BREAKING: Trek Vet Joe Menosky and ‘Heroes’ Writer Aron Coleite Join Star Trek All Access Writing Staff

Star Trek writer Joe Menosky who penned such favorites as Darmok, Time’s Arrow, and Year of Hell, along with Aron Coleite known for his writing work on the hit sci-fi show Heroes have joined the writing staff for CBS’s upcoming Star Trek television series, according to Larry Nemecek who spoke today at Phoenix Comicon. The news was broken by Kemp Powers on Twitter.

Larry Nemecek was running a few minutes late for his panel, however it was for a good reason as he was trying to confirm a breaking announcement regarding Star Trek All Access. Larry exclusively spoke to TrekMovie after his panel, saying:

“Mike Schindler of the Stage 9 Podcast just informed me that Kemp Powers tweeted him two new names for the writing staff of Star Trek All Access – Aron Coleite and Joe Menosky.

Having Joe Menosky on the show in addition to a staff including Nicholas Meyer and Kirsten Beyer who are exciting modern writers and fans, goes back to my first instinct regarding Bryan Fuller – that the fans should be very excited about Bryan as the show runner. Of all the veteran writers who were contractual available, Bryan has the most street credibility and mainstream “out of the box” thinking. Bryan would only have agreed to be the show runner if he was allowed to do the show he wanted to do, to include hiring the staff he wanted. This is amazing and the fans should be very excited”.

Larry Nemecek at his Phoenix Comicon panel today

Joe Menosky’s Trek writing cred is extensive, having penned some of the most highly regarded episodes of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. Overall, he has writing credits on 56 Star Trek episodes.

Aron Coleite is best know for his work on the hit science fiction show Heroes.

CBS’s as yet unnamed Star Trek television series airs on CBS and CBS All Access January of 2017.

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Sounds positive. I always wished Voyager could have been one long “Year of Hell” from beginning to end.

So did Ron Moore, so he went off and made the modern version of Battlestar Galactica, which is arguably the best sci-fi TV show since the original Star Trek!

Completely agree Dom. Babylon 5 isn’t too shabby neither mind…

I’ll take B5 way over BSG. It paved a lot of road.

Started rewatching B5 for the first time this century last week, already halfway through 2nd season. Amazed at how my opinions on the show are exactly the same as they were first time through (love put-upon Sinclair, despise Smilin’ John Sheridan.)

Menosky is an interesting choice that to me suggests they are doing standalone stories, as I don’t see him as part of the one-big-narrative kind of push. Am hoping his selection is based upon his originality rather than some mid-24th century setting.

Wasn’t a big fan of Boxleitner prior to B5 or upon his arrival, but by Season 3 he was the man.

Watching BSG honestly it always felt like a mix of if Voyager and DS9 made a really dysfunctional baby lol. Yeah you can tell he took all the issues he had with how Voyager was done and created a more realistic (and darker) vibe with BSG. I didn’t watch that show until 2 years ago and I fell in love with it after the first episode. I binged watch the whole thing in a week.

I agree completely Dom!

If one reads that infamous interview Ronald D. Moore gave back in the early fall of 2001 (just a year or so after leaving the VOY writing-staff), you get to see him talk rather bitterly about all the changes he would have made to that show’s format, including making it far grittier and realistic…it’s basically a straight-up laundry list of all the changes he’d actually implement just one year later when he climbed onboard Sci-Fi’s BSG reboot in the fall of 2002:

That would have rocked. I’m not a big hater of Voyager, mainly due to growing up in the 90’s but I always wished it was done differently and felt they missed opportunities… It should have been grittier, before everything became ‘Gritty’ and took the nuance away!

@ Captain Mac: If you believe some fans, Voyager was 7 long years of hell to them ;-)

oh yeah, 7 years of hell,i so agree

How about getting some NEW writers for the show. This is the guy who wrote “Masks” for TNG and a crap load of terrible episodes for Voyager. Ugh.

Did you read the whole thing though? Aron Coleite is new (new to Trek at least)

That’s like, just your opinion, man.

Menosky is one of the best TNG era writers. Hopefully he can bring the best quality of that era with him.

“Menosky is one of the best TNG era writers.”

That’s like saying that A. J. McLean was a great Back Street Boy.

I suppose you’d prefer the likes of Bob Orci or Damon Lindelof writing the new series, PS?



No, thanks. Keep those guys as far away as possible from anything related to ‘Star Trek’.

@ Meurik

Of course not — that is my whole point — why are they bringing in “retreads” into of bringing in bold new writing choices. I would love to hear that they brought in a Jonathon Nolan, a David Benioff, or a Peter F Hamilton….i.e. BOLD CHOICES to reinvent the Trek TV series format.

Disagree. He’s penned many fine episodes, interesting to note that many involve time…

Sorry, Time’s Arrow was a dud for me. Especially after the Best of Both World’s 2 parter.

yep so is


Go watch Transformers.

Yeah, I’d like to see a little freshness too. Just get good writers, period.

He also wrote some trek classics.

Oh my! It is getting so excited!

Interesting. Given Year from Hell was supposed to be a proper arc, rather than a creatively cowardly closed timeline, I’m interested to see whether that opportunity will be turned into a season. In the old days, my frustration was that I always felt Berman Trek shows would touch on a great idea, but leap back from it like a scalded cat.

I thought Year of Hell closed beautifully.

year of hell should of been an season arch,that what let it down or they could of jump a year saw what happen to the ship and referred back to the year of hell and then done a mid season two parter which could of been then used to set it up for the back half of the season,pretty much anything other than what they did

I agree that Year of Hell would/should have been a whole season arch—- and then end it without the “reset button” and have some of the effects stay in place for the rest of the show so that way the whole season was not a “it never happened”.

I agree to an extent, however the events in Year of Hell seemed to crop up in a few different episodes indicating an arc of sorts. I remember Seven and Kes being involved in storylines that contained the Krenim torpedo. Also I think it was Kes who first mentioned the Krenim…

Yeah. In the episode where Kes was living her life backwards, she passed through the year of Hell. The Krenim torpedo was part of what caused that to happen to her. Seven of Nine dealt with the torpedo instead in Year of Hell because Kes was gone by then.

A “Heroes” writer and a TNG writer? Ugh. When is Trek going to shed the Okuda-Nemecek-Berman 80’s-80’s crap? Sadly, he modern writers are worse with there bloated season arcs and cardboard bad-ass characters. Too bad there are no more Serlings and Coons, or writers of old westerns who know how episodic TV episodes are supposed to be structured. People who write characters who talk TO each other instead of one-line AT each other. Stories that stand alone, with a beginning, middle and end in an hour.

Not sure why any Okuda bashing is necessary. Mike Okuda was never a writer on any series and was an incredible graphic designer, ship designer and artist on the post TOS series and many of the movies. He’s also a passionate advocate for Trek and recently helped the Smithsonian restore the original Enterprise, so ease off on the vitriol, please, or at least point it in some other direction.

I totally agree. If it weren’t for Mike Okuda, and his wife we would not have have many of the iconic things we’ve grown accustomed to being there: like most of the video graphics, internal ship design, and many other things…

Mike Okuda and his wife envisioned so much of what we think of Trek today. They have not only did come up with so much of the look of the universe but devoted countless hours creating books like the Encyclopedia and chronology that covered all of the Star Trek and a must have for us nerds. Yes today the internet has made things like that less necessary but its still great to have and they just updated the Encyclopedia after 18 years to include everything up to the new films. They still live and breath Trek today and ANY fan should appreciate that type of dedication to the franchise. But leave it to old cynical Trek fans to dump on everything today.

I honestly don’t get Trek fans sometimes, especially when they spend all their energy dumping on everyone who actually tries to make new content to enjoy. I’m surprised ANYONE still want to work on Trek these days. Orci probably not looking back at this point.

That said, I’d love to see something new, visually. Trek got a little too homogenized by the time of Voyager.

Actually, Okuda did come up with a story outline for TNG first season that was very good, just not produced. It was synopsized in a Pioneer Press unauthorized book, something like lost tales of TNG or somesuch, around 1990.

Ah there’s the positivity Star Trek is so known for.

well said, witzend, I think the story structure is so alien to them, they don’t know. Instead, they’ll adopt the serialized format and guarantee that I’ll never revisit the series after that initial 13 episode run. I never pick up a novel and choose to read chapter 9, then put the book away. The same applies to serialized drama…the soap opera model, if you will….I loved the ride of 24 and LOST…but I’ll never watch the run again. When its over, it’s over, and, well, for me, that would be a sad way to experience Star Trek.

DS9 is the most serialized Trek show to date…and I have rewatched the entire series about 6 times now, the last time 2 years ago. I’m gaming to rewatch it again soon. I get your point but there are PLENTY of people out there who has watched stuff like LOST and 24 over and over again. Ask yourself why every new show on Netflix is serialized including their Marvel shows? Because we live in a different world today and people want the deep narratives of story telling. They want to be invested IF the story is good. Forget about Netflix and think of the most popular shows right now: GOT, The Walking Dead, Homeland, it keeps people coming back over and over. But sure I get you, its not easy to rewatch an individual episode and I go back to DS9 where although the show became more serialized most of their episodes were still done in stand alone structures, which is why that show is fun to watch.

But thats just me but I think a lot of people today.

