1999 Site Updates
November 5, 1999
Split the Kansas creationism page into two pieces by putting the creationist arguments and rebuttals on a separate page. Added suggested debating tactics. Yes, I know, this page gets quite a few updates for an off-topic rant, but hey, it's my website :)
October 11, 1999
Combined the old Reasons page and Myths page FAQ into a general site FAQ.
More small revisions to the Kansas creationism rant. Specifically, added a discussion of why creation theory isn't really a scientific theory at all, added a few more comments in the "creationist arguments" section, and added some more comments to the constitutional postscript.
Minor revisions to the sci-fi commandments page.
October 6, 1999
Minor revisions to the STI revelations page, the Federation propulsion page, the Imperial propulsion page, the Federation ground combat page, the TPM revelations page, and the Kansas creationism rant.
Reworded the Imperial shielding page.
Added a theory about AT-ST failures and their correlation to a sharp drop in stormtrooper efficiency during the Battle of Endor, to the Imperial ground armour page.
Added a hypermatter reactor discussion in the Imperial power generation page.
Added a Sci-fi Commandments page. It's pretty small, and a little tongue-in-cheek, but what the heck :)
Updated my home page again, after updating some computer stuff.
Thanks to everyone who E-mailed with feedback about the new site layout! Feedback was almost universally positive, and votes for the side-bar button layout easily exceeded votes for the old "across the top" layout, so I'll keep it the way it is.
Yes, I follow the NFL. I hate Jimmy Johnson, so I was pleased to no end at Sunday's game.
September 25, 1999
Reworded the Campaign page.
Added a Metallica rendition of the Imperial March to the Media page, located by Rob Dalton.
Added a hilarious Circuit City song to my personal home page, from Ted Collins.
Added some more links to the Links page.
Very slight rewording of some pages in the Essays section.
I'm pleased to say that the feedback about the new site design has largely been positive. However, two people have said that they preferred the frame buttons on the top, rather than the side as they are now. If anyone might send comments on whether they prefer them to the side or to the top, I would appreciate it.
September 19, 1999
I'm experimenting with a new look for the main page. Comments and criticisms are welcome.
Revised the Debating page, with the following changes:
Another example was added to the red herring section
Some expanded commentary was added to the slippery slope section.
A "misinterpreting limits" section has been added.
Minor updates to my personal home page. No huge personal life changes- I just updated the descriptions of my stereo and computer.
Added some Babylon 5 sites to the Links page. BTW, please don't E-mail me any more asking whether I prefer Tigreclaws' site or Brian Young's site- I don't want to get involved in a "battle of the sites". Check out each site with an open mind, and come to your own conclusions.
Revised the Imperial space combat maneuvering page to incorporate the fact that there have been some real-life examples of hybrid carrier/cruisers.
BTW, the next fanfic chapter will be going up sometime this week. I apologize for the extremely long delays between updates- my rate of work on the site has been off lately, due to a lot of heavy real-life activity (my firstborn son is going to school for the first time, and the workload at the office is heavy).
August 24, 1999
Hello, everyone! My wife and I celebrated our seventh anniversary this past weekend, so apologies to any of you whose E-mails I've been ignoring for the past week. There are times when I simply ignore all incoming E-mail so that I can have a personal life. Try not to be offended- the last time I sat down and actually answered every single E-mail in my inbox, it took six hours. I resolved never to do that again, for obvious reasons :)
I recently heard about an appalling example of government stupidity in the state of Kansas. It seems the state school board voted to remove evolution theory from its science standards! Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but ... wait a minute- I do want to get off on a rant! The off-topic rant page is in the Essays section. It might offend a few people, but I've never been much of a diplomat.
August 14, 1999
Revised the Debating Fallacies page to use the term "dishonest debating tactics" instead of "sci-fi debating fallacies". Moved the logical fallacies up in front of the dishonest debating tactics. Added "Leap of Logic". Improved the "Attacking Science" and "O.J. Simpson defense" sections. Revised the "false cause" section to add another example.
