Quotes / Techno Babble

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    Audio Plays 

(slurring) Oh, Eleanor. All these years, whenever you or Paul asked me, 'What's that?' or 'How do we get through this black hole?' or whatever, I just said the first thing that popped into my a head. 'A cloud of neutrino-charged ions', or 'we must synthrovert the station's gravitic stream stabilizers', or 'stick a ring of satellites around the moon'—it was all rubbish... I've barely been sober in twenty years. I can't remember the first thing about space science.
Prof. Ivor Fassbender, Big Finish Doctor Who (Bang-Bang-A-Boom!)

Jacobi: So... What do you do?
Maxwell: Oh, I uh... I do machine computational thought experiments and hyperconductive artificial nervous design.
Jacobi: ...I'm gonna ask you that again, and we're gonna try that one more time, okay?
Maxwell: Okay!
Jacobi: So! (clears throat) Alana Maxwell! What do you do?
Maxwell: I do cool stuff with robots! You?
Jacobi: I make very big things blow up!
Wolf 359, "Brave New World"

    Comic Books 

Technician 1: Ready to begin speaking in technobabble, sir.
Technician 2: Oh, Shut up, it's just us. Turn it on!

I bet I just need to calculate the relative orbits of Argo and Earth. Then, if I can fly high enough to make it into orbit, I can probably use the gravitational forces of this planet to slingshot me back into quasi-space! It's foolproof!

    Fan Works 

Doctor Akagi was deep into some lecture about the Angel. Shinji tried to listen, hoping she'd offer something to give him hope, but the advanced mathematical diagrams and jargon-laden explanation went mostly past him. The Angel was three nanometers thick? Inverted AT-Field? Imaginary space? The floating sphere was its five-dimensional shadow? What the Hell was a 'Sea of Dirac'? He shook his head.
Shinji, Advice and Trust

It was for moments like this that Anna had spent endless minutes strapped into Brain chairs at the Space Academy. She leapt to her feet. "Adjust the interspacial temporal effectance frequency to a non-covariant ratio immediately! Set the port parallel thrusters to interlinked harmonistic bursts! Broadcast our space/time index on a rotating subspace transmodulation! Dump the linear convection fluid from the hyper-xoduliser's primary core! Bring the secondary astrogation sensors out of their cryogenic storage tubes and deploy them to a quasametric spread! Raise the gravity repellence shields to a nonuple setting of 9.7835 megacomputations!"
Tom was still trying to decypher all this garbage when they slammed into the planet's surface.

"Yes, definitely held up by wantum superstrings," babbled Johnny. "I'd postulate a Handwavium Drive generating a Flangium Field of pure Gaffleblab suspended in Piller Filler, drawing its power from a cubic foot of Buzzwordium__"
"You're just making that shit up, aren't you?" snapped Constance.
Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space

'Twas quantum, and the gravitons
Did flux and fracture out of phase
All temp'ral were the chronitons
As the verterons decayed.
Babbletechy, with apologises to Lewis Carroll.

She held her breath to dull the pain, and for the second day there was light, oh so much light, and she heard the technicians babbling their coded language of feedback loops and neural connections and the Eva went dark, overwhelmed.

"My Implausible Translator doesn't do technobabble!"
Commander Willing Piker, Sev Trek: Pus in Boots

Slinging B'Elanna's unconscious body over her shoulder, Seven climbed the ladder to the next level to escape the slowly rising flood of technobabble.
No Ordinary Spoof

    Film — Live-action 

Lucius Fox: I analysed your blood. Isolated the receptor compounds and the protein-based catalyst.
Bruce Wayne: Was I supposed to understand any of that?
Fox: Not at all. I just wanted you to understand how hard it was.

Rogers: Does Loki need any particular kind of power source?
Banner: He'd have to heat the cube to 120,000,000 Kelvin just to break through the Coulomb barrier.
Stark: Unless Selvig has figured out how to stabilize the quantum tunneling effect.
Banner: Well, if he could do that, he could achieve heavy-ion fusion at any reactor on the planet.
Stark: Finally! Someone who speaks English.
Rogers: [mumbling to himself] Is that what just happened?


