FNN Edition 20

From Federation Space - Official Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Star Fleet News


Acamar Declares Sovereignty

Fleet News Editor
Stardate 21001.01

For the past three months the planet of Acamar has undergone extreme rebuilding and reconstruction after a long-term occupation by the Romulan Star Empire. The planet was liberated by a mixture of an Acamarian rebel fleet under the command of now planet Sovereign (President) General Olina and a Federation Task Force under the Command of Admiral Matthew Thrawn of the USS Enterprise.

With the Romulans gone an extensive project was begun to reestablish the planet. In addition to the Federation vessels and Acamarian people, the normally isolationist Tholian Empire showed up to help rebuild the war torn planet.

“We were asked for assistance and something about the story we were told moved us. We decided to provide medical and engineering aide for the planet despite our normal isolationist stance.” Said a crewmember of the Tholian vessel authorized to speak to the Press.

After a several month rebuilding process, in which new council members and planet Sovereign (President) were elected, the planet finally found itself stabilized enough to survive without the constant daily aide of the Starfleet and Tholian vessels.

The Acamarian planet however was also going through growing political stages. Many of the planet’s citizens were seemingly fed up with the Federation and its way. Due to this fact it was decided a vote would be taken (by the planets councilors) to determine the future of the Planet.

The FNN was there for the Press Conference that was recently held on the USS Enterprise to announce the vote of the Planet.

[I am councilor Maronk and I will be brief. Before I announce the council's decision let me tell you of our methods.

[The council is made up of 12 members. Whenever the council votes a simple majority wins. In the account of a tied vote, six and six, then the issue remains unchanged and is killed for a year before another vote can take place. For example, had we taken a vote to raise or lower taxes and the vote ended up six to six, neither change would be made and the tax would remain the same.

[This can happen two times in a row. The third time something is being voted on it can no longer end in a tie as the Sovereign of the planet is allowed a single vote. Therefore, today's vote can only end in three ways. First, the council could vote to remain a part of the Federation. If a simple majority of the council voted that way then the issue is resolved and cannot be brought up again for at least two years. Second, the council could end in a tie. If that is the case then Acamar will remain a part of the Federation for at least one more year at which time another vote will be cast. Third, the majority can opt to separate from the Federation and become a Sovereign planet. The votes have been entered into a storage device that none of us have seen. With that said, allow me to announce the vote of the council.

[The vote of the council five in favor of remaining with the Federation and seven in favor of becoming sovereign. The council has voted, the decision has been made. Thank you.]

With the vote made official the leader of the Planet then addressed the media and his planet.

[Today a vote has been made that will go down in the Acamarian history books as a day of great change. Whether or not this change was for the better or for the worse only time can tell. Several months ago there was little doubt, no honestly, there was no doubt about how I wanted this vote to turn out.

[My perspective, as has many of my fellow Acamarian citizens, has been at the very least challenged. These past three months we have once again been introduced to the kind benevolent Federation that won our heart and our planet so many years ago. However our very own patriotism had been awoken and even strengthened.

[I am honored and look forward to serving as your Sovereign as we explore our planet's future together. Together we shall make history. Together we shall make Acamar a better place for our children and our children's children.

[I would at this time like to thank both Commander Laglos of the Tholian Fleet and Admiral Thrawn of the Federation Fleet for their assistance in rebuilding and stabilizing the planet of Acamar these past three months. Both of these men, and those who served under them, acted with nothing other than honor and charity. I, and the entire planet of Acamar wish to show our gratitude for all of their hard work.

[Before I step down let me say this. Just because Acamar has found sovereignty from the United Federation of Planets does not mean that we have declared hostile intentions towards them. As Sovereign of Acamar it is my hope and my intention to keep friendly, peaceful, and open communication between our two governments.

[Also, with the Tholians. I would like to make clear that they neither offered nor did we ask for a position in their 'confederation'. While I hope, and believe, that we have made a friend with the Tholian people we in no way declare ourselves aligned to them or their causes.

[Acamar is now sovereign and until it is the will of the people and the vote of the council we shall remain that way.

