Spocking fives, a tribute to Leonard Nimoy and Mr Spock

Tuesday, 10 March, 2015

Spocking the Canadian five dollar note

Canadians, and I dare say, any other “Star Trek” fans who have Canadian five dollar notes in their possession, have been “Spocking fives”, or taking a pen to the imprinted image of a former Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, to make him look more like Mr Spock for years now.

And now a fine tribute to Leonard Nimoy, who died on 27 February. And, according to the Bank of Canada, “Spocking fives” is not illegal either, even if they don’t encourage the practice:

Nonetheless, bank spokeswoman Josianne Menard pointed out there are reasons to resist the urge to scribble on bills. “The Bank of Canada feels that writing and markings on bank notes are inappropriate as they are a symbol of our country and a source of national pride,” Menard wrote in an email.

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RIP Mr Spock

Monday, 2 March, 2015

Leonard Nimoy as Mr Spock

Sad news this, the passing of Leonard Nimoy, or Mr Spock, of the popular “Star Trek” TV show and movie series, last Friday.

I’ve always been inspired by some of the show’s best known phrases, “to boldly go where no one has gone before”, even if I haven’t really gone anywhere at all, and “live long and prosper”. The galaxy is an emptier place without you Spock.

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The “Star Trek” TV shows, ranked from worst to best

Monday, 12 January, 2015

Six hundred and ninety-five television series episodes of “Star Trek” ranked from worst to best by Jordan Hoffman. I’ve always considered myself a fan of the franchise, but aside from the movies, plus the Original Series, and Next Generation TV shows, there’s much of the “Star Trek” universe that I know next to nothing about.

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Captain, I find your style of fighting to be illogical

Thursday, 4 December, 2014

Captain James T. Kirk, he of “Star Trek” fame, and once commander of the starship USS Enterprise, enjoyed a bit of biffo. Or perhaps that could really be said of William Shatner, who played the well known space explorer.

I remember years ago Shatner saying he was keen to incorporate a little more fighting into the films that the original cast made after the TV series had ended. He wasted little time availing himself of that opportunity when he took on the role of directing the fifth of the “Trek” films, The Final Frontier, in 1989.

I think that was quickly shown to have not helped a great deal though. Now, as if to make matters worse, the logic of Kirk’s hand to hand combat style is being called into question

The axe handle strikes which had served him so well in the past seemed to fail him against Khan. Axe handle strikes, for the ordinary man, are a great way to break your fingers. Perhaps this was bad form catching up with Kirk – who was notorious for not playing by the book.

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Restoring the USS Enterprise, or would that be a re-fit?

Thursday, 25 September, 2014

USS Enterprise model

The nearly three and a half metre long model of the USS Enterprise, used during the production of the original “Star Trek” television show, that has been suspended from the roof of the gift shop in the Smithsonian Institution for almost the last fourteen years, is to be restored.

I just thought you might like to know that.

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The original “Star Trek” in the widescreen

Friday, 19 September, 2014

Star Trek widescreen by Nick Acosta

San Francisco based illustrator and concept artist Nick Acosta has created a series of images depicting scenes from the orginal “Star Trek” television show, that, by the way, first went to air forty-eight years ago, in widescreen format. This I could get into I think…

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What does the future hold for our systems of government?

Tuesday, 24 June, 2014

Future governments could take a variety of forms, including cyberocracy, rule through “effective use of information”, an artificial intelligence singleton, being rule through an intelligent machine of some sort, Paleolithic politics, should the apocalypse strike, or even a “Star Trek” like global democratic government:

Thus far, globalization appears to be unfolding across three stages. The first phase is cultural globalization, the second economic, and the third political. The first and second stages are largely complete, though some protectionism still exists. The final stage has proven to be the most difficult; nation-states are incredibly hesitant to give up sovereignty. But the dissolution of borders may be an inexorable trend that underlies civilizational development, as witnessed by the unification of China under the Qin Dynasty, the formation of the United States of America, the current experiment known as the European Union, and the likely unification of all African countries. Taken to its logical conclusion, we may eventually achieve a democratic planetary government.

With regions across the globe seemingly demanding more autonomy though, I’m not sure we’re actually going in this direction.

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We like the new “Star Trek” movies better than the old ones

Tuesday, 8 April, 2014

Ranking the so far twelve “Star Trek” movies by their IMDb rating, reveals fans of the sci-fi franchise have a clear preference for the two “re-booted”, or most recent features, as inspired by the original TV series.

It’s interesting to see the first “Trek” film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, that was met with – to put it mildly – a mixed reception, appears to have almost the best box office take of the lot. I think that has much to do with its nostalgic appeal at the time of its 1979 release.

I wonder how the upcoming “Star Wars” films will fare, compared to the earlier installments of the saga, in this regard?

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The economics of the “Star Trek” universe, it’s a free for all

Friday, 29 November, 2013

I’ve seen a fair few “Star Trek” episodes and movies, but cannot recall seeing any of the crew shopping, dining out, or in situations where they are required to fork out money for goods and services. The exception may be when they’ve time travelled into the past, but no transactions appear to take place in the twenty-third century or beyond.

As Captain Kirk tells us during “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” though, they don’t use money in their time. If that’s the case, what might a… non-monetary “Star Trek” world look like, if we were part of it? In a word, idealistic would sum it up. Apparently everyone has, or is provided with, everything that they need:

In Star Trek, most economic value is created by essentially free goods. That is the simple explanation as to why we don’t see money exchanged. That is the point of free. But more to the point, one has to think about how much is free in terms of allocations. Researchers on happiness like Justin Wolfers, in my reading, seem to indicate that once we have about $100 million in wealth (based on today’s goods), that is about as happy as people can get. Marginal utility is effectively zero in wealth beyond that point. In Star Trek, at least the closer you get to Sector 001 (or the Solar System), everyone has what, in today’s terms, would be $100 million or more in wealth. The free goods that are provided from housing to technology to services and to Earth and Earth orbit transportation are what would $100 millionaires can get today. They may be the very same humans who are motivated by wealth acquisition as we have today but the economic problem of “not enough to go around” has been solved up to the level of a saturation point.

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There’s no planet, or moon, by the name of Vulcan in this system

Wednesday, 10 July, 2013

A while back, two more moons were discovered orbiting dwarf planet Pluto (how a planetary body with several decent size satellites can be considered “dwarf” is beyond me, but I digress), giving the far flung member of the solar system a total, so far, of five moons.

Recently a poll was held to name these newly found companions, but the most popular choice, Vulcan, was rejected in favour of the second and third alternatives, Cerberus and Styx. As a name, Vulcan is apparently lacking in underworld connotations, or so we are told.

Fans of the “Star Trek” sci-fi TV and film series however will know Vulcan is the name of the planet Mr Spock hails from, so it seems to me the title is better left reserved for a Vulcan-like exoplanet, provided its host system is uninhabited that is, that we may one day find, rather than being applied to a moon.

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