“This Is Probably Going to Kill Us:” How First ‘Star Trek’ Movie Avoided Disaster

This article left out someone important! Reassembling the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise (Shatner as Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Spock, DeForest Kelley as McCoy, George Takei as Sulu, Nichelle Nichols as Uhura and Walter Koenig as Chekov) years after the end of its five-year mission — with added, pivotal Starfleet characters Decker (Stephen Collins) and Ilia (Persis Khambatta) carried over from Phase II —  the plot of Star Trek: The Motion Picture raised the…

The Most Unexpected Workplace Trend Coming in 2020: the Return of the Liberal Arts Major

On LinkedIn each year author Dan Schawbel writes a list of workplace trends to watch for in the coming year. This time around Schawbel makes this prediction about degrees in subjects like literature, philosophy and history: “AI will automate technical skills and drive the demand for soft skills like creativity, communication and empathy. While there’s been such a focus on recruiting STEM over the past several years, those majors will continue to lose…

Logo (large, bold capital "J")

In November 1999, I was blogging about books, camomile tea and Skylon 4, the death of Star Trek, and the “active user paradox”

In November 1999, I was blogging about John’s Book Pages (by a CS grad student who had recently read Gene Wolfe and Anthony Bourdain, among many others) What camomile tea has in common with the attack squadron over Skylon 4 (rec.humor newsgroup reference to a disastrous “tandem story” assignment) “Nimoy is, to say the least, amused by the notion that ‘Star Trek’ is on its death bed.” The paradox of…

The Internet Archive Is Digitizing & Preserving Over 100,000 Vinyl Records: Hear 750 Full Albums Now

These people do important, amazing work. While shiny, digitally mastered vinyl releases pop up in big box stores everywhere, the real musical wealth lies in the past—in thousands upon thousands of LPs, 45s, 78s—relics of “the only consumer playback format we have that’s fully analog and fully lossless,” says vinyl mastering engineer Adam Gonsalves. Few institutions can afford to store thousands of physical albums, and many rarities and oddities exist in…

Logo (large, bold capital "J")

In October, 1999 I was blogging about college application essays, Willie Crowther, and Elizabethan English for RenFest workers

Jessica found herself wishing that somebody — anybody — in her family had died: ”Because then I could write about it.” — College application essays. >As a young man I needed someone to look up to, someone to emulate. I was something of a nerd: I needed someone who’d integrated highly technical talents with the basic social graces. —Tribute to Willie Crowther, by Martin Heller Proper Elizabethan is more akin…

My Review of the Charlottesville Tryout of “A Few Good Men” 30 Years Ago

A librarian at the University of Virginia kindly scanned and emailed the review I wrote, as an undergraduate student journalist, of the pre-Broadway tryout of A Few Good Men, in September 1989. I was prepared to cringe, but I was actually kind of proud of the lead, which applies equally to the professional production now playing at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre. The courtroom drama now playing at the Culbreth Theatre…