[I would now like to turn things over to our gracious host and a man I consider a friend- Admiral Thrawn of the USS Enterprise.]

The FNN will keep its readers updated on any further changes regarding Acamar.

Launching the Nova

Fleet News Editor
Stardate 21001.01

Kevin Avery- Fleet News Editor- here. I’ve recently been granted permission to be onboard the USS Nova that will be launching soon. In preparation I saw down and spoke with Captain Stephen Tracy, the Construction Supervisor in charge of the Nova.

Avery says (10:08 PM): Hi, thanks for agreeing to sit down with me. Please tell me your name, rank, and what you do

Captain Tracy says (10:10 PM): I am Captain Stephen Tracy, Star Fleet Corps of Engineers. My current assignment is as construction supervisor for the USS Nova.

Avery says (10:10 PM): Captain, please tell us a little bit about the Nova. What kind of ship is she and what type of missions is she designed for?

Captain Tracy says (10:15 PM): The USS Nova is the latest Pulsar-classed battleship to be constructed. She was originally commissioned almost three years ago, and designed, as are nearly all Star Fleet vessels to be a multi-role vessel. She's outfitted for defense and exploration, and is also a suitable platform for diplomatic missions as well as all of the other mission profiles that a capital ship is designed to perform.

Avery says (10:16 PM): The Nova has a sister ship doesn't she?

Captain Tracy says (10:17 PM): Actually she has two. The USS Pulsar is, of course the First Battlegroup flagship; and the USS Comet is still technically in active service, although she is currently docked for a major overhaul.

Avery says (10:18 PM): Has Starfleet named who will be in command of this fine vessel?

Captain Tracy says (10:19 PM): At present, Star Fleet has not named a commanding officer for the Nova. It is my understanding that several names are under consideration, however I am unaware of exactly who they are.

Avery says (10:21 PM): The vessel did at one time have a named Commanding Officer though did it not?

Captain Tracy says (10:22 PM): Yes. Commodore Laurence Green was named commanding officer, however the Commodore passed away a few months ago from a rare medical disorder.

Avery says (10:23 PM): That is quite sad, the FNN would like to send condolences to the family of the Commodore.

Avery says (10:24 PM): Is there a scheduled launch date for the vessel and in your opinion is the ship ready for launch?

Captain Tracy says (10:24 PM): The Commodore's family is listed with his obituary. I'm certain they would appreciate recognition of his career.

Captain Tracy says (10:26 PM): We are under orders to have the ship launch-ready by Star Date 21001.15. We are on schedule for that date, however I can't say that she'll launch by then. She still needs a new commanding officer, and senior crew.

Avery says (10:27 PM): Which do you feel is more important, meeting a launch date and letting the crews Engineers to handle any minor adjustments or ensuring the full readiness of a vessel?

Captain Tracy says (10:28 PM): I can answer that one easily, Mister Avery. This ship cannot launch until the Construction Supervisor signs off on her readiness. And that won't happen unless she is ready.

Avery says (10:31 PM): Do you have a comment on the growing problem, or concern, that many ships are being launched before they are space ready? Ships, like the USS Titan which recently relaunched, have been experiencing devastating disasters shortly after launch. What do you think contributes to that and how can it be fixed?

Captain Tracy says (10:32 PM): I am uncertain of the details of most of the ships being refit. I can't comment on it for that reason. I'm sorry.

Avery says (10:33 PM): You mentioned how one of the Nova's sister ships is a Flag Ship. Do you believe that the Pulsar class of ships make good Flagships?

Captain Tracy says (10:36 PM): Personally I believe that a flag ship can be any class of capital ship, from a heavy cruiser, to a battle cruiser, to a battleship or carrier. Even an exploration cruiser under the right circumstances. They are designed for that. As for a particular class being more suitable--the Pulsar-class is very well suited, provided she has the right commander and crew.

Avery says (10:37 PM): Are there any differences between the Pulsar and the Nova?

Captain Tracy says (10:38 PM): None which are noteworthy. As the Nova is about five years newer, there are minor design changes which have come about over time. Many have been refit into the Pulsar. The most notable differences are a few of the deck modules have slightly different floor plans, and the Nova has a different model of the deck-1 command module. Functionally both vessels are effectively identical.

