The Chief Objections Thread

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by R.I.P. 2000, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. R.I.P. 2000

    R.I.P. 2000 Deck Sergeant

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    This is a thread to "nitpick" on an episode-by-episode basis.

    First up: series one, episode one.

    Chief objection

    As many others have pointed out - including Kryten in a later episode - it makes zero sense for Rimmer to be fixing something as critical as the drive plate.

    Assorted minor objections

    When Rimmer uses the pipe cleaner, he can't be unblocking the soup nozzle. He's merely prodding the bottom of the platform that will descend with the bowl. The nozzle must be somewhere above the platform. His performance with the pipe cleaner is what you'd expect if the dispenser worked like a modern coffee machine (i.e., the vessel is filled before your eyes and you take it when full). Instead, the vessel is filled out of sight and then lowered into place.

    It's clear from Captain Hollister's speech that, prior to George McIntyre dying, the ship hadn't been running a hologram. This seems like very poor judgement. Even if no one had died before George, the ship could have simulated a high-performing crew member from another ship - or even the CEO of the JMC, who could, potentially, be there to micromanage every ship in the fleet (at least, until an essential crew member died).

    There's no way Lister could have hidden the cat from Rimmer, merely by putting it in a cupboard. It would have miaowed.

    Stasis makes zero sense as a punishment - even combined with the forfeiture of wages. It would encourage lonely or bored crew members, who regretted signing up, to commit crimes (in fact, I seem to recall this was Lister's line of thought in the novelisation).

    Rimmer shouts "Die, die, senator!" when attacking the cat. This is inexplicable. We can presume that Cat isn't a senator.

    Mistakes about the future

    These aren't "objections", as such, but more examples of how sci-fi becomes out of date as we march towards the real future.

    The invigilator mentions a "talking slide-rule" being a prohibited item in the exam.

    The cat is discovered because Lister has to send his photos off to get developed.
     
  2. Seb

    Seb Captain Staff Member

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    Film cameras still exist now! Maybe they do in the future, too - people still like them for authenticity.

    (Of course, you can only ever take Red Dwarf as existing in a parallel universe where certain technologies never developed. Like pretty much all futurist sci-fi made before the turn of the century, we just have to assume that mobile phones don't exist.)

    As for the first one: maybe running a hologram was really expensive, so the JMC wouldn't spring for one unless someone had actually died? As for recreating a non-dead person, maybe there are laws against it? We never see a hologram version of an also-living character at any point in the show (except from parallel universe) - maybe the projection systems literally won't allow it?
     
  3. Seb

    Seb Captain Staff Member

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    (This isn't me trying to blindly defend the show's logic, btw. The show's logic is all over the place! But I do enjoy trying to come up with explanations for nitpicks, always have.)
     
  4. Dismembers

    Dismembers Deck Sergeant

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    I said before that I think stasis is a suitable punishment, its effectively being suspended without pay. Ok you don't age but you still miss out on x amount of money you would have made.
     
  5. simulant37

    simulant37 Science Officer

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    True
     
  6. simulant37

    simulant37 Science Officer

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    Exactly. One of the failings of some sci-fi is the way it obliterates past technology. For example today people still buy vinyl even though there have been technological advancements. As you say, film cameras are still used despite digital photography & camera phones. Then again, this is just an annoying nitpicking thread,displaying the worst excesses of fandom.
     
  7. emmawatson

    emmawatson Second Technician

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    @SebP: there's a 1950s short story set in the future where they have interstellar travel and Earth has colonies on other worlds... but maths are still done with slide rules and films are still shown on projectors.
     
  8. R.I.P. 2000

    R.I.P. 2000 Deck Sergeant

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    That is precisely the purpose of the thread :-)

    It's certainly "expensive" in one sense because they can only do one at once. Even with a living crew of just two to support, they would have to power down inessential systems to run another (see Confidence and Paranoia).

    But there's an interesting question around why you would ever bother, if it takes that much power. We have to assume that the cost of running a hologram, multiplied by the likelihood of someone dying, is still less than the cost of having enough spare capacity in the living workforce (manpower, skills) to cover for a dead crew member. I'm assuming that only a minority of them are indispensable.

    I do like the idea of the ethical/legal implications of simulating a living person being a factor.

    Why not just suspend them without pay - e.g., confine them to three basic meals a day (only one of them hot) and ban them from recreational facilities, etc.? What's the rationale for freezing them?
     
  9. simulant37

    simulant37 Science Officer

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    Because without it there wouldn't be a show...obviously...

    Why do people obsess over such inane minutiae?!?
     
