Matt Jefferies Weeps

Having previously skewered the lack of logic in Star Wars’ technology, “John Scalzi’s Guide to Epic SciFi Design FAILs – Star Trek Edition” boldly goes where no man has gone before; demolishing the crack design teams of the 23rd century:


The Alien Probe of Star Trek IV

The programming of this probe is even more simple than that of V’Ger, and could be written in four lines in the BASIC programming language:

10. GOTO Earth

20. INPUT “I can has humpback whalez?” A$

30. IF A$=”no” THEN GOTO 40


I’m pretty sure this is not optimal design.


In fact brilliantly designed (except for the fact that it’s a little too easy to override the safety protocols, and, you know, die), but none of the movies ever addresses what anyone who’s ever thought seriously about holodecks knows: Given that it’s hard enough to get some MMORPG players today to take care of their basic bodily needs with Cheetos and moist towelettes, what’s keeping the entire population of the Federation from queuing up the “Roman orgy” recreation, stepping into a holodeck, and never ever coming out again? If you say “they have to eat,” allow me to introduce you to the magic of the food replicator.

Given the technology of the holodeck, plus the replicators, and how posh life on Earth in Star Trek’s future is inevitably pictured, I’ve always assumed that anybody who volunteered for a hazardous five year exploration mission in deep space has to be a little nuts. Or perhaps it’s the lack of holodecks on the original Enterprise that helps to explain Capt. Kirk’s licentiousness whenever he encountered shapely female alien life forms on distant worlds. (A weekly occurrence, by the time of the third season.)


Since no pine-shaped air fresheners are ever shown hanging in the Enterprise’s corridors, this is probably also standard issue gear in the Federation to help mask the interstellar funk that must also accompany any spaceship on such a lengthy mission.

(H/T: Moe Lane.)

Related: “To Boldy Wear What No Dog Wants to Wear.” (Hat tip, the captain of the U.S.S. Constitution.)


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