Avery says (10:39 PM): Are you pleased with how the ship has turned out?

Captain Tracy says (10:41 PM): She's a fine ship. I believe that she'll be an excellent addition to the fleet. So yes, I guess I'd say that I'm pleased. We had an excellent team on this one.

Avery says (10:41 PM): What is next for you and your team when the Nova is completed?

Captain Tracy says (10:42 PM): I suspect we'll be assigned another vessel to construct. Right now we don't have any orders, but in these times I suspect we'll have something soon.

Avery says (10:43 PM): Are you glad that the Engineering Corps will be designing new ships more frequently rather than repairing war torn ships?

Captain Tracy says (10:45 PM): I believe that S.C.E. should be doing both. Of course my bias is toward new construction because that's the area I have the most influence and interest in, however keeping the older ships at current spec is also very important. We have a large fleet, and many of the ships could benefit from proper refits.

Avery says (10:46 PM): Captain I thank you for your time, your hard work, and your loyalty to the Federation.

Captain Tracy says (10:48 PM): You're welcome. I'm always glad to help keep the public informed of our activities.

Conversations with Cestly

LCdr Ryan Cooper

Stardate 21001.01

1.Tell me about Lieutenant Commander Cooper. Where are you from? Tell me about your family.
I was born on Starbase Alpha. My father was a senior security officer stationed onboard and therefore was allowed to live onbase. I spent a lot of my time living on the starbase though since we were so close to Earth we spent a lot of our time-when father was off duty that is- on Earth. When I was ten my father took a position at Starfleet Headquarters and we moved to Earth full time.

Dad always worked a lot and was often off planet doing training exercises or training officers on a different planet. My mother was a stay-at-home mom and raised me mostly by herself. Nothing against my father though. He was a wonderful role model and an excellent dad. Work unfortunately kept him busy though.

My father eventually fully retired however, though that was not until I was already out of the Academy. He has since passed though my mother still lives on Earth.

2. What is your current rank, position and posting?
I am currently a Lieutenant Commander serving as the First Officer on the USS Titan CL- 2007.

3. What position did you hold before you were appointed FO of the Titan?
Well, years ago I served as the Chief of Security on a different Light Cruiser, the USS Pegasus. However whenever my father passed away I transferred to Earth to take a position at Starfleet Security Headquarters. My mother was devastated by my father’s death and I wanted to be close to help her as much as I could. Little did I know that Starfleet would have me traveling even more than my father did when he was assigned to Headquarters.

My job at HQ had many hats. At is easiest was working as a security analyst and assisting ships and stations in improving their security methods. Mostly however I worked with a team and we would investigate crimes and provide protection details for high ranking officials.

4. What challenges do you face as a FO?
Well, there are a multitude of them. First I must readjust to serving on a ship fulltime. Being in charge is nothing new in my career. Being in charge of a crew made up of more than security officers on a moving vessel that needs constant up keeping to keep you moving and alive is a new challenge. Luckily I am serving under Captain Tregelen who himself served as a First Officer for numerous years. He had made the transition as smooth as possible.

5. How do you like serving aboard the USS Titan?
I love it. While I also enjoyed my time working out of Sector 001 it was not the same as the excitement that comes with being in space full time. The ship reminds me very much of the USS Pegasus so I instantly felt right at home over here on the Titan. In addition to the wonderful ship itself I have been nothing but Impressed with the fine crew serving aboard it. They make the ship was she really is!

6. How do you feel about the recent war with the Romulans now that it is over. Did you see any action during the war?
I think war is always an unpleasant act however sometimes unpleasant acts are necessary acts. I am grateful that the war is finished and horribly saddened at the immense loss of life that took place during it. However, I am grateful for their sacrifice and the sacrifice that all members of the Federation took to see the war to the end. It would have been a mistake to withdrawal before the job was completed and both Federation Space as well as Democratic Romulan Republic Space was free from threats of the Romulan Star Empire.

