FNN Edition 23

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Fleet News


Surprise Conference Called

Managing Editor
Stardate 21004.01

In a shocking move the Romulan Star Empire called for a meeting of the superpowers to apparently discuss ‘the future peace of the quadrant’. Thus far none of the represented governments have released official statements to the media however independent sources have been able to confirm several things. First, the United Federation of Planets, Romulan Star Empire, and Klingon Empire are all confirmed to be in attendance at the meeting. Second, the meeting will occur on the Klingon controlled planet of Carraya IV. Third, it is know that the Federation is diverting numerous ships for the meeting as a sign that the meeting is of high importance. Finally, it seems that several VIPs from each represented government-even up to the President/Emperor/Praetor level- will be in attendance.

For as much is known, there is even more unknown. It is currently unknown if other primary Alpha Quadrant powers, such as the Cardassians, will be in attendance. It is also unknown exactly when the conference is scheduled to start and what is on the agenda for the meetings.

The FNN sat down with a former high ranking Star Fleet Security officer to talk about what security would be like at such an event. “High, very high. You have three governments who have had trouble getting along in the past. All three would be very cautious of each other and would therefore likely work very closely together to ensure each side was satisfied with the safety of their VIPs.”

The FNN will continue to investigate the potentially monumental meeting of the quadrants super-powers and keep its readers informed.

Task Force-38 Search and Rescue Team added to the Gettysburg Arsenal

Guest Columnist
Stardate 21004.01

Search and Rescue, often considered an underappreciated art form, has been working overtime following the tail end of the Second Romulan War. A team from the recently reestablished Task Force-38 has been assigned to the Gettysburg to complement the security department as a specialist group to perform these special operations.

Recently I was able to catch up with Commander Frank Sheppard, Team Leader of the SAR team on the Gettysburg. The team is listed as part of the command department since it follows the orders given directly given by the First Officer and Commanding Officer to best deploy the team where they are needed most.

Commander Sheppard, who has recently been recovering from a serious head injury sustained while serving as First Officer of the USS Enterprise, has responded to questions regarding whether or not he has returned to duty too soon. “I’m on light duty as prescribed by the doctors. I’m not a man to just lie in a bed and recoup. I know the limits of my body and am better in the field.”

Along with Commander Sheppard there is a group of specialists on the team including an additional group of ‘Apprentice’ SAR members who are in their final stage – the practical - of their training. The specialists include Chief Jonas Harrison who is an extrication specialist and one hell of a mechanic. Petty Officer Second Class Simon Reynolds is the team medic. Petty Officer First Class Tetsuo Osamu, who is accompanied by his beagle Snoopy, is the team’s K-9 unit. They can locate lost or injured individuals. Along with the field team is a support team. PO3 Rachel Ba’ras, a Bolian, is the team computer expert. Warrant Officer Santiago is the team pilot and maintains the Shuttle, and the Argo, the ATV buggy assigned to the team.

When asked about the potential conflict between the duties of SAR and the normal duties of Security, Commander Sheppard said, “We will of course work in conjunction with Security in any and all operations, but where Security's role is to keep the ship and her crew safe and in order, SAR can be deployed to save lives of both crew and others who find themselves in danger.”

Already the team has seen action, performing a mission on the SS Destiny. Though specific mission details are not yet available, Commander Sheppard was able to comment that, “The Destiny has been one hell of a mission.”

Petty Officer Osamu had this to say when asked for comment, “Not all Star Fleet officers are bipedal humanoids in uniform. Take Snoopy for example. Sure he sheds, but that beagle will find anyone faster than the most sophisticated life signs detector”

The Gettysburg's Commanding Officer, Commander Kenneth Fitchel, had this to say about Commander Sheppard and his team: “I'm pleased to have Commander Sheppard and his Search and Rescue Team on board. The experience and expertise they bring with them will greatly enhance the type of operations we will be able to undertake particularly when it comes to protecting the lives of Federation citizens. I look forward to the team serving as a model for others of its type on other ships.”

Much thanks to Commander Sheppard and his team for providing insight into the Search and Rescue world.