Yuki Nagato: A localized, non-corrosive amalgamation of asynchronous space is independently occurring in restricted condition mode.
Kyon: It almost sounds like you're flipping through a dictionary, pulling out words at random.

"Explain all that," said the Mock Turtle.
"No, no! the adventures first," said the Gryphon in an impatient tone; "explanations take such a dreadful time.

Let's work with a stationary luxagen, to keep things simple. Then its energy-momentum vector points straight into our future. Suppose the luxagen field has a leftor of Up; its rightor will be the same, because Up divided by Up is Future. Suppose we rotate this luxagen in the horizontal plane: the North-East plane. Any such rotation will come from multiplying on the left and dividing on the right by a vector in the Future-Up plane—which will move our leftor and rightor from Up to some new position in the Future-Up plane. But the Future-Up plane is one we're treating as a single complex number, so if the luxagen field remains within that plane, it hasn't really undergone any physical change. And if you can rotate a luxagen in the horizontal plane without changing it, it must be vertically polarized.
Carla, Orthogonal

Gauss: Here we are, she vanished from here did she not? Ah yes, the site of an earlier bombing, that is very important. It allows us to use recursive analysis you see, with an asymptotic expansion to truncate the series. Now, any real number is said to be computable when there is a computable sequence converges effectively to it. So, with the abduction taking place at the same point as the bombing, we have our convergence point. This is very fortunate for a coincidence of position between these two coordinates allows us to modulate any desired level of accuracy. You follow me so far?
Lemuel: [lying] I follow you, yes.
Gauss: Well, you will understand than that a recursive natural number has an inherent error function that indicates exactly how far through the sequence of data we must progress in order to guarantee that the sequence has converged with the desired level of precision. Now, all the bombings over the last few weeks give us an exemplary data set. I assume that you realize that any real number which happens to be rational is, on this definition, straightforwardly computable, but not every computable real number need be rational? And from this it follows naturally that by plotting the positions of the bombings, we can calculate the convergence point at which the command facility must be located.
Lemuel: [trying not to look dazed] Of course.
Gauss: Very well then. Intuitively, a real number is computable if it can be approximated to an arbitrary degree of accuracy by an algorithmic method. By doing so, we create a series of paralexic synchronizations that define the intersection of the calculus and geometry of the statistical universe. Within those amphibolic subluxations, the set of all computable real and definable locations are intimately related to a set of rational conclusions that are, of course only denumerably infinite, while the set of all real locations is uncountably infinite. Since all real locations are either computable or noncomputable, this means that 'most' locations are noncomputable and can therefore be discarded from the calculations. Thus, eliminating the noncomputable from the denumerably infinite, we are left with only the computably rational. In fact, as is always the case with such non-metachorindal data sets, there is only one possible location that fits both the statistical universe and the paralexic homeomorphism. The young angel must, mathematically, be here. *points to spot on map*
Michael: Right, now we can get moving. Lemuel, go to the Headquarters of the League of Holy Court and assemble a strike team. *waits until Lemuel is gone* Johann, I've got to ask. How much of that little speech made any kind of sense?
Gauss: Michael-lan, it wasn't just nonsense, it was demented nonsense. It sounded good though, yes?
The Salvation War: Pantheocide

    Live-action TV 

Character: Switch the system over to analog!
Mike: It has a warmer sound!

