Newsletter for the Star Trek: Freedom Wiki, Winter 2009 edition. To obtain a larger view of any of our pictures in this issue left click on the picture you wish to see. To post feedback click on the Discussion tab. To see previous editions of the newsletter, visit The Archive
- 1 Fleet Updates and Missions
- 2 Dynamic Architecture: Buildings in Motion
- 3 Get to Know Marilyn Work
- 4 Star Trek Fans Mourn the Loss of Two Icons
- 5 Ricardo Montalban: The Passing of a Great Star Trek Villain
- 6 Ten Forward's Bartender: Arcturian Fizz
- 7 Chef's Galley: Rokeg Blood Pie
- 8 How I Met and Married a Romulan Princess
- 9 That's a Wrap!
- 10 Could Martian Volcanoes Harbor Life?
- 11 Star Trek Book Review The Romulan Way
- 12 Trek Mystery Cruise Among the Stars
- 13 Words of Wisdom
Fleet Updates and Missions
USS Spectre Mission: The Gates of Prometheus "Captain's supplemental log, Stardate 2408.06.06. 20:09 hundred hours."
"After encountering the Borg vessel whilst still under phased cloak, we dispatched an EVA team of marines to covertly board the ship by way of a portable boarding tube, the 'Can Opener' as the Marines affectionately like to term it. The operation was a success but during their mission to incapacitate the Borg communications array and main power systems, a small Sphere ejected in an attempt to remotely re-establish a link with the collective. I gave the order to pursue the sphere but despite our best efforts to destroy it, it seems that it may have initiated a time jump."
"The unusually configured Borg vessel, however, has now been secured and a small number of drones taken aboard the Spectre for further data retrieval. Attempts are also under way by Doctor Gunnell, our mission specialist, to establish data linkup with the Borg ships main database. My thoughts though, are still of the Sphere and where, or when it might re-emerge."
"End log... append to existing."
USS Rosenante Mission: Fields of Elysium
"Our survey of the Beltanis Stellar Nursery has been anything but boring. Our situation turned from one of simple exploration to survival when we encountered a massive alien artifact known as The Harvester. The Rosenante was captured by this massive device when it trapped us in a powerful tractor beam and then transported the entire ship and her crew inside a massive neutronium sphere. We are not the only ones who have been trapped in this manner either. It seems that there are at least five other species who have befallen the same fate. The Nechani, Sky Spirits, Kobali, Hur'q, Hunters and B'zz'tz have all found themselves here for one reason or another. All but the B'zz'tz seem to be prisoners here. In addition to the dire circumstances, we have also discovered the wreckage of the USS Epiphany which disappeared nearly two-decades ago. Despite two clashes with the Hur'q we are hopeful to forge a cooperative alliance with the others here, to better organize and plan how we can make our escape. The depths of the alien vessel await us, and it is my belief that we must explore them in order to find our way out of here and return home to Federation Space."
USS Boudicca Mission: Where Fools Fear to Tread
The Boudicca has been sent to search for an unknown alien species after the USS Saratoga found a new warp trail. Cdr. Jerome ManyHorses, First Officer of the Saratoga has been transferred to the USS Boudicca as Mission Commanding Officer for the duration of the mission as his credentials make him the most experienced for the job.
Currently they are where the USS Saratoga was when it sensed the warp trail and a grid search was initiated with all scanners operative and a message sent out on all frequencies to greet anyone. The aliens have heard the message and replied. Their ship is on course to intercept the USS Boudicca.
USS Mithrandir Mission: Diogenes and His Lamp
With Captain Stakes missing, the Mithrandir now is now now under the command of Commander Olorin Okita and they have been joined by long time nuisance, Commander Remae Ktell, who steps in as Acting FO. With promotions and other personnel changes complete, the ship has been ordered on a shakedown cruise, departing at 0800. With no further instructions forthcoming, some of the crew are wondering if they have given up the hunt for the Captain.
