Do You Want to Attend the Starfleet Academy?

www.sfiacademy.org

STARFLEET Academy is the school and learning division of STARFLEET the local and international fan club of Star Trek. It provides a big variety of courses varying from testing trivial knowledge of the Star Trek universe to increasing general knowledge about the world around us.

SFA’s curriculum has been crafted to be provided only to the members of STARFLEET. While the courses provided are not accepted as a formal education by any established institute of higher learning, they are a great way to pass the time and to learn something new each day.

SFA courses are typically free to all members, and basically all have their course materials available online. Members without computer access can ask for hard copies of exams and/or certificates to be mailed to them for the cost of postage and printing.

SFA currently has over 200 colleges spanning all aspects of science fiction and Star Trek. Some courses also cover non-sci-fi topics such as tests on real life topics of an assortment of countries. Every college provides dozens of various courses at various levels of difficulty from really simple easy to really complex. In total, there are over 4,000 different courses available with more being added each day.

While there are lots of Star Trek fan clubs in the world, there’s only one STARFLEET Academy. It’s not a place however. STARFLEET Academy is a significant collection of correspondence courses within a fan organization available to every STARFLEET member.

STARFLEET Academy is consistently working to offer fresh subjects and areas of study for entertainment and learning. Even though they aren’t recognized as college courses, if you’re a Star Trek fan, you can give them a try to learn something new.

May your journey through the Academy be enriching and fun.

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Star Trek College Courses

Course Information available at Syracuse.com

The Philosophy and Star Trek course at Georgetown University is every Trekker’s dream who is a college student. The course is offered as an introduction to epistemology philosophy and metaphysics. But, these topics are discussed as philosophical issues come up when the show’s cast ventures into places “where no man has gone before.” Besides watching episodes of “Star Trek,” the class also reads philosophical writings and discuss questions like “Is there time travel?”

If you’d like to take a more religious approach to the popular sci-fi show, you can register for Star Trek and Religion at Indiana University. The class watches Star Trek and then studies the show’s religious themes.

Syracuse University professor Anthony Rotolo takes his students where no class has gone before.

For the first time in its 5-year history, Rotolo’s Star Trek class will be offered to the public for free. Fans across the nation can sign up for the online course which will run during the fall semester.

Overwhelming interest in the class has seen enrollment rise at warp speed. According to Professor Rotolo, about 2500 people have already registered.

He thinks that Star Trek has the capability to reach people, even those who haven’t watched one episode. He also feels it’s a very unique type of show. It’s highly intelligent show and has very endearing characters. There’s something for everyone in it.

First introduced to Syracuse in 2010, #TrekClass has given enrolled students the chance to explore the human experience through the lens of the show. Sessions have been shown at the NASA Johnson Space Center, the South by Southwest Festival, and on stage at the Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas, reaching thousands of fans.

The course first began as a part of the iSchool, where Rotolo initially concentrated on connecting depictions of technology in Star Trek with the realities of technology in the 21st Century.

 

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The History of Women Starfleet Captains

Star Trek: Discovery is currently on TV, continuing the tradition of having women in high-power roles. Not only will Sonequa Martin-Green be the show’s main character, First Officer Michael Burnham, but Michelle Yeoh will be also be on as Captain Georgiou.

As we go forth into Star Trek’s next age, let’s look back at its history, the good, the bad, and the ugly of representing women in ranks of power. Here are the women who have either

William Shatner & Sally Kellerman – Star Trek 1966

held the rank of Captain or who have commanded a starship on screen in the Star Trek realm.

Star Trek has consistently had the best of intentions when it comes to its portrayal of female lead characters, even when the outlooks of the times (such as the studio’s request for the removal of Majel Barrett’s female Number One after the original pilot episode) or circumstance (Denise Crosby leaving The Next Generation, causing a regular cast made up of 5 men and just 2 women, both in care-giving roles) have been against it.

Sadly, the first time a woman took command of a starship on screen wasn’t good. In fact, it was awful. No amount of excusing it on the grounds of it being the 60s can conceivably make up for the portrayal of Dr. Janice Lester in what was, regrettably the last episode of the Original Series broadcast during its original television run.

She was supposed to be crazy when she swapped bodies with Captain Kirk so that she could run a starship, but the issues with her command are clearly shown in the dialogue to be at least partly due to being a woman and the nature of her craziness widely expressed in extreme emotion and what Doctor McCoy refers to as hysteria, a word that clearly relates her failure to control her femininity.

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Who was Gene Roddenberry?

American producer and writer Gene Roddenberry created the highly influential Star Trek TV series in the 60s.

Born in 1921, Gene Roddenberry was a World War II Army pilot before becoming a writer and producer for TV. He started the Star Trek TV series, which produced 6 feature-length films with the original cast. The series continued to increase with new characters and films even after Roddenberry died of cardiac arrest in 91.

He joined the Army after studying law enforcement at Los Angeles City College and participated in over 85 missions during World War II, getting the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal. While in the South Pacific, he wrote poetry and stories for publications.

After the war, Roddenberry took a job as a commercial pilot for Pan American World Airlines. He moved back to LA to start a career in television as a writer.