Doctor: Looks like a spatio-temporal hyperlink.
Mickey: What's that?
Doctor: No idea, just made it up. Didn't want to say "Magic Door."
Doctor Who, "The Girl in the Fireplace"

It's my timey-wimey detector. It goes "ding" when there's stuff.
The Doctor, Doctor Who, "Blink"

Gwen: So what's that supposed to do?
Jack: I'm using satellite tracking data to determine the intra-trajectory of the meteorite.
Toshiko: He means he's trying to find out where it's come from.
Jack: Hey! Sometimes a little technobabble is good for the soul.
Torchwood, "Day One"

Neeyala: We were regaining dimensionality when our ships collided and must've been subjected to a massive burst of photonic distortion. Once the phaztillon generator is repaired, we'll dose ourselves and hope your living ship doesn't interfere with the non-thermal dimensional forces.
Aeryn: Do you understand any of those words?
John: : Yeah, I watched all kinds of Star Trek, it's just the order that they're in.
Farscape, "Could'a, Would'a, Should'a"

"One more word of technobabble out of you and I'm gonna cut out your tongue!"
John Crichton, Farscape, "Coup by Clam"

Still chasing your own tail? Picard and his lackeys would have solved all this techno-babble hours ago. No wonder you're not commanding a starship.
Q to Sisko, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - "Q-Less"

Chief O'Brien: Maybe there's a pointer fault in the holosuite's parameter file.
Cicci: [to Frankie Eyes] What's a hollosweets?
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang"

Major Kira: Perimeter sensors are picking up a subspace oszillation. ...The hell does that mean?
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "If Wishes Were Horses"

EMH-II: "The secondary gyrodyne relays of the propulsion field intermatrix have depolarized"!
Doctor: In ENGLISH!
EMH-II: I am just reading what it says here!
Star Trek: Voyager, "Message In A Bottle" (starting its later-season habit of poking fun at its own cliches)

Riker: Okay, Morta. The Enterprise computer system is controlled by three primary main processing cores, cross-linked with a redundant melacortz ramistat. Fourteen kiloquad interface modules. The core element is based on an FTL nanoprocessor with twenty five bilateral kelilactirals, with twenty of those being slaved into the primary heisenfram terminal. Now you do know what a bilateral kelilactiral is?
Morta: Well, of course I do, human. I am not stupid.
Riker: No, of course not. This is the isopalavial interface which controls the main firomactal drive unit. Don't touch that. You'll blow up the entire firomactal drive.
Morta: What? Wait. What is a firomactal drive? Just explain it to me.
Riker: That is the firomactal drive unit. It controls the ramistat core and also keeps the ontarian manifold at forty thousand KRGs.
William T. Riker, bullshitting a member of an enemy boarding party, Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Rascals"

Samantha Carter: For some reason, the warping of our space-time is in advance of the gravity field rather than as a result of it. It's probably a lensing effect of the stargate itself, but I can't be sure.
Colonel Cromwell: (to Jack O'Neill, who's nodding) Don't even pretend you understand that.
— "A Matter of Time", Stargate SG-1

No 'if'! I want a definitive answer, no more of your weaselly technobabble!

Rayyan: Looks like a nasty sprain.
Fatima: You don't have to dumb it down for me. I came for your medical opinion.
Rayyan: You vitiated your anterior cruciate ligament.
Fatima: Oh no... What does that mean?
Rayyan: Looks like a nasty sprain.
Little Mosque on the Prairie, "Swimming Upstream"


Bounce the graviton particle beam off the main deflector dish
That's the way we do things lad, we're making shit up as we wish
The Klingons and the Romulans pose no threat to us
Because if we find we're in a bind, we'll just make some shit up
Voltaire, "The USS Make Shit Up"

    Stand-up Comedy 

Doctor: Now, it looks like the proto-anodysing discorporators have short circuited the molecular quark overload.
Companion: Is that difficult to fix?
Doctor: No, but it's very difficult to say!