USS Hades Mission: A Rule of Conscience
Day 17 of our mission and the Hades is following the Waagoshin ship Graelridge to the Hiverun Ignatius system which is the home of the Tch'kairn. The Tch'kairn have been enslaved for two centuries by the sadistic race and it was their signal we followed in the hope of rendering aid. The science and engineering teams are working diligently to break down the secrets of fractal space which is the basis of the Tch'kairn technology of which some has been stolen and emulated by the Waagoshin. In order to understand our possible enemy we are surreptitiously attempting to scan their power source and come up with an answer to their Quantum disruptor weapon. In the meantime elements of the Tch'kairn guerilla movement have discovered our arrival and are making plans. Will the Hades be pulled into a war we did not expect? And if so what will be its ultimate end?
Dynamic Architecture: Buildings in Motion
Dynamic Architecture, the very words seem to be mismatched, yet they are suddenly and unexpectedly linked. This unusual marriage of art and technology is expected to revolutionize modern architectural building techniques and thrust the Human race forward into a more efficient and ecologically friendly era of low carbon emissions and biosphere co-habitation. This will be done with the creation of the most revolutionary and unique architectural design ever conceived. They call it Dynamic Tower
The tower is expected to be architecturally innovative for several reasons. Uniquely, each floor will be able to rotate independently. This will result in a constantly changing shape of the tower. Each floor will rotate a maximum of 6 meters (20 ft) per minute, or one full rotation in 90 minutes. It will also be the world's first prefabricated skyscraper. 90% of the tower will be built in a factory and shipped to the construction site. This will allow the entire building to be built in only 18 months. The only part of the tower that will be built at the construction site will be the core. Part of this prefabrication will be the decrease in cost and number of workers. The total construction time will be more than 30% less than a normal skyscraper of the same size. The majority of the workers will be in factories, where it will be much safer. The entire tower will be powered from wind turbines and solar panels. Enough surplus electricity should be produced to power five other similar sized buildings in the vicinity. The turbines will be located between each of the rotating floors. They could generate up to 1,200,000 kilowatt-hours of energy. The solar panels will be located on the roof. Construction of the Dynamic Tower is expected to be completed in 2010.
Dubai has well earned its reputation for architectural extravagance and excess. Not a cent has been spared as various developers vie to produce the biggest, the most stunning, the most luxurious and the most outrageous projects ever undertaken. And while this next project is right up there in terms of luxury, exclusivity and head-spinning architectural genius, it adds a fascinating extra dimension; the ability to generate ten times as much power as it will use. Each floor of Dynamic Architecture's wind-powered rotating skyscraper is a single apartment with the ability to rotate independently, giving residents the ability to choose a new view at the touch of a button; quite a party trick
Wind turbines between each floor will generate a vast surplus of electricity capable of powering the whole surrounding neighborhood. The method of construction is also fascinating; each floor will be prefabricated in segments in a quality controlled factory before being lifted and secured into place on a concrete spine, bringing costs and construction times down significantly. Construction is set to begin soon in Dubai, with a second tower to follow in Moscow and numerous other sites around the world being considered. The genius in Dr. David Fisher's design of the Dynamic Architecture wind-powered rotating skyscraper is its powerful and unique appeal to so many stakeholders. With luxury and jaw-dropping architecture becoming so common in Dubai, and so many wealthy and impressionable people wishing for their homes to stand out from the crowd, the tower's unique ability for each floor to rotate independently will surely place it in high demand. It will also be a stunning landmark for the city, catching the sun as it quietly twists like a monolithic Rubik's cube.
The wind turbines between each floor make the tower an environmentally positive construction, generating a large excess of power to put back into the energy grid. Each turbine has the peak ability to produce around 0.2 megawatt hours of electricity. Given Dubai has an average of 4000 hours of wind annually, with an average wind speed of 16 km/h, the turbines are estimated to produce around 1,200,000 kilowatt-hours of energy per year. Four of the 48 turbines in the building will be enough to power the entire tower, leaving the other 44 to provide surplus energy back into Dubai's power grid.
The tower's unique properties allow for an equally innovative construction process. Instead of building the tower from the ground up, floor by floor as most skyscrapers are built, the rotating tower will be built in parallel stages. As a team on site builds the enormous concrete core, or spine of the building, complete with the elevators, a separate team will be working in a dedicated factory, prefabricating each floor in segments.
