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06-01-1999, 03:35 PM
I was watching Star Trek the other day and there are a few things which I don't get.
Why on earth are all the uniforms so goofy? Ok, I can look past that. What exactly is a "phaser", how would it work, you know their sidearms, and why do they remind me of a VCR remote conroll? I can't imagine it's easy to aim with those things.

Ok, someone is asking, why do you watch it? Well I'm a sci-fi junky, I have to watch these things.

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06-01-1999, 04:02 PM
You're new here, aren't you?
The phaser question was asked a while ago in another thread.

http://www.straightdope.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/000152.html

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"[He] beat his fist down upon the table and hurt his hand and became so
further enraged... that he beat his fist down upon the table even harder and
hurt his hand some more." -- Joseph Heller's Catch-22

06-01-1999, 11:10 PM
I doubt anyone will read this, but there is actually some new information about phasers (sort of). In The Science of Star Wars, the author reveals that lasers can actually do just about anything blasters (or phasers) do, even stun! According to the book, it is possible to design a laser that would heat the air along its path to such a degree that it would ionize, i.e., turn to plasma. The electrical charge therefrom could act like a sudden shock to the nervous system and "stun" the person on the recieving end. Of course plasma's pretty hot, so it might burn them pretty bad as well, but I don't remember if the book covered that. Maybe it doesn't heat the air, it just uses a certain frequency of radiation.

06-02-1999, 08:47 AM
Their uniforms are goofy because they make Uhura, Crusher, Troi, Kira, Dax, Janeway, and B'Elanna look good.

06-02-1999, 11:05 AM
No, the uniforms are goofy because they're meant to be the "comfort uniforms of the future." Humans are nicer in the future (according to Star Trek) and it's mostly because they get to wear their jammies to work. I'd be much happier if I were wearing my flannel PJs right now, instead of a skirt and blouse. The actresses look good in them because they're actresses, and they're paid to look good.

If you contrast human "niceness" between different science fiction shows, you can see a correlation between comfortable clothes and pleasant attitudes. In Star Wars, Jedi knights wear bath robes - the ultimate in comfort. Jedi knights, while capable of kicking ass, do so only under extreme circumstances and spend most of their time being very laid-back and relaxed. In Star Trek, Starfleet officers wear form-fitting pyjamas. These are comfortable, but necessitate holding one's gut in, thus inspiring Starfleet officers to be more enthusiastic about physical activity, and they can get cranky sometimes. On Babylon 5, Earthforce members wear somewhat stiff uniforms with uncomfortable-looking collars. This has a profound effect on their moods, and leads to command decisions such as "Blow them straight to HELL!"

I hope this helps. These are important issues and should be considered carefully.

06-02-1999, 11:19 AM
Those Star Trek uniforms better be comfortable, because it seems to be almost the only thing they ever wear. Won't people of the future ever take off their uniforms and put on civilian clothes to relax? How about some blue jeans and tennis shoes?

In general, I think it's funny the way in sci-fi shows/movies, the people are usually military in uniform, fighting aliens. Rarely do they show just civilians in regular clothing, doing stuff like working in offices, eating 3 meals a day, shopping and cleaning house, and coming home to a family. The only exception I can think of is the Jetsons cartoon. The Jetsons is probably the most realistic sci-fi depiction ever on TV so far of what life will be like in the future.

06-02-1999, 04:30 PM
That would make some of the Middle Eastern (Arab) societies the most relaxed... ?

Climate probably plays a role, as well.

06-02-1999, 05:16 PM
Hoe wrote:

> I can't imagine it's easy to aim with
> those things.

Actually, I think you'd probably get pretty
good at it with training. I use a laser
pointer somewhat regularly and aim it in
much the same way the Trek'sters aim their
phasers. I can usually get pretty darned
close to my target instantaneously, but
since it's a constant visible stream, I can
quickly adjust. I would think phasers would
benefit from the same real-time feedback
mechanism... On the other hand, I wouldn't
want to be standing immediately behind
someone who was about to get blasted by
Captain Kirk, shooting from the hip while
simultaneously leaping over a dead Klingon!

06-03-1999, 12:34 AM
Cheese Head--that's not entirely true. Starfleet is some sort of quasi-military organization, and those outfits the crew wears are uniforms. Since most of the stories take place when the crewmembers are on duty, naturally they're wearing their uniforms.

I won't be a total trekkie and list them (unless you're dying to know), but there are episodes of Star Trek that show the crew in their civvies.

Eris, that's the best explanation I've ever heard for costumes. I think you've stumbled onto a new sociological measurement--the more loose-fitting your clothes are, the more relaxed is your civilization.