Improved the Federation and Imperial Space Combat Maneuvering pages in the Tactics section. These pages haven't been updated since the earliest days of this site, and they have been in dire need of updates. The Federation SCM page now includes discussion of fighters.
Added a Quantum Mechanics page to the Essays section. This is not an attempt to pretend that I'm a quantum mechanics expert and educate you all (the ranks of sci-fi fandom already seem to be filled to overflowing with people who call themselves quantum mechanics experts <g>)- it is merely my opinion about why the Trek writers love to use the word "quantum" so damned much.
July 27, 1999
Made a slight alteration to the Federation Industry page, to note that the construction timeframe of 13 years for 3 ships actually does not include design time, because the 13 year timeframe starts when the design is frozen.
Updated the Imperial ground combat stormtrooper page to discuss stormtrooper marksmanship.
Updated the Imperial ground combat mobile-armour page to discuss the reasons for using armoured vehicles and war droids.
It was inevitable that Graham Kennedy would post a rebuttal of my criticisms of his page, and as I expected, it is full of obvious evasion tactics and the public-relations efforts that have become emblematic of his behaviour nowadays. I added a response on my Graham Kennedy Hate Mail page.
Reorganized the site directory structure, so please let me know if you find any broken links.
Altered the front-page top-frame buttons to make them smaller, so I could fit in the Essays button.
Sorry- no fanfic update this time. That should happen sometime this week or the next.
July 6, 1999
Added a breakdown of David Brin's bizarre rant about Star Wars vs Star Trek, which was published recently on the Internet (he is the author of "The Postman"). The discussion is located in the Hate Mail page.
Added a Star Trek Insurrection revelations page. I finally saw it last weekend, and I finally know why most Star Trek fans felt it wasn't worth recommending. Roger Ebert, one of the few professional film critics whose opinion I care about, also felt it wasn't worth watching. But hey, some people have been ceaselessly berating me for not seeing it, and I was curious.
Revised my personal home page to remove the anti-DIVX rant. Why? Because DIVX is dead! Long live DVD! "Ding dong, the witch is dead ..."
Made some modifications to the TPM Revelations page, specifically in the area of hyperdrive (it turns out that it's twice as fast as I had previously suspected), and Darth Sidious (regarding my theory as to what he had originally planned, before Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan interfered with his plans).
Removed the WAV file from the Fanfic main page. I had gotten some comments as to how it's considered bad practice to automatically load and run sound files like that, as opposed to giving the reader a link which he or she can click at their convenience. There are now RealAudio and MP3 links at the bottom of the page.
June 15, 1999
Revised the TPM revelations page, after reading and reviewing some input from various readers including the mysterious Sith warrior known as Jedi Anger, a renegade Bothan spy named Fantm, and a pair of Earthers named Paul Ward and Don Church. I also added some pictures.
Finally updated my personal home page.
Added a multimedia link to the main StarDestroyer.Net page.
Added chapter 13 to the fanfic! Yes, I know, I'm taking forever, but it's summer, the temperature is hitting 30 degrees C out there, and I've been spending a lot of time outside with my wife and kids. Unlike those of you who have year-round warm weather, we Canadians must take advantage of our summers, or they're over before we know it, and we're suddenly looking at freezing temperatures again.
Deforest Kelly, farewell. Your Doctor McCoy had ten times more personality than Pulaski, Crusher, Bashir, and Holo-Geek combined.
May 28, 1999
Added a TPM revelations page, after seeing the film a second time and reading the novelization (major spoilers).
Updated the TPM review to incorporate a few comments from my wife.
May 23, 1999
Added a review of TPM, now that I've finally seen it (no spoilers).
Revised the StarDestroyer.Net page (which everyone probably skips right over to get to the main Empire page) with a new banner logo which was kindly donated by Joe Bowers from StarFighter.Net.
May 22, 1999
Updated the discussion of conservation of baryons in the phaser page.