    Tabletop Games 

A minor but annoying personality quirk makes you incapable of carrying on a conversation without employing verbose and obtrusive discourse. No matter how simple the subject might be, you must fill it with compulsory metaphraseology, obfuscationatory terminology and counterintuitive newspeak. Jeez, learn to talk normal for cryin' out loud!
—The Technobabbler flaw, Mage: The Ascension - Guide To The Technocracy

    Video Games 

I once saw one take out a squadron of Romulan warbirds by creating a subspace inversion field and then detonating a charged particle burst. Least, that was what my science officer said she did.
Captain Bronok Zell, Star Trek Online Foundry mission "Bait and Switch"

Kenneth: I won't bore you with the tech, but there is an array of attenuators in the primary power transfer system that channels the field bleed...
Gabby: Kenneth, you're boring the commander with tech.

Knuckles: Still, how does a plank like that just float?
Tails: That's easy to explain! According to the Kutta-Joukowski Lift Theorem, the control surface flow is balanced by the inverse kinetics of the-
Knuckles: STOP!!! I get it, OK? It just floats and that's good enough for me!


Fighter: What you've got here is your basic system total failure. The upper support rig is three degrees out of nominal operation range. Just right out of it. Your L Beam is cracked in at least three places. I wouldn't attempt impulse speeds with that kind of damage. On the subject of propulsion, the anti matter regulator is coughing up a lung. If you have any interest in not being vaporized, don't switch it on till we can replace the unit. The entire GN/DN tube network is shot.
Thief: Not the tubes!
Fighter: They may as well be for decoration at this point.
Thief: Damn it all. Is that all?
Fighter: It's the best list I can work without running a level 3 diagnostic.
Thief: Where do you suggest we start?
(Beat Panel)
Fighter: First, it'd be nice if we knew what any of this stuff meant or did.

Bob: You really can't fix it?
Galatea: Impossible! I've quantum destabilized the blah blah blah yakkedy shmackedy blah blah polarity of the neutron flow!

    Web Original 

Nova: You're a worthy adversary, Misho. But even you could not anticipate that I would invert the photon charge of the deflector array... ... AGAIN.

Not even Patrick Stewart knows what's going on, and he's usually hip-deep in this bullshit.
Cracked, on Dune (1984)

It's a kind of catalyst for a self-sustaining endothermic reaction...' is about as profound as the dialogue gets here. 'Although multi-dimensionality suggests infinite outcomes in an infinite number of universe each universe can produce only one outcome...' Duchovny can barely get that line out. You can see he’s thinking 'this is shit/this is shit/this is shit...'
Joe Ford on The X-Files, "Synchrony"

Chris: This episode is titled 'Scion,' and we’ve been … anticipating it for a few weeks. It features the introduction into the Smallville universe of Conner Kent, Superboy... we find out his name is Conner because he’s a “Cognitional Neuroplastic Replicant,” or CNR. I don’t want to say that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard because we’re only 7 minutes into the episode, but it’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.
David: That was admittedly insanely dumb. You couldn’t have come up with ANYTHING else? Because I’m pretty sure none of those are words that mean anything when put together in that order. Like, how is he neuroplastic?
— Chris Sims and David Uzumeri on Smallville ("Scion")

I would like to pause here and list, just as a casual bit of name-dropping, a brief list of authors that I have read at length and understood: Jacques Derrida, Aleister Crowley, Iain Sinclair, William Blake, Jacques Lacan, Gertrude Stein, Immanuel Kant, William Faulkner. I say all of this at the risk of sounding as though I am simply showing off my erudition for the sake of it because I would like to provide adequate context for this next claim. The sentence I am about to quote is one of the most spectacularly incoherent things I have ever read.

"Eternity and Infinity, as concepts, do not, by their very nature, allow for an absolute Authority - the Pyramidical Hierarchy stretches through Time and Space and can have no apex."
Dr. Phil Sandifer on the pitch for Doctor Who's "Key to Time" saga

It's got a real fetish for acronyms and pseudo-scientific technobabble. Everyone has everything to say about anything. You can click on, just... a couch, and hear this meticulous explanation about it's this Super-Fancy-Chao-Space Couch with sleep sensors wired to the room and individually turned to the couch user—it's ridiculous.

