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$1.5 Billion Star Trek Theme Park Coming To Jordan 233

Posted by samzenpus
from the risa-in-the-desert dept.
MikeChino writes "King Abdullah of Jordan (who was once an extra in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager) has given the green light to a $1.5 billion Star Trek theme park that will boldly take Jordan where no Gulf state has gone before. While the theme park will not be powered by dilithium crystals, it will utilize green technology in order to lower its carbon footprint — all of its electricity will be generated by renewable sources." Just a few weeks ago Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Ahyan carved his name in the desert so it could be seen from space. It looks like Sci-fi has finally made it to the Middle East. I can't wait for them to discover Firefly.
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$1.5 Billion Star Trek Theme Park Coming To Jordan

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  • And (Score:5, Funny)

    by Konster (252488) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @10:13AM (#37032378)

    ....aaaand the nerds finally get a Mecca to call their own.

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)

      ....aaaand the nerds finally get a Mecca to call their own.

      I thought that was the Star Wars: A New Hope soundstage/hotel in Tunisia?

    • by operagost (62405)
      I wouldn't call it a Mecca while you're there, or your dead body might be sent back in two pieces.
    • by Benfea (1365845) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @12:36PM (#37034008)

      The previous king was often the only voice of reason on matters pertaining to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He was the only one to criticize both sides when they deserved it. The current king was not the crown prince, but the previous king changed his choice of successor at the last minute. Thankfully, king Abdullah has continued his father's tradition.

      King Abdullah did things in his youth that he probably would not have done were he the crown prince. Things like appearing as an extra in a Star Trek: TNG episode. I believe that makes him the only monarch on the planet ever to appear in a Star Trek episode. Clearly, he is more of a Star Trek fan than I thought, and good for him.

  • Just hop on a camel for a day to get to Petra.

    So soon there'll be two reasons to go to Jordan.

  • They will clash in the desert with phasers and lightsabers, and the rumbling of At-ATs will shake the valleys

  • What an astoundingly stupid idea. However as an entry in the "whoever dies with the most toys wins" category, I think we may have a winner...
    • by jedidiah (1196)

      Stupid? You mean in making Jewish geeks (and geeks in general) travel to Jordan? Or did you mean something else?

      Wonder if anyone has told Nimoy yet?

    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      It is a perfect place for a solar powered theme park.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      This blows me away, too. Maybe it's as stupid as it sounds. On the other hand, maybe all the action isn't in California and Florida any more? Maybe they know practically no Americans will make the trip and they ran the numbers and found out they don't care?
  • Mix attitude (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @10:26AM (#37032500) Homepage

    On the one hand, this is pretty cool, and the general values of Stark Trek (of which free thought and egalitarianism are pretty high on the list) are good things to promote in areas like Jordan. However, the fact that the monarch is already a Trekkie and yet is country is like what it is today doesn't speak highly of how much influence it has really had on him. (Jordan is not nearly as badly off as say Syria, but it is by no means a functioning democracy with human rights. Far from it.) Moreover, the people who go to this will almost certainly be outside tourists, whether Westerners, or rich people from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. So this will probably do very little to directly benefit Jordanians, who have a lot of problems. Again, Jordan's problems aren't nearly as severe as many other countries in the region, the literacy rate is the second highest out of it and its immediate neighbors http://www.indexmundi.com/jordan/literacy.html [indexmundi.com] but there's still a decent chunk of around 10% who can't read. And there's severe unemployment- this project might help with that, but it is tough to tell.

    The fact that they are making the park green is noteworthy. Unlike many of the oil states in the region, Jordan's total oil reserve is comparatively small, but they do have a lot of oil shale http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_shale_in_Jordan [wikipedia.org] which becomes more valuable as people run out of oil. So it isn't completely clear why Jordan would want to promote green tech other than actual ideology (well and self-interest for when everyone else's oil runs out and they still want their stuff to not be insanely expensive. But that's surprisingly far-sighed in the circumstances). It should be interesting to see where this goes in the next few years.

