An Oral History of “Star Trek”

A great article from Smithsonian magazine–commentary from actors, writers and producers about the three seasons of “Star Trek” (The Original Series, or TOS, to us Trekkies). In oral history form, the articles details the struggle to get the series accepted; Lucille Ball’s role in keeping it going; the ongoing battle of Shatner vs Nimoy; and how Paramount ultimately killed off the series, only to reap a fortune with its revival in the form of movies and spin-off series.

Interesting stuff! Don’t miss it!


Today in history

On this date in 1966, the Star Trek (the original series) aired on NBC. Geeks everywhere celebrated.

Four of the actors (Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, and Grace Lee Whitney) in this photo are no longer with us. I am beginning to believe Bill Shatner will live forever.

It is difficult to choose my favorite episodes, but “Space Seed” (with Ricardo Montalban as Khan), and “The Trouble With Tribbles” (the first Cyrano Jones episode) would be high on the list. One of my favorite quotes is fromm that episode:

“Just before they went into warp, I beamed the whole kit and kaboodle into their engine room, where they’ll be no tribble at all.” — Scotty


The needs of the many…

We are all Spock! The Vulcan lives on in Captain Kirk’s mosaic.

William Shatner’s portrait of Leonard Nimoy composed of a mosaic of selfies taken by fans is … actually quite good. As a piece of pop art in the tradition of Andy Warhol’s celebrity portraits, it is touching and vivid. It is a moving homage to Spock and his relationship with his fans.

Shatner asked his Twitter followers to send him selfies in which they gave the Vulcan salute, the famous greeting associated with Leonard Nimoy’s pointy-eared alien character in Star Trek. He did not say what it was for. The images have all been put together in a huge mosaic to create a picture of Nimoy himself, as Spock, making the Vulcan salute.


Smartphone app to detect loa loa

Still waiting for Dr. McCoy’s tricorder

The researchers created a handheld device that converts a smartphone into a video microscope and uses custom software to record and analyze movements in blood cells that signal worm larvae are wriggling, said UC-Berkeley bioengineer Dr. Daniel Fletcher, who led the work.

“We’re using this phone not just as computer power or for its camera, but to run the test,” Fletcher explained.

How it works: Squeeze a finger-prick of blood into a small tube and slide the tube into the 3-D printed base. Click the smartphone on top, its camera lined over the blood sample. Touch the screen to start an app and an image-processing system analyzes wriggling motions that are the size and shape to be of concern, and reports a count.