  10. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Deck Sergeant

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    On this I disagree. It's not just a matter of punishment, it's a matter of saving the ship and company resources too. Taking the novelisations as indicative, a round trip for a mining ship like Red Dwarf is around a year to 18 months IIRC. If a crewman has committed an act of gross misconduct, possibly criminal misconduct, there's a good chance they'll need separated from the other crew or at the very least from safety critical areas of the ship because at this stage they clearly can't be trusted, so they'll need guarding and monitoring.

    In spite of this however, for the rest of the duration of the trip they'll still need food, water, clothing, air, laundry, entertainment, and medical/psychiatric care all for a crewman who can only offer zero productivity and as you've effectively sacked them you can't even charge them for it.

    Where this falls down slightly is that in Series VIII of course we find out that Red Dwarf has a substantial prison deck and population, however I'll assume that whilst the JMC was being paid to transport the prisoners to Adelphi XII, any of their own crew they sentenced to the prison deck would be at their own cost, so whilst guarding, monitoring and entertainment isn't an additional burden, providing everything else for the non-productive crewman would be.

    IIRC from the novels running a hologram uses a lot of the ship's computer's processing power, I'd guess that unless they need to simulate a dead crewman for some particular reason, those resources are probably better spent elsewhere.

    Maybe the cat wasn't kept in the cupboard usually but Lister had just had to shove her in their temporarily in a rush and she'd managed to keep quiet whilst Rimmer was in the room?

    As for the pictures, I don't believe they ever actually state that it was film Lister used, Hollister just says that he sent the photos off to be processed in the ship's lab. It's entirely possible that this was in the form of a memory stick and maybe for security reasons any photos have to be checked and censored before being printed?

    (OK, I'm clutching at straws on these a bit, I know in the latter case it's certainly not what was intended when the script was written, but it could make sense, sort of.) ;-)

    Then why not just do everyone else a favour and ignore this thread rather than butting in with obnoxious comments that contribute nothing to it?

    Is it really that surprising that in a thread on the official Red Dwarf fan site that people like to discuss Red Dwarf, including the show's inconsistencies?
     
  11. simulant37

    simulant37 Science Officer

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    Wise words as ever Simon, I hope you're having a great day x

    PS - the putting someone in stasis idea is NOT an inconsistency...:roll:
     
  12. R.I.P. 2000

    R.I.P. 2000 Deck Sergeant

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    This is good logic. I thought stasis was used as a sort of "sin bin", but, rewatching the ep, Hollister explicitly says that it will be for the rest of the trip.

    It does depend on stasis being fairly cheap - i.e., cheaper than the cost of a prisoner - but it seems from other episodes that it is. In Beyond a Joke, we learn that the crew of the SS Centauri were using stasis to keep live lobsters "on ice". In Out of Time, even a mere shuttle craft like Starbug can support a stasis field.

    Objection rescinded.

    Yes, also reasonable.

    The film wasn't an "objection", as such - but, taking The End in isolation, this suggestion works. "Processing" could mean anything. They could be converting the digital image to an interactive VR experience with sensory feedback.

    But it only works as far as Timeslides, which confirms that pre-digital film was the norm in Lister's time.
     
  13. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Deck Sergeant

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    Just to come back to this one quickly. My explanation for this is that Rimmer was never supposed to be working on the drive plate to begin with.

    We know as a character he's ambitious and we know he's basically incompetent. So something happened, maybe he was in the area of the drive plate and noticed something wrong but instead of calling it in he saw a chance for a bit of glory and brownie points and tried to fix it himself, maybe he was given a wrong job ticket that day and was given a task he should have never been given and again saw a chance to prove his worth doing a job above his grade, maybe he was supposed to be working on it but assisting a senior technician or engineer and when they were late he jumped in and started work without them. Any of those are possible explanations which satisfy me at least as to why someone so widely derided as useless was working on such an apparently critically important piece of equipment.
     
  14. R.I.P. 2000

    R.I.P. 2000 Deck Sergeant

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    Good theories - but, unfortunately, the source material is quite explicit:

    In any of your scenarios, Hollister would have challenged Rimmer on a different point (e.g., going outside his remit). Instead, he confirms that Rimmer was ultimately responsible.

    I think we just have to assume incompetence on the part of the leadership, as per Kryten's defence in Justice.
     
  15. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Deck Sergeant

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    OK, that still doesn't exclude the possibility that he was given the wrong job ticket intended for another 2nd Technician and he should have handed it back, refused it or asked for help, instead he did a sloppy repair job and killed everyone.

