Friday, October 14, 2016

Captain's Log: Trekker-in-Chief Nails It, and Notable Anniversary Articles


For all kinds of reasons, it's worth checking out Wired's Frontiers issue edited by President Barack Obama, and the associated videos on Wired's site.  This is the President of the United States talking about cutting edge science and technology, and its near future impact on the world, on government and citizens.

Similarly, there's this video of a panel at the Frontiers conference in Pittsburgh, featuring President Obama's introduction and participation.  Apart from the specifics being discussed, what I learned was the importance of being fluent in these issues for a 21st century President of the US.  That's worth thinking about in terms of the upcoming presidential election.

In this panel, President Obama described himself as a science geek, a nerd, and proud of it.  Yet he also asserted the value of his own background in the humanities, and said "I learned more from reading novels than from textbooks."  It is of course the nexus of science and storytelling that characterizes and distinguishes Star Trek.

But most pertinent to this site is President Obama's views specifically on Star Trek, which he discussed for about four minutes in this Wired video.  What he said went pretty directly to the essence, or the soul, of Star Trek.  Which he described as people reaching across barriers or differences, working together to solve problems.

What also struck me is that this is very close to the very words that Leonard Nimoy used in my conversation with him, when he described what he believed was the essence of Star Trek. 

Speaking of Nimoy, he might have been especially gratified this year when most humpback whales were taken off the endangered species list.  Maybe Star Trek: The Voyage Home (which he told me was his "Star Trek statement") didn't do it alone, but I'll bet it helped. 

Star Trek's 50th anniversary has been the occasion for more than the usual articles relating aspects of the real 21st century world to the 23rd and 24th centuries of the Star Trek saga.

For example, an astrophysicist looks at the latest thinking on the forms alien life might take in terms of What ‘Star Trek’ May Have Right—and Wrong—About Alien Life in National Geographic.  Another National Geographic article provides a guide to observing the real known M class planets in the sky.

A NASA panel looked at the future of space exploration in relation to how it is portrayed in Star Trek, in a Space.com article.

While most outlets marked the 50th anniversary with listicles of favorite episodes etc., the New Yorker offered The Enduring Lessons of Star Trek.  It's a personal view and dwells mostly on TNG but it's a tribute to Star Trek's continuing life and influence.

Similarly, the Washington Post looked at Star Trek's past and present embrace of diversity.  Scientific American celebrated Star Trek's scientific accuracy.

1 comment:

Spacer Guy said...

Great interview with Barack O' Bama. I wrote a nexus of key events for Star Treks 50th also and found a cool interview with Gene Roddenberry for the 25th so I added it in. He recounts how cool it was to have the classic and next generation back at the convention and so far the shows were running well. - no fighting had broken out yet, haha. "cluttered strange" to do this thing.