Escape the 60’s and all even the TNG episodes where they start with a clean slate at the end / start of every episode. Modern viewers want and deserve a little more “realism” in that what happens in one episode will effect another— like if characters go through something dramatic it will actually effect them for more than 1 week. “Come, come, Mr. Scott. Young minds, fresh ideas. Be tolerant.”

Aside from the fact that I enjoy Star Trek more for it’s fun sense of escapism than any attempt at gritty realism, (I get to live that everyday) I just don’t like the idea of Star Trek being an all or nothing method of storytelling. If I want to kick back at lunch and watch episode 10 of the new Star Trek, I don’t want my enjoyment and understanding of that episode to be contingent on my having watched all previous 9 episodes. There’s no denying the soap opera model hooks viewers, it’s been hooking housewives and stay at home moms for decades. I just don’t want it in my Trek. Selfish, I know, but someday I may want to revisit these episodes, I’d prefer not having to enjoy them in 13 episode blocks.

Except that’s what TV is now. Even shows with cases of the week. I can’t see how a 2016 Trek series could do purely standalone episodes. That said, some shows are easier to watch if you’ e skipped episodes (ex. the flash) than others.

But it’s true – I avoid certain shows because I’ve missed a few episode or becauseI don’t want to have to commit myself to watching years of an entire series.

of course— I just wrote this, but on the other hand I just watched some TNG episodes this weekend and its great to be able to sit down and watch one without needing to watch a bunch of other episodes. I think, while DS9 is my favorite series, TNG hold up better only because you/I can sit down and watch any one episode and everything will be the same at the end. Individual episodes hold up pretty well.
On the other hand, if this new Trek series is only 10 episodes per season I can (easily?) rewatch the entire season (like a really long movie (Gettysburg, Dances with Wolves haha. ha.) I can handle that for Game of Thrones so I can handle that for Trek for sure! Plus with only 10 episodes per season we shouldn’t have any Shades of Grey, The Omega Glory, etc.

You’re going to make me responsible for core “80s-90s Trek”? Can I have the back residuals checks I’ve been owed? I was responsible for just as much 60s Trek and JJtrek as I was “80s-90s” Trek–can I have my checks for them, too?

Seriously— you DO know Nick Meyer is in the writing mix, too, yes?

I’ve never heard this argument that in order to “rewatch” a serialized show you have to literally revisit every episode. BSG has to be one of my favorite shows of all time, and I’ve seen certain episodes maybe two dozen times, and there are other episodes I saw once and that was it. Like, are you kidding me? I don’t need to rewatch the entire series to know what happened. I already saw it once. I know what’s going on. I’ll rewatch the gems and leave the rest alone

This show just keeps sounding better and better.


And the good news just keeps rolling on in.

Damn. Still no Peter David.

That would be awesome.

Give them time.
They are just getting started .

Heroes was good for season 1 or 2 — whenever the Sylar story line initially wrapped up. After that it was a zombie. Dead show walking.

None of this is good news or bad news to me. So far I’d call it all “interesting.”

Have to actually see how it’s turning out before I can say all these hires were good ideas or not.

Fantastic news! “The Chase” and “Blink of an Eye” have always been favourites of mine.

I love “Blink of an Eye”! One of my top VOY eps.

Yeah LOVE Blink of an Eye. When I think of Star Trek and trippy sci fi stories I think of episodes like that. Only Star Trek does these types of stories and why I really miss the shows, you just can’t do that kind of story telling in a Trek movie.

Sadly, the guy who wrote the story for Blink of an Eye (Robert L. Forward) has been dead since 2002. The book is called “Dragon’s Egg” and it’s vastly superior to the episode.

I’m beginning to wonder…too many cooks? As we all know, TNG’s revolving door or writers that first season (including original series vets DC Fontana and David Gerrold) was disastrous when it should have been a home run. I sure hope the showrunner has a strong vision.

I’m not worried, TV shows aren’t movies they need a big staff to put out all these episodes and usually a show, especially dramas, has around a dozen staff writers, we just know about all of them on Star Trek but most shows from ER to Breaking Bad and LOST has over a dozen writers on staff. Bryan Fuller show Hannibal had over a dozen although around most only wrote 1-2 episodes.

Like the days of the original series, many writers contribute, and get paid for 1st drafts, but after multiple re-writes from the lead writers the stories are changed, and ultimate story credit is given to whomever does the last re-write. Gene Rodenberry’s name ended up on a lot of episodes this way. That’s not to say he didn’t write his own original stuff…

Considering that the direction of the show is an anthology format set in different eras, you might need a full writing staff to put this thing together.

The “Anthology format” rumor is just that… a rumour. It has not yet been confirmed, thou I wouldn’t mind it if it were.

@ jonboc: I suspect that not all the people that have been announced will be heavily involved in the series. For example, Rod Roddenberry is probably there as “Gene Roddenberry’s son”, not because he is such a renowned script writer. Nick Meyer seems to have written the first season of a new TV show that might air sometime this year. Other then that, he doesn’t seem to have a lot of TV credits. So no idea how much he will actually write for the series. Maybe, he’ll also have some kind of consulting role. A big writer’s room may also suggest that they will do a lot of episodes per year.

Meyer was pretty much turned off from ever doing more TV work back in the early ’80s, following his experience making “The Day After” (and having to deal with the ABC Network), but that was almost 35 years ago. Now we have this totally-different TV environment where the writer is absolute king, and many shows are far superior to actual feature films, so it’s not surprising he’d be attracted to the medium once again in the new century.

I’m still holding out hope that Kevin Smith gets to write some episodes. He knows Trek better than most.

Kevin Smith? Ugh please no.

Great news!!!! This gets better and better. I had to go to his IMDB page to remembered what he wrote and wow he’s written some of my favorite episodes. And yeah its some hit and miss things there (Mask is truly, truyly awful lol) but when you are responsible for writing over 50 episodes thats going to happen. And he clearly was the go-to guy for all the big Voyager episodes which I loved nearly all of them, Year of Hell and Dark Frontier being some of the best. And I think Dark Frontier is one of the best Borg story lines since BOTW and First Contact. But he’s done some great episodes over TNG, DS9 and Voyager. From Darmok (one of my top 10) to Time’s Arrow and Blink of an Eye.

I think we’re to get some really thoughtful sci fi stories again and he’s probably the first TNG writer added to the series. Ifs stacking up to be a really interesting group of people running this show now. I can’t wait!!!!

I think Many Coto would be a good choice to add. He has experience, loves the franchise and can write a good story..

I know people are still bitter over Enterprise but it would be great if we got someone from that show to write for this show and obviously Manny Coto is now considered the ‘savior’ of that show so yeah I think that would be a big get. It sucks he didn’t join that show at the beginning when everyone cared, Enterprise couldve been one of the best Trek shows overall.

I agree about Coto. Perhaps he doesnt fit what they are going with. Clearly knowledgeable about TOS. Are they looking for more TNG era input? Which would be strange for a series rumored to take place near the end of the TOS era.

Coto always seemed to get that if you’re creative its not hard to do any concept you want AND make it fit logically within the franchise.

He’d be a fine addition in my book!!

Agreed. Manny Coto would be a helluva score for this new series,

Joe Menosky wrote some of my favourite TNG and VOY episodes. I’m really excited about the new show!

Just to clarify gang–this was a PUBLIC tweet conversation. I just happened to see it and mentioned it, just a minute before this panel.

Can anybody tell me how to get to

I have the app on my phone and then cast to the big screen. Could that be what you are seeking?

Oh, oh, a writer from Heroes? One good season out of 4….Hmm….

My reaction to writing choices so far — they seem to be picking safe choices, versus bold choices.

Nick Meyer might not have been a risky choice, but he was a good choice. There’s no denying that.

The best choice.

Berman-era? As opposed to what, the TOS era? How many TOS-era writers are still actively working in a demanding field of regular TV series?

I understand people wanting “fresh” writers or “sci fi” writers but I’d day the choice of writers with past experience with Star Trek shows an effort on the part of the series producers to deliver a show that is very Star Trek. It would certainly be weird to hire Star Trek writers and then try and convince them to forget everything they know about the franchise.

It might be they believe they come with a foundation of knowledge, the “finding the voice” of Star trek that perhaps could be difficult for “fresh” writers. Cant remember what documentary or whatever it was, but I think it was speaking about TNG and how they accepted scripts from all over and would then have their staff writers make adjustments, specifically saying to make it work for Star Trek…specifically noting “characters voice”.

Im optimistic, if not in the actual demonstrable talents of the writers but in the seeming intent of the producers.


I like the Meyer choice, but I see far too many “retreads” here from the Berman era.

I would love to hear that they brought in a Jonathon Nolan, a David Benioff, or a Peter F Hamilton….i.e. BOLD CHOICES to reinvent the Trek TV series format.

@Prodigal Son,

“The Berman era” aka The Golden Years of Star Trek in the 90s.

The Golden Years for Star Trek were 1966 to 1969.

Now, The Golden Girls was a very successful series in the 1990’s.

@Jonboc, Prodigal Son,

Well, can’t say that I’m surprised that old folks would think like that :)

Golden Years? The 90’s? More like the sliver years….heavily tarnished!!

@ Jonboc

Yes, and it’s a tragedy that we didn’t more consistently good Star Trek over those years. DS9 was the closest they came to a consistently good Trek series.

