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Old 13 Jan 2018, 11:49 PM   #682746 / #1
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Default Ethan Siegel on Star Trek's Technology

Star Treknology: Imagining The Future Into Being : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR
... But given just a 30-year distance between Captain Kirk and his "communicator" and you and your flip-phone, how realistic is the rest of Star Trek's vision of future technology?

That's the question astrophysicist Ethan Siegel takes on with his delightful new book Star Trek Treknology. Siegel is an accomplished writer and explainer of complex science. But what makes Treknology different from other "The Science of..." books is his own delight in the subject.
For instance,
Siegel's discussion of warp drive is a good example of the strengths of his approach. After giving the Trekian timeline, Siegel provides a short and excellent account of why the velocity of light is a cosmic speed limit and how "bending" space a'la Einstein's general relativity might provide a work-around. I particularly enjoyed the discussion of how physicist Miguel Alcubierre reverse-engineered a solution to Einstein's equations for making a space-time "bubble" warp drive (the book comes complete with a nifty diagram). Of course, making something like this would require acquiring some "negative mass," which no one knows how to make.
I must say that some of Star Trek's technology seems less than impressive to me. Like the communicator. We've had walkie-talkies since World War II, and cellphones have gradually been developed since then. I have a very low-end cellphone, but it remembers phone numbers and it also does texting and shows the time. Star Trek's communicators seem very inadequate comparable to present-day smartphones.

According to Pre-installed apps: Apple iPhone X | T-Mobile Support, that smartphone has these apps preinstalled:

Mail, Calendar, Photos, Camera, Maps, Clock, Weather, News, Wallet, Notes, Reminders, Stocks, Videos, iBooks, iTunes Store, App Store, Home, Health, Settings, FaceTime, Calculator, Podcasts, Watch, Compass, Tips, Voice Memos, Contacts, Find Friends, Find iPhone

So that smartphone has several apps that the Star Trek communicator could use.
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