123 votes

How do Star Trek viewscreens show perceivable depth?

There's no on-screen canon explanation given. However, the Star Trek: The Next Generation - Technical Manual states The main viewer display matrix includes omni-holographic display elements and is ...
Brian Ortiz's user avatar
  • 3,262
112 votes

In Star Trek why is warp speed the ultimate litmus test on "galactic acceptance" of a civilisation?

I think you’re misinterpreting the Prime Directive. (It’s not actually written down in any official Star Trek work, so any discussion of it is necessarily going to be a bit vague.) The Prime Directive ...
Paul D. Waite's user avatar
85 votes

How do Star Trek viewscreens show perceivable depth?

In the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Year of Hell,” there is a scene where the viewscreen is offline due to heavy damage to the ship. What's interesting in this is that it is not simply black, like a ...
Gábor Gévay's user avatar
84 votes
Accepted

In Star Trek why is warp speed the ultimate litmus test on "galactic acceptance" of a civilisation?

I think the answer is a lot simpler than the philosophical answers I've seen so far. So I am going to take a shot at a logical answer. For a moment, as you read this, imagine Spock is giving you this ...
Michael M's user avatar
  • 958
61 votes

First work where a traveler from afar arrives to a backward society and he tries to help its scientific progress

How about Prometheus, a Celestial being who came to Earth and transformed humanity by introducing fire? Stories of Prometheus in written form are known from 2800 years ago, and there must be older ...
Ethan's user avatar
  • 5,829
57 votes

If the ship's self-destruct is such a great idea why don't real Navies do this?

On the One Hand: Often self-destruct is not a feature of the ship, but is more of an option inherent in the power / propulsion system. If you turn off all the safeties and let the warp core / nuclear ...
Jack B Nimble's user avatar
50 votes

Why are there barcode readers on the bridge of the Enterprise?

Out of Universe Yep. Those are indeed barcode scanners. They were apparently purchased by Paramount Pictures from a company called BarcodesInc. Image courtesy of www.Barcodesinc.com
Valorum's user avatar
  • 690k
47 votes

In Star Trek why is warp speed the ultimate litmus test on "galactic acceptance" of a civilisation?

Kirk: Er, well, sir, volatile is all relative. Maybe our data was off.. Pike: Or maybe it didn't erupt because Mister Spock detonated a cold fusion device inside it right after a civilisation that's ...
user931's user avatar
  • 116k
47 votes
Accepted

Do computer games still exist in Star Trek?

Gaming does still exist in Star Trek. In Star Trek 4, the voyage home, Spock has a chess game on his computer in a memory test that he needs to solve. Most of the other games we see are holoversions. ...
Nepene Nep's user avatar
  • 2,433
46 votes
Accepted

Are self-sealing stem bolts a Star Trek in-joke?

From Memory Alpha which is sourced from DS9 companion book. Story-wise, stem bolts were quintessential MacGuffins, with a name that was pure technobabble. Peter Allan Fields, who "invented" ...
lucasbachmann's user avatar
41 votes

If the ship's self-destruct is such a great idea why don't real Navies do this?

Historically, scuttling ships has been fairly common. Warships are expensive and valuable assets, if you have one of your ships destroyed then you have just lost one, if it is captured not only do you ...
Chris Johns's user avatar
  • 3,198
40 votes

How did Cochrane obtain dilithium for the first warp flight?

Cochrane didn't need dilithium to use as the power source for his warp experiment. He used a 'nuclear power core' to create the energy required. The nuclear core in the missile: it was the same fuel ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 690k
39 votes
Accepted

Why do the Rebels probe the section of the shield within the gate?

The section inside the ring is a particularly weak point in an otherwise nearly-impenetrable shield. “Do it!” Krennic roared, and Ramda and his men scurried to act. When the orders had been given, ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 690k
39 votes
Accepted

First work where a traveler from afar arrives to a backward society and he tries to help its scientific progress

I think a good first upper bound would be 1889: Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. It doesn't work in the end, but as noted in the Wikipedia entry Hank, who had an image of ...
DavidW's user avatar
  • 129k
36 votes

Short story about scientists playing grooves on old pottery like an old vinyl record

I think this was "Time Shards" (link to story online) by Gregory Benford. (It was originally published in Universe 9 (1979), edited by Terry Carr.) Researchers figure out how to play the ...
DavidW's user avatar
  • 129k
35 votes
Accepted

Why internal lights on space helmets?

