THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 165

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 165

… “I have been triangulating ever since we left Uranus behind.

I love it when you talk space-dirty to me“…

“If you knew your sun was burning out, wouldn’t you go searching for another sun and planet as a bailout?” Celeste submits possible reasons for the NEWFOUNDLANDER’s trips to Earth and eventually Mars.

“That would be excellent motivation, but I do not think it applies to our friends. These chaps were just plain curious and that is why I am leaning toward the orange Epsilons — Eridani and Indi. At seven and ten light-years, either of those would be more likely home bases. If you subtract the tracks we are laying down every second, who knows when we would get there.”

“You are talking possibly ten years Sam, and that’s if you are right. I happen to know that Rigel, the white-hot giant of the Orion Constellation is 500 light-f***ing-years away. If it took Columbus 500 years to reach the West Indies from Italy… well you know where that comparison is going.” Celeste’s perspective is that of a new mother, realizing that Deimostra may never set foot on solid ground in her entire space-bound lifetime.

“You’ve got me there Cel, but we must look for the positives in our predicament. Maybe I failed to mention that we may be going much faster than the mere speed-of-light factor of one. As my hero Captain James Tiberius Kirk would say, ‘Can you give me Warp 8, Scotty?’”

“I’ll do what I can Captain, but the strain on the di-lithium crystals may be more than they can take!”

“You remember that episode too.”

Space Academy

“Of course I do. When we were dating at the Academy, we couldn’t go anywhere until that or any of the other bleeping on-demand episodes or movies were finished!”

“Why didn’t we pack the Star Trek z-ray file into our PDAs. The trip would go by quicker.”

“So do you think we are past Warp 1?”

“Exactly. I have been triangulating ever since we left Uranus behind.

I love it when you talk space-dirty to me. Triangulating Uranus must be code for interstellar whoopee,” she puts her sleeping infant down to make a flirtatious flyby of her husband.

“Isn’t it too early… for THAT?”

“Recovery times on the NEWFOUNDLANDER are amazing.”

It is not your average romantic advance, so in the middle of a serious discussion, they achieve Warp 2 to their makeshift living quarters.


THE RETURN TRIP

Warp Speed Mr. Scott by Euderion deviantart.com

Episode 165


page 201

Contents TRT

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 75

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 75

CHAPTER FIVE

Change-up

“Queen Francine” – the egotistical, self-serving, superficial diva, has been bent on clawing to the top of the competitive field of broadcast journalism…

queen-of-hearts-carved-artwork

The Queen of Hearts Red Artwork carved from Mangowood

 Personality (noun)  per’son’al’i’ty

  1. somebody’s set of characteristics
  2. characteristics making someone appealing
  3. somebody regarded as epitomizing traits
  4. famous person
  5. unusual person
  6. quality of being person
  7. personal comment
  8. distinguishing characteristics 

ediitors-noteDefinition provided by Dictionary.com,

 

It would seem that the Francine Bouchette, before Roy Crippen met her, has these
traits……

  1. best friend is a mirror
  2. has a phantom fiancee
  3. co-anchors avoid if they can
  4. treats interns like indentured servants
  5. gives scriptwriters fits

……is not one and the same. Roy Crippen has yet to meet that woman, though he wonders about her obsession with “exclusives”.

Indeed, there is no reconciling the definition with the facts, though there is plenty Francine in the first. The dedicated, concerned, sacrificial person, currently operating in the name of humanitarian justice, now working with NASA, is dichotomous when placed side-by-side with the egotistical, self-serving, superficial diva, bent on clawing to the top of the competitive field of broadcast journalism.

Francine Bouchette is truly a personality in every sense of the word. But as she prepares to continue the fresh quest to aid in the rescue of Sampson & Celeste McKinney, mercilessly stranded on Mars, the least desirable aspects of “Queen Francine” have been tabled; at least for now {and longer if the rest of Houston gets a vote}.

***Contrast this with the following glimpse of what is going on inside, the otherwise thinkeroccupied, Roy Crippen’s analytical mind:

‘She is quite a lady. With her knack for getting to the heart of a story, I am surprised she’s not working for network news. She is ten times better than that Elle Fanning on Sixty Minutes. Boy, she tried do a piece on the Colony and by the time she was through asking dumb nonsensical questions or sticking her nose where it didn’t belong, I had had enough. The damnedest thing is that her misrepresentation of the project almost did as much damage as the accident that destroyed it… I wonder why she never married? She is as gutsy as they come, pretty as a picture and probably financially secure, what could be her downside?’

***The following is what Francine is thinking, during her time of frank introspection:

 ‘I’m not the person that I was yesterday, this whole experience with Roy has made me think, what kind of person is he looking to share the rest of his life with?… All the years I’ve wasted, mistreating everyone from United States Senators down to kids that may be looking up at her as role model…What has changed all of a sudden? Is it just because I am falling for some good looking science guy, probably goes to Star Trek Conventions and is what, 12 maybe 15 years older than me? What would people think? And how many people must I trample to get where I want?’