Added another idiot to the hate mail page. and gave him an honorary new category: cowards, for people who don't have the cojones to reveal their true names or even their real E-mail addresses.
Added a quote from George Will to the end of my Reasons page.
Slightly re-worded the conclusion of the phaser page. Jonathan Boyd had noted that I described a Federation phaser array as potentially being equivalent to as much as several TL guns, but it was worded poorly and Jonathan mistakenly interpreted this statement as a hard statement of capabilities rather than the conservative limit which I intended it to be.
Revised the Imperial Industry page, adding a quote from the ANH novelization describing more than a million star systems in the Empire (so much for trekkies claiming that the canon film novelizations don't support the official novels on this issue). There is also some some discussion of that quote, as well as Han Solo's off-the-cuff statement in ANH about "a thousand ships". I had thought this was a dead issue, but some trekkies continue to cling to this <1000 ship claim even though it is obviously incorrect based on the rest of the films- can't they see the huge density of starships in the Coruscant sky in TPM? It takes millions of ships just to feed and supply Coruscant, never mind operating a galaxy-wide military organization!
Revised the Imperial Propulsion page, adding quotes from the ANH novelization, Dark Force Rising, and Heir to the Empire. It seems that Han Solo was doing 50 million c when he travelled from Tattooine to Alderaan in ANH!
Added a link to a TPM cartoon site, in the links page.
May 5, 1999
Added a mention of "The Next Phase" to the Federation ground combat page.
Added a WAV file of the Imperial March to the Fan Fiction front page. The WAV file is not very good quality- it is downmixed to mono, with 8-bit 11.05kHz sampling, and it only plays the first 45 seconds of the March, but most computers can read it without plug-ins. If you have the latest version of RealPlayer, you can get much better sound quality (and the full 3 minute version) by clicking on the link to the RealAudio version that is graciously hosted by Brian Young over at the Turbolaser Commentaries. This is my first experiment with multimedia of any kind, so if you have problems, criticisms, or suggestions, please let me know.
April 25, 1999
After numerous requests, I have finally added a Hate Mail page. If you ever wondered what kind of flame mail I get from my detractors (those with the balls to mail me directly instead of insulting me behind my back, that is), check it out :)
I added an image of the space shuttle to the Myths page. No particular reason- I just like the picture.
I looked through the reasons page recently, and I couldn't believe how long it was! I never realized! Anyway, I sliced and diced it to a tiny fraction of its original size. It's much less crazy now, and it contains the real reason why I left the newsgroups (maybe some of you will find my complaint familiar). If anyone notices any other pages in which I start rambling rather than talking, just let me know. I never did know when to stop talking :)
I re-worded the Myths pages a little bit, to be slightly less vitriolic. I also added a Myths page FAQ, since it seems to have provoked strong responses from some people. To be honest, I was surprised with how strong the reaction was. For some reason, a lot of Star Trek fans seem to take almost personal offense at the fact that I don't think much of Star Trek realism.
After Ryan McReynolds brought it to my attention, I discussed a criticism (which apparently originated from David Baker) of the phaser theory, regarding conservation of nucleons (a nuclear physics rule). I did this one as a bit of a quick knock-off, so if I made any errors, please let me know!
Added some quotes from "Isard's Revenge" to the turbolaser page. Thanks to the mysterious hooded Dark Jedi known as Jedi Anger for this tip.
Added a brief note about the infamous Tsar Bomba 50 megaton 1961 Russian bomb, to the Myths page (to provide a concrete example of how a 64 megaton warhead is not beyond present-day technology). Thanks to Kjetil Krokeide for reminding me about this.
Added the Borg assimilation and adaptation myths to the ST Myths page.
April 19, 1999
Revised the Federation ground combat page, with some reorganization and some updated sections.
April 13, 1999
Re-worded the ST Myths page to be a little less harsh on Star Trek's tech advisors. Most of the tech failings of the show's writers are in spite of the show's tech advisors rather than because of them- apparently, their advice is routinely ignored by the writers. Thanks to James Teeple and Ryan McReynolds for (nicely) pointing out the excesses in my rhetoric.
