back to article Captain Kirk hails space shuttle Discovery

The crew of space shuttle Discovery were roused from their slumbers this morning by the theme from Star Trek and a special message from actor William Shatner. To the backing of Alexander Courage’s famous tune, Shatner declared: “Space, the final frontier. These have been the voyages of the Space Shuttle Discovery. Her 30-year …


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  1. F111F

    Split Infinitive (sic)

    After all these years, you STILL won't give on that? For once, just go with the common usage, will you?

    Icon is for The Reg...

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Split Infinitive (sic)

      Nothing to do with me - please direct pedantry gripes at the El Reg subs.

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    4. Robot

      Actually, the best authorities do not condemn the split infinitive

      F111F brings up the interesting issue of split infinitives.

      Both H.W.Fowler, the best known British authority on usage, and Bryan A. Garner, widely regarded as the best living American authority on usage, tell us that split infinitives are permissible in certain situations. In other words, there is agreement on the split infinitive among the best authorities on both sides of the Atlantic, and across generations (Fowler was born in 1858, Garner is still living).

      Invoking Fowler with approval, Garner says:

      “H.W.Fowler divided the English-speaking world into five classes: (1) those who neither know nor care what a split infinitive is; (2) those who do not know but care very much; (3) those who know and condemn; (4) those who know and approve; and (5) those who know and distinguish. It is the last class to which, if we have a good ear, we should aspire.”

      Garner goes on to give a lengthy and incisive analysis of the split infinitive. Interestingly, he deals with the Star Trek split infinitive, under the heading “Justified Splits”. The following is a portion of his discussion (sorry, italics are not preserved in this post, but hopefully it won't be too confusing):

      “A number of infinitives are best split. Perhaps the most famous is from the 1960s television series Star Trek, in which the opening voice-over included this phrase: to boldly go where no man (or, in the revival of the 1980s and 1990s, where no one) has gone before. The phrase sounds inevitable partly because it is so familiar, but also because the adverb most naturally bears the emphasis, not the verb go.

      “And that example is not a rarity. Consider: She expects to more than double her profits next year. We cannot merely move the adverbial phrase in that sentence—to “fix” the split, we would have to eliminate the infinitive, as by writing She expects that her profits will more than double next year, thereby giving the sentence a difference nuance. (The woman seems less responsible for the increase.)

      “Again, though, knowing when to split an infinitive requires a good ear and a keen eye. Otherwise, the ability to distinguish—the ability Fowler mentioned—is not attainable. “To flatly state,” for example, suggests something different from “to state flatly.”

  2. stucs201

    Nice, but...

    ...would have been even more appropriate if they'd got Enterprise into orbit.

    (Go? Boldly of course)

    1. Highlander

      Sadly the *real* Enterprise is grounded

      The Real Space Shuttle Enterprise was only used for the Earth based glide tests of the shuttle. She was never space worthy, and now has pride of place at the Smithsonian. The Enterprise may never have entered orbit, but she did visit the launch pad before any other shuttle, and did more to forge the path for the shuttle missions than anything else.

      It might be nice though, if Endeavour was re-names Enterprise prior to her final mission. Somehow though, I doubt that will happen.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Enterprise would have gone to orbit...

      if trekkies would have been quieter and read what the first Shuttle was going to be used for. They were told the first one would have not gone to space. They could have had an Enterprise later, one that was space rated, actually. Even the Big E was not the first of its class, it was a Yorktown-class carrier... as the finctional ships are "Constitution" and "Yamato" class. But with some fans you can't really discuss, they don't listen...

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        ST:NG Enterprise-B, C and E not lead ships

        NCC1701-B was an Excelsior (updated) class,

        NCC1701-C was an Ambassador class,


        NCC1701-E was a Sovereign class.

        Only the NX-01 (ST:E) was the lead ship of it's class.

        Anorak please. Yes, with the Star Trek patches sown on the left breast.

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge


          I've just re-read my post, and it's odd.

          I've written about fictional things, set in the future, but described them in the past tense!

          It seemed right at the time, but it looks feels funny now. I think the common oxymoron is "a future history".

