Choosing Star Trek as the theme for my first blog post in a month is dorkalicious, no way around it. In my defense, I use this blog to point out interesting chatter I see on the internet, and lately many smart folks have chosen to comment about Star Trek; among them:
- Eugene Volokh is bothered by Chekhov’s accent: I don’t recall his pronouncing it Pawel Andreiewich Chekow (though maybe I missed something).
- Juliet Lapidos looks at toruture in Star Trek, and calls up the famous Four Lights episode.
- Peter Suderman: There are things to love in Abrams’s Star Trek, yet very little of the original series’ appeal remains. Rather than concern itself with politics, ethics, or social organization, Abrams’s Star Trek focuses on familiar quests for individual self-discovery…. it’s about adolescent heroes coming to terms with themselves and their pasts, struggling with friends, rivals, and enemies while searching for power and place in the world. Where the original was poorly fashioned and outwardly focused, this one is gorgeously designed and self-obsessed. It’s personal rather than political, aesthetically pleasing at the expense of conceptual depth.
- Reihan Salam asks, where are the Black Vulcans? There were no black Vulcans at the highest levels of the Vulcan Science Academy. This could mean that black Vulcans are a very small minority. Yet Tuvok’s wife, T’Pel, was also a black Vulcan. And so the pool of black Vulcans couldn’t be trivially small. Or perhaps endogamy is relatively common across Vulcan ethno-somatic groups. But doesn’t this strike you as an affront to the iron laws of logic? If ethno-somatic endogamy is not particularly common, one assumes that sharp “racial” distinctions would erode over time. ..The iron laws of logic do cast doubt on another hypothesis, namely that the late emergence of black Vulcans in the Star Trek universe suggests human-like discrimination against Vulcans who vary from the phenotypic norm.
- Devin Faraci: the movie just kept working, even though the script was obviously shoddy and half-done.
- Phil Plait reviews the film’s science: Drilling a hole to the center of a planet is not a simple matter! Planets tend to be thousands of kilometers in radius so that’s a heckuva hole. A problem with deep mines is that the pressure of the overlying rocks tends to collapse the hole. A cubic meter of rock weighs in at about 2-3 tons, and there are billions of cubic meters of rock above such a hole. You could try to use a beam weapon to vaporize a hole, but the rock to the side would keep flowing in. You’d never get anywhere.
(Is it a coincidence that a disproportionate amount of thoughtful Trek commentary is found on the right side of my RSS reader?)