Star Trek Mad Science

prokopetz: Random Headcanon:

That Federation vessels in Star Trek seem to experience bizarre malfunctions with such overwhelming frequency isn't just an artefact of the television serial format. Rather, it's because the Federation as a culture are a bunch of deranged hyper-neophiles, tooling around in ships packed full of beyond-cutting-edge tech they don't really understand. Endlessly frustrating if you have to fight them, because they can pull an effectively unlimited number of bullshit space-magic countermeasures out of their arses - but they're as likely as not to give themselves a lethal five-dimensional wedgie in the process. All those rampant holograms and warp core malfunctions and accidentally-traveling-back-in-time incidents? That doesn't actually happen to anyone else; it's literally just Federation vessels that go off the rails like that. And they do so on a fairly regular basis.

Getting a link to a whole thread on Tumblr seems to be an impossibility, but these are some amusing replies:

So to everyone else in the galaxy, all humans are basically Doc Brown.

Aliens who have seen the Back to the Future movies literally don't realise that Doc Brown is meant to be funny. They're just like "yes, that is exactly what all human scientists are like in my experience".


Vulcan Science Academy: Why do you need another warp core

Humans: We're going to plug two of them together and see if we go twice as fast

VSA: Last time we gave you a warp core you threw it into a sun to see if the sun would go twice as fast

Humans: Hahaha yeah

Humans: It did tho


Humans: It exploded twice as fast


Klingons: Okay we don't get it

Vulcan Science Academy: Get what

Klingons: You Vulcans are a bunch of stuffy prisses but you're also tougher, stronger, and smarter than Humans in every single way

Klingons: Why do you let them run your Federation

Vulcan Science Academy: Look

Vulcan Science Academy: This is a species where if you give them two warp cores they don't do experiments on one and save the other for if the first one blows up

Vulcan Science Academy: This is a species where if you give them two warp cores, they will ask for a third one, immediately plug all three into each other, punch a hole into an alternate universe where humans subscribe to an even more destructive ideological system, fight everyone in it because they're offended by that, steal their warp cores, plug those together, punch their way back here, then try to turn a nearby sun into a torus because that was what their initial scientific experiment was for and they didn't want to waste a trip.

Vulcan Science Academy: They did that last week. We have the write-up right here. it's getting published in about six hundred scientific journals across two hundred different disciplines because of how many established theories their ridiculous little expedition has just called into question. Also, they did turn that sun into a torus, and no one actually knows how.

Vulcan Science Academy: This is why we let them do whatever the hell they want.

Klingons: .... Can we be a part of your Federation


Let's talk about the USS Fucking Pegasus, testbed for the first Starfleet cloaking device. Here we have a handful of humans working in secret to develop a cloaking device in violation of a treaty with the Romulans. They're playing catchup trying to develop a technology other species have had for a century. And what do they do? Do they decide to duplicate a Romulan cloaking device precisely, just see if they can match what other species have? Nope. They decide, hey, while we're at it, while we're building our very first one of these things, just to find out if this is possible, let's see if we can make this thing phase us out of normal space so we can fly through planets while we're invisible.

"But why" said the one Vulcan in the room.

"Because that would fucking rule" said the Humans, high-fiving each other and slamming cans of 24th-century Red Bull.


Humans get mildly offended by the way they are presented in non-human media.

Like: "Guys, we totally wouldn't do that!" But this always fails to get much traction, because the authors can always say: "You totally did."

"That was ONE TIME."

There's that movie where humans invented vaccines by just testing them on people. Or the one about those two humans who invented powered flight by crashing a bunch of prototypes. Or the one about electricity.

And human historians go, "Oh, uh, this is historically accurate, but also kind of boring."


But when the Vulcans made first contact with Earth - "what the hell is that insane thing these aliens here have built, let's go look at it" - humans didn't look at them as an enemy or a resource or even an asset. No, the very first time humans met Vulcans, they tried to do the Vulcan hand thingy and they couldn't do it so they just offered a handshake, and then said "let's get drunk and party." THIS IS ACTUAL LITERAL CANON, REMEMBER.

Further in this vein:

I will never be over the fact that during first contact a human offered their hand to a vulcan and the vulcan was just like "wow humans are fucking wild" and took it

Note: Vulcan hand / finger touching is a sex thing.

