Morning Briefs

Tech Imitates Trek… Again

An article in the UK Telegraph predicts that Thorium could be the nuclear wonder fuel that solves all of civilization’s energy and environmental problems. It’s article sounds exactly like any number of articles predicting some glorious technological fix that never quite happens; like flying cars  and genetically engineered sea turtles that process algae into margaritas.

But I remembered that this same technology was used by some cranky forehead aliens in an episode of Star Trek: Estrogen Voyager.

An image of a decrepit-looking alien appears on the viewscreen. He introduces himself as Rahmin of the Caatati. He explains (that) most of his people were assimilated by the Borg over a year prior. ..  Now they roam the quadrant, the last of their species, destitute and starving, their ships always low on power.

Janeway and the bridge officers are greatly moved by the horror he has just described. She offers him any help that she and her crew can give. He thanks her and makes a specific request for thorium isotopes, which their technology depends on for power. Janeway promises to see what they can do.

And this isn’t the first time Star Trek Tech has predicted a real technological development.

Transparent aluminum is basic Federation Technology, first discussed in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which was released in 1986.

In 2009, science figured out how to make transparent aluminum.  In 2005, the military began studies of a transparent aluminum alloy for use as armor plating.

It’s nice that a couple of things predicted in Trek have worked out, because so much of their science was teh stupid. The writers’ complete misunderstanding of what Deuterium is, for example.

VOYAGER CLICHE OF THE WEEK: More fun with deuterium, a real substance that Voyager writers have been demonstrating their ignorance about for two years. This time we’re going to dig up deuterium from the ground? That’s a good one…


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