Sunday, September 28, 2008

Define "Geek"

Okay. So, it's come to my attention that I am a fairly odd girl. Yes, I know; oh the shock! I take three foreign languages, I'm not good with kids, I think the mass majority of guys are about as intriguing as bricks (not that intriguing), and a abhor cell phones. In fact, I've never sent a text message in my life. I like books more than people, and computers more than phones. For Christmas I asked for a food processor. I don't give a broken toaster about who's on American Idol, but I'd sooner eat glue than miss the newest episode of Stargate Atlantis (I never liked Star Trek that much, but Stargate is as good as it gets, believe me. If you don't, just go to GateWorld; then you will.) I believe I can be summed up in one word:


I hear you cry; a geek?! Inconceivable! Not so. In fact, being a geek is way cool. You know more about computers than most of your peers, you're smarter than most of your peers, and know how to spell...or maybe that's just me.

Anyway, a lot of geeks are very into scifi; but what some of you don't know, is that not all of us go to Star Trek conventions, or go around spouting lines from Obi Wan. No, we come in groups. My group? I'm a GateGeek--or Gater, as some would have it. (English Translation: GateGeek/Gater: someone is absurdly obsessed with all things Stargate. Possess a certain knowledge of space, technobabble, and wormhole physics.)

We're also pretty darn loyal. For example: Amanda Tapping (known to all Gaters as the lovely Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter, from SG-1) just got her own TV show, Sanctuary. Now, all of us are pretty proud of Amanda, and have been following all the news about the show, watching the behind-the-scenes stuff, and being over-all supportive fans. When the show premiers on Oct. 3, I can pretty much guarantee that about 70-80% of the viewers will be GateGeeks.

Now, despite what many, many people may thing, Stargate has an actual science to it. For example: all of us Gaters have a basic understanding of wormhole physics (even me, the one who sucks really badly at all things scientific and mathematical), such facts as:

1. The purpose of a Stargate is to maintain a stable wormhole for galactic travel, providing almost instantaneous transport from one 'gate to another.2. A wormhole can only be maintained for 38 minutes, unless powered by an almost unlimited power source, such as a black hole or, in some cases, a fully-charged ZPM (zero-point module).
3. The wormhole is powered on one side only, and can transmit matter from that side only. It does not act as a two-way transport, it is unidirectional. You can, however, communicate through radios, or video, such as a VHF band.4. The way that a Stargate transmits matter is by breaking it down (or, demolecularizing) and transmitting the matter through the wormhole to the other side of the 'gate. As Peter Grodin--a tech on Atlantis--put it, when a puddle jumper (ship) was stuck in the Stargate: 'The Stargate transmits matter in discrete units. The front half of the ship cannot rematerialize until the whole ship has crossed into the event horizon. The Stargate is essentially waiting for the contiguous components -- meaning the Jumper and everyone inside -- to enter completely before it can transport them.'

In English: the 'gate will only transport things in one piece.

5. Solar flares are one of the things that will screw will 'gate travel. A solar flare is capable of interfering with the wormhole, sometimes causing accidental time travel, whether it be thirty years into the past, or 47,000 years into the future. It can be reversed, however, by going through the 'gate at the time of another solar flare, but the calculations are extremely delicate, and it has to be a certain solar flare.
There you go, a crash course. There are a few 'sites to learn a few more tidbits, such as the wonderful and amazing GateWorld, as well as a Wikipedia article on the Stargate itself. Oh, and one more thing: there are two galaxies that Stargate has shown to have 'gates--the Milky Way Galaxy (yes, that's us) and the Pegasus Galaxy (where Atlantis is located). The 'gates look different, even though they were built by the same race (the Ancients). Here's a look:
A Pegasus 'Gate......and a Milky Way 'Gate.

I'll be preaching about it again sometime soon.