Note: Commander Sheppard is accepting applications for those who wish to play an NPC in the Apprentice Team. Those interested should email Commander Sheppard with the permission of their CO.

New Alpha Chief Named

Managing Editor
Stardate 21004.01

Starbase Alpha- Sol System –A new Acting Chief of Security has been named for the Federation Starbase that serves as the home for Star Fleet’s First Battle Group. This event in and of itself does not come as a large surprise given the vast number of senior security personnel who seem to flow in and out of the immense class starbase located in Earth’s orbit.

The new chief has been identified as Lieutenant Commander Karina Ptaka. Ptaka, who despite being the young age of thirty five has seemingly already amassed an impressive and significant career history. In her short career with Star Fleet the female security chief has served in several roles including Chief of Security, USS Fargo; Chief of Security, USS Enterprise; Chief of Security, USS Gettysburg; and now currently Acting Chief of Security, Starbase Alpha.

It seems the question now is whether or not Lieutenant Commander Ptaka will follow the same pattern as countless other senior security officers who made a temporary home on Starbase Alpha. Many full time crewmembers on Alpha have expressed similar questions, and though none of them wished to be quoted directly in this article, one security crewmember expressed the following thought: “Finding a capable senior security officer to be the head of Alpha is not the hard thing. Keeping them around for an extended period of time is the problem. It seems they all view the job the same way, grit your teeth and bare it until you can fly out on the next ship …”

Regardless of the history of the position or the potential future of it, the FNN would like to wish Lieutenant Commander Karina Ptaka good luck in her new position.

Crime Continues to Increase

Managing Editor
Stardate 21004.01

For the third month in a row criminal activity on Starbase Alpha, the Immense-Classed Space Station located in Earth’s orbit, has seen a consistent increase. Over the past several months incident reports, specifically regarding petty crimes, have increased on the base that sees a steady flow of citizens from Earth as well as surrounding areas.

Starbase Alpha officials and spokespeople have stated that there is no reason for concern and that increased incidents are typical for the number of increased traffic on the large starbase. “I’ve relocated my family to Earth. I feel that it is safer for them there than it is here,” said an Engineer who is stationed on Starbase Alpha full time. Other Star Fleet personnel who work on Alpha mentioned that the increase in crime is not typical of just an increase in traffic about the station.

Whether or not the increase is “nothing to worry about” remains unseen but it does appear that the home for the First Battle Group is stepping up their security measures throughout the station. These are especially evident under the regime of the stations new Chief of Security.

The Tribble

Articles for Stardate 21004.01

Stardate 21004.01

A Ferangi General was shot by his personal assistant last month. When questioned by the Grand Judge as to why he shot the General, the assistant replied, "He told me 'Federation Credits will surpass Latinum within 5 months.'" The Personal Assistant was then cleared of all charges.

A Senior Klingon Council Member has locked himself inside his palace and has kicked all of his family and his servants. The Klingon however is not armed so no one is paying attention.

FedSpace News


Mass Exodus

Stardate 21004.01

Recently on Federation Space, The Exodus thread made an appearance with an announcement that everyone was welcome to start posting in there. Unfortunately there was a bit of confusion surrounding the threads, so I went to Rear Admiral Derrick Grant to see if he could help clarify just what The Exodus is.

So what is the Exodus?
It is a combination of the site's 10th anniversary celebration/promotion/medal party and an event which will lay the groundwork for a site-wide we will be launching later this year.

Who is allowed to post?
EVERYONE is invited and should use this opportunity to mingle with folks from other crews (including OPFOR) whom they don't normally get to post with. A great place to do so is in the tavern.

What is allowed to be posted in the Exodus threads?
In game subplot, interaction with others, etc. It's not a place to start the next galactic war, and all participants are expected to be on their best behavior lest they fall prey to very serious security personnel and discipline. Keep in mind that this is a Klingon world.

What is not allowed to be posted in the threads?
Anything reasonable is fair game.

Is there anything in particular people should be aware of?
Have fun! Interact with others! Enjoy an opportunity that you won't have otherwise. The concourse and Diplomatic affairs have the official functions, and the rest is just for everyone to enjoy the planet and posting together.

Any threads people should keep their eye on?
The Concourse. This is where the 'main event' will occur.