J Nolan a bold choice? How so? Have you been reading about WESTWORLD’s issues?

They had to take a two month break to get the writing done…so what?

Thumbs up for “Time’s Arrow” and “Year of Hell,” but not for “Darmok”.

No more “Darmok at Tanagra”!! No more “Darmok when the walls fell”!! Drives me crazy!!!

This is backwards. 100% backwards.

I get you don’t like Darmok, but at least get the quotes right…

“Darmok, and Jalad at Tanagra. Shaka, when the walls fell.”

Darmok was one of the 10 most intelligent episodes of any Star Trek series that I ever recall seeing.

I’ve never found the concept — a culture that talks exclusively in metaphors — to be all that high-brow.

But, my complaint doesn’t even have anything to do with whether or not it’s a high-brow episode. I just find the alien character and the way that he keeps repeating his metaphors insufferably annoying. The aliens are portrayed as too dim-witted and un-self-aware to conceive that Picard’s culture doesn’t speak exclusively in metaphors. And yet they’re a space-faring civilization intelligent enough to invent warp drive?

Great news. The Trek fans welcome Mr. Menosky and wish him success with the new series.

What is that fractured dealt a shield supposed to symbolize in the marketing? It looks all battle scared and damaged.

Sounding better by the day. It’s almost as if someone at CBS knows that this series needs to bring those fans who disliked the dumbing down of JJTrek back into the fold.

i am more looking forward to the new show than the new film

From an artistic standpoint, the new font and delta shield look too dark and grungy for what I imagine Star Trek to be.

This may be more a reflection of the times in which we live than how the series will actually be. Of course, if the series also comes out of that reflection, then the two will match.

Keep in mind that when the show was created in the 1960’s, we were still on the upside of our national optimism, despite the loss of JFK and MLK. We had Disneyland and the 1964 – 65 NY World’s Fair driving cultural expectations of the future. Now, however, I think we are on the downside of that arc, and people are adjusting their expectations of the future downward.

I’m just not sure that Star Trek is going to ever be — or at least FEEL — the same again without America itself recapturing something vital that it has lost.

Yeah. We live in a culture with a serious death wish. How does that translate to exploring new frontiers?

Yeah, that’s a shame. I would hope that Star Trek could always present an optimisitc message even in a reality that tends to encourage distopian views of the future.

Elon Musk is planning to send humans to Mars in 10 years. That’s how.

Well I am happy about what Musk, Bigelow, Branson, and Bezos, among others are doing, but there’s a sense in which what they are doing is also disappointing because it’s no longer a national endeavor to go into space — it’s a commercial private endeavor. NASA’s work represented the people — indeed, as Neil Armstrong put it, it represented all mankind, not just the interests of a few super rich people.

I’m not slamming those guys because I don’t know how it will all turn out, but if it becomes crony capitalism in space for the super rich, then there could be some very negative developments as well. That’s not the ideal version of space travel Star Trek had me looking forward to.

It doesn’t help that Jeff Bezos is one white Persian lap cat away from looking exactly like Ernst Blofeld.

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dmduncan Today 7:06 pm

Musk and Branson I can believe have good, socially conscious intentions. Jeff Bezos—I think it more likely that he’s just in it for himself. The way that he runs Amazon, I wouldn’t want to work for that guy.


I thought you have a complete lack of trust for the U.S. Government. Aren’t you being a bit hypocritical by assuming NASA is an exception?

NASA wasted $40 Billion dollars on the space shuttle and space station which took us nowhere new. That’s why a lot of people like mysefl, who used to worship NASA, are instead now much more excited about what the innovative private sector dreamers can do in space. Since Apollo/Skylab, the NASA manned space program has been an overpriced Albatross that deserves all of the bad press it gets.

Well you are right, but there’s good and bad in everything. NASA has made a lot of mistakes but the ideals with which it put people on the moon don’t die because NASA turned incompetent.

It remains to be seen how private industry space use will actually work, but I am VERY glad it is happening right now. What Scaled Composites did with the X Prize was nothing short of amazing. Spaceship One is my desktop image. Spaceport America is one of the few things that makes me feel like I do when I study the old World’s Fairs. If Space Tourism takes off, I may move out there just to be close to something that makes me feel that way, and maybe be involved somehow.

But what we’re talking about is the zeitgeist, and bold exceptions to the mood don’t change it. But who knows — with enough successes and an expanding market, maybe the private space industry CAN evolve the zeitgeist into one of optimism again. If there’s a door into this mess, there’s a door out. We just need to find it.

As someone pointed out, the proportions are off on the Star Fleet badge. If you reconnect the two pieces, the smaller piece (on the right) juts out vertically a bit, either at the top or the bottom. That said, I don’t know that it bodes either poorly or well for the new series that the badge is divided. We don’t even know what it’s meant to signify. It’s just a stylized logo at this point, nothing more than æsthetics.

Are you just sliding them together or “filling” in the space?

CaptainSheridan Today 3:29 pm

Joining them together like puzzle pieces.

Gotta disagree with you there. The 60’s were not optimistic. It seemed like a nuclear war that could destroy the world was imminent. Race wars, Vietnam.

In the 60’s and 70’s there was a real awareness that a mistake could end the world. Today, the worst situation would a dirty bomb or maybe losing a city. That’s a huge threat reduction.

It’s funny how sentimental people get with the passage of time.

Prodigal Son Today 4:31 pm

The 60s were politically turbulent, but they were also optimistic. Hippies thought that they could change the world. Anti-war and equal-rights groups were fighting the establishment, but they believed that they would eventually triumph. They believed that the future would be better than the present. It wasn’t until Watergate that widespread cynicism set in, at least this is the conventional historical view. Watergate was so shocking precisely because Americans were not cynical up to that point. They didn’t believe that a US President would act in so blatantly tyrannical and crooked a manner. And, yet, TNG found a way to be optimistic post-Watergate, post-Viet-Nam, post-Iran-Contra.

I’d agree with dmduncan that we’re living in a time of diminished hope. For the first time in modern history, a strong majority of young people expect to have a lower standard of living than their parents did. Lowered expectations held by Gen-Y about the future have even become integrated into marketing efforts targeting them. Having said all that, I don’t think that the currently dismal outlook precludes a hopeful new Trek show. It just requires a compelling creative premise for why and how the future will be better than the present.


Well if you and DMD are going to cherry-pick white young men in the 60’s, and say they thought that way, and they do not have as positive a future outlook today, I get that. But take all women, nearly ever other race group, and it’s a much better outlook today than in the 1960’s. And it’s a fact that the constant worry and threat of the nuclear annihilation of America is not even close today to what is was in the 1960’s…worrying about a dirty bomb is child’s play compared to Cold War MAD worries.

Prodigal Son Today 6:39 pm

I wasn’t cherry-picking. I wasn’t discriminating between hippies on the basis of ethnicity or gender. Hippies in general were optimistic. There was certainly no shortage of female hippies. And the equal-rights movements, I think, were likewise optimistic. Blacks made a lot of progress between 1960 and 1970. The 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed into law. MLK inspired hope in a better future and helped in large measure to achieve it. Cesar Chavez did likewise for Latin-American migrant farm workers with his unionizing efforts. They all believed that the future would be better, and they achieved it. That was the spirit of the 1960s. There was abundant fighting and social discord, but there was hope that underlay the fighting, that it would pay off. And it did.

The argument is NOT that nothing is better now for some people than it was back then. It is clearly the case that some things are. But some prospects are worse for all of us, and that is the difference.

And not only does the nuclear threat remain, but added to it are the threats of terrorism on a scale we’ve never seen before, mass surveillance to keep us “safe” which we’ve never had before, rogue AI, and robots doing the work of doctors, lawyers, journalists, burger flippers — you name it. And that’s in addition to all the manufacturing jobs.

It’s ludicrous. Work is GOOD for people, whatever it is, whether lawyering or janitoring. It gives shape and purpose to our lives ,and human beings can’t all do the same thing — whatever is left — when robots fill every niche in the system. There has to be an ecosystem, a hierarchy of jobs from lower paid lower skilled to higher paid higher skilled, and robots are going to be able to do ALL of them more skillfully we are told. We are looking at an unprecedented revolution in robotics and AI which is potentially even more dangerous than nuclear weapons.

And how is that future optimistic when the range of things you can be employed doing as a human are dwindling rather than expanding? We’ll need to legalize all drugs so people have something to do other than a Butlerian Jihad.

Ever notice how FEW robots there are in the Star Trek future? Well that’s not what’s in store.

Well, you are changing the topic now. I do agree that their is going to be a tipping point with AI in the next few decades.

dmduncan June 4, 2016 8:13 pm
Prodigal Son June 4, 2016 11:04 pm

I would never make the general statement that being a low-wage burger flipper or janitor gives meaning and purpose to peoples’ lives. It may give meaning and purpose to some peoples’ lives, but I’m inclined to think that as many or more view it as a dead end that they’d love nothing more than to get out of.

That said, we all agree that AI is a cause for concern. I cringe whenever I hear IT people bloviating about how wonderful and self-evidently good AI is going to be. They strike me as dangerously short-sighted and lacking in imagination, as it doesn’t take much imagination to see how an intelligence programmed by limited human intelligence, without the counterveiling forces of emotions and the instinct for social affinity, can easily become dangerous and even threaten humanity on the whole.

