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How Star Wars Trumped Star Trek For Scientific Accuracy

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the set-phasers-to-awesome dept.

Star Wars Prequels 495

An anonymous reader writes "When George Lucas added the 'ring around the Death Star' effect to his 1997 re-release of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, the revision was almost as hated as Greedo shooting first, and to boot was seen as a knock-off of the seminal 'Praxis effect' in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). But a debunking astronomer claims that the Federation got it wrong and the fan-boys should thank Lucas for adding some scientific accuracy to his fictional universe."

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495 comments

And So Offered Another Inaccuracy (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383166)

From the article:

Sadly, upon closer inspection, we see that ILM blew this rare opportunity for scientific realism in the Star Wars universe ...

Indeed, if you're familiar with Docking Bay 327 [ggpht.com], it is inside a large maitenance trench [wikia.com] where the structural weaknesses should have created a horizontal ring exploding outward. Instead the movie gave us a vertical ring exploding outward.

I hate most of Star Trek and basically considered Star Wars a religion as a human larva & pupa (see above docking bay reference). Being as how I was hatched after the last (real) Star Wars movie came out, my nipples exploded with joy at the prospect of seeing the originals on the big screen -- special edition or not. I was confused by the Han/Greedo exchange, found not a whole lot of added value in the other aspects but must have been the only person pleased with a more satisfactory Death Star explosion.

But a debunking astronomer

Yes, it's Phil "Bad Astronomer" Plait. Look, it's great you get people into astronomy via sci-fi religious flamebait stoking but ... I think you put it best in the last slide of one of your presentations [wikipedia.org].

Re:And So Offered Another Inaccuracy (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383374)

........tell fan boys what? I am sure we all know better than to try and argue anything to a fan boy. His universe is set in stone and any alteration is considered a blasphemy on a level beyond religion. Lukas had every right to change his creation but to assume fans of the original would be pleased was a little foolish. And Han shot first......

Re:And So Offered Another Inaccuracy (3, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383474)

Lukas had every right to change his creation but to assume fans of the original would be pleased was a little foolish.

Of course he does. It's just amusing that a person who once went in front of Congress to protest against the colorization of The Three Stooges is one of the biggest film revisionists of all time at this point. Hell, he's supposedly supposed to be making even more revisions for the BD release.

Re:And So Offered Another Inaccuracy (5, Insightful)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383420)

How Star Wars Trumped Star Trek For Scientific Accuracy

Isn't that the greatest headline ever to create a nerd flame war!?

Re:And So Offered Another Inaccuracy (4, Insightful)

polar red (215081) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383496)

Science fiction ? Star Wars is more like future fantasy, and Star Trek is more future fiction.

Re:And So Offered Another Inaccuracy (4, Insightful)

polar red (215081) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383526)

Maybe 'Science Fiction' is a major misnomer for all works currently filed under it.

Re:And So Offered Another Inaccuracy (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383610)

That, it is.

fanatics telling people that Humans rode dinosaurs is science fiction.

Re:And So Offered Another Inaccuracy (5, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383568)

Star Wars is more like future fantasy

That certainly explains the opening scroll for every movie, which all start "A Long Time Ago, In a Galaxy Far, Far Away" :)

Re:And So Offered Another Inaccuracy (-1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383598)

Jesus Christ.

The difference doesn't exist. Science fiction is fantasy. Weather is a magic carpet, wizard spell, and police box, or warp drive.

This si a stupid argument and always has been future spaced fiction needed a category when it was niche.

At to really mkae it moot, In SW cannon, the force has a scientific reason for existing.

Re:And So Offered Another Inaccuracy (4, Informative)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383612)

Magic carpets and wizard spells don't fall into the realm of science fiction. That would be fantasy.

Re:And So Offered Another Inaccuracy (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383656)

Technically fantasy is classified as science fiction in literary circles. I don't know why they do that.

Re:And So Offered Another Inaccuracy (1)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383818)

Well technically the people from any world with magic could study and document all magic via the scientific method so it's a world with different, fictional, scientific laws.

Re:And So Offered Another Inaccuracy (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383634)

In SW cannon, the force has a scientific reason for existing.

This statement doesn't make any sense. What does is the relevance of a Star Wars cannon [wikipedia.org] have to do with anything? Or did you perhaps mean canon [wikipedia.org]?

