Why Dr. McCoy was not a whiny bitch

McCoy, Kirk and Spock are all about to die as their bodies are de-atomized over a period of several agonizing seconds.

McCoy, Kirk and Spock are all about to die.

Everyone in the original Star Trek was quite condescending to Bones whenever he got fretful about using the transporter.

Yet Dr. McCoy had solid, philosophical reasons for being freaked out by the device. Basically, the transporter disassembles all your molecules, and then reassembles them somewhere else. (Assuming something doesn’t go horribly wrong in the process, as it did in pretty much every other episode.)

It’s an existentialist nightmare.

So that means when you voluntarily use the transporter, you’re opting for death via de-atomization over a period of several agonizing seconds. Sure, a copy of you will go on, but who knows, maybe it will be the evil copy of you, or perhaps the machine will screw up, and you’ll end up with Mr. Spock’s wang protruding from your forehead. In either case, it doesn’t really matter, because the you that you are at this moment (which granted, is also an illusion of sorts, but that’s a subject for another time) is going to die. And presumably it hurts a bit to be de-atomized. Did anyone else ever think it took quite a long time for them to stop “sparkling”? It’s seconds at least. Now imagine what that feels like, having your atoms ripped apart over a period of several seconds. Having trouble? Pluck out a few nose hairs. Now imagine that in every molecule of your body for several seconds.

His crewmates should have cut Bones a little slack; let him take the shuttlecraft if he wanted. Besides, when you’re fighting Tiranglian Lizard people, or reprogramming a rogue computer, the doctor’s only going to be helpful in stitching you up afterwards. (Or whatever “non-barbaric” technology” Dr. McCoy used.)

If anything, McCoy was pretty stoic about the whole thing. If it had been me, there’s no way you’re getting me onto the transporter pad:

“Mr. Rayner, put on your red shirt and step onto the transporter pad, we’re going down to the surface,” Kirk ordered the pudgy and pale-looking ensign.

“Nuh-uh!”

“Mr. Rayner, you’re going down to the surface with the rest of the landing party, where we’re all going to die. Well, you’re going to die. Bones and Spock and I will be fine.”

“We all die every time we use the transporter!” Ensign Rayner cries.

“Don’t make me beat you.”

“Frankly …” Mr. Rayner lifts shoulders. “I’d prefer that…” Mr. Rayner raises hands. “Jim.” Mr. Rayner thrusts hands forward.

Then Kirk decks him (ripping his shirt in the process).

Green-skinned dancing girls appear on the transporter pad and begin doing the Hippy Shake, while Spock raises an eyebrow.

Your Turn

Now, what other science fiction inventions would suck? High on my list would be the notion that “food in pill form” is a good idea. I definitely think that would be awful, though obviously not as much as soylent green. Also, artificial intelligence seems like a bad idea too. Am I missing any?

Transport yourself with some satirical fiction …

Alltop is also not a whiny bitch. Originally published May, 2009.

10

Crazy like a fox

Sarah Palin, with a gun at her head

Reagan did a lot of this during the Reykjavík Summit with Gorbachev, but it was part of his strategy.

He was TRYING to make Gorby and the Russians think he was a maniac. Hell, maybe he would launch the nukes — he was that crazy. Though this did cause a breakdown of the talks at Reykjavik, mostly because Gorbachev had a panic attack, and just couldn’t face the ‘mentally deranged’ (Gorbachev’s description, not mine) President. Eventually, they signed SALT II.

Of course, nobody knew this except Reagan. He was convincing. I was convinced. My friends were convinced. We were pretty sure this was likely:

Regan

Oh well, it’s helped me write at least one novel.

Alltop is excellent at “duck and cover”. Awesome Sarah Palin cartoon by Zina Saunders.

The evolution of the fat cell

McDonalds arches

The average human has 40 billion fat cells. These tiny, glistening, oleaginous buggers are designed to store energy for when we need it. Along with the brain, the liver, the pancreas and the stomach, fat cells manage our energy needs as well, maintaining constant communication through our blood system. This system is highly efficient, and evolved over millions of years, during most of which humans were always looking for food.

And long before the invention of the cheeseburger.

Alltop loves a good Royal with Cheese. Photo by Keoni Cabral.