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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old August 16 2013, 02:37 PM   #91
Timo
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Re: Could stardates make some sense?

There is also evidence of alternate timekeeping systems, with the Mitchell/Dehner dossier numbers (1087.7 and 1089.5) being about two years apart
Why should they be two years apart? We don't know the ages of the two characters, just their birthdates.

Really, such examples only serve to illustrate that one and the same system is being used for logging the current adventures and keeping track of decades-old events. Otherwise, one system or the other would be converted for clarity.

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Old August 16 2013, 04:12 PM   #92
Boris Skrbic
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Re: Could stardates make some sense?

The records do say "age" 21 and 23, though this may be in some longer years of another planet.
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Old August 21 2013, 09:47 PM   #93
Nine of Four
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Re: Could stardates make some sense?

My personal answer to the threads title; "Could stardates make some sense?": no.

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Old August 21 2013, 10:16 PM   #94
ToddPence
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Re: Could stardates make some sense?

Chemahkuu wrote: View Post
The amount of xenophobia towards Spock in the series is alarming at times.
No more so than T'Pau's xenophobia towards humans in "Amok Time."
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Old August 22 2013, 10:00 AM   #95
Robert Comsol
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Re: Could stardates make some sense?

Boris wrote: View Post
The records do say "age" 21 and 23, though this may be in some longer years of another planet.
These are the biological ages of Dehner and Mitchell which - unless I missed something there - belong to the species of Homo Sapiens from Earth (if these figures were referring to anything else than solar years it would have to state so in the file because otherwise that age figure would serve no meaning at all and be totally redundant).

The series and films were made for human audiences measuring time in solar years, the same applies for the time elapsed between "Space Seed" and "The Wrath of Khan".

Theoretically Kirk's line could mean 15 years of time as he experienced it individually, but it's Khan remark that nails that down.
He was (and still considers himself to be) the "king" of Earth and I've no doubt, regardless how long it takes Ceti Alpha V to revolve around its star, that he was measuring his time of exile in solar hours, days and years.

Bob
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Old August 22 2013, 03:26 PM   #96
The Dead Mixer
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Re: Could stardates make some sense?

Given that they were apparently paper files, could the file reflect Mitchell and Dehner's ages at the time that they were given the esper test? Those ages would be consistent with their Academy years, a likely time for it to have happened.
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Old August 22 2013, 04:40 PM   #97
sariel2005
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Re: Could stardates make some sense?

Given that they were apparently paper files, could the file reflect Mitchell and Dehner's ages at the time that they were given the esper test? Those ages would be consistent with their Academy years, a likely time for it to have happened
.

That seems almost a certainty, given that Mitchell recalls Lt Kirk at the academy. Given Kirk is 34 in the Deadly Years it seems unlikely that Mitchell was a child at the academy.
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Old January 21 2014, 12:13 AM   #98
Boris Skrbic
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Re: Could stardates make some sense?

But in those same records, Dehner is a PhD and Mitchell a lieutenant commander.
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Old January 21 2014, 12:28 AM   #99
TOSalltheway
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Re: Could stardates make some sense?

Can stardates make sense ? Simple answer....No

They were made up at the time of production.
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Old January 21 2014, 03:30 AM   #100
BigSnake
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Re: Could stardates make some sense?

The original idea for stardates was that they'd be tenths of a day. I always assumed that they were measuring the ship's time out of space-dock, that they weren't a calendar. I do wish that idea had survived, it was cool, simple and intuitive.
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Old January 21 2014, 03:50 AM   #101
Creepy Critter
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Re: Could stardates make some sense?

BigJake wrote: View Post
The original idea for stardates was that they'd be tenths of a day. I always assumed that they were measuring the ship's time out of space-dock, that they weren't a calendar. I do wish that idea had survived, it was cool, simple and intuitive.
Subjective time out of spacedock is cool and handles any issues with relative time. That's a great and very plausible idea suitable for highbrow science fiction.

However, from a production standpoint, it suffers from one of the main problems that using the calendar date on Earth would. The problem is that there would still be continuity issues involving questions of how long it takes the ship to get from point A to point B. If you say that it takes X days in one episode at warp W, then it has to be that way always, or you have to suggest reasons why not, such as headwinds and tailwinds in space. If the ship goes from star A to star B one week, star B to star C the next week, and then back to star A the week after that, then the triangle inequality must be obeyed, for starters, or reasons suggested for why it isn't. It just gets very complicated.

In short, the ship can no longer as believably travel at the speed of plot, which it really needs to, because things get nailed down too specifically.

The genius of stardates was that they didn't make sense. That was by design, to allow the illusion of continuity to be maintained without needing to be meticulous about it.
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Old January 21 2014, 04:36 AM   #102
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Re: Could stardates make some sense?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
The problem is that there would still be continuity issues involving questions of how long it takes the ship to get from point A to point B. If you say that it takes X days in one episode at warp W, then it has to be that way always, or you have to suggest reasons why not, such as headwinds and tailwinds in space.
Hm, I wonder if this could really be the reason -- because they certainly never shied away from creating such continuity issues regardless! There's one particular episode in which they have Spock tell us precisely how long it takes the Enterprise to travel about a thousand light-years, for instance; it's anybody's guess whether this squares with the month it takes them to reach the edge of the galaxy at WNMHGB or any number of other episodes....
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Old January 21 2014, 05:00 AM   #103
Christopher
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Re: Could stardates make some sense?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
BigJake wrote: View Post
The original idea for stardates was that they'd be tenths of a day. I always assumed that they were measuring the ship's time out of space-dock, that they weren't a calendar. I do wish that idea had survived, it was cool, simple and intuitive.
Subjective time out of spacedock is cool and handles any issues with relative time.
Well, it is a cool idea, but it wouldn't explain the stardates in consecutive episodes being out of order, since then they'd have to be going back into dock every week.


