Archive for the Life the Universe and Other Things Category

Saturday 20th October 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on October 20, 2018 by bishshat

Destination Star Trek Birmingham

The only official Star Trek event in Europe, DST will be bringing you the stars of Star Trek from over 50 years of great television, including the Original Series and the very latest Discovery series, and all that came between.

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Deep Space Nine, and we have plenty to help you celebrate this landmark from exclusive photo shoots with actors in costume & make-up, plus dedicated talks, and a host of DS9 stars to entertain you.

Jason Isaacs is scheduled to appear in what will be his first UK public convention appearance since taking the role of Lorca in Discovery. William Shatner, the legendary Captain Kirk is also set to appear, alongside fellow TOS star Walter Koenig.

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Andorians

First appearance: Star Trek: The Original Series “Journey to Babel” (1968)
The Andorians are an aggressive yet advanced race that was one of the first alien races that formed the original Federation of Planets with humanity.

The Andorians have distinctive blue skin, white hair, and two protruding antennae. The blue skinned humanoids have an advanced armada and a long history of conflict with the Vulcans. This conflict was put aside as Andorians entered into the Federation and, with it, decades of peace. But peace wasn’t easy, as seen in Star Trek: Enterprise, in which Federation Captain Archer and Andorian Captain Thy’lek Shran developed an adversarial relationship that, thankfully, culminated in a friendship based on mutual respect.

The Andorians are more than a bit xenophobic as they refer to humans and Vulcans as “pink skins” and have a long standing mistrust of everything not Andorian. In fact, the Andorians don’t even trust their offshoot race, the very rarely encountered, white-skinned, psychic Aenar.

Enterprise is a bit unfairly-maligned by some Trekkers, but it will always be the show that took the Andorians from background characters to a narratively-explored race with deep contradictions. Of course, I need to mention that the Andorian was also one of the final Trek dolls Mego produced. It is very sparkly.

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Klingons

First appearance: Star Trek: The Original Series “Errand of Mercy” (1967)
When we first met the Klingons, they were classically humanoid aliens that mirrored the worst of humanity. In the earliest Klingon appearances, Klingon society was portrayed as brutal and despotic. They were slave masters that would do anything to crush any opposition.

The Klingons were constant threats. At times, the Klingons seemed to be analogous to the Nazi Third Reich. In other instances, they resembled Communist Russia. But whatever real world nightmare the Klingons represented at any given moment, whenever a Klingon Bird of Prey warped into a confrontation with the Enterprise, fans know that intense action would follow.

When the Klingons returned in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, this brutal race’s appearance was altered. Suddenly, Klingons were shown to have deep forehead ridges and a more bestial appearance. The real reason this was done was because Trek now had a budget, but there has never been an in story reason for the Klingon alteration. This just adds to the mystique of the Klingon race.

Klingons take the next step of their story evolution in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Now, a Klingon served on the bridge of the Enterprise, and it could be argued that this Klingon — Mr. Worf — was the very model of what a Starfleet officer should be. Through Worf, Next Gen explored every aspect of Klingon culture and made it more like a race of honorable technologically-advanced Vikings or Mongols than an analogy to fascism. That exploration continued into Deep Space Nine and, through the half Klingon-half human engineer B’Elanna Torres, onto Voyager.

There is an actual a Klingon language that exists in the real world. A whole freakin’ language has been created inspired by these honorable and violent warriors of the cosmos. So, raise a glass of Klingon Warnog, grab your Bat’leth, and salute the Klingons — a race that started out as typical villains, but evolved into one of the most engaging and inspiring races in the galaxy.

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Ferengi

First appearance: Star Trek: The Next Generation “The Last Outpost” (1987)
I would tell you some facts about the Ferengi, but I’d have to charge you about ten bars of (snarl, drool) gold-pressed latinum first. Because that’s what drives the Ferengi race: cold, hard, glimmering, wonderful cash-money.

By the time fans met the crew of the Kirk’s Enterprise, most races in the galaxy had abandoned cash-based economies to focus on the improvement of science and technology for all beings. But not the Ferengi. These big-eared, fanged critters utilize science and technology to procure cash and heaven help any sentients that stand in their way.