How long do you think this subplot will run?
My guess is a month or so.

Any surprises in store?
Yes. And no I won't reveal them.

Anything else that people should know?
This has the potential to preclude something that will be a lot of fun. It also gives folks a chance to see some of the leaders of the three major empires in action, and to interact with the other crews. Enjoy it, have fun, and people can contact me if they have specific questions.

Letter from the Editor-in-Chief

Stardate 21004.01

Is my calendar really reading correctly or is this just another April Fools Day joke? No really, it can't be April 2010 already, can it? It feels like I just wrote this letter for the FNN's one-year anniversary yesterday, and yet here we are already at year two! Goodness time certainly flies.


Looking back over our past 11 issues for our 09/10 year, and even the ones from the year before that, I have to admit that I feel rather proud that we've made it to two years. It's been a lot of hard work, lots of tossing ideas about, and most importantly, it's been a lot of fun. The FNN saw many changes, including a shuffle of our staff as a few people said goodbye and a few people said hello. Some old columns got scrapped, but some new ones came in to take their place. But I think this is what has helped us keep the FNN going strong, is our ability to adapt and tap into that pool of creativity.

I have lots of thanks to offer, but I think the biggest THANK YOU should go to the team behind the Federation News Network. Nick, Shane, and Joe – you guys are the best. They put in many hours each month writing the articles for the FNN, and they do it because they love writing. All they get in return is me bothering them to meet deadlines and…. My many thanks. Without them the FNN wouldn't be half what it is today. So thanks guys, for everything.

Next I have to thank the President, for giving us the idea and letting us run with it. And of course, thanks for making such a fabulous website for us to make a newsletter for in the first place!

And finally I need to thank all the FedSpacers. We love getting your feedback (keep sending it, it's great!), your guest columns (thanks to those who put in the hard work to write them!), your surprise when you fall for our April Fools jokes ;-) So thanks for being such a great community to be apart of!

Cheers to another year of the Federation News Network! And thanks.

Letter from the Managing Editor

Managing Editor
Stardate 21004.01

Can it really be? Wow, it seems almost impossible to believe that two full years have passed since the FNN re-launched! I remember a little over two years ago when I applied to be a member of the Federation News Network. I remember how excited I was when I received an email from President Beckett informing me I was to be a member of the staff. I remember turning in my first article, a story about the USS Gettysburg (a ship that strangely enough I would join not long after that). I remember being named the Fleet News Editor and writing stories poking fun at several characters site wide (I would like to once again thank all of those that have taken my occasional tongue-in-cheek abuse in good stride!).

I would like to take a moment and say some “thanks”. First I would like to thank our Editor-in-Chief Rachel Christie. Without her the FNN would have faded and ceased to exist. The work she does monthly is unseen by most of the site but is clearly seen by those of us on staff at the FNN. I would also like to thank our Staff Reporters! The FNN would be a pretty quiet place without the diligent work of our reporters! Next I would like to thank our “Guest Columnists”. These individuals take out some time to contribute to entertainment and history of Fedspace. Of course the biggest thanks goes out to our readers. Without you there would be no reason for the FNN. Thanks for checking out our new editions each month!

I very much look forward to what the future holds for the FNN. I look forward to continuing to work with those that contribute to the Federation News Network. As always, if you have suggestions, comments, or story ideas please do not hesitate to e-mail them to us as it is our desire to make this publication the best that it can be!

Fleet Updates

Dauntless, Copernicus

Stardate 21004.01

Please remember that these updates are ‘out-of-game’. This means that your character will likely not know this information. In essence, it is for you the player and not your character!

USS Dauntless, BC-1553
After chasing down the rogue SFSIS ship, the USS Apparition, and having it be destroyed due to a systems overload, the Dauntless was returned to its assigned mission. On their way to the Gamma-7 Science station for a supply run, the Battle Cruiser was only a day out of Risa when the entire crew was bathed in an eerie blue light. This blue light caused symptoms of nausea and disorientation in all personnel. Before they had a change to investigate, the Daunty crew suddenly found themselves transported directly to the Gamma-7 station, a trip that should have taken seven days at high warp took them only a few seconds. The station is under apparent medical quarantine, and the Dauntless is not within the station's sensor range. The Dauntless crew are in a race against the clock, as they try to find answers and determine if the disease that has caused the medical quarantine is real or not.