Added a couple of warnings to the E-mail links, to the effect that people shouldn't bother sending me E-mail unless they've thoroughly looked through my site first. I've lost count of the number of times people have E-mailed me with questions that I already answer in the site, or points that I already address in the site. Don't get me wrong- I have gotten some very intelligent E-mail from some trekkies, but I've also gotten a lot of dumb mail from trekkies who can't even bother to read through my site before hitting the "send" button.
Added the word "rifle" to the list of archaic terms which are applicable to the "turbolasers are lasers" myth, in the SW Myths page.
Added a couple of new links to the Links page.
Corrected the SW myths page, to give "credit" (if that's what you would call it) to email@example.com rather than the anonymous "Chris" character for the claim that Qwi Xux singlehandedly designed the Death Star.
Added an example of the difference between realistic Apollo 13 technobabble and Star Trek technobabble, to the Star Trek realism page.
Mentioned Aristotelian philosophy in the Bad Science page.
Added a picture of Data to the Star Trek realism page, in the technobabble section (who better to symbolize technobabble than its most verbose user?).
Major overhaul to the phaser page. This is one of the oldest portions of this document- indeed, the phaser page has been basically unchanged, apart from minor layout changes, since before this website was created! It was originally created as a discussion piece between myself and Wayne Poe, and its age is showing. So, although no genuine new ideas have been added, the page has been greatly streamlined. It should be much easier to read now, with a lot of redundant material removed.
April 4, 1999
Went through the myths pages and tweaked the wording throughout. Nothing major, but I just thought I would mention it.
Added the following myths to the Star Wars myths page:
Imperial turbolasers are lasers, because they have the word "laser" in the name.
The Death Star is not representative of Imperial technology.
The Empire has no superluminal sensor technology.
Added a Star Trek myths page, including the following sections:
Star Trek has predicted many developments in science and technology.
Star Trek is the most scientifically realistic science fiction series.
Added a new page: Star Trek Realism: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. It is linked from the Star Trek myths page.
March 23, 1999
Added a "how to analyze evidence" section to the Canon page.
Added a paragraph to the Science Myths page. Some people on the Internet seem to be of the opinion that I consider myself a world-class expert. I make no claims whatsoever to being a world-class expert- I'm just more of an expert than the high-school students and assorted laypeople who dominate the newsgroups.
Added a paragraph to the Bad Science page, describing another dead giveaway of bad science: refusal to obey thermodynamics.
Added pictures to the Praxis Mystery page.
March 21, 1999
March 14, 1999
Added the following Federation cultist claims to the myths page:
Under the right conditions, quantum mechanics permit violations of Conservation of Energy.
A scientific theory is worthless unless it has been conclusively proven.
Truly advanced starships will produce enormous amounts of energy even when they aren't doing anything.
The density of matter will roughly double if you double the pressure.
You don't need a scientific education to be an expert witness.
Split the "What is Canon?" discussion out of the Introduction page, and gave it a separate page.
Rewrote the reasons page yet again. I find that it's hard to explain why I do this, in a manner that doesn't meander endlessly. This is my latest attempt.
March 6, 1999
Picked up a cool new domain name: StarDestroyer.Net!
Restored some large space-consuming images to the site that were previously removed to save space. Among them are an image of the Regula One space station, four Star Destroyer images, a high-res image of Khan's phasers striking the Enterprise, a high-res image of the Defiant, and a high-res image of a Star Destroyer approaching the Death Star.
February 28, 1999
Significant upgrade to the long-neglected Federation torpedo page, with the fact that the charged pion reaction products will be just as destructive as the gamma rays in the event of a direct hit. I suppose this could be perceived by some cynics as "tossing a bone" to Federation cultists, but it's just the result of re-examining the page after leaving it alone for months.
Reorganized the Star Wars myths page, to reduce the unwieldy bulk. Some of the long-winded technical discussions of Death Star-related myths have been split off onto separate linked pages.