I served several tours of duty on the front lines of the war. Due to some close family members I grew up with the talent of speaking “grunt”. Because of that I was used numerous times as a liaison between the Marine Corp and Starfleet Security. I led security forces into battle numerous times on numerous planets alongside our Marine Brethren.

Starfleet Security kept me constantly busy during the war. I was only ever in Sector 001 for a few months and during that time I was on protective details for cabinet members.

7. What career goals do you have in Star Fleet.
I think my main goal right now is to not let down the crew of the USS Titan. I want to serve them proudly as their First Officer. I will allow the future to hold whatever it decides to hold.

8. What are some of your hobbies?
I really like to work out. Running is one of my favorite hobbies and probably what I miss most about being stationed on a planet. I use to love being able to see the scenery as I ran each morning. The holodeck cannot compare to the fresh morning air in my opinion.

9. What was the last book you read.
For personal leisure I read Jason Maston’s autobiography about surviving the Borg attack on the vessel he served on during the Borg War. It was a fascinating read.

10. What is your favorite color and why.
It used to be red. Red is a color of passion and ferocity. However, I recently decorated my office and quarters in blue. I think I have seen enough red for awhile and I am enjoying the calming effects blue can have on a person.

FedSpace News


Short Story Contest to Take Place

Fleet News Editor
Stardate 21001.01

Early last week President Beckett announced that in celebration of our ten-year anniversary here on Fedspace there will be a short story contest. In addition to the President making the announcement, Rear Admiral Derrick Grant (Perry, our site's Creative Director) has posted the guidelines for this year’s contest. The Admiral’s post can be found in the “Red Alert” section of the message boards – the link is included below.

The FNN would like to encourage everyone to participate in this fun activity that not only helps strengthen your writing skills but will also be entertaining for others to read as well as find itself in Fedspace History.

Short Story Contest 2010

Dear Abby

Questions for 21001.01

Guest Columnist
Stardate 21001.01

Each month I will be taking your questions regarding FedSpace procedure and protocols, and getting answers from various Academy personnel and FedSpace admins. No question is too small!

What do I do if the person I am posting with disappears and hasn't posted in a while?
We asked Rear Admiral Grant for his advice: "Each ship has their own policy regarding players in this situation, and you should consult your Department Head, First Officer, or Commanding Officer on the matter. In most cases, it is okay to continue if they have not posted in 3-4 days, however different COs have different policies with how to proceed. On the Gettysburg, for example, we have a standing policy of allowing hijacking or use of the missing character if it's been more than 3 days."

Who updates stuff and adds content to the wiki?
Our wiki Content Manager, Captain Alexis Tregelen, had this to offer: "Ship and bio updates are done by the respective ship commanding officers or first officers. Updates and new content is handled by the division heads and the content manager." If you want something updated or have suggestions for the wiki, just contact one of the aforementioned personnel.

What are the different post counts needed to achieve the various membership status on the board?
New Member - 0-99, Junior Member - 100-499, Member - 500-1999, Intermediate Member - 2000-7999, Advanced Member - 8000-14999, Senior Member - 150000+

Who are typically senior officers on a ship?
The senior staff consists of the Commanding Officer, the First Officer, and the Department Heads.

What exactly does the "Dean of Evaluations" do at the Academy?
He sneaks into my office and makes my replicator only dispense blue raspberry kool-aid. Of course, I get back at him by programming his commbadge to say "Hello sexy" everytime someone contacts him. He's still trying to undo that damage…

…Oh wait, you meant what he's supposed to be doing as far as work is concerned. I asked Commander James Esperenson, the Dean of Evaluations, for his answer: "The Dean of Evaluations works with the group of bio evaluators to assist new cadets coming through the academy to create a bio that is up to fed space standards. Once this has been done and the Cadet commences their training the Dean of Evaluations keeps track of their process and when they are ready the dean then graduates the cadet and assigns them to a ship to continue on their fed space journey. They also work with the Dean of Admissions and the Superintendant to generate new content and assist with the day to day running of the Academy."

Do you have a question for Abby? Please email her or the editor-in-chief.

20 Questions

Commodore Jericho Roberts

Stardate 21001.01

Age, Sex, Location?
25; Male; Central part of the State of Indiana, USA.

