Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Eugenics Wars

Khan Singh, genetic superman.

In Star Trek lore, the Eugenics Wars were a series of conflicts in late 20th century Earth that was precipitated by the creation of genetic supermen. These genetically superior human beings launched a plan to take over the world from non-genetically enhanced humans. The results of their plans led to millions of deaths and a ban of all such genetic enhancements not just on Earth but throughout the entire Federation.

Now scientists have taken one step closer towards genetic enhancement by breaching an ethical taboo and modifying genes across generations. They are doing so for good reasons, namely the prevention of inheritable genetic disease, but we all know the saying about the road paved with good intentions. It will be fascinating to see where this will lead in the years to come. Will it remain relatively benign, or will we have a case of the financial elite genetically modifying their children to be physical and mental elites?

Speaking of modifying the rules … here’s an update to my Expanded CODA Rules for the Star Trek Roleplaying Game.

The Yellowstone

Not the national park you are looking for!

The Starfleet Yellowstone-class runabout is a small starship used by the Federation for a variety of missions. These missions include everything from scouting to cargo and personnel transport to combat (in extreme cases). All this is made possible due to the modular nature of the starship design, as the entire central portion can be swapped out depending on the mission called for. This has the advantage of making this small starship much more versatile than larger starships that are built specifically for just one purpose, such as science ships, exploration ships, etc.

Too often as human beings we resemble those larger fixed designation starships, believing that we are only built for one purpose, one role. We tend to define ourselves by what we do. The truth however is that we are much more versatile than we give ourselves credit for, we are adaptable, we can change to suit the mission life has set before us.

So let us all be more like the humble runabout, adaptable and versatile, multi-faceted and agile as we wend our way through the infinite choices of our lives!

Mars, here be water!

The Utopia Planitia shipyards above Mars in the 24th century.

According to this article, there is now definitive proof that Mars once contained flowing water. We’ve suspected for years that Mars once harbored liquid water on its surface, a good indication life may have once been found on our near planetary neighbor. Now we know for sure that it definitely did have liquid water. What does this mean for us? Might we, as the picture above, eventually terraform and colonize Mars and build something like a Starfleet Presidio-class space station in orbit over it? My question is whether we have the right to do so. I think the answer depends on whether there is any life on Mars today. If there is, we would more than likely destroy it by terraforming Mars’ environment to better suit ourselves. But then we run into a bit of a conundrum, because don’t we as a species have a right to propagate and ensure our survival? Right now we are confined to Earth, and as the saying goes, we’ve got all our eggs in one basket. What is the measure by which we determine how possible alien life on Mars compares to the billions of humans of Earth?

Perhaps if NASA develops its warp drive in the next few decades such a terraforming and colonization of Mars would be more likely, and such an academic question will become more existential.