Star Trek Timeline

This is a simple timeline for the Star Trek TV shows and movies to help new fans keep the events straight.

Star Trek: Enterprise — 2151-2154
TV (2001-Present)

Star Trek: The Original Series — 2263-2269
TV (1966-1969)

Star Trek: The Motion Picture — 2271
Movie (1979)

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan — 2285
Movie (1982)

Star Trek III: The Search For Spock — 2285
Movie (1984)

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home — 2286 (1986)
Movie (1986)

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier — 2287
Movie (1989)

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country — 2293
Movie (1991)

Star Trek: The Next Generation — 2363-2370
TV (1987-1994)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine — 2369-2375
TV (1993-1999)

Star Trek VII: Generations — 2371 (2295)
Movie (1994)

Star Trek: Voyager — 2371-2378
TV (1995-2001)

Star Trek VIII: First Contact — 2373 (2063)
Movie (1996)

Star Trek IX: Insurrection — 2375
Movie (1998)

Star Trek X: Nemesis — 2380
Movie (2002)

There are many different timelines available on the web, including this extremely detailed one that includes the animated series, the books, and the comics.

Peak Oil

About a month ago I came across a website that changed my outlook on life. Frankly it scared me. I haven’t as yet completely figured out how this will change things for me in the long run, nor have I entirely come to grips with what this will mean for the future. However, I think it is critical that everyone out there is aware of this, because we as a society, as a nation, and as a species need to decide our fate.

“Peak Oil” is a term to describe the point at which the planet’s oil reserves in relation to the cost of extraction hits the high point. Oil production in any given oil well and in the entire world follows a bell curve. You’re probably familiar with this shape from grades in high school or college.

Basically what this means is that since the 1800s when the first oil well was tapped, the cost of production of those first few barrels of oil was very expensive, but as time goes on the methods get more efficient and the cost to extract one barrel of oil gets cheaper and cheaper. Unfortunately the amount of oil available eventually catches up with the demand. This is the point when production peaks. There is still oil available and it can still be extracted but it gets more and more expensive to get another barrel of oil.

Think of gold. There were several gold rushes in America’s history in the mid-1800s. When gold was first discovered in California, some of it could be just picked up out of stream beds. When those first prospectors got to the site they where able to set up a system for mining the gold out of the ground using picks and shovels. Eventually they had to sift loads of earth and water through a series of filters to extract the gold. And finally over time it was too difficult to get any gold out of the ground and still survive.

Today large corporations use technology to mine for gold. Large deposits like were discovered in the 1850s are no longer available. We now use heavy machines to strip mine for gold. I recently saw a “Modern Marvels” program on the History Channel where they said that it takes many tons of earth put through a series of chemical filters to get an ounce of gold.

Now think about the fact that oil production will eventually reach the point that gold production is at. It sounds far-fetched but it’s true. Still doubtful? Think about how much the price of gas gone up in the last 6 months. Sure, every time we have price spikes like we are currently going through, the price of gas eventually goes back down, but it never seems to go down as far as it was initially.

Need another example? How about Iraq. According to our government we went into Iraq because Saddam Hussein represented a danger to the security of the U.S. and the world, because he had Weapons of Mass Destruction, and because he ignored many U.N. resolutions over the years. But Iraq also has large reserves of oil. Sure, not as much as Saudi Arabia, but it still has a lot. And now since we’ve removed the ruler of Iraq we are going to have troops in the country for many years to guarantee the security of Iraq. Or should I say the security of Iraq’s oil?

Here’s that scary website I found.

And this is a recent editorial from the LA Times.

And here’s an AP article from today about record high U.S. gas prices.

To Boldly Go

There are a lot of Star Trek fans out there. There are a lot of people who can talk about the minutiae of the various series. But I also suspect that there are people who are interested in Trek but might be a little afraid to “get into” it. There is a certain amount of geekiness that goes along with being a Trek fan, and that can be a little scary to new-comers. There is also a huge canon of material that makes up the Star Trek universe. Where do you start? How does it all fit together? How can you hope to make sense of something that has been established over decades?

These are all things I would like to deal with here. Not in this entry. But eventually, in time, I’d like to compile a “Beginners Guide to Trek” or something along those lines.

Let me just briefly mention that Star Trek (what is now known as The Original Series), the TV show with Captain Kirk and Spock, only ran for 3 seasons from 1966 to 1969. I’ve noticed that people who don’t really follow Trek are often quite surprised by this. It is pretty astonishing that a television show that was only on the air for 3 years could have such a huge impact on our culture. There are many shows that have lasted much longer: M.A.S.H., Cheers, Seinfeld–just to name a few. Do these shows have the same kind of impact? I don’t know. I do think it’s something to think about.

In opening narration to the show, Captain Kirk says that the starship Enterprise is on a 5 year mission to explore strange new worlds. Obviously the original intension was for the show to last at least 5 seasons. Unfortunately it didn’t. There was an animated series that ran for 2 seasons in the mid-70s and featured the original cast contributing their voices. Together with the original show, you do get 5 years. However, there are people who feel that the animated series is not strictly “canon”. Since it was cartoons for kids it was subjected to stricter regulations that a primetime drama and therefore cannot truly be considered that last two years of Enterprise’s 5 year mission.