Not everybody wants to be a rocket scientist, but they would like to give their kids the opportunity to be one. For some people, their child is their greatest hope and dream. Such people spend decades cleaning rooms and mopping floors and flipping burgers in more or less good cheer, because they are doing it out of love for their kids, and that is noble and good.

With an AI/robotics revolution, how will that opportunity continue to exist?

dmduncan Today 12:32 pm

Again, I wouldn’t generalize and say that people grinding out shitty, unrewarding jobs for the sake of their children are doing it “in good cheer.” I come from a family of immigrants who had to do jobs well below their skill level, and I would not use the phrase “good cheer” to describe how they felt about it. Frankly, it sounds elitist. It’s the sort of language that farm owners in CA used to use to justify paying their migrant farm workers fifty cents a day under the worst possible working conditions—no toilet, no running water, etc.—“Oh, my Mexicans work hard because they love it!” No, they worked hard because they had to.

With an AI/robotics revolution, how will that opportunity continue to exist?

This is a complicated macroeconomic question, but the short answer is that they shift to a different sector of the economy, such as the service industry, customer service, technicians, administrative—jobs that require humans and can’t be automated. Should the federal government help displaced workers and victims of structural unemployment to train and find new jobs in a different sector? Absolutely. If it did so adequately as a matter of course, there wouldn’t be the current distrust of international trade.

What jobs “can’t be automated”? Surgeons, lawyering, journalism. Those aren’t even safe anymore. ANY thing that is mechanical can be automated, particularly with AI. And as the tech advances, there will be fewer and fewer things it can’t do. An entire labor force whose only cost is maintenance.

And what’s wrong with generalizing? Obviously a generalization is not true in every case. That’s the definition of a generalization. But I’m referring to the cases where it is true, not where it’s not.

I am also the grandson of immigrants. I grew up in a house that my Italian grandfather built himself. He was a carpenter, he was a farmer, and he did backbreaking work every day, and his spirit was never anything but strong and positive. Hardest working person I’ve ever known, and one of the best I have ever known. The only people I have seen anything comparable to are Mexicans that I have worked with. So what I ‘m talking about comes DIRECTLY from my own life, and that life isn’t one of an elitist watching poor thirsty Mexicans pick tomatoes from the porch.


My comment was that WORK is good. I didn’t say there cannot be any abject forms of work, but I DID imply that JANITORING is NOT NECESSARILY ONE of them. Sure, if you are a rocket scientist stuck as a janitor, your life might suck. A reasonable reading of my words would automatically grant me that without projecting that my position is that such a thing is impossible. You, however, seem to be arguing that all janitors are miserable. Which leads me to conclude that you have never known any janitors, or you would not say such a thing, because it’s untrue and uninformed. Just because you are not very stoic does not mean everybody is miserable who does work that is distasteful to you.

So, mentioning particulars that don’t fit the generalization I made merely misunderstands what I’m saying and ignores the particulars that the generalization is derived from and accurately describes.

dmduncan Today 6:21 pm

You’re bustin’ my cogliones here. I think it’s better to say what you mean. If you mean SOME people are X, then say “some people are X,” rather than saying “people are X” and expecting everyone to read your mind and know that you meant only some of them, especially when the distinction is important to your point.

If we’re speculating about an all-encompassing degree of AI, where machines are just as intelligent as humans and can perform all human jobs—lawyer, physician, psychologist—just as well as humans, then we’re talking about a scenario in which humans either (1) are entirely taken care of by robots, (2) have become enslaved by robots, or (3) have been exterminated by robots. I would agree that care should be taken to avoid all three of those scenarios.

I’m not busting anything man, I did say what I meant. I think you are just not interpreting me in a way that makes the most sense, and that’s why we keep arguing.

Been researching whereof I speak and I’m telling you there was an optimism in the 1960’s regarding the future that I don’t see around us now. There was an exuberant belief in the power of science and technological progress to solve our problems, and this extended from before WW2. You can see this in the 1939-1940 NY World’s Fair and it continued beyond into the post war atomic era until recently, I would say post 2001. It was in the old products and advertisements, it was on TV, and it continued despite the assassinations of the 60’s and Viet Nam. Atomic power was not just the thing that could destroy humanity in weapons form — it was the promise of unlimited power for all mankind. Yes, it was rather naive to think that way about fission power, but I believe the GE Pavilion at the 64NYWF specifically promised people that the power of the sun — clean fusion power — was a possibility and it was going to solve our energy problems.

Compare to today: Obama was recently in Africa telling Africans that they can’t all have cars and air conditioners because it would boil over the planet! I was incredulous at his Debbie Downer attitude, trying to normalize low expectations.

Then there are goofy TV shows on HGTV about people moving into tiny homes the size of trailers. Even when people are not crowded together like sardines where they are located, they’re acting like there’s no room on the planet for them. They are trying to shrink themselves as if they’re either ashamed of existing, or unable to do it on a comfortable scale.

Again, it looks like the normalization of low expectations and the downsizing of personal dreams.

dmduncan Today 6:51 pm

I don’t disagree that we’re in a more pessimistic time, but (1) you’ve misquoted Obama, and (2) his message was neither pessimistic or normalizing low expectations:

“Ultimately, if you think about all the youth that everybody has mentioned here in Africa, if everybody is raising living standards to the point where everybody has got a car and everybody has got air conditioning, and everybody has got a big house, well, the planet will boil over — unless we find new ways of producing energy.” The president’s comments, made the day before unveiling his “Power Africa” initiative for a “sustainable” African energy strategy, came while speaking at University of Johannesburg-Soweto.

Being optimistic does not mean ignoring facts. It means acknowledging your challenges and believing that you can surmount them. It means concentrating on trying to find solutions to problems (like Obama’s “Power Africa” plan), as opposed to throwing your hands up in the air in defeat and resignation.

“Sustainable” means controlled. It means a balanced load between consumption and output. It’s directly out of the technocratic utopian movement of the 1930’s, back when they didn’t have computers, internet, and social media to help measure consumption to regulate production.

Now we have all that, and ensuring a balanced load between consumption and production is back on the table in the form of unelected technocratic elites dictating policy to elected leaders through complicated trade deals that globally subvert national sovereignty to achieve the end of giving everyone the same reduced standard of living. Which they will be exempt from.

It’s not a hopeful vision of the future. It’s a dark vision of the future based on fear of global catastrophe. It’s negative reinforcement, not positive reinforcement. It’s pointing out what our punishment will be versus what our reward will be, if we “misbehave.”

From that article you cited:

“Speaking on the future of U.S. aid to Africa, the president said that it was his goal ‘to see if we can leapfrog some of the polluting practices of America or Europe, and go straight to the clean energy strategies that will allow you to advance economic growth, but not corrupt the planet.'”

Sounds very much like he’s diminishing expectations. Clean power is great, but it’s not going to meet their needs the way “dirty” power is and so he’s telling them they in fact WILL have to live without the conveniences we here in the West have. I SAW the speech, and they didn’t look happy to me.

dmduncan June 4, 2016 7:30 pm

“Sustainable” means controlled. It means a balanced load between consumption and output. It’s directly out of the technocratic utopian movement of the 1930’s,

No, it doesn’t. And, no, it’s not.

We’re getting a bit far afield here, but you’re putting a rather bizarre spin on the concept of sustainability. Its origins are the environmental movement that began in the 1970s, which corporations have finally begun respecting, heeding and incorporating into their business practices. And this is obviously a good change brought about in the 21st Century—just to point out that things aren’t all bad. “Sustainable” means what it literally says—that a given practice is able to be sustained. It means using renewable energy instead of fossil fuels that will eventually run out. Hence can your energy system be sustained over time. There’s nothing dark or subversive or bleak about setting the goal of renewable energy for Africa or for anywhere else.

I just watched the clip of Obama’s comments in Africa, and there was no indication of displeasure in the audience. And neither was Obama imposing anything on them. He was setting a goal for the world dealing with climate change, and specifically said that the West would have to do more due to its greater contribution to the problem. The tone and theme of the speech were optimistic, not restrictive or oppressive. Africa achieving renewable energy would be good for them. It would mean cheaper, safer, virtually unlimited energy in the long-run. I have to say, for someone lamenting the lack of optimism in the present, you seem bent on putting a negative spin on what is generally regarded as a positive thing—i.e. the achievement of renewable energy.

Again, you are mistaken about the origins of sustainability. That’s a fact. I’m guessing you never heard of Thorstein Veblen, Howard Scott, or the Technocracy Inc movement of the 1930’s. Technocracy Inc. still exists today. It’s famous “Study Course” is available online — perhaps one of the most revealing expositions of scientism ever written. There’s nothing “bizarre” about the historical facts which I am citing — they are the facts. That the terminology differs slightly is meaningless — it’s the meaning of the words that matter and the meaning is identical in both cases. Also meaningless is whether the “sustainability” movement knows about technocracy. Ideas do not require a hand me down lineage from one person in one movement to another person in another movement to show direct relationship — they just have to be the same, or close enough for guvment work, ideas, which they are. Technocracy was consumed with avoiding another Great Depression (sustainable employment climate for all) whereas the enviros are concerned with avoiding an environmental apocalypse (sustaining a planetary climate for all). So they switched motivating catastrophes, but some of their proposals are alarmingly similar. You want to talk about carbon credits? The Technocrats had “energy certificates.” Both were a way of controlling production and output. But if you DO want to show direct connection between the enviro movement and Technocracy Inc, you don’t have to go further than one of the authors of the Study Course itself (perhaps the most lasting contribution of the movement), who is also known as the father of “peak oil” theory, which is a linch pin of “sustainability.”

