SyFy Q of the Day: Warp Signature and SyFy vs SciFi

Love the image, but it was in a blog comment elsewhere un-labeled... anyone know what it's from?Update: Thanks to google's image search, I was able to find that this is from Star Trek: TMP


Before I even started this blog, I would occasionally pose a SyFy Question of the Day to my facebook friends. Sometimes, it was directly related to what I was writing, and I really did want some input to help me decide what direction to take with the story. Other times, it was purely fun. Here’s one of my favorites, from March 2011:

SyFy question of the day, specific to Trek TOS: Is it plausible to detect a warp signature someplace unexpected, and upon checking it out, discovering a civilization that had just gained warp technology? Or would Starfleet have noticed the civilization was “almost there”?

Rick                        Certainly there could be and are many civilizations, in all states of technological advancement, that the federation had never come into contact with. Both the original series and star trek: enterprises mission was to do exactly that. They had never heard of The Borg before they met them, as an example.

Joseph                  Science Fiction is abreviated “SciFi” NOT “SyFy” 😉

In “First Contact” the only reason the Vulcans detected the Phoenix’s warp signature was that they were nearby. Starfleet would have to be in the area or already known that a civilization was experimenting with Warp tech to know they had succeded. More likely a first contact with a civilization that was unknown to have warp would be in space.

AB                          Thanks!

And I know that lots of people detest the abbreviation “SyFy”, as did I at first. I liked the SciFi channel when they played on the “IF” in the middle. But they changed to “SyFy” because it was a new, trendy term, using one fewer letter. If I’m copying this to Twitter, I’ll need that ONE letter 🙂

Al                            I would guess that Starfleet has automated probes looking for signs of civilization like radio signals and the like so they can send a First Contact team to observe the society, as in Insurrection. But, it’s plausible that they can miss the signs and only detect a new warp capable civilization when they detect a warp signature for the first time.

Like anything, the event has to be in range of something to detect it.

The Federation was totally ignorant to the presence of any warp faring races in the Delta Quadrant due to the distances involved.

And also ignorant to Quantum Slipstream drive cultures as well as those that have Transwarp technology.

It would be like someone in Paris knowing when the first car started up in the U.S. — It might not happen unless the person in Paris were looking specifically for that, and had someone standing by on a telegraph to tell him.

Joseph                  A Definition: ‘SyFy’ (n) Collection of crappy, mostly non SciFi programing on a increasingly harder to watch cable channel.


Nessie                  ‎@Joe…. lol!

@AB… are you writing this one or am I?

Joseph                  ‎:D

AB                          ‎@Nessie: If I can figure out a way for you to chase the kids around and do laundry while I write, I’m all for it! Otherwise, I suppose it’s yours.

Dan                        Actually, the channel became SyFy because they couldn’t get a trademark on “SciFi”. It was an already established term, whereas “SyFy” was something they could claim ownership of.

I would love to hear what you think! Even if you are reading this post a year or more after publishing, I hope you will leave a comment with your own ideas on this topic.

The previous SyFy Q of the Day is at

The shortlink for this post is

The next SyFy Q of the Day is at

About AmyBeth Inverness

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice.
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10 Responses to SyFy Q of the Day: Warp Signature and SyFy vs SciFi

  1. Pingback: SyFy Q of the Day: Stasis Pods | AmyBeth Inverness

  2. Marie Sexton says:

    It’s SciFi, unless it’s a giant octopus pulling a jet out of the sky. Then, it’s SyFy.


  3. Aha… but it wasn’t a giant octopus! It was a giant shark. So… does that mean it’s SciFi or SyFy?

    • Marie Sexton says:

      Ha. Good lord, how did I get that wrong? Just shows how distracted I’ve been today. LOL. The answer is, still SyFy! 🙂

  4. OK… sometimes convos about the blog mysteriously continue on facebook, not here lol! But I had to share the following Q&A with you:

    My question to a native Polish Speaker: I have a language question for you! Many of my friends love science fiction, which has been abbreviated SciFi for many years. Just recently, some people, especially one cable television station, started using SyFy instead. Lots of people hate this spelling, since there are no “y’s” in “Science Fiction”.
    But my question: someone mentioned “I think Syfy translates to something vulgar in Polish.” So… does it?

    Monika’s answer: yes Amy – maybe not THAT bad but it aint very nice either and so far as I now it shud be spellled IF…. SIFI – then is ok – if would U use with “Y” then it will mean in complete words something like .. okay that would be a suggestion You look like someone who has problems with the skin being in young age 🙂 how U call that spots? something like – atm I 4got the word, too…

    Well, sheesh! I was determined to keep using “SyFy”, partly because it does cause this kind of discussion, partly because it’s a good abrv to use for twitter. But, aw, shucks, I do have a pet peeve about using terms that translate badly!

  5. Pingback: SyFy Q of the Day: Dwarfism | AmyBeth Inverness

  6. Pingback: 10 Ways to Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe | Surprising Science

  7. On August 3, I woke up to find a pingback to this article from Smithsonian Magazine’s “Surprising Science”!
    That’s really exciting! I’d love to hear from some of the people visiting here from that connection, even if you just say “Hi!”
    Please don’t let Marie’s giant shark video scare you off!

  8. Bruce Magee says:

    Going back to the original question. In the Star Trek TNG episode titled “First contact” Commander Riker was undercover on the Arkonian planet because they were very close to becoming a warp capable species.

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