SF: only one impossibility per story (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383732)

The difference doesn't exist. Science fiction is fantasy

Absolutely wrong, at least for connoisseurs. "Hard" science fiction, or SF for short, is very different from fantasy.

SF is a genre written with a "what if" question. Suppose *one* and only one thing that's impossible today were possible, what then? Examples of authors in this genre are Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and Arthur Clarke. There's very little true SF in movies and TV, it's too cerebral for visual consumption. A magazine that specializes in SF is Analog [analogsf.com], published since 1930, when it was named "Astounding".

Fantasy is a genre where anything goes. You could say that SF and, as a matter of fact, all fiction is a sub-genre of fantasy. Star Trek and Star Wars are fantasy but not true SF, they have too many impossible things to qualify as true Science Fiction.

Re:And So Offered Another Inaccuracy (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383760)

Weather is a magic carpet, wizard spell, and police box, or warp drive.

No, weather is rain, snow, sun, or wind. You probably wanted to say:

Whether it is a magic carpet, wizard spell, and police box, or warp drive.

Re:And So Offered Another Inaccuracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383872)

How is weather a magic carpet?

Re:And So Offered Another Inaccuracy (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383638)

You realize that Star Wars is just as implausible with the whole Jedi crap and interstellar travel methods.

Re:And So Offered Another Inaccuracy (1)

Dgawld (1251898) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383792)

Indeed, if you're familiar with Docking Bay 327 [ggpht.com], it is inside a large maitenance trench [wikia.com] where the structural weaknesses should have created a horizontal ring exploding outward. Instead the movie gave us a vertical ring exploding outward.

Veritcal or Horizontal?? Based on what? Too many misconceptions about the use of the word Horizontal.

Re:And So Offered Another Inaccuracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383820)

Indeed, if you're familiar with Docking Bay 327 [ggpht.com], it is inside a large maitenance trench [wikia.com] where the structural weaknesses should have created a horizontal ring exploding outward. Instead the movie gave us a vertical ring exploding outward.

Veritcal or Horizontal?? Based on what? Too many misconceptions about the use of the word Horizontal.

Based on how they framed it in every goddamn scene and the frame before it blew up?

Ruby is slow as shit, you nubtard script monkeys (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383172)

Ruby on Rails? More like Ruby on Snails amirite?!?!

Finally! (2, Insightful)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383214)

A good bitchfight is about to emerge here. I for one have my popcorn ready. BTW, Star Wars is waaayyy better than that sissy star trek.

Re:Finally! (1)

harrkev (623093) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383558)

Maybe, but Jedi are not omnipowerful and CAN be defeated in a fight. Also, imagine an army of Jedi Borg... That would be amusing.

Re:Finally! (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383578)

The problem is that both sides takes their movies/shows way to serious. A lot of people put into a deep meaning in Star Wars that isn't really there. Star Trek had a meaning sometimes but they are both for just kinda watching and say wow it would be so cool to be in Space.

Ep. 4,5 and 6 had a lot of Gaps that we filled in our own imagination that when ep. 1,2,3 came out we would all be disappointed as our imagination was replaced with someone else's.

Star Trek was based on the Campy 1960's TV show. And always trying to make itself seem more modern, as it will often use new technology as an excuse to complete the plot. However it was designed for a weekly viewing where at the end of the day everything was back to where it was before. Being that Star Trek and its following Spinnoffs were TV shows we really got to know and learn about the characters and got to know them. So when the movies came out there wasn't any time explaining that Spock was a Half Human, Half Vulcan, or that he was rather smart and strong etc...

So Unlike StarWars when a Star Trek Movie sucks it is usally because it was just bad, not that told us what happened where our version was much better. Hey I wanted the Clones to be the Bad Guys.

Re:Finally! (-1, Offtopic)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383676)

Star Wars : Episode 1 was the worst movie I ever have seen. It had a crappy plot, and horrible acting. The little Anakin and that loser Jar Jar pissed me off the worst.

Re:Finally! (5, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383790)

Ep. 4,5 and 6 had a lot of Gaps that we filled in our own imagination that when ep. 1,2,3 came out we would all be disappointed as our imagination was replaced with someone else's.

