UK National Archives has a UFO files Section

For my job I come across some very strange documents from time to time. And since I’m a very curious person, when I see something that catches my attention, I have to investigate.

To give you a little back ground of what I do, I work for a document delivery company. We receive requests, and then it is my job to go looking for a copyright cleared document. Yesterday was definitely a day for strange requests, and what brought me to this little discovery.

First, I had a request for a document having to do with Obsessive Compulsive Disorders in dogs. I had no idea dogs could have OCD.

Then, I was looking for a document that is in the United Kingdom’s National Archive. On the right hand side of the page, I noticed a listed of most popular collection. In the top five was “UFO files”. I just giggled to myself and my co-worker asked me what was so funny, so of course I had to show her.

Apparently UFO sightings in the UK are very popular, and the government has released a great number of documents having to do with these sightings, instead of simply hiding them away and attributing the sightings to “weather balloons”.

Anyway, I thought this was an interesting resource for UFO enthusiasts and worth sharing! Enjoy!

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Geordi in World of Warcraft

So, I was playing WOW with my fiance when we happened upon this little guy: a Gnome named Jhordy Lapforge. He’s an engineer working on a matter transporter. He’s where a gold uniform, which is the color for engineers in TNG, and he’s wearing goggles (I know, I know, it’s not a viser, but it’s close).

Growing up, for some reason was one of my TNG characters. It was probably because of his friendship with Data, and his almost childlike personality and charism. I would even go as far as wearing headbands over my eyes so it would look like I was wearing a visor. Yes…. DORK! I know! But I can’t help it. That’s why I was so excited to see this Geordi look-alike in this very popular online game!

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The Transporter

Memory Alpha

Aside from warp technology, it would appear that the transporter is the least likely to happen right now, however, the dream still lives on and the possibilities are enormous! Scientists have taken theories posed by Einstein, a little bit of inspiration from Star Trek, and a lot of work and innovation working toward the goal of transporter technology. We have made great strides in this area and we are currently able to transport data, but not matter.

In a way we have been doing this for decades with fax machines. You scan the information, encode it, send it over a phone line, and reproduce it on the other end. According to a 2007 article by Steve Connor scientists have successfully “teleported data over a distance of 89 miles” utilizing quantum entanglement (I won’t even pretend that I understand what these people are talking about. I’m a Librarian, not a physicist), which does not require an intermediary source such as a phone line to transport the information. To the untrained bystander the data seems to appear out of thin air. In fact, the teleporters of the Star Trek franchize were actually modeled using the theory of quantum entanglement when they were thought of four and a half decades ago.

The hope for future research in this field is to test the theories in space. The study that was highlighted by Connor in his article and was perfomed by Dr. Rupert Ursin, et al. was published in Nature and was used as a feasibility study performed by the European Space Agency.

As recent as 2009, Ursin and his team have been conducting research and tests in order to determine the viability of communicating in this manner.

In the Star Trek universe, the first transporter that was created by humans, and was able to tranport matter was first developed by Emory Erikson prior to 2121. That’s only a little more than a century off. With the rapid rate of technological advancement we have seen over the past one hundred years, I’d say it is possible to breach the inability to tranport matter by that time.

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Alongside the communicator and computer, the PADD is a modern-day reality.

Memory Alpha

The Personal Access Display Device (PADD) is essential to anybody living past the 22nd century. They are basically miniature computers combined with electronic readers. Padds are utilized for anything from creating documents, reading reports, downloading material, watching movies, and communicating information through a wireless network of sorts.

Sound familiar? The first devices that could be considered ‘PADD-like’ that entered the

technological arena are the Palm Pilots. Then electronic readers such as Amazon’s Kindle (I love my Kindle by the way…) and the Sony e-reader took the stage, allowing users to download documents and books almost instantaneously. These e-readers most closely resemble the PADDs of Enterprise that have just a few buttons allowing the user to navigate their way through the material and applications. What they lacked, however, was touch functionality. But wait… isn’t there a device out there now that has touch screen functionality? Why yes there is!

We now introduce the iPad. The iPad most closely represents a mixture with the bulk the Enterprise era PADDs and the functionality The Next Generation PADDs. As technology evolved in the Star Trek

universe, there was no longer a need for the tiny buttons on the outer edges of the device, and therefore became completely touch screen, which is a similar path electronic readers have taken. The iPad is completely touch screen, allows the user to surf the web, read documents and book, and do a whole slew of other things.

Something we have that the Star Trek universe doesn’t have? ‘Communicators’ that allow users to serve the web, read books, read documents, get material almost instantly and allow users to talk with the same device! Smart phones allow us to do all of these things. These devices could have come in handy from the 22nd century on. They would make it to where you didn’t have to hold a communicator and a PADD to complete your work. So, in a way, it seems we have advanced in this respect. Although, by the 24th Century, there is really no need for such a device, since your communicator is pinned to you at all times!

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The Phaser

So, I said we would be discussing Star Trek technology a little bit. The first technological piece we will discuss is the Phaser.

The phaser in the Star Trek universe is a device that utilizes a directed energy beam that can stun or kill a target. They have also been known to be utilized as somewhat practical tools by melting walls and doors that have been locked. They range in size from a hand held pistol to rifles to mounted weapons utilized on shuttle craft, or for that matter, an galaxy size ship.

In 2005, MSNBC released an article highlighting the Air Force’s creation: thePersonal Halting and Stimulation Response).

