Q

Q

In the Star Trek universe, “Q” is the Federation’s designation for an impudent, self-superior and sometimes malevolent being from the otherwise mysterious Q Continuum.  Beginning in 2364, the alien literally began to pop up in Federation space to tease, torment, and try Starfleet officers.  His interest seemed particularly focused on the U.S.S. Enterprise’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard.  Q has the capability of instantaneous travel throughout space and time, within this dimension and perhaps others.  He claims to have an Intelligence Quotient of 2,005 and to be ageless.  Usually taking the form of a human male, Q is known to have confronted the El-Aurian native Guinan around 2166, a century before the Borg scattered her people and over 250 years after she first encountered Captain Picard and his crew when they were time-traveling in old San Francisco.  Q and Guinan consider each other enemies.

He first came in contact with the mainstream Federation when he appeared on the starship Enterprise as it attempted to advance within the galaxy.  Holding a mock trial, Q charged Humanity with being a “grievously savage race.”  Later that year, with the Continuum intrigued by humans, Q tried to tempt Picard’s first officer Will Riker with Q powers so the Continuum would have a human to study.  Losing a bet with Picard that Riker would accept them, Q had to promise he’d leave humans alone.  The alien was recalled home then cast out for that incident.  Wandering the galaxy, a bored Q offered to renounce his powers and sign on as a “guide” through the unknown upon reappearing in 2366.  Picard’s refusal angered him into hurling the ship 7,000 light-years beyond explored space into the initial confrontation with the Borg, where the U.S.S. Enterprise escaped only with his help.  Because of such ongoing meddling, Q was reportedly stripped of all his powers by the Continuum and banned again circa Stardate 43539, choosing human form in refuge aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise to hide out from all his enemies.  But after selflessly offering himself to the Calamarain to save the starship, his powers were restored.  Q returned one Earth-year later, claiming to still harbor guilt over the unreturned gratitude while arriving unannounced amid a personal matter involving a romantic affair. To apparently learn more about this new vulnerability in Picard, he placed the couple and the ship’s senior staff in a Sherwood Forest reality as the legendary Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and the Merry Men — with himself as the Sheriff of Nottingham.  Q has called 24th century Earth a “dreary place” and “mind-numbingly dull,” preferring the eras of the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and Watergate.

Q’s personality includes attempts to intimidate those he meets with rapid changes in costume.  In his encounters with the Enterprise, he has chosen outfits that are mostly from Earth history: an Elizabethan naval captain, a World War II-era U.S. Marine general, a post-nuclear Holocaust drug soldier and judge, a Napoleonic French marshal, a monk, an angel, a deaf elderly man, a Starfleet commander, a Starfleet admiral, and eventually preferring a simple contemporary Starfleet captain’s tunic.  Though supposedly bereft of human failings such as emotion, Q has shown an occasional romantic inclination — especially with Vash.  His emotional outbursts have included jealousy and petty tantrums, even smaller in scope than the forced Borg encounter.  His childish behavior is reminiscent of another member of the Q Continuum, who appeared in the original Star Trek series in the episode “The Squire of Gothos”: Trelane.

 

Q continuum

A super-race in the Star Trek universe, capable of changing matter to energy and suspending time, existing in a continuum of the limitless dimensions.  The race is said to be not omnipotent, but in their evolution, have sacrificed their mortality, sense of purpose, desire for change and capacity for growth.  Despite their advanced nature, the Q at times have practiced capital punishment and life imprisonment, especially to punish those who would dare to leave the Continuum.  The issue of suicide, viewed as an interruption of their existence, prompted a civil war between the more liberal and staunch Qs, seen as a series of galaxy-wide supernova bursts in 2372.  One of their kind, dubbed simply “Q,” has several times been an intruder amid human affairs, providing taunts and so-called tests especially for the Starfleet crews of Jean-Luc Picard and Kathryn Janeway.  His visits have changed the Q’s perception of humanity from that of savages to the tamer “unusual creatures” that in time will not be so limited and will, in fact, surpass the Q, thanks to the quality of “human compulsion.”  While visits from the Q are problematic at best, not all are alike.  The El-Aurian Guinan advised Captain Picard, “Some are almost respectable.”