Enough of these long winded thoughts; it is time to focus on the successful launch of the new/improved deep-space New Mayflower!


THE RETURN TRIP

Image result for star trek conventions

Star Trek – The Next Generation

Episode 75


page 93

episode-catalog-trtrip-001

Contents TRT

Leaving Earth – WIF Space Science

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Explore with me

Explore with me

We Shouldn’t Leave

… Quite yet

Humanity has flown people into outer space and landed them on the moon. We live in an age where we could go out and find other places to expand. But there are a few reasons we should continue to stay put, at least for a little while longer.

10. The Financial Cost

Many bundle of US 100 dollars bank notes

While it’s true that we currently have the capability to try to colonize distant worlds, the sheer amount of money that would go into such a venture could be just as astronomical. Some initial estimates point to around $150 billion to colonize Mars, and that’s the optimistic low end of the scale.

It doesn’t seem like that much considering the potential benefits to humanity in the long run, but with just a $120 billion investment we could halve the number of starving people worldwide. Money alone shouldn’t be the primary concern in any matter, but it’s a good representation of where we should invest our time and resources. We’re not  saying we should never colonize the universe, but we should prioritize our needs before we start a new chapter in human evolution.

9. We Still Don’t Know Earth

stayonearth2

The Earth’s surface is over 70% water. The oceans, which were once seen as impossible to traverse as deep space is today, still remain mostly unexplored. Over 95% of the depths have never been seen by human eyes, and with each passing day we discovernew species of marine life which look as alien as aliens can get. Exploring the depths of the ocean could have some great and unexpected scientific benefits.

The ocean is very similar to the emptiness of space. Jacques Piccard and US Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh can both attest to the solitude and extreme pressures of the Mariana Trench when they descended into it in 1960. In fact, most space missions require initial water training. Sailing the bottom of the oceans could be a good exercise in learning how to better equip ourselves and survive the emptiness of space, all while discovering the remaining mysteries of our own planet.

8. Unforeseen Risks and Developments

stayonearth3

Nothing comes without risk, but this is especially true when it comes to leaving Earth. Even the smallest overlooked detail can turn into a tragedy, like in the case of theChallenger disaster. If we don’t take risks we’ll never get anything done, but we should take into account the developments made in rocket science on a daily basis. In 2014, a NASA research team confirmed a discovery made in 2006 by a British scientist, Roger Shawyer, where he achieved lift with the use of microwaves instead of rocket propellant. This groundbreaking discovery has turned the scientific community on its head, since it appears to goes against Newton’s third law of thermodynamics.

This new technology is still being tested and was only capable of producing minute amounts of lift, but if feasible it could revolutionize space travel. By not needing fuel, a disaster like Challenger could be avoided, not to mention that spacecraft could be much lighter and therefore carry more materials that would allow them to operate at a greater distance.

7. Measuring Distance With Time

stayonearth4

Almost all scientists will agree  that distance is actually measured with time. Space and time are not two different things, but one and the same. When we want to meet with someone, we always specify both a time and place since mentioning only one will get us nowhere. But humans operate with infinitesimally small numbers compared to what the Universe is used to.

An object moving at the speed of light, like a photon, will experience no time passingwhen traveling millions of light-years. The speed of light is the maximum allowed in the universe, and that photon travels that distance in an instant. What does this have to do with us staying put here on Earth, you ask? We need to consider the huge distances and times the Universe works with.

Let’s take Voyager 1, which is currently traveling at around 60,000 km/hour, and reached deep space after over 35 years of traveling through our Solar System. If it was headed towards the closest star, Proxima Centauri, some 4.3 light-years away, it would take it over 76,000 years to reach it. For perspective, human civilization began only 12,000 years ago. If we would stick around Earth until the highly theoretical Nuclear Pulse Propulsion becomes a reality, we would achieve that distance in just 85 years!

6. Gravity

stayonearth5

You’re currently exerting a gravitational pull on the Andromeda Galaxy some 2.5 million light years away. Gravity is why we’re stuck to the ground, why the moon spins around the Earth and why our Sun and galaxy were created. It also attracts energy in the form of light. This can also be seen when a photon passes near a star, as its trajectory is slightly bent, or when it gets trapped in a black hole and never resurfaces.

Because all living things on Earth have evolved surrounded by our planet’s gravity, our bodies are designed to only work at maximum efficiency if experiencing a standard pull. Astronauts can feel the effects after a period in space. Since our bodies don’t have to do any work while in zero G, muscle mass can diminish at a rate of 5% per week, bone atrophies at 1% per month and the amount of blood in a body drops by 22%. Astronauts have to go through a rigorous physical training program prior to their departure, as well as when they’re up there and during the months they come back to Earth. In some cases, bones will never fully recover.

Colonists going to Mars will face challenges since after a seven month journey in zero G they’ll arrive on a planet with just a third of the Earth’s gravity and will have to build a colony in extremely unforgiving conditions. Keeping in mind that some astronauts are carried away on stretchers after just a couple of months in space, these colonists will be like a bunch of 80 year olds. That’s why NASA is conducting tests on human volunteers who lay in bed at a six degree inverted angle for 70 days to mimic the effect of zero gravity.