Added a discussion of the BTM CD to the turbolaser page, after it was brought to my attention by the eagle-eyed Aaron Parsons. It seems that according to the BTM CD (and the EGWT, which contains similar text), the Death Star superlaser was based on turbolaser technology, albeit scaled to incredible proportions. This fact underscores the validity of Dodonna's comment that the Death Star superlaser carries a firepower greater than half the starfleet.
Added a discussion of Cardassian shipbuilding capabilities and facilities to the Federation Industry page, based on information in the DS9 TM which was brought to my attention by Alex Sutton. This information further reinforces the existing figures of a few hundred systems and few thousand starships for a typical Alpha Quadrant power, which I have been using since the inception of this page.
Added a Praxis Mystery page, which discusses the infamous Praxis moon explosion from ST6. The characteristics of this explosion, and the ensuing shockwave, defy any attempt at explanation with real science. But they can be explained through technobabble, so I resort to trek-science to explain this incident. As a result, this page contains my angle on the oft-abused Trek concept known as "subspace".
February 17, 1999
I hope everyone out there enjoyed Valentine's Day earlier this week! My wife and I celebrated with an expensive dinner at a ritzy Italian restaurant. Now if we could only get the kids to stay with someone for a few days while we shack up in a motel at Niagara Falls ...
Discussed the 178-ship figure from the DS9 TM, in the Federation Industry page.
Discussed ST5 in the Federation Propulsion page.
Added more discussion of Descent Part 2, in the Federation shielding page. Some misguided Trekkie attempted to claim that Descent Part 2 is evidence for strong Borg resistance to plasma when in fact it indicates just the opposite. Therefore, I am producing numbers to support my conclusion.
Added a Links page.
Revised the Federation industry page to discuss the probability that Picard was excluding all of the insignificant, lightly populated colonies in Federation territory when he uttered his statement that the Federation has only 150 planets. The Federation is seemingly full of planets which have only a few hundred or a few thousand inhabitants.
Revised the starbase sizes in the Federation industry page and Imperial industry page, based on the original ILM scaling information from Star Trek 3. Thanks to Ryan McReynolds for the updated information!
Slightly revised the reasons page. It has recently come to my attention that some people on the Net don't understand the quasi-humorous undertones of this website, and think that I hate all Trekkies. It has furthermore also come to my attention that some people on the Net don't realize that I actually do have a university degree in science- they see my site but don't bother to check out my personal home page where I talk about my education (which anyone can independently verify). So, I revised the reasons page slightly, to explain that no, I don't hate all Trekkies, and yes, I do have a university education. I also included a short rant about the problems with the education system- couldn't help it :)
Added a discussion of the possibility that impulse drive has poor effectiveness in planetary gravity wells, on the Federation propulsion page. This conclusion is drawn from Conservation of Energy concerns.
Revamped the Federation power page, to discuss the 20GW limitation for GCS impulse engine fusion reactor power output. Also reorganized the page in other areas, and improved the general discussion.
Added the following Federation cultist claims to the myths page:
"Full throttle" or "full impulse" means "maximum speed" in space.
Rotation rates (eg. degrees or radians of rotation per second) describe maneuverability in space.
Imperial starfighters have all of the performance characteristics of the Earth's World War 2 fighter planes.
Imperial power generation technology is all fusion-based.
Imperial technology is primitive because it doesn' t have a slick, "modern" look.
The Death Star might have employed a "trick" to destroy Alderaan, rather than supplying all of the energy itself.
January 29, 1999
January 24, 1999
Improved the planetary parameter calculator by adding a variable observer-height for the horizon distance calculation.
Simplified the planetary gravitational binding energy formula in the Death Star firepower page. I discovered that I could greatly reduce the number of terms by substituting mass and volume into the formula instead of average density. The formula is still the same basic formula, but it is easier to use now. I also slightly improved the accuracy of the binding energy figure (from 2.1E32 joules to 2.2E32 joules- nothing to write home about but a change nonetheless) by using more precise values for Earth's size and mass.
