Star Trek by the Minute 014
Vulcan Prep Schools are Elevated Dungeons
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In a gorgeous shot typical of the space CGI that almost makes me wish for a chance to have seen this in a theater, we wheel above the red planet Vulcan, then get a sweeping homage to the home of the negative magnetic corridor, Mintakans, and where the Gorn love to play – so popular, even Xyrillian holodeck programmers reproduce it!
Top marks to the creative designers of the stalactite buildings suspended from giant overhangs: totally impractical but totally cool looking! Unfortunately, they went for a blue sky – which I don't think holds a candle to TOS' psychedelic red pon farr background, but that's a minor and subjective quibble. Inside the stalactite and standing in a large video bowl, one young Vulcan recites the formula for the volume of a sphere: (4/3)π*r3. We zoom out to see many such video bowls and hear a variety of technobabble as adults pace the darkness above the students, but within the conversations, some real gems emerge: like the formula for dimensionality, a core idea in fractal geometry.
After 1977, when Benoit Mandelbrot published "Fractals: Form, Chance, and Dimension" it was rumored so insulting to mathematicians that his employer IBM, eventually bought all the remaining copies and aided the writing of "The Fractal Geometry of Nature" in order to reduce some of the damage, although from my recollection, it still had a few barbs leaning toward an effect like "Before I, the great BM, none of these mathematicians truly understood the importance of their own work" Still, it was a great work as I recall. His idea was that nature does not completely fill space as we prefer to represent on paper with lines, squares, and cubes. He suggested that a measure could be derived from a fractional exponent as is explained here. It is my belief that we will need a generative, fractal model of space-time as an observational consequence before reliable theories of faster than light transportation like a warp drive can plausibly be developed.
"Non-excludability and non-rivalry" are mentioned by another student. In Jeopardy, the question that would win us $500 would be "What are the defining attributes of public goods?" The next quiz response we hear is: "That which is morally praiseworthy but not morally obligatory", which is a fancy way of saying doing something admirable, and in a nice juxtaposition, we cut to a gang of older vulcan boys calling "Spock!" to which our future friend replies: "I assume you have prepared new insults for today?" "Affirmative" is the pointy-eared Malfoy's response, complete with robed Crabb and Goyle henchmen. It would have been an improvement to have some consistency between the color of the vulcans skin, especially lips, and the color of their blood.
Next: An Emotional Response