5. A.I.

stayonearth6

Seeing what adverse effects the lack of gravity has on the human body, waiting for artificial intelligence doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Robots can aid future colonists by doing the heavy lifting and providing them with vital information. Scientists are developing robots that can fight fires autonomously, robots that can carry heavy loadson even the most treacherous of terrain, and cars that can drive themselves. Then there’s Watson, which is basically an accumulation of all human medical knowledge. All of these inventions could come in handy when colonizing other planets, but it may take some time before they’re totally reliable.

4. Cultural Melting Pot

stayonearth7

Living in a globalized society has caused nationalities and races to blend together and form a unity of both culture and traditions. Take Britain, where 6% of children under the age of five have a mixed ethnic background, compared to only 3% for those between the ages of 20 and 24. Current day traditions and religions exist because of this mixing between different people throughout the ages.

One threat when talking about globalization is genetics. As Europeans first arrived in the Americas and over 90% of the indigenous population died because of disease, so too can a new plague wreak havoc among people who are genetically related. A modern, diverse society will also continue to show us its dark side with cases of discrimination, racism and intolerance, thus bringing us to our next point.

3. The Prime Directive

stayonearth8

Popularized by Star Trek, the Prime Directive dictates that humanity, capable of interstellar travel, will not come in contact, disturb or influence the natural evolution of underdeveloped civilizations found on distant planets. What history and even thepresent day can attest to is that humanity will most certainly not follow the Prime Directive if faced with a technological inferior alien species. What we’re most afraid of in the event of a distant civilization visiting us will most likely be the same thing we would do to others if we were the visitors.

Moreover, if we were to find a planet capable of sustaining lifeforms like us, mere contact with that world would change it beyond recognition. If we were to leave just a single bacterium behind, that organism could multiply and mutate according to its new surroundings, altering that planet’s destiny forever and possibly even killing off already existing life. Finding such a world in the near future is next to impossible given our current level of technological advancement, but the simple idea of what we’re capable of doing to others less developed than ourselves could be enough to make us stick around Earth until we’re mature enough to deal with it.

2. Breaking the Status Quo

stayonearth9

Humanity, despite the many conflicts happening around the globe, is experiencing its most peaceful era in history. Nevertheless, a new colony on a distant planet could bring the current status quo to an end. This future crisis could take decades if not entire generations to develop, but the question of how humanity will react to such a radical change to the modern status quo will always be looming in the background.

1. Taking Responsibility

stayonearth10

History has shown us that many people only begin to change when they absolutely have to, and not a second sooner. It’s also a fact that the climate change Earth is experiencing is man-made, and thus people are turning their attention towards space travel and colonization for a solution. Starting anew is often the easy way out, but by not facing our problems head-on we’re doomed to repeat our mistakes wherever we go.

War, famine, discrimination, pollution and wastefulness are traits humanity should leave behind before starting to think about copying itself on distant worlds. We should make human life on Earth a functioning system that works in equilibrium with its surrounding environment before we decide to colonize other planets.



 

Leaving Earth

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– WIF Space Science

Popular Movie Locales – WIF at the Movies

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Places Hollywood Can’t

Resist Filming At

10. Trefil Quarry

trefilquarry

Trefil Quarry is a large hole in the ground located in South East Wales that features such exciting landmarks as “some rocks” and “a pool of water”. Along with being almost completely bereft of any distinguishing features, the quarry is also located in a relatively difficult to get to area in one of the colder parts of the UK.

So what have they filmed there?

Well for starters the quarry was chosen as one of the primary filming locations for the bloated cinematic turd known as Wrath of the Titans with many of the film’s larger set-pieces, like the Greek Parthenon, being built for real at the quarry’s base.

The quarry has also been used to represent a barren, lifeless planetscape in the film Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and has been featured in both classic and new episodes of Dr. Who, like Planet of the Ood, where it is used to represent the home planet of the eponymous Ood, a race of disgusting penis-faced aliens. It also appeared prominently in episodes of the British magic-drama Merlin because apparently Trefil Quarry is the only place in Britain that has both rocks and water.

9. Pacific Electric Building

pacificelectric

A somewhat large building in Los Angeles, Pacific Electric holds the unimpressive record of being neither, according to Wikipedia, “the first modern building in Los Angeles, nor the tallest”. Though the building is reasonably large and it looks kind of important, it doesn’t really have much going for it other than that it’s “sort of big”.

So what have they filmed there?

Oh, just the massive shoot-out in Face/Off where Nic Cage slow-mo dives through the air firing two golden pistols while Somewhere Over the Rainbowplays in the background. In regard to that particular scene, it was filmed in the loft apartments of the Pacific Electric Building, while its lower levels have been used as a stand-in for police headquarters in Seven and the place where Forrest Gump decided to ring in the New Year with Lt. Dan before he gets his space legs.

8. The Ebell of Los Angeles

ebell

The Ebell is a famed women’s club with a theatre that has played host to lectures by some of the world’s biggest stars and experts. It’s also noted as being the last place Amelia Earhart ever made a public appearance before she mysteriously disappeared forever. While this is all very interesting, none of it screams “flexible filming space”.