 

Q*bert

Produced by Gottlieb, D., & Co., Q*bert was introduced in 1982.  Q*bert is a bouncing orange character that the player controls.  The purple characters are Q*bert’s enemies: Coily, the spring-like snake; Ugg, the pig-like creature; and Wrong-Way, the sharp-toothed creature who moves upside-down.  The friendly green creatures are named Slick (with the dark glasses) and Sam (with the white bulging eyes).  To play, the player must guide Q*bert so he hops on all the squares of each pyramid and changes their color, all while avoiding the enemies and being careful not to fall off the pyramid.

 

Qam-Chee

According to Klingon legend, the Great Hall of Qam-Chee was the site of Kahless’ greatest victory, where he fended off 500 warriors, near the Ni’Dan ridge.

 

Qo’noS

In their own language, the proper name for the Klingon home planet in the Star Trek universe, which the Federation knows as Kronos.  It is the site of the Imperial Empire’s capital First City.  The planet features one large land mass surrounded by a vast ocean, a severely tilted axis that causes wild seasonal changes, a turbulent atmosphere, and climate extremes of both hot and frigid weather.

 

Quadratic equation

A common algebraic equation, expressed as “ax2 + bx + c= 0,” where a, b and c are numeric values and x is the unknown value.  Solving the equation for x, which is to figure the value of x, is also known as “factoring the equation.”

 

Quagmire, Glenn

One of Peter Griffin’s best friends on the television show Family Guy.  Known to his friends simply as “Quagmire,” he is the Griffins’ neighbor in fictitious Quahog, Rhode Island.  Quagmire is an airplane pilot, but romantic entanglements have, at times, interfered with his performance at work.  He is a well-known sex addict with numerous fetishes and a penchant for muttering or shouting his signature phrase “Giggity!” whenever discussing or even thinking anything sexual.  Despite his faults and quirks, Quagmire is usually a good friend and neighbor to the Griffin family (although by his own admission, he truly dislikes their dog, Brian Griffin).

 

Quake

See Johnson, Daisy.

 

Quake

An action-oriented first-person shooter (FPS) video game developed by id Software and released on June 22, 1996 as a follow-up to Doom.  It is often cited as one of the most influential games in the genre, credited among other things with revolutionizing PC gaming with true 3D graphics and competitive multiplayer gameplay.  Its popularity spawned two official expansion packs (Scourge of Armagon and Dissolution of Eternity), in addition to laying the foundation for an extremely successful franchise.  Though Quake is not a particularly story-driven game, the manual provides a basic setup for the events that transpire, which is noticeably similar to the backstory for the first Doom. While developing teleportation devices known as “slipgates,” a covert organization, presumably under the jurisdiction of the US military, makes contact with a hostile extra-dimensional being, codenamed Quake.  Quake begins using Earth’s own technology against it, teleporting death squads deep inside the human installations which house the slipgates, leading to untold carnage and destruction.

 

Quake Done Quick

A demo run-through of the entire video game Quake, lasting 19 minutes and 49 seconds.

 

Quantum

In physics, the term has two meanings:

  1. The smallest quantity of radiant energy, equal to Planck’s constant multiplied by the frequency of the associated radiation.
  2. The fundamental unit of a quantized physical magnitude, as angular momentum.

 

Quantum gravity

A quantum theory of the gravitational field, specifically a theory which would unify gravity with the other fundamental forces of physics (which are already unified together).

 

Quantum Leap

Theorizing that one could time-travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the project accelerator and vanished.  He awoke to find himself in the past, suffering from partial amnesia and facing a mirror image that was not his own, as his consciousness had been deposited into another person from that timeframe.  Fortunately, contact with his own time was maintained through brainwave transmissions with the project observer, who appeared to Beckett in the form of a hologram that only he could see and hear.  Trapped in the past with no known way back to his own time, Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, putting things right that once went wrong and hoping each time that his next leap would be the leap home.  The 1989-93 NBC sci fi series starred Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell.

 

Quantum mechanics

A branch of physics that deals with the mechanics of atoms, molecules, and other physical systems that are subject to the uncertainty principle, which is the principle that the momentum and position of a particle cannot be precisely determined at the same time.

