Monday, March 15, 2004

Somebody Slap Me

This is sad. I've just spent way too much time obsessing over a one paragraph in a story:
Recent advances in data delivery speeds and infrastructure mean the thimbleful of content delivered at tortoise speed only a few years ago has transformed into a swimming pool of data delivered at warp 9.
The thing that kept me so busy? Trying to figure out if warp should be warp, Warp, or WARP and whether nine should be spelled out or not.

For a moment, I thought I would able to justify keeping a copy of The Klingon Dictionary and Klingon for the Galactic Traveler on the bookcase-o-dictionaries™ in my office (wedged alphabetically between Un livret d'phrâses en Jèrrriais and NTC's Compact Korean & English Dictionary), but they only had PIVGHOR pIvghor (warp drive) and PIVLOB pIvlob (warp factor) in the dictionary section, and scanning the commands and a few other chapters didn't yield any examples.

[ADDENDUM: In blogging this, I tired googling "pIvlob Hut" (PIVLOB HUT, Klingon for "warp factor 9"), which yielding a few pages indicating that that would be Klingon construction, but nothing indicating what capitalization/numeralization should be used.]

In the end, I'm going with warp (lowercase) and 9 (number) because even though I can't find a style guide on the Simon & Schuster Star Trek novels site or on STARTREK.COM (which seems to be plagued with server errors), the lowercase warp is what's used in the Klingon dictionary and in the technology library on STARTREK.COM. I went with 9 instead of nine because it is a measurement and with AP Style I'd write "9 meters" or "6 rack units" (as opposed to "nine puppies" or "six Ethernet cables").

And, just to complete the geek-out over this, according to Wikipedia's warp drive entry, warp factor can be converted to velocity using the formula s=w(10÷3)c where w is the warp factor, c is the speed of light, yielding s or speed in kilometers per second. A number of other formulas (with slight to major differences) are floating around out on the Web, but this one looked reasonable.

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