This isn't explained in the TV show, and I don't know of any explanations from other movies/series that apply here (although they might exist), so I'll attempt an answer based on the book series that ...
tobiasvl's user avatar
  • 16.4k
34 votes

Do Iron Man suits sport waste management systems?

The suit, or at least the Mark IV suit, does have waste management systems which is then filtered and can be used to drink. In the Iron Man 2 party scene we see Tony pee in the suit and later comment ...
TheLethalCarrot's user avatar
  • 143k
33 votes

How could Mr. Fantastic’s computer see distant planets in real-time in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer?

Is the scene in the video clip below the one you're thinking of? REED RICHARDS: I've been cross-referencing the Surfer's radiation through every astronomical database. Altair Seven... Rigel Three... ...
LogicDictates's user avatar
29 votes
Accepted

Earliest use of a prosthetic-integrated gun in speculative fiction?

Assuming newspaper comics fit your "speculative fiction" moniker, and assuming a flamethrower is close enough to a gun, Dick Tracy had Dr. Plain as a villain with a prosthetic arm containing ...
Nzall's user avatar
  • 4,121
27 votes
Accepted

Author of 60s/70s sci-fi novel called Sphere, about a clear personal transport device made from Martian technology

It's Shield, not Sphere. The author is Poul Anderson. The cover image you describe brought it back immediately. Just in case there is more than one book with a "Cover illustration [that] showed ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
27 votes

How is Iron Man's nanotech suit supposed to work given what we observe in "Endgame"?

The suit IS a solid object. The nanites are sort of liquid-y when stored in the chest piece, but once out, they do solidify! How else his suit supposed to function as armour, unless it is solid? The ...
Stark07's user avatar
  • 16.2k
27 votes

Do computer games still exist in Star Trek?

In TNG's Rascals (Picard, Roe, and Guinan are turned back into kids.) there is a scene where little Picard complains to Riker that none of the games are working. PICARD: We don't have anything to do. ...
James Lawruk's user avatar
  • 1,522
26 votes

What is the communications range of a standard Starfleet combadge?

Approximately 40,000 km (ground-to-ship) Communications functions are carried out by tricorder through the subspace transceiver assembly (STA). Voice and data are uplink/downlinked along standard ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 690k
26 votes
Accepted

Where did the idea of the ornithopter originate?

As Valorum pointed out, experimental ornithopters date back at least to Leonardo da Vinci and probably earlier. Working ornithopters have been built in the real world; I used to have a toy that flew ...
Invisible Trihedron's user avatar
26 votes

What is hyperspace in Star Wars?

It is a 'dimension of space-time', 'coterminous with realspace'. For those who are unfamiliar with hyperspace, it is a dimension of space-time that can be entered only at faster-than-light speeds. ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 690k
25 votes
Accepted

Which button activates Skywalker's lightsaber, and why is it inconsistent?

Straightforward answer: Yes, as Pablo Hidalgo of the Lucasfilm Story Group recently said here and here, it's a mistake and that the lightsaber is still supposed to activate with the plate in the ...
Kris's user avatar
  • 5,298
25 votes

What purpose did the hologram technology serve in Civil War?

Seeing how the question has changed, the amended answer is: The technology was not relevant in any way. Not all technology used in a movie (even a superhero movie) has to be used later to justify its ...
Thaddeus Howze's user avatar
25 votes
Accepted

What became of the Kelvan technology in Star Trek TOS "By Any Other Name"?

Frankly, an out of universe answer may be most applicable here. With few exceptions, in terms of actual in-universe consistency (barring Stardates of course) you can generally watch TOS episodes in ...
NKCampbell's user avatar
25 votes
Accepted

What was the earliest fiction to use cloning as a magical ability/superpower?

The Chinese story The Journey to the West was written in the 16th century, and features Sun Wukong, one of the most well-known figures of Chinese fiction. Quoting from the 2011 translation by Anthony ...
DavidW's user avatar
  • 129k
24 votes
Accepted

Are R-series astromech units obsolete?

There are multiple R-series units in the foreground of this shot from The Force Awakens. It would appear that they're not obsolete, at least within the structure of the Resistance (which appears to be ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 690k

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