Neil deGrasse Tyson Again

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Darth Spock
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson Again

Post by Darth Spock » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:05 am

My sentiment as well, sonofccn. In the past, I'd frequently vacillate between either Trek or Wars having a definitive edge, I'd see something like what you're saying here Mr. O. and wonder if, "gee, maybe Trek is way more powerful after all," but then memories of things like these would float into my mind:

"Big Beams 'o Death" in Trek: ... els130.jpg ... els131.jpg ... gs1043.jpg ... gs1047.jpg ... gs1049.jpg ... gs1057.jpg ... gs1058.jpg ... gs1059.jpg ... gs1060.jpg

Or the Borg's "some type of laser beam" cutter:
Carves several linear meters through the hull and a couple of underlying decks in under a second, no explosions, no fires, no scorching. But that was a magic Borg beam operating inside a forcefield/tractor beam, so I guess we could let that one slide.

Torpedo strikes on the hull with 100% shield penetration: ... fullsize=1 ... fullsize=1 ... fullsize=1 - (OK, the original vid has a bigger flash than the cap, but still pretty typical "weak sauce Hollywood effects.") ... fullsize=1
Here is the result of some disruptor strikes, at least the ones that hit, these Klingons apparently went to the Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy.

Later a "spread" of torpedoes targeting the unshielded BOP's primary reactor: ... fullsize=1 ... fullsize=1 ... fullsize=1 ... fullsize=1 ... fullsize=1 ... fullsize=1

And then there's a weapon hit that blows a hole through the double hull construction around the bridge of the Enterprise E, but is considerate enough to not fry/blind/irradiate the crew (or set fire to the carpet.) ... X_4031.jpg ... X_4044.jpg
Later, we can enjoy watching the large warship blow up through the hole they put in the bridge.... ... X_4770.jpg ... X_4771.jpg ... X_4772.jpg ... X_4774.jpg

Here's a 23rd century Constitution Class vs. a mirror universe 22nd century NX.

Suddenly the "blue belly beam" from ROTS is in perfect company. ... I_0053.jpg ... I_0054.jpg ... I_0055.jpg ... I_0056.jpg
The only thing missing is the over-penetration, and that's usually considered a bad thing anyway.

Here are some fun pics of TL turrets shredding Venators after their defenses were nullified. Not bad for a rip-off of the Second Battle of Chin'toka: ... 2_0216.jpg ... 2_0213.jpg ... 2_0215.jpg ... 2_0223.jpg ... 2_0224.jpg ... 2_0226.jpg ... 2_0236.jpg ... 2_0237.jpg
Or heck, here's the clip.

Mr. Oragahn wrote: ST definitely has proof in script of longer ranges measured in thousands of km for weapons such as phasers, and uses torpedoes too which have no reason to lose their targeting capacity against SW's warships, and ought to be just as great as for phasers, if not much better because they're guided.
On the other hand, at best you get 100 KM for Venators' turbolasers iirc from the ROTS novelization, and a very large and immobile ion cannon capable of hitting at ranges of thousands of km rather large ships with the agility of beached whales. Once might confer a semi-ability at homing to the ion projectiles that may explain their capacity to hit at such ranges despite their overall low speed.
Mr. Oragahn wrote: Are we talking about the artistic liberties taken for the sake of entertainment? Space battle ranges probably are the first things that get sacrificed on the altar of watchable fun, followed by real explosions, real lasers and momentum.
The point also is that ST clearly highlights the existence of this internal issues through production-side decisions and resulting contradictions between visual ranges and stated ones.
"Artistic liberties." I'm afraid that one doesn't fly for me, at least as one sided as the evidence is. It's kind of like taking Trek's big, juicy, dialog based range "apple," and comparing it to Wars' little visuals based range "mandarin orange," while ignoring Trek's small visuals based "clementine orange" ranges. What does that leave us with, besides fruit salad? The dialogue/script/HUD may make more sense, and perhaps should take precedence, but Wars' offers no compatible comparison. And if the visuals are proportionately symbolic, then Wars may actually take the lead. If memory serves, the longest visually observed battle in Trek against a non-stationary target was the battle at Wolf 359 in the DS9 premiere, I think it was no more than 50 km. Note that I'm not advocating that position, just trying to illustrate my point. I actually agree that the narratives do suggest greater ranges for Trek. But with such vague data on the Wars side, how can it be clearly determined how much?