    • Re:Mix attitude (Score:4, Informative)

      by data2 (1382587) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @10:41AM (#37032642)

      10% sounds quite a lot, but according to Adult Literacy in America, Third Edition, (http://nces.ed.gov/pubs93/93275.pdf), "This government study showed that 21% to 23% of adult Americans were not "able to locate information in text", could not "make low-level inferences using printed materials", and were unable to "integrate easily identifiable pieces of information.", which I would define as literacy, but obviously indexmundi uses a different scale, as it states the USA as having a 99% literacy rate.

      • by jpapon (1877296) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @10:54AM (#37032754) Journal
        Literacy in the U.S. is defined as whether you can tell the difference between the signs for McDonalds, Burger King, Walmart, and KFC.
        • by jedidiah (1196)

          That is what literacy is period. You just want to move the bar to suit your particular agenda today.

          If you decide to move the bar for one measurement, then you have to move it again for the population you don't have an obvious bias against.

          That 10% is not literate enough to avoid buying a pulled pork sandwich.

      • by Gotung (571984)
        Most of the people in my office would fail your test.
      • by morcego (260031)

        Most of the "political" literacy rating methods define literacy as being able to read and write your own name. And no, I'm not joking. I wish I was. (In some places, that is called "functional illiterate", which is still worse).

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functional_illiteracy [wikipedia.org] makes for some very interesting reading for anyone interested in the subject.

    • Re:Mix attitude (Score:5, Informative)

      by epiphani (254981) <epiphani AT dal DOT net> on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @11:13AM (#37032972)

      I'd suggest you watch this interview with King Abdullah. While it may be a monarchy, this is a Monarch I can honestly say impressed me. He's well educated, well spoken, and very aware of his own situation. I have no doubt that Jordan is likely to be one of the better middle-eastern states to live in under his leadership.

      http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-september-23-2010/king-abdullah-ii-of-jordan [thedailyshow.com]

      • Re:Mix attitude (Score:4, Interesting)

        by NanoGradStudent (878951) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @12:57PM (#37034282)

        The (extended) interview with the Jordanian UN Ambassador, Prince Zeid Ra'ad was also quite good (and hilarious):
        http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-march-1-2011/exclusive---zeid-ra-ad-extended-interview-pt--1 [thedailyshow.com]

        Or if you're Canadian, like me:
        http://watch.thecomedynetwork.ca/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart/exclusive-interviews/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart---prince-zeid-raad-extended-interview/#clip426425 [thecomedynetwork.ca]

        Abdullah was supposed to show up again to promote his book, but given the situation in the Middle East, he sent the Ambassador instead. Interestingly enough, he's a Pretender to the Throne of Iraq--if they ever brought back the monarchy, I think they could do quite a bit worse than him:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Zeid_bin_Ra'ad [wikipedia.org]

        Let me preface what I'm about to say by saying that from everything I've read and seen, and with the comparative openness of Jordan and Jordanian society, I think King Abdullah (and King Hussein before him) is a good man and leader, and in no way compares to some of the people that follow. I think many foreign dignitaries come off quite well on the Daily Show and the Colbert Report (like Pakistani ex-president Pervez Musharraf, and former Egyptian first lady Suzanne Mubarak)--it's their opportunity to present themselves to a good portion of the American public (and given the international distribution, probably a not-insignificant amount of viewers throughout the western world). I have a feeling that were Asma (Emma) and/or Bashar al-Assad ever to go on, they'd probably be similarly charming and well-spoken. During World War II, Joseph Stalin cultivated the image of Uncle Joe in Allied countries.

        All that said, Jordan hasn't launched invasions of its neighbours, there don't seem to be mass-graves or concentration camps in Jordan, there haven't been brutal and bloody crackdowns (as in Libya or Syria), and Jordan is open enough to the rest of the world that we'd probably be able to tell.

      • Perhaps for now. But eventually he will die and thus the monarch will be run by someone else. There's no way to know if the next in line will be a complete asshole or not. Power changes people. That is why monarchs are so unstable and shouldn't be trusted as a viable form of governance.

