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Geek/CounterGeek – #65: Money In The Star Trek Universe

Last week Elliott Serrano and Keith Conrad expressed their concern with Chief O’Brien’s lack of career advancement in Star Trek; The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, which got them wondering: If there isn’t any money in the future in Star Trek, would there be any career advancement at all? How exactly would the world work without money? Would it actually be any better?

Each week Keith Conrad and Chicago’s Top Geek Elliott Serrano debate a controversial topic in contemporary geekery: Kirk vs. Picard? Was Douglas Quaid dreaming in Total Recall? No topic is off limits.

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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 6-27-16: Inevitable Robot Uprising

Google’s holding company, Alphabet, has a new robotic dog from its Atlas-making Boston Dynamics subsidiary capable of clearing up after its human masters.  The new small robotic dog has a articulating arm on its back, which is capable of lifting and holding objects as fragile as a glass. Robots cleaning up after us. This is literally exactly how the First Cylon War started in Battlestar Galactica.

A restaurant owner fired the bartender for insulting a customer on a credit card receipt as “fatty.” It was a significant move, because the bartender was his own son. He’s gone as far as banning him from the property altogether.

The Battlecreek Bombers minor league baseball team decided it was a good idea to hold a “bring your gun to the game” night. They officially called it “2nd Amendment Education Night.” As my colleague Garry Meier says, “timing and good lighting are everything.” Maybe they should have rescheduled that after the Orlando terror attack. That reminds me of the time I won a gun rack at a Huntsville Stars game… I was 11 years old at the time.

Last week, I mentioned the story of the guy who was released from prison after years when it was proven he did not do it. I somewhat tongue-in-cheek asked if you’d take the $30 million he’s asking for in exchange for spending 13 years in prison. This week there is a guy who has served 20 years in prison for a murder he apparently didn’t commit. Rather than having the charges against him thrown out, he wants to stand trial again to prove in a court of law that he did not do it and the prosecution did not do its job. That’s strange, because it leaves the murder conviction in place until the trial proves his innocence. He’s that set on making a point about the job the prosecution did in his trial. Also, at this point is there anyone in prison who is actually guilty?

Say what you want about special interest groups, but a new poll says Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are less popular than the NRA and Planned Parenthood.

In science news, NASA has authorized five more years for the Hubble Space Telescope.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 6-21-16: Go Directly To Jail; Collect $30 Million

A Colorado man is suing the City and County of Denver and the Denver Police Department for $30 million. He was sentenced to life in prison at the age of 14 for a murder he did not commit. You have to feel bad for the guy, since you know he was saying he was innocent all along and there were people who just refused to believe him. However, that having been said I can’t not make some sarcastic comment about it, so here’s my question to you, oh reasonable Internet reader: If someone comes up to you and offers you $30 million in exchange for spending 13 years in jail, do you take that deal? You could pump some iron, get in shape, maybe do a lot of reading or even finish that novel you’ve been working on. (I swear people, it’s going to get done one day…)

The latest sensation sweeping the Internets? Dads are seeing how many Cheerios they can stack on their sleeping newborns nose. Some have managed to get as many as 20.  Unfortunately, since it’s an Internet competition, you don’t win anything, like money to pay for future therapy when your child learns what you used to do to them for your own amusement while they were too young to know what was going on. Original Cheerios seem to work better than Honey Nut Cheerios. Just FYI.

Donald Trump fired his controversial campaign manager Corey Lewandowski Monday, unleashing a major shake-up as he comes under pressure from his closest advisers — particularly his family members — to urgently reset his struggling presidential campaign. Oh yeah, he also has virtually no money to run in the general election, because instead of fundraising like a normal candidate, he just said crazy stuff on TV.

Parts of the Orlando shooter’s 911 calls that were originally redacted by the Justice Department are now available, including the moment when the shooter pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

Speaking of Orlando, a Florida assistant state attorney has been suspended after allegedly writing controversial Facebook posts slamming the type of people in downtown Orlando and those who go to nightclubs. He posted that downtown Orlando is “a melting pot of 3rd world miscreants and ghetto thugs.” Things went (even further) downhill from there.

