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Digital Something: Where's the Trek?

By Shaun Clayton
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
March 22, 2000
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Today is William Shatner's birthday. It's also the year 2000, which lends the geeky (i.e.: writer of this article) to ask why all that neat technology in Star Trek isn't here yet.

First of all, there's the phaser. Being that America is so trigger happy, It's mind-boggling that this hasn't been developed yet.

For those who don't know, a phaser looks like a gun (or a remote control in the later, less cool series) that fires beams of energy that has two settings, "stun" and "kill."

In "stun" mode, the beams merely knock people unconscious, suitable for many everyday uses.

Solicitor at the door? STUN.

Long-winded professor? STUN.

Too many people in front of you at the checkout line? STUN STUN STUN STUN.

Can't get to sleep? SELF-STUN.

Of course, there is the higher setting, "kill," where the beams vaporize the person, usually with nifty special effects. This setting could be easily abused, because it would allow people to kill without leaving evidence.

I know I would abuse this setting. In fact, if I had a phaser, any and all people connected to those 1-800-CALL-ATT commercials would wake up vaporized, that's for sure.

Moving along, another Star Trek invention we don't have is transporters. These devices allow a person to be transported anywhere they choose - instantly.

Imagine, to be able to sleep in mere seconds before class! Procrastination excelsior!

The coolest thing about transporters would be the transporter accidents, which would beat the hell out of any car accident. Imagine seeing some guy with a poodle accidentally beamed into his head. That wouldn't just be an accident - that would be modern art.

Furthermore, there is the Star Trek invention that beats them all - the Holodeck. This device is a room that can create, well, anything you want it to, and it's all perfectly real. It makes me wonder why, in the television series, they even explored space after they invented that.

Imagine. You walk into a room and in that room, you become God. Are you going to want to go back to being Mr. or Mrs. rank-and-file if you can be the all-being, master p-funk of the Holodeck? Didn't think so.

Now, some people might argue that we already have some cool inventions based on Star Trek. Those people have way too much free time on their hands. For instance, those people would argue the cell-phone is a lot like the communicator.

But a cell-phone is not cool. Ask anyone who's watched a movie only to have a cell-phone go off to the tune of Beethoven's Fifth symphony, and they'll tell you how much cell-phones suck ass.

Now, there is one cool Star Trek invention that has become a reality - the computer. Although, I think I'm biased on that one, with my column being online and all. Still, any machine that allows one to calculate computational fluid dynamics while downloading porn from 50 different countries has to be just super keen!

Warp speed ahead.

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