So what have they filmed there?

A more fitting question to this part would be: what haven’t they filmed at the Ebell? According to the club’s own website its large theater rooms have served as a filming location for films as diverse as The Artist, Fight Club, Air Force One and The Addams Family, with it being used to film the scene where Gomez and Morticia buy back their property from an auction. The Ebell has also served as a backdrop for shows like Prison Break, My Name is Earl andWhose Wedding Is It Anyway?

For anyone wanting an easy way to see if a film or TV show has filmed a scene at Ebell, our advice is to look for either the iconic pillars, which were, for example, used in Gilmore Girls, or its famous stage, which has appeared in multiple films, most notably The Artist (which used CGI to make it look ever bigger, for reason). Failing that, if a film features a wedding scene, it’s probably going to have been filmed at the Ebell because when it isn’t hosting lectures, it’s also a popular wedding venue, because who doesn’t want to get married in the same place they filmed The Addams Family?

7. Bronson Canyon

bronsoncanyon

Bronson Canyon is a barren set of rocks and caves, handily located in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, that were formed as part of a mining operation back in the early 20th century. The caves are a popular tourist trap, mainly due to how easy they are to reach on foot, regardless of how sweaty you might get while walking.

So what have they filmed there?

Thanks to the unique combination of looking “sort of barren” but also being “really easy to get to” the caves have been featured in a baffling array of films from modern blockbusters like Return of the Killer Shrews and Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, to early serials like Flash Gordon, Zorro Rides Again andAttack of the Crab Monsters.

The cave entrance itself also holds the distinction of being the hidden entrance of the freaking Batcave in the 1960s Batman series as well as being used in other, non-Batman related media.

6. Golden Ears Provincial Park

goldenearsprovincial

The weirdest thing about Golden Ears Provincial Park is that it actually has an interesting and easily identifiable landmark in the form of two mountainous peaks which locals have historically likened to a gigantic set of golden ears, hence the name “Golden Ears Provincial Park”. However, none of the films set here ever actually bother to make use of this curious landmark and instead simply film in the woods surrounding the peaks filled with decidedly uninteresting trees you could find in any other park in Canada.

So what have they filmed there?

Perhaps the most notable movied filmed in the park, or at least the one that spent the most time here is Rambo: First Blood with the park being the place where Rambo kicks the ample asses of all those overweight police officers.

Curiously, the park is also where they filmed the scene in X-Men: The Last Stand in which Wolverine punch-stabs like 30 dudes, meaning the park has been the backdrop for not one, but two scenes in which a guy with kick-ass hair stabs people while running through the woods. Other movies filmed in the park include Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and that one scene in Twilight where Edward and Bella run through the woods at Mach 3.

5. The Brandeis-Bardin Institute

brandeisbardin

According to their own website, the Brandeis-Bardin Institute is a place “Committed to the artistic, cultural, intellectual, and environmental pursuits of the Jewish people” and the campus mainly serves as a hub for young Jewish people from around the world to learn and explore their heritage.

So what have they filmed there?

Well, see if you can guess from that picture up above of the BCI’s library. For anyone who didn’t watch television in the ’90s, that’s the Command Center for the goddamn Power Rangers before being lazily photoshopped onto the top of a remote mountain.

While looking at that image we’d like you to keep in mind that the BCI is a famous, easily accessible building in California. So just for a second imagine how many kids in California ended up thinking that only Jewish kids could become Power Rangers after they drove past this place in the ’90s and recognized it from the show.

Moving on, along with being the place Zordon and Alpha-5 liked to chill in between missions, the BCI library has also appeared in Star Trek twice as both Lore Borg’s compound and Camp Khitomer. Fans of Tenacious D may also recognize the BCI as the Rock and Roll History Museum from the Pick of Destiny just in case you didn’t think this library could have a more badass filmography.

4. Battersea Power Station

battersea

Located in London, this grimy, disused power station hasn’t produced a single watt of power since the ’80s yet has somehow become one of London’s best known landmarks, seemingly because they can’t stop filming movies there.

So what have they filmed there?

Starting way back in the ’30s, the power station is featured prominently in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1936 film Sabotage with the film’s eponymous act ofsabotage actually taking place at the station and the station itself appearing briefly in a shot behind a man in a very fetching hat.

More recently than that the station has appear in several classic episodes ofDr. Who, including The War Machines and The Dalek Invasion of Earth in which it’s iconic smoke stacks are shown to have been severely damaged by the Daleks. Despite unmistakably being a power station, Battersea Power Station has also doubled as everything from a burnt out warehouse in The Dark Knight to an Eastern European military base in a MacGyver made for TV movie.

Moving away from film and TV, the power station has also appeared in multiple music videos and on several album covers, most famously, Pink Floyd’s Animals.

3. Torrance High School

torrancehigh

Being a California high school located within a stone’s throw of Hollywood probably explains why whenever a film needs to film something inside of a school, they go here and set up a camera while throwing piles of money at gawking students to stop them flipping out their genitals as soon as they start rolling. The school is also known for once hosting a soccer match between America and Canada in 1991, which is something, we guess.