Gene Latimer is one of the central pushers of tachyon products and practices in the US. That’s right. Tachyon energy. According to his website, Tachyon energy products, Latimer has “clearly entered a new phase of accelerated healing and transformation, unlike any other so far... I attribute a major role to my incorporation of Tachyon-based products and practices into my life. I am now living in a radically different electromagnetic field environment that appears to be harmonizing the chaotic impact of electrical Alternating Current on the life forms in my house. I seem to be literally changing my body from the inside out, bringing my glands, organs, and skeletal structure to a whole new level of health and vitality. The Subtle Organizing Energy Field (SOEF) of my body, as well as the smaller SOEFs of my internal systems, are being recharged, their energetic deficiencies replenished and balanced – which leads to the revitalization and balancing of my physical and energetic structures.” Anyone bet that he has the faintest clue what he’s talking about?...In the real world there is of course no evidence that tachyon energy exists, though woomeisters like Latimer, relying on the new age conception of energy are of course talking about good old vitalism, chi, and so on, by any other name.

"The early attempts to construct a sufficiently robust spiral decommutator failed largely because of lack of appreciation of the large quasi-pietic stresses in the gremlin studs; the latter were specially designed to hold the roffit bars to the spamshaft. When, however, it was discovered that wending could be prevented by the simple addition of teeth to socket, almost perfect running was secured.
The operating point is maintained as near as possible to the HF rem peak by constantly fromaging the bituminous spandrels. This is a distinct advance on the standard nivelsheave in that no drammock oil is required after the phase detractors have remissed."
— Description of the fictional Turboencabulator

"We call it explodium. Because that's what it does. Explode, I mean. It's, we don't know anything else about it, because we can't really study it. We don't know what combines to make it, the, um, the exact combination of atomic particles, or what chemical reactions would combine to create this, uh, the technical term is 'stuff', because we haven't exactly locked down, look it doesn't matter. The fact is it just doesn't occur naturally, and we can't really lock down how to create it artificially except, well, for the obvious. Um, we would, of course, would really like to study it except for... well, it explodes. I mentioned that before, right? It explodes. That's, um, that's all it does, and it does that in every potential situation we've tested for. It reacts with, well, with everything, we haven't managed to find anything it's neutral with at all, and of course that means it reacts to itself and, um, we uh, we're fairly sure that, based on the results of this one test where, yes, where it exploded like, like it always does.... even if it's just one atom of explodium contained in a vacuum with, um, with literally nothing at all to react with, it still reacts. Explosively. We're, um, we haven't determined, that is to say, whether it's reacting to 'nothing' or if what it's reacting to is 'the absence of something to react with', and, um, there's sort of a big argument going on currently about whether there's actually any difference between the two.

What, um, what I'm trying to say sir is that... look, we're all aware that we're sort of under contract here to provide explanations to the public about, um, about how basically all of this works, and, well the thing is sir that we haven't got the slightest idea about how stuff turns into explodium. No idea sir. Just, it's an entire team of elite scientists, and we're sort of just left scratching our heads because we haven't found so much as a way to even.... what I'm saying, sir, is that we're going to have to hire a really good public speaker to work a particularly fat sack of bull feces into the official line, here. Yes, sir. Yes, I understand. Yes. 'Meltdowner', sir. No, I didn't pick the name, sir. I'm afraid I don't know who did, sir. Yes. Yes, thank you. Um, I'll get right on it, sir."
Chibi-Reaper, providing a possible explanation for why a particularly nonsensical bit of Techno Babble might be explicable in Watsonian terms.

    Web Video 

Oh, Quantum, holy Quantum... You who watch over our plots and provide us with miracles on a semiregular basis, bless this plan; that you may somehow give us a duplicate ship with a duplicate crew that can wind up back in the past to create this settlement. I know this one is a doozy, but give us this blessing, and we'll celebrate with many tachyons in your name. Amen.
SF Debris on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Children of Time"

Okay, I didn't understand a word of it... so it must be scientifically accurate!

