In which, Andrew and Dude discuss the 50th anniversary of Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a better humanity; namely, Star Trek. They recount their first encounters with the show, how the show actually began, how the show was saved by the fans, and especially the utopia that Roddenberry envisioned in the future.
In which, Andrew and Dude (who has finally learned his name) nerd out hardcore discussing all the Star Trek series finales. They discuss the Next Generation team of the future, agreeing that “old Picard” is the best part of the DS9 finale; Andrew delves into his own distant past for relevant stories. They take a brief detour into a conversation about Gene Roddenberry’s vision for Star Trek. The ultimate takeaway from this episode is that Romulans always suck.
Being a science fiction fan, I’m forced to admit that, as a whole, the genre has a rather bleak outlook on the future. Some of Sci-fi’s greatest works are among its most disheartening and dystopian. In spite of this, there is still one great, shining beacon of hope and positive energy guiding the way to a brighter future: Star Trek.
It’s safe to say that the Star Trek franchise, particularly Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation, epitomizes all of the wonderful and positive things that humanity can become. It is filled with characters that, even when faced with insurmountable choices, still manage to do the right and moral thing, even if there are consequences that must be paid. This of course is no accident, but instead the vision of one man brought to life on the small screen. As a bomber pilot during World War II, Gene Roddenberry had a first had view of the absolute worst of humanity. I can’t help but think that his experiences in the war helped shape his view of what he wanted humanity to be like in the future. Continue reading
Today CERN announced that they have unambiguous proof of a new exotic hadron. Hadrons are subatomic particles that aid in creating the strong nuclear force that binds atoms together. These new hadrons do not fit in to the current quark model, however, which means that scientists will need to revisit the existing model in order to account for these particles. It’s always really awesome when scientists find out that the universe doesn’t quite work the way they thought it did, because every time it happens humans improve their understand of how things really work.
CERN’s Large Hadron Collider
I’d also like to take a moment to point out that–as has happened with other things–I thought baryons were fictitious Star Trek inventions. Once again, foiled by Gene Roddenberry
Back in the day, a navy’s fighting power was measured by the strength of its battleships. With the emergence of the aircraft carrier during WWII, the battleship took a back seat and they have since all been decommissioned. Still, without the battleships’ big guns, there is something missing in the Navy’s arsenal–the ability to “put steel on target” as I have heard it put. Now the US Navy is getting ready to implement the use of rail guns. These weapons can put a non-explosive round on a target up to 100 miles away and the projectile travels in excess of mach 7. (By the way, mach 7 is just over 5,300 mph, which is eighty-eight times faster than the average car on the highway.)
Not only is this weapon super cool, but it can be operated by one sailor and is extremely cost efficient as well. Each round costs $25,000 compared to missiles which range in price from $0.5 million to $1.5 million a piece.
As it turns out, there is a link between use of antibacterial soaps and increased bacterial growth. Persons who have an increased level of triclosan have also shown increased levels of Staphylococcus aureus. When the bacteria are exposed to non-lethal doses of antibiotics they tend to latch on to crevices and hide in biofilms. This leads to a corresponding increase in the amount of bacteria present and can cause an increased risk of infection if that person is undergoing surgery.
This seems like a particularly appropriate story right now, given that I’ve got some bacteria that are laying me low at the moment.