So what have they filmed here?

Unsurprisingly the school is the primary filming location of several teen dramas set at or around schools, like Beverly Hills 90210 and Buffy The Vampire Slayer, with Torrance serving as a stand-in for the fictional Sunnydale High School Buffy and her friends attend.

Torrance High School is also where filmmakers decided to film both She’s All That and rather hilariously, Not Another Teen Movie, which was a direct parody of She’s All That’s plot, which shows that the guys who filmed Not Another Teen Movie were either really on the ball, or really lazy.

Oh and before anyone runs to IMDB to check, yes, Paul Walker was in She’s All That.

2. Randy’s Donuts

randys

Randy’s Donuts is, rather shockingly a store that sells donuts founded in the 50’s by a guy called, erm, Russell. The buildings main and only notable feature is a gigantic 30 foot wide donut perched on top of it.

So what have they filmed there?

To put it bluntly, Randy’s basically has a monopoly over giant donut architecture and anytime a film, TV show or music video inexplicably needs a scene centred around a colossal circular pastry, Randy’s is there. It was famously used in Mars Attacks under the unconvincing moniker of “Donut World”, and it’s where Iron Man recovered from an epic hangover inside of the donut itself in Iron Man 2.

And as proof the donut doesn’t even need a building to support it, the huge, fake pastry makes a cameo appearance in the Red Hot Chili Peppers video,Californication, under the name Andy.

The donut has also been parodied by The Simpsons, featuring prominently in the episode Marge vs. the Monorail, where it saves Homer and dozens of others from certain death just by being there.

1. Vasquez Rocks

vasquez

Vasquez Rocks is a natural rock formation formed by a process our geography teachers assured us is known as “erosion”. The rocks are historically significant in America because the area the rocks are found in used to be populated by Tataviam American Indians, and because the infamous bandito Tiburcio Vásquez once hid here, hence the name, Vasquez Rocks.

So what have they filmed there?

Oh, just about everything. While the rocks are perhaps best known as the place Captain Kirk slapped the crap out of a Gorn in Star Trek.

They’ve appeared in countless pieces of media ranging from the live-actionFlintstones film to The Muppet MovieIn regard to Star Trek, the rocks have appeared in so many episodes of the original series and subsequent films, that the producers used CGI to make the formation a permanent fixture of the Vulcan planet in the 2009 reboot of the franchise.

Because of course they did. These rocks are practically a part of Star Trekcanon at this point.­­­­

Movie Locales

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– WIF at the Movies

WABAC to Star Trek

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"Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“I want you to beam us over to 1966 Hollywood, where we can visit strange new worlds and boldly go where no Dog and Boy has gone before.”

 

WABAC to Star Trek

startrek

Star Date 1966….

On September 8, 1966, Americans in love with science fiction were treated to the most iconic space-oriented television show of all time when Star Trek made its debut on NBC.

On your television sets…

In the days before cable or satellite television, VHS or DVDs, Americans usually only had 3 television channels to choose between.  Better-equipped households might also have gotten the PBS station on UHF.  Television shows were a much bigger deal in those days, with each show having much less competition than now.

Detailing the adventures of Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and the crew of the Enterprise, the original Star Trek ran for three seasons, though it was nearly cancelled during its second season, however, public outcry kept the show around for its third and final season. The original series was followed by a short-lived animated series and 6 feature films that had mostly the same characters and actors playing them.

Other more recent television versions included Star Trek: The Next Generation,Star Trek Deep Space 9, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise.  All in all, well over 700 episodes aired.  Another 4 feature films based on Star Trek: The Next Generation have been made, as well as 2 more films based on the original series as a “reboot.” A third “reboot” film is planned for 2016.  So far 6 television series independent of the franchise and several independent Star Trek films called “fan films” have also been made.

The Star Trek phenomenon also spawned comic books, magazines, novels, all sorts of toys and games, logo T-shirts and sweat shirts, Halloween costumes and 2 traveling exhibits of memorabilia. The merchandising franchise is owned by CBS and is worth billions of dollars.  There was even a Star Trek-themed attraction in Las Vegas from 1998 to 2008.  Star Trek conventions bring special appearances by the old actors and are attended by thousands of fans called “Trekkies.”

Needless to say, anything this popular also draws spoofs and skits galore, even as far away as Germany!  Please watch the above Youtube video for  an example of this.

The original series exposed American audiences to the first interracial kiss on a television show.

The original Star Trek series has become the most persistent cult favorite television show, and the actors from that series have become icons: William Shatner (Capt. Kirk); Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock); DeForest Kelly (“Bones”); George Takei (Mr. Sulu); Patrick Doohan (“Scotty”); Walter Koenig (Chekov); and Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura) have become as familiar to Americans as family members.

How has Star Trek touched your life?  Did you play with Star Trek toys or carry aStar Trek lunch box to school?  Did you use the “Vulcan death grip” on your little brother?  When was the last time you ordered someone to “Beam me up, Scotty!”?

