Episode 12: Ethan Siegal

Photo of Ethan Siegal in a Star Trek Skant Uniform at Star Trek Las Vegas
Ethan Siegal, PhD

In this episode we speak with Dr. Ethan Siegal. He holds undergraduate degrees in Physics and Classics from Northwestern and a PhD in Physics from the University of Florida. He taught at the University of Wisconsin, the University of Portland, and Lewis & Clark College.

Currently, Ethan is a science blogger and writer and also a Star Trek fan.

You can listen right online here. Or point your favorite podcast app to our RSS feed here. iTunes users can subscribe here.

We will talk about:

  • Whats a Knife Hand?
  • On becoming a scientist and only then a Star Trek fan
  • The optimistic view of the future
  • An unimpressive introduction to Star Trek and how it all got turned around
  • His favorite series & his rankings
  • A minimalist Star Trek collection
  • Marina Sirtis & Counselor Troi and how he connected to them
  • Tom Riker vs Will Riker
  • Lwaxana and Picard
  • Convention Experiences at Star Trek Las Vegas as a speaker
  • Does being a scientist get in the way of appreciating Star Trek?
  • Treknology, the book
  • On fundamental science
  • Visual re-design on Discovery
  • Is the past immutable?
  • The double-pendulum experiment
  • Even the smallest decisions we make can affect the larger world
  • Determinism in the Universe
  • The uniqueness of humanity
  • How should humanity treat the unknown?
  • The ethical implications of Artificial Intelligence
  • Quantum Uncertainty
  • The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics
  • Being the best versions of ourselves
  • Sisko and his relationship with his Father
  • Violating your principles for no effect in ST
  • Confusing Earth for the entire Federation
  • The needs of the individual vs the community
  • The ability to dissent
  • The dangers of living in a technocratic society
  • Looking back on episodes made in the 90’s with a modern perspective
  • On the concept of the Borg Queen
  • The Interstellar Beacon
  • What it means to be alive
  • Virtual Reality and the Holodeck
  • The refusal to give in as a pivotal moment
  • Riker getting to play the Star Trek game on the “easy level”
  • The PoliTreks Debate on the topic of Is Jellico a Good Captain?
  • Looking to the future with Optimism
  • Harry Kim’s Clarinet
  • The representation of space-time – Patreon Version Only
  • The rate of galaxy acceleration – Patreon Version Only
  • Episodes discussed
    • Yesterday’s Enterprise (TNG S03E15)
    • Measure of a Man (TNG S02E09)
    • The Offspring (TNG S03E16)
    • Parallels (TNG S07E11)
    • Home Front (DS9 S04E11)
    • Paradise Lost (DS9 S04E12)
    • Best of Both Worlds (TNG E03E26)
    • Star Trek VIII: First Contact
    • The Inner Light (TNG S05E25)
    • Chain of Command (TNG S06E10 & E11)

Connect with Ethan at any of the following:

Honorary Star Trek title awarded: Chairman of the Cosmology Department at the Vulcan Science Academy

The featured image is of the NASA Deep Field Image.

Episode 11: Timothy Sandefur

In this episode we chat with Timothy Sandefur. Tim is the Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute where he oversees the Institute’s legal staff, and also holds the Duncan Chair in Constitutional Government. Tim has some strong opinions on Star Trek and we had a great time diving deep into the meaning that he found in Trek and where it has fallen short.

Picture of Tim Sandefur
Tim Sandefur

You can listen right online here. Or point your favorite podcast app to our RSS feed here. iTunes users can subscribe here.

