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Connellsville-bound author says 'Treknology' isn't near: It's already here

| Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Two unique events are scheduled for early June at ArtWorks Connellsville.

Award-winning journalist Justin McLachlan, author of “Treknology: Star Trek's Tech 300 Years Ahead of the Future,” will be signing copies of his book from 5 to 7 p.m. on June 4.

With its vision of a bold future, Star Trek has captivated millions for decades. Its ideas of transporters and warp drives, of androids and holodecks have penetrated the cultural imagination, McLachlan said.

McLachlan explores the current state of technology and what's waiting for everyone on the horizon. With the help of experts in the fields of robotics, physics, artificial intelligence and more, he looks not just at the science behind Star Trek's technology, not just at people's abilities and challenges, but beyond the question of “Can we?” to also ask, “Should we?” How would humankind treat a race of androids? Would holodecks only isolate people in a world where human interaction doesn't exist? Can machines that learn ever be truly controlled? Should they be? These questions are more important now than ever, as the pace of technological innovation outstrips even the imaginations of Star Trek's writers.

What McLachlan finds in Treknology is that much of the Star Treks technology and the questions it poses for mankind are not just within our technological grasp, but much of it is already here — 300 years ahead of the future.

McLachlan says that evolution drives the ideas behind Treknology.

“I think the reason Star Trek holds so much appeal, and has for so long, is that it promises us the idea of a better future, a utopia even. I think the technology played a huge part in that future, obviously, and it's amazing how much quicker we're moving than anyone ever imagined. Hopefully we're moving in the right direction,” he added.

“I remember watching Star Trek as a child growing up,” said Daniel Cocks, art coordinator at ArtWorks. “It was one of my favorite programs. I always thought it was amazing how back then their ‘light years away' technology would some day come true. Are we finally on the fringes of some of that technology today?

“Beam yourself up to ArtWorks Connellsville on Tuesday, June 4, to meet Justin and see for yourself what technology we are now seeing due to this futuristic advanced series,” he added.

ArtWorks is located at 139 W. Crawford Ave., Connellsville.

For more information on this author event, call 724-320-6392. “Treknology” is published by Boxfire Press, www.boxfirepress.com.

On June 8, ArtWorks plans a day of fun for children in grades three to five.

“Have you ever wanted to make your very own puppets and put on a show?” Cocks said. “Here's your chance to unleash your creativity. In this workshop, Lisa Segedy, a professional puppeteer, will teach you how to make puppets and use original stories or folktales to write scripts.”

Children will learn how to design various kinds of puppets as well as how to make them come to life through puppeteer techniques. Then they will rehearse for a puppet show and end the day with a big performance for family and friends.

Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with everyone's family and friends being invited back for the play at 3:30 p.m. The $20 registration includes all puppet-making materials. Children are asked to bring a sack lunch and their imagination. Deadline to register is Friday at www.artworksconnellsville.org or call 724-320-6392.

“I am focusing on creativity in every aspect at this workshop,” Segedy said. “Kids will write their own script using an original story or a familiar one, for example ‘Three Little Pigs' or an Aesop fable. They will make their own puppets. They will draw their own backdrop for their show. Then they will rehearse and end the day performing their shows for family and friends.

“Throughout the various creative pieces, I'll also teach the kids various puppeteering techniques, including how to make a puppet seem real, how to use timing for a better performance, how to find and use character voices, how to project, how to provide action in a script, etc. It will be a fast, fun day,” she added.

Segedy was formerly with Reynolds Homestead, the Cultural Facility of VA Tech and Piccadilly Puppets of Kansas City, Mo.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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