USS Copernicus, GEC-9035
This galactic exploration crew is currently on a mission that suits its class type best: they're out exploring! A recent science survey found planetary masses orbiting the suns of binary star systems, Gamma Cephei. Sent to explore the system further, the Copernicus crew discovered that the second planet orbiting the main star was habitable, being a Class O. Scans discovered the existence of humanoid species on the planet, that the computer determined were Humans. There are, however, no entries in the computer database stating that this system had ever been explored, let alone colonized. An away team is heading down to the planet to investigate, while the Copernicus itself is going to check out the smaller of the binary stars and the planets orbiting it.

Dear Abby

Questions for 21004.01

Guest Columnist

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 makes a good First Officer?
I asked three different sources for their opinion on this one:

  • Lieutenant Gabriel Fairen, Medical Officer aboard the USS Gettysburg: "A) Respect--- treats everyone with the proper amount of respect no matter the rank and position. B) Patience--- the ability to stop and listen, even then ya feel like rolling your eyes. C) Knowledge of the rules and expectations of those everyone on their ship has to follow."
  • Lieutenant Commander Nicholas Ristone, First Officer of the USS Nova: "A good FO is someone who is first a good example for his/her crew to follow. A good FO must also be able to work well with the ships Commanding Officer. It is the First Officer’s job to lighten the load for the CO in any way possible. Finally, and probably most importantly, a good FO is someone who can work hand in hand with the Department Heads to ensure that the entire crew regardless of department or position is involved and is having fun."
  • Captain Alexis Tregelen, Commanding Officer of the USS Titan: "You need to be approachable, good with people, consistent poster, be able to think outside the box, ability to keep people posting with subs etc especially during shore leave."

Can we use First Officer and Executive Officer interchangeably?
Nope. The official term on Federation Space is First Officer / FO. Executive Officer / XO should not be used.

When in the Academy, would cadets learn only their specialty?
No. When cadets graduate, they would have a working knowledge of the basics from each department. So they'd know some hand to hand combat, how to use some sidearms, basic engineering skills, some medical skills (enough to treat minor injuries), piloting, and such like that. Not enough to really excel, but enough to get by in case of an emergency.

What's a Ferengi moonslide?
Something you should stay away from… unless you'd like to feel you've just had your brain smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick. Oh wait, no. That's a different drink…

I once came across a technobabble chart, but can't find it. Can you point me in its direction?
Yup. The technobabble chart is found in the Academy, under In-Game Problem Solving. You can click here to go directly to it.

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

20 Questions

LCdr Nicholas Ristone

Stardate 21004.01

This month for 20 Questions I spoke with Nick who plays Lieutenant Commander Nicholas Ristone, First Officer aboard the USS Nova, BB-106.

Age, Sex, Location?
23, Male, Oklahoma

When did you first join FedSpace?
Sometime in May of 2007.

What brought you to FedSpace?
I was going through a particularly strong “Trek-Phase” and while browsing a Star Trek site I saw an article about a new game called “Star Trek Online”. After reading about STO I decided I had to play it. Of course, as you know STO did not come out until just this year and was barely a rumor back then. Still, I decided to search for other Star Trek games and a google search quickly revealed Fedspace. Ironically enough, now the STO is out, I have no desire to play it.

Tell me a little about the process of developing your character.
Throughout my time on Fedspace I’ve had many characters (whether that be NPC or ALT). Still, Ristone has always been the character closest to my heart and the one I always wanted to develop the most. As is the case for most first characters, Ristone mirrored a lot of my personality. As he has grown he has diverged away from what “I” would do and does what “he” would do. I know that sounds strange, but I try to let him write himself now. Sometimes he does or says something that makes me think “I can’t believe he is saying/doing that!” He and I still share some traits, but they are usually for very different reasons!

