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Descent, Part 1 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 26) Data experiences disturbing emotions while killing a Borg drone

Rewatching ST:TNG Data plays poker with holodeck simulations of a crabby Isaac Newton, a genial Albert Einstein, and a grinning Stephen Hawking (playing himself). The Enterprise-D follows a distress call to an outpost, where they find a Borg task force. But everything seems off… not only did these Borg seem to be hiding, the drones refer to each other by names, and one swears to avenge another’s death. When choking a Borg, Data gets really, really mad. Picard realizes these Borg (whose ship disappears into a Space Thing) may have a new agenda. A video call with Admiral Nechayev is…

It’s not just you — we are all more forgetful during the pandemic, experts say. Here’s how to fix it

Pandemic living can make it much more difficult to form a memory at all, let alone call it back when we need it, said Yassa, director of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the University of California, Irvine.   “Sometimes we’re a little bit harder on ourselves. We think, ‘Oh, how did I forget this? This is something that should be so natural for me to store,’” he said. “But it turns out that something happened during encoding that made it actually impossible for you to even get this memory onboard to begin with. “So, if…

Finland’s Museum of Contemporary Emotions

A history of the beginning of the pandemic, oragnized around emotions. More recently, the Museum of Contemporary Emotions—a project of the Finnish government’s Finland Forward pandemic communications initiative—picked up Ekman’s work as its scaffolding. The Museum, really an interactive website, is a kind of digital archive of experience during the Covid-19 pandemic, styled with the sans-serif aesthetics of a direct-to-consumer startup and the haunting, echoing soundtrack of a post-apocalyptic Catholic Mass. The events of the pandemic are positioned on a timeline—the discovery of the virus, the toilet paper panic, the ban on events, and so on—and a click on any one…

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Frame of Mind (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 21) Riker is an asylum inmate who hallucinates he’s a Starfleet officer rehearsing a play about an asylum inmate

Rewatching ST:TNG Riker overprepares for a role in “Beverly’s play,” which distracts him during his briefing for an undercover mission, so that Worf accidentally cuts him while demonstrating a ceremonial knife. The night of the performance, the crowd applauds enthusiastically, but Riker is disturbed when he notices in the crowd a humanoid alien he had bumped in the corridor before. Suddenly the setting shifts, and Riker finds himself in a real cell that resembles the play set, where an alien tells him he’s an inmate who’s been having delusions about serving on a starship. Riker is confused, but resigns himself…

He dedicated years of his life to QAnon. One day made him question it all.

Thoughtful analysis structured around one man’s personal journey away from QAnon. No single online platform is responsible for QAnon’s rapid rise. YouTube hosted the videos that many members credit with their “red pilling,” the favored term for a supposed enlightenment or exposure to conspiracy theories. Facebook allowed for easy conversation, meme sharing and organizing. Twitter, Justin’s favored platform, provided fertile ground for QAnon influencers and their lies. “It was an amplification machine,” said Daniel J. Jones, president of Advance Democracy Inc., a global research organization that studies disinformation and extremism, referring to Twitter. Jones found QAnon followers (identified by the QAnon identifiers in…

Smalltalk through masks is hard; I really was glad to see so many familiar upper halves of faces at last night’s six-theatre Sondheim tribute

If you said hello to me recently and I didn’t seem interested in smalltalk, but just raised my eyebrows, made friendly sounds, and drifted on, I hope I didn’t seem indifferent. I really was glad to see so many familiar upper halves of faces at the Lamp Theatre last night, but it was also kind of overwhelming. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly bad at recognizing faces (see this Post-Gazette article on my colleague Lee McClain), but I’m definitely not as good as I was in my youth, when I spent more of my day around a flow of people whose…

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Birthright, Part 1 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 16) Worf learns his father may still be alive; Data dreams