Sick of hearing about “Brexit”? You’re not alone, but at least it looks like our long, international nightmare will soon be over. Voters head to the polls in a couple of days and it looks like the UK will stay in the EU. It looks like there wouldn’t be a whole lot of an advantage for Britain to leave the EU, aside from the fact that a lot of Brits like the idea of giving the rest of Europe a giant middle finger.

Interesting Stat of the Day: A new study shows that astronauts who fly to and from the ISS aboard a Soyuz spacecraft and spend six months there have a threat of mortality comparable to those of U.S. infantry combatants on D-Day and New York City firefighters on 9/11.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 5-9-16: Mercury Rising

On Monday the planet Mercury will wander directly in front of the sun — a rare “transit” that only happens about 13 times a century. Most people in Europe and North America should be able to view the event through a telescope or binoculars, weather permitting. You can also catch the show live on the astronomy website Slooh.com, or via live streams from the European Space Agency and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. (Instructions for building a solar filter for your binoculars.)

The Chicago Police Department will be deploying 2,000 additional body cameras in seven police districts by the summer. Chicago Police currently use about 30 body cameras in one district on the Northwest Side, and complaints about police officers are way down so Eddie Johnson says it will help increase public trust. Dean Angelo still isn’t thrilled with them, basically saying that it won’t help protect officers if someone attacks them. (How about we put a “body camera” on John and broadcast it on Periscope?)

The Cook County Jail was placed on lockdown Sunday morning due to low staffing levels. The lockdown is “for officer safety,” allowing inmates to move only for medical reasons, emergencies and visitation. Hire some part-timers, folks.

Finally, you can express your disgust with all of your options in the 2016 Presidential election. A new website is selling yard signs that read “Everybody Sucks 2016.”

SNL started off with Ted Cruz vs The Church Lady, and it was amazing. She actually introduced him as “Satan.” She also talked to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Oops: A high school in California is apologizing after they misidentified a young Muslim student wearing a hijab as “Isis”. The yearbook has already released a statement saying it was an accident but the student, who has asked that their name not be released yet, is less than convinced.

80 year old woman in Washington state shot and killed a home intruder. The man appears to have been a burglar and had already beaten her husband with a crowbar. She says she’s “not your typical granny,” which probably goes without saying.

Sharon and Ozzy Osbourn are calling it quits after 33 years of wedded bliss. If a love like that can’t last, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Geek/CounterGeek – #49: The Battle Of The Stormtroopers and The Red Shirts

The first Ghostbusters trailer has finally dropped. Keith thought it was a little paint-by-numbers, but loved the special effects. He and Elliott are both excited to see the latest iteration.

Scott Kelly is back from serving a full year on the International Space Station. The mission paves the way for humans to one day go to Mars. If we ever decide that we actually want to do that, of course.

Plus, Elliott and Keith tackle the thought experiment to end all thought experiments: If stormtroopers and red shirts were fighting each other, who would win? Is it possible for either of them to win?

Each week Keith Conrad and Chicago’s Top Geek Elliott Serrano debate a controversial topic in contemporary geekery: Kirk vs. Picard? Was Douglas Quaid dreaming in Total Recall? No topic is off limits.

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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 2-25-16: Facebook Gets Reactionary

We’re living in a different world than we were yesterday. Facebook has turned on their new “Reactions” feature. So instead of just “liking” a post, you can choose from “Love,” “Haha,” “Wow,” “Sad,” and “Angry.” It comes from people wanting to show support for posts where a “like” wasn’t really appropriate, like if someone’s parent just died or they posted that they were a Donald Trump supporter. I fear change, so I don’t like this one bit.

Shots fired: Two sources are saying that Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval is being vetted as a possible Supreme Court nominee. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval is a Republican

Tom Ricketts addressed the media for the full start of spring training and commented on Donald Trump’s tweet about the family. He said it’s a little surreal when Donald Trump threatens your mom. He also pointed out that the family is pretty transparent about everything they do, both with the team and other causes they each support, so he’s not sure what Trump meant by saying they have a lot to hide.

Mitt Romney thinks it would be great if Donald Trump’s taxes faced the same scrutiny that his did four years ago. He thinks there just might be a “bombshell” of some kind in there, since Trump seems to be evading the issue at this point.

