A history of the borg examined through the lens of Star Trek. Resistance is futile.
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Nichelle Nichols, best known as Uhura from Star Trek’s The Original Series, will fly on NASA’s Stratospheric Infrared Observatory aircraft on Sept. 17.
Elizabeth Howell via Space.com:
Nichelle Nichols, best known for playing Lt. Nyota Uhura on “Star Trek: The Original Series,” will join the crew of the SOFIA (Stratospheric Infrared Observatory) aircraft on Sept. 17, the star announced July 31.
“I am honored to say that I will be among the first non-essential personnel to experience NASA’s newest telescope: SOFIA,” Nichols wrote on StarPower, a website celebrities use to raise money for charities. [Original Star Trek’s ‘Uhura’ Promos NASA’s Orion Capsule (Video)]
“I would love to share this event with my fans through live sharing here on StarPower, a special for my VIP fans supporting the great causes that help make these kinds of historical events happen,” Nichols added. “I’m working with NASA to see what’s possible.”
Geoff Brumfiel via NPR:
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“I have a hard time saying this with a straight face, but I will: You can teleport a single atom from one place to another,” says Chris Monroe, a biophysicist at the University of Maryland.
His lab’s setup in a university basement looks nothing like the slick transporters that rearrange atoms and send them someplace else on Star Trek. Instead, a couple million dollars’ worth of lasers, mirrors and lenses lay sprawled across a 20-foot table.
“What they do in the TV show is, they send the atoms over a long distance,” says David Hucul, who recently got his Ph.D. with Monroe. “But, really — if you could build anything, you wouldn’t send the atoms.”
That’s because atoms are big and heavy, and you don’t really need them, he explains. The laws of physics say that any atom of carbon is identical to any other atom of carbon.
The television series Star Trek: The Original Series (1966–1969) debuted one year after my immediate family and I relocated from the Harlem district of New York City to an area of South Central Los Angeles in 1965.
This was also the year in which that latter metropolis erupted into riots that became known collectively as the Watts Rebellion. The television series became a form of escape from the surroundings of a depressing urban reality and envisioning a more tolerant future.
As it turned out, however, TV was not to be the key to that future. Rather, that entrée would be provided by many subsequent years of formal education that would spark in me an intellectual curiosity about the inner workings of the trek of life – engaging the tangibles of this world as well as the intangibles I imagined to exist beyond the stars.… Read the rest
Leonard Nimoy explains the Jewish story behind the hand-gesture he made famous through his role as Spock on in the Star Trek science fiction series.
RIP Leonard Nimoy.
H/T Laughing Squid
“The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force of our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.” – Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Rick Webb has written a fantastic piece about the economics of Star Trek, and then speculates about whether or not we could begin to incorporate some of these notions…
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“Take a mental journey for a moment with me: what if, one day, technology reaches the point that a small number of humans — say, 10 million — can produce all of the food, shelter and energy that the race needs. This doesn’t seem like insanely wishful thinking, given current trends. There’s no rational reason why the advances in robotics, factories, energy and agriculture couldn’t continue unabated for long periods of time. Of course I’m not saying they will, but rather, they could.
“So, then, take that journey. What, then, of labor?
Continuing with the meme that any technology Gene Roddenberry and the writers of Star Trek dream up eventually makes its way into our lives, Hershey and 3D Systems Corp. have announced plans for 3D printable foods, reports MarketWatch:
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Hershey Co. and 3D Systems Corp. reached a multiyear joint development agreement to explore and develop ways to use 3-D printing technology to produce edible foods, including confectionary treats.
“We believe that innovation is key to delivering relevant, compelling consumer experiences with our iconic brands,” said William Papa, Hershey’s vice president and chief research and development officer. “Whether it’s creating a whole new form of candy or developing a new way to produce it, we embrace new technologies such as 3-D printing as a way to keep moving our timeless confectionery treats into the future.”
Financial terms of the deal weren’t provided.
In a widely seen report, research firm Gartner Inc. last year said the number of consumer 3-D printers globally was set to double and that combined end-user spending on the devices was expected to rise 49% during 2013.
The television show In Search Of is a strange little chestnut from my childhood. I knew the show’s host, Leonard Nimoy from his turn as “Spock” in Star Trek repeats, and In Search Of’s focus on unexplained phenomena, missing persons and extraterrestrial encounters was right on target for a kid who already loved Sci-Fi.
I remember being terrified by the “Bigfoot” episode of the show and equally traumatized when the program took its cameras beneath the deep green waters of Loch Ness. But, not all of the show’s subjects were so “out there.” In 1980, their “Lee Harvey Oswald” episode dramatized the circumstances surrounding the assassination of JFK, including key evidence from authors and experts along the way.
The result is an insightful portrait of the self-proclaimed “patsy” that challenges the “lone gunman” contentions of the Warren Report. The centerpiece of the show is a Dallas police dictaphone recording that proves that there were four shots in Dealey Plaza that day in 1963.… Read the rest
We are officially living in someone else’s fantasy. The Verge writes:
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Foreign Policy describes NSA head Keith Alexander’s data-processing “Information Dominance Center” in Virginia as a high-tech homage to Star Trek.
Alexander reportedly had his operations center redesigned to mimic the Enterprise bridge, “complete with chrome panels, computer stations, a huge TV monitor on the forward wall, and doors that made a ‘whoosh’ sound when they slid open and closed.”
“The Center’s primary function is to enable 24-hour worldwide visualization, planning, and execution of coordinated information operations for the US Army and other federal agencies,” says a paper by designers DBI Architects. “The futuristic Commander’s console gives the illusion that one has boarded a star ship.”
The officials and lawmakers who were apparently treated to presentations at the center, however, seemed duly impressed. “Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard,” says an officer who helped coordinate the visits.
It’s always fun to see Gene Roddenberry’s fictional devices become reality. CNN reports on the latest:
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You’ve answered the call for volunteers, signed up for the Mars trip and you are looking forward to boldly going to space, the final frontier, to explore a strange new world.
But wait. Recent evidence from NASA’s Curiosity rover mission to the Red Planet has revealed that astronauts on the round-trip would be exposed to high levels of radiation from cosmic rays and high-energy particles from the sun contained in solar storms. NASA says a Mars voyager would receive a radiation dose around 100 times the average yearly exposure on Earth.
Along with all the other risks of spaceflight, this would clearly be bad for your health — and it is proving difficult to find a solution.
Eddie Semones, a radiation health expert at NASA’s Johnson Space Flight Center, told CNN that shielding to completely block the radiation danger would have to be “meters thick” and too heavy to be used aboard a spacecraft.