Once the core is complete, the segments will be lifted up the side of the building and each floor will be assembled and attached, from the top floor down, around the central spine.
This method holds a number of advantages over traditional construction schedules. Firstly, since the core and floor segments are being built in parallel, the construction can be much quicker, resulting in a time saving of around 30% for a similarly sized regular tower. Secondly, vastly fewer workers need to be on site at the tower, meaning only around 90 specialist workers will need to work in difficult and dangerous conditions at the tower itself, the remainder being in an optimal, safe and comfortable factory setting.
Thirdly, each modular apartment can be easily customized to the buyer's desires, and every small component can be finished and quality assessed much more easily than an on-site construction, leading to higher standards of quality control. Architect David Fisher sees the construction method as the equivalent of an industrial revolution in construction, bringing large-scale building practices into line with industrial practices in other areas. The first industrial prefabrication factory will be located in Italy.
The rotating tower is slated to begin construction in Dubai in early 2009 according to Dynamic Architecture and the 420 meter, 80 floor Dubai tower will be followed by a 70 floor, 400 meter tower in Moscow which is currently in advanced design phase. The company is in preliminary talks with the cities of Milan, London, New York, Hamburg and Sao Paolo for further implementations.
For an incredible video showing you the amazing architecture in action, please check out the video on Youtube.
Get to Know Marilyn Work
What is your favorite food, color, drink, music, book and movie?
My favourite food is seafish. My favorite colour is lilac. My favorite drink is white wine. For music, I like Celine Dion and Queen. I love anything written by Anne McCaffrey, especially the Pern novels. My favorite movie is a hard one; probably Steel Magnolias.
Any Favorite TV shows?
You want a list?! CSI Miami and Las Vegas, Law & Order and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NCIS, Bones, Jericho, Standoff, ER, West Wing, House, Numbers. It’s a long list. And that doesn’t even start to cover the Sci-Fi stuff. I like anything Star Trek apart from Enterprise. I also like Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis. But my all time favorites are ST:DS9, Babylon 5 and Andromeda.
When and how did you first hear about Star Trek in general?
Around 1960ish and ST:TOS on the TV.
How did you find out about Star Trek: Freedom and when did you join?
About five years ago, (2004?) I did an internet search for PBEM sims. Another one (which will remain nameless) came up. I hated it. Freedom was the next one I found. I have been in Freedom with a small break since then.
What do you like the best about Star Trek Freedom?
The people in Freedom are far nicer. The unnamed sim insisted that you call everyone by their rank. So if I wanted to IM with my Captain I had to call him Captain Whatever on IM. I'm sorry; I have just never been into that and I did not get on well on that sim. No surprise there! ST:F is, to be honest, the best sim I have found since the people here actually like talking to each other.
Who was your instructor?
Al Muir, but Standovar Thrall, I think, was his instructor’s name. What can I say; he takes all the good ones!
What do you do on ST:F and what character(s) do you play?
I am the FO for the USS Rosenante. I play Lt Commander Josh Caskie FO on the Rosenante. I also play Kitty Fisher, Head Nurse on the Rose and occasionally I might do an EMH post. I am also an Academy Instructor, EnAelliau (Ael) Harkonnen T’Ri.
How do you like being in command?
To be honest, I don't. I think it is far more fun simply to be a member of the crew and find out what is happening when it happens. That said, someone has to be in Command and it is a lot of fun to decide what is happening next. I guess it is a trade off.
What do you think is the most important part of being in command?
Being able to relate and work with everyone else. If you cannot do that, then you are wasting your time.
When not writing posts or keeping yourself updated on current storylines, what do you do for a living?
You mean I get a life outside that? Who knew?! I work six days a week cleaning the local store called Scottmid and I work seven days a week cleaning our local pub. Each of them are only two hours a day each.
So many of our players are creative and expressive people. What else do you like to do with your time?
I cook. I try to have holiday with my hubby now and then. I knit. I watch Dvd's and I read.
What do you feel is your best dish that you cook?
I would say tagliatelle, but probably Norrie and Gav would vote for my Sausage and Bean Casserole.
What is tagliatelle?
Ribbon pasta. I tend to do a ham and mushroom sauce with it, with white wine and cream.
What do you make with your knitting?
