Starlog 2020.01.14

Dear all (especially those enrolled in the SmithsonianX’s  online course “Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology”, on edX.org),

In this post I will try to answer the following questions related to unit 6 of this interesting course:

  1. Why is it important to see yourself on television?

Despite of being a typical TV viewer during my childhood and adolescence, I confess that I never have thought about it. I think that’s because seeing yourself on television can boost your self-confidence, but that’s depend on each person. I mean, if you have a strong identification with some fictional character or real person that is very popular among the audience, then you will probably feel safer in front of people who don’t know you. On the other hand, if you have a strong identification with some fictional character or real person that is unpopular among the audience, then your self-confidence will decrease to a level that you won’t feel comfortable to socialize with other people..

  1. Why is television an important subject for scholarly study?

That’s because television, due to its popularity among all social classes, it has a huge impact on society influencing the way people act in their personal lives. Some scholarly studies indicate that social aspects of television include “positive and negative effects such as social surrogacy hypothesis, educational advantages, psychological and health effects, alleged dangers and propaganda (Wikipedia).”

Children watching cartoons on television, circa 2012 (by Julian Tysoe – https://www.flickr.com/photos/kradlum/8391718885).

  1. How does what we watch shape the world we live in?

Particularly I think what we watch on TV shapes the world in a significant way depending on where and when we lived. While the spread of science-fiction movies, especially those related to the future, had a positive influence on the development of ideas in the field of technology, on the other hand movies or dramas that show a lot of meaningless violence contributed, in my humble opinion, to a vulgarity of ignorance or behavior, consequently resulting in an increased lack of empathy in the society in which we currently live. In addition, as television gives us ready-to-watch information or contains low-content programs, our ability to reflect for ourselves has diminished considerably! I always ask that what is the meaning of buying or owning a very expensive high definition TV if the contents of most programs remains at a low level (like those ridiculous entertainment shows)..

That’s it for now! I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this starlog too. 😉

See you soon! 😉

Works Cited

“Social Aspects of Television.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Dec. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_aspects_of_television.

Starlog 2020.01.08

Dear all (especially those enrolled in the SmithsonianX’s  online course “Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology”, on edX.org),

It is with great pleasure that I announce here my promotion of Lieutenant Junior Grade to Lieutenant Commander!  🙂

I was promoted because I was able to complete the following assignments of Unit 5 in this interesting online course:

  • Think of a global issue that we are facing today that causes fear or concern:
  • What would be the plot of a television show that depicted a utopian and optimistic vision of the future of that issue?

https://wilsonpardijunior.wordpress.com/2019/12/27/starlog-2019-12-27/

AND

  • Should the government resolve Earthly issues before exploring space?
  • Is a scientific investigation of distant worlds a fundamentally human endeavor of exploration?

https://wilsonpardijunior.wordpress.com/2020/01/07/starlog-2020-01-07/

That’s it for this week! I do really hope you’ve enjoyed reading these starlogs so far.. 😉

See you soon! 🙂

The insignia of Lieutenant Commander

Starlog 2020.01.07

Dear all (especially those enrolled in the SmithsonianX’s online course “Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology”, on edX.org),

In this post I will try to answer the following questions also related to unit 5 of this interesting course:

  1. Should the government resolve Earthly issues before exploring space?

That’s an interesting question and considering the current and complex problems (climate change, fresh water depletion, ocean over-fishing, deforestation, air and water pollution, increasing number of starving and refugee people, etc) Earth is facing right now the answer would be, at first, no. However, many of the recent technologies developed for space exploration already have been used to benefit our planet. For example:

  • According to Autry “space research has already been critical in averting one major environmental disaster. It was NASA satellite data that revealed a frightening and growing hole in the ozone layer over the South Pole, galvanizing public concern that, in 1987, produced the Montreal Protocol: the first international agreement addressing a global environmental problem. Since then, thanks to worldwide restrictions on damaging chlorofluorocarbons, the ozone situation has stabilized, and a full planetary recovery is expected. “
  • Also, according to Stofan “the water purification system used on the ISS is currently helping to provide clean water in remote regions. Work on NASA’s new Space Launch System and Orion capsule has led to faster ways to charge batteries, and to the development of advanced manufacturing techniques and lighter aircraft structures.”

Therefore, I think that if possible a lot of countries (US, Russia, China, Japan, etc) should work together on space exploration with the purpose not only to go where no man has gone before, but also to help in resolving our planet problems, especially the environmental ones. 😉

  1. Is a scientific investigation of distant worlds a fundamentally human endeavor of exploration?

I don’t know, but probably it is. As we humans know only about our existence, it seems logical to me to think that exploring distant galaxies and worlds with the purpose of knowing the origin of the universe, from where we came from, to where we can go, and most importantly, in search of other life forms is definitely a scientifically worthwhile endeavor!