Fans first me the Ferengi in Next Gen as the greedy race of miscreants became the first real adversaries Picard’s crew had to face. The Ferengi in Next Gen were vile and greedy, sort of like spacefaring Daffy Ducks. But, in Deep Space Nine, fans were introduced to Quark, Rom, Nog, and other Ferengi that had a streak of nobility. Oh, they were still as greedy as they come, but this Ferengi family, saved the DS9 space station more than once. Heck, Nog even became the first Ferengi to serve in Starfleet.

In DS9, fans learned many of the finer points of Ferengi culture. For example, Ferengi women aren’t allowed to wear clothes. In addition to their odd dress codes, the Ferengi live by the Rules of Acquisition, an almost religious text that teaches the Ferengi the best ways to make money. Quark constantly had to choose between loyalty to his friends and his Ferengi impulses for cash and this often humorous double nature led to some fun dramas.

But, if you have a piece of latinum in your pocket, be warned that there are many Ferengi out there who would kill for it because that is the Ferengi way.

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Kira Nerys  is a fictional character in the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–99). She is played by the actress Nana Visitor.

Kira is assigned as the senior Bajoran Militia officer aboard Deep Space Nine, acting as the station’s executive officer under the Starfleet commander Benjamin Sisko, who commands the facility. In the early episodes of the series after Cardassia’s withdrawal from Bajor, the recently ranked Major Kira, now age 26, becomes an influential figure in Bajor’s reconstruction and the politics of the region, due to her assignment to Deep Space Nine, and her closeness to Benjamin Sisko, whom the Bajorans believe to be an emissary from the Bajoran Prophets.

Odo played by René Auberjonois, is a fictional character in the science fiction television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He is a member of a shapeshifting species called Changelings and serves as the head of security for the space station Deep Space Nine on which the show is set. Intelligent, observant and taciturn, Odo uses his unique abilities throughout the show to maintain security on the DS9 station and, later, aids the Bajoran people and the Federation throughout the Dominion War against his own people, the Founders.

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Changeling

First appearance: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine “The Emissary” (1993)
As we all know, life in the Trek universe can take many and varied forms. One of the most profoundly different races of the Trek galaxy are the Changelings, a race of intelligent liquid-based shape shifters that reshaped the political climate of the galaxy with the same ease that they reshape their bodies.

The Changelings were also known as The Founders and were the puppet masters behind the Dominion War. From their wormhole homeworld, the Changelings manipulated the universe. The Founders used entire races like chess pieces showing the Federation and its enemies that there are beings that exist within and behind the galaxy that are willing to go any lengths for power. But not all Changelings were adversarial. Through Odo, Trek fans saw another side to this fascinating species. Odo was the constable aboard DS9, a by-the-books cop who went to any lengths (literally) to solve crimes. He was a defender of his Federation friends, particularly Kira Nerys the woman he learned to love. When the Founders merged their liquid forms with Odo, they learned about humanity, and his love and bravery spread even to the hidden spaces of the galaxy.

Plus, The Changelings are an alien species that can easily disguise themselves as furniture. You can’t teach that!

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Bajorans

First appearance: Star Trek: The Next Generation “Ensign Ro” (1991)
It is apropos that the Bajorans and Cardassians are so close on this list because the two races are forever linked in the mind of Trek fans. Trekkers first met the Bajoran through Enterprise Ensign Ro Laren, a fiery and ultra-capable young Starfleet cadet.

Ro had everything it took to get ahead in Starfleet. She was loyal, dedicated, brilliant, and strong willed. Yet, the past of her people, the Bajorans, was filled with so much tragedy. The loyalty to her race led Ro away from Starfleet and into the waiting arms of the Marquis, a group that abandoned Starfleet to form a renegade fleet of rebels dissatisfied with Federation doctrine.

Ro’s discontent was expanded upon by the inclusion of the Bajorans in Deep Space Nine. In DS9, fans learnt of the suffering that the Bajorans were forced to endure at the hands of the Cardassians. Bajorans were a race of freedom fighters, a highly scientific and artistic race that had to embrace militarism and xenophobia in order to survive.

In DS9, fans learned almost every aspect of the Bajoran race. What began with Ro continued the Kira Nerys, the second in command of the Deep Space Nine space station and a woman who would do anything to keep her people free and punish her former oppressors.

