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 AlexR May 22 2003 04:23 PM

Trek Tech FAQ

After some thought, I have decided to get a FAQ post started. We can revise this as time goes along, and suggestions are welcome.

1] What is chi/the Cochrane Factor? The Cochrane Factor (chi) is a variable added to the basic warp formula, increasing the accuracy of warp calculations. In the 1970s, various fans observed that the "classical" warp formula was entirely too slow to allow for the speeds and distances covered in TOS. Based on time-and-distance numbers in the episode "That Which Survives", the idea of a "fudge-factor" was created, and discussed in some detail in the Star Trek Maps (Bantam, 1980). The basic concept is an additional factor in the warp formula derived from the amount of matter in a given area of space, and thus any additional gravitational curvature in space-time, which can, in effect, create an increase in actual velocity for any given warp factor. Thus, the "corrected" formulae are:

V = WF**3 x chi x c (from warp 1-17, with the exponent hypothesized to spike up above warp 17) (ENT/TOS)

and

V = WF**3.33333333 x chi x c (from warp 1-9, with the exponent spiking up above warp 9) (TNG/DS9/VOY)

(The scale-change takes place in 2312, as originally cited by Andre Bormanis in an article in ST: The Magazine {Issue 6, October 1999, p. 44} and subsequently used in Starship Spotter.)

chi itself ranges from 1 in deep intergalactic space (where there is almost no free-floating matter) to 1,500 in dense star clusters. A commonly-cited "average" figure for UFP-held space is 129.27, although it should be emphasized that this is only an average, and there can be significant variations even within that area. The "subspace corridors" mentioned in Star Charts (Pocket, 2002) can be considered vectors through areas with a known high chi value.

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2] What source materials will be used in this forum? Because Trek Tech, as a genre, exists as much in the minds of fandom as anything explicated strictly on-screen, a wide variety of sources will be considered worthy of consideration. Since there is a diversity of viewpoints and ideas in play, source citations should be included wherever possible, to allow for an objective analysis of the content of a discussion.

Note, however, that screaming "non-canon!" by itself shouldn't carry extra weight, unless a canonical source contradicts a non-canonical one. The vast majority of what we "know", Treknology-wise, is non-canon, so we merely need to accept that reality. While licensed materials may be given some "preference", it should be noted that none of the licensed materials are free from error, and all have been on-screen contradicted from time to time, so take them for what they are: one way of looking at the Trek Universe. (In short, read Mike and Rick's disclaimers, and take them to heart! ;) )

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3] Must Starfleet starships have even numbers of nacelles? This has been a matter of some debate, but the historical record suggests not. The Franz Joseph Star Fleet Technical Manual showed several single-nacelled vessel classes, and some of that art appeared in the early Star Trek features. Some years after the publication of the book, FJ and Gene Roddenberry had a falling-out, and Mr. Roddenberry released his "rules of ship design", which required even numbers of nacelles and no hull structures directly between those nacelles. These rules seemed to briefly govern Star Trek design work at the beginning of TNG, but by the time of "Best of Both Worlds", were already being contradicted, and now seem to be largely a "historical curiosity" in the tale of the Treknology genre. The short answer, therefore, is, "No."

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4] If I want to ask a particular person a question in the forum, what should I do? In the header, use the person's name and the topic of the question you'd like to ask. Don't just put the person's name. Also, remember that if you're going to address someone specifically, please be courteous and respectful. No one is required to be here or to answer questions, but a polite approach will go further in getting a friendly and informative answer than will an insulting or hostile one.

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5] Where can I find some Star Trek chronologies/timelines on-line? There are a number of different Trek chronologies/timelines out there, which look at the topic from a number of different points-of-view. The following is a brief sampling of what's available. It should not be taken as comprehensive, and suggestions for additional resources are welcome, of course.

A] James Dixon's Fandom Chronology can be found here: http://phoenixinn.iwarp.com/startrek/files.html

B] Alex Rosenzweig's Timeline of Star Trek History can be found here: http://www.pcisys.net/~biff/TIMELINE5.pdf

C] Jason Bogguess' A Short History of Galactic Civilization (adapted from James Dixon's Chronology) can be found here: http://www.uss-atlantis.org/page8.html

D] Win Scott Eckert's Star Trek Annotated Timeline can be found here: http://www.pjfarmer.com/woldnewton/Startrek.htm

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Best,
Alex

 FalTorPan May 22 2003 04:38 PM

Re: Trek Tech FAQ

I suggest that every piece of information should have a cited source, perhaps formatted as parenthetical documentation as it's used in the Star Trek Encyclopedia. This will help people unfamiliar with technobabble to gain an understanding of where the information comes from. All too often people (myself included) state "factual" information without citing a source. You've cited Star Trek Maps, but the source of the 2312 date, Star Trek Starship Spotter, is not given. What's the source of the "spiking exponent" for the TOS warp scale, and what confirmation do we have about which warp scale ENT is using? I'm nitpicking, but others will, too. :p

I'm sure you're aware of this possibility, but I can see a Trek Tech FAQ quickly descend into a cannnnnnon/non-cannnnnnnnnnon debate. D'oh.