WABAC to Star Trek

“Live Long and Prosper” – A Trekkie’s Wish

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“Live Long and Prosper” – A Trekkie’s Wish

 

Star Trek

 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Star Trek
Star Trek movie logo 2009.jpg

The Star Trek logo as it appears in J. J. Abrams’s Star Trek
Creator Gene Roddenberry
Original work Star Trek: The Original Series
Print publications
Novels List of novels
Comics List of comics
Films and television
Films

Main article

Television series
Games
Video games List of games

Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment franchise created by Gene Roddenberry and currently under the ownership of CBS and Paramount.[Note 1] Star Trek: The Original Series and its live action TV spin-off shows, Star Trek: The Next GenerationStar Trek: Deep Space NineStar Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise as well as the Star Trek film series make up the main canon, while Star Trek: The Animated Series as well as the expansive library of Star Trek novels andcomics are part of the franchise, but are generally considered non-canon.[Note 2]

The first series, now referred to as “The Original Series”, debuted in 1966 and ran for three seasons on NBC. It followed the interstellar adventures of James T. Kirkand the crew of the starship Enterprise, an exploration vessel of a 23rd-century interstellar “United Federation of Planets“. In creating the first “Star Trek”, Roddenberry was inspired by Westerns such as Wagon Train, along with theHoratio Hornblower novels and Gulliver’s Travels. These adventures continued in the short-lived Star Trek: The Animated Series and six feature films. Four spin-off television series were eventually produced: Star Trek: The Next Generation, followed the crew of a new starship Enterprise set a century after the original series;Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, set contemporaneously withThe Next Generation; and Star Trek: Enterprise, set before the original series, in the early days of human interstellar travel. Four additional The Next Generationfeature films were produced. In 2009, the film franchise underwent a relaunch with aprequel to the original series set in an alternate timeline titled simply Star Trek. This film featured a new cast portraying younger versions of the crew from the originalEnterprise.[Note 3] A sequel to this film, Star Trek Into Darkness, premiered on May 16, 2013.

Star Trek has been a cult phenomenon for decades.[1] Fans of the franchise are called Trekkies or Trekkers. The franchise spans a wide range of spin-offs includinggames, figurines, novels, toys, and comics. Star Trek had a themed attraction inLas Vegas which opened in 1998 and closed in September 2008. At least two museum exhibits of props travel the world. The series has its own full-fledgedconstructed languageKlingon. Several parodies have been made of Star Trek. Its fans, despite the end of Star Trek episodes on TV, have produced several fan productions to fill that void.

Star Trek is noted for its influence on the world outside of science fiction. It has been cited as an inspiration for several technological inventions such as the cell phone. Moreover, the show is noted for its progressive civil rights stances. The original series included one of television’s first multiracial casts. Star Trekreferences can be found throughout popular culture from movies such as the submarine thriller Crimson Tide to the cartoon

“Live Long and Prosper” – A Trekkie’s Wish

1/2 Century of Progress – 1964 to 2014

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Robots

10 Things That Are Better Than They Were Fifty Years Ago

We live in an age in which bad news and negativity reigns, making it easy to overlook the positive things that have taken place in our world over the last half century.

Further, one doesn’t need to view the world through rose-colored glasses to see the many things that have transpired over the last few decades all designed to make all our lives easier, safer, and overall less challenging than they were for our forbearers. All one needs to do is compare the present to the fairly recent past to recognize that while there are still things to be depressed about, there are a number of things that have improved dramatically. So what are these “positives” of which I speak? Below are my top ten “things” that have dramatically improved since 1964—and many of which show signs of getting even better in the future—so eat your hearts out, all you purveyors of doom and gloom out there.


10. Automobiles

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When one considers the automobiles of yesterday, one can’t help but be astonished at the dramatic improvements we see in the vehicles of today. Consider that the average car in 1964 had no seat belts, air bags, crumple zones, or crash bars, got maybe 12 miles to the gallon, and belched prodigious amounts of toxins in the air, it’s not difficult to see how much safer, fuel efficient, and cleaner cars are today. While one can argue that styling may have been more interesting back then, and no one can deny the mystique the classic muscle cars of the late 60s and early 70s held—and continue to hold for many today—it’s obvious that today’s cars are technological wonders compared to their ancestors. In fact, with GPS navigation, Bluetooth, Sirius radio and a host of other gadgets that come standard with many models, today’s vehicles are veritable spaceships when compared to a 60’s car. Plus, the selection is almost unlimited, with everything from subcompacts to monster trucks being available to the consumer, whereas back then selection was mostly limited to a basic sedan, a station wagon, or a small truck. Further, consumers had only a dozen or so models to choose between back then  whereas today there are literally scores of makes and models to select from (not to mention the emerging hybrid and all electric markets to consider). Yes, today’s cars cost more than cars did fifty years ago, but most vehicles are actually cheaper than their predecessors when one factors in inflation and the cost of a new car as a percentage of average annual income. Finally, with new and even more astonishing technologies on the drawing boards, the future looks even brighter for the venerable automobile—which I believe will continue to play a big part in the 21st century and beyond.