(Its too bad Gene Roddenberry didn’t have the term Phaser trademarked, unlike his Star

U.S. Air Force

Wars rival George Lucas who trademarked the term Droid. And yes, the creators of the Droid phone have to license the term!)

Now, the Phaser and the PHaSER have a share a few similarities:

1. They both utilize direct energy beams
2. They can both be utilized as non-leathal weapons
3. And in a way they can both stun their targets

But the similarities end there. The PHaSER uses its directed energy beam to temporarily blind their targets, instead of knocking them unconscious. The Air Force refers to this momentary blindness as ‘dazzling’ the individual. And in away, it stuns them, deterring them from their original intent.

Now your probably thinking to yourself, well the Taser kind of does the same thing. It stuns its target without actually causing death. It is a non-violent weapon. However, the PhaSer is the first weapon that utilizes non-lethal force without having an intermediary source that connects from the ‘gun’ to the target.

The whole idea of utilizing non-lethal weapons has Star Trek written all over it as well. The ‘more evolved’ terrans of the Star Trek universe believe in preserving life as opposed to destroying it, and it usually takes a lot of provocation to kill another living being. The PHaSER is an extension of this principle in our own w

Even though we aren’t entirely there yet, it seems like there is the potential to have actual phasers that allow users to switch between lethal and non-lethal settings, depending on the situation. The military is working in this direction, and the ideas are floating out there, but like many other things, finances are holding up the actual development.

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Everywhere I look… there’s Star Trek!

As I was saying in my previous post, it seems like Star Trek is everywhere these days (at least in my world).

Case in point # 1:

My favorite radio station of all time is 96x, back at home in VA. I listen to it whenever I get the chance by streaming it on my computer or my phone now that I am in Connecticut. My favorite part of the morning is listening to the best radio program in the world today The Mike and Bob Show. Bobby, who I have to say is my favorite, is obsessed with Star Trek Next Generation (or TNG). TNG probably comes a close second to his new daughter Sophie (congrats by the way). Not a day goes by where a mention of Captain Picard, or Vulcans (which by the way, shouldn’t Vulcans be from Vulca? Or something along those lines? It seems a bit awkward and repetitive to have a Vulcan from Vulcan. It just doesn’t seem logical to me, but I digress) or some other random comment doesn’t come up in the show. In fact, he has tried to organize a day where he and some others will dress up in TNG uniforms and just act like it’s a normal day (I want to see pictures if this ever happens!). And I do believe, if I am not mistaken, he mentioned the fact that he downloaded a tri-corder app for his iPhone.

But as far as I can tell (because I’ve been listening to this program for quite some time), this newly rekindled TNG excitement hasn’t been very vocal until the TOS reboot.

Case in point #2

The whole reason I began this blog was for a Social Media class that I took over the summer. I was actually pretty apprehensive about writing a blog about Star Trek, believing that I was going to be stereotyped for liking Star Trek. Come to find out my professor is a trekkie as well. In fact, he has taken his passion of Star Trek to a whole new level. He will actually be teaching a class next semester entitled: Star Trek and the Information Age. This is going to be a wonderful class embracing pop culture and issues we are currently facing in the information age and will be facing in the near future. I especially love the fact that there will be a class project that will be known as the “Collective”! Needless to say, I am completely jealous! At first I thought he was just taking the topic of my blog to a new level, but, he has assured me that he’s had the idea for a long time.

So, as we can see, just based off these two examples, Star Trek is a topic of conversation in many different types of circles. Star Trek is relevant to the information sector, the technological sector, space travel, etc. and can spark many cross disciplinary and cultural conversations and can draw parallels on many levels.

For my next post, I’m going to delve into some of the realities of once fictional Star Trek technology.

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Welcome Back

So, I know I haven’t written in a while. I graduated from college, moved to Connecticut, started a new job, and kind of fell off the face of the earth. But now that I’m all settled it, with very few distractions to occupy my time with, I have decided to start writing again.

Before I moved, my fiance and I were blazing through the Star Trek series. I think it all began after seeing the Star Trek Original Series Reboot that debuted last year. We flew through TOS, Enterprise, TNG, and were almost done with DS9 when I was offered the job. We decided to put the goal of watching all Star Trek episodes ever created until we are reunited in May 2011.

Now that I have a little bit of time on my hands (especially considering I don’t have to worry about school anymore) I’ve decided to revisit some of the issues that I’ve been wanting to discuss, but never had time for. My topics for discussion won’t be linear. They will basically be anything that pops into my head, something that I was curious about and just couldn’t wait to share with those who appreciate and share my Star Trek fanaticism. 

I believe my first topic for discussion will be how the reality of Star Trek, the obsession with that sci-fi world, seems to be everywhere these days. Maybe the omnipresence of Star Trek has become more apparent because of the excitement incited by the TOS reboot (which is the same reason we decided to trek through the ST series (pun intended)). Or maybe it’s because we, as human beings, are making a great deal of headway in this field, and we are moving closer to physical, space exploration as a reality as opposed to science fiction. With the advances in technology, astronomy, engineering, etc paired with our lofty goals, we may just see the first one way mission into space for no other purpose than simply exploring or colonizing other planets.

If nothing else, it appears as though Gene Roddenberry has inspired us to reach for the stars and take mankind’s curiosity with the unknown and thrill for exploration and make it into a reality.

Stay tuned… there’s more to come.

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