    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      The fact that they are making the park green is noteworthy. Unlike many of the oil states in the region, Jordan's total oil reserve is comparatively small, but they do have a lot of oil shale http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_shale_in_Jordan [wikipedia.org] which becomes more valuable as people run out of oil. So it isn't completely clear why Jordan would want to promote green tech other than actual ideology (well and self-interest for when everyone else's oil runs out and they still want their stuff to not be insanely expensive. But that's surprisingly far-sighed in the circumstances). It should be interesting to see where this goes in the next few years.

      Maybe they have come to the conclusion (as many other groups have) that oil shale is so painfully difficult to get usable crude out of that conservation actually makes *sense* despite the promises of fifty trillion barrels "sitting right under our feet"? If we haven't already completely boned the environment with burning off all the light sweet crude we can find in easy to access deposits, the energy consumed and requisite pollution generated in just *gathering* the crude from the oil shale will certainly

    • So it isn't completely clear why Jordan would want to promote green tech other than actual ideology (well and self-interest for when everyone else's oil runs out and they still want their stuff to not be insanely expensive. But that's surprisingly far-sighed in the circumstances).

      It's not particularly far sighted at all, in fact Jordan is more a follower than a leader - the oil states have been starting to diversify for some time now. Consider this story [slashdot.org] from 2010, or this one [slashdot.org] from just a couple of weeks a

  • With that money and if I was a big Rabid fan. I would have made Life Size models, Inside and out of the Star Trek Ships. Not just some futuristic buildings.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      ...at least make the indoor spaces kind of "themed" with different ships in mind so that you feel like you are on one ship or another with accomodations to match.

      If you are cheap, you get a TOS era stateroom.

      If you are more spendy, you get a TNG era stateroom.

      • by Wovel (964431)

        Janeway had the best room, Picard should feel cheated. All she did was get lost.

    • by Verdatum (1257828)
      I would've made a spin-off series that didn't suck!
      • That would require having the original that didn't suck. With all the fans who see so much in star trek... All in all they are just a show that keeps us entertained an hour a week. Then like a lot of entertainment which we valued too much in our youth spin offs just don't seem right as you can watch the new shows without your past emotional baggage.

      • No really try watching it. I'm halfway through the last season and like it better than Voyager and Enterprise.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      That is fairly brilliant, actually. Hotel Utopia Planitia [memory-alpha.org]. The whole hotel could host one or more murder-mystery-scale adventures at once, sort of like a gigantic magic motion ride. Only some elevators need to be special though, and the bridge.

  • by Deus.1.01 (946808) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @10:27AM (#37032508) Journal

    ...Arabs were more partial to Frank Herbert.

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      They say Mahdi, we say Kwisatz Haderach, the Jews say Meshiah....whatever.
    • by jandrese (485)
      I don't know, if you consider the Spice to be a metaphor for Oil, then the book is about how some dirty nomads overthrow the oppressive resource monopolizing government. Maybe not the message the gulf state monarchs want to convey.
      • by EnsilZah (575600)

        Ha, more like a bunch of dirty nomads are used as tools to overthrow an oppressive resource monopolizing government only to enact an expansionist theocracy in its stead.

    • by EnsilZah (575600)

      I remember that at some point, I believe under Leto II's rule Arrakis basically has Fremen-themed reservations/safari/theme-park where descendents of the Fremen reenact their ancestors' nomadic lifestyle.
      So might be a bit too meta.

  • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @10:38AM (#37032612)
    That kind of money could buy how many new seasons of Firefly? Wow, what a thought! And more seriously, I don't think it would be a bad idea for rich sheiks who don't know what to do with their money to invest in something cultural and immortal like a smart scifi show. It would generate a whole lot of good will and visibility than some vanity theme park or a sign visible from space.
  • by qbzzt (11136) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @10:45AM (#37032680)

    Most of the Jordanian population lives in the west, close to the Jordan river - not in the east. It is about a thousand miles from Amman (the capital) or Aqaba (the one port and the location of the park) to the Persian Gulf.

    I think this is stimulus spending. Abdullah doesn't want to have the problems of his neighbors to the north (Syria) and south-west (Egypt).

    With luck and really good security, they might be able to get a lot of tourists from Israel.

    • by jpapon (1877296)

      With luck and really good security, they might be able to get a lot of tourists from Israel.