There are some very enterprising fans who have decided to try to complete the 5 year mission. They have decided to create new episodes in the style of the original series with the original characters–though obviously not starring the original actors. They have a website where the New Voyages of the starship Enterprise can be seen.

Real Life Adventures

I have my car back! Woo hoo!

The week before Thanksgiving 2003, I was rear-ended by Beverly Hills high school student and pushed into the car in front of me. What followed was months of phone calls trying to get his insurance company to fix my car. The huge stalling point was the guy in front of me refused to give a statement. It was a big freakin’ mess–though I did get to pull out a little physics I learned years ago in high school. (So kids watching at home, pay attention. You WILL have a chance to use those boring things later in life.) But that’s a whole other story.

Flash forward to late January 2004 and suddenly my insurance company calls me because the motorist in front of me in the accident has suddenly surfaced. He’s talking to my insurance company through his lawyer because he’s claiming he was severely injured in the accident. (Shyeah, right! As if! Though my insurance company was VERY interested in the physics calculations I’d done to prove that the accident was all the 90210 kid’s fault.) Anyway, it was all a load of crap but my insurance company finally said skip trying to get the kid’s insurance to fix your car, we’ll do it.

So then there’s a flurry of estimates and pre-ordering of parts and large checks made out to me and a repair shop and all kinds of fun. On February 11, 2004, three days before my 30th birthday, I took my car into the repair shop to get it fixed. Today after lots of communication issues (including a huge one where my car was actually completely done and ready to be picked up a week ago but the repair shop didn’t get the final “Ok, we truly are going to pay for EVERYTHING” from my insurance company until today) I finally was able to drive my Bronze 2003 Honda CR-V home.

It was a great moment.

And then I realized that I left my cell phone in the cab I took to the repair shop.


And then followed over an hour a Hi-hi-hilarity as I drove around LA stopping at pay phones to call the cab company and trying to track down the cab I’d been in not so long before to reclaim my cell. Fun fun fun.

Still it was a pretty great day.

It’s Too Damn Hot

I don’t know what the weather is like where you are but here in Los Angeles it is literally 90°F (32°C)! In March! Yes, this is Southern California. Yes, we have warmer weather than other places. However, it is still technically winter and we are having temperatures that many places have during the summer. I just checked the weather on the South Shore of Boston (my hometown)… IT’S SNOWING! 90 on one coast, snowing on the other. Crazy.

Actually one of the big reasons I live in LA is because of the weather. I’m just not crazy about 90. 70-75 is just right. 90 is too hot. In a perfect world it would be 70°F year-round.

This weather has definitely helped with my head cold. It’s fairly easy to be sniffly, sneezy, and coughing when the weather is cold and damp. Much harder in the heat. Plus it has me in the mood of spring cleaning. I have done more loads of laundry today than I have done it ages. And I’m having visions of a new vacuum. I’m definitely not right in the head.

Days Go By So Slowly

Illness really isn’t all that fun.

Last weekend I was in Saginaw, MI for my cousin’s wedding. I won’t go into all the details of the trip or the event itself, but let me just say that I had a great time with my relatives and I really don’t like United Airlines’ idea of acceptable regional airline service.

The point of this is that I was with a large number of people from all over the country for several days and locked up in the recycled air of 4 different planes. Somewhere along the way I managed to come down with a cold that started in my throat.

Now here I am a week later and I’m finally starting to get better–though my throat still kills me. I should probably go see the doctor tomorrow just to make sure it’s not Strep or Mad Cow or Ebola or something. I’m not crazy about doctors either. I know they have a tough job but still… sitting in a waiting room for an hour, then sitting in a freezing examination room for 30 minutes with my shirt off, so that I can actually see a doctor for approximately 1 minute, 7 seconds is not my idea of a fun time.

The good thing about illness is that you have to spend so much time sitting around your place that as long as you’re not completely on death’s door, you’ll probably get motivated to do a few things that you might not do otherwise.

I have not only managed to get my website restarted (though I still need to do some tweaking on the interface) but I have also had the chance to watch the entire Star Trek Voyager season 1 DVD set. I didn’t spend all of my time staring at the idiot box. I read the fourth book of Patrick O’Brian’s 19th century British Navy series, The Mauritius Command. And I read Angels & Demons by Dan Brown, which is his first book that introduces the famous Robert Langdon character from The Da Vinci Code. So now I’ve started on Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series with the first book, The Eye of the World.

Still… days go by so slowly.

I’ll Be Back

I’ve been half-watching The Terminator in the background while working on the how best to use this program to publish a weblog. I have to say, even twenty years later, it’s a pretty great movie. Yes by todays standards a lot of the special effects are definitely dated. But still there’s something about practical effects–miniatures, puppets, and other pieces and events that interact with the actors in “reality”–that is so much more convincing than CGI. Yes, you can get shots now that were never possible in 1984, but somehow sticking an actor in front of a green screen and painting in the special effects later doesn’t seem as realistic as an actor being menaced by an actual evil robotic arm.

Hail & Well Met!

Welcome to the newly redesigned MFTI. I hope to occasionally update this page with my thoughts, interesting websites, and programs that I’m working on.

Drop me a line if you are so inclined.