To be honest I just really like knitting. I have always loved Aran knits and baby clothes. I knit with lots of stuff, but for baby clothes there are only so many fibers with which you can knit.
What's your favorite type of yarn to knit with? Cotton? Wool? Acrylics?
Pure Aran wool yarn to knit an Aran sweater. There is nothing nicer, to be honest, than knitting with that.
How has ST:F impacted your life for the better? Or has it made your life more difficult?
At first when I joined as an ACMO it was a whole load of fun. Now being an FO I see the other side of the story. It is indeed more difficult but I realize that if it wasn't for people that were prepared to give up their time to invent the next mission for the rest there would be no next mission.
Which Star Trek character in any of the series or movies did you like the most?
Oh that is a really easy question. I love Kira Nerys from DS9. And as for her playing the Intendant, I just thought it priceless. She was so good at it.
Why did you like Kira Nerys so well?
Because she was a total pain in the ass when she thought she needed to be and to be honest that is what I liked about her. She didn't compromise.
Have you gotten to meet any of the actors from Star Trek?'
No but I met JK Rowling last year.
How did you get to meet the author JK Rowling?
She was being awarded the Edinburgh Award. Norrie and I were lucky to be one of the couples who were given tickets for the award ceremony.
If you could, what is the one thing in the world you would want to change the most and why?
I would, if I could, change the way that we all look at each other worldwide. I honestly feel that we are all too suspicious of each other. Trust has to start somewhere.
What are you the most proud of in your whole life?
The proudest moment of my life was three years ago come May when Norrie got elected as the first of twelve people from our party to Edinburgh City Council.
Marilyn lives, works, cooks, knits, and writes in Scotland in the United Kingdom with her husband and son. Thank you so much, Marilyn. You sound like you are a wonderful cook and you are an intuitive and creative individual.
Star Trek Fans Mourn the Loss of Two Icons
Often named as the First Lady of Star Trek, Majel Barrett Roddenberry passed away from leukemia on December 18th, 2008 at age 76, in her Bel-Air California home.
Although she had other acting roles in Hollywood, Majel Barrett was most well known for playing Number One in the Star Trek pilot episode, Nurse Chapel during ST:TOS, Lawaxana Troi in ST:TNG and the voice of the computer system on the Enterprise throughout most of its incarnations. She also played the voice of the computer again in the upcoming JJ Abrams Star Trek movie due out in May 2009 prior to her death.
Born as Majel Lee Hudec, Barrett began her acting career in the 1950's with roles on popular television shows such as Leave It to Beaver, My Three Sons, Bonanza and The Lucy Show.
After Gene Rodenberry’s death in 1991 at the age of 70, Barrett continued his legacy by helping to bring to life one of his pet projects, the 1997-2002 series Earth: Final Conflict. But after his death, she had little to do with Star Trek other than a few appearances.
"Gene sold out all of his rights to Star Trek way back 15, almost 20 years ago," she told SciFiDimensions.com in 2000. "So, they ask nothing. I volunteer nothing. They invite me to a few of their shindigs. I'll bet you I haven't been on that lot in two years."
However, Barrett had welcomed the new remastering of TOS and the upcoming film release, choosing to see it as a validation of the late Gene Roddenberry’s vision. "What's nice is you know a Star Trek movie is still one that everybody wants," she had told The Hollywood Reporter in 2006.
Buried in Los Angeles' Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Cemetery, Barrett was laid to rest on January 4th, 2009. The funeral service was open to fans. Attendees numbered approximately 300 and included fellow costars such as Walter Koenig (Chekov, TOS), Nichelle Nichols (Uhura, TOS), and George Takei (Sulu, TOS). A handful of fans showed up in Star Trek uniforms to pay tribute to a fine woman and a believable actor.
Eugene Roddenberry Jr. said on Roddenberry.com that his mother appreciated the role that Star Trek fans had in keeping his father’s legacy alive for over 40 years. “It was her love for the fans, and their love in return that kept her going for so long after my father passed away."
As Barrett was a lover of animals and their health and well being, the family had asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in her name to the CARE Organization or Precious Paws.
For some rare photos in the official tribute by her family and close friends, though there have been many posted on www.youtube.com by adoring fans, go to http://www.Rodenberry.com.