Nor does it help that one of the longest range engagements in TNG "The Wounded" involved transponder hacks. I imagine it's a lot easier to hit something that is actively broadcasting it's navigational data. That kind of feels like one of those military shows where they gush about the precision of the advanced "smart" ordinance while skimming over its huge reliance on someone "painting" the target or using input from an extensive satellite network. Of course there is still plenty of evidence putting Trek ranges in the tens of thousands of km and even past 100,000 km, but weighed against such a large number of much shorter visual ranges, one could question how reliably Trek ships can operate at these ranges under harsh combat conditions, assuming we take everything at face value, and try to merge them together.

On the SW side, in TPM scene where they are fleeing Naboo, it looks more impressive when you note that the flak and direct hits against the ship almost completely stop once the shields are compromised, it actually looks as though they may actively be trying not to hit the ship, just the repair droids, they do want them alive, after all. Or take the Malevolence firing on the Venators I referenced above, from the CW episode "Rising Malevolence." A novelty for SW, the shots against the first two ships look almost precise. The first target is hit with 100% accuracy, the second only shows a few missed shots, then the third gives us the usual spray of misses flying by the camera. Looking at that, I could guess that the power loss from the ion cannon was temporary, and by the time the third ship came under fire, some counter measures were starting to come back online. Okay, okay, I'll be the first to admit that is really reaching for a very specific conclusion from a short snippet of a cartoon. At any rate, if there's no "reason" for all the misses in SW, they're either "artistic liberties" that epically screw up analysis, or no one in the SW galaxy can hit the broad side of a barn. Maybe it's genetic.... Somewhere along the line, someone in Hollywood decided missing looks kool, I guess it's a sub-trope of bullet hell, I dunno.
Mr. Oragahn wrote:Let's also remember that G2K's calc veers on the higher side. A low kiloton shot landing on a small town would also totally vaporize it. It's good English too.
True, but his calcs aren't ridiculously high. I'd call his example of Bastrop a very large town myself. But remember the level of destruction is inversely proportional to the level of firepower, a modest drop in TL energy would cause a significant drop on the level of destruction. To effectively "erase" an area of about 5 square km, which would roughly fit my own subjective definition of a "small town," you really can't go any lower than an Hiroshima level weapon, and even that could fall short of the destruction implied, as even the Hiroshima air burst left survivors less than a kilometer from the epicenter. I wouldn't go any lower than 10 KT bare minimum. Approaching a megaton should wreck the better part of what I would call a small city, so without further evidence I'd be suspicious of anything higher, but that still leaves a pretty good range of tens to low hundreds of KT in my book.
Mr. Oragahn wrote:There's practically always a gap of one order of magnitude if not more in favour of Trek. Not my fault, it's the way it goes.
I usually estimate SW figures lower than their ST counterparts too, but I don't think it's a consistent gap of more than a full order of magnitude, all things considered. On top of all the "weak sauce" visuals Trek has doled out, like linked above, there are other narrative points too. For instance, it seems largely assumed that a comparatively sluggish, fusion powered craft over a kilometer in length would make for rather easy target to a typical Trek vessel. Except that I don't seem to recall DS9 being a death trap. As to firepower, just how much lower are SW yields to be than their ST counterparts, and where is the threshold at which incoming fire is not a threat? I can imagine that an ISD may well have less powerful rated weapons than a Galaxy class ship, but, while it's just hunch, I doubt the guns on an ISD are seriously outclassed by a Klingon Bird of Prey, obviously a relevant fixture in Trek. Even putting a Star Destroyer at a noteworthy disadvantage to the Big E.D., I'll wager you could swap ISDs for the BoPs in either TNG "Yesterday's Enterprise" or "Rascals" and achieve similar results. And how many ships in Starfleet are in the same league as the flagship of the Federation. Personally, I have doubts about how well a more common vessel like a Miranda or Excelsior would do against the backbone of the Imperial fleet. But that's just my guess.

Oh, as a side note, I finally found a good source for SW movie and show screencaps. Hooray! The last one was nice, but kept generating bad links when I tried to link it here.

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Moff Tarquin
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson Again

Post by Moff Tarquin » Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:26 pm

Here's a question:

Why are we relying on visuals at all?

I'm serious.

Hollywood ALWAYS depicts explosions in space EXACTLY like explosions on the ground. Right down to the audible "BANG!" Right there, we already can SEE that they're taking HUGE liberties with "what actually happened in the story."

