A Stupid Thing in Star Trek That Has Annoyed Me For Years (Add Your Own!)

I was browsing another forum and I was reminded of that terrible episode of The Next Generation where the Enterprise is confronted by craft armed with good old ordinary lasers and our trusty space heroes just laugh it off. That’s driven me nuts for years since lasers are likely to be the most effective weapon against the Enterprise!

A laser is just a coherent beam of light. The shields are invisible. Ergo a laser weapon would pass right through their shields to burn a hole in the hull, kill anyone behind it, and potentially do some real damage. And as a bonus it would be invisible when fired in a vacuum so they might not even realize who’s shooting at them.

It was a stupid line thrown out to tell the viewer how much more advanced the technology in Star Trek is to our ordinary present day tech (cause that faster than light travel and gravity control weren’t enough) but it really says that the writer had no clue what a laser was beyond the SF concept. You can fanwank in explanations but its hard to get past the fact that light easily reaches them.

I know it’s a silly thing but it’s bothered me forever and it feels good to let it out. Anyone else with a scifi annoyance that’s gotten under your skin for years you want to let out?

If you can explain how shields actually work first that is… :wink:

But, I don’t see why they can’t use cool stuff like the Scalosian’s time warping minerals from Wink of an Eye or the substance used in Plato’s Stepchildren to give them telekenetic powers.

I’m guessing they don’t dig this sort of stuff, if genetic engineering is apparently banned.

Actually, it’s perfectly possible for something to let through visible light and block coherent light; substances that do that ( a type of crystal IIRC ) exist today. I always assumed that the shields could do the same thing.

Now, for a stupid thing that bothers me, I’d go for the infamous “crack in the event horizon” from Voyager.

I said it in another thread and I’ll say it again here: the universal translator. Apparently it doesn’t work for Klingon. :rolleyes:

I always wondered why they had to keep modifying the tricorder, and if the other crews on other missions shared their tricorder modifications in case the Enterprise encountered something they had already figured their way through.

they had shuttlecraft so why did sulu have to almost freeze to death when the transporter crapped out…

One non-technological thing that irks me:

Senior crew members often go rogue (act, initially in secret, against orders, even to the extent of assaulting other crewmembers, or even act for outside villains)

a) because their view is right (and is vindicated by later events)
b) due to some kind of ‘possession’; the body acts but the person is not responsible.
c) only seemingly - they have been replaced by a transporter copy, clone, duplicate android.

After the denouement there are no adverse consequences for the crewmember in question, not even resentment later. (slight exception: slight feelings against Picard by some, for Locutus’ acts)

Realistically, you cannot let people get away with case a), and in cases b) and c) the person in question is not legally responsible but the injured parties would need superhuman moral qualities not to feel lasting resentment towards the crewmember in question.

Why are there no security cameras on Starships?

That’s an example of a general problem (not unique to Trek, admittedly), of some idea that turns up in one episode that really ought to be SOP (e.g. the “subcutaneous transponders” from the Nazis-in-Space episode).

There was a construction they called a “photon sieve”* that did this – it was a very large coherent multilayer stack. It existed mostly on paper, because it was a pretty difficult object to construct physically (It would be like trying to make a wedding cake with 100 layers). AFAIK, no one ever actually built one, or at least a successful one. I never heard of anyone doing this with a crystal, although I ciould see that working.

I figure that the science of the Enterprise era has gone way beyobd us in manipulating light. The Doctor in Voyager, for instances is a “hologram”. But since he wanders around the ship (and, with his Magic Armband, outside the shop as well), he’s apparently a hologram whose medium is simply the surrounding air. If they can manipulate light that way, they can do things to laser and “phaser” beams (whatever they may be)

*beware – there are several devices with this name, and if you go googling for them you’ll probably turn up one of the other devices.

If they can programme holograms and have ‘hard-light’ holograms and long distance teleporters they can be like Q if they so choose.

What, gay???

The whole holodeck thing: every couple of episodes there is a problem on the deck, either crew members are trapped or holograms come to life, after the first time, you’d think they would shut it down as unsafe.

If there was a tech that made you able to get laid basically whenever you wanted too, I doubt that would be banned no matter how dangerous. :smiley:

fast cars, alcohol etc etc etc.

Here’s a mention of a patent for one that I googled; I don’t know if it’s the same one I read about. From my googling, one term being used for such devices is “optical limiter”.

Because the shittlecraft model wasn’t in from the prop shop yet.

That was a funny typo. Was it on purpose? :wink:

Those were always unreliable in the original show weren’t they.

I’m not sure I’m following this logic. If the Enterprise was totally defenseless against primitive technology, what kept it from being blown out of the sky? They certainly seemed to have had enemies wanting to do just that. Do you think they just had a treaty with the Klingons, Romulans, and whatnot that they would only shoot at each other with state-of-the-art weapons?

On the other hand, I remember on the original series Sulu laughing off the threat posed by a handgun saying he would just jump out of the way of any bullets. As I remember he actually did get shot though.

I’ve worked with such light limiters for eye protection – but they (as in the example you cite) distinguish between high intensity and low intensity light, not between coherent and incoherent light.

Some of them are liquids. The idea is that the substance stops transmitting when the intensity gets too high, thereby saving the camera, detector, or human eye from high exposure.

Wasn’t that on the Shore Leave episode with the Alice in Wonderland characters roaming around though? I think it was a matter of Sulu and the others not believing that what was going on was real and it was illusion or a game.

As to the Lasers, I think the ships hulls were suppose to be highly resistant from such low tech attacks like lasers and missiles. I have the Star Trek Engineering Manual somewhere at home; I could try to cite this later if you need me to.