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Physics of Star Trek author on flying cars and optimism

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Over at National Geographic, theoretical physicist Laurence Krauss, author of The Physics of Star Trek and A Universe from Nothing, gives his quick take on flying cars, space travel, and pessimism:

I'm not very hopeful that humanity can act en masse to address what are now truly global problems that require a new way of thinking. As Einstein said when nuclear weapons were created: "Everything's changed save the way we think."

I think we need to change the way we think to address these global problems. Will it happen? Maybe kicking and screaming. My friend, the writer Cormac McCarthy, told me once: "I'm a pessimist, but that's no reason to be gloomy." In a sense, that's my attitude.

"Sci-Fi Is Cool (Flying Cars! Life on Mars!)—But Real Science is Cooler"

Star Trek Continues, episode 2

The fan series Star Trek Continues, well, continues with episode 2, titled "Lolani." Lou Ferrigno guest stars! "A survivor from a distressed Tellarite vessel pulls Captain Kirk and his crew into a moral quandary over her sovereignty." Below is episode 1, "Pilgrim of Eternity."

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North Carolina councilman resigns in Klingon

Ships 08

Councilman David Waddell of Indian Trail, North Carolina resigned from his position with a letter written in Klingon. According to Reuters, he wrote in Klingon "because the fierce-looking science fiction characters valued integrity, honor and duty." Waddell is now planning to run for US Congress. Indian Trail mayor Michael Alvarez responded perfectly, saying "Live long and prosper!" (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)

Star Trek transporter room shower-curtain and bathmat


Thinkgeek's Star Trek Transporter Room Bath Mat & Shower Curtain Set turns your bathroom into my favorite set from Star Trek. The shower-curtain is cute, but combined with the bathmat, it nails it. $50.

Star Trek Transporter Room Bath Mat & Shower Curtain Set (via Geeks Are Sexy)

Wil Wheaton reads "Just a Geek" - audiobook

Wil Wheaton has performed and recorded an audio edition of his wonderful memoir Just a Geek. Listen for free, or pay $12 for a DRM-free download. Wil's story is an interesting and inspiring one, and he's really a wonderful reader (I loved his reading of Ready Player One).

Just A Geek: Teh Audio Book

Short video on origins of Elvish, Klingon, Dothraki and Na’vi

From TED Ed: "What do Game of Thrones’ Dothraki, Avatar’s Na’vi, Star Trek’s Klingon and LOTR’s Elvish have in common? They are all fantasy constructed languages, or conlangs. Conlangs have all the delicious complexities of real languages: a high volume of words, grammar rules, and room for messiness and evolution. John McWhorter explains why these invented languages captivate fans long past the rolling credits."

Video of top NSA spook Gen'l Alexander's Starship Enterprise clone/Information Dominance Center

Of course YouTube has video of the replica Starship Enterprise bridge where General Keith Alexander took Congressmen to "play Picard" and endorse his "collect everything" school of mass surveillance. Behold, the INFORMATION DOMINANCE CENTER!

Starlight - ABC News (Thanks, Jack!)

Star Trek episodes as vintage movie posters


Spocko sez, "Artist Juan Ortiz took each episode of the original Star Trek and created a movie poster for it in the style of top graphic designers of the '60s. Of course I'm partial to the posters that feature my namesake, like Mirror Mirror, or Spock's Brain, or Is There in Truth No Beauty? But the are all pretty cool."

All 80 Original "Star Trek" Episodes Rendered As Movie Posters (Thanks, Spocko)

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Star Trek reboot fails the Bechdel test and is generally a genderfail


The Trekkie Has the Phone Box has analyzed the way women are presented in the second of the Star Trek reboot movies; and compared it to Gene Rodenberry's original show, which went to great lengths to establish gender parity and racial diversity in its depicted future. The analysis goes into some convincing detail and makes me think that the reboot is a very retrograde move in the history of the Trek franchise and how it deals with women.

Star Trek 2 Bechdel Test

Kirk, Spock, Tweedledum, and Tweedledee

“I’m Tweedledee, he’s Tweedledum.
Two spacemen marching to a drum.
We slith among the mimsey toves.
And gyre among the borogoves.”

-- Star Trek, "Plato's Stepchildren" (1968)

How 3D printing will rebuild reality


A 3D model of a complex anaplastology case, created in collaboration with the anaplastologist Jan De Cubber, is seen at the Belgian company Materialise. 3D printing has already changed the game for manufacturing specialized products such as medical devices. REUTERS/Yves Herman

When Star Trek debuted in the mid-60s, everybody geeked out about the food synthesizers. Even my mom, a reluctant but compulsory Trek viewer, recognized the utility of this amazing gadget, particularly with two ravenous boys around the house. My brother and I knew, of course, that the real magic food box was the refrigerator.

Years later, I wasn’t the only one craving the replicators of Star Trek:The Next Generation for my home workshop. TNG’s follow-on concept of a ‘universal build-box’ upped the ante way beyond a hot cup of Earl Grey. The list of things we would have made at home was endless: for the kids, replacement baseball bats, balls and window panes, game controllers and handheld electronic devices. I would have gone in for replacement car parts, repairs for broken appliances and furniture, and an endless supply of consumables like gasoline, toilet paper, kitty litter, and inevitably, a couple of cold—strictly non-syntheholic—beers for afterwards. I note in passing that Starfleet protocol prohibits civilians from replicating weapons.

With the recent rise of the Maker movement and the advent of cheaper, easier-to-use 3D-printing technology, the sci-fi concept of a household device that can manufacture functional objects seems to be gaining reality. But for those who witnessed the technology’s birth and growth, it has been a surprisingly long and winding road—one that has recently reached a significant but mostly unnoticed milestone. For me, it all began with Star Trek and the Silver Surfer.

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Star Trek wine

Stwine

I don't know anything about wine, but I like the looks of Vinport's limited-edition Star Trek wine featuring label art by Juan Ortiz. The labels represent classic ST episodes: "The City on the Edge of Forever," "Mirror Mirror," and "The Trouble with Tribbles." Star Trek wine (via Laughing Squid)

The technology that links taxonomy and Star Trek

What made Star Trek’s original tricorder a great piece of fictional technology, writes Maggie Koerth-Baker, wasn’t its sci-fi looks. It was what it did.

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Back to the 60s with Star Trek sequel's sound designer

Tami Katzoff interviews Ben Burtt for MTV News:
While researching the sounds from the classic series, Burtt discovered that they were created with a Hammond chord organ. "Going back and getting some organ recordings and playing with it, I was able to fashion some things very similar to the transporter, perhaps exactly the same way, so that's in there."

Incredible Star Trek/Transformers crossover custom toy

Unicron9 created a custom Star Trek/Transformers crossover toy in which the Enterprise transformed into Autobot E. "The head had to be long because the deflector dish is on the top of it for alt mode," Unicron9 says, "so I went for a majestic alien look with a mix of Geordi's visor, Vulcan ears, and Andorian antennas." "Star Trek/Transformers Crossovers: Autobot E" (deviantART)