Do you think it is easier or more difficult to play someone based on yourself?
A little of both really. Initially it is easier because you only have to think “what would I do in this situation.” However, as the character develops it becomes more difficult because the character starts to take shape on his/her own and then you have to decide if you are going to let the character be their ‘own person’ or continue to mirror your own actions.

So far, what is your favorite part about being a member of FedSpace?
I know this is the ‘stock answer’ but I think it is true. The community on Fedspace is phenomenal and is what really sets this site above any other in my opinion. I have spoken to (via MSN) countless members of the site. In addition, I have met multiple members of Fedspace and am lucky enough to live within a dozen miles of two them who I get to eat dinner with every month or two.

If you were president for a day, what would you change?
I am not naïve enough to think I could run this site any better than President Beckett does. However, for the sake of an answer I would define some of the positions on ships a little better. For example, the operations console, security console, etc..

What do you spend your time outside of FedSpace doing?
I work full time for a church (I am a minister) and am a student. Those two things take up quite a bit of my time. However, I enjoy going to sporting events or just relaxing with friends.

What is your favorite Star Trek series?
I know I will probably take some heat for this … Star Trek Voyager. Voyager is the only series that I have seen every episode of. I’ve only seen a few dozen episodes of DS9 but I really like the tone of the show.

Do you have a favourite line or phrase from either a show or movie?
Two from Voyager stick out. The first because it is true. The second, because it is good advice.

"Dimissed" – Janeway
[stands there dumbfounded] "B...but.." – Neelix
"That's Starfleet for get out" – Janeway

"There are three things to remember about being a starship captain: Keep your shirt tucked in, go down with the ship, and never abandon a member of your crew."

Do you have a favourite character from the shows and why?
I’d have to say the Doctor from Voyager. I think Robert Picardo is a wonderful actor and the development of the Doctor’s character was one of the strongest points of Voyager.

What piece of Star Trek Technology would you most like to see today?
Transporters. The ability to go any amount of distance in the matter of a few seconds is way to appealing!

What was it about Star Trek that made you fall in love with the show?
Initially it was just a show I could talk my dad into letting me stay up late to watch. However I think it was the military/command structure of the show that I liked the most. Not the “war” stuff but the whole ‘This is the Captain and what he/she says goes …” I liked it.

What FedSpace person would you most like to meet in real life?
There is no way I could limit that to one person. There are so many I talk to on MSN who are not entirely too far from where I live. I would love for a central US meet up!

What FedSpace character would you most like to meet in real life?
Aloysia Yvette. My character just married her so I feel like I should get to know her a little better!

If you could list one pet-peeve about your fellow players, what would it be?
Poorly edited posts. Everyone makes mistakes (I am sure you can pick apart my posts all day long) but sometimes it is frustrating to read a post that was seemingly constructed by a blind one legged cat.

Do you feel there is any disconnect between you and other players based on geographical location?
Not really. As mentioned I am lucky to have two players very close to me and countless others less than a state or two away. Those that are farer away seem close due to MSN and e-mail.

What is in your FedSpace future for your character?
Ristone is settling into his position as First Officer of the USS Nova. He is also settling into the routine of being a married man. Of course, the biggest excitement is yet to come for him … Ristone and Aloysia are expecting their first child, a daughter, later this year. Basically, everything I have planned for Ristone is character based. I love my position and the ship I am on and am happy to be there until they fire me!

If there was one thing you would want everyone to know about you, what would that be?
I am very friendly and outgoing and would love to chat with anyone at any time. I am on MSN usually every day and would love to chat about anything even if our characters don’t post with or near each other.

Thank you to Nick for answering my questions! Would you like to be featured in 20 Questions? Please email our editor-in-chief!

Trek News


Shatner Fan’s Appeased in Abrams Sequel

Managing Editor
Stardate 21004.01

In an announcement that will surely excite countless Star Trek TOS fans, Paramount Pictures spokeswoman Caitlyn Jennings leaked that the legendary William Shatner will not only appear in the next installment of the reborn franchise directed by JJ Abrams but will “play a bigger role than [Leonard] Nemoy did in the first.”

