gen

Effectively, everything is a mystery. I understand the technology of the 24th century exactly as well (and as much) as I understand the technology of the 21st. I am equally comfortable in both.

How many of you know how the stuff you use all the time works? I know how software is designed, how code is written and compiled. I used to know how to do a little coding. In the end, though, I have no idea why code does anything. Why, when you compile a program, does it work? It’s just text. Why does it do what it does?

Why does anything work? Tachyon particles, warp drives, internal combustion engines, electricity, cell phones, WiFi. It’s all the same. Magic.

And now, back to the Enterprise, already in progress.



Categories: Computers, Humor, Sci Fi - Fantasy - Time Travel, Science, Software, Technology, Television

Tags: , , , , , , ,

16 replies

  1. Yay, Star Trek! I have most of the original, all of TNG, all of DS9 and all of Voyager on DVD (yeah, I’m sad like that!).
    I’m wondering if you’d like (if you haven’t read them already) Ian Douglas’ “Star Carrier” books. Not only does he expand on today’s theories and make them reality in the future (e.g. the Alcubierre Drive) with lots of explanation but his aliens are really alien, as in we can’t even understand the way they think.

    And no, at a really fundamental level, I don’t understand how anything works either.

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    • I will have to check those out. I’m ALWAYS looking for a new author to read. I burn through them pretty fast. I’m not sure we CAN explain most of the stuff in our world. We can manipulate it, use it, accept it … but the way is elusive. It’s like learning to cast spells. We cast them, the spell works … and we are terribly upset when we get a demon we can’t control popping round 🙂

      I actually just went and bought the first of the Star Carrier books. I’ve been reading a lot of time travel lately, so some straight sci fi is welcome. New technobabble! Yay!

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      • Hope you enjoy it! I’ve just started another Ilona Andrews “Kate Daniels” book. I had to wait as they had an argument regarding eBook rights in the UK. I’d forgotten how amazingly well written and good they are. If you like Kim Harrison, I’m sure you’ll love these.

        For more excellent straight sci-fi, try Elizabeth Moon (she does amazing fantasy as well as sci-fi). Start with the “Vatta’s War” series.

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        • I will check them out. Kim is working on her next series, but she obviously isn’t even close to a new release yet. She really details her writing process in her blog. It’s very interesting to see how she works … possibly the MOST organized, methodical writer I’ve could even imagine. Nothing accidental in HER work!

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  2. We do have all the DVD’s of Next Gen. I got them for David a few years ago. I’m always slow to accept rebooted series and wasn’t sure about Next Gen when it first started but after the first series where I felt they were all a little wooden the characters really grew on me. I still like Original Star Trek, no Vulcan will ever match up to Spock for me. I was a child when Star Trek began so wasn’t so critical of some of the acting. Now I find some of those episodes painful to watch although I will watch “The Trouble With Tribbles” anytime. These days I’d have to say Next Gen is my favourite Star Trek although to be fair I haven’t seen as many episodes of Deep Space 9, Voyager or Enterprise they were on when I worked a lot of nights and didn’t watch much TV either. They had to grow on me too. Picard is my pick of the captains though he has such a wonderful voice.
    I’m glad to hear that Garry has discovered Doctor Who-original series or “New Who”? They are very different beasts but of course Doctor Who was conceived as a childrens show back in 1963 while the current series is intended for adults.
    I probably understand current technology about as well as sci fi technology. It works, that’s good enough for me. Some sci fi gadgets have made their way into the real world too. Mobile phones look suspicioulsy like Communicators to me and wireless microphones and tablets very similar to some of the technology used on Next Gen. Still waiting on the sonic scewdriver though.:)

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    • I agree about the communicators. But they WORKED. You could actually HEAR what people said. Our cell phones have terrible audio, so I’m still waiting for a communicator. I never watched Deep Space, Voyager, or Enterprise (I didn’t even know about Enterprise until recently). We may get to them yet. We are always looking for new (for us) things to watch. We didn’t have the time for a lot of this when we were both working, so now it’s fun catching up. I think the tablets and the voice activation stuff we are using these days came right out of Star Trek. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where some of the ideas came from.

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  3. It’s an awesome show. My favorite episode is “The Royale”, when Riker, Data and Worf get trap in a seedy casino.

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    • We saw that one the other day. Garry LOVED it. It was like a 1940s Noir movie … in an alternate universe. He has come late to sci fi, but has dove into it with enormous enthusiasm. I always hoped he’d discover it. He has also discovered Dr. Who. Heaven only knows what else will appear on our DVR 😉

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  4. I still love to watch it – all of the series…

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    • Us too. I’m sure when we finish watching every single one of these, we will start over and watch them again. I’d actually by the DVD set if there were a good one available, but the one that’s on the market has gotten terrible reviews from pretty much everyone as being impossible to navigate and falling apart the first time you open the set. So we’ll have to settle for random reruns on BBC America for the time being!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My wife and I are huge Trekker’s (the new way of saying the old Trekkie). We watched that show when it was on almost religiously and I am glad that you don’t have to understand any of that science stuff to just enjoy it. However, the one thing you do have to understand.. Red Shirts. Never Ever EVER wear a Red Shirt in the Star Trek universe because I am pretty sure Mort is addicted to those in the same way that a bull is to a matador’s cape. Red Shirts on Friday though in our Universe.. totally cool.

    (2 points for Terry Pratchett reference…woot)

    Liked by 1 person

    • In the old Star Trek, red shirts were dead before the first commercial break, but I notice that in Next Gen, the entire senior crew wear red uniforms, so I think you are endangered by red only if you are on Shatner’s team of clowns 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • A am so LOVING “Star Trek: The Next Generation” as a first time viewer. I was never a Trekkie and didn’t watch Bill “Where’s my Oscar?” Shatner and the original Trek gang. Patrick Stewart is the man! And, I’d really like to boldly go where no man has gone before with his crew, especially with the Counselor. I don’t understand the tech talk but then, again, I do. Get it? Got it? Good. Most of the shows are well written and I enjoy picking out which classic movies or themes they’re rebooting. I wish they’d bring back Tasha Ya. Yes, I remember seeing Denise Crosby in her Playboy layout. Bada Boom!! Whoopi Goldberg does some of her best acting in this series. No shtick. Picard and Gibbs — now my go to guys for entertainment. Make it so and on your six!

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        • If the mother ship comes for me, I will DEFINITELY invite you along. We we born to zoom around the galaxy. Pity about them not inviting us for a ride or picking you as a member of the crew. Maybe next life? On your six … and be careful with that tachyon particle gun …

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