Tim will talk about:

  • Being a fan for over 30 years
  • The weirdness of Star Trek: The Animated Series
  • How Star Trek TOS is more like a Twilight Zone style anthology than later shows
  • Why Tim feels that “canon” is a straitjacket
  • Deep Space 9 is magnificent, but not really Star Trek
  • His Star Trek collection, including the ST:TMP matchbook and his Hallmark items
  • The earthquake during the Pasadena Star Trek convention
  • Accidentally meeting Leonard Nimoy
  • Attending Sit Long and Prosper
  • Tim’s article The Politics of Star Trek which can be found here.
  • Tim’s appearance on the Free Thoughts podcast discussing the article can be found here
  • How Return of the Archons and The Apple are the same and different
  • Are there universal concepts of right and wrong?
  • The terror of freedom
  • How World War II issues affected the writing of TOS
  • The incompatibility between the Federation in TOS and in later versions of Star Trek
  • Picard’s refusal to stop oppression in Symbiosis
  • Why the Prime Directive was made to be broken in the case of universal wrongs
  • The line from Captain Cook to Midshipman Easy to Hornblower to Star Trek
  • Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, and Frederick Douglass, and what they have to do with Star Trek
  • How the concept of Universal Human Rights is treated in Star Trek VI
  • The metaphors in The Conscience of the King and how it related to audiences at the time
  • The real and very serious crimes of the Klingons and their lack of contrition
  • The abandonment of the spirit of exploration in Star Trek: Insurrection and how it relates to Candide
  • What we missed in Star Trek Phase 2
  • Is Star Trek: The Motion Picture “canon?”
  • How all of the TOS and TOS movie era is about proving Mr. Spock wrong
  • Why Into Darkness is problematic in how Kirk is Captain
  • Moral relativism in The Next Generation
  • Slavery is an issue that Star Trek never fully addressed
  • The objectification of women in Enterprise
  • The very best of Star Trek is when it confronts the intensely human
  • Mr Spock and Huckleberry Finn, and what they have in common
  • Star Trek as an emergent cultural phenomena
  • The Riker Maneuver
  • Episodes discussed
    • Return of the Archons (TOS S01E22)
    • The Apple (TOS S02E09)
    • Who Watches the Watchers (TNG S03E04)
    • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
    • The Conscience of the King (TOS S01E12)
    • Star Trek IX: Insurrection
    • Star Trek: The Motion Picture
    • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
    • Star Trek XIII: Into Darkness
    • Family (TNG S04E02)
    • Survivors (TNG S03E03)
    • Bound (ENT S04E17)
    • Court Martial (TOS S01E14) – Patreon Extended Version
    • City on the Edge of Forever (TOS S01E28) – Patreon Extended Version
    • Measure of the Man (TNG S02E09) – Patreon Extended Version

Connect with Tim at any of the following:

Honorary Star Trek title awarded: Professor of Law at the University of Utopia Planitia. (Go Ares Astronauts!)

The featured image is of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Oljato-Monument Valley, Arizona, United States. Credit to Cayetano Gil on Unsplash.

Episode 10: Duncan Barrett

In this episode of the Trek Profiles podcast, we sit down with author Duncan Barrett and discuss his love of Star Trek and which episodes he finds the most powerful. Duncan talks about how he came to be a Star Trek podcaster and why that is a complement to his writing.

Point your favorite podcast app to our RSS feed here. iTunes users can subscribe here. Or you may listen online here.

Key moments in this episode:

Headshot of Duncan Barrett
Duncan Barrett
  • Being a lapsed fan who only attended “church” at Christmas or Easter
  • Having a child triggered a new immersion into Trek fandom
  • How a trip to Dublin triggered a TNG addiction
  • How Trek got him through “Glandular Fever”
  • The peculiarities of watching Trek in the 90’s in the UK
  • VHS tapes
  • Forgotten episodes
  • Why Ethan Phillips and his character Neelix made such a great impression
  • A discussion of the wonderful MetaTreks podcast
  • A link to the London School of Economics podcast series
  • Is the new Picard series about Brexit or Trump or something else?
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh and why it matters
  • Actually playing Water Polo
  • Star Trek episodes mentioned

Connect with Duncan via Twitter here.

You can listen to Duncan’s podcast on the Trek.FM network here. Check out his books.