No, the problem was that Episodes 1-3 didn't fill in the interesting gaps.

4: Here's this Luke kid. Light Side wins.
5: The Empire blows up the base, hacks off Luke's hand, and Han's fully-clothed and petrified. Dark Side wins.
6: Luke beats Palpatine. Dad's OK. Light Side wins.

Following the parallel, we should have had:
1: Here's the Anakin kid. Light Side wins.
2: Anakin hacks up a bunch of Sandpeople, kids, and finally flips out Natalie Portman, formerly naked, ends up petrified. Dark Side wins.
3: Here's this Darth Vader dude. He gets more and more evil with every passing month, slaughtering millions, razing planets, building Star Destroyers and Death Stars, and he's so freaking oppressive that the Rebellion starts. Some Bothans rip off the plans for the Death Star and haul ass outa there! Light Side wins.

Instead we got this incoherent jumble:
1: Here's the Anakin kid. Light Side wins.
2: Here's the Anakin dude. Whiny little bugger, ain't he?
3: Here's the Anakin dude. Still a whiny little bugger, ain't he? DO NOT WANT.

All the interesting gaps in the Star Wars storyline took place between Episode III and Episode IV. We all know Anakin's going to fall to the Dark Side, and there was no need to spend two movies doing it. The unexplored part of the movie timeline is what life is like immediately after he becomes Vader, but before the events of Episode IV.

Re:Finally! (0, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383798)

1,2,3 came out we would all be disappointed as our imagination was replaced with someone else's.

No, Episodes 1 thru 3 just fucking sucked. The problem was that George Lucas is a greedy bastard and had fuckin' kids and filled the first few episodes with "goo-goo, ga-ga" dialog, piss-poor acting, and no sense of urgency.

Wait, you are right about one thing - the mysterious and all-powerful force was explained away, which made an already sterile trilogy even moreso.

But what of Star Wars vs. Star Trek? I like to think of Star Wars as Metallica and Star Trek as Megadeth. Metallica were more talented until they whored themselves out and went pop. Megadeth were not as talented, but were much more consistent and I can listen to them without becoming angry at their violating my childhood with their bed-wetting, infantile trash.

Historical Accuracy (3, Insightful)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383216)

Apparently this is regarding a book published in 2002 which talks about the 1997 edition of Star Wars vs a 1991 Star Trek - comparing the way an explosion appeared on screen.
Which portion of this 8 year old book about a 20 year old movie is news?

Re:Historical Accuracy (0, Offtopic)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383252)

None of it. Just like it wasn't news that the Air Force is using trained falcons to scare off other birds.

Re:Historical Accuracy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383282)

Which portion of this 8 year old book about a 20 year old movie is news?

The portion that helps sales of Star Wars on BD with extra publicity?

Hadn't Noticed (4, Funny)

Rary (566291) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383222)

Ring around the Death Star? Greedo shooting first? You mean, people actually watch the butchered editions of Star Wars?

I had no idea.

Re:Hadn't Noticed (1)

maeka (518272) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383258)

Not all of us have the beautiful anamorphic laserdiscs.

Re:Hadn't Noticed (2, Insightful)

Rary (566291) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383390)

Not all of us have the beautiful anamorphic laserdiscs.

Laserdiscs? What's wrong with the OT DVD release?

Han shoots first on my DVD copy. Same on my VHS copy.

Greedo shooting first is far more hated ... (5, Interesting)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383242)

When George Lucas added the 'ring around the Death Star' effect to his 1997 re-release of Star Wars episode IV: A New Hope, the revision was almost as hated as Greedo shooting first ...

No. Greedo shooting first is far more hated. Enhanced explosion effects and cgi starfighters are the sort of thing expected not a major character personality rewrite.

Adding ridiculous numbers of storm troopers to corridors is probably far more hated. The death star explosion is most likely pretty far down the list.

Re:Greedo shooting first is far more hated ... (5, Insightful)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383346)

I agree. This slash story is pretty lame. Also Han shot Greedo preemptively. Han was a rogue, not a white knight.

Re:Greedo shooting first is far more hated ... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383632)

Rogues do it from behind. Han shot him face to face. Ergo, Han is not a rogue~

Re:Greedo shooting first is far more hated ... (1)

meloneg (101248) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383864)

Um. Not really. You're distinction implies that Greedo had fair warning that Han was drawing on him.