Jennings, in her interview with the TV entertainment super-network “E”, went on to say that [Shatner’s] Kirk finds a way to travel through time in an attempt to locate his friend Spock. The new crew of the Enterprise encounter this older version of Kirk and in the process of delivering him to [Nemoy’s] Spock have to go head to head with a foe that threatens to destroy the Federation. It takes a combined effort of the older Kirk’s experience and the younger Kirk’s fearlessness to save the Federation.

Jennings did not mention whether or not Nemoy would reprise his role as Spock Prime in the movie but most fans believe that the legendary actor will at least make a cameo at the end of the movie to reconnect with Shatner’s character. It is clear that Paramount Pictures gave in to the countless outcries from fans regarding Shatner’s absence in the first movie. JJ Abrams, the director of the first movie who is also slated to direct the second movie said the following via his twitter site: “April Fools Fedspace Fans!”


Stardate 21004.01

Each month on the FNN we ask 10 Trek Trivia questions! Some may be easy, some may be difficult. Think you know some or all of the answers? Submit them to the Editor-In-Chief. Each month we'll post the Top 10 Scoreboard and Top 10 All Around Champs, along with the previous month's answers and new trivia questions.

This Month's Questions

Q10. What class of ship is this escorting the Enterprise?

1. What was Nancy Crater's nickname for Leonard McCoy?
2. Who was Worf's biological father?
3. Name the Captain with the transparent skull whom Jadzia Dax occasionally dated.
4. In the episode "Time and Again," which two officers did Tom Paris suggest that he and Harry Kim double-date?
5. Terrell and Chekov found cargo carriers from what vessel on Ceti Alpha V?
6. To what ruling body was Gul Dukat made military advisor in "The Way of the Warrior"?
7. In "Tomorrow is Yesterday," the Enterprise traveled back in time because of a near collision with what?
8. Which of the following characters have we not seen fencing?

  • a) Hikaru Sulu
  • b) Jean Luc Picard
  • c) Guinan
  • d) Ezri Dax

9. In what episode does a Founder impersonate an ambassador aboard the USS Defiant to sow dissent among the Alpha Quadrant powers?
10. Name the class of starship pictured to the right that is escorting the Enterprise.

Last Month's Answers

A10. This is a Whorfin Class starship.

1. What was Spock's dual position aboard the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701?

  • First Officer and Science Officer

2. Which two people built Data?

  • Noonien and Juliana Soong

3. In the episode "Ascent," what first edition of Ferengi literature does Quark offer to sell to Odo?

  • Vulcan Love Slave

4. What was B'Elanna Torres' job aboard Voyager?

  • Chief Engineer

5. Who was the new navigator assigned to the Enterprise in The Motion Picture?

  • Illia

6. From what Starfleet training program did Ro Laren graduate before joining the Maquis?

  • Advanced Tactical Training

7. According to Spock, what device is the basis for every important piece of equipment used by Starfleet?

  • Translator

8. What was the name of Christopher Pike's horse?

  • Tango

9. Who addresses his spirit guide in the following manner: "A-koo-chee-moya… we are far from the sacred places of our grandfathers. We are far from the bones of our people".

  • Chakotay

10. Name the class of starship pictured to the right.

  • Whorfin Class

Last Month's Winners

1. Kyle DeWitt
2. Alexis Tregelen

All Around Champs

Rank Player Score
1. Alexis Tregelen 28
2. Kyle DeWitt 19
3. Jericho Roberts 6
Hall of Fame
Player Points Year
Laura Macleod 91 2009

Science News


Galaxies Beyond the Heart: Maffei 1 and 2
Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, WISE Team

Technology News

Apple Rebrands

Stardate 21004.01

SAN FRANCISCO, USA - After years of market research, and an extensive investment into their branding and image sector, Apple Inc has decided to undergo a massive re-branding campaign.

Announced this morning in a press conference, Steve Jobs said the decision was not taken lightly. But in order to stay on the cutting edge of branding the change as necessary. Originally established in Cupertino, California, in 1976 as Apple Computer, Inc, the company has always been the leader when it comes to "pushing the envelope when it comes to corporate culture and public identity," says Doctor Roman Spring, a professor of Communications and Media Studies at Simon Fraser University, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

"They really like to make people take notice of them, and say 'wow this is big'," Spring commented. He pointed to Apple's famous 1984 commercial, directed by Ridley Scott, and based off George Orwell's book Nineteen Eighty-Four. "They liked the shock factor, even then."