The Future of Space Exploration Starts on Earth (image credit: NASA)

That’s it for now! I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this starlog too.

See you soon! 🙂

Works Cited

Autry, Greg. “Space Research Can Save the Planet-Again.” Foreign Policy, Foreign Policy, 6 Aug. 2019, foreignpolicy.com/2019/07/20/space-research-can-save-the-planet-again-climate-change-environment/.

Stofan, Ellen. “Could Mars Exploration Improve Life on Earth?” World Economic Forum, World Economic Forum, 13 Jan. 2016, http://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/could-mars-exploration-improve-life-on-earth/.

 

Starlog 2019.12.27

Dear all (especially those enrolled in the SmithsonianX’s  online course “Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology”, on edX.org),

In this post I will try to answer the following questions related to unit 5 of this interesting course:

  1. Think of a global issue that we are facing today that causes fear or concern:

That’s a very easy question! The most important global issue we are facing today that causes fear or concern is definitely global warming (or climate change as some people prefer to call it)! According to Wikipedia, “global warming is the mainly human-caused increase in global surface temperatures and its projected continuation, while climate change includes both global warming and its effects, such as changes in precipitation.”

Despite of some politicians and countries arguing that global warming is a hoax, the true fact is that the average temperature of our planet has been rising steadily on the last forty years:

The average annual temperature at the earth’s surface has risen since the late 1800s, with year-to-year variations (shown in black) being smoothed out (shown in red) to show the general warming trend!

There is more than one reason, of course, why global warming has been increasing a lot recently. However, the accumulation in the atmosphere of greenhouse gases, especially those resulting from burning fossil fuels, is the predominant cause. That’s because greenhouse gases generate the greenhouse effect that is a “process by which radiation from a planet’s atmosphere warms the planet’s surface to a temperature above what it would be without this atmosphere” (  ):

Light energy (white arrows) emitted by the sun, warming the earth’s surface which then emits the energy as heat (orange arrows), which warms the atmosphere and is then re-emitted as heat by three of the greenhouse gas molecules (water, carbon dioxide, and methane)

  1. What would be the plot of a television show that depicted a utopian and optimistic vision of the future of that issue?

A possible plot of a television show that could describe an idealistic and positive foresight about the global warming issue would be based on exploring many things in different ways, such as:

  • improvement of current technologies for energy efficiency, increase in the use of wind and solar power, building of better batteries to store renewable energy, etc (Nunez)
  • development of new processes and technologies to extract carbon dioxide from power plants and other sources (including the atmosphere) with the goal of storing it underground and reusing it (Nunez),
  • search for a planet with much higher temperatures than our planet to apply radical measures with the purpose to become it livable not only to humans but also to other species from Earth and,
  • search for a similar planet to Earth where we could colonize it in case of not being able to reverse the global warming in our world..

It’s interesting to mention that some computer simulation by NASA suggests that Venus had a similar environment as Earth some billions of years ago, and consequently the greenhouse effect that happened in that planet contributed decisively to the horrible atmospheric conditions that are currently present there (Cabbage)!

This picture (after digital image processing) of Venus was taken by the Galileo spacecrafts Solid State Imaging System on February 14, 1990, at a range of almost 2.7 million Km from the planet (courtesy: NASA / JPL)!

That’s it for now! I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this starlog too. 😉

See you next week! 😉

Works Cited

“Global Warming.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Dec. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming.

Nunez, Christina. “Global Warming Solutions.” Global Warming Solutions, Facts and Information, National Geographic Society, 25 Feb. 2019, http://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/global-warming-solutions/.

Cabbage, Michael, and Leslie McCarthy. “NASA Climate Modeling Suggests Venus May Have Been Habitable – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet.” Global Climate Change, NASA, 11 Aug. 2016, climate.nasa.gov/news/2475/nasa-climate-modeling-suggests-venus-may-have-been-habitable/.

Starlog 2019.12.24

Dear all (especially those enrolled in the SmithsonianX’s  online course “Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology”, on edX.org),

It is with great pleasure that I announce here my promotion of Lieutenant to Lieutenant Junior Grade!  🙂

I was promoted because I was able to complete the following assignments of Unit 4 in this interesting online course:

  • What Star Trek technology is on your list of must-haves?
  • Could the Star Trek universe exist without this type of technology?
  • How would it be better (or worse) with (or without) this technology?

https://wilsonpardijunior.wordpress.com/2019/12/11/starlog-2019-12-12/

AND

  • Where do you see Artificial Intelligence going?
  • Will it be Data, The Doctor or something new?
  • Do we need to fear it, embrace it or something in between?

