Category Archives: Health

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.

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The Vidiians – Plagued by the Phage

Not exactly the pretty boys of the Delta Quadrant.

The Vidiians are a tragic species in Star Trek. For millenia they were a peaceful people renowned for their art and philosophy. Then the plague-like disease, the Phage, began striking them. In short order, all the Vidiians would be afflicted with this disease, which besides slowly causing organ failure was also horribly disfiguring. In the historical blink of an eye, their culture transformed into one obsessed with reaching a cure for the Phage. Vidiians now explored the galaxy in ships like the Vidiian Battle Cruiser not to share their art and philosophy, but to harvest the healthy organs of those species compatible with their physiology, and always, always, searching for the ever elusive cure.

How would our own society react to a disease that was so terrible? Would we lose elements of our culture that make us who we are? The Vidiians eventually were cured, and their culture transformed back into what it was before the Phage struck. Would they ever really be able to forget the horrible things they did to reach that cure? Would we?

Drugs, Violence, and the Jem’Hadar

That white tube in his neck pumps drugs directly into his system.

Star Trek is full of warrior races in opposition to the Federation. We’ve got the ubiquitous Klingons, plus the Andorians, Nausicaans, Kazon, etc. A relatively recent addition to that menagerie of hostile warrior peoples is the Jem’Hadar. There are a few things that set them apart from all others, one is that they were genetically modified to be the “perfect” warrior, unquestioning, skilled, cold-blooded killers. Second, they are born addicted to a drug called ketracel-white, without daily use of which they will die.

As with many other incidences of Star Trek, even the Jem’Hadar are an analogy for our lives. Our recent wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan have produced a similar, if not so blatant problem. But why stop at our warriors in our examination? How many people do we know that have a de facto drug store in their medicine cabinets to treat their conditions? Medication for a heart condition, hypertension, diabetes, etc.? Are these not medications without which these people would die? Are they not controlled, in a way, through their continued reliance on these drugs? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but perhaps in asking them we can eventually solve the problems they pose. Having had numerous discussions on these issues with my wife, she firmly believes that our reliance on artificial foods and sedentary lifestyles are major contributing factors for many of the ailments that plague us now. She says we have thrown our lives out of balance as a result, and that by seeking to balance our lives through a healthy diet and exercise are key to ridding us of many of these problems.

As someone who used to be 45 pounds overweight with frightening bouts of unexplained chest pains until I changed my diet and started regularly exercising, I tend to agree.

Below  are some ships crewed by Star Trek’s addicted warriors: