Newspace: It’s Really Not Much Like “Star Trek”, but….

Though it may recall some more chilling works:

Not far away from where I live, a scientific breakthrough with terrific (in both senses of the word) implications occurred: a doctor has communicated with a patient in a vegetative state.

They can’t wait for a more comfortable ride than the Soyuz:

Later today, you can watch the crew of the space station return home.

Bazinga, Doctor!

A couple impressive scientific developments which, however, really aren’t that much like Star Trek, and video of last week’s Big Bang Theory Flash Mob Event and Doctor Who Children in Need “minisode,” appear after the jump:

Back when flip phones were popular, media outlets jumped on their superficial resemblance to a certain fictional device and claimed that Star Trek‘s original communicators had arrived. Indeed, these were smaller than the ones used by Kirk and his crew. Okay, it’s a good hook, but really, cell phones require an elaborate network of towers and other infrastructure to work. The crew of the Enterprise sent messages, person to person, while stranded on unoccupied planets. Not the same thing.

Similarly, Microsoft’s new translator impresses me, but it’s not like Star Trek’s, as the media this week have been claiming. The translators merely improve upon past attempts to take one known language and match words and context of another known language in their database. They can’t make sense of unfamiliar languages (much less synch up the lips of the people speaking them). And they still make the sort of hilarious errors that never seemed to occur on Trek.

Likewise, new developments with cloaking/invisibility have been compared with everything from Trek to Potter to H.G. Wells. It’s a remarkable achievement, but one far removed from its fictional antecedents.

In an entirely unrelated story, this happened last week:

While Doctor Who gave a prequel to the next episode to Children in Need: