The Battle of Britain

Re:  "Star Trek: Nemesis" 

Since Ossus and friends were kind enough to thoroughly interrupt my revamping of the Nemesis page (based on details available from a cam-grab downloaded after the movie left the theatre here . . . which in this rural area took about 28 seconds), I have thus far left the main Nemesis page untouched.  Included in that revamping was a more precise analysis of the Enterprise's acceleration, direct quoting of Beverly, softening of my comments regarding the soundtrack, and various other things, including some new observations and some fine-tuning of old ones.   I will be using the new resource at my disposal to point out the flaws in their claims.

Also note that I finally took a look at the scripts floating about online, and indeed it is "thalaron" instead of "thaleron" . . . I had presumed the latter, based on the normal "particle of the week" spelling conventions.  Oh well.

"Thaleron radiation is a biogenic weapon, capable of consuming cells at the subatomic level and somehow transitioning living material into a stone-like material of roughly similar density. A microscopic thaleron radiation source could kill everyone aboard a starship such as the Enterprise-E. (Correction: Beverly evidently says "a microscopic amount of radiation" or words to that effect. Sounds rather silly as stated (think "a microscopic amount of heat" or "light"), but in the case of thaleron radiation it would simply mean that a very few thaleron particles could do the deed. One wonders whether the complete transition to stone would occur with just a few particles striking the body or whether it would simply affect part of a person, but this is not clear. In any case, it takes very little to do a lot of bad things.)"

Anderson's correction is correct. Crusher actually says, "A microscopic amount [of Thalaron radiation] could kill everyone on [the E-E]."

The quote actually reads:  "It has the ability to consume organic material at the subatomic level.  I can't overestimate the danger of thalaron radiation, Jean-Luc.  A microscopic amount could kill every living thing on this ship in a matter of seconds."

It does sound rather silly, in large part because she is obviously incorrect. The radiation [source] used to kill the Romulan Senate was quite obviously macroscopic (though, there is still no explanation for how radiation like that could be visible).

Now this is just stupid of Ossus.  How does the use of something macroscopic disprove the utility of something microscopic?   It isn't like she was just talking out of her ass . . . the Federation had done theoretical research on thalaron radiation, before it was banned due to its biogenic properties.

Further, let's face it . . . thalaron wasn't exactly narrowed down in the film.   Thalaron radiation is deadly, yet Shinzon stands right beside the generator.  Geordi identifies the spike in the tertiary EM band (as the Scimitar decloaked) as thalaron, yet this obviously wasn't the radiation that kills everyone, since one would assume that the leakage of it would have killed the crew of the Scimitar.  The Enterprise's analysis reads "particle analysis", and other references to thalaron particles occur.  And, of course, the Scimitar's firing sequence involved the computer reporting "thalaron radiation transfer", "intermix level", and so on . . . not to mention that the device which killed the Senate seemed to rain down particles on everyone.  And, of course, thalaron . . . which is shown to only affect organic matter . . . still manages to eat Shinzon's knife that falls into the generator.  And let's not forget that the Scimitar's explosion apparently didn't release thalaron radiation, since the crew of the Enterprise didn't die.

But, of course, little details like that don't stop Ossus from claiming knowledge he doesn't have.

Moreover, the radiation [source used] to kill the E-E, as shown on the Scimitar was similarly macroscopic.

Wow . . . Ossus is commenting on a movie he obviously hasn't seen.

Further, the radiation appeared to turn the senators into a substance that resembled the appearance of stone, but its density cannot be judged from the appearance on screen. If anything, it would appear that the density was vastly smaller than that of stone, because a mere passing gust of wind was capable of toppling one senator's irradiated body.

"Passing gust of wind"?   Where in the hell does he get this stuff?   The Praetor started turning to stone, dropped to his knees, finished turning to stone, and fell over.   The dust cloud that resulted as he smashed against the floor didn't go flying off in the breeze.

I suppose Ossus is of the opinion that all human balance is perfect . . . that we do not, in fact, engage in dozens of little muscular micro-corrections to stay upright, even when on our knees.  (Sigh)  It's ignorance of the sort Ossus displays that makes me seriously worry about mankind.  It's one thing for him to be ignorant of so many details of science, tenets of logic, and so on . . . but to not even have any standard experience of being a human being is really sad. 

Certainly its strength did not resemble a hard stone's, because the said body fragmented completely upon impact. Real stone would have cracked, but not shattered.

Moron!   "Real stone" of the sort Ossus is thinking about is normally denser.   I suppose he's never heard of pumice, for instance.  

(And of course, he can whine about real stone all day long, and moan about granite or whatever he wants to . . . but I said "stone-like material" for a reason.  His entire counterargument is moronic.)

[Editor's note: indeed, it would be interesting to compare the size of the device to the size of a conventional explosive or chemical weapon that would kill the Senate the old fashioned way]

Interesting?  Not really.  I, for one, would prefer to leave the Senate chamber intact.   And further, it's much nicer to be able to clean it up afterward with a broom, as opposed to a mop.

Anderson's commentary on the film is also apparently self-contradictory on a number of occasions:

"The Scimitar also carries a large number of Scorpion Class attack flyers, presumably (at least by the name "flyer") intended for surface attack operations, though the only weapon seen on the vessels is on the dorsal surface."

This begs the question of why such ships would be necessary for ground-attack operations, if Thalaron radiation can destroy a shielded target, as he claims is inferred by the movie.

The hell?  I'm contradicting myself because of that?  Praytell, how does he think a ground operation with flyers would commence through a shield?   He's proclaimed a self-contradiction by offering up one of his own . . . that hardly proves his claim.

This is particularly galling in light of his analysis of the "Base Delta Zero Fallacy," where he uses the fact that TIE fighters conducted "mop up" operations to "prove" that the area was relatively unaffected by the bombardment.

Wow . . . he seriously just said that.  The Base Delta Zero, in the standard Warsie inflation of it, is supposedly able to melt the entire surface of a planet in an hour, and yet it also involves fighter and troop actions to perform mop-up operations.   That is a contradiction with the standard Warsie inflation.   

Ossus would have you believe that a starship which has a weapon aboard capable of wiping out all life on a planet cannot also have vehicles aboard for the purpose of smaller attacks on a planet.  Well, hell's bells, I guess the Scimitar can't have disruptors and torpedoes on her, either . . . after all, the weapon could kill ship crews, too, so why would they need them?

Stupid Ossus.  He seriously thought he could relate the two and call it "galling".

"The Enterprise-E exhausted her entire photon torpedo complement against the Scimitar, and Romulan ships had fired upon it as well. In spite of that, the Scimitar still had 70% shields. I counted no less than 22 photon torpedoes fired (I think I missed some, too), and no less than 9 quantum torpedoes fired (though I can't recall if all quantums were reported expended as well) . . . this would not count any which were fired off-screen."

This is intentionally misleading. A majority of those torpedoes actually missed the Scimitar, altogether, due to its cloak and the inability of the Enterprise's computers to judge where the Scimitar was moving from visual feedback produced by shots that did strike the Scimitar.

Ossus is "intentionally misleading" . . . no, scratch that, he's both lying and being an idiot.  First, he makes that stupid "visual feedback" claim . . . the only definite misses were the first six torpedoes fired.  After that, every torpedo we see (of the 23 observed fired . . . I missed one when in the theatre) evidently hits.  This includes 10 direct hits, one unconfirmed hit (out of a burst of three when the ship was cloaked . . . the other two hit and the last one looks like it would, but unfortunately my version doesn't include all of the right edge of the screen), three unconfirmed hits (fired right after the other three and on the proper trajectory, but we cut away too quickly), and three unconfirmed hits fired to aft when the Scimitar, uncloaked, was chasing the ship at a distance of just a couple of kilometers. 

Even if we assume that the majority of the unconfirmed hits miss, that still leaves 10 misses versus 13 hits (as opposed to 6 misses versus 17 hits).  That's hardly a majority of torpedoes missing, and there's certainly no evidence for Ossus's stupid claim about feedback, especially given the number of phaser shots which connected.

(If the Enterprise-E carried even half of the torpedo complement of her predecessor (250 photon torpedoes, as per "Conundrum"[TNG]), then we only saw a fifth of them fire.  Of course, her predecessor only had two launchers, as compared to the several additional ones on the Sovereign Class . . . one would expect her loadout to reflect this.) 

Moreover, if they had quantum torpedoes left, Picard should have fired them when Shinzon wanted to have a stare-down contest.

That would only work if the launcher was online.  Data specifically says that the photon torpedo supply is expended . . . we do not know the status of the quantums.  As of "First Contact", though, we know she carries no less than twelve (a shot of four against the cube, a shot of four against the sphere, and a shot of four against the Phoenix.  In Nemesis, she fires shots of three).   Thus, the rest of the quantums were either fired when we weren't looking (in which case we would expect Data to have reported that they were out), or else the launcher was offline.  Given the damage to the ship, this would not be surprising.

"Reman hand weapons technology seems a bit less advanced than the Federation's, given the design and observed effects. The rifles were seen to be readily switchable from bolts to beam (as seen when Picard sealed the door), but the Reman soldiers didn't seem to figure out this capability, firing bolt after bolt at the door instead of pulling a Picard and getting their melt on."

It seems more likely that the weapons did not have the power to melt through the entire door, and that Picard's "beam" had managed only to melt a small portion of the door from the other side.