9. Air Travel

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I know that in the post 9/11 world, air travel is more of a hassle than it was fifty years ago (when one could walk through security with barely a whimper), but it can’t be denied that travel by air has improved dramatically. First of all, it is cheaper to fly today than at any other time in history. Fifty years ago, airfares were set by the Civil Aeronautics Board, and could often be expensive. For example, a round-trip airline ticket from Miami to New Orleans cost around $130 in 1964—which is about $900 in today’s dollars. By comparison, today you can fly that same route for about $330 (or even cheaper if you’re one to look around for good deals). Second, airliners today are faster, more fuel efficient, and more environmentally friendly than at any time in the past, drastically reducing the amount of particulates they spew into the air, reducing flight duration, and generally making for more comfortable flying. Third, airlines fly to more places than ever before, making practically any point on the planet accessible by air. And, finally, air safety has improved dramatically in the last five decades. How much has it improved? According to statisticians at M.I.T., the death risk for passengers in the United States today is one in 45 million flights. In other words, flying has become so reliable that a traveler could fly every day for an average of 123,000 years before being in a fatal crash. (Compare that to fifty years ago, when there were ten fatal airliner accidents worldwide that left a total of 466 people dead. In 2013, only 195 people perished and this despite the fact that there are ten times as many aircraft flying than there were fifty years ago.) All things considered, travel by air is still your best value and the safest means of travel known to mankind.

8. Electronics

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Imagine if you were to go back to 1964. You would probably be watching a black and white television that gets maybe four channels, listening to AM radio, playing vinyl records on your Hi-Fi, and generally making do with a minimum of electronic gadgets. In contrast, today you have iPods, iPhones, personal computers, game stations, massive HD flat screen TVs with 300 cable channels to choose from, GPS tracking, satellite radio, microwaves, and a whole host of other innovations and devices undreamed of fifty years ago. When you consider that your little beat-up, ten year old piece-of-junk PC you can’t even give away has a thousand times more computing power than the largest and most expensive computer in 1964 possessed, you can’t help but be impressed with the strides electronics have taken in just the last thirty years alone. Plus, it’s extraordinarily cheap, especially if you wait a little while after a new device is introduced for the price to tumble (as it invariably will). It’s almost scary to imagine where this revolution will take us in the next fifty years, but if the last fifty has been any indication, get ready to be dazzled!

7. Human Rights

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I know there are still despots and tyrants out there who treat their own populace like cattle, and starvation, disease, and poverty are still concerns in many spots around the world, but when compared to what things were like fifty years ago, only the most hard-core pessimist can fail to see the tremendous improvements that have taken place since then. When one considers that homosexuality was considered a treatable mental illness fifty years ago (at best), women in positions of power were practically unheard of, and three quarters of the world’s population lived at or below poverty level, one can’t help but see improvement. Yes, there is still income inequality in some countries, the rights of women and minorities are still suppressed in some regions of the world, and poverty remains the norm in some of the poorest counties, but the fact is that for most people, things have improved dramatically. Disease and starvation are far less common, more democracies exist than ever before, and—thanks in part to the internet—human rights abuses and atrocities are far less tolerated than in the past. We’re far from achieving anything approaching a utopian world—nor are we likely to anytime in the near future—but it’s hard to deny that there is at least progress being made.

6. Frozen Dinners

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Before the advent of the microwave some fifty years ago, frozen dinners were dismal affairs whose taste was often indistinguishable from the containers they were packaged in. Plus, it took a good twenty to thirty minutes to heat up most of them, and the selection was very limited and largely unimaginative. Today, in contrast, one can find a veritable smorgasbord of international culinary delights in their freezer that can be prepared in a few minutes, many of which rival the food served in many of the finest restaurants in terms of quality and taste (and, I might add, they are cheaper. Restaurant food can be pricey.) In fact, so good and easy have frozen dinners become that today they comprise many people’s main diet, with most families preparing a meal from prepackaged frozen dinners as often as four times a week. While this has had the unfortunate consequence of making traditional cooking a dying art, it has the benefit in that frozen dinners save the gastrointestinal system of those whose partner or parents are horrible cooks. Further, frozen dinners have also almost single-handedly banished that scourge of the refrigerator and freezer: the dreaded leftover. If that isn’t something to rejoice about, I don’t know is.

5. Movie Special Effects

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Growing up in the sixties, I was often subjected to special effects that could only be described as primordial at best, from a guy in a rubber suit stomping on a model of Tokyo to stop motion animation and rubber spiders on strings. Of course, as a kid, at the time I thought these effects were pretty cool, but when I see these same movies on late night TV today, I can only cringe—or laugh—at how hokey Godzilla looked and how cheesy the first Star Trek episodes were. Today, thanks to CGI (Computer Generated Imagining), we can make astonishingly convincing dinosaurs, dragons, spaceships—even entire ancient cities—that early special effect wizards could only dream of. Some of the best of this stuff is so real, in fact, that one can often have trouble determining reality from good CGI. Unfortunately, as is often the case with all such improvements, there is a down side. Many movies have become so enamored with dazzling effects that they have forgotten how to tell a good story, or they so overdo it that eventually one becomes indifferent and even bored after seeing the same effects a dozen times. Still, when great special effects, good acting, and a compelling story are brought together—as is occasionally the case—the results can be remarkable.

