Could stardates make some sense?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Robert Comsol, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commander Red Shirt

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    sariel2005: the IDW timeline doesn't strengthen the claim of revisionism, since stardates like 2364 or 2369 are explicitly shown on the prime branch of the timeline. Look at the diagram again, and also review the interview with Orci I quoted earlier. The intent is crystal-clear: the prime timeline still exists.

    Also, while the number after the separator hasn't been defined in the canon, there are three quotes by Orci saying that it represents the day of the year (1-365, though he probably meant 366 in leap years), which is also confirmed beyond doubt by the 21st and 22nd century dates from the IDW timeline, those that can be compared with known calendar dates. Also, the comics routinely use up to three digits after the separator, which indicates that Mike Johnson is aware of the new rule (I asked him on one occasion why he wasn't applying it in a couple of early comics, and he said they'd fix that for the later ones, and they did, barring one or two odd numbers such as 2259.155 being only a few months after 2258.42).
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    You know, there are many different calendars in use on Earth; maybe we could just pretend that there's more than one stardate scheme. Certainly we know the stardates used in the TNG era can't be reconciled with TOS stardates, since if they go up 1000 units per year and 41000 is the start of 2364, then the whole thing would've only begun in 2323. So if there are different schemes in use consecutively, there could be different schemes in use concurrently.
     
  3. sariel2005

    sariel2005 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    True enough and from a production POV absolutely correct. Taking that viewpoint I guess the answer to the threads question could stardates make sense is Of course not, nor were they supposed to ( though Ironically the JJ Stardates can and do make sense).

    It also makes it very obvious that Roddenberry's statement about stardates was nothing more than fudging ( which to be fair is hardly a revelation).

    That said it IS fun to speculate on what we see, and if we do then we have to weigh up all the evidence not discount the bits that are inconvenient in favour of throwaway statements made by the production team. - admittedly we will likely tie ourselves in knots and not find a consistent answer.

    Generally there is a trend for Stardates to go up - though they are hardly consistent ( indeed even the progression of stardates in individual episodes relating to passage of time are at varying rates in TNG for example sometimes 1unit is a day, sometimes it seems to clearly be the same day) And in TNG they are all over the place ( and show far more continuity problems if the episode order is rearranged into Stardate order).

    We do know that starfleet synchronises them, Which would seem to be onscreen evidence that discounts Roddenberry's fudging.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Lots of onscreen evidence contradicts other onscreen evidence. Sometimes you can reconcile it, but sometimes it's just too much trouble for too little gain, and stardates are definitely such a case.

    And sure, Abrams's scheme is the only one that has any real chronological coherence to it, but it's problematical in other ways. As I said, why even call them stardates when they're really just Gregorian calendar dates expressed in a slightly different format? Although I can see why they did it. The movies are designed to be accessible to a new audience, viewers who aren't already familiar with the universe, so just using years for stardates is a handy, quick way to let the audience know that the first movie began in 2233 and took place mainly in 2258 and that the older version of that guy with the pointy ears came back in time from 2387. So from that standpoint I can see the practicality of it. But in-universe it's harder to justify.

    Anyway, I long ago decided that pretty much any and all numbers in Trek are best taken with a grain of salt. Different creators make different assumptions about various numbered phenomena like dates and distances and ship registries and so forth, or they don't much care about the specific numbers since they're more concerned with plot and character (as they rightly should be), so it's hard to find any real consistency in any numbered property of the universe. So I try not to take them too literally, and often I just ignore them.
     
  5. sariel2005

    sariel2005 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Got to agree it makes little sense in that regard, then again having a 1000 unit system for Stardates that runs along the gregorian calendar is just as silly, especially since they continue to use 24 hour days and nights.

    Then again if it weren't for TNG season 1 I would be totally behind stardate order for episodes.
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This isn't really a problem, because we are forced to assume the existence of "dropped digits" in any case, for both systems. Starfleet cannot be so blind to history that it would operate on a system that is only good for dealing with one decade at most (TOS) or one century at most (TNG), especially with the zero point more than a century into the existence of the organization - but if the system has, say, six digits, then 2323 simply means the year when the century digit last rolled.

    If 2363/64 is in the 41XXX range, then the TOS episodes in the putative "previous" 41XXX range would fall on 2263/64, which isn't too problematic a concept. OTOH, since the five-year mission ended in 2270, the last TOS date would have to be in the "previous" 48XXX range, and the first episode qualifying as being part of the five-year mission would be "The Menagerie" at SD 3012... Unless Kirk just spent two years returning from his five-year mission. ;)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commander Red Shirt

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    Dropped digits aren't supported by any piece of evidence I recall, and why would we need them? It is clear that for the time before TOS, humans at least use mostly Gregorian calendar dates (seen even in TOS, aside from numerous references to relative dates in calendar days, months, years, centuries). There is also evidence of alternate timekeeping systems, with the Mitchell/Dehner dossier numbers (1087.7 and 1089.5) being about two years apart, and like I said, JJ stardates are also a candidate. The presence of various systems, including calendars of other Federation members, is probably alleviated by the universal translator and the advanced computer, taking care of any conversions for the average user.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  8. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Beautiful in-universe explanation. :techman:

    (However, there was no calendar date reference to Kirk's era in TOS other than the one "200 years" - from then / 1966). :)

    Bob
     
  9. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commander Red Shirt

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    Not to Kirk's era — I said “for the time before TOS”, meaning dates like 2002 (Nomad), 2018 (end of sleeper ships), 2105 and 2156 (Redjac murders, from the Jack the Ripper show). These were all given explicitly, not calculated for the Star Trek Chronology.
     
  10. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Got it, thanks for taking the time for clarification. Will be back later.

    Bob
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commander Red Shirt

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    The records do say "age" 21 and 23, though this may be in some longer years of another planet.
     
  13. Nine of Four

    Nine of Four Commander Red Shirt

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

    -:klingon:
     
  14. ToddPence

    ToddPence Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    No more so than T'Pau's xenophobia towards humans in "Amok Time."
     
  15. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    :confused: 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
     
  16. The Old Building & Loan

    The Old Building & Loan Auld Lang Mod Moderator

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    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.
     
  17. sariel2005

    sariel2005 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    .

    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.
     
  18. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commander Red Shirt

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    But in those same records, Dehner is a PhD and Mitchell a lieutenant commander.
     
  19. TOSalltheway

    TOSalltheway Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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

    They were made up at the time of production.
     
  20. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.