  3. Shakje


    can William Shatner be referred to as an "actor"? As in: a special message from "actor" William Shatner. I think it's more accurate.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      can William Shatner be referred to as an "actor"?

      Why? Do you think Captain Kirk is "real"?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Wow! Just wow!

        That would be a wake up call like no other.

    3. Elmer Phud


      The crew have had a narrow escape - he could have 'read' something to them.

      Old Bill is, of course, a Vogon in disguise. There is no other possible explanation for the 'poetry' that can cause others to rip off thier own ears.

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

        But that's not as bad

        as the Azgoths of Kria, or Paul Neil Milne Johnstone from Earth.

    4. Naughtyhorse

      2 Words

      Denny Crane

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Denny Crane

        I'm looking forward to using Denny Crane as a role model in my old age. I just need to need to become very wealthy first.

    5. Highlander

      You know, The shanter not being an actor jokes got old a long time ago..

      and as someone else already said, 2 words....Denny Crane.

      If you know anything about Shatner in terms of who and what he *really* is, you might find yourself hoping you can be as he is at his age. the man has an infections joy for life, and is as straight a shooter as you'll ever meet. No guile or obfuscation, just direct, and open, always. Between his character Denny Crane from Boston Legal, and his own real personality, he is a far more humble and real person than you'd ever suspect.

      Ironically, he'd probably put scare quotes around the word "actor" too, and then grin about it.

    6. Anonymous Coward

      Shatner's Actor Status

      Comments like these regularly appear all over the net disparaging Shatner, presumably under the assumption that he is just some guy who got lucky with Star Trek and milked it ever since, or some other such rubbish.

      For many, many years before Star Trek he spent the first part of his life living in bedsits eating tins of beans and working as a proper stage actor. A new play every week. Understudy roles and leading man, working with the stage greats of his time. Very highly regarded, learned most of Shakespeare word for word before performances, and struggled penniless to get to the point of being involved with television.

      For a long time he turned down tv roles, including series leads, because he felt it would cheapen his status as a professional stage actor (another actor eventually persuaded him otherwise).

      In other words, do some research before insulting a professional.

  4. Darkwolf


    ..would have been more appropriate if it had been Enterprise.

    To bad it never got used on anything other then tests.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Was to have been upgraded to spaceworthiness but she differed in construction from the first true orbiter Columbia. It was uneconomic to bring her up to specification, so instead the second testbed, Challenger, which was comparable to Columbia was brought to full specification after she had finished stress tests.

  5. g e


    Fair winds & Following Seas ???

    Not Fair Seas & Following Winds?

    1. Steven Davison

      Hmm, actually...

      I don't think such a phrase as 'following winds' is valid...

      gives a explanation of the phrase :)

      1. MeRp

        to the contrary...

        After reading the description of what a following sea is, it seems to me that, for a space shuttle, which goes at supersonic speeds, the wind is rather likely to be following it at times.... and, in general, fair seas are a nice thing for most space travel thus far (though that part isn't really applicable to the space shuttle).

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Space is hard to do, innit?

    Wake me up when we got so far that Parker and Brett can routinely arse around on the lower decks.

  7. Graham Bartlett

    Old Bill isn't a sailor then

    Following seas are not generally what you want on a boat, on account of how boats are designed for waves to hit them from the front. Having waves hitting them from the back (which is what a "following sea" is) is generally a bad thing. It's called "getting pooped", initially because the high deck at the back where the steering wheel lives was called the "poop deck", but now because it's what happens to your underpants when it's happening.

  8. asiwko

    Leave Her Up There?

    Any reason we shouldn't leave the shuttles up there docked with the station?

    Send them up one last time with one time use reentry vehicles for the returning crew?

    I know they'll look great on display at the Children's Museum, but is that the best use?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Nah, they have to bring Discovery back

      Otherwise how are they going to install HAL in time for the trip to Jupiter?

      1. chr0m4t1c

        Wrong ship

        HAL wasn't installed on a shuttle.

        I'm just wondering if I've missed something - have we already lost Ranger Three and Buck or not?

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