THE VAULT

Boldly Going Nowhere
December 4, 2006 by The Colonel

A visionary... who's envisioning our demise.

In startling news, revealed last week, human beings face extinction. According to world-renowned British physicist, Stephan Hawking, unless humans begin to develop, “Star Trek”-style propulsion, we will be driven (possibly in our mom’s minivan) into extinction. While most are praising Hawking for his forward thinking, this Slantmouth reporter thinks Mr. Hawking has, once again, gone too far.

Professor Hawking believes that, “sooner or later disasters such as an asteroid collision or a nuclear war could wipe us all out,” he continued, “and seriously, do you want to be here for that?” He then laughed in that creepy, robot voice of his.

“Science fiction has developed the idea of warp drive, which takes you instantly to your destination,” Hawking said, “Unfortunately this would violate the scientific law which says that nothing can travel faster than light.”

So all Mr. Hawking is suggesting is that science come up with a way to do what science says science can’t? Slantmouth decided that we ask another scientist, Captain James T. Kirk, about it.

We've only one operative. Strut.

Slantmouth: Capt. Kirk, could you tell us how you went “where no man had gone before?”

Kirk: Actually, I’m an actor. My name’s Bill Shatner.

SM: All right, James… so when you developed the warp drive, how did it feel?

K: That was… it would’ve been engineers, not Capt. Kirk that would’ve done it. But that was a fictional television show. It never happened.

SM: Referring to yourself in the third person? Classic Kirk.

K: I’m not…

SM: What was it like to make it with all those green chicks?

K: This… I’m leaving now.

SM: Boldly go, sir. Boldly go.

K: Boldly go to hell.

Clearly, the Captain was much more wily than even the crack staff here could’ve anticipated. We went back to the source of this confusion, Stephen Hawking, who suggested that “matter/antimatter annihilation,” velocities just below the speed of light could be reached, making it possible to travel to the next star in about six years. He remarked, “Although, I must confess, such technology is no where near being completed. In fact, it’s sort of just another one of those things that I made up. You know, theories?”

So, once again, science, and Stephen Hawking have failed us. But what lessons can we pull away from this, without getting super-depressed?

First, theoretical science is just that: theoretical. Sure, it’s fun to say things like “if we could just bend space and time, we’d definitely find aliens,” or “people need to invent a completely new form of space travel, or we’ll certainly die,” but the truth is, they’re just thoughts and ideas. No one expects this stuff to happen any time soon.

Second, while it’s perfectly well to make suggestions, coming up with real solutions is usually a lot better. If Mr. Hawking had said, “check out this schematic I just drew up for an ultra-fast, antimatter accelerator that’ll propel us to a new age of space travel!” it would be one thing, but this? This is a mind-screw. He may as well have said, “Some one needs to get on curing this cancer thing… or ALS, for that matter.”

Mr. Hawking, you’re a great man. Slantmouth salutes the accomplishments you’ve made in the realm of physics and theoretical science–but please–stay out of the “we’re all going to die” game. There are already plenty of experts in that intrepid field, and we don’t want to see you dilute yourself with such nonsense. Just take a look at what happened to the Republicans.

~The Colonel