If you say that it takes X days in one episode at warp W, then it has to be that way always, or you have to suggest reasons why not, such as headwinds and tailwinds in space.
Well, they don't have to, since only a tiny fraction of viewers are going to care enough to bother to remember the figures and do the math.

But the idea has been around since at least 1980's Star Trek Maps that the relationship between warp factor and velocity is variable depending on the local conditions of space and/or subspace, such as mass distribution and the resulting spacetime curvature. That's actually stated outright in the TNG Technical Manual and ST Encyclopedia, though for some reason fandom seems to have mostly overlooked it.
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Old January 21 2014, 06:09 AM   #104
Creepy Critter
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Re: Could stardates make some sense?

BigJake wrote: View Post
CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
The problem is that there would still be continuity issues involving questions of how long it takes the ship to get from point A to point B. If you say that it takes X days in one episode at warp W, then it has to be that way always, or you have to suggest reasons why not, such as headwinds and tailwinds in space.
Hm, I wonder if this could really be the reason -- because they certainly never shied away from creating such continuity issues regardless! There's one particular episode in which they have Spock tell us precisely how long it takes the Enterprise to travel about a thousand light-years, for instance; it's anybody's guess whether this squares with the month it takes them to reach the edge of the galaxy at WNMHGB or any number of other episodes....
If you're thinking of "That Which Survives", and I think you are, the problem there was traceable to just that one episode. They shouldn't have quoted a light-year figure. They could have just named made up star system to indicate how far they'd been thrown, and that would have nipped that problem in the bud right there. Also, that was in the third season, and collectively they were, frankly, getting careless by then. (If there are other episodes that quote distance and time figures that straight-jacket later episodes, similar remarks apply to them as well.)

However, that became a really big elephant in the room only when Voyager tried to strand the Voyager in the Delta Quadrant!

Really, the point I was trying to express was that, if stardates are some mysterious function of space and time, and possibly other variables as well, then you (at least generally speaking) don't have to worry about keeping the stardates consecutive or even proportional between episodes, since you're only ticking off your tenths of a day within each episode individually. It's kinda like only needing to know that this week's episode of Ponderanza is set on Thursday. If next week's episode is set on Tuesday, that's not a contradiction.

Christopher wrote: View Post
CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
BigJake wrote: View Post
The original idea for stardates was that they'd be tenths of a day. I always assumed that they were measuring the ship's time out of space-dock, that they weren't a calendar. I do wish that idea had survived, it was cool, simple and intuitive.
Subjective time out of spacedock is cool and handles any issues with relative time.
Well, it is a cool idea, but it wouldn't explain the stardates in consecutive episodes being out of order, since then they'd have to be going back into dock every week.
Yeah, I'd thought that was understood, but I guess it bears mention. I'd said right after, "That's a great and very plausible idea suitable for highbrow science fiction," intending to convey that I didn't think it would work to explain Star Trek's stardates. Star Trek strove to engage adults, but its science fiction elements themselves were never that highbrow.

Were a show to use the subjective-time since launch idea, I'd expect them to try really hard to make sure that the episodes were aired in chronological order. That's an extra headache. The masses may not work out inconsistencies in minutia, but they tend to notice obvious blunders. In addition, with respect to the issue of maintaining a reasonable degree of proportionality, I'd expect that they'd at least strive to avoid this sort of thing:
Dear NBC: Last week on Space Wagon they said it would take months to retrain the switchboard operator, after her mind was sucked out by the space hoover. This week she was back at work, but the ship clock had advanced only 100 hours. What's up? Yours, Confused in Colorado.
With stardates, it's an automatic non-issue. (Christopher, I know you understand this stuff, these are just general remarks.)

If you say that it takes X days in one episode at warp W, then it has to be that way always, or you have to suggest reasons why not, such as headwinds and tailwinds in space.
Well, they don't have to, since only a tiny fraction of viewers are going to care enough to bother to remember the figures and do the math.

But the idea has been around since at least 1980's Star Trek Maps that the relationship between warp factor and velocity is variable depending on the local conditions of space and/or subspace, such as mass distribution and the resulting spacetime curvature. That's actually stated outright in the TNG Technical Manual and ST Encyclopedia, though for some reason fandom seems to have mostly overlooked it.
Yeah, I think it's a cool idea, Star Trek Maps is what I was thinking of, by the way, though I've only heard tell about it and never read it. I'd say the idea also fits in well with ion storms, magnetic space storms, and their ilk.
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Old January 21 2014, 11:34 AM   #105
Boris Skrbic
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Re: Could stardates make some sense?

If stardates are arbitrary out-of-universe, they should at least be extremely complex in-universe, since those human(oid)s see what we see; they must need the ship's computer to help them out.

Also, the fact is that they aren't being confused by any time issues on a regular basis. Five days on the ship is five days on a starbase; calendar years in space aren't different from those on Earth. The writers need that simplicity. The humans are probably using our Gregorian calendar to determine that an event occurred "two months ago", whereas stardates are recorded in logs and official files. Other Federation members might be employing their own planetary calendars, with the universal translator taking care of conversions.
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