Here's a quick tutorial:

Explosions in space won't have lingering fireballs. Vaporized stuff meets no resistance in a vacuum, so it just keeps on sailing. When it's moving at speeds measured in the hundreds or thousands of kilometers per second (typical for a nuke-level explosive device), the result will be a blinding flash leaving nothing behind (save perhaps the eviscerated remains of the hapless target).

Explosions in space won't have a turbulent edge. That's caused in atmospheric fireballs because of interaction with the surrounding air. There is no surrounding air in vacuum. While the expanding cloud usually won't be a perfect sphere, it'll be a lot closer to that than it will be to the billowing clouds we're always saddled with - or, it will be for the millisecond or so of its existence.

Even if the explosion manages to ignite a fire (which it will only do if the target is carrying both a fuel and an oxidizer in sufficient quantity), the appearance will be nothing at all like fires on earth. It won't flicker unless the supply of fuel/oxidizer is unsteady, because there's no ambient atmospheric currents to make it flicker. And it won't be directional, because there's no gravity pulling denser air out of its way, and no denser air to get out of its way in the first place. I'm probably not explaining this well, so just look and see for yourself:
But of course, we never see a silent, spherical, flashbulb explosion leaving a ripped open target with some gentle blue glow where stuff is "on fire." No, we always see a big billowing cloud that lasts for seconds or longer with an audible "BANG."

When the makers are taking so many liberties with the visuals, why should we regard them as reliable? My own view is that any sort of analysis of special effects shots should be treated with nearly Cartesian levels of skepticism, and shots of explosions in space are a perfect example of what makes me take that view.

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson Again

Post by Mike DiCenso » Tue Mar 01, 2016 4:01 pm

This is getting a bit off topic for the thread, please bring it back in line or start a new thread.

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson Again

Post by Mr. Oragahn » Fri Mar 04, 2016 5:02 pm

sonofccn wrote:I’m talking about looking at the evidence and trying to make the best guess on what would happen. Trek has a plethora of long range examples sure, at no point am I questioning or doubting that. It also has a wide number of examples descending to knife fight ranges. Objectively they don’t fight the way you want them to fight and to assume otherwise is to no longer be arguing Trek vs Wars but your own personal interpretation.

“Realistic”, such that such a word has any meaning in our context, has to mean accordance to the facts and logics of the Verse under discussion. As such I find it unrealistic and out of character for the Federation to sit back and try to snip enemy ships.
The knife ranges can be explained in universe because all ships more or less have access to a similar type of tech.
One ship goes to warp? I go to warp too. You fire at warp? I do too. Ok, you fire torps from a long range? I can too. I may even shoot them down, because my beam cannons turn out to be quite accurate.
In such conditions, it can be understood why both parties wouldn't waste power and time and settle for a short range exchange when, anyway, both parties have and want to destroy each other.

Sniping enemy vessels may simply not be the most efficient way to destroy opponents in such a context.
But things become absolutely novel and different when the technologies and their types are different too to such a degree as presented in a vs piting ST against SW.
Suddenly, Trek ships get dropped into an universe where enemy capital ships are damned slow and generally big, hardly maneuverable, threatened by small fighters, don't have access of an easy (perhaps warp boosted) STL propulsion, seldom use any guided projectiles and don't have access to teletransportation.

It also doesn't change a fact that the best documented range for heavy weapons used in battles between capital ships is around 100 km. One could easily assume that smaller ships may not have access to such privileges. Even if they did, that would still be smaller than the facts we can get from a good number of Star Trek scripts.
Sorry I would need some very hard evidence before accepting gigajoule mid-range turbolaser bolts. That’s far too lowball.
Gigajoule bolts fired by mid-range TLs? Too low ball? That would be quite generous in the present context.
I certainly would need more proof than typical anemic Hollywood explosions and rolling, gasoline flames. I mean what was that about “artistic license” you mentioned earlier? Simply put I’m far more concerned with concrete examples, things we can measure, rather than if the VFX bothered with cinematic rather than realistic or not.
Please define a concrete example.
It's not exactly about how a fireball looks that is important, but how many parameters of an explosion or the resulting damage we can salvage from an unrealistic explosion.
Otherwise we scrap all and are left with nothing, at least nothing that happens in space.
But then, if we look at ground action, we do have evidence in SW too.

