I wonder how the UFP deals with alien units of measurement / time?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by KamenRiderBlade, Sep 14, 2019.

  1. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Captain Captain

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    I know we are dominated by Metric and us lone Yanks still use the US Customary units.

    But imagine all the aliens that are part of the UFP that have their own units of measurement / time measurement units.

    That's got to be a pain in the conversion arse with so many Member species.

    In my Head Cannon for a New Star Trek TV series, Metric Units has become UFP standard, but for StarDate, we couldn't get exactly everything we wanted, so the StarDate system was based on the Gregorian Calender, but converted into Metric Time and that was part of the big compromise while StarFleet used Earth's 24 hr clock cycle for Ship Wide operations.
     
  2. Cosmic Consciousness

    Cosmic Consciousness Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Two words: universal translator.
     
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  3. Mysterion

    Mysterion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There's probably some sort of of Federation Bureau of Standards. And I imagine individual world would continue to use which ever set of measurements they want to, but there would be an agreed to set of standards used in the interstellar commerce arena and government (i.e Starfleet, etc.).
     
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  4. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Captain Captain

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    I concur, that's why I made the Metric system the "Universal Standard". Even on Earth in the start of the 26th century in my Head Canon, the US still uses US Customary =D. But most of the aliens prefer their own local custom units.

    Every product in the UFP has Metric + Local Planetary / Regional Units.

    The founding members of the UFP liked the simplicity of Metric so much that even the StarDate system was forced into a form of Metric based on the Gregorian Calender for one Star Year.

    Much to the Chagrin of some of humans, that's how the StarDate system was born
    StarDate Version 5.0 => ±S.Y/SDU¦STU = (±Star Year/Star Day Unit¦Star Time Unit)
    + = After Federation: After the UFP was formed/founded
    - = Before Federation: Before the UFP was formed/founded
    Earth Date Starting Point 0 on the StarYear = 2155/03-05 Wed 00:00;00.0 GMT = Founding of Coalition of Planets
    Earth Date Starting Point of the Story = 2501/01-01 Sat 00:00;00.0 GMT = Start of the 26th century on Earth.
    StarDate V5 = +345/826¦847 = Starting point of first StarDate of the show which protagonist will mention

    ISO (InterStellar Standards Organization) defines:
    1 Star Year = 1 Average Gregorian Year = 365.2425 Days = 8765.82 Earth Hours
    1 Star Year = 1000 Star Day Units = 8765.82 Earth Hours;

    1 SDU (Star Day Unit) = 8.76582 Earth Hrs = 525.9492 Earth Mins = 31556.952 Earth Secs = 8 Hrs, 45 Mins, 56.952 Secs
    1 SDU (Star Day Unit) = 1000 Star Time Units

    1 STU (Star Time Units) = 31.556952 Earth Seconds

    Star Time Unit can be split into Deci-STU, Centi-STU, Milli-STU, etc via SI Prefixes
    -> 1 Deci_-STU = 3.1556952 Earth Seconds
    -> 1 Centi-STU = 0.31556952 Earth Seconds (Around 1/3 of a second) <- Most Displays only use up to this level
    -> 1 Milli-STU = 0.031556952 Earth Seconds (Around 1/33 of a second)

    Ergo, many UFP members that aren't human have the same feelings about the Metric System as the current day Americans towards it. We understand the Metric System, like it to some degree, but still prefer our own local customary units.

    Ergo every member of the UFP has similar feelings towards it since they have to use it.
     
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  5. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This, there is no more a need for a common measurement system than there is for a common language.

    Nah, federation members are advanced high tech societies, otherwise the federation wouldn't be affiliated with them. They likely don't need the federation telling them how to do much of anything.

    I've always thought that the various member governments don't require the federation's input at all during the course of their day to day existence. The federation is only there for a very limited number of specific activities.

    For the majority of the people on the various worlds the fact that their planet is a part of the federation is a pretty esoteric piece of information.
     
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  6. Leathco

    Leathco Commander Red Shirt

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    I can see many ships being mostly being one species to sort of offset this problem. We actually see this in show, as ships of all-Vulcan staff are mentioned, and the hero ships are typically mostly human.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The UT is no doubt also the reason the computers of assorted alien cultures so readily interface with each other. Or even the reason why the transporter signals do. Nobody would need to mind unit conversions much, what with the UT pervading every environment from dockyards to quartermasters' desks.