The latter part I agree with . . . there's no telling how much was melted.  However, the fact that he melted any should have clued Ossus in to the fact that the several badguys outside could've eventually melted their way through the door, instead of popping through it with bolts.

In the above, the door edge (seen as the two parallel vertical lines) would suggest a door thickness of about two to three inches (5-7.6 centimeters).  Below, we see that Picard's melting job seems to melt at least a centimeter's width of material, if not more.

This is confirmed by the inability of the "bolt" weapons to actually punch through the door, instead merely cratering it.

Wrong.  Note the holes in the door, as seen from within the Scorpion before Picard blew the door to smithereens.  Similar holes can be seen from outside, as the Remans fire on the door.

 It is also confirmed because of the small length of time that passed between Picard's using his "beam" on the door, and the melted material's resolidification, as evidenced by the fact that the door would not open.

1.  Why is "beam" in quotes?   Is Ossus unfamiliar with the term, or did he simply not see the film and thus wants to deny that Picard fired a beam?

2.   How would rapid solidification, even if we granted Ossus's assumption, mean that the weapons couldn't fire through the door?  

Note that this does not seem to be less advanced than the UFP's weapons, as demonstrated in the same movie. While the Reman weapons were powerful enough to crater a blast door, the UFP's weapons could not do even that much damage to their presumably unarmored corridors while the E-E's crew attempted to repel boarders.

As per "Where Silence Has Lease"[TNG], the "unarmored corridors" of a Federation starship are tritanium.  It was the very fact that the false-Yamato's corridor walls were not tritanium that clued Riker to the fact that it was a false Yamato.

Further, we do not know whether the phaser rifles were on stun or kill . . . we do know, however, that they were not vaping the Reman boarders, which would be closer to a phaser's maximum.  Thus, for Ossus to claim that the phaser rifles "could not do even that much damage" was stupid.

Anderson's largest technical debacle, however, doubtless occurs in his analysis of the collision between the Enterprise and the Scimitar

Ossus here plans to jump all over my acceleration figures, which were based on my memory of the scene of the Enterprise going into motion . . . 

 . . . a bad angle, but I only saw the movie twice . . . the first for fun, the second taking notes.  And, of course, I couldn't say "hey, freeze that frame!"  I was already aware that I'd overestimated from that upon watching the cam-grab, and was in the midst of correcting it already, based on a superior scene of the Enterprise moving toward the Scimitar with a far better camera angle.  But, we'll come back to that in a moment:

Prior to the collision,

"The presumably-damaged (or at least freshly re-enabled) engines accelerated the ship to a speed of between one-third and one-half her own length per second over the course of two or three seconds. That works out to a speed of between 230 and 350 m/s, for an acceleration of between ~78 and 175 m/sē. The vessel seemed to stop accelerating rather quickly, afterwards moving at a constant speed of roughly 700 m/s toward the Scimitar."

Anderson's assessment would be correct if the Enterprise had actually accelerated to anything near 700 m/s, but it did not. 

In the following scene, we see the Enterprise en route to her close personal encounter with the Scimitar.  In the first image, her nose is just becoming visible in the bottom left corner . . . in the second image (the last of this particular angle), the saucer is clearly visible.   The scenes are 30 frames apart, at a camgrab speed of 12.5 frames per second.

Now, judging by Eaves's drawings of the ship, we're seeing approximately 40% of her length in the image above.  Given Picard's comment of nearly 700 meters for her length, we can guesstimate the figure of 685 meters (i.e. the official figure, which works fine here for our purposes) . . . 40% of that is 274 meters, which becomes visible over 2.4 seconds.  That comes out to a speed of just under 114.2 meters/second.  That's rather slow compared to her other accelerations in the films (and compared to TNG accelerations, such as "Booby Trap" wherein a microsecond burst from the impulse drive gets them up to 132 meters/second), but the damage to the impulse drive would be the logical cause.  

Ossus, of course, engages in the silly maneuver of trying to use the trailer footage to get the speed:

In fact, the trailer shows a very slow collision speed. In the shot of the Enterprise-E just beginning to strike its more massive opponent, it takes 10 frames for the ship's bow to plow through the ship so that the first window on the ship is partially covered by the Scimitar's crumpling hull. That distance, on the E-E, is about 10 meters, and the trailer runs at 24 fps. This would indicate a relative collision speed of less than 30 meters per second.

Note Ossus's inherent dishonesty . . . he judges the speed of the Enterprise as she flies toward the Scimitar by trying to assess her speed AFTER she's collided with the Scimitar!  And let's not even mention the fact that the Scimitar was maneuvering away from her, but is stationary in the collision scene.

Note also that the trailer is not the film (though I assume that's all he's seen of it), and it does not provide a proper representation of most of the effects . . . there's the backwards Scimitar cloaking, the sped-up zoom-ins on Romulus, the missing damage in the drydock scene, the slo-mo Scimitar explosion, et cetera, et cetera.   Incomplete special effects are not a good basis for making claims.