4. Space Travel

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In 1964, America was still taking its first, unsteady steps into outer space in the little two-man Gemini spacecraft, unsure if its astronauts would survive the next mission. The spacecraft were small, expensive, and dangerous, but they were necessary steps in man’s quest for the stars. Today, in contrast, space travel is almost routine, far more cost effective in terms of cost per pound of payload, and so simple that even civilian companies are getting into the act by offering to fly rich tourists into orbit for the chance to gaze upon the planet from fifty miles up. Of course, none of this would be possible without the dramatic advances made in electronics and rocketry, and space travel is still a risky business, but compared to where it was fifty years ago, it’s no longer that amazing an accomplishment to put a man—or woman, for that matter—into space. Further, this trend will only continue as rocket engines get smaller and more powerful, construction materials become more rugged and cost effective, and the private sector takes over space in much the same way it took over the airline industry almost a century ago. As a result, one day our grandchildren will see spaceflight as no more remarkable a feat than an airline flight from New York to Paris is considered today, and will wonder what all the fuss was about.

3. Fashion

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Fashions come and go, but consider that back in 1964 things were far more ordinary and less flashy than they are today. Back then the average Joe—and Jill—didn’t have a huge selection of styles or materials from which to choose. As a result, men commonly wore suits and leather shoes and women generally wore dresses adorned with bizarre hats of all shapes and sizes. There were not nearly a thousand different brands and kinds of tennis shoes to choose from (there were only KEDS canvas sneakers), patterns were generally limited to stripes, solids, or polka dots, and most clothing was made from cotton, wool, or something in between. In contrast, today the sky’s the limit in terms of fashion choices available to both men and woman, with all the benefits (and consequences) that portends. All the colors of the rainbow in any material you can imagine are readily available, and styles are as varied as each person’s personality type. The only downside is today it can be difficult to pick out the women from the men as clothing styles are largely unisexual, and then there’s that nasty epidemic of ugly tattoos and bizarre body piercings out there to deal with. On second thought, maybe fashion is in a downward spiral after all…

2. Pollution

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I know that concerns over global warming, climate change, the ozone layer and such are all the rage, but it is difficult to maintain that things have not improved dramatically over the last fifty years—especially in the west. During the sixties, smog was bad in most major American and European cities and only promised to get worst as populations continued to grow and more automobiles hit the roads. Further, streams were often dumping grounds for all manner of toxic chemicals, and piles of trash were ubiquitous alongside of roadways, in alleys, and even in nature, which was often looked upon as one great garbage dump. Contrast that with today, with our much more stringent emission standards on both automobiles and industrial plants, the shift towards renewable energy, and strict dumping and waste management standards and smog has become rare in most cities, rivers and lakes are far cleaner, and even littering is becoming less common. Clearly, changing public attitudes, a vigorous recycling infrastructure, and greater environmental awareness have also done much to improve matters. Of course, pollution is still a big problem in some developing countries—in particular China and India—and it is growing worse (at least in some developing nations) but it is only a matter of time before even they are forced to raise air and water quality standards for the good of public safety, portending a cleaner environment in the future.

1. World Peace

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I know many people imagine the world to be one big tinderbox just waiting for a match to be thrown, but the fact is the world is a far more peaceful place than it was just fifty years ago. Some may laugh at such apparent naiveté on my part, but consider the facts: between the end of the Second World War in 1945 and thirty years later in 1975, there were no fewer than four Arab-Israeli wars, three wars between India and Pakistan, devastating wars in Korea and Vietnam, major insurgencies in French Indochina, Algeria, and the Belgian Congo, and costly civil wars in Nigeria, Greece, Indonesia, Hungary and Cuba. Further, dictatorships ruled most of South and Latin America, Africa, and Asia, while the shadow of the cold war hovered over the entire world, just waiting for someone to make a mistake, ushering in a nuclear Armageddon. What a difference a few decades have made. With the collapse of communism in Russia and the fall of the Soviet Union, Germany became reunited, the counties of eastern Europe became free, and the danger of nuclear holocaust became greatly diminished. Further, normalization of relations with a once implacable Red China has turned that country from a fierce adversary into a major trading partner, while one by one authoritarian regimes have been supplanted by democracies all around the world. Of course, there are still wars—though they tend to be smaller, shorter in duration, and less destructive affairs than those of the past—and terrorism remains a threat, but it’s hard to deny that the world is not nearly as dangerous a place as it was when I was growing up. Of course, all of that is subject to change without notice, but the threats to peace we see today from countries likeNorth Korea and Iran are mere fleabites compared to the twin dangers Stalinist Russia and Mao’s China posed just a few decades ago. Not peace in our time, perhaps, but steps in the right direction.

 

1/2 Century of Progress – 1964 to 2014