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  • Minbari technology development

    I was wondering the other day while watching ItB that Minbari techonology hasn't improved much since the little-great-war 1,000 years ago. If you look at what humans have done in this time it is quite significant.

    Or then I can't see the development in the series/movies.


    And one more little question. The ship that takes Lennon (sp?) the head of the Rangers atm to the Grey Council is nothing like I've ever seen in the series. Has someone more info on that ?


    -Dip

  • #2
    Re: Minbari technology development

    Originally posted by Dipper
    I was wondering the other day while watching ItB that Minbari techonology hasn't improved much since the little-great-war 1,000 years ago. If you look at what humans have done in this time it is quite significant.
    The most visible sign of technology would be the ships. I remembered some comments from JMS about them and found these quotes.
    The older Minbari ships are much longer and tubular in design; you'll see them better in the second half, but there's definitely a difference.

    Certainly as they get more sophisticated, when just *doing it* isn't the main goal, a certain level of aesthetics comes into play.
    Compare an early Model T to a modern Corvette, for instance.
    How much of the advances would be visible? I also got the impression that the Minbari would advance in a more stately and cautious manner. This is a fairly common conceit in SF. Humans advance quickly and recklessly, leaving the more "mature" alien races seeming almost stagnant. Then again, as subscribers to the Vorlon influence, perhaps they weren't encouraged to extend their knowledge as quickly as they might have on their own.
    "That was the law, as set down by Valen. Three castes: worker, religious, warrior."

    Comment


    • #3
      True, usually other alien races in SF are some what "slow" in developing new technologies, but still considering the fact that the Minbari new that the Shadows would return they would boost their research divisions and try to get the odds a little better for the next time around.

      And considering that in the series the new Minbari cruisers were only quite effective against shadow ships, but when you go back a thousand years, their ships should've been just scrap iron infront of the Shadows. Still they beat the Shadows with just the Vorlons to help them. (And maybe a few of the first ones, can't really remember).


      Btw, the old Minbari cruiser seen in WWE is way more cooler than the present one )


      -Dip

      Comment


      • #4
        I seem to remember Londo commenting how Humans developed technologically much faster than Centauri...
        The idea that humans develop science and technology very fast has become a conceit of SF indeed... that humans on first contact are less developed than aliens is a common place corollary.

        I don't think JMS sketched the technological development of the B5 universe races in much detail, I think it was just a consistent background painted in broad strokes. The saga of B5 was about the characters and the impact of their actions on the destiny of Earth and the known parts of the Galaxy, not the technical stuff.

        But going into speculation: have you heard about some recent books predicting "the end of science"? They generally forecast that we have reached the limits of what can be known and that any further progress will be from refining details and improving applications of science more than new scientific breakthroughs. If that were true (and I doubt it) then our current explosive development will become a slower one.

        Maybe that would have happened to the Minbari?
        The Vorlons and Shadows had millions of years for that slow process to yield their "god-like" technology while the Minbari were just starting on that path and the only real jump in technology (the White Stars) came because the Vorlons shared some of their knowledge.
        This is just speculation on my part, of course...
        Such... is the respect paid to science that the most absurd opinions may become current, provided they are expressed in language, the sound of which recalls some well-known scientific phrase
        James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Capt.Montoya
          But going into speculation: have you heard about some recent books predicting "the end of science"? They generally forecast that we have reached the limits of what can be known and that any further progress will be from refining details and improving applications of science more than new scientific breakthroughs. If that were true (and I doubt it) then our current explosive development will become a slower one.
          Another view of that sort of thing might be that while our total knowledge continues to grow at a similar pace, the base is expanding, and that might slow down advances in any given area, or at least make it appear from the outside that changes are slower. Kind of like a pond filling up. Because area increases with depth, if the flow is constant, depth will increase on a diminishing curve.

          It also kind of fits in with the 80/20 rule. 80% of the development will take 20% of the time and vice-versa. Makes things appear fast at the low end and slow at the upper end.

          Just random thoughts.
          "That was the law, as set down by Valen. Three castes: worker, religious, warrior."

          Comment


          • #6
            But going into speculation: have you heard about some recent books predicting "the end of science"? They generally forecast that we have reached the limits of what can be known and that any further progress will be from refining details and improving applications of science more than new scientific breakthroughs.
            They can join the fool who, according to reports, wanted to shut down the US Patent office in the 1800s because everything worthwhile had already been invented.

            The only people making claims like that are the dumbasses who flunked Science. Even the watered down versions of "science" being taught in too many American schools.

            BTW, did you hear about the science textbook Still in Use that teaches that Dr. Frankenstein was a pioneer in the field of Biology & Medicine ??

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by bakana

              BTW, did you hear about the science textbook Still in Use that teaches that Dr. Frankenstein was a pioneer in the field of Biology & Medicine ??
              Possibly written by a friend of the people who told the Prince of Wales that nanotechnology is about to wipe out the world.

