Vol. 2, Issue 1, January 6, 2004
Another "Star Trek" Prediction Comes True, Unfortunately
The popular 1960's science-fiction television series "Star Trek," which has launched a decade-spanning entertainment franchise worth billions, has often been praised for its attempts to portray a somewhat plausible view of the future. Despite a few laws of physics bent or broken in the name of dramatic necessity, the show portrayed many futuristic technologies which have later been realized.
"In the original series, they carried around communicators that look just like today's cellphones," said David Allen Batchelor, author of The Science of Star Trek. "They used data cartridges that resembled the 3.5 inch floppies or Zip disks used in the real world 30 years later. In many ways, the series was quite visionary."
While eager Star Trek fans have gleefully hailed each advance in real-world gadgetry resembling technology on one of the several Star Trek television shows or movies, it turns out that a less desirable futuristic feature of the fictional Trek universe has come to pass.
"It turns out that the brain parasites used by the villain, Khan Noonian Singh, in the 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan have entered the world of reality," admitted Batchelor with a grimace. "Who knew."
The culprit behind the development of these creatures is apparently the digital cellphone, particularly those using service provided by T-Mobile. The radiation signature of the phones has been shown to occasionally cause mutation in a microbial species which normally inhabits human hair follicles. The mutation allows the creatures to feed off the energy transmitted by the phone, causing them to grow to a length of several inches and acquire a pair of pincers in a matter of minutes.
"That is generally when they crawl in people's ears and head for the brain," said Batchelor. "However, as usual, Star Trek didn't quite get it right. In the movie, the worms enabled the villain to control the victims' minds. In reality, victims just suffer brain damage and die."
Paramount Pictures, which owns the Star Trek franchise and has aggressively defended its copyrights to the material in the past, has been quick to disavow any liability for the brain worms.
"We consider the parasitic brain worms presented in Star Trek II to be characters; and as our disclaimer notes, any resemblance between our characters and real people is purely coincidental."
Cellphone users have been warned to watch for signs of brain worm growth, including screeching and/or wriggling in the earpiece and ominous background theme music.
"But look at the bright side," said Batchelor. "Star Trek II was one of the good movies. At least we're not saddled with something lame from Star Trek III or, God forbid, Star Trek V. That would be simply awful to contemplate."