star_trek_into_darknessStar Trek Into Darkness, the second installment in director J. J. Abrams’ reboot of the classic sci-fi franchise, warped into theatres this week—and in case you don’t care for spoilers, skip down to the next paragraph. The film begins with Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) violating the United Federation of Planets’ “Prime Directive” (surprise, surprise) by revealing the technologically advanced USS Enterprise to a primitive civilization during an effort to save First Officer Spock’s (Zachary Quinto) life.

Wikipedia explains, “The Prime Directive dictates that there can be no interference with the internal development of alien civilizations.” (more…)

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Editors aren’t Borgs. Honest. But we often stress that resistance to saving multiple versions of the same document is futile. This practice might seem redundant and unnecessary, but when an entire manuscript becomes corrupted (as happened a few weeks ago), we are ever so grateful for that precious backup copy. It’s second in value only to coffee.

Yet if you were to ask an evolutionary biochemist, she might say that multiple copies (or redundancy), at least with respect to genes, is an example of waste. (more…)

Working down the hall from a group of scholars has its perks. Whether I’m curious about the hominids, ad hominems, or the Large Hadron Collider; Hugh, Fuz, Jeff, and Ken will have an answer that is both thoughtful and comprehendible. But not all our conversations orbit around the heavy stuff, so to speak. (more…)