May 8 2009
Congratulations to J.J. Abrams!
Clearly the new Star Trek film is a critical smash. Only time will tell
if it is as big a box office smash, but the odds are good. I’m going
to see the IMAX version tomorrow.
May 7 2009
12 Years At The Mast
Yes, this site has been up for over 12 years now. Originally this
site was a Jonathan Frakes fan site - “Riker Heaven” and then
later “Planet Riker” – hence the name for the site. After the
success of “First Contact” the prospects for running a site
that offered scoops and (admittedly slightly cynical) commentary
on the (at the time) next Trek film, “Insurrection”, seemed
like a pretty good idea. Interest in that film ran high right up until
the moment of release, with around 5,000 unique visitors
a day hitting this site in the months leading up to the film’s release.
This site even got some mainstream media coverage, being featured
in newspapers like the Sydney Morning Herald as well as print
magazines that specialised in on-line content – admittedly that was
most likely because of the notorious “121 Uses For A Dead Wesley”
Unfortunately, “Insurrection” didn’t live up to the expectations of
the fan base, or indeed anyone and interest in Star Trek waned.
The 2002 release of “Nemesis” did nothing to help matters and the
television series “
than inspired second and third seasons.
With the lack of public interest on Trek my personal enthusiasm
for this site also fell away. I attempted to set up a forum to
encourage others to interact, which had some success, but
it was never quite as successful as I would have liked.
Overall perhaps it was a mistake to try and run this site single-
handed, but that’s how it panned out. Obviously since I started
this site over 12 years ago I am no spring chicken, and to be
honest I wasn’t exactly a raw youth even then. Lots of other
things have happened in the intervening years, not the least
of which is that I have now released an album.
Since I still own this domain name and have a website account
I will continue to update this site in a periodic fashion now that
Trek seems to be alive again.
April 27 2007
New Star Trek Movie For Christmas 2008
J.J. Abrams, director of the next Trek film, rumoured to simply be
titled Star Trek, has confirmed that 'Kirk will appear'
in the film, which will premiere Christmas 2008.
No official word on who will play Kirk, or whether Kirk's role will be a
major one, but there's plenty of speculation!
I'm sure you've all heard the stories that Matt Damon has been
approached to play Kirk, plus Adrian Brody as Spock and
Gary Sinise as Bones, so I won't go over those at any length
except to say that nothing can be confirmed at this stage.
April 21 2006
New Star Trek Movie For 2008
have just posted a story confirming that
11th Trek movie for release in 2008. Biggest news is that Rick Berman
will not be producing as he has been replaced by J.J. Abrams who will
be producing, co-writing and directing.
Planet Riker says: This would be the Mission Impossible 3 J.J. Abrams,
right? Well, we all remember how Nemesis went with a similar style
director; but hey, the only direction is up now! Since Trek X broke the
cycle of good “even number” flicks maybe it’s fitting that Trek XI might
be the first great “odd number” Trek film. It certainly couldn’t be worse
February 26 2006
A Good Moon Hoax Article
Space.com have a good article about the “Top Ten” Moon Hoax claims.
It occurs to me that another good argument that might be made would be according
to Occam’sRazor: that the simplest explanation is the most likely. For example,
some people dispute that William Shakespeare really wrote the 37 plays and various
sonnets traditionally attributedto him. Occam’s Razor would suggest that as a number
of Shakespeare’s contemporaries say he wrote the plays, none of them is recorded as
disputing the authorship, and the plays were published in his lifetime with his name
listed as the author then in the absence of compelling evidence we simply must
accept Shakespeare as the author. The main “evidence” that Shakespeare didn’t
write his plays was the he was insufficiently educated, that the original manuscripts
no longer exist, and that did not have the life experience to have written about such
things as foreign countries and affairs of royalty. All this ignores the fact that
Shakespeare did have a regular school education, that very few manuscripts of any
work survive from his era and that nothing he wrote actually suggests any deep
familiarity with other countries or the affairs of state. In fact, Shakespeare’s
portrayal of the affairs of stateis far removed from the realities of the time but is
in perfect accord with thenecessities of drama. Amusingly one of the people
suggested as the “real” author, Christopher Marlowe, came from a background of
poverty and had the same sort of education as Shakespeare. He also
inconveniently died in 1592, over 20 years before the production of Shakespeare’s
last play. You can only imagine the wacky arguments produced to support these
alternate Shakespeares. I can only assume that at some time in thefuture there
will be people questioning the “real authorship” of the Beatles’ songs on the
grounds that Lennon and McCartney didn’t have the musical knowledge to write
them! In fact, I don’t need to imagine that, it was suggested back in the 1960s.
I mention this because it shows what people can convince themselves into believing
despite the obvious evidence. For example, in the face of the evidence that many
thousands of people worked on the moon landings, and that 12 men claimed that
they walked on the moon (with film and video evidence) and that none of these people
have ever stated that it was a fake (famous Moon Landing denier Bill Kaysing quit
his job at Rocketdyne in 1963, six years before the first Moon Landingand so can
hardly be said to have worked on the Apollo program which didn’t even exist in 1963)
it is impossible to even consider that that the Moon Landings were a fake in the
absence of compelling evidence.