              This belongs in a wax works museum next to the wolfman, Dracula and a Dalek.

              This is a good fraud. The perpetrators are turning a science fiction horror story into a tricking that gets a member of the Royal Family to give them lots of government money and political power.

              Basically, nanotechnology is being charged with murder û converting people to goo. Before introducing special laws to punish it start asking that this charge be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Like who was killed/injured? What animals were harmed by nanotechnology and what land was destroyed? Answer û none. Try some other motive for the laws like the campaigners are after money.
              Andrew Swallow

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Minbari technology development

                Originally posted by Dipper
                I was wondering the other day while watching ItB that Minbari techonology hasn't improved much since the little-great-war 1,000 years ago.
                -Dip
                Well the only thing similar is the colour. Look at the links below for the specs.


                And considering that in the series the new Minbari cruisers were only quite effective against shadow ships, but when you go back a thousand years, their ships should've been just scrap iron infront of the Shadows. Still they beat the Shadows with just the Vorlons to help them. (And maybe a few of the first ones, can't really remember).
                Well the new minbari cruiser's were the mightiest ships of all the younger races, and were extremely advanced. The problem is the Shadow's cutting beam weapons. These were so powerful they could tear through even the most advanced ship, that was the point, the Shadows were almost unstoppable.

                1000 years ago, their ships were just scrap iron. But you forgot one important point. The only reason they beat the Shadows before was because of a certain time travelling Sinclair. Not only did he provide them with a new battlestation, and Vorlon help, but he would have been the one to unite the remaining first ones. Combined with his advanced knowledge of future Earth and Minbari technology, and his tacticle knowledge to go on the offensive and force the Shadows to move before they are ready. (but dont forget they did not defeat the Shadows, only bought themselves a bit of time before the next war (1000 years later))


                Btw, the old Minbari cruiser seen in WWE is way more cooler than the present one )
                Are you nuts ?? The old Minbari Frigate was tiny and weak compaired to the mighty Sharlin cruiser (and carried no fighters.) Check out the links below, especially the mass, which gives you an idea of the difference in size.

                And lets not forget the great Shargotti cruiser (aka the Dra'Lifi or Black Star) My only question would be, why were there not more of these beasts around to fight the Shadows.

                Tinashi Frigate
                Sharlin Warcruiser
                *Den-Sha*

                Comment


                • #9
                  Bakana:
                  The one that claimed "the end of science" was a senior writer for Scientific American... John Horgan.
                  Not that I think he's right or that such position gave him enough knowledge to make that forecast, just to note that it was an educated person who writes about science.
                  http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/bios/horgan.html
                  The second link there (The End of Horgan?) has the text on the first one plus more discussion in letters by scientists. That's the only thing I've read on this debate...
                  Horgan claims in his reply that the tale of the patent officer that wanted to close the office or quit is false, BTW (I had never heard it before but found it to be an urban legend, check here: http://tafkac.org/misc/patent_office_ul.html )
                  I remember reading a comment about a more recent book forecasting the end of physics or of science in general, but I can't remember the details.

                  And if you're not joking about the textbook featuring Dr. Frankenstein I'd like to know the details.

                  I find WorkerCaste's view more plausible: the more we know the harder it is to realize how fast any particular area is growing. Good analogy with the pond depth.

                  I had heard of the Prince of Wales nanotechnology scare... the funny thing is that the person that first conceived the "gray goo" scenario has now said it is very unlikely:
                  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3788673.stm
                  There was a press release for that too:
                  http://www.crnano.org/PR-IOP.htm

                  There are some anti-nanotech crusaders in the USA too.

                  I wonder if Prince Charles read Michael Crichton's "Prey" (I haven't, but I've heard of nanotechnologists voicing concern that Crichton's preachiness in the book is scaring people). That catastrophe scenario also forms part of Greg Bear's "Blood Music" (maybe that should be called red goo or white (cell) goo), and apparently several other SF stories.


                  Now back to the topic:

                  Even if I disagree with the idea that science development and advancement will slow down (consider nanotechnology, it's a nascent field) I think it can be a likely premise for science fiction.
                  The idea that science advancement would slow down was out around the time that JMS was developing B5, I wonder if he had it as a background thought to justify that the science and technology advancement of the older races was slower.
                  It's just speculation on my part but I find it appealing.