 Garrovick May 23 2003 07:01 AM

Re: Trek Tech FAQ

Wiil this be a Fan driven FAQ or some what based on the TNG Technical Manual? I like the "KISS" principal myself....

 AlexR May 23 2003 04:51 PM

Re: Trek Tech FAQ

I'm basically designing the FAQ to hit up those same basic "factual" questions we keep getting over and over again, so as to save keystrokes along the way. :)

Best,
Alex

 May 24 2003 11:26 AM

Re: Trek Tech FAQ

What, you mean like (1) Why is Defiant 120 meters long instead of the 170-odd meter figure quoted in ST:DS9 Tech Manual, (2) How long is Voyager, (3) Why do Trek ships have only even-numbers of nacelles, (4) Why is the bridge situated atop the ship instead of more safely imbedded within the ship itself, (5) Shouldn't Voyager have run out of shuttles by the end of Season 2, (6) How many gigabites constitutes a "quad", (7) Why do photon torpedo yields seem to visually flunctuate, (8) Why do starships moving at several thousand miles-per-second seem to only be going about 60 MPH on screen...ad nauseaum; those kind of questions?

 AlexR May 27 2003 01:26 AM

Re: Trek Tech FAQ

^^^ Yup, somethin' like that. Anything that there's a fairly straightforward answer for, that seems to come up over and over and slows down discussions of other topics because we need to keep redefining the terms, etc. etc.

Then we can just say, "Check the FAQ" and move onward. :)

Best,
Alex

 Forbin May 27 2003 03:36 PM

Re: Trek Tech FAQ

Like, "when did the unspoken rule that there can be no occupied hullspace between two warp nacelles get thrown away?" :)

(short answer: "The Wounded" with the first appearence of the Nebula class)

 May 27 2003 04:07 PM

Re: Trek Tech FAQ

Tell me how to make a time machine :D :p :borg:

 AlexR May 27 2003 04:43 PM

Re: Trek Tech FAQ

Quote:
 Posted by Forbin: Like, "when did the unspoken rule that there can be no occupied hullspace between two warp nacelles got thrown away?" :) (short answer: "The Wounded" with the first appearence of the Nebula class)
I'm not sure there's a quick-and-easy answer to the question of "Roddenberry's Rules" that won't be a debate in and of itself, though. "They were a fairly groundless attempt to discredit FJ after Roddenberry had a falling-out with him" is accurate, but is likely to start more arguments than it ends, eh? ;)

But... That does give me an idea...

<Dashes off to make some edits>

Best,
Alex

 TrekGuide.com May 28 2003 08:26 AM

Re: Trek Tech FAQ

Q: Can Stardates be converted into actual calendar dates?

A: http://TrekGuide.com/Stardates.htm

(My own crazy theory, but I cite actual episode references to dates, and show all my mathematical calculations.)

 Garrovick May 28 2003 07:47 PM

Re: Trek Tech FAQ

Quote:
 Posted by TrekGuide.com: Q: Can Stardates be converted into actual calendar dates? A: http://TrekGuide.com/Stardates.htm (My own crazy theory, but I cite actual episode references to dates, and show all my mathematical calculations.)
I've looked at your theory and can't find any real faults with it, except don't you also need to re-write some of the Star Trek chronology too. Not that's it a problem with me because I don't go past TNG in my Trek interests...

 Cid Highwind June 5 2003 11:33 AM

Re: Trek Tech FAQ

*bump* (thread wasn't visible on the front page anymore)

 8-4-7-2 June 5 2003 11:44 AM

Re: Trek Tech FAQ

For the nacelle thing:

Wasn't that rule changed to an even number of warp coils? So you have two coils per nacelle. With three nacelles that mkes six coils

I think I read that somewhere

 Christopher June 5 2003 01:41 PM

Re: Trek Tech FAQ

Quote:
 Posted by Cid Highwind: *bump* (thread wasn't visible on the front page anymore)
Okay, I don't understand this board's software. What's the point of pinning a thread if it doesn't stay on top?

 AlexR June 5 2003 04:08 PM

Re: Trek Tech FAQ

^^ It's been constantly up on top on my end, at least. I didn't know anyone was having that difficulty.

Just FYI, I'm probably going to skip any short-and-sweet FAQ answers about stardates, since it seems like there are almost as many theories about stardates as there are Trekkers. ;) That one's best left to ongoing discussion.

Best,
Alex

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