George Takei, the actor who played Lt. Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek series, says he is delighted that the franchise's new movie, Star Trek Beyond has a gay character in it, but the decision to make Sulu gay was a "really unfortunate" decision because it went against series creator Gene Roddenberry's original vision. Simon Pegg, who co-write the movie script (and played Scotty) respectfully disagreed. Read the rest
The Smithsonian has restored and put the studio model of the NCC-1701 back on display! This video is full of awesome information, and shot vertically so people can complain! There is also a fantastic blog post about the process, and the small modifications they've made.
The final stages of the conservation treatment came together in the last few months. In April 2016, the Enterprise model, in pieces, was in the large artifact booth in the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar. Special Advisory Committee member Gary Kerr was dubbed our “oracle,” double-checking his notes and diagrams before any detail went onto the model. (There are 952 holes in the faux grill inside the starboard nacelle. He counted.) And Bill George and John Goodson, both of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), worked with Kim Smith of Pulse Evolution to carry out the physical detailing. Together, they were consummate professionals, bringing their expertise into an ongoing conversation with the Museum staff. More than once, the whole team stopped work to discuss the choices being made, assuring that everyone agreed before proceeding.Read the rest
Before this dream team of model painters arrived, the Enterprise model’s body had already been expertly cleaned, reinforced, and repaired by Engen Conservation Chair Malcolm Collum, Dave Wilson, and Sharon Norquest (with a much-appreciated assist by Lauren Horelick). Then the whole model (minus the upper saucer paint, of course, which is original paint from the 1960s) was painted with a base color that had been carefully matched by the Museum’s Dave Wilson to the production base color that had been uncovered in multiple places on the model in sanding tests.
Star Trek turned 50 in 2016. In its half-century of existence — on TV, on the big screen, and in the worldwide community of its fans — Star Trek has become an integral part of our everyday lives. Even casual viewers know the pointed ears, the Vulcan salute, and the meaning of “beam me up, Scotty.” Manu Saadia's Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek is available from Amazon.
Yet, Star Trek does not owe its enduring popularity and its place in our collective imagination to its aliens or to its technological speculations. What makes it so unique, and so exciting, is its radical optimism about humanity’s future as a society: in other words, utopia.Read the rest
Abrams directed the first two Star Trek reboot movies and is producing the third one for Paramount; he says he convinced the studio to drop its controversial lawsuit against Axanar, a crowdfunded fan-film (a suit that included a dubious claim about the copyrightability of the Klingon language) telling them that the lawsuit "wasn’t an appropriate way to deal with the fans." Read the rest
MinutePhysics responds to CGP Grey's video "The Trouble with Transporters," below.
Dan Colman of Open Culture recommends Star Trek Continues, "a critically-acclaimed, fan-produced webseries created by director and actor Vic Mignogna." I second his endorsement. The creators did an amazing job of capturing the fun and thrills of the original series.
If you ask the son of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the original TV series, Star Trek Continues has managed to create a bona fide sequel. “I do have to say … I’m pretty damn sure my dad would consider this canon. The fact that you do stories that mean something, that have depth, that make us all think a little bit… I really think he would applaud you guys.”
The Wall Street Journal adds to this:
[Star Trek Continues] comes frighteningly close to replicating the original series, in the sets, make-up and hairstyles, costumes and music… The art direction precisely captures the Day-Glo visuals of early color TV. Most remarkable is Mr. Mignogna; no actor playing, for instance, James Bond has imitated Sean Connery outright, but Mr. Mignogna comes so scarily close to the dynamic, staccato energy of William Shatner that we keep forgetting we’re looking at another actor.
In 2015 the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum restored the original USS Enterprise model from the original series. It was built in 1964 by Richard C. Datin, Jr., Mel Keys, Vernon Sion (above), and Volmer Jensen (not pictured). It's 11 feet long and has been restored 4 times. Trekmovie.com covered the most current restoration, which attempted to correct a problem with the third restoration:
[via] Read the rest
That  restoration was actually quite accurate, but the restorer applied the “weathering” overlay too heavily,” Mike told TrekMovie. “That’s actually a very easy mistake to make. It’s really very hard to judge the “proper” amount of weathering, especially for an object that is normally seen in second, third, fourth and worse generation photo images, which is what was done for the original optical effects. Nevertheless, I agree that the weathering was too heavily applied.”
Mike says that the Museum may decide to take a more conservative approach this time around, saying “I don’t think the museum has yet decided on the exact approach they’re going to take. They’re still studying it, trying to figure out a balance between restoration and conservation. They will want guests to see the starship in all its glory, but at the same time, they want to minimize invasive procedures in the interest of preserving the artifact (including its paint) for future study.”
Several years after Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry died, his heirs found a cache of floppy disks. It's taken until now, some 20 years later, for the data to be recovered. The reason it took so long is awe-inspiring: he made his own computers, only switching to commercial products near the end of his life.
The floppy disks were used with the custom computers, but unfortunately one of those computers had been auctioned off and the other one was no longer operational. Roddenberry’s estate sent the floppies to DriveSavers, which spent three months writing software that could read the disks in the absence of any documentation or manuals for the custom-built OS.
But what did they find? They're not saying, yet!
This, of course, leaves one more question: What, exactly, is on the disks? Mike Cobb, director of engineering at DriveSavers, confirmed that they found “lots” of documents. The company will undoubtedly have a confidentially clause signed with the Roddenberry estate, which likely explains why it won’t be revealing what it found. But in a major anniversary year that will see a new Star Trek movie come to fruition, with a new Star Trek TV series premiering on CBS All Access in 2017, there could be some surprises in store.
The custom computer looks wonderful, and very focused upon its word-processing purpose. I wonder how hard it'd be to make a replica (or perhaps an homage, with a Raspberry Pi, a cap-swappable mechanical keyboard, elbow grease...) Read the rest