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Making Progress on Star Trek Physics (kickstarter.com)
100 points by waterlesscloud 1829 days ago | hide | past | web | 23 comments | favorite

I am struck by the dissonance of the video. The low-budget feel makes me expect "crackpot" more at every moment, yet at every moment I love and trust the guy more and want to support him more.

I really love the basic concept of wanting to reign in challenging, complex, "fringe" ideas and bind them to the public interest. This is such a simple and fundamental idea that, while manifested to some extent in popular science, is often done inadequately, overly sensationally or both.

I'm developing a strong aversion to polished Kickstarter videos - the dense, direct, and grounded feel of the video helped sell me on the sincerity of the campaigner.

If you like this sort of thing, you might enjoy the book "Physics of the Impossible", which examines the feasibility of various science fiction technologies (such as FTL) from a pop-sci level.


All of Michio Kaku's physics books are pretty solid, even if there's a bit of overlap among them. "Physics of the Future," for instance, is a decent examination of what he believes will actually be realized in 10, 20, 100, 1000, etc., years. It's a good companion piece to "Impossible."

> I am struck by the dissonance of the video.

A minor thing, but using Star Wars motif at the end in movie about Star Trek kind of surprised me.

He plans to cover Star Wars' "hyperspace" in the book.

The real dissonance is that this topic is very interesting but the presentation a bit dry. I don;t care about the (lack of) bell and whistles. Put the content in an interesting flow. That will get you the audience.

I can't see it. Does he actually explain what the $56K will be used for? Are the publishing costs so high? With a book appearing at the $100 level, that implies a >$100 retail price -- is this a huge coffee table book, a textbook, or is he just overconfident in sales ability?

He's asking you to pay for his time to produce materials for the book.

This is probably closer to the core intent of kickstarter than all the get-a-gizmo projects.

I would assume that kickstarter 'gifts' would be valued at much less than the amount you'd be pledging. It wouldn't make much sense to have all your funds be eaten up by the gifts, would it?

> Does he actually explain what the $56K will be used for?

Yes, explains what needs to be done in the video:

    1. Visit colleagues to get more material

    2. Commission graphics and artwork

    3. Prepare a good book proposal for publishers
Regarding (1), I suppose the biggest objection is that he can just talk to people using some kind of telecommunications tech, but 'face time'[1] offers so much higher bandwidth for stuff like this.

[1] not FaceTime

Also, the man has to eat while he works on this. I don't think the goal is that much of a stretch. I'm rather disappointed that this will fail.

I wonder if the kickstarter model can disrupt the publishing books model.

Anyway, I'd recommend the already published http://www.amazon.com/Physics-Star-Trek-Lawrence-Krauss/dp/0... for anyone interested in both topics.

As mentioned on the Kickstarter campaign page: """Given the success of Krauss's The Physics of Star Trek (Harper, 1996), – which only touched on the issues, not the possibilities – I am confident that such a companion book would be well received."""

I confess I only read the first paragraph, the second and third I only glanced through them and barely laid my eyes on the others :]

Your laziness is not something to be lauded, and it is not cute or quirky (which I believe you think it is based on that emoticon).

What happens if he doesn't get a publisher for it? Would it not make more sense to use the money from the Kickstarter campaign to allow him to work full-time on the book for 6 months and then self-publish?

Edit: It sounds like a really interesting subject, I hope he succeeds as I'd love to read it.

Is that star trek music? I wonder how quickly this video will be taken down.

I swear I've heard that music in star trek!

It's "Fanfare for the Common Man" by Aaron Copland:


thank you

It would make more sense to me if he put a PDF/kindle copy of the book on that USB stick.

But the book will probably cost more and (more importantly, assuming "people respond better when they'll get a physical gift" is the reason for offering the USB stick) the book won't be ready until late 2014.

It would be nice if he could offer up a copy of the existing graduate level text as a reward, but the publisher's list price is $100+ and there's probably not much room for him to move inside that.

I think the pledges should be adjusted. I understand that he's trying to raise for funding for this project but for $50 you should at least get a copy of the ebook.

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