My headcanon for startrek is that humans look, to vulcans, like a dog frathouse. Like signing on to a human ship is exactly that thrillingly loud and frustrating and fast and stupid and fun. The humans are going to dash off to a new sector to see if there are friends there and then they will jump up and down with delight and stuff their faces up against their new friends' genital array. The humans are going to bark for ten minutes at a rock. The humans want to chase things they can't possibly catch just because they like running around. The humans are madly passionate about their arbitrary group identities. The humans can be divided into new arbitrary group identities which they will then be passionate about. The humans want to stick their heads out of the window of their starship and go 'wheee!'. If you step on a human's paw they will act like you just killed them for about thirty seconds and then want more headpats. The humans can be immediately distracted from crucial duties by the appearance of a small animal. If you howl all the humans in earshot will howl louder just to show off. A human just humped your leg. 'Don't make it weird bro' the human says. Later the human will dig a weird bug out of the ground and eat it.

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NASA paper on reactionless drive.

"NASA's long awaited paper, Measurement of Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio-Frequency Cavity in Vacuum, has passed peer review and been published the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)'s Journal of Propulsion and Power. They consistently measured 1.2 millinewtons per kilowatt of thrust in a vacuum with no apparent reaction mass."

"If the vacuum is indeed mutable and degradable as was explored, then it might be possible to do/extract work on/from the vacuum, and thereby be possible to push off of the quantum vacuum and preserve the laws of conservation of energy and conservation of momentum. It is proposed that the tapered RF test article pushes off of quantum vacuum fluctuations, and the thruster generates a volumetric body force and moves in one direction while a wake is established in the quantum vacuum that moves in the other direction."

It's hard to describe to someone who doesn't have a good understanding of modern physics just how bizarre this effect would be.

First, it breaks conservation of momentum. That is so far beyond impossible that it's not clear how we would start building a new model of the universe.

Second, it means the universe is not translationally symmetric. We think the universe behaves the same wherever we are. The rules of physics appear to be the same everywhere. If this device works, that is no longer true.

It's also a free-energy device.


Nobody is saying that we're at the end of scientific discovery. But the current unknowns are at the extremes of scale, at the quantum level and at the galactic level. But in the realm of kilowatts and millinewtons, we are pretty damn sure we understand how things work. It seems incredible such an effect would not have shown up before as a confounding error source in many other scientific experiments and practical engineering.

I'd recommend putting your faith in witchcraft before EmDrive. It's kind of a toss-up as to whether witches or physicists throw better parties.

Is this a joke? Physicists throw terrible parties. You want to party with witches, hands down.

Also in the comments is a glowing example of absolutely everything that is wrong with Star Trek in just two sentences:

In this episode, a pair of sibling scientists show that warp drive propulsion is harming the very fabric of space. A sub-plot involves Data attempting to train his pet cat, Spot.

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Hold down RET for 70 seconds to get a root shell.


A vulnerability in Cryptsetup, concretely in the scripts that unlock the system partition when the partition is ciphered using LUKS (Linux Unified Key Setup). This vulnerability allows to obtain a root initramfs shell on affected systems. [...]

During the installation of Ubuntu, one of the first steps is to prepare the target partition (make partitions if needed, and/or format them). At this stage, the user is asked to "Encrypt the new (LXK)ubuntu installation for security".

This isn't as tragic as it at first sounds, because it does not leave the whole drive unlocked; the root shell is in the pre-boot environment. However, from this shell you have the ability to install backdoors in /boot or trojan the kernel itself.

But seriously, how many more times is Linux going to have a "hold down a key to unlock" bug? I'm almost at the point where I need a tag for this.

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𝔖𝔦𝔤𝔫𝔢𝔱𝔥 𝔗𝔥𝔢 𝕮𝔥𝔳𝔫𝔤𝔢.𝔒𝔯𝔤 𝔓𝔢𝔱𝔦𝔱𝔦𝔬𝔫

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Bubble failure

When I heard that 9.7% of San Francisco voted for Trump, I was puzzled, because does San Francisco even have that many cops?

Turns out, no: 26k Trump voters, 2,100 cops. So the rest of them must work for Peter Thiel and his Brownshirt Combinator.

Last night we had an event that was a musical tribute to the movies of John Carpenter, so I busted out my "MAKE AMERICA OBEY AGAIN" costume. On Halloween, that costume seemed funny. After last week, it doesn't seem so funny any more.

And then... some guy thought I was not joking and straight up admitted that he voted for Trump. To the guy dressed as a methane-breathing space zombie.

Can you imagine how disconcerting that is? "Very disconcerting", is the answer. Judges would also accept "baffling", "horrifying", and "hyperventilating inside a latex mask seems like it might be bad for you".

Then some other pinhead told me I was "brave" for wearing that costume and that he voted for Johnson. "Because Hillary? Is like corrupt? Or something?"

I mean we only had like 200 people there, and 1% of them not only boldly admitted to voting to fuck us all with switchblades, but weren't even ashamed of it.

It's enough to drive me to drink, I tell you.

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