Lex Petros: July 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Star Trek XI (2009); Enterprise Starship Concept

I found these pictures on the new Star Trek Movie fan-page on Facebook. It's the new concept for the Enterprise starship for the latest silver screen rendition of the never-ending space trek According to Trek time-line, the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 was launched in 2245. A Constitution Class starship and she would see 2 captains before the iconic Capt. James T. Kirk, she would be the most famous 5-year mission starship Starfleet will ever have.

The saucer section doesn't look like much different from the original classic Enterprise, but the "streamlined" deflector dish assembly and "aero-dynamical" warp nacelles are the most prominent changes on the new movie Enterprise concept. The deflector dish looks more clunky as opposed to the simple dish-with-an-antennae designed on its predecessor in the 60s. The warp nacelle pylons are slightly widened at the ends and the stardrive section fuselage looks very reminiscent of the re-fitted USS Enterprise in 2272 (just before the V'Ger Crisis).

The spinning Bussard ramscoops are still there. Reminiscent of the original series startship. Of course, as discussed in my earlier posting, it's Roddenberry's 3rd Rule that both warp nacelles must be fully visible from the front.

One thing about her warp nacelles are the visible, dorsal warp coil vanes, which was not seen in the original series. The conspicuous blue glow on the engines is a hallmark of any Starfleet warp-capable starship. Cool. Makes the ship's engines look 'energized', I guess.

According to the Star Trek TNG Technical Manual, the blue light emitting from the warp nacelles is a result of a conversion of subspace fields from the inner surface of the warp coils (made out of, amongst others, verterium cortenide) exiting the outer surface of the coils and radiates away from the nacelles and a certain amount of field energy recombination occurs at the coil centerline and appears as a visible light emission.

STXI is said to be 'under construction' and is due to be out on the silver screen in May 2009. I was slightly disappointed to learn that it wouldn't be out this Christmas as initially planned, but it had to make way for some stupid movie by SonyPictures.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Pufferfishy Photography

My dive instructor and good friend, Asther Lau is launching her new website soon!

I suspect she's on a way to becoming a full time professional underwater photographer. She does portraits and events too when she's not suiting up for a dive :). Branding her work "AstherLau Photography", she's definitely determined to make a kill in the industry...

I think Asther makes an excellent photographer, but don't take my word for it. If you're interested, you could check out some of her work on "AstherLau Photography"or a posting on her blog on June 17 (click here). Her superb skills will make you look heavenly. I definitely vouch for her...

What started as a hobby at capturing sea slugs and pelagics is turning into an alternate career path for this avid diver. Asther is an accomplished dive instructor. She's been also feature in magazines and other websites. For instance, Nudi Pixel says:
"...A Malaysian, specifically born and bred in Borneo (Sarawak). Started diving in 1999 after returning from 2 years studying in the U.S. Scuba diving was her first career after finishing school...
...She has dived almost 80% of Malaysian dive sites, and only recently Asther started venturing into the neighboring countries such as Indonesia & Thailand. Her dream is to be able to spread her wings further & venture into more dive places in the near future. Will not stop until God Forbids."
Her pictures are also posted and featured on NudiPixel. Click here to check them out!

Recently, Asther's photographs' of Mabul's marine splendour has been featured on the May 2008 publication of Action Asia magazine.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Diamond Select Enterprise D and More...

I know I've been dabbling on Trekkie stuff recently, but I can't help it. It's part fiction and part science...and I love Star Trek by reason as here goes...

Diamond Select Toys is releasing a new wave of collectibles and memorabilia and the Enterprise D is amongst them.

Enterprise D: A Galaxy Class starship and the 5th starship to carry the name "Enterprise ", the Enterprise D was launched on 4th of October 2363 (happens to be my birthday, approximately 355 years from now), under the command of Capt Jean-Luc Picard. This sizeable starship is capable of seperating saucer section as a means of abandoning either hull in the event of a catastrophic emergency.

The Enterprise D is capable of reaching speeds of up to
Warp 9.6:
(That's approx 1,019 x the speed of light or 2.06 trillion kmh, although, USS Voyager has a stable cruise velocity of Warp 9.975 approx 21,473 x the speed of light! or 6 trillion kmh!!!...but then again, Voyager is equipped with a Class-9 warp drive with variable nacelle-geometry... BUT that's another story)
In 2371, Enterprise D was lost when the saucer section crashed on Veridian III after a battle with the Duras sisters. Although their warbird was destroyed by the Enterprise,
enough damage was inflicted to cause a warp core breach. Shortly after the saucer had separated, from the stardrive section (where the warp core is), the core breached and the shockwave from the explosion forced the saucer section into the planet's atmosphere and a crash landing. Although most of the crew survived, the ship itself could not be salvaged.