DS9 introduced many Bajoran notables in its many seasons, and not all of them were benevolent. Of all the races introduced in Star Trek, the Bajorans might be the most tragically human as they had to see their own darkness in order to survive the unthinkable in order to survive the Cardassians.

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Vulcans

First Appearance: Star Trek Pilot “The Cage” (1965)
Is there any race in genre fiction more beloved than the Vulcans? This race of logic-driven, emotionless, pointy-eared people have defined the Star Trek experience since day one.

In the Star Trek pilot, “The Cage,” the world was introduced to science officer Spock, a cold, calculating yet brave and benevolent alien who loyally assisted his captain. Fifty years later, Spock is still the strong right hand of the Enterprise. The Vulcan’s lack of emotion serves as a perfect narrative contrast to human nature, with the interactions and differences between Spock, McCoy, and Kirk as the beating heart of Trek since Roddenberry first put pen to paper.

But the wonder of the Vulcans don’t end with Spock. Over the decades — through countless books, films, TV episodes, and comics — many Vulcans have taken center stage and have, in the words of the most famous Vulcan of them all, fascinated fans for generations…

There has been Sarek, Spock’s father who dared to follow his emotions and take a human wife. There has been Tuvok, the brave and able Vulcan officer who served on Voyager. There has been T’Pol, the sometimes cold but always loyal commander that served as the first officer of the first Enterprise. By being so alien, all these characters and so many more have shown the world what it means to be human.

Trek lore has delved deeply into Vulcan history, creating one of most fully-functioning and detailed fictional worlds in all of sci-fi. Sadly, in the latest set of Trek films, Vulcan has fallen and this magnificent race is endangered. But take heart that Spock, Vulcan and Earth’s favorite son, is endeavoring to rebuild the race that has long made Star Trek so awesome.

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Borg

First appearance: Star Trek: The Next Generation “Q Who” (1989)
Throughout Trek history, the wonderful men and women who have crafted stories for Star Trek have often reminded fans that space can be a cruel and terrible place — but no race has represented the horrors of the Final Frontier more than the Borg.

The Borg is a race of cyborg drones that share a hive mind. Their only aim is to assimilate the universe and make all Borg. Borg are mindless automatons that answer to the Borg Queen and the Collective. They are unstoppable and fiercely efficient. The Borg roam the galaxy in their distinctive Borg Cubes and, when they encounter any organic race, that race is forcibly assimilated into the Borg. All hopes, history, art, passion, and individuality become part of the Collective while the individual becomes a living weapon, a husk dedicated only to the Borg. Famously, Jean-Luc Picard fell to the Borg and was transformed into Locutus. As Locutus, Picard came an eyelash away from assimilating the Enterprise.

Later, through characters like Hugh Borg and Seven of Nine, some humanity was given to the Borg. Hugh was an injured Borg healed by Picard’s crew, while Seven of Nine broke her programming and served on Voyager. Through both characters, more and more history was revealed about the Borg. Fans even got to meet the Borg Queen in the film Star Trek: First Contact — and what an H.R. Giger nightmare that was.

Throughout the decades, Star Trek has been the most hopeful of sci-fi franchises. Trek is infused with humankind’s potential for greatness and a hope for an enlightened future. The Borg serve as a reminder that technology can lead to paradise, yes, but it can also lead to a cold future of pure horror where individuality is worthless and resistance is futile.

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Mugato

First appearance: Star Trek: The Original Series “A Private Little War” (1968)
Because sometimes in space, there are giant, poisonous horned gorillas. What’s not to love about Mugato? He’s kind of cute, very fuzzy, and is as poisonous as the nastiest snake. Poisonous gorillas in space, this is why we love Trek. Sadly, Mugato only appeared briefly, attacking and poisoning Kirk before being disintegrated by Doctor McCoy.

But, remember: as you watch the hard sci-fi and techno jargon of Trek, as you witness the human adventure of Roddenberry’s galaxy, as you watch carbon-based life forms achieve full potential and enlightenment, remember, in this same world there are fuzzy, horned, albino gorillas that will poison the crap out of you.