    There's one situation where the UT would not quite suffice, though, and where standardization would be an unlikely answer as well. Units of time can be translated, sure - but if an alien makes an ultimatum, and the time limit comes off as "five minutes" rather than "4 minutes and 13.2 seconds", then there's something deeper going on there. Either the alien knows about Earth minutes and makes the ultimatum accordingly, a massive cosmic coincidende is at play, or then the UT conspires to blow up the hero ship by rounding up a fatefully precise number...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  8. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Captain Captain

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    Or the alien UT parses “You have ten quatlons!” into a large onscreen countdown starting at “11:45:23”, to make sure it really is the ten minutes heard at the other end.
     
  9. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Vulcan ship's likely use Vulcan measurements (and the majority of the time Vulcan language).
     
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  10. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Commodore Commodore

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    How do we convert centimeters to inches, or Fahrenheit to Centigrade? Same principle. Another reason's answer is that it often costs a lot to make overnight changes to replace one paradigm with another. After all, the Yanks there don't use "fathoms", "davochs", or "oxgangs" anymore as well. And the US isn't the only region with obsequious esoteric terms, Pakistan and India have a unit of measurement called "marabba" which has not yet been made obsolete as well. How does one get the whole planet to change to a common metric overnight? Well, like hitting the brakes at a stop sign it still takes a while but physics comes in many forms...

    But the same cannot be said of Universal translators, a true piece of fantasy if any existed, which would show mouths moving in a different 'beat' compared to the vocalizations being heard. Or it's a psychological manipulation device that beams an omnidirectional wavelength into other species' brains that magically-- naah, it's more like a real time language translator that can somehow deal with even first contact civilizations and translate on the fly with pristine accuracy and with the vocal cadence of the user doing the talking...
     
  11. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Captain Captain

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    I'm predicting that the UT has some sort of Electronic Telepathy that can read the surface level of humanoid brains that gives it the advantage in translating without latency or with very minimal latency.
     
  12. BK613

    BK613 Commodore Commodore

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    That's roughly how we are told it works when the device is introduced in TOS-Metamorphosis (more EKG than telepathy but the idea is the same):
    (Spock is working on the Universal Translator. It is basically a metal tube nearly a foot long, that can be held in the hand.)
    COCHRANE: What's the theory behind this device?
    KIRK: There are certain universal ideas and concepts common to all intelligent life. This device instantaneously compares the frequency of brainwave patterns, selects those ideas and concepts it recognizes, and then provides the necessary grammar.
    SPOCK: Then it translates its findings into English.
    COCHRANE: You mean it speaks?
    KIRK: With a voice or the approximation of whatever the creature is on the sending end. Not one hundred percent efficient, but nothing ever is.​
     
  13. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's still in use here, although less than in the past.
     
  14. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Especially in medicine, knowing the exact amount of something is critical.
     
  15. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    According to The Defector, no attempt at all is made in order to accommodate the temperature scales of other species:
    So much for the universal translator or even basic conversion scales!
     
  16. Cosmic Consciousness

    Cosmic Consciousness Fleet Admiral Admiral

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  17. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Captain Captain

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    Yes, but note that only some ST technology is magic; the rest is limited by the level of user-friendly the writers could imagine back in 1989. Maybe the replicator wasn‘t patched into the UT; maybe it was, but couldn’t set the equivalent of, say, 5.4 degrees Celsius, only 5 or 6. Perhaps it was being addressed in English so the UT was on standby. Anything is possible with a clunky TV UI, but it‘s still canon.
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, that's just the damn Romulans' own damn fault, for being so damn secretive. Klingon and Cardassian units of measurement are known to the Federation, but since any Romulan caught trying to smuggle a local tape measure abroad will have his hometown incinerated...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Captain Captain

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    But then again the writers will almost certainly forget about onkians the next time a Romulan on a viewscreen says their own sensors recorded a temperature of 5,000 degrees, assuming that hasn‘t already been written somewhere. RDM or whoever merely needed a bit of local dramatic license to portray a stranger in a strange land, so I’d go for as local a workaround as possible.
     
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  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Klingons and kellicams are flexible. Then again, Klingons might know English - there's even the bit where Kruge and Maltz conspire in English in front of their own crew. But Romulans are particularly entitled to being inflexible, this amusingly coming back to bite them and facilitate this particular scene on the side...

    Timo Saloniemi