What Han did was not so different than having Chewie sneak up behind Greedo. It was not what would typically be considered an "honorable" showdown. Han won by guile.

And, he *DID* shoot first.

Re:Greedo shooting first is far more hated ... (1)

oogoliegoogolie (635356) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383748)

Han was a rogue, not a white knight.

He was also scruffy-looking and a laser-brain. Everyone knows that a character with those qualities always shoots first and asks questions later.

Re:Greedo shooting first is far more hated ... (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383852)

While I agree that it's stupid that they made Greedo fire first, it was pretty obvious that if Han hadn't shot him, Greedo would have pulled his trigger, so even without Greedo shooting first, Han was still acting in self-defense.

My point being that the idea of making Greedo shoot first to make Han look somehow less "evil" was even at its very best, a completely unnecesssary change, because it was obvious to me that Han shot Greedo in self defense when I first saw the movie in 1977. The real problem with that change was that it made Han look like he was somebody who simply reacted to situations around him rather than proactively dealt with them in an efficient and appropriate manner.

Re:Greedo shooting first is far more hated ... (3, Insightful)

Reziac (43301) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383458)

Exactly. Dicking with SFX is mostly just irritating. But a major personality rewrite is a betrayal -- not of us fans, but of the character himself.

Re:Greedo shooting first is far more hated ... (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383594)

Ironically, that effect was first used in Star Trek VI. It happened in the beginning when the Klingon moon 'Praxis' exploded. The effect is even called a 'Praxis Ring [wikipedia.org]'.

Re:Greedo shooting first is far more hated ... (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383822)

Gee, no shit? You mean like how it already says that in both the article and the summary?

and to boot was seen as a knock-off of the seminal 'Praxis effect' in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991).

Re:Greedo shooting first is far more hated ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383838)

I personnally hated it when Han bragged how fast the Millenium Falcon was and used parsecs as a unit of time. "My car is so fast it gets from LA to NY in only 200 miles" WTF But then that can' be a hated change because it was in the original

But the real question is: (2, Funny)

stagg (1606187) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383244)

Which would win in a fight, the Millennium Falcon or the Enterprise?

It's hard to 'win' when you're dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383406)

Galactica would trounce both without batting a lash.

Re:It's hard to 'win' when you're dead (1)

Courageous (228506) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383866)

Are you sure? The Enterprise's phasers are, I would assume, more powerful than simply redirecting the matter-energy conversion of their transporters at a target. The transporters convert the transported material to energy, and using an E=MC**2 calculation, I'm able to calculate that a few thousand pounds of transported matter are many gigatons-nuclear-equivalent of energy... :-)

Re:But the real question is: (5, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383424)

Neither, due to mismatched physics.

http://www.qwantz.com/index.php?comic=1759

Re:But the real question is: (1)

saboola (655522) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383652)

Serenity would not and could not win, but would be the ship I would want to hang out on.

Yeah, that bullshit (3, Funny)

hsmith (818216) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383246)

Just made Star Wars totally unrealistic.

Re:Yeah, that bullshit (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383336)

Hmmz, in Lucas defense it is called science Fiction... Like saying: not science, not real but fiction.

Re:Yeah, that bullshit (4, Funny)

psyclone (187154) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383438)

VrrrrrWhooosh!

(That's the "sound" of a TIE fighter flying over your head, in space.)

How many even understand what he's talking about? (1)

computational super (740265) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383248)

It sure would be nice if the author could figure out how to write something that anybody BESIDES a raving, rabid fanboy of either series could make any sense of. I haven't memorized either of those movies, I'm ashamed to say...

Re:How many even understand what he's talking abou (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383266)

Pff I should hook you up with my girlfriend. She will fix that for you and I finally can watch a decent movie like the Godfather 1, 2 and 3 in peace.

Star Wars v. Star Trek (3, Interesting)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383250)

One of the things that Star Wars had over Star Trek is the fact that the science, or lack of it, was never a critical point of the story. Nothing wrong with bad science with your fantasy, but Star Trek tried making the bad science part of the plotline which was idiotic. Making up a particle that causes some problem, then making up another particle that fixes the problem caused by the first fake particle is beyond stupid. You don't gain anything from it.