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Tribbles

First appearance: Star Trek: The Original Series “The Trouble with Tribbles” (1967)
They’re fuzzy, they squeak, they can be deadly — who doesn’t love Tribbles? Ask any casual fan to name a Trek alien, and there’s a good chance Mr. Joe on the street guy will say Tribbles because these bundles of fur are just that darn famous.

“Trouble with Tribbles” — The Original Series installment that first introduced these puff balls — allowed Shatner, Nimoy, and company to really flex their comedy chops. But, when you break down the threat the Tribbles represented, they actually are pretty terrifying… Imagine a species that reproduces so fast, a ship can be suffocating on the things in a matter of days. That’s a bit more Giger than Pokemon.

Despite the threat, the Tribbles also brought the laughs to generations of fans. Of course, the Tribbles were revisited in the classic DS9 episode “Trials and Tribble-ations” and also played a major role in the recent film Star Trek: Into Darkness. To quote a great man from a rival space franchise: “Not bad for a little fuzzball.”

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You will be able to sit on the Classic Bridge, or if you prefer see how comfortable the last captain’s chair is from Discovery. A host of genuine screen used props and costumes will also be on display including the recently acquired original phaser from the 1960’s filming.

West Ham 0 Spurs 1

In-form Erik Lamela won the London Derby at West Ham on Saturday afternoon.
The Argentine attacker, in for his first league start of the season at the London Stadium, bagged his fifth goal in seven games, converting Moussa Sissoko’s dangerous delivery shortly before half-time to give us a 1-0 win.
Hugo Lloris preserved our advantage after the break with two superb saves to deny West Ham hotshot Marko Arnautovic, while centre-back Davinson Sanchez stepped up when we needed him most to help us withstand a late Hammers onslaught, notably combining with Lloris to thwart Arnautovic when he wriggled through on goal in stoppage time.
It means we’ve now won seven out of nine in the Premier League ahead of our return to Champions League action at PSV in midweek.
The first half belonged to us as we gradually applied more and more pressure on the Hammers’ box. West Ham did force a trio of corners in the opening exchanges but Lucas Moura was there at the near post each time to deal with it while defender Toby Alderweireld was often in the way of the hosts’ forward endeavours.

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Sissoko went close in the 10th minute, arriving late onto Lucas’ pass across the 18-yard line and letting fly, only to see his strike loop behind for a corner. Our two full-backs were getting into good areas down the sides of the box as the half went on while Harry Winks was a willing explorer through the middle, but clear chances just wouldn’t open up for us. Harry Kane crept in behind down the left side but Issa Diop did just enough to prevent him from getting a shot away from inside the box before our persistence told on 44 minutes when Sissoko found a pocket of space on the right and sent in a dangerous delivery which Lamela turned in at the near post.

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There was an extended period of stoppage time due to an injury to West Ham’s Andriy Yarmolenko, who was taken off on a stretcher shortly before the opener, and we nearly took full advantage to double our lead, only for Lukasz Fabianski to produce a low double save from Lamela and Sanchez, who had stayed up following a free-kick.
Two brilliant saves from skipper Lloris in the first 15 minutes of the second period prevented Arnautovic from drawing his side level, the keeper hurling himself to his left to claw the Austrian international’s header over the top three minutes after the restart and then diving low in the same direction as the in-form front man drilled through a crowded area on the hour mark.

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Sanchez and Diop sent free headers wide at either end but West Ham had the door shut on Kane up top and it was the hosts who wrestled the momentum away as the game went on. The off-side flag went up well before substitute Chicharito fired into the top corner but when the same player slid through for Arnautovic eight yards out amid a period of intense pressure from the hosts in added time, some last-ditch defending saw us survive as Sanchez tackled him from behind and the ball ricocheted away off Lloris right in the danger zone. The hosts never gave up, but neither did we as we defended so resolutely to see out the win.