The cosmic ballet goes on: The Earth got hit by a meteorite earlier this month and no one seemed to notice. The meteor hit the atmosphere about 600 miles off the coast of Brazil. It was about 1/3 the size of the one that blew up over Russia a while back, so it exploded with the force of 13,000 tons of TNT, as opposed to the one over Russia which was 500,000 tons of TNT. Some dolphins were probably very confused, but no people were adversely effected.

Grassroots Support: A woman is selling official pipes and chillums to raise money for Bernie Sanders. They are called “Burners for Bernie” and range in price from $30-60. It seems ironic that she would sell them for money.

A business owner in Georgia is requiring employees to get a concealed carry permit and be armed. He also gives each of them a gun called “The Judge.” They sell aviation insurance. He said it was in response to a recent increase in home robberies in the area.

A woman in Maine found out that she needed a kidney transplant, and was told it could take three to six years until she’d get to the top of the transplant list. She wasn’t too happy with that so she took matters into her own hands and posted signs all over town asking for a donor. Amazingly enough, a waitress with four kids responded and now she’ll be getting her transplant. From a total stranger.

Bigfoot is either doing a lot of traveling or has a bigger family than we thought. Now there has been a sighting in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

There’s a guy offering a job with a $260,000/year salary and three months of vacation and he can’t find anyone who wants it. It’s not like it’s working in a sewer or engraving asprins or anything, it’s a doctor’s office. The problem is it’s in rural Australia, with spotty WiFi and no one other than kangaroos to hang out with. Would you work in the middle of nowhere for $260,000?

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 2-22-16: I For One Welcome Our Alien DJ Overlords

A new TV special suggests that the Astronauts on Apollo 10 heard strange music coming through their radio when they were on the far side of the Moon. That’s spooky, because the Moon would have been blocking any signals from Earth, so the music had to come from out in space. The Astronauts debated whether or not to tell NASA about it and decided not to, but it was in their tape dump so eventually NASA did hear about it. The official NASA explanation is that the radios on the CSM and LEM were interfering with each other and that’s what the Astronauts heard. They had all flown in space before though, so it seems likely they would have recognized the sound of two radios interfering with each other.

The city has seized the old Post Office building through eminent domain and will be looking for a new developer. Apparently the existing developer wasn’t moving quickly enough for the city? It’s been abandoned for so long that it might make a good place for some sort of zombie apocalypse role-playing adventure. Other ideas?

Donald Trump has now dropped the allegation that Marco Rubio is ineligible to be President of the United States because he’s “not a Natural Born Citizen.” Once again, the discussion started because he decided to retweet someone mentioning the idea. George Stephanopolous brought up the retweet on This Week, and Trump said he’s “not sure” if Rubio is eligible. He is, BTW. Rubio was born in Miami.  I would have thought that there were unique circumstances behind the personal histories of both Barack Obama and Ted Cruz that led to Trump making those birther allegations, but it turns out that’s literally his campaign strategy against EVERYONE. Are we sure Trump is eligible to be President? Where do Oompa Loompa’s come from?

The Chicago Tribune has found a photo of Bernie Sanders being arrested during a civil rights protest in 1963. It was back when Sanders was a student at the University of Chicago, protesting segregation. He ended up being fined $25.

Finally ready to find a fellow socialist and settle down to raise an army of little socialists to help in the revolution against the capitalist running dogs? Now there’s a dating website just for Bernie Sanders supporters. It’s really only a true Bernie Sanders dating website if you force someone else to pay for your date.

A lock of John Lennon’s hair sold for $35,000 at an auction on Saturday. He got his hair cut for his role in the movie “How I Won The War” in 1967. Cool or stalker-level creepy? Get ready for the debut of Clone John Lennon.

A little girl burst into tears when told President Obama will be leaving office soon. Her grandmother posted the video, and naturally it has since gone viral. President Obama has actually responded, telling her that when he leaves office he won’t go anywhere, he’ll just be a normal citizen just like her.

Geek/CounterGeek – #47: Katrina And The Gravitational Waves

Scientists have confirmed the existence of gravitational waves. It proves a theory that was proposed by Einstein around 100 years ago.

The Russians have announced that they will do their best impression of a Michael Bay movie, and try to blow up the asteroid Apophis as it passes by the Earth in 2036.