Ricardo Montalban: The Passing of a Great Star Trek Villain
An extraordinarily talented individual has departed from us. Ricardo Montalban passed away the morning of January 14, 2009 at the age of 88. Though the exact cause of death has not been identified, his son-in-law Gilbert Smith claims that he died from complications of advancing age.
The Mexican actor first came to Hollywood in 1943 and had a career spanning seven decades of multiple noteworthy roles including that of Mr. Roarke of Fantasy Island and as Khan Noonian Singh back in 1967 in ST:TOS which he reprised in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in 1982. There are those Star Trek fans who feel that Montalban gave the franchise new popularity with his magnetic portrayal of Khan.
This gifted actor’s checkered career included radio shows, Broadway musicals, television, westerns, WWII films, and voice over work in commercials.
A spinal injury occurred caused by being thrown off a horse, knocked out and then walked on by another horse, all during the filming of Across the Wide Missouri in 1951.
The actor suffered terribly with pain that grew worse for the rest of his life, despite surgical procedures to attempt to correct the damage. He went from walking with a cane to delivering his lines from a wheelchair or in a sitting position during his later roles.
Ricardo Montalban later formed the Nosotros ("We") Foundation in 1970 to advocate Latinos in acting and the performing arts. The Foundation later created the Golden Eagle Awards, a televised annual award show that features and recognizes Latino achievements in the television and film industry. Having been himself a victim of stereotyped roles and prejudice, Montalban wished to show the world that Latinos could be exceptionally talented and gifted in the performing arts.
In 1980, Doubleday published his autobiography, Reflections: A Life in Two Worlds.
A devout Roman Catholic, he once said that his faith was the most important thing in his life. In 1998, the actor was named by Pope John Paul II as a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, one of the highest honors the Catholic Church can bestow upon a lay person.
Montalban’s last role was the voice of a cow in an episode of Seth MacFarlane's series Family Guy, in which he paraphrased lines from his role in Star Trek II.
Ten Forward's Bartender: Arcturian Fizz
A popular drink, the Arcturian Fizz is well liked for its pleasure enhancing qualities.
When Lwaxana Troi, her daughter Deanna, and Commander William Riker were held captive on a Ferengi starship, the Ambassador offered to make an Arcturian Fizz for the Ferengi DaiMon Tog.
Claiming she needed Tog's access code to program the replicator to make the drink, Tog was about to give it to Lwaxana Troi until his suspicious counterpart Dr. Farek interrupted the two of them.
Here is a simple version that you can make yourself. We can, however, make no claims about how much pleasure is derived from it.
- 1/2 cup Lemon Juice
- 3-3/4 Tbsp Grenadine Syrup
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 oz. Gin
- 1/4 cup Club Soda
Dissolve sugar in lemon juice, syrup, and gin in a four to six ounce drinking glass of your choice. Add club soda last. Pop in three or four cubes of ice for a colder drink. Garnish as desired with a sprig of mint or rosemary or a fresh slice of fruit. For a non-alcoholic version, substitute gin with lime juice.
Chef's Galley: Rokeg Blood Pie
Used with the Permission of the author K'Tesh
Rokeg Blood Pie (ro'qegh'Iwchab): A traditional Klingon dessert, desired often by Worf when he was growing up on Earth (ST:NG "Family"). It was first seen and mentioned in A Matter of Honor... though not in the same scene. For that reason it was believed that it never made an appearance on camera, but according to the book "Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion" it did. InStar Trek: Klingon (interactive CD) it made an appearance, but looked radically different from its first incarnation (I do not have a recipe for this version). It has made an appearance on Voyager in "Day of Honor", and was last seen in DS9's "Resurrection", although it was not called Rokeg Blood Pie in the episode. The recipe for this last version was apparently obtained somehow from THIS site. I have a couple of other recipes for theme parties as well as the two recipes that I know are accurate.
"Rokeg Blood Pie is a much favored Klingon dish, difficult to prepare properly. There are many regional variations of this dish. The Blood Feud between the House of Rengoth and the House of Dore began when warriors of each house claimed to have the better recipe," according to Star Trek: Klingon.
