I got an old oscilloscope a few years ago because I work on antique guitar amps, and because I didn’t realize how it would freaking ruin my appreciation of science fiction.
The trouble began when I watched Silent Running and saw that my exact model of oscilloscope was in use on the bridge of the Valley Forge, as a sensor to detect distant spacecraft.
I have been unable to use this feature on mine. There is no combination of settings that seems to detect spacecraft at any distance. Hell with you, Silent Running.
Over time, through other movies and TV episodes, I learned that my oscilloscope’s capabilities also include alien language translation, tractor-beaming, and scanning for life forms.
Needless to say, if I can’t detect spaceships, I’m not going to have any aliens to talk to whose space-gibberish needs translating. No combination of settings seems to emit tractor beams. The bushes outside could be rustling with ninjas for all I can tell, scanwise.
Plus, if that life-form-scanning function even worked, how would I know it wasn’t detecting me, earthworms, or even airborne bacteria? You might as well have a device in your home to detect atmospheric nitrogen (or gravity).
So long story short, yesterday I attempted to watch the first episode of Space:1999 only to find Barbara Bain (as Dr. Helena Russell) using my very oscilloscope to detect abnormal brainwave activity among the personnel of Moonbase Alpha.
I’m going to assume without even checking the knob settings and output jacks that this represents YET ONE MORE FRAUD perpetrated upon the science-fiction community by the oscilloscope lobby.
[PS: If the vid doesn't start at 1:20, advance the slider-thingy. KTHX! -Steiner]