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June 13, 2013

MAY: ‘Star Trek’

Its five-year mission was to boldly go where no man had gone before. And boldly go it did. The original television series created by Gene Roddenberry has had an incredible impact upon culture. It was the first series to feature a multicultural and multiracial cast, and was among the first to present an interracial kiss between its characters.

Although the original series only lasted three years (1966-1969), the “Star Trek” media franchise is a multibillion dollar industry currently owned by CBS. It has spawned an animated series, four new television adventures, feature films, comic books and video games. In addition, the “Star Trek” logo has been placed upon just about everything that can be marketed and sold.

The franchise has inspired current technologies, including the Palm PDA and the handheld mobile phone. Michael Jones, chief technologist for Google Earth, has indicated that the tricorder’s mapping capability was the driving force behind the development of today’s mapping software. NASA named its prototype space shuttle after the Enterprise.

We are in the midst of looking at some of our heroes — especially the ones that are being featured in this summer’s blockbuster movie offerings. Are there lessons we can learn from the crew of the Enterprise? What characteristics of Kirk, Spock and McCoy are worth imitating in our own lives?

The two most recent movies, “Star Trek,” released in 2009, and “Star Trek Into Darkness” which opened just weeks ago, were directed by J. J. Abrams. Abrams confessed before the first movie that he really had never been a “Trekkie.” But his approach to the story and the characters made you believe that they were his age-old friends. From lines and circumstances gingerly lifted from old scripts to a Tribble sitting on a desk, Abrams showed a loyalty and respect that even the most die-hard Trek fan had to appreciate.

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