Added a much more detailed discussion of what Federation shields do with incoming matter and energy, in the Federation shield page. Chief among the discussion points are the facts that Federation shields do not behave like space-time distortions in the episodes and films (regardless of what the TM says, the canon episodes and films take precedence), and that they do not behave like reflectors.
Made numerous minor corrections and additions:
Revised the Abbreviations section of the Introduction page to remove the erroneous claim that Kuat Drive Yards produced the Victory-class Star Destroyer. The VSD was actually built by Rendili Stardrive. Thanks to Ethan Platten and Ian Greenspan for pointing this out.
Revised the Imperial Industry page to briefly discuss the Unknown Regions.
Revised the Imperial Industry page to compare the volumes of an ISD and a GCS. It amazes me how many Trekkies fail to recognize that volume is the true indicator of size, rather than one-dimensional length. Thanks to Johann Crombach for helping me with the scaling data.
Revised the Imperial Industry page to incorporate the accurate GCS volume rather than the ridiculously generous volume that I used before (I approximated it as a 400m diameter sphere, when it is obviously nowhere near that large).
Rewrote the Federation power generation page. The conflict resolution of dialogue between "Dauphin", "True Q", and "Masterpiece Society" has been split off onto a separate page, and its discussions of the charged pions and gamma rays were improved. The page was also reworded in general, to clean up the flow.
Slight rewording of the Federation torpedo page, to discuss the possibility that Imperial shields will block the charged pions released by a matter/antimatter explosion and in so doing, have to deal with the energy they carry.
Added a discussion of "The Ensigns of Command" to the Federation ground combat page, and also added a response to the most common Federation complaint, which is their long-standing claim that Federation weapons are "supposed to be" much more powerful than they are in the films and episodes. Too bad the films and episodes are canon, while the TM is (at best) official. If Trekkies insist on throwing out the TM's 5.1MW GCS phaser emitters in favour of the canon episodes, they have to be prepared to take the good with the bad and accept it when the shows contradict the TM the other way.
Revised the Federation ground combat page. This time, I added a very brief reference to the Federation personal forcefields mentioned in "Return to Grace" and "Paradise Lost".
Revised the Federation shielding page to note that the gravitational attraction at the sun's surface is only a few dozen g's, so "gravity" can't be used as an excuse for the short-duration survival of Federation starships near stars.
January 10, 1999
Improved the discussion of "Relics" and "Descent part 2" in the Federation shielding page. Attempted to reconcile the contradictions between the two incidents, which implied vastly different shield strengths.
Improved the Introduction page's discussion of "What is canon?". It now includes discussion of what happens when an official source flagrantly violates the laws of physics, and it also includes a discussion of hearsay sources. As always, this is simply my personal policy, which is heavily skewed toward the use of real science. Some fans prefer to ignore real science as much as possible- they have the right to do this, but they don't have the right to call their analyses "scientific" or even "rational" since they refuse to adopt the ruthless rationality of the scientific methodology.
Added brief mention of EM-induced sensor interference from "Descent Part 2" to the Federation sensor page.
Added some sources and quotes supporting the size and scope of the SW galaxy, to the Imperial industry page.
Added a quote from the ROTJ novelization to the Imperial propulsion page, supporting hyperdrive speeds of at least 3.5 million c. Canon quotes (ie- the film screenplay, novelizations, or radio dramas) are always preferable to official sources like Dark Force Rising etc, so this quote has now replaced the DFR reference on that page.
Added the quote from Captain Picard in STFC to the Federation Industry page (the one where he says the Federation has 150 planets in it).
Added a quote from the ANH novelization to the Imperial sensor page, describing the massive jammers on the Death Star and how they went beyond sensor-jamming and actually interfered with the maneuverability of the X-wing fighters.
Added a clickable image-map, pointing to the three Star Wars movie posters from the cool Star Wars image collage on my home page (just messing around with clickable image-maps for the hell of it).