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07 Hexadecimal stardates, ten year centuries and other rubbish




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This article is from the Stardates in Star Trek FAQ, by Andrew Main zefram@dcs.warwick.ac.uk with numerous contributions by others.

07 Hexadecimal stardates, ten year centuries and other rubbish

It has been suggested, in jest, that stardates are actually hexadecimal, and
that it is merely coincidence that only decimal digits have been heard so far.
This is worth mentioning, in order to point out that this FAQ proceeds on the
basis that all stardates are specified in decimal.

It is interesting to note, however, that the distribution of digits is far
from uniform. A canonical stardate ending in ".8" is a real rarity, though
not totally unknown. The distribution of single decimal digit fractional
parts, according to the most up-to-date episode list I can get at the time of
writing, is thus:

     Digit  Occurrences  Proportion
         0            8       2.34%
         1           54      15.79%
         2           73      21.34%
         3           58      16.96%
         4           48      14.04%
         5           34       9.94%
         6           17       4.97%
         7           28       8.19%
         8            6       1.75%
         9           16       4.68%
     Total          342     100.00%

It used to be widely stated that the first digit of ST:TNG stardates was 4
because it was set in the 24th century. Obviously, this idea can have no
place in a proper theory, because it would make each century ten years long.
It is, however, the way this digit was decided initially for ST:TNG. The
Voyager episode "Basics, Part II" finally canonically laid this bit of bunkum
to rest, when it announced a stardate of 50032.7, while remaining firmly in
the 24th century (2373 to be precise).

 

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