1. In late TCWS, explosions that weren't particularly massive were tearing Acclamators a new one. These CIS shells, fired by stationary guns on the ground, produced explosions very similar to the results of above-ground very low KT nukes. Although that's impressive for small cannons as much as one is willing to forget the case of portable nukes post-WWII, that's as far as it got.
2. Should we mention a similar ship being seriously damaged by suicide droid fighters and their not-so impressive explosions?
3. In AOTC, on Geonosis, walkers armed with large turbolaser pieces were damaging a core ship until the point they finally hit something sensible and the ship crashed. At no time did these impacts against the hull produce anything close a grazing FatMan hit or something to that effect. In fact, if any blast had to remembered, it's the one created by the impact of the ship on the ground and that was fairly tame.

These explosions in atmosphere were actually realistic enough and seemed in range of very low kiloton shots tops, or perhaps less considering that in one case, shells of undescribed reactants were used against the transport ships; in the other case we had particle beams, which will obviously never have the bang of an explosive, being used against military targets.
Also any explosion nearing the nuclear type is ought to look at tad less impressive for an equivalent yield compared to chemical ones in terms of fireball (until certain high yields where I suppose the difference wouldn't be that evident).
To get to that point, let's compare real world events: the low KT explosions in the desert vs the dome of TNT (alt video) of a still lower total yield, placed close to an island's shore. On one hand there's little mass involved in the reaction, on the other there's quite a good lump of it simply because chemical explosives require a lot of it to neighbour nuclear yields.
For example, in case 3, if shells were somehow nuclear, 1 KT yields would be an acceptable approximation. But if they were more chemical in nature, then they'd be even weaker, perhaps hundreds of gigajoules each, because the fireball corresponding to those blasts is quite tiny. That was enough to pose a serious threat to the Republic's capital ships, and even down one of them iirc.
For instance plugging it in to Wong’s old Asteriod calculator, at 10 meters because that’s as small as it would go but should be with the larger bracket of estimated sizes, I got nearly eight kilotons for the TESB asteroid scene assuming vaporization and nickle-iron. For what is generally argued to be a medium sized turbolaser bolt. Short of advocating for your exploding rock theory I’m not sure you can knock the example down out of the kiloton range, which brings us back to the difficulty of constructing a paradigm where the ISD isn’t shelling hundreds of kilotons downrange.
A theory? It's literally proven on screen multiple times. It's like these rocks contained frozen droplets of flammable hydrocarbons or pockets of tibanna gas.
And why assume vaporization if we're to deny the visuals? Why not settle on the idea that they were reduced to a state where they would not represent any danger anymore. AKA pulverized to pebbles, which would require far less energy.

1.)I think there has been some confusion. The 100 KT figure is from your assumption of phaser firepower. Which is usually enough to get the crew’s attention/shudder the bridge.
Yes, we're lost. I don't understand your point now.
2.) Let us also remember ours is not to try a low ball an example merely so that it fits within our preconceived notions or paradigms. G2K’s work, I find, is fairly even handed going into depth as to why he assumed what he assumed and in general treated it how he would a quote from Trek. That would be the “fairness” I eluded too.
Many houses found in remote US areas that would comprise a good sample of what defines a typical small town rely on a lot of wood planks or thin metal planks.
That stuff is rather easily blown away. You don't even need the 20 psi overpressure blast to level those structures.
Traditional European small towns are less spread out but use sturdier materials.
All in all, the NDE calculator applied to this line would reveal that a FatMan would be more than enough to utter level such towns. I don't think that solid remaining standing while all the soft elements and pretty much everything quite fragile that is relevant to the existence, safety and working of a town are down will prevent anyone from considering said town vaporized. Otherwise, it would be going for extremist inflations to argue for a flattened terrain as the only acceptable outcome of such a blast.
If TL bolts produce less bang, then they're going to be more thermal in effect, with said thermal energy more properly applied to the town.
Although explosive to some degree, TL bolts don't appear to be very nuclear in nature (despite the resulting radiation fog). By their very nature of a beam weapon, they can't work exactly like a bomb.
This now swings both ways. In the case of a small town being vaporized, it may increase the real yield because a TL would produce less blast, but a lot of destruction by combustion and melting so it might be regarded as equally devastating against a town. Then again, the lingeering radiation fog would imply the presence of necessary radioactive elements.
All in all, if vaporization, as leveling, must imply destruction by overpressure and not fire, then yields will go up a notch. Not dramatically if we recall what large scale chemical explosions can do, but enough to require perhaps dozens upon dozens of kilotons delivered at once by a TL bolt.
In the case of the atmospheric explosions we got on screen and their effects on the surrounding atmosphere, the small fireballs and very tame blasts would make the yields subterajoule.