  • Hitler’s British Isles: True-life recollections from the Channel Islanders who were the only British subjects to live under Nazi rule in WWII. ‘An absolutely fascinating account of life under German rule in the Channel Islands during the war.’
  • The Sugar Girls: Tales of Hardship, Love and Happiness in Tate & Lyle’s East End. In the years leading up to and after the Second World War thousands of women left school at fourteen to work in the bustling factories of London’s East End. Despite long hours, hard and often hazardous work, factory life afforded exciting opportunities for independence, friendship and romance. Of all the factories that lined the docks, it was at Tate and Lyle’s where you could earn the most generous wages and enjoy the best social life, and it was here where The Sugar Girls worked.
  • GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love. For readers enchanted by the bestsellers The Astronaut Wives Club, The Girls of Atomic City, and Summer at Tiffany’s, an absorbing tale of romance and resilience—the true story of four British women who crossed the Atlantic for love, coming to America at the end of World War II to make a new life with the American servicemen they married.
  • Star Trek: The Human Frontier. Michèle and Duncan Barrett are mother and son – she a distinguished social theorist now working in literary and cultural studies, he a writer still in his teens. Together they take Star Trek – the TV series, films, and related projects – and explore it for what it tells us (and asks) about being human. From the progressive politics that underpinned the original program to the declining faith in rationalism that haunts Deep Space Nine and Voyager, the Star Trek story has grappled with powerful philosophical and social issues.
  • The Girls who went to War. Overall, more than half a million women served in the armed forces during the Second World War. This book tells the story of just three of them – one from the Army, one from the Navy and one from the Air Force. But in their stories are reflected the lives of hundreds of thousands of others like them – ordinary girls who went to war, wearing their uniforms with pride.
  • Men of Letters. Stories of the lives and losses of the Post Office Rifles in World War I—men who came from all ranks and walks of life, brought together by their common pre-war employment as Post Office workers

Honorary Star Trek title awarded: Chief Writer and Lore Master of the Atavachron on Sarpedion.

Audio editing assistance on this episode of the podcast was provided by the Willow Castle Group.

Episode 9 is Live: Dr Erin MacDonald

In this episode we chat with Erin MacDonald, PhD. Our guest tells us about her experience with Star Trek and how she came to her Trek fandom later in life. Dr Erin shares about her interest in science and she also talks about her opinion of the science in some of her favorite episodes!

You can listen right online here. Or point your favorite podcast app to our RSS feed here. iTunes users can subscribe here.

Headshot of Erin MacDonald PhD
Erin MacDonald PhD

Key moments in the show:

  • Why Scotland made Dr Erin feel like she was in the Delta Quadrant
  • How Star Trek helped her connect with colleagues
  • Star Trek tattoos
  • Her first visit to STLV
  • Here is a link to The Tricorder Transmissions podcast network Shore Leave show, which talks about DragonCon, which we reference in the episode.
  • Brief recap of her STLV panels
  • Does being a scientist get in the way of enjoying Star Trek?
  • The giant science flaw in The Martian
  • Her favorite cosplays from different fandoms
  • Her inherited Trek collection of cups and plates
  • The Scully Effect
  • Are transporters death machines? Is a wave-based or particle-based technology?
  • Episodes discussed
    • Into the Forest I Go (Discovery S01E09)
    • Eye of the Needle (Voyager S01E07)
    • Counterpoint (Voyager S05E10)
    • The Way of the Warrior (DS9 S04E01/E02)
    • Darmok (TNG S05E02)

You can check out Dr Erin’s work at any of the following:

Honorary Star Trek title awarded: Director of Stellar Cartography for the Federation Astronomical Committee

Just a Brief Update!

We launched Trek Profiles in early March. Right from the beginning I promised an episode monthly. Here’s how we are doing so far.

Episode Number Release Date Days Elapsed
1 March 10 Launch
2 April 7 28
3 April 27 20
4 May 17 20
5 June 13 27
6 July 7 24
7 July 21 14
8 July 30 9

Having released 3 episodes in July, I felt comfortable taking a little break in August for the Star Trek Convention. However we have 5 interviews lined up in short order, so there will be hot & fresh content coming to you soon from the Trek Profiles oven!