You also seem rather touchy about Obama, but he deserves the criticism he gets. He’s earned it. The future certainly can’t seem rosy for all the people he’s put out of work in the coal industry, most of whom are voting for Trump over Hillary. Once upon a time fusion energy was the cutting edge of energy production research, yet for the 8 consecutive years of Bush and 8 consecutive years of Obama, there was barely a peep about it. Quite possibly not a SINGLE peep about it. Yet there was a perfect opportunity for an optimist-president to have his JFK moonshot moment.

Moment lost. And projections about when fusion will become a viable energy source keep being pushed farther into the future.

Instead they are pushing solar and wind which are fine as far as they go — I fully support them, but more along the lines of Elon Musk’s approach, where each home that has a powerwall can theoretically become the source of power generation of its own needs, rather than everyone subscribing to centralized solar and wind power production, but I don’t think I have ever heard solar and wind portrayed as the preferred energy source of a starfaring civilization. They are the preferred sources of energy of people who are downsizing expectations and preparing for a highly regulated future where dreams come with shackles.

I don’t know what this Africa Initiative is but I did sit in on a 3 day meeting — sales pitch, actually — for a 4 billion dollar windfarm project in one of the best wind and solar resource areas of the country, which also happens to be dirt poor, so I want to see if this other initiative is similar. Nobody cares about building billions of dollars of assets and infrastructure in dirt poor areas of the country (or world?) unless its going to make a certain group of people richer than they already are.

dmduncan Today 11:01 am

I actually have Veblen’s “Theory of the Leisure Class” on the shelf right in front of me as I type this. I give you points for trying to think deeply about this, but I think you’re wading into the sea of paranoia. Nothing against Veblen, but I haven’t seen evidence of any sort of new world order behind the environmental movement or behind the recent trend of corporations valuing sustainable business practices: it’s not a conspiracy to control the lives of the world’s peasantry. Rather, it’s corporations being increasingly run by younger CEOs, with younger media relations directors, being guided by reputational concerns and therefore seeking to appeal to the up-and-coming socially conscious Millennials (or Gen-Y, if you prefer). And also, if it’s not too Pollyanna, I do tend to think that there’s a certain degree of genuine belief in doing the right thing by at least some of the newer companies who tout sustainability—I’m thinking IT sector in particular. At any rate, I’ve seen no evidence of the sort of NWO that you’re suggesting. Everything I’ve seen and read about—in analyst reports, marketing reports, trade journals, academic articles and in the popular media—has given me no reason to suspect that “sustainability” in its commonly used meaning today means anything other than “able” to be “sustained” in reference to business practices—agricultural/food sourcing for restaurants chains, energy for offices and plants (like Apple’s solar array) and so forth.

If you have some evidence supporting your theory of a “Technocratic” NWO or whatever, please link me. I’d be interested to read it.

Good for you on Veblen. Do you also have Elsner? Veblen was merely the father-figure to a movement that was more sharply defined by Scott and others, and unless you have more than just Veblen you really don’t have an understanding of the technocratic movement — what its ideals were, how it resembles current trends, or the philosophical sameness between technocratic thought and the sustainable development movement, how measuring and tracking the consumption habits of every single person (sound familiar? smart meters anyone?) was necessary to achieve a sustainable society.

There’s plenty of evidence for anyone who is objective and interested. I’m not interested in doing anyone’s homework — I’m quite busy doing my own, thank you, but I will say that you are going to have to spend money on actual books, some of which are going to be hard to find because they are long out of print. Don’t assume that everything you need is available in links.

As for NWO — well that is so obvious that I’m shocked anyone would even italicize the words like its a controversy anymore. Is it really? That’s so easy it doesn’t need my help if you really want to know.

The term “technocrat” and “technocracy” are even out in the open and being used by mainstream sources. Google them. If it sounds paranoid to you then you haven’t been paying attention lately. EU technocrats in Brussels are the same class of unelected experts that Howard Scott envisioned, not yet with the same MILITARY powers, but perhaps you caught the story last week about the call for the EU to have its own army? Remember plans for the NAU simultaneous with denunciations of the claims that it was a plan for an American Super State? Remember that the EU was born over 50 year ago as an economic pact and is today now talking about its own army? All of this is true.

If you are going to play, come to the game more prepared. Don’t expect me to get you schooled, particularly when you already show a dismissive attitude that doesn’t suggest an openness to facts that challenge what you already learned to believe.

dmduncan Today 7:09 pm

Dude, I’m trying to be nice and respectful.

The truth is that I’m not going to waste my time researching this conspiracy theory, because I’ve had enough experience with people convinced that they know The Hidden TRUTH!, and it always amounts to nonsense. I’m willing to look at any reputable evidence that you would link or cite, but you can’t expect me to waste my time on this Illiuminati/Free Mason/David Rockefeller/Trilateral Commission conspiracy theory stuff. No offense.

No offense taken. Each person has to decide to know, that it is important to know, that it is not a waste of time to know. If you feel you have no skin in the game on this, I can’t give you any. But it’s not a trivial matter to understand this stuff. I recently read a 400 page unpublished dissertation from 1962 on Technocracy. It’s not convenient information to share so what you are asking for is not realistic. The evidence would literally fill a book, having a bibliography, and while we like to get into discussions like this on the internet, this is really not the best forum to resolve them. But every point I mentioned was true and is available from regular mainstream sources. If one or two people decide to look into any of those points and get interested, it’s a win.

That’s what I hope happens.

What speech did you listen to? The one I saw was more “No We Can’t” than “Yes We Can.” You don’t ever tell people as the sitting President of the US that not everybody who wants a car or an a/c can’t have one. If I say it — big deal. Who cares? If the POTUS says it? And to a poverty stricken third world continent of people who wish they could have that stuff if they dare to dream at all? Demoralizing. He should not have said that from his position. That was not optimistic at all unless your idea of optimism has been shrunk. The optimism I see post WW2 straight through the 60’s with all its problems is that, in the words of MLK, “we shall overcome.”

THAT was NOT a “we shall overcome” speech. That was a Hmmm-maybe-but-you’d better-get-used-to-the-crappy-way-things-are-just-in-case speech.

dmduncan Today 1:05 pm

What speech did you listen to?

The one that you referenced. The one in Africa talking about “cars” and “air conditioning.” Whoever posted this clip on YouTube mischaracterized it just as you did. Again, the speech IS NOT Obama prohibiting Africans from having cars or A/C, or telling them “no you can’t.” It is quite clearly a hopeful speech advocating renewable, sustainable energy. And as mentioned in the article I linked, the speech was made in conjunction with an optimistic proposal for renewable energy in Africa. I don’t know how you can possibly get pessimism out of this speech, even without the context of Obama’s energy initiative, and especially given that context:

That’s the same one I watched. If I were to characterize how that audience looked with an emoticon, it would not be “happy” or “neutral,” it would be “worry.” For all his gifts as a speaker, that was not a Steve Jobs launch of an exciting new Apple project, and the audience was not looking like they just got news of a bright new future. I don’t know how you are getting optimism out of that. Hearing the president admonish ambition will probably lead to one of two reactions in an audience member: 1. “He’s talking about me, and I won’t have an a/c or car,” or 2. “He’s not talking about me, but everybody else.” Neither one is positive. His comments imply division, a division between those who WILL and those who WON’T have the stuff that all want. He also used absurd hyperbole — the world will “boil over” if everyone has an a/c and a car. The world is NOT going to boil over. That’s using fear, and fear isn’t optimism.

dmduncan Today 5:05 pm

It’s impossible to prove a negative, so I can’t prove that the inferences you’re choosing to draw are not implied by any statements in the speech. But, suffice it to say that I don’t see how one could draw your conclusion from that speech, and especially not from the overall context. My guess would be that you’re trying to support a certain ideology with your interpretation, rather than taking the speech at face value. Obama has long expressed concern over climate change, and he has done more than any previous president to deal with it. To that end, he is out promoting renewable energy, which also happens to be economically efficient and a source for permanent productive capacity increase in the long-run. These are all good things. Not conspiracies nor prohibitions against the peasantry. Obama is not the police of Africa. He can’t force Africans not to drive cars or have A/C. And I don’t believe that he would even if he could. He’s advocating renewable energy globally, because it’s a good thing per se and it deals with the problem of climate change. Addressing a problem is not pessimistic when accompanied by a proposed solution.

That’s an awful lot of straw man arguments for one post, Cygnus. If you are contending that what a POTUS says has no effect on the world — fine. However, in the context of this presidential race where both Obama and Hillary are telling us all how careful a POTUS must be in the things he or she says so as not to offend or cause alarm, those comments did not sound careful at all. The planet is not going to “boil over,” and a POTUS using a nightmarish scenario like that in such a speech was either careless or designed to scare people to curb their expectation for what is possible to them, and I don;t think it was careless. Again, not the language of optimism either to scare or to divide people between those who will be fortunate enough to be driving and cool and those who will not. I know he can’t actually force them not to drive cars, but that was never a contention. The issue was the tone of the content, i.e., whether that was an optimistic and PROPER thing for a sitting POTUS to tell those people, and I think it was not.