Re:Star Wars v. Star Trek (4, Insightful)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383426)

Both are entertainment. If you know anything about the relevant science they spout off, I hope you're not taking notes for future reference. I assume both put just enough real science in there to make it sound not _entirely_ bullshit but didn't bother going to ridiculous realistic detail to turn it into a class.

Again, these shows/movies were for entertainment. Picking apart the "science" that was written by.. writers.. might be funny in some blatant cases, but generally it's just a futile effort since not even they cared and they were the ones writing it into canon.

Frankly, my opinion is that those who "take offense" to the lack of credible science in these two series/movies are the ones who sincerely hope/hoped it will/would/(was?) become reality in the not so distant future (or long ago past for the Star Wars fans). OMG! The science isn't real! Does that mean I won't get to tool around the galaxy on the Enterprise-A/B/C/D/E?

Re:Star Wars v. Star Trek (1)

saboola (655522) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383636)

Well, you wanna watch something about science, put in an old tape with recordings of Mr. Wizard. Everyone else? Enjoy the bloody movie.

Re:Star Wars v. Star Trek (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383736)

Both are entertainment. If you know anything about the relevant science they spout off, I hope you're not taking notes for future reference.

Well that's exactly my point; there's no entertainment value in fake science, by itself? Are you really going to be on the edge of your seats over a fake particle? The fake science is fine, if it exists to move the plot along, rather than be PART of the plot. There's no such thing as warp drives. But you kind of need them to move the plot along, so they're fine. Even a warp drive about to explode can be a valid plot device; you can connect that to real-life occurrences and tensions. Engines can blow up. But the fake particles or the changing of the frequency of the fake particles is idiotic when it becomes, rather than serves, the plot.

Re:Star Wars v. Star Trek (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383788)

I never even mentioned "The Force". I can see what side of the fence you're on. Take note, I'm not taking sides. I like both Star Wars and Star Trek for what they are. Getting pissy about either is pretty pointless. Now, I can see how people being polarized about JarJar or Wesley, etc, is legitimate. But what is more true to science? Who the fuck cares?

Re:Star Wars v. Star Trek (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383490)

Star Trek tried making the bad science part of the plotline which was idiotic.

It's hard to avoid this when you're filling scripts for nearly a dozen movies, plus hundreds of hours of television programming. Star Wars only had to contend with six movies, a Christmas special and a handful of cartoons. The Star Wars books certainly go down the "science rathole" (wormhole), explaining, for example, how Han made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs...)

Re:Star Wars v. Star Trek (4, Insightful)

nharmon (97591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383528)

Yeah, it's not like conjuring up some mystical phenomena that allows the characters to defy the laws of physics.

Re:Star Wars v. Star Trek (1)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383532)

The Force basically just a 'particle of the week'. It has whatever powers or limitations are necessary to advance the plot, but any rational explanation of it is patently ridiculous.

Re:Star Wars v. Star Trek (4, Insightful)

gfreeman (456642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383718)

That could be because Star Wars is about the story, whereas Star Trek is about the characters.

Inventing Particle A which is fixed by Particle B may not be a good story in itself, but how Kirk, Spock, Bones et al deal with the situation is why I like ST over SW.

Darth Vader was a great baddie, but so was Khan.

Title failure (1)

moogied (1175879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383254)

I don't see how one small example from 1 movie out of thousands of hours of star trek lets star wars "trump" it. For christ sakes.. in star wars you could alter someones mind by waving at them. You could move objects by REALLY wanting them. Death? Thats for losers. Need I go on? /fanboy

Re:Title failure (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383576)

> For christ sakes.. in star wars you could alter someones mind by waving at them.

Spock mind-melded a guard through a wall in "A Taste of Armageddon" and influenced him to open the locked door.

> You could move objects by REALLY wanting them.

Gary Mitchell in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" levitated a bunch of stuff.

> Death? Thats for losers.

Nomad killed Scotty and resurrected him.

You guys who think Star Trek is more "scientific" than Star Wars are just not paying attention.

> Need I go on?

I won't if you won't!