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Friday 19th October 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on October 19, 2018 by bishshat

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Thursday 18th October 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on October 18, 2018 by bishshat

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Wednesday 17th October 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on October 17, 2018 by bishshat

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Tuesday 16th October 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on October 17, 2018 by bishshat

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Monday 15th October 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on October 13, 2018 by bishshat

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St Pancras Old Church has been a site of Christian worship since the 4th century. It is thought that this church is on a site that has offered worship for more than 1700 years. Fragments of Roman material can still be seen here and there in the fabric of the current building. The monuments and reuse of stone chart the history of the church’s development over time. Spanning eight centuries since Fulcherius in the late 12th century

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Sunday 14th October 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on October 13, 2018 by bishshat

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Thanks to a Moody Blues friend Nick Kounoupias who generously got the tickets and gave them to us we were able to attend this NFL game and what was great is that the Hawks won 27-3. So a BIG thank you to Nick.

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Raiders 3 Seahawks 27

The Seattle Seahawks marked their first ever regular season game outside of North America with a comfortable win over the hapless Oakland Raiders at Wembley Stadium.

Russell Wilson threw for 222 yards and three touchdowns as the Seahawks ran out 27-3 winners in the first of three NFL International Series games to be played in the capital this season.

The organisers did their best to make it clear that this was a Raiders ‘home’ game, with cheerleaders and fireworks greeting their arrival on the field, but the London crowd were having none of it.

The Seahawks have a more established UK fan base and though technically the away side, it was clear from the moment Russell Wilson led his men out to warm up, that only a Seattle win would appease the home crowd.

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Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, struggling badly for form having thrown more interceptions than anyone else in the league through the first five games, was once again playing behind an offensive line with more holes than a golf course, and was sacked six times.

It rained, a lot, as in the Pacific north-west. And there were large packs of fans in dark blue and lime green jerseys, who shouted “SEA!” then “HAWKS!” with ever greater urgency and booed if the Raiders looked like getting something going, which was not often.

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To make things even sweeter, Seattle dominated both sides of the ball, with quarterback Russell Wilson throwing three touchdowns and their defence punching holes in the Raiders’ offensive line at will.

“It felt like we were playing at home, honestly,” said the wide receiver David Moore, who scored the second Seattle touchdown. “The rain, the fans, the atmosphere. It was great.”

The Seattle coach, Pete Carroll, agreed. “We had a great time,” he said, smiling. “As we got closer to the game we realised how much energy there was for the Seahawks. And the whole experience was great – it made for a special week.”

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The Seahawks dominated from start to finish in a game that saw Russell Wilson throw for three touchdowns while, on the other side of the ball, Seattle’s pass rush rumbled to life. Even 4,801 miles away from Seattle, they said it felt like a home game.

And while there may still be questions about where their season is headed as they take a week off — one they asked the NFL for following the long trip — what can’t be doubted is they are beginning to become the team Pete Carroll envisioned when he spearheaded an offseason of dramatic change in both the coaching staff and roster.

Carroll wanted to make the running game again a significant factor. That has happened, as Seattle ranks ninth in the NFL in rushing at 127.8 per game and has averaged 157.25 over the last four, which for the season would top the 154.3 of the league-leading Rams.

He also wanted a running game that could take some pressure off the passing game, which could then be used more to attack than out of necessity.

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That also has happened as Russell Wilson has 13 touchdown passes — ranking Seattle seventh in that category and on pace to tie his career-high of 34 — while averaging 7.9 yards per attempt, ninth in the NFL and almost a yard better than the 7.2 of last season. But unlike last year, when 19 of Wilson’s 34 TD passes came in the fourth quarter — many in desperate times — this year nine of his 13 have come in the first three quarters.

Carroll also wanted the defense to again be a hard-hitting, ball-hawking group despite the massive turnover in personnel — for the last two weeks, only Bobby Wagner has played of those who remain from the last Super Bowl team.

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That, too, has happened as Seattle has a plus-seven turnover margin, tied for the best in the NFL, while having allowed just 6.8 yards per pass, which is fifth in the NFL, and an opponent passer rating of 79.9, which is third.

“I’m just really pleased where we are right now taking up to this break,’’ Carroll said after Sunday’s 27-3 win over the Raiders. “We’ve put together really four weeks of pretty good football here and I like the way that we’re playing, the style that we’re playing with, how physical we’re playing.’’

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Despite seeming like they’ve been on the road all season, Seattle will still have three of the first five games following the bye away from home. But if they get through that in playoff position, then comes a mostly favorable December featuring four home games.

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