A.L.F. is an acronym which stands for Alien Life Form. Though used to refer to all extraterrestrial organisms, the term is most commonly associated with Gordon Shumway, the main character from the 1986 sit-com ALF. "A.L.F." is also the title of the pilot episode of the series.
(See Also: ALF; Alien; Extraterrestrial)
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ABY is an acronym used by the Star Wars fan community, which stands for After the Battle of Yavin. The term is used when attempting to file information in correct chronological order using the Battle of Yavin (ie, the events from Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope) as an immutable standard. Events that take place following the original Star Wars film are said to happen in x (years) ABY. For example: The events from the novel Heir to the Empire take place in Year 9 ABY, nine years following the events from the original Star Wars (five years following events from Return of the Jedi). This dating tool is not part of any official calendar and is not used within the mythology of the Star Wars universe itself.
(See Also: BBY)
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Accelerated aging is a process that occurs when a body's natural growth cycle advances through an artificially stimulated process. Accelerated aging can often occur as a symptom of a chronal paradox, or may be deliberately caused through scientific processes for the sake of functionality. Another example of accelerated aging is found in the "Død Kalm" episode of The X-Files where the characters of Mulder and Scully find themselves rapidly aged to the point of senescence. On the "Back to Normal" episode of the CW Network TV series The Flash, the character of Griffin Grey was given superhuman strength as a result of the particle accelerator explosion, but every time he used his powers, it advanced him in age. Ultimately, he over-used his powers to the point of death.
Active sensors are a function found on many starships to scan the area for encroaching targets. The sensor emits an electro-magnetic signal that bounces off other ships, sending the signal back to it's source, providing an individual with knowledge concerning the ship's size, mass and distance.
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral (equivalent to full general) and above Vice Admiral and below Admiral of the Fleet/Fleet Admiral. It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM". The rank may apply to members of a terrestrial navy, such as the United States Navy on Earth, or to an interstellar space borne naval fleet such as Starfleet from the Star Trek mythos.
(See Also: Grand Admiral)
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In terms of science fiction, an alien is a life form indiginous to an environment outside the planet Earth. Many are sentient humanoids physically indistinguishable from a standard human being, while others, such as the Xenomorph, bear physiology completely unlike anything found on the planet Earth. Aliens are frequently used as both protagonists and antagonists in the science fiction medium and have practically become a staple for the genre as a whole.
(See Also: Alien; Aliens)
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Alien physiology represents special physical and/or biological adaptations that sets a racial group apart from that of an Earth human. Alien physiology differs from race to race and may include increased or decreased physical aptitudes based upon the gravity of the race's point of origin. Some races may also possess natural abilities, such as flight, which may seem like a super-power to those unfamiliar with the race in question. Other aptitudes of a race-specific alien physiology may also include increased mental aptitudes and/or psionic abilities.
Animalia refers to the sub-category of Kingdom used by standards of modern scientific classification. Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and independently. All animals are also heterotrophs, meaning they must ingest other organisms or their products for sustenance.
Most known animal phyla appeared in the fossil record as marine species during the Cambrian explosion, about 542 million years ago.
An anthropoid is a species genus which usually relates to having characteristics of a human being or an ape, usually in terms of shape or appearance. Some alien races such as wookiees may be considered anthropoids due to their skeletal structure, bipedal stance and general physiology.
In physical cosmology, astronomy and celestial mechanics, anti-gravity is the idea of creating a place or object that is free from the force of gravity. It does not refer to the lack of weight under gravity experienced in free fall or orbit, nor to balancing the force of gravity with some other force, such as electromagnetism or aerodynamic lift. Instead, anti-gravity requires that the fundamental causes of the force of gravity be made either not present or not applicable to the place or object through some kind of technological intervention. Anti-gravity is a recurring concept in science fiction, particularly in the context of spacecraft propulsion.
Aquatic relates to any organism or plant species that requires an underwater environment in order to survive. On Earth, most aquatic species of animals are marine-based, mostly species of fish, but may also include other life forms as well. There are many fictional races, both terrestrial and alien, who are aquatic beings.
(See Also: Aquatic)
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Arachnology is the scientific study of spiders and related animals such as scorpions, pseudoscorpions, harvestmen, collectively called arachnids. However, the study of ticks and mites is sometimes not included in arachnology, but is called acarology. Those who study spiders and other arachnids are arachnologists.
(See Also: Arachnology)
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An arn is a measurement of time found in the reality of the Farscape mythos. It equates to approximately one Earth hour. It is a standard used by the Peacekeepers and all of the worlds under their control. The term was first used in episode 2 of season 1, "I, E.T.". It is sometimes spelled Arne.
(See Also: Cycle; Metra; Hetch)
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An arthropod is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton (external skeleton), a segmented body, and jointed appendages. Arthropods are characterized by their jointed limbs and cuticles, which are mainly made of α-chitin. The arthropod body plan consists of repeated segments, each with a pair of appendages.
Artificial intelligence (also referred to as AI) refers to the intellectual and reasoning capacity of complex machines. An artificial intelligence has the ability to modify its own programming based upon logical analysis in accordance with a preset series of parameters. Depending upon the complexity and functional capabilities of the AI in question, some artificial intelligences develop reasoning far beyond their initial programming and may even achieve partial sentience. This is a common storytelling trope in many sci-fi vehicles and has been used to illustrate a cautionary tale of humanity’s dependence on technology. Sentient or “rogue” artificial intelligences have been seen in films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Artificial Intelligence: AI, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Terminator.
(See Also: Films with artificial intelligences; Programs with artificial intelligences)
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Astromech is a shortened variant of the phrase astro-mechanical. Used in the Star Wars franchise, Astromech refers to a specific type of droid, which specializes in hyperspace navigation, mapping star chart coordinates and effecting minor repairs on starships. The most famous astromech droid is the character known as R2-D2.
(See Also: Astromech droid)
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An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft. While generally reserved for professional space travelers, the term is sometimes applied to anyone who travels into space, including scientists, politicians, journalists, and tourists.
(See Also: Astronauts)
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An avatar is an artificially created representation or simulacrum of a living human being. The term is derived from Avatāra, a philosophical concept found in Hinduism. An avatar may take the form of a three-dimensional graphical interface in the likeness of the person it is representing, or it may be a mechanically constructed duplicate of the individual, such as a robot or android, or it may even be a genetically developed organic surrogate body. Examples of avatars have been seen in many science fiction media such as the "body snatcher" aliens from the Invasion of the Body Snatcher films, the holographic computer interface known as "Rommie" featured in the television series Andromeda, and the artificially created clones of the Na'vi race as represented in the 2009 James Cameron film Avatar.
(See Also: Avatar; Avatar: The Last Airbender)
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