      That's the thing... it only takes one idiot with a vest filled with C4 and ball bearings to forever ruin the magic of a theme park.

      • by qbzzt (11136)

        It will probably be a bit more difficult. How much do you want to bet there will be explosive sniffing dogs and metal detectors at the entrance? It would be vulnerable, but an attack will be harder.

        • by jpapon (1877296)
          How is that hard? Just blow the bomb up in the middle of the long lines of people waiting to go through security. I mean... if you've ever been to a theme park you know how the lines to get tickets (nevermind to get through tight security) can be massive...
          • by qbzzt (11136)

            I have never been in a theme park in a place where the wages are as low as they are in Jordan. I suspect that:

            1. They'll be over staffed by our standards.
            2. Security will be walking around with their sniffing dogs, all the way from the parking lot to the gate.

        • by jpapon (1877296)
          Besides, I wasn't commenting so much on the difficulty of bombing, because yes, with enough money, security could be made virtually air-tight.

          I was merely saying that it seems like it would only take one incident to bankrupt the park. The thought that you might be killed, or that others were murdered right where you are standing, really takes all the joy out of a theme-park.

          • by qbzzt (11136)

            Good point. What makes things even worse is that the terrorists don't have to actually pull off an attack. Just threatening it might be enough.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        These things happen [wikipedia.org], life goes on, brand names recover...
  • I think a lot of the appeal of park would be lost to Trekkies if the park just catered to Arabic speaking tourists. At the same time though, it's in an Arabic speaking country so it seems kind of odd for it be in English.

    I guess it'll have to be bi-lingual in absence of universal translators. This situation just seems kind of odd to me in that American franchise would have a theme park catering to it in another part of the world.

  • ..and start a holy war against Fox for cancelling it.

    Tm

  • Who seriously believes that nerds are going to fly in sufficient numbers to the middle east and spend enough money to justify spending a billion and a half dollars on a theme park? It's one of those ideas which is so fucking stupid it would take a king to greenlight it.
    • Poeple in the middle east need theme parks as well. It doesn't really mater what the theme is. If it still has roller coasters, water slides, and a reasonalbe ticket price it will do well. Not much added cost in making it trekkie themed. Cheap uniforms, plastic props, and paint will get you 90% there.
    • Why wouldn't people go? People travel to Dubai all the time. And Jordan is much closer to Europe than the United States is, so Europeans would have an easier time going there than here, especially if the park were in, say, California. And you're also ignoring all the other things that can be staged in and around the park. They could put on the biggest Star Trek convention you've ever seen. And even if the thing only manages to break even, the boost to the local economy could be huge.

      And who ever though

    • Who seriously believes that nerds are going to fly in sufficient numbers to the middle east and spend enough money to justify spending a billion and a half dollars on a theme park?

      There are nerds -- and, more relevant to the immediate issue, Star Trek fans, which while the two groups overlap aren't the same thing -- in the Middle East. (Including, incidentally, King Abdullah of Jordan.)

      Plus, from most of the descriptions I can find in news articles, it seems to be only a mildly Star Trek themed park, and m

  • by Torodung (31985) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @11:14AM (#37032986) Journal

    In Jordan, for political reasons, the transporter is just called a porter.

  • The Las Vegas Hilton Star Trek mockups, museum and rides were interesting, even with a $16 admission. But interested dwindled in tandem with no TV series and only one movie int he past eight years. And the closed it a few years ago.
  • Nerd Fail (Score:5, Informative)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @12:20PM (#37033828) Homepage Journal

    Dilithium crystals(radan) do not power anything, it's a regulator for the matter/anti-matter reaction. It's like saying the valves in a nuclear reactor power cities.

  • by dtolman (688781) <dtolman@yahoo.com> on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @12:24PM (#37033872) Homepage
    Lesson learned - always find time to cast the Crown Prince to be on your show, you never know when it'll pay off: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kmut6FJ1d4M [youtube.com] Now we know what ??? is in step 3: wait for extra to become wealthy king.
  • by jakedata (585566) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @12:48PM (#37034170)

    Might get more Muslim visitors that way.

  • And yet I would not want to take my family there, even to see Petra. Will this help in their progress toward human rights?

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