Speaking of Michael Bay movies and blowing stuff up, Transformers 5, 6 and 7 have their release dates, just in case you’re still interested in that kind of thing.

Plus, there was big news in the Star Trek universe. Bryan Fuller has been tapped as the showrunner for the new CBS Star Trek series that will headline their new streaming channel. Fuller is a life-long Star Trek fan and former writer for both DS9 and Voyager so the news has Keith and Elliott both more bullish on the project.

Each week Keith Conrad and Chicago’s Top Geek Elliott Serrano debate a controversial topic in contemporary geekery: Kirk vs. Picard? Was Douglas Quaid dreaming in Total Recall? No topic is off limits.

Follow Elliott Serrano on Twitter
Follow Keith Conrad on Twitter
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What Are We Going To Call This Thing? – (The Lost Episodes) #11: Ethiopians Screwed Up My Laptop

Keith explains why there hasn’t been a podcast in a few weeks. It’s an amazing and bone-chilling story.

If you’re looking to make a career change, NASA is taking applications for a new crop of astronauts. Dave and Keith worked on their applications.

Plus, Dave had one hell of an adventure at the dentist, which brought on some medication-induced fever dreams.

Dave Stripling and Keith Conrad are producers for rival Chicago morning radio shows, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get along. This forbidden friendship is a lot like West Side Story, except with less finger-snapping.

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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 2-5-16: Grocery Store Lecturing

Jewel-Osco stores here in Chicago have taken to lecturing people when they don’t bring their own reusable grocery bags with them. First cashiers ask people if they brought their bags, then they ask them if they want to buy some high-quality Jewel-brand bags which just happen to be for sale nearby.

A family in Park Ridge is under a vicious onslaught from Big Government. They are being ordered by the city to tear down their children’s beloved treehouse. The city is saying that it’s not permitted, and people aren’t allowed to build such large, garish structures on their property in the prestigious hamlet of Park Ridge. The family on the other hand claims that when they were building said neighborhood menace, the city told them it was fine. Their neighbor even has a similar structure in their yard. Apparently one of their other neighbors, undoubtedly anonymously, complained about the size of the edifice.

Macy’s may have broken a lot of hearts in Chicago when they shed the Marshall Field’s name, but that doesn’t mean they want you using it. They’ve gone to court to block anyone from using Marshall Field’s or the names of any other brands they bought and decided to stop using in their villains scheme to homogenize the shopping experience in the United States.

Playboy has officially published it’s first non-nude magazine. They are confident that people will continue to turn to Playboy for the same hard-hitting investigative journalism that they’ve always provided.

Want even more proof that Bernie Sanders and Larry David are the same person? Bernie Sanders actually played a Rabbi in a romantic comedy back in 1999. The movie was called “My X-Girlfriend’s Wedding Reception.” His character’s name was Rabbi Manny Shevitz. Since he’s a socialist, I assume he didn’t get paid for it.

The push is on to get Carly Fiorina in Saturday’s Republican Presidential debate on ABC. ABC’s criteria will basically include everyone except Fiorina and Gilmore, who is apparently still running. At this point there are only 8 candidates running, it’s not like they can claim it would be two crowded.

You know how gas has been so cheap lately? President Obama is going to propose a $10/barrel surcharge on oil. They estimate it would raise the price of gasoline about $.25/gallon. The Administration wants to use the money from the surcharge to invest in mass transit, high-speed rail, self-driving cars, and other transportation approaches designed to reduce carbon emissions and congestion. It doesn’t stand a chance in Congress, so is this really any more meaningful than repealing ObamaCare for the 64th time? Also, taxing people doesn’t change behavior. Ask smokers.

End of the World Update: Scientists say a 100 foot asteroid will pass very close to the Earth on March 5th. It’s called 2013 TX68, so we’ve know about it for a couple of years. They can’t say for sure how close it will come, but they are estimating about 11,000 miles. To put that in perspective, our communications and GPS satellites in geosynchronous orbit are at 20,000 miles. So it will pass between them and the earth. The big rock is about 100 feet wide, about the same size as a basketball court. It wouldn’t end life as we know it, but it would take out a city or create one epic tsunami if it hit water.

Maurice White, the founder of the band Earth, Wind & Fire, has passed away at 74. Betty White has been placed in protective custody.