In the episode A Matter Of Honor, the first version of this dish was made from several turnips that still had the roots attached, placed in pumpkin pie, dyed red, and displayed in a clear bowl.
A variation of this version could be made by using raw beets in a bowl of tomato soup. Before displaying I'd cut the stems off to make the beets more stable, and I retain them for other Klingon dishes.
K'Tesh's version of Rokeg Blood Pie
This is my favorite version for appearance and taste. This is an almond gelatin recipe I modified to resemble, as best as I can tell, Klingon blood. The idea worked like this: If fish blood resembles mammal blood... wouldn't Rokeg blood resemble Klingon blood? Apparently my idea worked, because in "Resurrection" (ST:DS9) it appears that someone at Paramount liked my recipe. I admit however that it was not pointed to and called Rokeg Blood Pie by name. I presume that it is Rokeg Blood Pie, because it strongly resembles my recipe.
- 2 packages Knox unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 cup boiling water
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- Less than 1/8 teaspoon Burgundy icing color
- Graham Cracker Crust mix
In the bottom of a large mixing bowl, prepare the graham cracker crust, careful to make sure that only in the bowl has the crust. When finished the crust will be on the top of the dessert, and the crust does not extend down the side. Carefully cover the top of the crust with butter, this is intended to seal the crust from the gelatin. When graham cracker crust becomes wet, it swells, and tastes reprehensible.
Soften gelatin in a 2-quart bowl with 1 cup hot water. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Add 1 cup boiling water. Stir. Add sugar, milk, food coloring, and almond extract. Stir together. Pour onto crust. Chill until firm.
When the gelatin is firm, cover the bowl with an upside down plate, and invert the dessert. If you happen to have a Parallel Universe's Bajoran thief, you should allow him to cut the dessert with a borrowed meqleH.
The original recipe 'Ha Nong Woo' has optional toppings: mandarin orange segments, maraschino cherries, and/or other canned fruit.
How I Met and Married a Romulan Princess
- Editor’s note: This is a fictional piece of creative writing from one of our members about his character, Chance Raschen.
When I first met T’Lela, she was a Sub-Centurion in the Romulan military, and I was on one last job before starting classes at Hardy-Knox University to become a licensed ship’s captain.
Some folks have asked me how I could have married a Romulan, let alone get her father’s blessing, considering how xenophobic, as a society, Romulans are. Well I tell you what; it sure as hell wasn’t easy. My mother, Margaret, was on a business trip to secure licensed shipping privileges from the magistrate inside a Romulan Province. I traveled with her and served as her bodyguard. Coincidently, T’Lela served as a bodyguard for the Magistrate S’Adashiv, who happened to be her father.
During one of their many meetings together my mom had convinced him to continue the meeting over dinner, just the two of them at an eatery of his choice. T’Lela and I sat at a table close at hand just in case one of them attacked the other. You see, being Scottish, my mom is very outspoken and has a temper to boot. As they spoke, T’Lela and I started talking about how our parents treated business like war.
Mom and I spent the night at the Magistrate’s estate. After my mom and her dad went to their rooms for the night, T’Lela and I stayed up drinking and talking. That was my introduction to Romulan Ale. She and I woke up the next morning curled up with each other without any clothes, under a blanket, on an animal skin rug in front of the fireplace. She wrapped the blanket around herself while I pulled my pants on. As we walked down one of the hallways toward our rooms, we were startled when the door to her father’s room suddenly swung open and almost hit me in the face.
T’Lela’s dad looked really peeved when he saw us, so you can imagine how the situation evolved when my mom walked out of his room wrapped in a blanket as well. My mom and I pointed at each other and neither one of us could keep from laughing. T’Lela and S’Adashiv started yelling at one another, basically demanding the same answers from the other. Come to find out, S’Adashiv had been a widower for the better part of a decade and well, as mom explained it to me, one thing led to another. Hey, they were both consenting adults, why not? For that matter, the same could be said for T’Lela and me.
T’Lela’s side however, turned out to be a little different. It so happened that I turned out to be the first male to be interested in her that didn’t give a damn about her father’s power, wealth, or influence. I didn’t need or want his; my family had just as much of both as his family.