https://wilsonpardijunior.wordpress.com/2019/12/21/starlog-2019-12-22/

That’s it! I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading these starlogs so far.. 😉

See you soon! 🙂

The insignia of Lieutenant Junior Grade

PS. Merry Christmas! 😉

Starlog 2019.12.22

Dear all (especially those enrolled in the SmithsonianX’s  online course “Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology”, on edX.org),

In this post I will try to answer the following questions also related to unit 4 of this interesting course:

  1. Where do you see Artificial Intelligence going?

That’s really a good question and quite difficult to answer! One thing we can say for sure: Artificial Intelligence is going to change our lives completely on a near future! The question that we should make nowadays is “How intrusive in our lives is Artificial Intelligence?” For instance, nowadays Artificial Intelligence is already being used in many applications such as optical character, handwriting, speech and face recognition, computer vision, virtual reality, image processing, photo and video manipulations, natural language processing, robotics,
hybrid intelligent systems, etc (Applications of Artificial Intelligence).

An automated online assistant providing customer service on a web page, one of most common applications of Artificial Intelligence

  1. Will it be Data, The Doctor or something new?

In terms of human-like robots it will take some time (maybe hundreds of years) to have a full, almost “human” android with consciousness. However, we are getting there.. 😉

Sophia, the most advanced humanoid robot in the world on May 2018

  1. Do we need to fear it, embrace it or something in between?

I think something in between is the most appropriate answer to this question. For one side we should definitely embrace Artificial Intelligence because it’s already helping us in dealing with a lot of complex and completely different problems such as, for example, assisting doctors to take correct decisions when treating terminal patients with cancer and helping students with learning disabilities. In addition, Artificial Intelligence is being used to facilitate the interaction between humans and robots: 

This blogger 🙂 and Pepper, a semi-humanoid robot in Numazu, Japan

On the other hand, we should fear it too since the military is already using Artificial Intelligence to design UCAVs (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles) and LAWs (Lethal Autonomous Weapons)! 😦

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots launched in London, UK in April 2013.

That’s it for the time being! I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this starlog too. 😉

See you next week! 🙂

Works Cited

“Applications of Artificial Intelligence.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Dec. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applications_of_artificial_intelligence.

 

Starlog 2019.12.12

Dear all (especially those enrolled in the SmithsonianX’s  online course “Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology”, on edX.org),

In this post I will try to answer the following questions related to unit 4 of this interesting course:

  1. What Star Trek technology is on your list of must-haves?

Definitely is the transporter! That’s because as a Brazilian living in Japan, i.e., on the other side of the world, it would be so great to have this technology available to go back to my native country and return to Japan in a matter of seconds! 🙂

Do you think I’m exaggerating? Just for you have an idea it takes exactly 24 hours just inside an aircraft to go from Tokyo to São Paulo! I don’t need to mention that there is no direct flight, so I must change planes in US, Europe or Dubai. In addition, when arriving in São Paulo I still have to board a local flight (one hour and 30 minutes) to my hometown, Porto Alegre. Therefore, counting the hours just waiting at airports, changing planes and flying intercontinental distances, it takes around 36 hours to arrive at my home in Brazil! In summary, I desperately need a transporter! 🙂

The transporter used by the USS Enterprise at the pilot episode “The Cage”

  1. Could the Star Trek universe exist without this type of technology?

Of course the Star Trek universe could exist without the transporter. First, because anything is possible in the science-fiction domain! 😉 In other words, if the USS Enterprise and others shipyards from the Starfleet didn’t have the transporter, they would probably be “designed” with higher warp speeds to cross the universe! However, “according to The Making of Star Trek, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s original plan did not include transporters, instead calling for characters to land the starship itself. However, this would have required unfeasible and unaffordable sets and model filming, as well as episode running time spent while landing, taking off, etc. The shuttlecraft was the next idea, but when filming began, the full-sized shooting model was not ready. Transporters were devised as a less expensive alternative, achieved by a simple fade-out/fade-in of the subject” (Wikipedia).

  1. How would it be better (or worse) with (or without) this technology?

That’s a good question and the answer depends on many perspectives! In terms of mobility it would be wonderful to have available transporters everywhere, of course. Imagine how practical it would be for expatriates to go across the world in a matter of seconds, for private and professional reasons. 😉 Also, the trade between nations would expand significantly since it would be possible to buy and receive commodities and finished goods extremely fast! However, one thing is for sure: the number of immigration and customs jobs would need to be increased as well to control the huge quantity of people and things being beamed up across our planet! 🙂

That’s it for now! I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this starlog too. 😉

See you soon! 🙂

Works Cited

“Transporter (Star Trek).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 2 Nov. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transporter_(Star_Trek).

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