And I don’t have an ideology. I’m not a left winger or a right winger. I agree with different people who belong to different groups based on where my own reasoning leads me, and I even change positions as new evidence requires it.

dmduncan Today 8:17 pm

I can’t imagine what you regard as a straw man in what I said.

As anybody will tell you, “boil over” in this contest is simply a strong metaphor describing what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—a group composed of climate scientists from 130 nations—has concluded through careful measurement and study of data spanning many decades. It’s a perfectly normal thing for a leader concerned with climate change to say when he’s trying to explain it to lay people. As I said, if you have some sort of evidence from a reputable source that it’s all really an international conspiracy, I’d be willing to read it. Otherwise, we’ll have to agree to disagree. I don’t typically go in for conspiracy theories without compelling evidence. As Carl Sagan said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” And a normal looking crowd reacting normally to a normal speech about a normal issue ain’t it.


All of this. If you are trying to derive this from what I said, I’m not arguing any of this:

“Not conspiracies nor prohibitions against the peasantry. Obama is not the police of Africa. He can’t force Africans not to drive cars or have A/C. And I don’t believe that he would even if he could.”

dmduncan Today 9:13 pm

Then what are you arguing? That this particular speech by Obama was a downer because he talks about the problem of climate change and proposes a plan to deal with it? That you believe the audience got depressed by his speech? If you’re not implying some sort of power play by Obama, then what’s with all the NWO/Technocracy controlling the developing world talk?

1. It’s not necessarily a conspiracy — at least not an obvious one, since conspiracies usually have some element of illegality, and I’m not a lawyer. However, there is secrecy whenever explicitness would alienate support, as there was in the case of the Rome Treaty when it was “just” an economic pact that later became the European UNION, the success of which Vincente Fox hoped to replicate with the North American Union proposal. Secrecy is how all sorts of organizations astroturf ideas and products that they want to make look naturally adopted, and I’m assuming you won’t challenge the reality of astroturfing. Strictly speaking, astroturfing isn’t conspiracy. But it’s not cool either.
2. One intent of globalism is to equalize wealth across the globe; for some that means a higher standard of living and for others that means a lower standard of living, and for the wealthy architects of this plan it means more wealth and power if it means anything at all. There are all sorts of names you can call that proposal, none of them particularly democratic-sounding.
3. That particular quote of the Obama speech fits the pessimistic zeitgeist of our time compared to the optimistic zeitgeist of the 1960’s and earlier. Obama is not making a “power play” any more than George W was planning on staying in office after 2008 — which is something a left wing friend of mine assured me he would try to do. Obama’s just delivering a farewell pitch, as far as I can tell, but it wasn’t that good.
4. The NWO is a label that most people use because some of the most powerful and influential people of our time keep using it themselves to describe what is actually happening and which they are openly advocating for, which is the establishment of a global economic order through trade pacts that in fact subvert the sovereignty of nation states. Some points of it they are secret about (see #1) and on some they are not. What they DON’T publicize very well (because people don’t like it) is that these trade deals obligate elected leaders to follow the dictates of unelected technocrats — in the EU’s case that means Brussels, and in the TPP’s case who knows?, and that this is a very sneaky way to make elected leaders subservient to the orders of unelected technocrats, undermining government “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” which I (like Lincoln) do not want to see perish from this Earth.

That’s all.

dmduncan Today 11:28 pm

OK, well with regard to all of that global Technocracy secrecy (I use “conspiracy” the most literal sense, meaning people hatching some sort of plot in secret, not in any legal sense), whether there’s any merit to it or not, the Obama speech appears perfectly normal and explainable in terms of good, non-conspiratorial motives: dealing with climate change. I go with Occam’s Razor on this. The simplest explanation is the most likely. Res ipsa loquitur. The man talking about how to solve the problem of climate change is actually doing and motivated by just that—solving the problem of climate change. We can agree to disagree.

No, conspiracies are not just secret plans. Football teams have secret plans — that doesn’t make them conspiratorial organizations. It makes them competent strategists.

Astroturfing is a PR strategy often used to sell people crap without calling attention to the crap parts. It only works as well as it is kept hidden.

And if you are suggesting that to “solve the problem of climate change” a POTUS has to paint a false picture of a disaster that will never result from a scenario of too much car and a/c ownership that will never actually happen without Africa being powered by fusion plants, then we will have to agree to disagree. It’s false.

Africa is not a threat. And if you are really concerned about the earth and you really are optimistic and don’t want to keep a down people in the dirt — push fusion research, solve the problems, get it done, and let poor nations prosper with energy wealth so you don’t have to say silly things like Obama did to a Third World continent of people who would like to enjoy the same things we do.

I didn’t want to get bogged down in definitions. So, for what I mean by conspiracy take what I said and add an evil motive to it:

an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot.

His words had absolutely nothing to do with a real danger he was warning them about.

Yes, they do. He’s talking about climate change. He just exaggerated in the moment to make a point. I don’t understand how you’re not understanding this, but I can’t explain it any better.

That everything worldly is conditional and operates within limits that we must respect is a given. But the choice in one’s communications from the pulpit of the presidency to emphasize the limits that prevent us from something, rather than to emphasize humanity’s creative capacities that get us where we want to be by changing the set of limits in which we operate, makes a difference in what people aspire to do.

Solar and wind are not new technologies, and they cannot solve the energy problems of mankind. They are old technologies that Obama is pushing people to SETTLE for. That’s not “leveling” with people, that’s normalizing the low expectation of doing nothing new, and doing nothing new is going to guarantee our problems don’t get fixed.

Fusion is a new thing. It’s a frontier that poses a problem we have yet to crack, but that once cracked will supply a plentiful source of clean nuclear power, and it needs funding.

The only nuclear power I hear Obama ever talk about is fission, which I am vehemently opposed to.
Obama lumps nuclear power in with “clean” energy. Needless to say, there are quite a few of us who disagree with that assessment, and who would like to see the kind of determination to fuse the atom for energy production as we showed during WW2 to split the atom for weapons production.

The bottom line: I think people need to be more zen and less alarmist about climate change to solve our growing energy problem.

Sorta like Bill Gates, who I think we can all agree is not a “winger” of the “right,” and whose optimism in this piece regarding an energy “miracle” is exactly what I am talking about; we need less fear and more determination to do something new — not to settle.

dmduncan June 6, 2016 6:41 pm

Solar and wind are not new technologies, and they cannot solve the energy problems of mankind. They are old technologies that Obama is pushing people to SETTLE for.

Says you. You seem to be the one choosing to see the speech in a particular, negative light.

Norway currently generates 99% of its electricity from renewable sources. Other countries, like Germany, The Netherlands and Australia, are close to doing the same. Further, battery and electrical storage capacity in general have increased during Obama’s presidency, in part due to government R&D investments contained in Obama’s 2009 Recovery and Reinvestment Act (a.k.a. “the stimulus”). As storage capacity continues to increase, renewable source efficiency will continue to increase. It is entirely realistic for African nations to generate 100% of their electricity from renewable sources in the not-too-distant future, given the proper investments. I haven’t read Obama’s Africa energy initiative that was part and parcel with the speech in question, but I imagine that it contains details relating to the aforementioned. To me, this is all optimistic. To you, it isn’t. We can agree to disagree.

dmduncan June 6, 2016 6:41 pm

P.S. Just to be clear, I’m saying that you seem to be choosing to see the speech in a way that fits with the whole Technocracy theory/model that you’ve taken an interest in, even though there’s no mention in the speech of any of the Technocracy concepts that you’ve been discussing. Whereas I’m taking the speech at face value: a president who has spent his presidency in pursuit of renewable energy and combating climate change is giving a speech in which he advocates for renewable energy and combating climate change, accompanied by a specific plan (i.e. the Africa energy initiative) for doing just that. If you choose to see an ulterior motive behind the speech, I can’t stop you. I’ve tried to see it your way, but it just doesn’t seem reasonable to me.

“As anybody will tell you, ‘boil over’ in this contest is simply a strong metaphor.”

In other words, literally untrue on a scientific matter. Now the context of this discussion has been the pessimistic zeitgeist, and this kind of language is an example that came to mind because it was recent and because it fits. The trope is nightmarish and provides a reason for action that is based on horror rather than delight. It’s negative reinforcement, reminding people of what they will “suffer” (he also used that in the speech) if they don’t behave a certain way. I agree with those who posted and criticized the comment because in large part I perceived what he said the same way they did. That doesn’t always happen but in this case it did. Argue that it was optimistic all you want to; what you are claiming is a harder sell than the more obvious explanation that caused it to be a story in the first place, which is how it ACTUALLY SOUNDS for him to say that…which is NOT GOOD. Obama talks a lot. He says lots of stuff all the time. That it’s a story when most of the things he says do NOT become stories indicates a lot of people see it the same way, opposite what you think, precisely because of the language he used, with its frightful and depressing connotations.