Rewatching ST:TNG The Enterprise-D visits Deep Space Nine, so that the producers can take advantage of the beautiful promenade set and jam in a guest appearance from DS9’s Dr. Bashir. O’Brien doesn’t appear in this episode, but he’s mentioned in a brief and completely unnecessary scene where LaForge complains the pasta on DS9 “tastes like liquid polymer,” but Worf thinks it’s “Delicious.” Worf is approached by a ratlike alien who suggests Worf’s father, believed to have died in the Romulan attack on Khitomer, is not dead. Worf is enraged at the insinuation his father did not die a warrior’s death,…

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Tapestry (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 15) The dying Picard has a chance to alter his rash youth

Rewatching ST:TNG Picard is in sickbay with a gaping hole in his chest. Crusher can’t save him. In a white void, Picard meets a familiar figure, Q, who claims to be God, and conjures up a vision of Picard’s father (who is *so* disappointed), and voices from Picard’s past — people he says have died because of Picard’s actions and inactions. We see a vision of a young Picard laughing at the sight of a spear tip emerging from his chest — the climax to a bar fight story Picard once told Wesley (s4e9 “Final Mission“). Picard insists he regrets…

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Chain of Command, Parts 1 & 2 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episodes 10 & 11) When Picard’s reassigned, the new captain’s a grind (there are four lights)

Rewatching ST:TNG Picard is relieved of command and assigned to a special ops mission, as the Cardassians provoke a war with the Federation. The new CO arrives with plans to reorganize every department. Jellico is very hands-on, giving Riker specific details for reworking the shift rotations, and crawling trough the Jeffries tubes with LaForge. He cheerfully shows Troi pictures drawn by his son, but he’s bluntly not interested in listening to anyone else’s input. Instead of actually showing Picard’s team surreptitiously making their way to an illegal Cardassian weapons lab, we get a budget-friendly scene in a bar where the…

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Rascals (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 7) Transporter glitch tween-ifies Picard, Ro, Guinan and Keiko

Rewatching ST:TNG A glowing Space Thing causes the transporter to revert Picard, Guinan, Ro and Keiko into 12-year-olds, with their adult memories intact. The four child actors do a fantastic job channeling the personalities of characters we already know well.  Tween Picard tries to carry on giving orders as usual, and contemplates returning to the Academy or pursuing archaeology until he grows up again. Keiko finds her husband and toddler are treating her very differently. The already testy Ro has one more thing to be testy about. Guinan is determined to enjoy every moment of her second childhood. According to…

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True Q (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 6) Visiting Intern Exhibits Q-like Powers

Rewatching ST:TNG On its way to help an ecologically devastated planet, the Enterprise-D picks up a clever young intern, who reveals for us her secret power of making puppies appear from nowhere. Amanda (played with an impressive mixture of maturity and teenaged vulnerability by Olivia D’Abo) chats with Dr. Crusher about family, and we learn she was adopted as a baby. Right before a cargo container falls on Riker, she deflects it with a gesture. Later, in engineering, the warp core suddenly acts up and explodes, but she manages to reverse the explosion and restore the ship. Q suddenly appears,…

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Schisms (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 5)

Rewatching ST:TNG Riker is having trouble sleeping, except during Data’s poetry recitation. (“O Spot! The complex levels of behavior you display / Connote a fairly well developed cognitive array.”) As the ship faces a labor-intensive task of charting the Space Thing of the Week, LaForge has made some adjustments to the deflector grid. Riker’s dozing is more than a teaser gag; he reports to sickbay, and snaps at Dr. Crusher when she waves equipment near his head. Meanwhile, Worf flinches at Mr. Mot’s barber scissors. The sensors seem jumpy too — they detect what appears to be “a massive EPS…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In November 2001 I was blogging about

In November 2001, I was blogging about Florida recounts would have favored Bush (contentions election famous for a Florida ballot that many voters found confusing) Is this a burger which I see before me, / The soft bun in my hand? Come, et me clutch thee. / I eat thee not, and yet I want thee still. (McDonald’s Soliloquy)’ The Tyranny of Nicespeak Treating users with disabilities as people What if David Mamet rewrote 2001: A Space Odyssey?  

