Friday, October 11, 2013

It's Federation Day 2013!

Hey everybody, it's October 11th, and you know what that means, right? Yup, it's National Coming Out Day and Federation Day, so if you're gay and a trekkie you get two presents.
He owns this day.
In New York you can legally punch
someone in the face for saying climate
change is a hoax. Punch. In the face.
Still don't know what the hell Federation Day is? Fine, here, read these: (2010, 2011, 2012), I'll wait. With me now? Federation Day is the holiest day of the Geek Orthodox calendar, as it is on this date, in 148 years, that our planet will join the United Federation of Planets: a fashion-challenged utopian society filled with amazing technology that will solve all of our problems. But 148 years is a ways off, so what are we supposed to do until then? Well, according to science, moving inland would be a good idea for a lot of us.

But Star Trek is about a bright, implausibly optimistic future, and since there's a decent chance we'll all be dead by the time it rolls around, I propose we start living in it today. How? I'm glad I pretended you asked. Here're some 21st century ways to party like it's 2299, you know, before we're all swept out to sea:

Look, I made a thing! And it
only took me 74 hours!
Replicate things! In the future, whatever you want can be instantly yours thanks to replicators, which convert energy into matter, and get this: they're sort of already here. In the 21st century we call them 3D printers and they're the first step towards a post-scarcity society in which all our needs will be met by a magic wall slot. Of course, instead of creating objects out of energy, 3D printers build things out of polymers or metal powder. Anything you can imagine and then break down into a precise 3D computer model can be extruded before your very eyes, one layer at a time...over many, many hours.

Anyway, we can also look forward to replicators simultaneously solving both our garbage and energy problems. You see, not only will they convert energy into matter, but they'll also convert matter into energy. On the Enterprise, the replicators take leftover food, broken equipment, even the waste generated by the crew and turn it into energy which in turn powers the replicators.
Yeah Jean-Luc, the computer didn't just pull the
atoms for your Earl Grey tea out of thin air. Future!
Pictured: proof that we,
as a species, are doomed. 
Get assimilated! According to Star Trek, one of the greatest threats we'll face in the future is the Borg, an unstoppable civilization of cyborgs who want to make us part of their hive mind. Yeah, it sounds terrible at first, but in real life people love hive minds. Ask yourself how much time you spend online every day, and then add to that the 20 or 30 times a day you check your phone to see if anyone texted you or if anyone responded to your stupid 'if you're really my friend you'll re-post this' status update. Now multiply that figure by 4, because you're probably lying. See? Welcome to the collective.

Sure, becoming a Borg will strip you of your individuality and link you to a collective consciousness where you can't even escape into the privacy of your own thoughts but if you take a close look at the user agreement on Facebook, you'll see we're pretty much there already. All that's left is the cyborg arm.
Today is Three of Six's birthday. Send him a Starbucks gift certificate?
A real-life holodeck that plays Halo?
Now you'll never have to face reality!
Get a holodeck! Ok, so like the replicators, holograms aren't quite up to 24th century standards, but check out this 'proof of concept' video for Illumiroom. It's an Xbox One with a projector and a Kinect (the always-on camera Microsoft wants to use to conduct valuable market research on your gaming and masturbation habits), which scans the room and then projects images that can interact with your environment.

It can extend the game beyond the confines of the screen and even mess with your environment by projecting an image of your living room over itself and then distorting it. It sounds pretty cool, and while it's not an immersive holographic environment with total freedom of movement and solid objects made out of light and force fields, it's also not going to gain sentience and try to murder you. I'd call that a plus.
Above: Riker, thanking space-Jesus that it was Data's stupid Moriarty hologram
that took over the ship and not his program: Three-way on Tellar Prime.
Happy Federation Day everybody!

Oh, and sorry about the kind of grim tone, what with the climate doom and all. Back in the sixties when Star Trek started, all anyone worried about was nuclear war, and that turned out ok. I'm sure if we all get Nissan Leafs and someone invents cold fusion in the next couple of weeks, we'll be fine.

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