Regarding the “conspiracy theory” terminology: It’s worn out, largely untruthful language that is not working anymore. The fake moon landing nonsense is not typical of the legitimate stories that get lumped together with it. Did you know that term was pushed by the CIA after the JFK assassination for the media to use to discredit talk of a larger conspiracy in his death? The document is publicly available now. People who might hate the CIA have been for years unknowingly doing its work by using the terminology to close debate prematurely, but it’s not working like it used to, I think mainly because what the media used to describe as crazy conspiracy theory is now public and in the open. Edgar Hoover used to say the mafia didn’t exist. Turns out it did. The media used to laugh at people who said there was a Bilderberg meeting. Now there are protests at every meeting with news media coverage, and the “reputable” media is losing its credibility by being last on the scene of any true story that they avoided because it sounded “weird” to them.

dmduncan Today 10:09 pm

“As anybody will tell you, ‘boil over’ in this contest is simply a strong metaphor.”…The trope is nightmarish and provides a reason for action that is based on horror rather than delight…

Because he’s talking about a problem that needs to be solved, not a wonder that people should be delighting in. And to that end, he’s proposing a solution to the problem (a solution that carries great additional benefits), which is the difference between an optimistic outlook and a pessimistic one, as I said at the very beginning. A pessimistic speech would be, “We’re doomed! Nothing can save us!” So, we’ve come full circle. The alternative would be to ignore the problem and not address it all. Would that be more optimistic? I suppose one could regard it as more optimistic in an ignorance is bliss sort of way. But, I don’t think that’s a good way for a president to handle serious problems.

Did you know that term was pushed by the CIA after the JFK assassination for the media to use to discredit talk of a larger conspiracy in his death?

I do. I’ve seen tons and tons and tons of JFK assassination stuff. That “JFK: Evidence of Revision” massive 10-part series is very intriguing and compelling. The JFK conspiracy theory is one that I’ve seen substantiated with persuasive evidence in the form of claims made by Johnson’s mistress, people who knew Oswold, and others.

But, the JFK conspiracy theory has a lot of distortion of the truth and BS involved with it, too. Cyril Wecht, for example, leading people to believe that the head wound in the front was an entrance wound, thus lending merit to the grassy knoll shooter and so forth. Also, the misinformation about the layout of the car which allegedly precluded the single bullet trajectory, but it turned out that the conspiracy theorists were mistaken about the layout. And also the issue that was made about the difficulty of firing 3 shots from the carbine rifle in however many seconds. Multiple investigative journalists have shown that it wasn’t all that difficult. But, there is compelling evidence that people knew of the assassination plot beforehand. The RFK assassination is also intriguing. The allegation of the CIA hypnotizing Sirhan Sirhan is very interesting, though I haven’t seen any rigorous analysis and rebuttals of that theory. When these theories are presented in a one-sided manner, that can involve cherry-picking evidence but you don’t know it’s cherry-picking, in a nicely presented audiovisual format, it can be very compelling.

No, the alternative speech simply doesn’t frighten people into action with apocalyptic imagery that is unscientific, it rewards them into action with images of promise and hope of what a better world will look and feel like when we succeed in doing things a certain way. THAT is the difference between optimism and pessimism, and maybe that you’re having such a hard time imagining the alternative, if that hard time is shared by so many people, is part of why we are in this grim predicament. It is the difference between giving people hope and fear. It is to say we are going to solve the problems and get to the promised land, not we are going to roast in hell for our environmental sins if we don’t shape up. It’s just so obvious. There are good and wise ways to put things and there are not so good and not so wise ways to put things, and that was not one of his best moments. That’s why it went viral.

I realize you are a sustainability guy and that’s why you picked on that one part of what I said to take such strong issue with when it was just an example of a larger point I was making, but honestly, Obama is not the most optimistic leader we’ve ever had.

He has not been a president for the whole country, and he’s been much better at alienating than uniting.

dmduncan Today 12:54 am

No, the alternative speech simply doesn’t frighten people into action with apocalyptic imagery that is unscientific, it rewards them into action with images of promise and hope of what a better world will look and feel like when we succeed in doing things a certain way. THAT is the difference between optimism and pessimism,

That’s not leveling with people. It’d be ignoring the elephant in the room. It just so happens that the consequences of not pursuing renewable energy technology aren’t simply economic, but worse—likely permanent environmental changes that carry damaging effects for property and human life. What you’re suggesting is that a leader trying to motivate people to help solve the problem of climate change should refrain from leveling with them about the actual consequences of climate change. Your alternative would be less persuasive and less forthright. And I can’t imagine why anyone trying to motivate and inform people about the need to act on climate change would leave out the most important reasons for doing so—the likely irreversible environmental changes. I would not have used Obama’s hyperbole of “boil over,” but I understand why he said it. It was a colloquial expression in a speech to lay people, and he said it off the cuff. We all know what he meant—a strong metaphor for dangerous temperature increase. Again, I don’t believe that leaving out such important facts is the difference between optimism and pessimism. The difference is whether or not you provide a hopeful outlook for solving the problem that you’re raising.

The 1960s ana|ogue to what you’re proposing would be if the anti-war movement had failed to level with people about the number of fatalities resulting from the Viet Nam War, and only talked about the benefits of peace and love. But, they didn’t do that. They leveled with people about the scope of the problem, but conveyed a hopeful outlook for solving that problem. And it worked. Likewise with the civil rights movement. The analogue to your proposal would be if MLK had failed to level with people about the difficult nature of their challenge, about the pervasiveness and depth of segregationist sentiment, and only talked about how wonderful equal rights would be. But, he didn’t do that. He talked about his “dream,” and his dream included both the problem (that his children were being judged by the color of their skin) and the solution (but in the future they would be judged instead by the content of their character). MLK told his followers that they would endure suffering. That they would be beaten. That they would be threatened at home and worse. But, he accompanied those descriptions of the problem with a solution (nonviolent resistance) and the hopeful outlook that it would eventually shame White America into supporting intervention and legislation by the federal government. And it did.

Likewise with JFK vis-a-vis the space race and other problems we had with the USSR. The centerpiece of JFK’s 1960 campaign was an alleged “missile gap” with the Soviets that didn’t actually exist. This was an outright scare tactic. But, he realized that there are two sides of the coin to persuading people—fear and hope, the carrot and the stick. Behind the space race lay the threat that the Soviets would put a missile base on the moon or in orbit that would kill us all. JFK didn’t ignore this threat. He didn’t fail to discuss the scary stuff. But he accompanied it with a hopeful solution: the USA will beat the Soviets to the moon. And it worked.

“That’s not leveling with people. It’d be ignoring the elephant in the room.”

Cygnus, don’t ever try to become a motivational speaker. I think you would “level with people” to the point where they were shooting themselves in the head after the show.

There is no credible scenario whereby everybody in Africa who wants a car and air conditioner, actually gets a car and air conditioner. America is a first world nation, and not everybody in America who wants those things gets those things. So that’s a bogus picture to paint.

So his comments did not address a real possibility. All that they in fact do address is people’s aspirations to have those things, and those aspirations are what his words aimed to diminish. His words had absolutely nothing to do with a real danger he was warning them about. Excise the talk of suffering, a boiling planet, and people can’t have stuff they want, and it would have been a much better speech. None of that was necessary except to diminish hope, which is a lousy thing for a person with Obama’s powerful platform to do. It simply does not matter that people may only actually get 70%, 60%, 50% of what they want and aim for. Life is a SPORT — not a scientific experiment — and the point is to PLAY, not SCORE on every drive. You don’t stop playing football because every pass or handoff doesn’t result in a touchdown for your team, even though you would like that to be the case. You go out there despite the disappointment when you lose and you keep playing.

A POTUS especially should not use his position to say anything about a people’s aspirations unless he is raising them, and that was not raising them.

Obama is a funny guy and would make a great comedian, but he’s not a good motivational speaker — and has never been.

And therefore, your analogies fail to persuade. It’s absurd, for instance, to compare the fake problem of a boiling planet because everybody in Africa got cars and air conditioners — a scenario which does not exist and which is not going to — to black people being segregated and too intimidated to vote.

Obama concocted a fake doomsday scenario to scare people away from just WANTING.

Cygnus, just so you are clear, my first two sentences were a JOKE. I don’t REALLY think people would shoot themselves in the head after a motivational speech you delivered.

dmduncan Today 5:05 pm

I just watched the clip again, and there is no expression or general emotion visible in the audience. The camera does not close-up on their faces, and they all just have the appearance of listening attentively to a man giving a speech. We’ll have to agree to disagree on this.

I watched it several times and in the version that is sharpest, there look like a lot of frowning mouths. If I see a clearer version that looks differently, I will say so. I don’t argue against what the world shows me.

Considering that the EPA is purposely killing the coal industry, I say that Obama’s words ring hollow.

“Again, it looks like the normalization of low expectations and the downsizing of personal dreams.”

Its propaganda for Agenda 21 imo.

Yeah, and they keep trying to portray Agenda 21 as some right wing delusion when the person who has been sounding the alarm on it the loudest and the longest is a lesbian democrat who discovered what subscribers to it were doing in her own profession.

Even when things are right in front of people they are shutting their eyes and ears and making up their own stories to believe in so that they don’t have to deal with it.

If North Korea gets one of their EMP’s on one of their satellite launches and the power grid is gone….. 290 million people will be dead in a year.

If the monetary system collapses, as almost happened in 2008, people would be starving inside of a week.

Yeah, things are great now.

