Treknobabble on Slashdot

In the science fiction world, “technobabble” refers to the use of technical or scientific jargon strung together so that to listeners unfamiliar with the language, it sounds like made-up nonsense. When relating to Star Trek, a derivative and more derogatory concept shows up: “treknobabble,” which, in the words of Wikipedia, “is used humorously by fans of the various Star Trek television series, and disparagingly by its critics, to describe the infamous amount of pseudoscientific gibberish inserted seemingly at random into many episodes of these television series.”

Well, on Slashdot tonight this article contains the most ridiculous real-world treknobabble I’ve ever seen:

A one-dimensional [Bose-Einstein condensation] in an optical lattice is rapidly rotated, causing a quantized vortex to form. The bosonic part of the superstring consists of this vortex line. Inside the vortex, they would trap an ultracold cloud of fermionic atoms. Hopefully this will allow observation of the supersymmetry between bosons and fermions, thus providing the first experimental evidence to support superstring theory.

That makes no sense to me whatsoever, and yet it’s the funniest thing I’ve read all day.


By now I’m sure everyone in the Gregorian calendar-using world has commented on how cool it is that today’s the third day of the third month of the third year of the century/millenium. I got a kick out of it when I saw it as the due date on a Blockbuster receipt a couple of days ago. Isn’t it amazing how our brains can construct patterns and meaning out of what are basically arbitrary numbers?

Just wait til 06/06/06…

I just got around to watching last week’s episode of Enterprise tonight, “Canamar,” and boy, what a riff on Con Air, even right down to the name. Con Air takes place on a plane full of convicts being transferred to another prison; “Canamar” takes place on a ship transporting prisoners to a prison planet. Con Air has a criminal mastermind escape, take over the plane, and hijack it to parts unknown; “Canamar” has a criminal mastermind that escapes, takes over the ship, and hijacks it to parts unknown; Con Air has a hero on his way to freedom when disaster strikes, forcing him to save the day; “Canamar” has a hero (two, actually) about to gain freedom when disaster strikes, forcing them to save the day… I’ll stop there. You get the picture.

I was actually one of the few people who liked Con Air, by the way.

Random web link: Harlan Ellison’s official webpage; “Ellison Webderland” as it’s called (which is a not-so-clever play on “Ellison Wonderland” which was clever. At the time).