Roddenberry worked at the LA Police Department as a speechwriter and spokesperson while trying to get into the entertainment industry.

Good for him, LAPD often consulted for the police show Dragnet, giving him the chance to enhance his scriptwriting skills. He got his 1st official television credit for an episode of Mr. District Attorney and over the years he wrote for programs such as Naked City, Have Gun, Will Travel, and West Point. He won his 1st Emmy for Have Gun, Will Travel.

In the 60s, he started working on a sci-fi show that he thought of as Wagon Train set in outer space. His original pilot was banned by NBC as “too cerebral,” but he was given another chance and in ‘66 and the 1st episode of Star Trek aired with a diverse cast, including Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, William Shatner, and Nichelle Nichols. The show was about the U.S.S. Enterprise crew as it went on a 5-year mission to “boldly go where no man has gone before” in the far reaches of the galaxy.

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Star Trek: Discovery Review

StarTrek.com

Star Trek: Discovery isn’t going to be liked by everyone, but that’s the beauty of Star Trek.

From the first series to The Enterprise and everything in between, Star Trek has succeeded in altering itself with each new iteration, giving a sense of undiscovered wonderment besides a fresh-faced crew. Star Trek: Discovery is one of the more movielike versions of the Star Trek universe. It’s more in common with Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek film than it does with the 1st series. Discovery is like the rebirth of a franchise, similar to the way Star Wars: The Force Awakens did for Star Wars. It doesn’t back away from brazenly going where no Star Trek series has gone before.

Most folks and die-hard Trekkers like Discovery. The show achieves its objective of bringing a new age of space exploration to TV in its 1st two episodes. The most remarkable and noticeable feature of the series so far is the visual effects. Giant battles in the black sky pulsate. Orange and yellow flares spark hazardously when a ship takes damage. Holograms shimmy in the unicolor rooms that line the U.S.S. Shinzou. The visual effects are great and some worried that having to stream the series through CBS All Access would ruin the experience. It didn’t. Nonetheless, Discovery is the type of show that should only be viewed on a TV in which the higher the resolution, the better.

The acting in the beginning episodes are hit and miss. Some actors and actresses hit the mark, some didn’t. Martin-Green is a stand-out actress, joined by Frain and Jones. These three actors provided the strongest performances throughout every episode, with the chemistry between Burnham and Saru’s relationship offering the comedic relief the series needs in its most forceful moments. For those Trekkers who haven’t checked out Discovery yet, give it a try.

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How to Become a Trekker

Trekkies v. Trekkers is an argument that may never cease to exist. Both describe true fans of Star Trek. Even Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock) thinks “Trekker” is the right nickname.

Even if it takes light years before this argument is resolved, you can learn what makes a Trekkie or Trekker. By learning some simple steps, you’ll be ready to pass even the shrewdest judgment from a Starfleet Academy student.

Use the Vulcan hand signal

Trekkies must be fly if everyone, including US presidents and Victoria Secret models, are doing the Vulcan symbol. Known to be coveted by Trekkers, this is a solid 1st step when greeting other Trekkers. Remember, you have to add “live long and prosper.” It’s the universal peace sign.

Learn some Klingon language

You don’t have to know every word and syllable, but learning a few words can take you a long way. If someone disrespects you, tells them their mother has a smooth forehead, which in Klingon is “Hab SoSlI’ Quch.” This is a huge insult in the Klingon world.

Memorize the lyrics to “Star Trekkin'”

British rockers The Firm delivered this call to arms for all Trekkers in 1987. The chorus goes:

Star Trekkin’ across the universe,
On the Starship Enterprise under Captain Kirk.
Star Trekkin’ across the universe,
Only going forward, still can’t find reverse.

Dress the role

Pick wisely which character you identify with. Maybe you desire Spock’s ears? The gold

Command Patch

suit of Captain Kirk? Or maybe you want to really flaunt your Trekkie love and sew an insignia to your business suit. It’s your choice and you can find your favorite one online.

Go to SciFiCon!

That’s Science Fiction Convention. And since you have your outfit selected, this is your opportunity to mingle with other like-minded fans.

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The Appeal of the Star Trek Convention

Everybody at the Las Vegas Star Trek convention stays at the Masquerade Bar, a dingy casino-side drinking spot at the Rio Hotel. It’s Masquerade since the area is supposed to be Carnivale-themed, but the smoky, ratty place has for years given up any charade of being festive.

It’s at the bar where you meet folks, folks dressed like Vulcan ambassadors and people

Maitland Ward hosts a cosplay party

with big Borg tattoos. Folks who write official Star Trek tie-in novels. I’m impressed by this, because the tie-in novels are still being crafted and are still set in the original, pre-Abrams realm. They sell quite well too. There’s a side universe where the reboot never occurred.

I’m speaking to this writer and I’m wondering about what the rules are now that the reboot has happened. It isn’t like the tie-in games, comics, and novels were truly ever huge, but now they’re living in a pocket world all their own. Does the fact that the mainstream Trek moved away from them bring them more freedom? What can they do in a Trek tie-in novel these days?