When did you first join FedSpace?
Define "join" hahahah... the official records state Feb 2001. Really I don't remember the exact date, I think it was a little earlier than that actually because back then response time was slow; we had no Academy then and no one as dedicated to answer the emails.

What brought you to FedSpace?
Well, I knew Admiral (then it was Lieutenant) Wueste back in the oooold days when they were developing the game Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force (yes the first one). I was one of the few back then to have a high-speed connection and hosted the demo multiplayer, met Dan, later on we all started up a group doing some computer development things, and when he found out about my being interested in writing, message board style, RPG, he told me to join FS. It took a month or two of him hounding me, but I caved and been here since.

Tell me a little about the process of developing your character.
Which character? hahahaha.

Joseph Valiant: Valiant was originally largely based off of me. He was how I thought, felt, reacted. As a few years passed and I became a more experienced writer (FS was my first writing attempt) I realized just how much more interesting it could be if I branched off and did something a little different. So I went with an overall mindset of turning Valiant into a darker character. The original concept was to turn him into someone who was a 'bad guy' for the good guys. The kind of guy the Romulans, Klingons, or whomever, would look at as a villain. That and maybe a little mixture of Captain Kirk and Captain Sisko. So I started a subplot of love, lost, revenge, and in the meantime allowed things around the character such as numerous wars, have an affect on him. The end result was a very dark, cold, bitter and broken man who was still a strong leader. In retrospect I realize that it wasn't so much that I changed the character, but the series of events in his life changed him based on his original personality and how he would make a choice or handle the emotional repercussions of events.... sort of creepy in a sense hahaha.

Jericho Roberts: When Valiant became too real for me in some regards, I knew it was time to change. It used to take weeks to write up a good Valiant post then it became to easy. So I decided it was time to switch the other way, to write a character who was a bit more opposite to Valiant, yet still loosely based on me; that’s how Jericho Roberts came about. How Jericho looks at people around him, his mannerisms, that’s how I can picture myself to be when I'm a good 30 years older.

Do you think it is easier or more difficult to play someone based on yourself?
Easier? Oh yes, definitely. Is it a lot of fun though...? If the character is 100% based on you, basically IS you and you are determined that it will always be you, then I think it'll get dull quickly - I mean its 'you' so you know how they will react, think, there’s nothing exciting for the writer to develop. I think a character with elements based off you, maybe a 60/40 mix or so allows for some good development while giving you the writer a foundation or common reference to work with so the character doesn't come off as phony.

How has your character developed differently than what you had planned?
I never thought that Captain Joseph Valiant would end up joining the Cardassian Union, but as I said, the character’s environment and life events twisted him into becoming what he was which made him susceptible to manipulation when he was captured.

So far, what is your favorite part about being a member of FedSpace?
Really, it's the community. When I joined we had roughly 25 - 35 people, from all around the world. It was great to learn about other cultures, and become friends. As the site grew, it only became more exciting. Now I have some of the closest of friends from the farthest of places.

If you were president for a day, what would you change?
The economy. Ooooooh wait, you mean FS President? Really, There's nothing I want changed. I'm perfectly happy with how things are going on our site. If it aint broke, why fix it.

If you could name your own ship, what would you name it and why?
I already got to name my own ship once. The USS Yeager. I’m a pilot, and it seemed to be a good tribute to a man who advanced aviation, and thus even space exploration, as he did.

What do you spend your time outside of FedSpace doing?
Work. Really, that’s the majority of it. I used to do a lot of flying, but I don't have the time anymore. I do build Star Trek models though. As Chief O’Brien would say, its lots of fun.

What is your favorite Star Trek series?
Star Trek Deep Space Nine. I liked the character development there.

If you watched the movies, which one was your favorite?
Star Trek II. The subplot with Kirk dealing with his midlife crisis were great; it really advanced the character more in 1 movie than a season on TV could.

Do you have a favourite line or phrase from either a show or movie?
Oh there’s many, but the one I’m liking right now is, “I don’t like to lose” – Kirk Star Trek II.