It's been some 4 years since Art Asylum came out with any starship replicas. Years ago, AA did a commendable job with the:
But since AA's merger with DS, I noticed that the quality of merchandize has just been amazing. (from the pictures laid out on the net that is) I thought AA was very detailed., but a preview of the internet pictures of DS' merchandize shows that many fans and collectors out there will be able to own ships which accuracy and scaling are close to studio/shooting models.

Forbidden Planet says that DS is also planning to release an alternate future timeline version of the Enterprise D in 'All Good Things', the final episode of ST:TNG. It'll be exciting to see whether this model will materialize (no pun intended) in the collectible market.

This version of the
Enterprise D had undergone several significant modifications, including the addition of a third nacelle*, a cloaking device, and a heavy phaser bank/cannon mounted underneath the saucer section.

(Digressing a bit)

*It's worthy to note that the creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry prescribed several 'rules' when it comes to starship designs:
Rule #1 Warp nacelles *must* be in pairs.
"The 'All Good Things' Enterprise is explained not to violate these because it has two warp field coils in each nacelle, thus creating three pairs. The Franz Joseph Designs single-nacelle ships are not official canon..."

Rule #2 Warp nacelles must have at least 50% line-of-sight on each other across the hull.

Rule #3 Both warp nacelles must be fully visible from the front.

Rule #4 The bridge must be located at the top center of the primary hull.
For you ardent Trekkies out there, the DS Enterprise D could be yours at USD50.00. You could try Ebay. I saw some sellers putting this collectible up for pre-order and it may be slightly cheaper, albeit, exclusive of shipping and handling. Or, you could see whether Area 51 Toys at 1 Utama, New Wing is taking orders yet.

Live long and prosper

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

CSI Miami Season 6

The coolest forensics team in the hottest place in the world is back on Channel AXN. Unfortunately, I missed the pilot episode of CSI:Miami Season 6 last week but I did managed to catch the 2nd episode called"Cyber-lebrity" tonight.

I've always preferred Miami to the other CSI permutations, but even with the new season prelude, my expectations weren't heightened beyond of the other Miami episodes.

Typically, the scene will be preceded by a dramatic homicide before Lt. Horatio Caine (played by David Caruso) walks, make some 'astute' observations before putting his hallmark shades on and utters his gravitas immediately followed by the opening theme...

Same theme, same setting...sunny weather, voluptuous blond young women and a murder to be solved.

But hello...back at Miami Dade Crime Lab, a new character emerges...Samantha Barrish (played by Jessic Szohr).

Amazingly, very little is known of her (even from the internet), except that she hadn't been introduced to Ryan Wolfe and her scene saw her manipulating a high-tech looking interface (similar to the one you see Tom Cruise manipulating pictures and images in Minority Report). Maybe she's the technical gal...although promising at first, I was disappointed to find that she only appears in 3 episodes (according to internet sources)...pity...

And there's Horatio Caine...still as obtuse and sardonic as ever. But his lines are not cutting it as much as it used to (for me that is). Don't get me wrong, I am quite a fan of David Caruso, but you can only enjoy so much of a 'cool thing' . Nothing much has changed... he's still using a SigSauer P229 personal side arm and still donning a pair of Silhoutte Sunshades.

Unless I see something novel or innovative in the elements of this instalment, my conclusion is that the producers may want to seriously consider expanding the show's geographical aspects, crime scene mood and the characters' potential. Otherwise it's just going to be a rehatch of a routine crime-solving hour in the CSI franchise. For guidance, a little bit of CSI Vegas' surreality maybe?

Something out-of-the blue...for the sake of Miami fans please!

Sunny Miami after all is just still sunny Miami. I will be watching this Season with reservation and a hope that more is keep in store for fans.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Mark X Tricorder

Science Fiction:

A tricorder is a sophisticated handheld device used by many Alpha and Beta Quadrant races. The tricorder is designed as a portable sensing, data analysis, and data communications device, with many specialized abilities which make it an asset to crews aboard starships and space stations as well as on away missions.

Science Fact:

The first "real-world" tricorder was developed by a Canadian company called the Vital Technologies Corporation in 1996. The scanner was called the TR-107 Mark 1; Vital Technologies sold 10,000 of them before going out of business in 1997. The TR-107 could scan EM radiation, temperature, and barometric pressure.