Gotta disagree with you there. The 1960s began with JFK’s “New Frontier” speech, culminating with the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the Great Society, Woodstock and the Moon Landing. Now, compare that decade with the 2010s. Exactly. Unlike then, we live in a near-nightmarish time where we no longer elect the best and the brightest, or promote ideas that everyone can get behind. And, we barely have a space venture comparable to the Moon Landing, while there are many who think America and the West are on the decline. So, compare to all that, yes, the 1960s were optimistic. Then again, it’s all subjective.

Gotta disagree with your disagreement.

I grew up in the sixties and was very optimistic, despite the “duck and cover” drills at school. I find the “dirty bomb” of today scarier, and here’s why.

In the sixties, only the major world powers possessed nuclear weapons and were aware of the consequence of their use. It was the threat of nuclear destruction that kept their use at bay.

Today, the terrorists don’t care and appear to be more than willing to unleash them at any costs. More countries possess nuclear weapons, including Iran, a terrorist sponsoring nation. The proliferation makes it more likely the weapons will fall into the hands of terrorists. Dirty bombs themselves can do massive amount of damages, particularly by destabilizing regions and perhaps escalating things to full blown nuclear weapon deployment.

When you add that to deterioration of morals, courtesy, respect for others (demonstrated in social media), I really do feel that the optimism of the sixties is sorely lacking.


Yes, at least with nukes there was a belief in the underlying rationality of the people who possessed them. I first learned about nuclear weapons in 3rd grade. I was horrified that people would make such things. I walked home after school in deep reflection of what a doomsday meant for all that I knew. I got home and my mother was sleeping on the couch. I sat next to her and started to gently cry. She heard me, woke up, and asked me what was wrong. I told her. She told me I shouldn’t worry. She (not the teacher) explained MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction), and I understood it and immediately felt better. I really didn’t worry much after that.

But today is different. MAD doesn’t mean anything to suicidal people. They are not rational.

As it’s not being covered here for some reason, I would again call attention to the new Star Trek Continues episode released last week. Watching it, I was wondering throughout what theme was being developed. As has become the STC style, they hit you with the meaning of it at the very end. And it’s a touching end. The guest actor, Gigi Edgley, turns in an outstanding, moving performance. The editing is so tight and seamless that it really doesn’t feel like a fan production.

I agree. Loved the episode.


People express their spirit in art, architecture, and design. And the 1964 – 65 NY World’s Fair in particular was AMAZINGLY exuberant, playful, and optimistic. The Golden Rondelle theater, the GM Futurama, GE Progressland, the incredible fountains, the Charles Eames designed IBM Pavilion, Phillip Johnson’s gorgeous NY State Pavilion — there is just so much to gawk at in the historical photos and films, and it says a lot about the hopeful mind of the people who made it all happen, that they could just play with spaces and forms the way they did.

Does anyone know, when we likely get to know some actors? I am so curious about that!

We’re probably months away from that Mei but maybe by early fall. I’m guessing they are still hashing out the pilot and basic pre-production issues right now. I’m sure they have certain people in mind for the big roles like Captain and so on but we won’t hear about anything publicly for awhile and people are officially signed. There has been a few possible names dropped like Tony Todd who has commented directly on it but nothing since.

My guess is September earliest (which I assume when they will start shooting the pilot but could be even later) but probably no sooner than a month or so before shooting starts.

The anthology rumor & the setting in different timelines might be true after all. Looking at the various Trek episodes written/co-written by Joe Menosky, it seems that many of them revolve around time in one way or another. From TNG’s ‘Time’s Arrow’ to VOY’s ‘Future’s End’, ‘Timeless’, ‘Year of Hell’ and ‘Blink of an Eye’.

Aron Coleite also wrote time travel episodes for ‘Heroes’.

It appears that the team CBS is putting together shows some degree of submission to the fans by giving the series to people who know what Trek is (supposed to be) about. I wouldn’t say this team guarantees brilliance but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Hopefully, the network executives will now stay out of the way and let these people do the right thing.
The next best thing they could do is commission stories from legitimate sci-fi writers, which tended to work quite well for TOS. I can’t see any reason for producing episodes like ______ (fill in blank with the worst Trek episodes from any series). I don’t think anyone wants to see any more episodes where the hero has a love affair we all know will end by show’s end, or fake deaths, or last second solutions arrived at by technobabble, etc. (I will throw down a gauntlet to Trek fans and say these are the kinds of things that should be the focus of criticism and not things like the color of uniforms, spaceship features, eye make-up or some other triviality. Let’s keep our eyes on the ball — STORY).

First design sketches… Klingon ship looks cool, almost like a church.

The Federation ships look very weird.

Visitor1982 Today 1:55 pm

There’s nothing at that link.

They’ve deleted it! Look at Trek Core, they have the images as well…

“Concept art removed by request.”

Worthington is covering his tracks. ;-)

Just google it. Actually here:

HORRENDOUS doesnt begin to describe it.

That link has been removed, too.

I turned up another one that’s called “Klingon Sarcophagus Ship” — Is that the one?

It’s very ornate. And it’s got lots of splintery bits jutting out that would be the first things to break off in a fight.

@CYgnus – yes thats the one. Horrible. And a federation design that is called the Dragon Fly or something. Just absolutely brutal. I guess the “problem” with a franchise that has lasted 50 years is how realistic the ships are. Going full ludicrous fantasy will put asses in the seats.

TUP Today 6:53 am

I suppose we might take heart in the fact that Worthington has been removing his sketches from the web. As the old sports maxim goes, It’s not how you fall; it’s how you land.

Still wondering what Nichelle Nichols was asked to be a part of. I thought it may be for the new series. If it is indeed launched off post TUC an original series cameo would be awesome ala D Kelly in TNG pilot. I would love to see Nichelle and Shatner and the TOS cast in the pilot on broadcast CBS . However it sounds like the want new and fresh image for Star Trek and those type cameos harken the old guard. Anyway I think it would be great and then the series can branch off in the many new directions they are planning

@ Tom

Gene Roddenberry is going to be in it…rumor has it that they will doe a mid-season dark comedic episode called “Weekend at Genes.”

@Tom – I agree. No easier massive free marketing then casing William Shatner in a role. End the CBS network premiere on a cliffhanger of Shatner’s first appearance.

My suggestion was to have it take place on the Enterprise-B which allows you to have Shatner appear in a scene immediately prior to Generations…and then the series continuing on the B post-Generations (with the idea of the ship that killed Captain Kirk being a shadow hanging over it…a “cursed” ship so to speak that spends the duration of the series restoring the legend of the “Enterprise”).

Obviously we’d accept creative license to revamp the design (although using the B from Generations exactly and then having it limp home more damaged then Generations shows, get a refit that updates the design would be a clever “in canon” way to modernize the ship), and re-cast the crew. I’d imagine Harriman (or having him replaced) as a TOS-era Pike who sort of laments the whole thing with the death of Kirk weighing on him. A Sulu at the helm gives you plausible excuses to cameo George.

Why hasn’t this site reviewed the latest episode of Star Trek Continues (“Come Not Between the Dragons”) yet?

Did anyone else see the absolutely horrid Klingon Ship new designs from the new series production designer that they have reported on over that Trekcore?

Were they the same ones posted at that link above? Totally weird David-Lynch’s-Dune style creations?

Just saw those concepts. Horrible is an under-statement. I guess they are good if the directive was to “design a totally stupid ship that has no relation to anything that has ever been seen in the franchise before, make no sense at all and generally sucks”…in which case, mission accomplished. Let’s hope they were just “for fun” designs.

@Prodigal Son,

Those were the WORST spaceship designs that I’ve ever seen. There was nothing remotely Klingon about it, just horrible designs.

Okay so were those drawings for real or a hoax?

Because I don’t want the David Lynch version of Star Trek. Life is weird enough.

Hideous. I can hear the ptoduction team now…”Everything is HD, 4k, we have to have intricately detailed ships for 70″ OLED screens!” Baloney. There is NOTHING WRONG WITH CLEAN LINES. Smooth looks GOOD. Especially in Trek’s universe, where it’s been a signature of the design aesthetic from day one when day Matt Jefferies’ explained the guts are on the inside for easy access to repair…not the outside. I’ve always been a fan of the hardware of Trek, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that these drawing concern me.

Folks can disagree with the art direction of the Abrams films, but with the exception of the weird Klingon ships in Into Darkness, pretty much everything looks like it belongs in Star Trek.

Those concept sketches, while they were still online, do not even remotely look like they belong in the same universe and are the first really negative thing I’ve seen regarding this new series. Everything doesn’t have to look exactly like the same thing we’ve seen before, but things do need to look like they’re part of the same lineage. The Defiant in DS9 looks nothing like the Enterprise, but the DNA is still apparent in the design.

If the overall look of this show reflects what was seen in those sketches, then I’m not even going to bother. To me it doesn’t even matter what the show is about. If it doesn’t look like Star Trek, it isn’t Star Trek. Those sketches were an abomination.

And that split delta and extra slices taken out of TOS logo make me think that the anthology thing may be fractures in time, perhaps we’ll be in a Timeship Enterprise 50 years post Voyager with no need for a holodeck to visit different periods in time.

Writing credentials here are heavy on timey wimey stuff.

More about guy who drew sketches for new PD at:
He is friends with Chambliss.

Let me invite you and all fans to read the Star Trek Crisis screenplay. Enjoy!