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Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Giant Holodeck Error
This is a bad mistake! In the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, there's an episode entitled, "Elementary My Dear Data" with a gigantic error. While Geordi and Data are on the holodeck talking with Moriarty, Moriarty draws a picture of the Enterprise on a piece of holodeck paper and hands it to Data. Data looks at it and astonished, he walks out of the holodeck with the paper! Holodeck material can't leave the holodeck!
[Actually, simple matter and objects can leave the holodeck. They are created using the same technology as the replicators. There are numerous cases where matter (paper, water, food) has left the holodeck, and this is accepted as part of the technology. Complex matter (i.e. people, animals, etc.) cannot leave the holodeck. When Data walks off with a piece of paper that Moriarty gave him, the system allowed those things to be carried out without recycling them. You can take issue with what makes the holodeck decide when to recycle material or not, but the fact is simple: some simple objects can be taken off of the holodeck.]
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Special Requirements: A copy of the episode, a VCR, and a working brain
Contributed By: Anonymous on 03-14-2001 and Reviewed By: Webmaster
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7 writes:
Yah dude you are absolutely correct. Man you gotta be pretty quick witted to have seen that! I feel like a total idiot for missing it. What is wrong with them to have allowed such a horrible mistake? I commend you for the sharp eye. You are indeed my hero!! 7
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Marcin Wichary writes:
Actually, this is not a slip-up. Holodeck technology allows some originally projected objects to be replicated when necessary. The people can eat inside a holodeck, in one episode we could see Wesley throwing a snowball outside a holodeck, etc. etc.
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pokedave2001 writes:
Well if you think about it, the holodeck had already been affected.
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AJK writes:
"Well if you think about it, the holodeck had already been affected." Huh? What the hell is that supposed to mean?
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Mythmander writes:
affected by him calling the arch and pushing buttons(whatever the screen is called.)
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pokedave2001 writes:
Thanks Myth.
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Shalroth writes:
If you read the TNG tech manual, it explains that away. There are Holograms, sure, but there are also 'meat puppets', replicated matter (people) dragged around by forcefields (I forget where I read that) that never leave the holodeck anyway (protocol I think). The Manual also mentions that some objects are replicated, that's how people can eat, get wet etc. Then how in 'ship in a bottle' was Picard able to throw a holographic book off the holodeck? It's possible the computer knew the purpose of the demo, but it's another of those accuracy versus storytelling tradeoffs.
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Shawn writes:
The replicators use a very different system from the holodeck (obviously, you can't ask a replicator for a person). But in what way is it different? Picard threw a book off the holodeck, and it disappeared instantly. Wesley threw a snowball off the holodeck, and it did not disappear (which kind of irked me as soon as I saw it). When Sirus Redblock and Feelix Leech (from the Dixon Hill fantasy) walked off the holodeck, they disintegrated after a few seconds, but any other time holodeck matter was taken from the holodeck, it vanished just as it passed over the threshold. Picard describes holodeck objects to have been turned from energy into matter (as in the transporter), but Janeway describes holograms as photons and force fields (which sounds to me a lot less advanced technologically than assembling complex molecular structures from subatomic particles). As for what holodeck matter is REALLY made of, this seems to be a case of after the explanation was given on the air, some writer saying, "Wait, I've got a better idea!" Regardless, the instability of holodeck matter had already been established before the Moriarti episode.
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Mark writes:
The replicator IS actually used on the holodeck. When an object is picked up, used or manipulated the holodeck uses replicator and transporter technology to replace the image with an actual object. When Picard threw the book and Wesley threw the snowball the objects were beamed away (to re-use the matter again) but when the letter was taken away the object was not replaced and so could be removed. How the holodeck computer knows when to leave an object and when to replace it isn't clear but the technology is so advanced, why not?
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Mr. Masks writes:
Wait, if I recall, in this episode Moriarty tricked the crew into thinking they were in Real-life when actually the whole ship was in a holodeck program. Am I right on this, or am I confusing this with another episode?
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opermonkey writes:
Was this not the episode where the hologram took over the ship? 'He' could have told the computer to replicate the paper and writing utensil instead of making it out of photons and forcefields.
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Wolf writes:
Information is given in several places that explains this away, including the Star Trek: TNG Technical Manual. At the time that the book was written, this episode had not yet been created, so there is nothing wrong with what happened. Also, the book and the paper are rather different. The book was from a bogus library, and it's quite likely that it didn't even contain any text, as the probability of a completely fake book containing anything is very slim. In other words, the computer would have no reason to make it real. The paper, on the other hand, is different. It is something that is designed with a high probability of it being used and manipulated by actual people, so it would likely be made real. If you look at it from the standpoint that the only things made real are those that are likely to come in direct contact with player characters, then the logic holds up just fine.
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navygrape writes:
This IS the episode where Moriarty convinces Data and others that they have left the holodeck, but they are in fact still in it. That is how the paper appears to leave the holodeck. Remember Data tosses something to Geordi and he catches it in the wrong hand. This demonstrates that they are actually still on the holodeck. Also, I wanted to add that photons are the same things as subatomic particles.
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tomgreen writes:
How bout the time Wes fell into the stream, got wet, walked off the holodeck....... and was still drenched
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Steven writes:
The reason the paper did not dissolve was because Moriarty had turned all computer controls to the holodeck.
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Steven writes:
Moriarty had already altered the holodeck so that is why the paper did not disappear when Data stepped out of the holodeck
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junglebum writes:
Fellow people! "items" created or made in the holodecks cannot leave the holodecks. ie: if you did'nt take it in with you , you can't take it out. What is even more amazing about the drawn picture in Giordi's hands is that for "us" (the audiance) to see the drawing correctly, Giordi was looking at it upside down and backwards....look at how he unfolds the paper.
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Kluginator writes:
First of all; get your episodes right people. There are two episodes Professor Moriarty appeared in ; "Elementary, Dear Data" was the first appearance and has the drawing of the enterprise mentioned in the other posts. The second appearance was an episode entitled "Ship in a Bottle" was the one where he trapped Picard, Data, and Barclay in a holographic recreation of the Enterprise and appeared to walk off of the holodeck. This was also the episode where Picard demonstrated the tossing of the book out the holodeck door.
15 of 6576 found this helpful. Did you? Yes

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