Brent Spiner on how Patrick Stewart's pronunciation of 'Data' changed how Americans say the word

Americans mostly used to say "daa-ta", as Brent Spiner relates in an appearance at Big Apple Comic Con earlier this year. Now they mostly say "day-ta". It's all because Patrick Stewart won an argument at the first reading of the first episode of Star Trek, The Next Generation.

Brent Spiner tells a funny story about the Data name from "Star Trek: The Next Generation", and how Patrick Stewart is responsible for the way the word is now pronounced. This panel was moderated by Larry Nemecek. For more information on Big Apple Comic Con, head to www.BigAppleCC.com

But I have prior art: 1985's The Goonies. Jump to 50s in for the daa-ta v. day-ta moment.

Also, has anyone written about out how much ... weirder? creepier? offbeat? ... early TNG was? The first season has little of the cosy, formulaic rythyms and Flanderized characters we associate with late-century Star Trek stuff, but I feel we've forgotten how interesting it sometimes was because it was so rough (and mostly bad). I'm thinking a supercut of "weird early TNG" is needed. I'm certain I saw someone riffing on this on Twitter a while ago--who was it?

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Realistic Starfleet meetings

Dan Hon (previously at BB) noticed that Star Trek's meetings and conferences always involve military officers, usually occur with ample time for preparation, yet invariably has them just talking to one another. If there are any graphics involved, they are simple, concise and expressive.

This is of course nothing whatsoever like any military on earth or off it. So Hon decided to photoshop what such meetings would actually entail: PowerPoint, and lots of it. Read the rest

Picard trailer

Here's the trailer for CBS's forthcoming series focusing on the further adventures of Starfleet Captain Jean Luc Picard, starring Patrick Stewart. I'd hoped for a sci-fi mix of Murder She Wrote and Le Carre's George Smiley novels (Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy, etc), posing a well-retired and wryly dysphoric Picard getting reembroiled in things. That's the first impression the trailer offers, but it also lets the "quickly back in the saddle" cat out the bag, too. Even so, who isn't looking forward to a dozen more hours of Stewart-Picard? Read the rest

Watch this fantastic 1994 Pizza Hut TV commercial that's entirely in Klingon

In 1994, Pizza Hut aired this TV commercial in the UK that was reportedly the first completely non-English advertisement on British television. The entire thing is in Klingon.

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Star Trek's Nichelle "Uhura" Nichols checks out the Space Shuttle Enterprise (1977)

After Star Trek was cancelled, Nichelle Nichols, aka Lieutenant Uhura, volunteered her time to help NASA recruit women and minorities to join the space agency. The 1977 reel above is from that era. In the clip, astronaut Alan Bean and Nichols check out NASA's shiny new Space Shuttle Enterprise. From The Space Archive:

In 1975 Nichols established Women in Motion, Inc., an astronaut recruitment project that helped to find over 1000 minority and 1600 women applicants, and this video reflects her significant efforts in that field. The Space Shuttle program did indeed expand the ranks of astronauts, including Sally Ride, the first woman in space, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, and Mae Carol Jemison, the first African American in space, who flew over 190 hours in space and attributed her interest in the field to seeing Nichols on television as a child. The Space Shuttles were the first spacecraft designed for reuse, and the Enterprise (originally named the Constitution until president Gerald Ford was inundated with a letter-writing campaign to change the name), was the first shuttle, performing tests to ensure the spacecraft would be able to function as gliders and land on conventional runways after missions in space.

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Star Trek Starfleet insignia found on Mars

The high resolution imaging science experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this image in the Red Planet's Hellas Planitia region. According to the University of Arizona researchers who operate the HiRISE camera for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, shapes like this "are the result of a complex story of dunes, lava, and wind." But they also note that "enterprising viewers will make the discovery that these features look conspicuously like a famous logo."

They add that it's a coincidence, but we know better.

"Dune Footprints in Hellas" (University of Arizona)

Full image below depicts area 5 km across:

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Circling the USS Enterprise in 'Star Trek The Motion Picture'

Who needs V'ger? This scene of Kirk and Scotty made the entire movie for me. Read the rest

Watch this strange laundry detergent commercial parodying Star Trek (1969)

To boldly go where no pitchman has gone before.

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

First trailer for 'Star Trek: Picard'

Enjoy. Read the rest

Watch: Lieutenant Uhura's NASA recruitment film from 1977

After Star Trek was cancelled, Nichelle Nichols, aka Lieutenant Uhura, volunteered her time to help NASA recruit women and minorities to join the space agency. The 1977 video above is from that era. Nichols' impact can't be overstated. From Wikipedia:

Among those recruited (by Nichols' NASA special project) were Dr. Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut, and United States Air Force Colonel Guion Bluford, the first African-American astronaut, as well as Dr. Judith Resnik and Dr. Ronald McNair, who both flew successful missions during the Space Shuttle program before their deaths in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986. Recruits also included Charles Bolden, the former NASA administrator and veteran of four shuttle missions, Frederick D. Gregory, former deputy administrator and a veteran of three shuttle missions and Lori Garver, former deputy administrator.