 

Quantum theory

Theoretical basis of modern physics, which explains the nature and behavior of matter and energy on the atomic and subatomic levels, also known as quantum mechanics.  In 1900, physicist Max Planck presented his quantum theory to the German Physical Society.  He had sought to discover the reason that radiation from a glowing body changes in color from red to orange to blue as its temperature rises.  He found that by making the assumption that energy existed in individual units in the same way that matter does, rather than just as a constant electromagnetic wave (as had been formerly assumed), energy could be seen as quantifiable.  The existence of these units became the first assumption of quantum theory.  Planck wrote a mathematical equation involving a figure to represent these individual units of energy, which he called “quanta.”  The equation explained the phenomenon very well; Planck found that at certain discrete temperature levels, energy from a glowing body will occupy different areas of the color spectrum.  Planck assumed there was a theory yet to emerge from the discovery of quanta, but, in fact, their very existence implied a completely new and fundamental understanding of the laws of nature.  Planck won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his theory in 1918, but developments by various scientists over a thirty-year period all contributed to the modern understanding of quantum theory.

 

Quark

  1. A fundamental theoretical particle in physics, which join together to form hadrons, such as protons and neutrons.
  2. Founded in 1981 and headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Quark (named after the subatomic particle proposed as the building block for all matter) introduced its flagship software QuarkXPress in 1987, with desktop publishing features like typography, layout, and color control. Ten years later, QuarkXPress 4 was released and quickly became the world’s most widely used professional page-layout software.  Quark expanded on its publishing foundation in 1992 with an editorial workflow and collaboration system that connects designers, writers, editors and other contributors to the publishing process.  The 2001 release of an advanced server engine combined high-performance publishing automation with professional design.  Today, Quark Enterprise Solutions works to transform the communications systems of financial services, manufacturing, governmental, and other organizations worldwide, develop new revenue streams, and reduce costs by extending the benefits of advanced technologies across the publishing process.

 

Quark

Created by Buck Henry, this NBC sci fi comedy centered around the crew of a garbage scow spaceship.  The pilot episode aired in May 1977, and seven episodes aired between February and April 1978.  The cast included Richard Benjamin, Conrad Janis and Tim Thomerson.

 

QuarkXPress

The best known of the Quark family of software programs, it is a high-end customizable page layout or desktop publishing software program.

 

Quasar

Shining so brightly that it eclipses the ancient galaxy that contains it, a quasar is a distant object powered by a black hole, which is created by particles accelerated at velocities approaching the speed of light.  Scientists now suspect that each tiny, point-like glimmer is actually a signal from a galactic nucleus that outshines its host galaxy.  Quasars are part of a class of objects known as active galactic nuclei (AGN).

 

Quatermain, Allan

The rifle-toting, native-befriending, treasure-seeking hero of King Solomon‘s Mines and other adventures by H. Rider Haggard was based primarily in Africa, where he struggled to keep a proper Englishman’s stiff upper lip while hunting elephants, battling or befriending Zulus, chasing diamonds, discovering lost civilizations, and facing other thrills and terrors.  Quatermain first appeared in King Solomon’s Mines in 1885, and Haggard brought him back in the novel Allan Quatermain (1887) and many other subsequent stories.  In 1985, Quatermain hit the big screen when Richard Chamberlain appeared in a remake of Solomon’s, and the character appeared in both the 2001 conglomeration-of-heroes graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill, and in the 2003 follow-up film adaptation. Though Haggard’s stories are considered racist, sexist, and otherwise simply inappropriate by some modern readers, Quatermain’s adventure tales still holds a place in literary history, as they had a major influence on such 20th Century masters of derring-do as Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and Hollywood’s Indiana Jones.  Quatermain has been portrayed on film and in television by Cedrick Hardwicke (1937), Stewart Granger (1950), Richard Chamberlain (1985), Sean Connery (2003) and Patrick Swayze (2004).

 

Quaternion

An expression in the form bi cj dk, where a, b, c and are real numbers; 2 2 2 = −1; and ij = −ji = k, jk = −kj = i, and ki = −ik = j.  This expression can describe a four-dimensional vector space, and is used to rotate three-dimensional objects in computer graphics, animation and robotics.

 

Quenya

See Eldarin.

 

Question, The

The man who would become known as Vic Sage was born as Charles Victor Szasz.  He was raised in a Hub City orphanage, where he gained a reputation as a troublemaker.  Due to his behavior and defiant nature, he was frequently beaten by the nuns and victimized by the other children.  When he was old enough, he left the orphanage for college, where he studied journalism.  He found work as a reporter, but was dissatisfied with his life and had trouble controlling his violent tendencies.  Sometime later he met Aristotle Rodor, who helped him channel his anger and aggression into a new, heroic persona: The Question.  The Question espoused a firmly objective standard of ethics.  In his first appearances, Sage had very little backstory, and was often ruthless in his treatment of criminals.