Do you have a favourite character from the shows and why?
Series, it would be Sisko. He was a good guy, but he had a very dark streak to him; what other CO (okay besides Fed Space’s Admiral Grant) would poison a whole planet without approval…

What piece of Star Trek Technology would you most like to see today?
My commute to work is 1.5 hours one way… that’s 3 hours of driving a day… I would love a transporter.

What was it about Star Trek that made you fall in love with the show?
As cliché as it may sound, the space exploration. Strange new worlds, stars, nebulas. Just thought of flying in space. It's partly why I became a pilot.

What FedSpace person would you most like to meet in real life?
Really, if I was to pick one, I’d be leaving out so many others. So sorry, the trick media questions won’t get me today, I’m not choosing to answer :-P

What FedSpace character would you most like to meet in real life?
I’d like to meet Joseph Valiant’s Fiancé Natalie Sandres, but I think I already have at some point...

If you could list one pet-peeve about your fellow players, what would it be?
I’m a site CO. So as such fellow players can’t annoy me.

Do you feel there is any disconnect between you and other players based on geographical location?
Oh no, not at all. Oddly enough, I think its those differences, both in culture and geography that helps build a connection.

What makes a good Ship/Station?
One would argue it’s the CO… I have to disagree. Simply put, it’s the crew. Space Station Sierra 18 wouldn’t be the fine place that it is if it wasn’t for those folks, that and a fine FO to work with behind the scenes. My hat’s off to ‘em.

What is in your FedSpace future for your character?
What I’ve learned is, to have a really fun character you let the future, the plots/subplots around the character, dictate their future. So with that I have no idea, surely it’ll be exciting though.

If there was one thing you would want everyone to know about you, what would that be?
That I’m a very private man…

Would you like to be featured in 20 Questions? Please email our editor-in-chief!

Trek News

Holonovel Review


Guest Columnist
Stardate 21001.01

Directed by: James Cameron
Written by: James Cameron
Produced by: James Cameron, Brooke Breton, Colin Wilson
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi
Music by: James Horner

There are times when a trailer for a movie can end up doing more harm than good. I’m ashamed to say that I was one of those people who saw the trailers and made a quick judgment of Avatar, dismissing the film as nothing but hot air being spewed from the mouth of James Cameron. I still paid the money for the ticket, sat down there in that theater, and I watched the movie. As you will come to read in my review, I had to suck up my pride and eat most of the ill words I said after seeing the trailer.

Set in 2154 on Pandora, an earth-like moon of one of the three gas giants that orbits around Alpha Centauri A. As mentioned in the trailers, there is a mineral on this moon that is worth quite a bit of money back on earth. The area where the highest concentration of this mineral happens to be is located right under where the natives, Na’vi, call home. This is where Jake Sully (Worthington) comes into play as he is needed to take over where his twin brother left off and take command of his brother’s avatar (a genetically engineered human-Na'vi hybrid that allow humans to interact with the natives easier) to try and find a diplomatic way to get them to move from this spot. The overall story follows Jake as he learns the way of the Na’vi and his trying to figure out where his loyalties truly lie.

Instead of first talking about the director and the actors, I’m going to start with the setting. For a CGI world, Pandora is stunning to the point that I don’t think my words can fully explain how beautiful and jaw dropping this place looked and felt (thanks to the 3d perspective). This was the first time with a film that I didn’t feel like I was just watching a character move through the scenery but that I was moving through the trees and the vegetation and the water… I caught myself trying to blow away what I thought was dust but turned out to be something in the movie. It was a humbling moment for me as it was then I started to realize, Cameron had been spot on about his hype around the visuals.

Anyone who is a fan of science fiction films needs no introduction to who James Cameron is. His film Aliens and his film series, The Terminator, changed the sci-fi world forever. Watching Avatar though, you can tell that it’s been his baby for a long time, starting out as a script written in the mid-90s. Now, with the exceptions of Aliens, Terminator 1 and 2, I’ve not been a fan of his work. I find that though most have good stories, I just found them to be boring as well. I found Avatar to be far from boring during the whole 2 and a half hours it was playing.

