From the Editor’s Desk: To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

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“Change is the essential process of all existence.” — Spock

It is a good day to be a Tiger! 

I grew up on a small dairy farm in Minidoka county. When I was a kid I can remember having to help my father milk cows early in the morning before the sun had risen and often during the winter months it would snow heavily as we drove his old pickup truck to and from our milking barn. Often, in the darkness as the snow fell, the falling snow would rush past our windshield making an eerie effect that was similar to the kind of effect a spaceship would have in a science fiction movie as it sped through the stars. I can recall listening to my dad make a deep growling noise that sounded exactly like Chewbacca from Star Wars as we pretended to hit “light speed” on our way home from work. 

Science fiction has been a core part of my childhood. I have memories of rushing home after school to catch classic episodes of Star Trek from the 60s playing on our old analog television and gathering as a family and watching the Star Trek films in our living room as they played from a VCR. My father was a big scifi nerd and as a result his passion for stories that took place in a galaxy far far away was passed onto me. In fact, the first film I can remember watching in a movie theater was George Lucas’s “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi”. I was five years old and my father took me to see it. Decades later, as a father myself, I would take my daughter to see the latest Star Wars film in the same small theater. 

This week I had the pleasure of meeting with several instructors from JHS’s science department for a short question and answer panel. Several students in the journalism department made a list of questions regarding science and the willing instructors shared their wisdom weighing in on questions ranging from climate change to black holes. As I listened to their insight I couldn’t help but make note of how much the world of science has changed in just my lifetime and how science fiction may have played a role in the great strides we have made.

I wonder if we would have smart-phones if it were not for the Star Trek Communicators from the classic television show. I can remember having a flip phone when I was in my twenties that basically worked the same as it did on the television show. I would take it out of my pocket, flip it open and make or receive a phone call. A generation that was born after 1990 would have a hard time understanding how amazing that was. 

The first computer my family owned was a bulky keyboard with a black screen with green writing. The first video game system I owned was the original Nintendo Entertainment System and my sisters and I held a competition to see who could “conquer” the 8-bit video game Super Mario Brothers first. The first time I sent an email I was a senior in high school and the email was sent to a friend in Ireland that was a foreign exchange student the year before. I was astounded that I could send a message to someone on the other side of the world and have the person respond shortly after. 

All of these things I mention were science fiction when I was a kid that eventually became a reality. 

Today I have a smartphone in my pocket that would have been considered a “super computer” when I was a kid. My phone is literally a key to an infinite world of information at my fingertips. I don’t have to argue with anyone over which NFL quarterback was more successful or how many states the Republican party won in the 1984 election. I know it. It’s right here in my phone. I own a PlayStation 4 and games such as Red Dead Redemption 2 are so vast and complicated that I couldn’t possibly complete every task in the game in my lifetime. If I wanted I could facetime someone in Ireland at any time and see their face on the screen in my pocket.

All of these things were considered science fiction when I was a kid driving home from our family’s milking barn as a kid. 

What does the future hold? When I read about the DNA code, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and self driving cars, I can’t even imagine the world my daughter is going to live in when she is my age. 

Do yourself a favor and take a moment to read the q and a panel we held with the science department here at Jerome High School. 

 

Have a logical week! 

 

Mr. Jay

 

OneTeam! One Town! One Family!