When my mom and I left Romulus after she got the shipping permits, she and S’Adashiv continued to keep their physical relationship a matter of convenience but pursued an active business relationship. T’Lela and I continued to court until we got married the week I graduated from Hardy-Knox University. Unfortunately the next week the Cardassian-Federation War started.
That's a Wrap!
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Directed by Stephen Norrington
Writers (WGA): Alan Moore (comic books) and Kevin O'Neill (comic books)
Released July 2003
Starring Sean Connery as Alan Quartermain, Naseeruddin Shah as Captain Nemo, Peta Wilson as Mina Harker, Tony Curran as Rodney Skinner, Stuart Townsend as Dorian Gray, Shane West as Tom Sawyer, Jason Flemyng as Dr. Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde, and Richard Roxburgh as M, this action packed movie smacks of science fiction at the turn of the century before the first World War.
Her Majesty and the British government request the legendary African hunter Allen Quartermain to participate with others of extraordinary talents to stop the coming chaos caused by a masked madman calling himself the Phantom. Fighting their own personal demons and, often each other, this group of unlikely and reluctant heroes saves the day against dangerous odds.
The movie ends up being a rollercoaster ride of special effects, high drama with unexpected heroes and villains along with a lovely plethora of late 1800’s details. The Nemomobile and the Nautilus alone are so gorgeous in decorative touches that they are almost characters in and of themselves.
If one can overlook the obvious gaffs of a naked invisible man in northern Siberia not freezing to death outside, that former evil villains can suddenly decide to do an about face personality change to become do gooders, or that Tom Sawyer could know how to drag race an automobile before the advent of the Model T, the movie is fun and dramatic, the special effects well done and believable, and the acting credible.
Could Martian Volcanoes Harbor Life?
The debate over the existence of life on mars is heating up, literally. A group of scientists have put forward an interesting new theory concerning the possibility of an extraterrestrial volcano harboring life.
The solar system's biggest volcano, Olympus Mons, is lopsided. And that odd shape strengthens the case that Martian life is hiding out deep in the mountain's bowels, according to a new study.
Rising three times higher than Mount Everest, Olympus Mons was active at least 40 million years ago, and perhaps more recently. Magma may still be close enough to the surface to support heat-loving bacteria like those found near hydrothermal vents on Earth.
But bacteria likely need water to live in, too. Now Patrick McGovern and Julia Morgan think they may have found it, locked in thick layers of clay-rich sediments beneath the mountain.
Spreading out over an area about the size of Arizona, Olympus Mons' massive lava flows are bunched up in the southeast, and stretched out in the northwest. In a detailed computer simulation of the volcano, the researchers found the volcano would only assume its oblong shape if the erupted lava piled on top of layers of weak, water-laden sediments.
Scientists aren't certain how old Olympus Mons is, but it's likely that its first eruptions were billions of years ago. If so, it could've formed in a time when Mars was much warmer and wetter, and trapped a large reservoir beneath it.
Whether or not that reservoir is still warm -- and whether is contains life -- remains a tantalizing uncertainty. No heat signatures have yet been detected from satellites orbiting the planet, but their instruments can't penetrate into the subsurface.
"If we were to go there and shove a probe a meter below the surface, you'd get a very different picture of heat flow," Brian Hynek of the University of Colorado at Boulder commented during a press conference, suggesting the mountain is probably still warm.
The blackest depths of a volcano might not seem like the best place to go alien-hunting. But life on Earth has been found subsisting two miles down in the crust, and a mile beneath the ocean floor. So “finding life a mile or so below Olympus Mons' lava flows is well within the realm of possibility," Hynek said.
The flows may even act as a kind of insulating blanket, keeping water and heat in, and Mars' cold, corrosive surface conditions out.
"It's the natural place I'd go first on an astrobiological expedition to Mars, given that it's the place where volcanism is strongest and youngest on the planet," McGovern said. "And you want to be looking wherever it's hot."