1.) How so? I would ask you what ship to ship battle in Trek accurately captures the firepower being exchanged or doesn’t look quite similar to what we get in Wars. I would also ask, going strictly by visuals, what examples of high or noteworthy firepower are there and do they accurately portray the sort of energies being delivered? Because in my experience they rarely look anything like as powerful as they’re supposed to be. Hence my problem with saying Wars has weaksauce firepower but Trek doesn’t.
The crater test in ENT is one and that's pre-UFP, by a ship that might be as big as the Tantive IV. The cases of vaporized asteroids that WILGA had documented way back from TNG and perhaps DS9 would also be a good addition. One could also count Rise, which regardless of its many interpretations, provides multi-megaton yields per torp. And on the dialogue side, there's Pegasus (although you still need to gauge the asteroid's size by the visuals).
Or add that episode mentioned regarding the firepower needed to destroy a ground Klingon base which I think was said to be shielded. There's the asteroid destroyed in TMP, the one that was causing a warp distortion.
Also, ENT had her (recently?) polarized hull be used to shield two humans from a very close explosion which, iirc, was in the 0.x KT region or perhaps more?
2.) On its own, the visuals for Silent Enemy, the Enterprise episode you allude to, aren’t really that impressive. They blow up a rocky protrusion of unknown size with minimal if any vaporization. You’d have to go to the dialog where, in an emotional outburst, it is described as nearly the size of Mount Mckinley to really get anything. As it is, by any reasonable measure, the TESB scene matches if not exceeds anything we see in the episode.
Phase cannons, which by nature aren't exactly explosive, still produce what is very similar to a massive pyroclastic explosion. Although I don't see how such a ship could every blast a Mount Kinley sized mountain, those hundred(s) GJ phase cannons still produce an explosion that's beyond anything seen on the ground from any Wars heavy weapon.

Also, TESB and its auto-combusting Hothan asteroids makes for a very weak case to oppose to another universe's examples.
2A.) Minor quibble but we are only told the output of joules for the phase cannons, 500 gigajoules per weapon under normal circumstances, not the wattage.
Could be the maximum energy storage but when talking about energy weapons, I expect any mention of a yield to be relevant to what said weapon can actually deliver.
So if it happens over several seconds then fine. Although phaser shots appear to be about a second long, more or less, even if it were less than a minute (being reasonable here), that's still 500/60, or 8.33 GW.
3.) I would disagree, rather venomously, that hand weapons scale up to shipboard weapons for either Trek or Wars. Their two different systems designed for two different environments/constraints. I would ask why you believe otherwise?
If anything, the upscaling would provide a low end. I don't see why it wouldn't be so when you don't even have to bother with the transportation aspect once the weapon is mounted on a ship and may even tap the distant central power source, while a gun still needs to carry its own power pack.
An infantry gun, because of its portability and the necessity of not being dangerous to its weilder, needs to trade room for the round or power clip and the overall isolation of its most dangerous parts so the user wouldn't burn his hands while handling it, something you may not care about as much once using a weapon in space, where in fact any way of cooling the weapon faster by not isolating it under layers of protective materials would be a good thing.

Besides, spaceship cannons in Trek would have access to an antimatter power plant, orders of magnitude more powerful per cubic meter than a fusion power plant.
And that's also leaving out that there are practical limits to miniaturization. Past a certain size, you have access to better technologies.
Last edited by Mr. Oragahn on Sat Mar 05, 2016 9:36 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson Again

Post by Mr. Oragahn » Fri Mar 04, 2016 6:04 pm

Talking about the gap I mentioner earlier on.
The idea that one would need more than twice a FatMan's worth of energy to level a small town is quite pushy.
But giving 50 KT per turbolaser and going with the idea that it's the yield per bolt for a Venator, and not a coupled shot from a single turrent, and that all guns can fire at once at that level of power, you get four turrets times two tubes each for a total of eight tubes and an overal firepower of 400 KT per broadside salvo.
This figure belongs to a sluggish but very compact ship with a length of 1.137 km and which seems to waste no space in betwen, all contrary to the UFP ships.

If I'm opposed in the claim that there isn't even a difference of one order of magnitude between Trek and Wars in firepower levels, is 400 or perhaps 800 KT the kind of firepower you'd attribute to either one phaser shot or one torpedo of a typical UFP large ship from the TNG-DS9 era?

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