The TR-107 is properly referred to as a true "tricorder" due to a clause in Gene Rodenberry's contracts with Desilu/Paramount dating back to the time of the Original Series. The clause specified that if any company could find a way to make one of the fictional devices actually work, then they would have the right to use the name.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Project Phaser: Phase 1

Captain's log...

Let me explain what "Phase1" is....but before that, how "Phase 1" got its impetus...

I recently touched based with my old friend, Chow Fook Cheong, a fellow Trekker (amongst others) and blogger (check out his blog "Oh!Penions"). Ever since that bloke got married 5 years ago, we hardly kept in touch. Chow is also an electronic-ian extraordinaire and has undertaken to revamp the electronics in my Starfleet Type II Phaser.

Chow's really got the neck for tinkering around with electronics. Check this link out for a sample of his projects. He's posted a few on YouTube and he goes by the pseudonym ,"Mr. Engineer" (how appropriate).

I've had this cool 'weapon' since I was 18 years old. Remember paying an arm and a leg for it. I've tinkered around with it years ago. I incorporated a switch to power up the power setting bar and I pushed the emitter 'crystal' (clear plastic) back into the pre-fire chamber, making it look more realistic.

Chow showed me a prototype circuitry of a Phaser Rifle (aka Type III Phaser) lighting. When I saw the thing light up, I got very intrique. I noticed that the LED-bar could be wired up to a silicon chip and programmed to run multiple sequence.

So, there it was, the moment when my passion for electronics re-ignited! :)

So, "Phase 1" entails redesigning the electronics to accommodate a programmable chip and an LED-bar. Ideally, the power settings should go up to 16, but the LED-bar has only 10. On the bright side, I wanted to be different. I love what Chow did with the "sweeping" mode on the LED-bar...he programmed the LEDs to flash diametrically opposed to each other after a 1-minute elapse. (To see what that looks like, go watch one of the Star Trek movies. The same light sequence of the main viewscreen on the USS Enterprise's bridge.) A super-bright Luxeon LED will be planted in the emitter chamber, running on 15mAh in substitution for the present 1.5V bulb.

"Phase 1" may also entail incorporating a capacitance swicth beneath the Phaser's grip. When you place your hand on the grip, the whole unit will energize (it's like a touch screen but using dynamics of an electric charge to activate the switch). Although, this is strictly optional for want of space...may not be able to fit all the necessary electronics in the 'weapon'.

Terminology time: If you don't know what a Phaser is, here is an exerp from Wikipedia:

"PHASER is an acronym for PHASed Energy Rectification, though from a physics standpoint even this is of equal semantic content - ordinary incoherent light is not 'rectified', or synchronous, whereas Lasing and Masing emissions are rectified, or synchronous.

Phasers appear as both personal hand-held weapons and as starship-mounted weapons. Hand-held phasers are depicted to have a variety of settings, able to "stun", "kill", "heat", "disrupt", and "dematerialize". Capable of being used as welding torches or cutting tools, they can be set to "overload", whereby they build up a force-chamber explosion internally; the resulting blast will destroy most natural objects within a 50-yard radius. This process is marked by a distinctive sound that increases in volume and intensity until it is deactivated or it detonates. Hand phasers can also be set to fire in "Wide Beam" mode, to strike multiple targets at once. The weapon can also be useful for wilderness survival in cold weather with its ability to create a sustained heat source by shooting at a large piece of solid material like rock."

In a nutshell:-
  • A Phaser is a directed-energy, particle beam weapon with no intermediary energy conversion (such as a laser).
  • A Phaser discharge is achieved via coupling of energy stored in the weapon's power cells with a LiCU251 superconducting crystal, resulting in a narrow (or wide) nadion (artificially generated particles) particle beam.
  • The higher the setting, more nadions are produced and the higher nuclear distruption forces (NDF) as opposed to simple electromagnetic effects (SEM) Distruptive effects increases geometrically with higher settings. (SEM: NDF ratio increases) The effects range from simple disruption in the central nervous system (CNS), causing unconciousness (at lower settings) to massive thermal effects to vaporisation of the subject matter (at higher settings)

Once "Phase 1" is completed, Chow may go to "Phase 2", to incorporate a sound-chip, programmable to store sound effects from the the Phaser a nice "phzzzzz" firing sound. Again, subject to availability of space in the 'weapon'.

Last night, I surrendered my precious merchandise to him. Left it at his mercy now :) The project should take a few months. Our friend is now a family man and I can't expect him to put priority on this project. So, as in traditional naval practices, I wish him, "may the wind be in your back"...

Live long and prosper.

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