From the Editors While the May issue as a whole explored cutting edge technology and research, “Battle for the Soul of Star Trek” took a deep dive into cultural history, marking the 50th anniversary of the TV show’s debut. “Even I didn’t know some of this stuff,” science fiction writer Tom Marcinko tweeted. Highlighting the theme of the three-day Future Is Here festival that the magazine hosted in Washington, D.C., Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, appeared onstage and lit up social media when he said the technology of “Star Trek” is “not that far-fetched” anymore.
“Star Trek” in all of its incarnations has profoundly affected pop culture, science and technology, but there is no one it has affected more than its legion of fans. As one of those fans, I can state with conviction that I wouldn’t be the person I am now, as a writer, as a teacher, as a human being, if “Trek’s” optimistic take on humanity and its direction had not shaped my worldview.
Kristin Dilley, Facebook
Up in the Air
It’s exciting to see the future in transportation (“Ready for Takeoff”), where the potential for error is “shifted from the driver to the programmer.” Unfortunately, computers, software and wireless communication are only as reliable as their weakest links. Significant advances in removing software bugs and becoming impervious to hacking and jamming are needed. The last two decades of “progress” has not slowed the growing risk of their use.
Peter Dunham, Syracuse, New York
Drone cars and flying cars will be an improvement over distracted and emotional human drivers. Pure technology, focused solely on the task at hand, will allow humans to harmlessly perform all the “passenger behaviors” they currently perform behind the wheel.
Terrie Corbett, Facebook
While we spend an inordinate amount of money on space exploration (“Next Stop Mars”), with minimal benefits for mankind, our oceans and waterways are being destroyed. Let’s funnel these dollars into projects here on Earth.
Joseph Lehrhaupt, via Email
Rebel with a Cause
Thank you for Nathaniel Philbrick’s fine article on Benedict Arnold (“Traitors and Haters”). Obviously there was a lot more involved in his defection than most Americans are aware of. Had it not been for his wife, his name might not be synonymous with traitor.
Gary N. Miller, via Email
Any question of Citizen Kane’s authorship (“Sparks Fly Over Tabloid Biz Flick!”) was resolved with Robert L. Carringer’s 1978 essay in Critical Inquiry, “The Scripts of Citizen Kane.” Carringer studied the collection of script records—“almost a day-to-day record of the history of the scripting”—that was then still intact at RKO. He reviewed all seven drafts and concluded that “the full evidence reveals that Welles’s contribution to the Citizen Kane script was not only substantial but definitive.” For a short time I was Carringer’s research assistant and was involved with this project.
George H. Scheetz, Batavia, Illinois