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All I Really Need to Know About Engineering, I Learned From Star Trek

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Elizabeth M
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Star Trek as inspiration
Elizabeth M   11/6/2013 6:37:23 AM
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It's no surprise that Star Trek is an inspiration for generations of engineers. These are quite insightful bits of wisdom to glean from that classic show, and make a lot of sense for the state of engineering even today.

Battar
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English
Battar   11/6/2013 9:18:13 AM
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What I learned from StarTrek is that wherever you venture in the galaxy, sentient life forms speak English.

What I learned from real life is that this does not hold true on Earth, not even in English speaking countries, and certainly not in the offices of patent attorneys,

Does anyone remember the song, "Star-trekking across the unoverse, only going forward, 'cos we can't find reverse"

Dave Palmer
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Re: English
Dave Palmer   11/6/2013 9:33:22 AM
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@Battar: Well, if you watch the Spanish-dubbed version (Viaje a las Estrellas), you will find that everyone in the universe speaks Spanish.

Amclaussen
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Re: English
Amclaussen   11/6/2013 1:59:39 PM
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Well, I ACTUALLY LEARNED a lot of English by watching the series back in the last part of the 80's (it was The Next Generation). I never took any more English lessons other than those in basic education schools in my infancy, but for me, the absolutely delicious, clear and elegant language used by Captain Picard and his officers, was a delight and allowed me to fully understand the English language dialogues for the first time in a TV series (most other programming had a much more difficult to understand slang and "slum" quality diction).

Plus that series proved to be a top notch Sci-Fi writing, with true philosophical contents and too many visionary advancements to mention. Jules Verne would enjoy it a lot!

While the original series (Kirk et al) was the classic, TNG is the most polished of the lot.

Too sad it ended so soon. I bougth almost the complete collection and I'm keeping it to see it again when I have the time and calm to be fully absorbed again.

GTOlover
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Never be the red shirt (unless you are Scotty)!
GTOlover   11/6/2013 3:43:44 PM
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Very good article, but you forgot to mention that a good engineer should avoid being the red shirt. They always got killed. So make sure that your engineering career is robust and your usefulness is more than taking a phasor shot for the  main characters.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Here's 2 more categories
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   11/6/2013 4:22:08 PM
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Great insights, Dave –  "Read & Understood"  -- and  I agree with every word.  Two other categorical points I might add, each with numerous examples you'll recall:

·  first, the philosophical and cultural anthropology lessons which were subliminally taught from the venue of other planets (half white/half black are two-of-a kind !! )   -and-

·  second; of each of the many technologies showcased; from the warp-drive and communicators, to ear-buds and "On-screen" – each was actually based on an existing scientific theory.  Some of which have come into reality, and others of which are still unrealized; but each of which was more than just a crazy, wild thought from Mr. Roddenberry.  All had foundation.

NadineJ
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Re: Star Trek as inspiration
NadineJ   11/6/2013 7:55:17 PM
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Very nice article.  I'm not surprised that there are so many Trekkies here. 

One common denominator amoung all Star Treks, from the original Desilu productions to today's movies, is that it holds up a mirror on modern American society.  Sometimes the stereotypes are too intense (and offensive) but a peak beyond the obvious reveals something interesting. 

NadineJ
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Re: Never be the red shirt (unless you are Scotty)!
NadineJ   11/6/2013 8:01:24 PM
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@GTO-it wasn't just the red-shirts that were sacrificed in the earlier series.  Anyone in the landing party that didn't have a familiar face was most likely to die on some strange planet.  That included medical personnel-blue-shirts.  I never noticed before that security, gold-shirts, rarely beamed down.

Your career advice is spot on!

Charles Murray
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Re: Star Trek as inspiration
Charles Murray   11/6/2013 8:51:42 PM
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I agree, Nadine. The number of Trekkies here is not surprising. There are many Trekkies in the world of technology...and beyond. The great Seymour Cray (one of the 20th century's greatest engineers) was a dedicated Star Trek watcher. So was Isaac Asimov and, yes, Frank Sinatra. Stephen Hawking is said to be a huge Star Trek fan. So are Al Gore and Colin Powell. Leonard Nimoy reportedly said that Barack Obama once greeted him with a Vulcan salute.

Battar
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Re: Here's 2 more categories
Battar   11/7/2013 1:44:59 AM
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Jim, 

       The "beam me up, Scotty" machine has no scientific basis. In fact, it has been proved that teh amount of energy required to power such a machine (or the energy equivalent of Kirks' mass when beamed) would be prohibitive.

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