                  Then there's of course the Vorlon influence mentioned before and Minbari culture factors: a separate emphasis on spirituality, work and war. I'd guess it would be unlikely that the Religious Caste would be very interested in scientific research, the Warrior Caste may not be compelled to advance when they are already the most powerful of the younger races (and not foolish enough to take on the First Ones)... that leaves only the Worker Caste to do research, but I always got the impression that they were more at the service of the goals of the religious and warrior castes than having their own goals, if not ordered to develop technology further by the others they may have not tried, at least not in a concerted manner.
                  A bit simplistic if you will but it can serve as an explanation of why Minbari didn't try too hard to advance technology.
                  Such... is the respect paid to science that the most absurd opinions may become current, provided they are expressed in language, the sound of which recalls some well-known scientific phrase
                  James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    And lets not forget the great Shargotti cruiser (aka the Dra'Lifi or Black Star) My only question would be, why were there not more of these beasts around to fight the Shadows.
                    maybe the warrior caste used the shargottis and you know how the warrior cast didnt fight in the shadow war, thats what i think anyway
                    There is a greater darkness than the one we fight, its is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think it might be worth defining science and technology. If you take tech as being the real world application of science then it has a diferent set of drivers.

                      Technology is driven by commercial factors, for example... thus a given tech would evolve. Smaller. Lighter. Faster.... better.

                      I am not qualified to comment on the 'end of science' although I find the notion absurd. On the other hand I dont think many of us would doubt that technology will continue to evolve rapidly.

                      In B5 I rather suspect the Humans continue in this vein. Commercial necessity driving out technological innovation.... of course in the B5 universe there is also that need for military dominance. But that is just another commercial driver.

                      My 2p worth.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The big problem with Sciencs these days is NOT tht we've run out of Questions. What we're running out of is the Curiosity that drives people into Science classes.

                        That, and the way most schools have turned into Jock Worshipping sports arenas which think money spent on anything except Football is wasted and UnAmmurrican.

                        Schools which encourage the Jocks to denigrate (and beat up on) any Smart student. Geeks. Etc.

                        The real problem is that the Smart students are a lot more trouble to Teach. They keep asking Questions. Questions that too many teachers can't Answer. So, go sit in the corner and Shut Up, you Geek. <Fe>


                        And, yes, the Frankenstein text is real. It was written up in a couple newspapers a while back. I'm sorry I didn't save the links.


                        Here's just One of the many stories critical of Science Textbooks...


                        Bad Science

                        01/14/01- Updated 10:54 PM ET
                        Study finds errors rife in science textbooks

                        RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) ù Twelve of the most popular science textbooks used at middle schools nationwide are riddled with errors, a new study has found. Researchers compiled 500 pages of errors, ranging from maps depicting the equator passing through the southern United States to a photo of singer Linda Ronstadt labeled as a silicon crystal.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          That's a shame with science education... but not a surprise about the books.
                          If you have noticed, a large percentage of graduate students in science and engineering in the USA are foreigners, the current pace of research can't be sustained with US nationals alone. This does not necessarily mean that basic science education is better in other countries, but is good enough to allow foreigners to compete for positions in graduate programs that are inexistent or of lower quality in their nations.


                          I'll say that science and technology are interdependent in their development and is a fine line, several technological developments have come from "pure" science without a specific commercial drive behind, but will go along with defining "technology" as "applied science."

                          I actually agree that most technological development comes from commercial factors, from competition... that could be another reason why Minbar wasn't too fast to develop technology, they were on top among the young races and not very interested in selling their technology to the others.
                          Such... is the respect paid to science that the most absurd opinions may become current, provided they are expressed in language, the sound of which recalls some well-known scientific phrase
                          James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The problem in Education is that, under corporate "leadership" science education is being Guttted.

                            Universities used to conduct research as a "Scholarly" pursuit. Big corporations don't like that model because they don't always control the Patents.

                            So, CEOs work to create funding policies for universities that discourage Science, believing that they can control it better in their Own labs where the corporation is guaranteed to own the patents.

                            And, of course, they also classify Everything as a "Trade Secret" so the exchange of scientific information is choked off. This results in duplication of effort and slows the pace of research considerably.

                            The problem with this way of doing things is that True Science doesn't come with any sort of Guarantee. Genuine research might take Years to pay off and no CEO these days looks much past the next couple quarters. A Year is too long for these hogs, they want Results. Now. Get that new product on the Market so I can get a big Bonus before I raid the comjpany bank account and head for Jamaica.

                            Since Science can't be Done on the short term, this results in endless tweaks of the Same Old, Same Old, engineering instead of Science.

                            It's not that Science has slowed down. It's that the plutocrats have choked off funding. After all, that money for new Science equipment would look So Much Better in My Bank Account. <Fe>

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              <<It's not that Science has slowed down. It's that the plutocrats have choked off funding.>>

                              Except that these "plutocrats" became rich this way. It's a mill ticket.
                              Recently, there was a reckoning. It occurred on November 4, 2014 across the United States. Voters, recognizing the failures of the current leadership and fearing their unchecked abuses of power, elected another party as the new majority. This is a first step toward preventing more damage and undoing some of the damage already done. Hopefully, this is as much as will be required.

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