Re:Title failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383762)

Completely agreed.
The only part of Star Trek that really took some things a little too far were Deep Space Nines spooky ambassadors from the wormhole dimension, that Time Conduit in the film where Picard was in some pseudo-existence outside of regular existence, essentially "afterlife".
There is a few other pretty silly things, but those are 2 of the bigger ones i can think of at present time, outside of general annoyances with convenience of physics in "the future".

The Force is another huge annoyance with me. There is no known way that could be done without extreme EM that would probably do damage as well.
Or, another way would be some sort of holography / video that could transmit information remotely that isn't apparent to the conscious mind. But, despite some research, this is still very basic in practice, such as subliminal messaging. And it breaks off at too fast a speed, limiting how much you could do with a small frame of time. Getting to the point of interfering with conscious thought in the ways in Star Wars is unlikely without doing some serious damage.

Most things in both could be done though, including:
warp drives - experiments and research on-going in to possible methods, most requiring existence of certain fields and exotic matter.
warp-gates / stargates / whatever - this is the most likely way it could be done, actually.
shields - done to some extent now, pretty basic though.
exotic matters - we have made some exotic forms of matter, but unstable. Doubt we will make things like Red Matter from recent Star Trek movie.
teleportation - possible now, but nothing to the extent of Star Trek teleportation....yet. Might as well be optimistic, right? We thought it was impossible a while back...
matter / anti-matter engine (ion-based in our case, no warp yet) - entirely possible now actually, just nobody has went ahead with it due to lack of anti-matter and huge cost.
phasers - if we ever control gravity, a light-orbited blackhole could work (but that would be too dangerous IMO) Meta-materials could store a lot of energy going around in circles. Whether or not it will last long is another question. EM-blackholes, if you remember, were on Slashdot recently. They'd probably just become heat eventually, even with a section they could be channelled in to.
Light Saber - nanotech and a lot of energy. That's all i have.

Too lazy to go through others, but you see where i'm going.

but the explosions still make noises (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383270)

Lucas still didn't get it right that noise doesn't carry through the vacuum of space. Every time anything explodes we still hear it.

Re:but the explosions still make noises (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383430)

How do you know that isn't the default sound of a starship sensor system alerting the pilot that something nearby just blew up?

Re:but the explosions still make noises (1)

mcspoo (933106) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383588)

If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around, does it make a sound? If a camera is pointed at an explosion in space, you're watching it, does your brain think it made a sound? Is there any difference at all between these two questions?

I don't care about science in this case (4, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383302)

I care about the integrity of a work of art, cheesy pyro effects and all.

Digital remasterings that go beyond color correction and noise reduction suck. JMHO.

Acceptable? Getting rid of the matte outlines that were visible in VHS Star Wars IV. Not acceptable? Adding a CGI tauntaun.

Re:I don't care about science in this case (4, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383476)

Acceptable? Getting rid of the matte outlines that were visible in VHS Star Wars IV. Not acceptable? Adding a CGI tauntaun.

Of course not. Everybody knows that the Tauntauns all live on Hoth, and they didn't even go there until episode V.

Re:I don't care about science in this case (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383562)

Right absolutely on. Fix what the tech of the day *could not* make right in the first place, sure. And that does NOT mean you can substitute CGI for claymation or whatever other old-style SFX. Doing so makes a visual "hole" in the film that makes our "willing suspension of disbelief" hit the ground with a resounding THUD.

But no matter how "broken" it may seem a few years later, DON'T fuck around with the visual, structural, or character integrity of the film.

I like what John D. MacDonald wrote about his earliest novels, when the time came to republish them:

=====================
I wrote Wine of the Dreamers in 1950 and Ballroom of the Skies the following year.

When Knox Burger, who edits my work at Fawcett Publications, suggested we resurrect these two books, the only science fiction novels I have ever published, I read them for the first time since the obligatory reading in galley proofs nearly twenty years ago.

It would be a meretricious idiocy for any writer with any respect and consideration for his following to foist upon them the creative mistakes of the early years. I have closets full of previously published stories which will never see print again, regardless of whether I am on the scene or off in that limbo which I suspect is reserved for all novelists--where we are condemned to lie for half of eternity in tiny rooms with the creatures of our own devising.

Though it may be merely one more symptom of the writer's flawed objectivity, I found both these novels to be more cohesive and provocative than I had expected.