Sage was originally created by Steve Ditko as a minor Charlton Comics hero. When a number of Charlton Comics’ characters were purchased by DC Comics, Sage migrated along with them.  He first appeared in the DC Universe in 1985, and the character was revamped for that universe by Dennis O’Neil and Denys Cowan in 1987, when the character was given his own series. His backstory was heavily expanded upon. The character maintained the philosophical bent that had characterized his early incarnations, but drifted away from Objectivism towards a more Zen-based philosophy.  The Vic Sage of the “The New 52” has received a completely new makeover. He now appears as a supernatural being who is also part of the Trinity of Sin.  His identity is still unknown, as are his powers.  All that is known is that he now talks in mangled speech balloons (much like Watchmen’s Rorschach) and still deals out vigilante justice.

 

QuickBooks

Intuit Inc.’s set of software solutions designed to manage payroll, inventory, sales and other needs of a small business.  Featuring marketing tools and merchant services, each solution is developed according to different industries and their needs.  These software solutions are used to monitor expenses, create invoices and reports, track change orders and job status, manage inventory, and track customers, vendors and employees.  In addition to these industry-specific packages and their corresponding capabilities, Intuit offers add-ons to QuickBooks versions as well as third-party tools that integrate with QuickBooks in order to enhance current functions.

 

Quicken

Debuting in 1983 at the beginning of the personal computer revolution, the popular comprehensive personal finance application now includes features such as a quarterly credit score and easy-to-understand investment reporting, as well as mobile apps for Android, iPhone and iPad that were introduced last year, that can be used to track your accounts and budget from anywhere.  With newer features, users can also snap photos of important receipts and attach them to transactions for back up.  A new version of Quicken is released annually, and although upgrading annually is not necessary, Quicken’s “sunset policy” calls for upgrading every three years to avoid losing services and features.  Data can also be exported from any Quicken version to TurboTax personal tax software.

 

Quidditch

Also known as “the sport of warlocks” in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels, Quidditch is the premier sport of the wizarding world; a fast, dangerous, exciting game in which two teams flying on broomsticks compete for points scored by throwing a ball (known as a Quaffle) through hoops on either end of a large grassy field known as a Quidditch “pitch.”  On either end of the pitch, there are three goal posts.  The game involves three balls: the Quaffle, which scores points each time it is thrown through a goal post; the Bludger, a dangerous ball that flies through the air being hit by players called beaters; and most importantly, the Golden Snitch. The Golden Snitch is a tiny ball that has wings and is enchanted to be able to fly.  If a team’s Seeker catches the Golden Snitch, his or her team earns 150 points and usually wins the match.

 

Quinn, Harley

At 5’3”, 115 pounds, Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a psychiatrist and criminal psychologist assigned to Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum, did not seem dangerous.  However, when she became obsessed with her patient, the mysterious Joker, during their private sessions, Dr. Quinzel’s patient manipulated her, driving his therapist so mad that he was able to control her.  Harleen fell in love with the villain, Her snapping point came when an escaped Joker was returned, beaten to a bloody pulp, by The Batman. Driven mad with grief and rage, she broke into a costume shop, developed for herself a new “look” and went immediately back to Arkham, breaking out the object of her fixation. Since that day, Harley has been on a mad rollercoaster of obsessive love with The Joker. She has been in and out of the Asylum, both as an escapee and as a rehabilitated patient, over and over again. , and devoted her life to making him happy, even to the extent of joining him in his criminal and violent endeavors.  Harley believes that The Batman is the source of Joker’s pain and hates him as a consequence. This makes her a deadly enemy to the Dark Knight, none moreso than when she is fighting by the side of her man.

The DC Comics character first appeared in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, and her first appearance in DC’s “New 52” was in Suicide Squad #1.  Harley Quinn was portrayed by Mia Sara in the short-lived 2003 TV series Birds of Prey, and by Margot Robbie in the 2016 motion picture Suicide Squad.  Robbie will reprise the role in the upcoming film Gotham City Sirens.

 

Quinzel, Harleen

See Quinn, Harley.

 

QWERTY

A common reference to the traditional layout of modern keyboard letter characters.  Beginning at the upper left, the letter layout begins with these six letters, and so it has become a nickname for the layout itself.