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Relics (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 4) When a huge hollow sphere traps a Scots engineer, that’s a-survey

Rewatching ST:TNG The Enterprise-D traces a distress call to a huge star-enclosing Dyson sphere. On a crashed ship, they find a jerry-rigged transporter that has suspended someone in its buffer for 75 years. That someone is the legendary engineer Montgomery Scott, who is surprised to see a Klingon among the rescue party. LaForge promises to “take care of him,” and the two engineers cheerfully nerd about the Dyson sphere and Scott’s creative use of the transporter. In sickbay, Scott says Crusher is “a fair sight prettier” than the doctors on his own Enterprise. I gather that in 1992 when this…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

Hidden Spaces, New Possibilities

I’ve often had dreams about returning to a former home and discovering a hidden room there. When I was a kid, the local TV station trimmed a couple minutes out of every rerun of Star Trek, so as an adult I would occasionally be surprised by a few minutes I had never seen before.   A couple weeks ago, the zipper on my computer bag broke after 10 years. When my new bag arrived last week, I spent a few happy minutes deciding which would be the new pocket for my phone charger, where I would put my spare glasses,…

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Man of the People (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 3) When a tranquil envoy makes a b*tch out of Troi, that’s a-plot twist

Rewatching ST:TNG Called to the aid of a transport ship on its way to an important peace summit, the Enterprise-D scatters raiders and beams aboard an ambassador and his elderly mother Maylor, who dramatically warns Troi not to pursue him.   Wishing to be transferred to another civilian transport, Alkar stands his ground against Picard and an admiral, but when his request is denied, he calmly accepts a ride on the Enterprise-D. After an exercise class, Troi and Alkar chat about her empathy and his tranquility. Their mutual admiration society is interrupted by more hostility from Maylor. When Riker joins Troi…

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Realm of Fear (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 2) When transporters reveal Barclay’s muppet-mouthed eels, that’s a-facepalm

Rewatching ST:TNG When the Enterprise-D locates the missing science vessel Yosemite, twitchy Lt. Barclay makes a technobabble suggestion that’s so good, LaForge adds him to the away team. But when it comes time to beam over, Mr. Smarty yeets himself to the counselor’s office instead. We learn that Barclay is afraid of the transporter, but Troi assures him that transporter accidents are rare and encourages him to join the landing party. After first sympathetically sharing a long story about his fear of spiders, O’Brien beams Barclay over. On the Yosemite, the away team finds fragments of an exploded sample container…

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Imaginary Friend (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 22) Glowy Alien Befriends Moppet

Rewatching ST:TNG If there’s one thing fans of Star Trek apparently need, it’s more scripts featuring space moppets! The episode delivers just what the cigar-chomping producer demanded: a glowy Space Thing burrows itself into an adorable sprout’s french-braided head, reads her cute-as-a-button thoughts, and manifests as her imaginary playmate — a blond lass with a poofy-sleeved dress and a hollow stare. After enjoying a tea party with munchkin Clara, Troi reassures her dad that having an imaginary friend is perfectly normal. A scene that fleshes out the dad’s character a bit also develops LaForge’s backstory. The entity calling itself Isabella…

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The Outcast (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 17) Genderless civilization oppresses deviance

Rewatching ST:TNG Members of a genderless civilization (portrayed by female actors with bowl haircuts and dour expressions) seek help from the Federation after one of their shuttles disappears in a Space Thing. The fact that Picard’s opening log goes out of its way to identify the J’Naii as “an adrogynous race” is a pretty obvious cue that this episode isn’t about the random space thing, it’s all about gender. After Riker carelessly refers to a J’naii leader as “he,” pilot Soren points out the error, but can’t supply him with a better word. “We use a pronoun which is neutral.…