As for the cast… All of the films actors did quite well in their roles. Their dialogue however tended to be on cheesy side at times. I mentioned the character of Jake Sully who is the one we follow through the story but for the supporting roles, I will talk about the stand outs.

  • Neytiri (Saldana) is a Na’vi princess and love interest for our hero. Even though the character is completely CGI, Saldana was able to give a lot of emotion to this character thanks to new film technology. Neytiri is a strong female hunter that doesn’t like she’s the one to teach Sully her people’s ways but soon embraces him.
  • Dr. Grace Augustine (Weaver) is the creator of the Avatar program and is also the lead scientist. Weaver brings out touches of her old Ripley character from the Alien movies though Grace is not an exact copy. Grace is a bit blunt and harsh at the beginning but once you see the character in her Avatar, there a calmer sense to the character… almost motherly. Though she was in the movie for good portion of it, I would have liked to see more of her Avatar.
  • Colonel Miles Quaritch (Lang) is the tough as nails bad guy of this film. Lang may have played the villain but I loved every minute he was on screen because… even though he had some of the worse dialog. I’ve seen Lang pop up in small parts as of late but hopefully Avatar will give his career the push it deserves as he has a very strong screen presence.

If there was a problem with this film, it would have to be the story. Avatar is a simple generic science fiction story that is completely supported by the visuals. If they weren’t there to hold up, then I doubt Avatar would have made such a splash as it did. As lazy as it may sound, I can’t help but compare this to Dances with Wolves as there are some strong similarities that are hard to miss. There wasn’t a lot of character background told either so it was harder to build an emotional attachment to any of them though a slight attachment was made by the end. The story was far from as epic as it should have been but thankfully, it wasn’t bad enough to distract and hurt the film.

When I look back to the time I first watched the trailer and what feelings were after seeing it, I’m a bit taken back by them now having seen the full movie. Sitting there in front of that computer screen, I would have never imagined that I would be so enthralled with the flickering images before me in the movie theater. Is Avatar better than District 9, Star Trek, or Moon? In my opinion, no… but Avatar does deserve to be noticed for its groundbreaking use of CGI and 3-D elements.

A very solid 7 out of 10 Tribbles.

Quote of the Month

Time's Orphan

"I am a Klingon warrior and a Starfleet officer. I have piloted starships through Dominion minefields. I have stood in battle against Kelvans twice my size. I have courted and won the heart of the magnificent Jadzia Dax. If I can do these things, I can make this child go to sleep."
"Talk about losing perspective."

  • Worf and Dax

Deep Space Nine, Season 6 Episode 24, Time's Orphan

Joke of the Month

Top Ten Ways to get Promoted in Star Fleet

10. Steer the ship (hey, it worked for Geordie and Wesley!)

9. Don't go down on the planet with Kirk if you're wearing a red shirt.

8. Occupy any position but Chief of Security (Worf's did it for six years and he was still only a lieutenant)

7. Cleavage is good.

6. Tell Picard you think bald men in power are sexy.

5. Don't tell Kirk you think that bald men in power are sexy.

4. Kill of higher ranking officers and all other people in line for the position you'd like.

3. Seize control of the first officer's mind (or the captain's) and take over the ship.

2. Sleep with Riker.

1. Sleep with Kirk.

Science News


Dust and the Helix Nebula.
Source: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Kate Su (Steward Obs, U. Arizona) et al.

Astronomy News

Not Letting Apophis get too Close

Stardate 21001.01

There was a trend several years ago, wherein action movies investigated what would happen should an asteroid should pose a threat against Earth. Astronauts going on a one-way mission to blow it up, nuclear warheads poised to the sky to blow it up, and various other crazy schemes to save Earth were employed as the solution.

Works of pure fiction? Not really. The odds of Earth getting hit by various space junk, either man-made or natural, is actually a pretty common occurrence. Every year, approximately 50 to 200 pieces of man-made space junk fall to Earth. The odds of anyone getting injured from such a happening is 1-in-10,000.