"The nature of the shielding systems is curious . . . the Enterprise seemed to plow right through them without impediment. Some have claimed this as proof that shields don't stop physical impacts, or that the shield energy of the Scimitar could not have exceeded the KE of the Enterprise, but these are preposterous claims. We saw the Enterprise-E shields deflecting large pieces of a Romulan cruiser earlier in the battle, knocking the debris away from the saucer and then the port nacelle. In the case of the Scimitar, we either have a secondary shield system that cannot block physical impact (which would assume that the primaries could, and that they had failed at this point), or that technobabble was employed off-camera while we watched proceedings from Shinzon's point-of-view, or that his new cloaking system required oddly-configured shields. In any case, I have no intention of throwing away the rest of the evidence for physical impact protection (including some from this very film) in favor of the claim that starships don't have KE shields."

This is merely another one of Mr. Anderson's pro-Trek claims that come from nowhere.

Translation:  We're about to see some really stupid Warsie BS.

While it is clear the starship shields are more than capable of stopping physical impacts (like photon torpedoes or the section of the hull that Anderson mentions), it is also impossible to rule out that the shields were simply not capable of deflecting such a large impact. Considering that the relatively small section of the Valdore class warbird, which struck the E-E twice, knocked its shields down by an enormous percent

Yep, as expected . . . Warsie BS.   Ossus is trying to claim that two hits on the port shields knocked down the forward shields to ten percent.  Hell, I saw that was wrong in the theatre.  The following screenshots, created by Chris O'Farrell, were posted on SD.Net's BBS . . . Ossus responded within the thread, saying "I cannot accept the idea that the E-E's shields were depleted by any other cause."  Let's see what he was shown:

Oh, and look!  The forward shields aren't anywhere near the impact sites!  Even in the lateral view:

And yet, we're supposed to believe that they were damaged?  

(Note:  It'll be fun to watch him try to squirm out of this one, especially since pro-Wars debaters have fought for years against the idea that the globes atop a Star Destroyer are shield globes, due to a similar situation.)

Thus, we know with a high degree of certainty that ST ships' shields are designed to stop collisions, and we know that the Scimitar's shields did little or nothing to stop the E-E. All of this indicates that the shields were inadequate to stop the E-E.

Or that the Scimitar, which had 70 percent shields (though whether this was her primary shielding system or her secondary shielding system is unclear), did not have them configured against KE for some reason.   It may have had something to do with the cloak, or the peculiar dual shielding, but whatever it was, the shields simply were not there.  We saw the Enterprise's shields during the impact of the warbird's pieces . . . there were none visible in the Scimitar collision, despite the similarity of shielding effects throughout the rest of the film.

"that technobabble was employed off-camera while we watched proceedings from Shinzon's point-of-view, or that his new cloaking system required oddly-configured shields."

Of course, either of these views is absolutely absurd. If we employ Occam's Razor, which is mentioned above, then the unseen "technobabble" would violate it by adding another term.

Once again, we have a Rabid Warsie argument that does not explain the situation, yet is argued to be better as a result of Occam's Razor.  They still don't understand Occam's Razor . . . any hypothesis must first be able to explain the observations before relative simplicity can be brought in.   Otherwise, you're just making stupid arguments and claiming they're better because they're easier for stupid people to understand.

(See also my new page regarding the shields and ramming - G2k)

Now for some quick calculations. 

Here, Ossus tries to use another fellow's calculations, based on the foolish notion that the Enterprise plowed through the Scimitar's shields, to determine the strength of the shields.   This, he considers "very generous", despite the absurdity, and despite his use of his silly speed estimate.  With that, he derives absurdly low shield strength for the Scimitar . . . about 20 kilotons of shielding, at maximum strength!  They couldn't have withstood a single photon torpedo, much less 17 and 9 quantums!  

Stupid Ossus.   Naturally, he tries to redraw photon torpedo firepower to fall in line with the wacky idea, coming up with a yield of .625 kilotons for a photon torpedo . . . or, roughly, a few photon grenades.

That calculation, incidentally, gives every possible advantage to Star Trek.

So long as 'being considered based on the facts' is not considered an "advantage", I guess he's right.

[Editor's note: RSA's clever alteration of "shields unable to withstand an impact of that magnitude" to "shields have no effect on physical objects at all" is sadly typical of him.

Not at all.  But, Wong's dishonest mangling of my words for his own uses (with quotation marks, even!) is sadly typical of him.  I said "Some have claimed this as proof that shields don't stop physical impacts, or that the shield energy of the Scimitar could not have exceeded the KE of the Enterprise, but these are preposterous claims."  Somehow, he imagines that means something contrary.

Stupid Mike.

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