We will see how all this plays out, but as of now there is a report that neutrinos have been observed traveling slightly faster than the speed of light:
Well, that simple fact may be in the form of the latest experiments at the largest particle accelerators in the world, based at CERN, outside Geneva. Physicists fired a beam of neutrinos (exotic, ghost-like particles that can penetrate even the densest of materials) from Switzerland to Italy, over a distance of 454 miles. Much to their amazement, after analyzing 15,000 neutrinos, they found that they traveled faster than the speed of light—one 60-billionth of a second faster, to be precise. In a billionth of a second, a beam of light travels about one foot. So a difference of 60 feet was quite astonishing.
Cracking the light barrier violated the core of Einstein’s theory. According to relativity, as you approach the speed of light, time slows down, you get heavier, and you also get flatter (all of which have been measured in the lab). But if you go faster than light, then the impossible happens. Time goes backward. You are lighter than nothing, and you have negative width. Since this is ridiculous, you cannot go faster than light, said Einstein. Continue reading
Apparently it is all the rage at conventions where geeks, my people, gather, to engage in the Khan scream of Captain Kirk from The Wrath of Khan (1982), the best of the Trek movies due to the superb performance of the late Ricardo Montalban as Khan Noonien Singh. Here is Shatner giving the Khan scream at the Los Vegas Star Trek Con 2010: Continue reading
I am on vacation this week with my family. My internet connection in the coming week will range from intermittent to non-existent. I will have posts for each day I am away on the blog, but if something momentous occurs, for example: Elvis is discovered working at a Big Boy’s in Tulsa, the Pope issues a Bull against blogging as a complete waste of time, or there is an alarming outbreak of common sense in the government, I trust that this post will explain why I am not discussing it.
Among other activities we will be attending the Gen Con Convention in Indianapolis, a pilgrimage the McClarey clan makes each year to renew our uber-Geek creds. If any of you are close to Indianapolis and you have never attended, it is worth a drive to see tens of thousands of role players, board gamers and computer gamers in Congress assembled. If nothing else you will go home reassured as to how comparatively normal you are. Last year’s attendance was in excess of 30,000 and there are multitudes of gaming related events. A good overview of Gen Con is here. Below is a Gen Con video from 2010 which gives a nice feel of the convention.
My wife and daughter participate in the live action dungeon at Gen Con. Here is a trailer for True Dungeon 2011:
How Start Trek should have ended.
Hattip to Midwest Conservative Journal. I enjoy Christmas traditions. The Christmas Tree, singing Carols, wretched Illinois weather, hot coco, presents, watching several versions of A Christmas Carol, etc. Perhaps the wildest version of a Christmas Carol is a Klingon adaptation of the timeless tale, presented, of course, in Klingonese. The Wall Street Journal gives us the details:
CHICAGO—Across the country this week, productions of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” are warming hearts. In this city, one version poses this question: What if Charles Dickens were a Trekkie?
The answer runs an hour and 20 minutes and includes three fight scenes, 17 actors with latex ridges glued to their foreheads and a performance delivered entirely in Klingon—a language made up for a Star Trek movie.
“It’s like an opera,” says Christopher O. Kidder, the director and co-writer. “You know what’s happening because you already know the story.”
For those not fluent in Klingon, English translations are projected above the stage.
The arc of “A Klingon Christmas Carol” follows the familiar Dickens script: An old miser is visited on a hallowed night by three ghosts who shepherd him through a voyage of self-discovery. The narrative has been rejiggered to match the Klingon world view.
For starters, since there is neither a messiah nor a celebration of his birth on the Klingon planet of Kronos, the action is pegged to the Klingon Feast of the Long Night. Carols and trees are replaced with drinking, fighting and mating rituals. And because Klingons are more concerned with bravery than kindness, the main character’s quest is for courage. Continue reading
(Content advisory to the above video. A few of the Rules of Acquisition are off-color. You know what the Ferengi are like.)
We have been having a debate recently on The American Catholic between Austrians and Distributists. As a devotee of free enterprise with as little government intervention as possible, I have found some wisdom in the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition as set forth in one of my favorite fictional realms: Star Trek. Many of the Rules of Acquisition of course are merely for entertainment purposes and would lead to immoral results, if not bankruptcy or prison, if attempted in reality. However, after a quarter century of running my own business, I believe these rules are insightful:
The film was made by a group of kids in 1978. The sad and sorry fact is that I saw worse acting and production values in some episodes of the original Trek.
The original cast was asked to comment:
Some people like what I have to say. Some people don’t. One complaint I sometimes hear from the people who don’t is that I’m “angry.” So I want to publicly explore this dimension of my writing, on the blogs, in the comment boxes, and other venues. I want to answer the questions: am I really that angry? Is my anger, to the extent that it is really anger and not someone’s misinterpretation of my words, justifiable? Is it rational? Or is it entirely detached from reason and logic?
These questions themselves might leave you perplexed. Aren’t emotions and logic mutually exclusive? I think most people understand on some level that they aren’t, but we aren’t used to hearing why. Instead, typical debate rhetoric implies that if one is displaying an emotion, one has given up on logic. As is often the case with rhetoric, this claim is an absolute fallacy, it is the product of either unclear thinking or deliberate manipulation – a cheap lawyer tactic.
How many times, for instance, do you see in the television courtroom dramas the lawyer try to rattle the person on the witness stand to get them to display an emotion, and then use that emotion to discredit the facts the witness presents or the logic of the opposing counsel?
I co-blog with a lot of lawyers. For the most part, I like them, and I hope I don’t offend them when I say this. (Really guys!)
Comments may be left on my blog.
Leonard Nimoy is calling it quits as to any future portrayals of Mr. Spock, and is retiring from show business.
Leonard Nimoy, the actor who has famously portrayed “Star Trek’s” original alien Spock for over 40 years, has announced he’s officially hanging up the pointy Vulcan ears for good. Nimoy, 79, plans to retire shortly from show business and the “Star Trek” convention circuit, according to the Canadian newspaper Toronto Sun.
Hattip to Ace of Spades. I have to refresh my credentials as Chief Geek on this blog and so I post this blooper compilation video from the original Star Trek series. Much to my disappointment they did not include some of Shatner’s more histrionic Captain Kirk speeches, but what they chose isn’t bad.
“As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Starfleet personnel may interfere with the normal and healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes introducing superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. Starfleet personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship, unless they are acting to right an earlier violation or an accidental contamination of said culture. This directive takes precedence over any and all other considerations, and carries with it the highest moral obligation.”
Yesterday Darwin had a thought provoking post about the impact of technologically advanced cultures on less developed cultures. In the combox discussion there were frequent references to the Prime Directive of Star Trek. This of course gives me an excellent excuse for posting this examination of the Prime Directive and for me to burnish my credentials as the “Geekier-Than-Thou” member of this blog. Continue reading
Shatner the Canadian explains the preamble of the Constitution to us! Regular readers of this blog will not be surprised to see me drag Star Trek into my posts leading up to the Fourth of July!
Maureen Dowd wrote a column last month in which she compared, tongue in cheek, Obama to Mr. Spock from Star Trek. Jeff Greenwald of Salon also sees a resemblance between Chicago’s “gift” to the country and the first officer of the Enterprise. Bill Whittle of Pajamas Media, takes great joy in informing us in a very entertaining video here why having an intellectual in the mode of Mr. Spock as president is very bad for the nation.