And what about actual spatial objects? The odds are still quite rare: scientists predict it to happen approximately every 100 million years or so. There are documented instances of spatial objects like asteroids hitting Earth, such as the Tunguska event that took place in 1908 in Siberia, where an asteroid exploded and damaged farmland and forest for miles around, or the one that put an end to the dinosaurs. As rare an occurrence as it is, the risk is still there. That's why programs like the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research project (LINEAR) exist. As soon as a new asteroid or comet is detected, agencies like LINEAR go to work calculating the orbit of the object to determine if there will be any sort of risk to Earth.

So what does this old trivia have to do with current events? At the end of December, the head of the Russian space agency announced that they will be planning a new program to knock an asteroid off course. It's predicted that in 2029, the asteroid Apophis will come no closer than 29,450 kilometres of the Earth. The odds of a collision then are 1-in-37. The Russians believe that these odds are still too close to risk taking a laissez-faire attitude, and they plan to do something about it. Russian Space Agency Anatoly Perminov stated that their agency will be ready to take on the asteroid when it comes around again, just in case Apophis does decide to get dangerously close to the planet.

“People's lives are at stake. We should pay several hundred million dollars and build a system that would allow to prevent a collision, rather than sit and wait for it to happen and kill hundreds of thousands of people,” Perminov said.

Once more plans are finalized by the agency, the Russians plan to invite NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Chinese Space Agency to join in the endeavour.

After Apophis visits us in 2029, it's orbit will bring it back again in 2036 and 2068, in which NASA predicts the odds of it hitting Earth are 1-in-250,000 and 1-in-330,000. Whether or not we'll ever have to follow through with the Russian's asteroid-demolition plans will be something to wait and see.

Read more.

Techonolgy News

Battle of the Movie Medias


First, there was Betamax versus VHS. VHS won out.

Then there was VHS versus DVD. Hardly a battle, DVD won.

Now, it's DVD versus Blu-ray.

Once would assume the better picture and sound quality of Blu-ray would make it the superior choice, leaving it's predecessor DVDs in the dust. In actuality, the Blu-ray market is struggling in the battle against DVDs. Customers are hesitant to make the jump intot he new generation of video technology, despite the recent drop in prices on the new technology (a person can get a Blu-ray player for under US$100 these days).

Why the reluctance? It all comes down to portability. We already have DVD players – our personal computers, our cars, etc – they are everywhere.

Because of this battle, movie companies are turning to various gimmicks to attract customers into purchasing more Blu-rays. This includes various combo packs that include the Blu-ray version, a DVD version, and a digital download that customers can unlock to get a version they can download to a computer or mp3 player.

Whether or not this boosts sales will remain to be seen, but Warner Brothers claims that 18 percent of customers who buy the combo packs actually use digital version. So are people buying these products for the Blu-ray, or just because they give the digital version?

A Blu-ray doesn't cost much more to produce than a DVD, so movie companies are hoping to increase their profit margin by selling these combo packs. And by offering the digital copy, they require users to register the film before they can actually unlock and watch the digital version

That information can be used for future sales campaigns, surveys and other forms of direct marketing.

Astronomy History


Stardate 21001.01

This month in astronomy history…. on January 1st, 1801, the dwarf planet Ceres was discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi. It's orbit puts it in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It was named after the Roman goddess of growing planets, the harvest, and motherly love, Ceres.

Piazzi, an Italian Theatine priest, mathematician, and astronomer, has actually been searching for a star discovered earlier by another astronomer when he spotted Ceres. Initially he assumed it to be a comet, but due to its slow speed across the night sky wondered if his assumption was incorrect. Piazzi observed Ceres a total of 24 times before his health prevented further observations. These observations were published in September 1801.

For half a century it was classified as a planet, until it was reclassified as an asteroid along with Pallas, Juno, and Vesta. It wasn't until 2006 did Ceres become a planet again, when the International Astronomical Union redefined what constitutes a planet. Ceres is now considered a dwarf planet.

Ceres has yet to be visited by any Earth probes. However the Dawn Mission, launched by NASA on September 27th, 2007. The Dawn probe will reach Ceres in 2015, where it will orbit the planet for ten months, taking pictures and conducting studies to determine the shape and elemental composition of Ceres.