Star Trek Book Review The Romulan Way
by Diane Duane and Peter Morwood
Novel Review by Charlie Raschen
Originally published by Simon and Schuster 1987 with subsequent reprints, 254 pages
ISBN 10 0743403703
ISBN 13 978-0743403702
From the back cover: They are a race of warriors, a noble people to whom honor is all. They are cousin to the Vulcan, ally to the Klingon, and Starfleet's most feared and cunning adversary. They are the Romulans – and for eight years, Federation Agent Terise LoBrutto has hidden in their midst.
Now the presence of a captured Starfleet officer forces her to make a fateful choice between exposure and escape. Between maintaining her cover – and saving the life of Dr. Leonard McCoy.
Here, in a startlingly different adventure, is the truth behind one of the most fascinating alien races ever created in Star Trek – the Romulans.
We all should understand by now that the idea of a story in the Star Trek universe being considered canon is purely a matter of speculation and argumentation. The book I am reviewing fits well into the “questionable canon” category. That being said, The Romulan Way by Duane and Morwood can be very informative about the history of the Vulcan and Romulan peoples and the political history of the two, not to mention what brought about their subsequent separation.
Ever been curious to know how the Romulans acquired Klingon built D-7 battle cruisers, or how the Klingons got Romulan cloaking devises? And yes people, even more political intrigue, and this time between the Federation, Klingons, and Romulans. Like spies? Got them all over the place; and assassins too. Of course, let us not forget about how our dear Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy developed his taste for Romulan Ale.
This one book contains three good separate stories. I personally didn’t like the way the stories in this book were intertwined; primarily because of how the shift from one story to another took place. I’d be reading one story, then “BANG!” I’d find myself in a different story and get confused because of the sudden change. I’m a little slow like that at times. Overall, I really enjoyed this book; I read it at least four times; once front to back, then flipping through in order to read each individual story by itself. If you are not concerned with canon facts, this book makes a very good reference. Enjoy it; I did.
Trek Mystery Cruise Among the Stars
Ever wanted to go on a cruise? Have you had a yearning to solve a mystery yourself and have the chance to be a detective while finding clues and asking questions? Have you been wishing you could meet some of the actors from any of the Star Trek movies and series?
Here is your big chance!
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Star Trek: Of Gods and Men by Renegade Studios, and Mystery Vacations have joined forces in hosting and sponsoring a fascinating seven day cruise, to fulfill all of those wishes.
A five day long, slowly unfolding, hilarious murder mystery is planned and you can work to solve the case by finding clues, interviewing suspects, and receiving secret notes. Maybe you will be the one to solve the crime and identify the killer. You might become part of the cast.
In addition, on the Mariner of the Seas, you would cruise for 7 days to Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta and enjoy the balmy weather of the Pacific Ocean's Bahía de Banderas.
But watch out! You can never tell who might beam down from space.
Participating from the Star Trek series and movies will be five of the actors who will be involved in the cruise mystery and crime: Tim Russ (Tuvok from Voyager), Garrett Wang (Harry Kim from Voyager), Chase Masterson (Leeta from DS9), and Alan Ruck (John Harriman from Generations).
As of February 17, 2009, Marina Sirtis will be joining the Star Trek Mystery Cruise. Ms Sirtis is best known as Deanna Troi, the empathic Counselor on the Enterprise during the popular seven year run of ST:TNG and the daughter of the unsurpassed Ambassador Lwaxana Troi.
Also from Renegade Studios, a unique showing of ST: Of Gods and Men will be viewed along with special sessions with the stars and autograph signings, a much more personable time than at large conventions.
There are pluses to booking early such as locking in pricing; your cost will not go up as cruise time approaches and there is priority seating for the Q and A session with the special guest stars. To reserve your cabin only a $350 deposit per person is required. You must book early to guarantee your spot. For the first 100 reservations, free movie passes from Regal Cinema will be sent by April 15, 2009 for the new movie Star Trek due to be released in May 2009. Along with the free tickets the lucky recipients will receive a $10.00 concession stand voucher.
At this time of writing February 2009, prices for the cruise in US dollars range from $599.00 to $1499.00 depending on the room size. For more information, please see [] and [] or contact Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.
Words of Wisdom
It isn't the sum you get, it's how much you can buy with it, that's the important thing; and it's that that tells whether your wages are high in fact or only high in name. - Mark Twain in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Sacred cows make lousy hamburgers. -Alan Watts