According to Jobs, this rebranding has been on the books since late 2008, when they first announced that they would not be attending the Macworld Expo in 2009.

This branding change will be a game changer for the company, says Doctor Spring.

The new rebranding strategy will be taking place from top to bottom, from the familiar Apple logo, to the renaming of their gadgets and computers, to renaming their computers.

The company will be changing its name from Apple to Potato, stating that it really wants to focus on its target demographic. The popular computers will be renamed after the various varieties of potatoes: from MacBooks to RussetBooks. The popular iPods will be renamed friesPods, and iPhones will become scallopedPhones. The iPad will become the bakedPad.

"I know this will be a big deal and upset some," Jobs stated to the press this morning, "But we really want to get in touch with our users."

"I think it reflects their target demographic beautifully," Doctor Spring commented after watching the conference. "They're nothing but a bunch of couch potatoes."

We asked communications and marketing specialist Andrea McBeath what her take was on the rebranding strategy, and she had this to say, "Well …I just hope everyone can take an April Fools joke."

Translators Not Quite Perfect

Stardate 21004.01

It definitely doesn't often make someone's top three in technology from Star Trek they'd like to see, but the universal translator could be an important piece of technology in today's world. Being a professional translator is a big paying job, and the technology to do a similar job has made considerable leaps and bounds in the past decade. Yet we don't see a large focus on translation technology.

And there's good reason behind that says Doctor Graeme Hirst, a professor of computer science from the University of Toronto.

"Translation is a human linguistic and cognitive task that involves understanding ideas and aligning sentences in context," says Hirst. This means that sometimes we can't take meaning from what a person is saying until we hear the entire sentence.

What complicates matters is the fact that, even though different people can speak the same language, their dialects and slang can change the way they speak it. Put an Australian, an American, and a Brit in the same room, all English speakers, and they can get by, but now and then you'll find there are things they don't understand.

The technology of taking a spoken voice and translating it works well when the tech is taught to recognize one particular voice, because it can pick up on speech patterns of the person. Such tech is already being used in medical, military, tourism, and other similar sectors. But this technology still has limitations, as it works best when people speak clearly and slowly, and only ask for simple translations.

Text based translators are another story. When used, they can –more or less- get the meaning of the work across, they are usually a direct translation of text.

For example, "Je m'appelle Andrea" would be translated into "I call myself Andrea". The meaning in the translation is understandable, but any mother tongue English speaks would say, "My name is Andrea."

So while translators are getting better, Doctor Hirst doesn't forsee them replacing human translators any time soon. But who knows, translators might not be too far away.

Read more.

This Month in Astronomy History

Pioneer 11

Stardate 21004.01

This day in astronomy history… the space probe Pioneer 11 was launched by NASA on April 3rd, 1973. It was the second probe in the Pioneer program, and was sent to explore the outer planets in our solar systems. On it's journey, Pioneer 11 passed within 34,000 km of Jupiter's cloud tops, before using the planet's mass in a gravity assist, to alter the probe's trajectory and send it on towards Saturn. Pioneer 11 became the first spacecraft to visit Saturn, and ended up passing withing 21,000 km of Saturn's clouds.

Pioneer 11 because a true pioneer, as it was used a test to see if the particles of Saturn's rings would have any affect on the probe. This was because the Voyager 1 and 11 probers had already been launched and were enroute to Saturn. Scientists wanted to see if they should keep the Voyager probes on their plotted trajectory close to the rings, or move it father away but risk the probes missing the planets Neptune and Uranus.

The probe continued on its journey, eventually passing the dwarf planet Pluto in 1990. On September 30th, 1995, Pioneer 11's daily mission operations ceased, when energy levels dwindled to the point it could no longer support the scientific equipment. In November 1995, all communication with the probe ceased. When communications stopped, Pioneer 11 was 44.7 AU from our sun.

Scientists predict that Pioneer 11 will continue on its journey, which will take it into the constellation of Aquila. Pioneer 11 will pass by the star Lambda Aquilae in about 4 million years.