I have not revised them. I ached to doctor much stilted conversation, but to do so would have been to cheat, as somehow the pretentious and overly grammatic speeches made by the actors are touchingly typical of the genre.

They are both more accurately categorized as science fantasy than as science fiction, in that they are neither space-adventure, nor mad-scientist, nor doom-machine epics.

The two novels are companion pieces in that they provide two congruent methods of accounting for all the random madness and unmotivated violence in our known world, and two quite different answers as to why, with all our technology, we seem unable to move a fraction of an inch toward bettering the human condition and making of life a universally more rewarding experience.

This, for the writer, is the charm of such novels, as they enable him to step up onto a small shaky soapbox and say something, without ever lecturing the reader, about the moral and emotional furniture of our lives. Books of this sort have a functional relationship to the world's religions, in that they also make a sober attempt to explain the inexplicable, account for the unaccountable.

I confess to being particularly jolted by finding in Wine of the Dreamers that the Paris Peace Talks were still going on in 1975, that the Asians were quarreling with Russia about the orbits for snooper satellites, and that a substance was being advertised and sold to millions of Americans as a non-alcoholic, non-habit-forming beverage which would heighten the sensory response to such stimuli as a kiss or a sunset. I wish I could have equivalent prescience in personal matters.

To those of my reader-friends who are turned off completely by these organized speculations and term them "silly," I extend apologies. I am glad to have these back in print. I suspect, however, that those who cruise vicariously aboard The Busted Flush with one T. McGee --- as do I --- will find things in these books which will reward and amuse.

Herein there are no bug-eyed monsters, except the ones forever resident in the human heart. There are no lovelies being rescued by space explorers from giant insects who talk in clicks and carry distintegrators. No methane atmospheres. Nothing emerging from the evil swamps. Not even a single dutiful robot, harboring either electronic love or the cross-wired circuitry of rebellion. Because of these omissions I may well be responsible, also, for turning off the hard-core aficionado of science fiction who, because these are more about people than things, might also term them "silly."

My most signal satisfaction in rereading these two novels, and in authorizing their reappearance, was to discover that I had not, as I had suspected, sacrificed story to message. They move right along. It had been so long since I had written them that my recall was fogged by fifty intervening novels. And so I had much ironic amusement in finding myself, for the first time, reading my own work with considerable curiosity as to what would happen next.

JOHN D. MacDONALD

Sarasota, Florida

September 1968
==============

star wars is fantasy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383304)

Star Trek is science fiction while Star Wars is science fantasy. There is far more real science accuracy in Star Trek than anything in Star Wars. They even got the Ipad right more than 20 years before it became real. Star Trek explains the science whereas Star Wars is just fun fantasy stuff.

Praxis effect entrenched in our memories. (4, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383320)

Plait concludes that the blast pattern resulting from the explosion of the Klingon mining operation has no credible reason to resolve into a ring form, ...

Conversely, the surface integrity of the Death Star hull is interrupted by a perfect ring in the form of the gargantuan maintenance trench which encircles it, ...

This makes the highly criticized 'ring effect' far more plausible in New Hope ...

Unless, of course, Praxis had a trench round its circumference too (visible or not). Strip-mining is a viable extraction method.

Praxis? The Klingon moon? (2, Informative)

XanC (644172) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383362)

Praxis is their key energy production facility...

Re:Praxis? The Klingon moon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383492)

sir we're receiving a message from Praxis

Re:Praxis? The Klingon moon? (2, Insightful)

mishehu (712452) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383608)

Send to Klingon High Command: "This is Excelsior, a Federation Starship traveling in beta quadrant. We have monitored a large explosion in your sector. Do you require any assistance?"

Re:Praxis effect entrenched in our memories. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383584)

Unless, of course, Praxis had a trench round its circumference too (visible or not). Strip-mining is a viable extraction method.

Unfortunately, the movie itself refutes that possibility.

After the Excelsior has recovered from the shock wave, they pull up a shot of Praxis after the explosion. That shot shows a big quarter-circle chunk blown out of it, instead of the stereotypical "apple-core" hourglass shape that would have explained a ring.

Re:Praxis effect entrenched in our memories. (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383660)

Well, most planetary bodies should be naturally more ellipsoid due to axis of spin, so you could use that as an argument for why it would produce a circular explosion. However we got a diagram of praxis post explosion, and it didn't jive well with a circular explosion at all.