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Jonathan Frakes telling you you're wrong for 47 seconds

Jonathan Frakes, the actor and director associated most strongly with his Star Trek role as bearded lothario William Riker but with many other feathers in his cap, here informs you that you are wrong for a solid 47 seconds. Read the rest

On Adam Savage's Tested: "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" and the Voyager Golden Record

In 1979, the USS Enterprise flew onto the big screen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Without giving away too much of the plot, NASA's Voyager program that began in 1977 featured prominently in the film. Of course, the real twin Voyager probes carry the Voyager Golden Record, the iconic message for extraterrestrials that my friends Timothy Daly, Lawrence Azerrad, and I released on vinyl for the first time as a lavish box set.

While the Voyager Record isn't mentioned in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, I was still delighted when my old pal Ariel Waldman invited me on to her wonderful talk show Offworld, on Adam Savage's Tested channel, to talk about Voyager, the Golden Record, and the heady, awkward, and pretty great Star Trek: The Motion Picture! Even more exciting is that the other guest was Frank Drake, father of the scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence and the technical director of the original Voyager Golden Record! Far out.

The Voyager Golden Record 3xLP Vinyl Box Set and 2xCD-Book edition is available from Ozma Records.

Below: Frank and I scrying with his original copy of the Voyager Record cover.

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Deep Space 9 remastered with deep learning

Star Trek's original series and TNG were shot on film, allowing them to be rescanned for high-definition broadcast. Star Trek: Deep Space 9, however, depended much moreso on sprawling CGI space battles and other special effects sequences that were mastered on standard-definition video. This creates an enormous challenge for remastering: machine learning to the rescue! CaptRobau writes:

I will go into greater detail about my process in a future blog post, but it took me about two days to get everything extracted, upscaled and put it back together in a way that was pleasing. This resulted only in the first five minutes of the episode being done (the episode recap, the opening scene, and the intro). Still pretty good time for a mid-to-high end PC with software that isn't just available to professionals.

The result left me pretty awestruck. It looked better than I had hoped. No weird issues or anything. It looked pretty much like an HD version of DS9. Since (moving) pictures are worth more than a thousand words, here are two comparison videos that show off the improvement I was able to get with this machine learning based upscaling technique.

Below, the intro at 4K. CBS, hire this man! (Or license his code!) "Imagine what a real team could do, with more powerful equipment, custom trained neural networks ... and access to the original SD files instead of a DVDRip like me."

CORRECTION: I originally suggested that DS9 was entirely shot on video, which is incorrect. Read the rest

A massive victory for fair use in the longrunning Dr Seuss vs Star Trek parody lawsuit

Back in 2016, the Dr Seuss estate won a preliminary court action against "Oh, The Places You'll Boldly Go!" a crowdfunded parody of Dr Seuss's "Oh the Places You'll Go!" and Star Trek, written by veteran Star Trek creator David "Tribble" Gerrold and illustrated by the comics giant Ty Templeton. Read the rest

A new line of heavy denim Starfleet jackets: the Star Trek: Discovery edition

Volante Design (previously) scored a huge win last November with a line of licensed heavy denim, cosplay-adjacent Starfleet jackets that could be worn like Star Trek: TNG uniforms or like motorcyle jackets, depending on how you zipped them. Read the rest

On Star Trek: TNG, those aren't Captain Picard's hands holding his flute

Sir Patrick Stewart doesn't play the Reskian flute, or any flute for that matter. The trick worked on me at least, because I hadn't noticed even after seeing this episode several times over the last 26 (!) years. From Wikipedia:

...As neither Stewart nor Hughes could play their instruments, it required a number of camera techniques to be used in order to disguise the musicians playing just off screen. Husband and wife duo Natalie and Bryce Martin played the piano and tin whistle respectively to portray Daren and Picard's abilities. Bryce had played his instrument to represent Picard's Ressikan flute since it first appeared in "The Inner Light". However, while Stewart did the majority of his flute fingering, he was doubled in several scenes by Noel Webb and John Mayham. Webb also doubled for Brent Spiner early in the episode when Data was playing Frédéric Chopin's trio in G minor.

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Why you definitely want to be on Star Trek: The Cruise IV

I've just returned home from Star Trek: The Cruise, a truly extraordinary fan event for lovers of Science, Science Fiction, and the future.

You really want to be on the next one.

Longtime Boing Boing friend Wil Wheaton headlined the third annual cruise, which this year featured stars from every series of Star Trek from The Next Generation onwards. They, along with thousands of die-hard Star Trek fans took over an entire cruise ship for a week (flying the flag of the United Federated of Planets no less), Taking part in everything from photo and autograph sessions, Science Lectures from experts in the fields of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Game Shows, Q&A sessions, and even a narrated performance of the Scopes Monkey Trial transcript.

But the real reason you should go isn't one of those events.

There's a unique culture behind Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry's optimistic vision of a utopian future attracts a certain type of fan, and there's something special about putting thousands of like-minded people and the actors who portrayed their most beloved Star Trek characters on a ship for a week. Wil Wheaton put it best in his initial address during our sendoff:

"I have been a fan of Star Trek my entire life. [...] I learned everything that was important to me from the values that Star Trek taught me: I learned to be honest, I learned to be honourable, I learned to be kind. My whole life I've wanted to live in that world that we imagined when we worked on Next Generation, and that I loved to watch when I was a little boy.
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