The Last Sci-fI Show Hopeful About The Future

image0... The future, as found in Star Trek: TNG, was the stuff of sweeter dreams. There has never been anything as hopeful about the nature of technology as the phrase"Heisenberg compensator." That's the device in* Star Trek* that allows for transporters to work. The original writers were familiar with Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, which states that an observer can precisely know either the position of a particle or its momentum but not both. The Heisenberg uncertainly principle means that transporters like the ones in* Star Trek* are physically impossible, at least in terms of the physics that we understand. But that didn't stop Roddenberry and friends. They just assumed that human beings would figure out some way to "compensate" for the physical laws.

The final episode of TNG brought the show to a nice round conclusion, ending where it began, on the question of humanity's potential. Q, the omnipotent alien, tests humanity, to find out if we are more than a "dangerous, savage child race." As in the first episode, humanity, represented by Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the* Enterprise*, passes with flying colors. "We are what we are and we're doing the best we can" is Picard's answer to Q's various accusations.

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