The worst VFX trope of all time. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383356)

I work in the visual FX business, and "Praxis rings" have been mocked as cliche [cgsociety.org] for well over a decade now.

Re:The worst VFX trope of all time. (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383470)

Yeah, this one dude back in 2003 totally ripped on praxis whatever things on an internet board! Busted!

Yip yip! (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383416)

But a debunking astronomer

Astronomy grants getting a bit thin? Don't they need to be gathering gravity wave data to work out whether or not the universe is a hologram and dark energy radiates from evil mirror branes or something?

claims that the Federation got it wrong and the fan-boys should thank Lucas for adding some scientific accuracy to his fictional universe

Yeah, I'll get right on that. Oh, wait, I'm not a fan boy! I'm exempt! Yay! :-D

MORE OLD NEWS!!!! (2, Interesting)

SunSpot505 (1356127) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383472)

You know I realize CmrTaco founded slashdot, so maybe i'm looking a gift horse in the mouth here, but come on dude!!!! The book cited was published in 2002. This following an article on Falconry that has been in use for at bare minimum 70 years??? Is it the slowest news day in history or what??

In other news... (0, Offtopic)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383482)

Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh argue about whose accounts of President Obama's secret worship of Allah is more accurate.

Star Wars is WAY better than Star Trek (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383548)

If you look at the dynamics of the Enterprise during the Far Point episode, you can see at least 16 maneuvers that violate physics. I think it's pretty clear that the people who do Star Trek don't have any respect -- whatsoever -- for any kind of physical realism. On the other hand, if you look at the way the Millennium Falcon moves, especially the way it goes into hyperdrive, it is WAY more realistic.

It really bothers me that Trekkies/Trekkers/whatever you want to call them think that Star Trek is so great. What really gets me is how Earth-centric it is. Like, as if Earth would become some marvelous utopian society and yet the Klingons (note: Black people?) are so freakin violent.

The whole idea in Star Wars of a struggle between good and evil is far more realistic, and I think that's why so many kids aged 7-9 relate to Star Wars so well, because it reflects the reality of the world, as any child can see. I vowed never to watch any more Star Trek about 3 years ago, and honestly it was the best decision I ever made. Even my work performance improved.

Interesting Definition of Trumped (3, Insightful)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383570)

So, if I'm reading the summary correctly, Star Wars was edited to include an effect that had already been included in Star Trek. So for copying Star Trek, Star Wars wins?

Its a movie... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383666)

You know I will admit I do get angry when I watch a news clip or history channel documentary and find the information presented to be flat wrong or terribly misleading... it makes me sad. However getting angry over application of reality to the pure fiction of Star Wars and Star Trek? really? What is gained by comparing the force to a transporter or light saber to cloaking fields? How is it that anyone on earth is even capable of knowing with any certainty how a fricking death star will explode? What is it even made out of and what are the properties of its explodey core? I would gladly forgive any and all scientific transgressions made in Star Wars if the script is changed so that all we remember of jar jar is that he was stepped on and killed by one of those shield carrying dinosaurs.

WTF? Star Wars is totally nonsensical (3, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383684)

- Star Wars uses laser weapons. Any advanced space-race would never use laser weapons as they are readily re-mediated by the use of reflective materials. Star Trek uses Phasers (phased energy weapons), which at least sort of makes sense.

- An entire planet existing as a city? This makes no sense from a material logistics point of view, at all. There is nothing like this in Star Trek.

- Need I mention the force? Microscopic life forms (midichlorians) giving magical powers to people? It is an interesting plot device, but rooted in any kind of science? No.

6 movies + one cartoon vs 5 weekly shows (2, Insightful)

rednip (186217) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383794)

There are a whole lot more plot lines which need to be quickly developed for episodic TV, it's no wonder that writer of the week had played fast and loose with physics. Sure, The Clone Wars is 'weekly', but it's plot lines are stretched a half an hour at a time across several weeks. Also the Star Wars saga is more of a war set in space than a twisty science fiction story.

Personally, I see it as an apples and oranges thing. You'd be more accurate comparing Star Trek with Dr. Who and Star Wars with Star Ship Troopers (but I wouldn't even want those flame wars!)

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