“They allow us to do pretty much whatever we like, as long as we don’t do something like blow up Vulcan,” the writer says. “However, what kind of dipshit would blow up Vulcan?”

Karaoke was supposed to have started a half hour ago already. It’s Thursday night at the big Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas and the entire convention center at the Rio Hotel and Casino has been taken over by uniformed Starfleet officers and a huge assembly of aliens. Also, there’s a jerk in a Han Solo from Star Wars costume. Nonetheless, there’s always going to be a person like that at these events. On Saturdays, drunks walk the halls of the convention center singing the Star Wars theme at people passing by dressed in Star Trek gear.

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For the Love of Spock Honors Leonard Nimoy

The big selling point of “For the Love of Spock,” a documentary about the late, great Leonard Nimoy, is the personal connection is that it was directed by his son Adam.

The film is getting a small theatrical release in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of “Star Trek’s” premiere, is absolutely a fine addition to the many celebrations of the series.

No surprise, the younger Nimoy, who was a lawyer before becoming a director, makes part of the narrative about him and his sometime distant relationship with his father.

Frankly, the idea of a child recollecting about a complex history with a famous parent is such a worn-out device it feels like a cliché. While it offers insight into Leonard Nimoy as a person, it sometimes distracts from other material. At times, it’s funny, sometimes it’s enlightening about the franchise and role that certainly came to define him.

Several of the anecdotes will be recognizable to Trekkers, such as how Nimoy was the only actor kept when NBC decided to toss Gene Roddenberry’s original pilot and start over. Or, how his acting changed once he started playing off the highly expressive William Shatner, as opposed to the original captain, Jeffrey Hunter.

In one of the hilarious moments, Nimoy laughs at a convention while reading the 1st Variety review of the show, which called Star Trek a “dreary mess of confusion” and called Shatner’s performance stiff, which might be the only time anyone used that adjective in relation to him.

It’s exciting to hear both Nimoys talk about Leonard’s mindset once the series started. Having never worked on any project for more than a few weeks, he made the most of each paid engagement that he was offered, to the exclusion of being available to his family.

It’s really cliché to say due to Star Trek, Nimoy lived his life like the Vulcan greeting and hand gesture, “Live long and prosper.”

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Why Chris Pine Feels Like Captain Kirk

When we first met Captain Kirk in the form of Chris Pine in 2009’s Star Trek, he was a very outgoing young man, joining the Starfleet out of spite. That’s all transformed at the beginning of Star Trek Beyond, which has Kirk smack in the middle of his five-year mission. “What he’s lost are those encouraging factors that obligated him and propelled him in the beginning,” says Pine. “He’s a man now. He’s angry. He’s done well. And then it’s like he says to himself: ‘So now what? If I don’t have these things driving me, do I even want to be here?’”

“He’s lost his zest,” Pine states. “And I absolutely know what that feels like.” Pine was in the blockbuster-movie class in his 20s, and his role in Star Trek got him action-guy parts in top-billed films. He combated a train with Denzel Washington in Unstoppable. He went up against Tom Hardy for Reese Witherspoon in This Means War. He started in the Jack Ryan remake Shadow Recruit. He was also Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman.

“When I was a young actor, I was pretty much completely motivated by validation,” he says. “I just wanted to be told I was handsome and great and a part of the clique. It was very simple animal-social stuff. I don’t really care about these any longer. Things have changed. I, like Kirk, have to discover new things to move me into my career’s future.

He may be one of the Federation’s most well-known captains, but Captain Kirk is just a big buffoon. It’s okay since imperfection is what makes him great at what he does. He certainly didn’t get where he was by doing right all the time.

Kirk is very imperfect. He possesses no superpowers.

 

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Why Does Star Trek Appeals to So Many?

http://www.startrek.com

Why, almost 50 years after it first came on TV, does Star Trek refuse to be gone? I think that a huge part of the continuous appeal can be found in our many real and current problems, both monetary and environmental.

Star Trek, dissimilar to current science fiction, is grounded in a hopeful view of the future, one where the infinite possibilities of existence reside. A future in which science and reason will prevail over superstition. A future where technology could be built to address any challenge.

Many aspects of this vision were, and still are, extremely unrealistic. It was interesting that everyone on board the Starship was proficient to do complex quantum theory calculations when needed and engineers could resolve any technological problem in less than 60 minutes.

In the real world, former President Obama spoke out about the need to base decision-making on concrete science and acknowledge the real need to use scientific and engineering to address the serious environmental and energy challenges facing us.

For the first time in human history, we face Star Trek-like issues, like global warming to declining energy resources. Will we have the intelligence to move toward a Star Trek future, where we all join to accomplish a common goal while keeping respect for individual cultures? Will humans ultimately reject the religious myths that separate us and get in the way, truthfully addressing the world around us?

I don’t mean to imply that Star Trek shows a world free of conflict and emotions. After all, it is the conflict between Kirk and Spock over what is logical versus what is right that moves much of the action. But Star Trek eventually presents a world in which human emotions and reason can peacefully live together. We could learn a lot about how to function in this world together by watching how Capt. Kirk and his crew function in their make-believe “world.”

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