Maya: (talking very fast) Hold on! I detect an exponential increase in photon energy levels!
Misato: Say that again?
Makoto: She said the photonic energy levels are rising.
EvAbridged 3.0 Rei is (not) Pleased

    Western Animation 

Activate the supersonic deccelarating contrarotating turbines vertically, we're getting a little too close to the Sun. Depress the aerothermic thermoreceptors! Accelerate the isothermal axio tractor beam value of parametres! Invert the compressor radio ratio. Energize the tandem of elerons vertically while I turn up this interplanetary microphone.
Joker, Batman, though probably a Mondegreen

Fry: Usually on the show, they came up with a complicated plan, then explained it with a simple analogy.
Leela: Hmmm... If we can re-route engine power through the primary weapons and configure them to Melllvar's frequency, that should overload his electro-quantum structure.
Bender: Like putting too much air in a balloon!
Fry: Of course! It's all so simple!
Futurama, "Where No Fan Has Gone Before"

Fry: Bender?! What happened to you?
Bender: I'll try to put it in terms you can comprehend. I passed the existential singularity.
Fry: Try harder!
Futurama, "Overclockwise"

Attila the Hun: Stop! Don't shoot fire stick in space canoe! Cause explosive decompression!
Zapp Brannigan: Spare me your space age technobabble, Attila the Hun!
Futurama, "Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch"

The Flash: How are we supposed to get in again?
Lex Luthor: Multi-frequency band encryption analyzer replicator pack.
Flash: Some of us don't speak Star Trek.
Lex: Think of it as a fancy garage door opener.

Lt. Regurge: If we manoeuvre around the Makular ship while firing simultaneous blasts of UV radiation and enhanced zeno-treknoan beams, we should take out the pustular emitters and disable their Disbelief Suspension field!
[Captain Pinchhard beckons Commander Piker closer]
Pinchhard: [quietly] I didn't understand a word of that.
Piker: [enthusiastically] Sounds good to me!
Sev Trek: Pus in Boots

    Real Life 

I was literally writing 'Science, science, science' in the dialogue and going back to fill in the proper wording later.
Joss Whedon, on making The Avengers

Playing Doctor Who came as a great surprise to me. I had no idea that I would enjoy it so much. All that was required of me was to be able to speak complete gobbledygook with conviction.

I remember Terry telling me in the bar one time, that whenever he got letters from people complaining about scientific inaccuracies, he would just send back this standard letter, which would say, “you will be aware of the formula XYZ to the power of 17...” He said it was all total bullshit and he didn't know what it meant, but he would just bung it off and they loved it!
— Interview with Chris Boucher

(ship shakes) If we go any further, we may not be able to escape before the—! Th-th-th...? ...We get all fucked up!!
Bill Mumy, Babylon 5 gag reel

It might as well be Shakespeare. It's so highly stylized. To be able to spin that language out and make it accessible to the audience at large is a gift not a lot of actors have.
Kate Mulgrew, The Captains

It is hard to memorize lines that make you nauseous, but Pepto-Bismo really helped.
Robert Beltran on his Star Trek: Voyager experience

From the top down, you bring up this point, and everybody will say, ‘I am the biggest opponent of techno-babble. I hate technobabble. I am the one who is always saying, less technobabble.’ They all say that. None of them do it... The audience doesn’t sit there and go, "God damn, they know science. That is really cool. Look how they figured that out. Hey Edna! Come here. You want to see how Chakotay is going to figure this out. He’s onto this thing with the quantum tech particles; it’s really interesting. I don’t know how he is going to do it, but he is going to reroute something. Oh my God, he found the anti-protons!" Who cares? Nobody watches Star Trek for those scenes. The actors hate those scenes; the directors hate those scenes; and the writers hate those scenes. But it’s the easiest card to go to.
Ronald D. Moore on Star Trek: Voyager