    I would speculate (Without knowing exactly what it is or does) that the drive plate whilst vitally important may be a mechanically very simple piece of kit and basic repairs and maintenance can be handled by practically anyone, including 2nd Technicians so it is a job that Rimmer should be able to do, but that it's usually passed on to another team because as everyone knows "If a job's not worth doing, give it to Rimmer". Just on this occasion for whatever reason the wrong person was given the wrong task, so I guess yeah, incompetence or a failure to follow normal procedures from whoever was allocating the day's workload but still not a job he was really supposed to be doing anyway.
     
  16. andyedge

    andyedge First Technician

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    From the same episode:
    Given Rimmer's pedantry, the fact that he can't distinguish between a 14b or 14f soup nozzle shows his blind incompetence.
    Therefore it is not unreasonable to assume he would make a complete smeg up of replacing a drive plate which would appear to be within his capabilities.
     
  17. R.I.P. 2000

    R.I.P. 2000 Deck Sergeant

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    If we entertain the idea that Rimmer wasn't really meant to be fixing the drive plate, I suppose we could imagine that the oversight was, somehow, the Captain's. Then his insistence that "it was *your* job" would be an attempt to deflect blame, rather than admit that the task should have gone to someone else.

    Holly also has a case to answer. Even as the crisis unfolds, and Rimmer is getting a dressing-down for his "sloppy work", Holly thinks he's the man to save the day:

     
  18. R.I.P. 2000

    R.I.P. 2000 Deck Sergeant

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    To be fair, however simple the job was, you would expect a pretty rigorous set of checks around it - with lots of redundancy - if a mistake could wipe out the whole crew.

    In a hospital setting, it may be a very simple task to administer the right dose of an intravenous drug. But, in cases where a mistake could be fatal, there's likely to be an independent double-checking process.

    If the drug could leak and kill hundreds of people, you certainly wouldn't assign the task to a junior nurse, who was a) notoriously incompetent and b) already stretched (note that Lister was in stasis and the role hadn't been filled in his absence).
     
  19. simulant37

    simulant37 Science Officer

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    The lightbee issue! A huge inconsistency!!!!
     
  20. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Deck Sergeant

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    The Light Bee I can rationalise quite easily, presumably somewhere in between Series II and III they came across a wreck or derelict that had the initial soft-light Light Bee technology and were able to salvage it and integrate it into Red Dwarf's hologramatic projection system. This just happened at a point that was otherwise so unremarkable that it wasn't worth making an episode out of or apparently mentioning. This is of course little more than a fan-fic explanation but it works for me and at least doesn't contradict anything else in-universe AFAIK.

    (And of course from Series III onwards they needed Rimmer to be able to move around off the ship without needing a cumbersome projection cage everywhere he went)

    This is where in my explanation Rimmer was supposed to have help or be working with a senior technician, but for some reason started early without assistance. He could still be the one in charge, at my work it's not uncommon for the least qualified members to be in charge because those of us who are more qualified should be spending our time doing our allotted tasks rather than supervising the overall job.

    I'm not sure about hospitals, but I work in engineering and I've personally been in a position where I was sent out to do a job which, whilst I do have the underpinning knowledge to carry out I am not qualified to do so myself, so I refused to let any work start. In my explanation Rimmer was put in a similar situation but rather than making that call, decided to start anyway assuming either he could do the job alone or that the assistance would arrive before he was finished.

    Whilst in my case I might not be able to wipe out an entire ship if I mess up, if I smeg up badly enough it can derail trains and kill people, the Potters Bar crash in 2002 being a good example of what happens when technicians working on railway points don't do their job properly, in that case 8 people died but it could easily have been much worse.

    This is where I say that he was assigned the job in error and whilst the error started higher up the chain, probably not with the Captain but with a junior officer or senior technician in charge of the shift, with any safety critical job it's part of the individual's responsibility to refuse to do jobs that they're either not qualified or not competent to do. So I'd say ultimately the buck still stops with Rimmer on this one (In the scenario I use), it was his allocated job albeit one he shouldn't have been doing alone if it all.

    As for Holly calling Rimmer, it doesn't necessarily mean that he was the one with the expertise required, in engineering it's common in my experience that in the case of an issue or incident the person you want to speak to is the last one to work on that bit of equipment because they're the best placed to tell you what they did do and what they didn't do.

    I doubt I'm ever going to entirely convince you on this one, to be completely honest it doesn't 100% convince me, but it ticks enough boxes to rationalise most of the internal inconsistencies at this point.[/quote]
     

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