Bush Seeks 1% Increase In NASA Funding for 2007
Space.com reportsthat President Bush is requesting that NASA’s funding be
Increasedto $16.792 billion.
Now to put that into perspective, Bush is requesting that the Defense
Budget be increased by 5% to $439.3 billion. That’s a little over 26
times as much. Next time someone tells you that there’s far too
much money spent on Space, you might point that little statistic
out to them.
So, Where Is Everybody?
Despite decades of searching no evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligence has so
far been discovered.
Some possible explanations:
1. There is no extra-terrestrial life at all. This would seem unlikely. Even if the
conditions that lead to life arerare it would be implausible that life would only
ever have arisen on one planet (out of a vast number). Of course, if you were
a believer in ‘intelligent design’ you might be prepared to believe this...
2. Extra-terrestrial life exists, but we are the only example of intelligence. Again, this
seems relatively unlikely, unless conditions favouring life did not exist prior to the
formation of our planet, and/or the evolution of intelligence is incredibly rare.
3. Humans are the most advanced race of beings, at least in this region of the
galaxy, so no other beings have yet developed the ability to communicate with us. On the
surface this might seem implausible, given the age of the universe, but I suppose
somebody has to be “first”.
4. Extra-terrestrial intelligence exists but we do not have the means to detect it. This
could be the case if extra-terrestrials do not wish to communicate, or if they use
methods that are beyond our ability to detect. A plausible explanation although it
relies on extraterrestrials being indifferent to our existence. Alternatively, extra-
terrestrials might be scattered at such great distances that contact between them
and us is unlikely – however this to some extent relies on similar reasoning to
point 3: that extra-terrestrialsare no more advanced than we are.
5. Extra-terrestrial intelligence exists but we just haven’t had enough time to find it, or for
it to find us. This is the assumption of the SETI program. If any of the other
earlier explanations were true there would be no point trying to find ETs.
6. Extra-terrestrial intelligence is commonplace but extra-terrestrials have made
efforts to hide their existence. This explanation unfortunately veers very close to
what UFO conspiracy theorists would suggest. However if it is true then efforts
such as SETI would be futile. This explanation also assumes that ETs don’t want
us to discover their existence, presumably because they think it would be
damaging to our culture.
7. Extra-terrestrial intelligence has developed, but those extra-terrestrial civilisations
have all destroyed themselves,or otherwise ceased to exist, in the remote past.
Possible, but not an encouraging thought.
So how long do we keep trying before we give up? A hard question; I suppose
it would be decades before anyone seriously gets disheartened about the prospects
How do we proceed if we d ofind something? I expect it would depend on what
we find. A signal denoting intelligence isn’t necessarily the same thing as getting
a complete download of the Encyclopedia Galactica. I imagine that there might
be opposition by some people to the notion that we should attempt to respond to
a signal, as this would then flag our existence to those beings at “the other end”.
Whether we should assume that other beings might harbour malevolent intentions
towards us, we would also have to expect that they would not be able to make an
immediate response. If there really were beings capable of faster-than-light travel
in our vicinity then they might well discover us no matter what we do. If faster-than-light
travel is not possible then wehave nothing to worry about. It wouldn’t be worth
making the enormous effort to travel here. Additionally, we probably wouldn’t have
anything of value for a more advanced civilisation to exploit. Note that in “Star Trek”
type scenarios almost all the races are roughly at the same stageof development,
which is extremely unlikely. On the other hand, if a vastly more advanced race
(such as the Borg) really existed it is unlikely that they would have a dependence on
‘assimilating’or conquering other cultures. The notion that we would have anything
of value, either biologically or technologically, to a culture far more advanced to ours is
If It Looks Like aPlanet, and Smells Like a Planet, Then…
It would appear that the recently discovered 10th planet, informally dubbed “Xena”,
really can be awarded planetary status now that it has been revealed today that it
has a moon:
Back To The Moon. Why? Because If You Want to Go Anywhere You Have To
Get To The Moon First
NASA announced their Lunar Exploration Plans,currently scheduled for 2018,
last week. Why the excitement over something that wasalready done over
30 years ago? Well, to understand the purpose of the returnto the Moon, you have
to consider what comesafter that. Mars and beyond.
Of course, NASA’s plansmay prove to be redundant if private enterprise gets there
first. NASA could have a brand new ‘space race’ onits hands. We can only hope.
New Company Aims ToColonise Mars
New company Four Frontiers hopes it will be possiblyto establish a privately run
Marscolony by 2025. I note the quote byGene Roddenberry on the front page of
their web site.
Keep the faith, siblings!
New Sunlike Star Has A Proto-Planetary System That EerilyResembles The
Early Solar System
News of a ‘baby solarsystem’ around a star almost exactly the same size as the
Sun has been reported at space.com. Most interesting is the evidence that this
planetary system appears toalready have several gas giant planets at distances
corresponding precisely to our ownsolar system.