For seven years I have resisted the iPhoneization of the keyboard, staunchly refusing to do anything different in regards to the hyphens of ST-v-SW.Net ... my personal preference was for folks to have better mobile keyboards in the first place, and indeed these are readily available for Android.

But now that tablets are becoming so inexpensive and even really good Windows-based ones have a keyboard that doesn't have the hyphen immediately available (by default, anyway), I have decided to go ahead and get STvSW.Net and just redirect it to ST-v-SW.Net so if someone skips the hyphens when typing it in they can still arrive. 

After all, the new version of the site will be more mobile-friendly, so it seems only fitting that I make that concession.

But it is still ST-v-SW.Net and always will be.


A Simple Plane

I did a thing:

That is a flyable Enterprise in the game "SimplePlanes", in which you can build your own aircraft and fly them.  The place was lousy with X-wings and Vipers and such.  Alas, someone beat me to being the first Enterprise by 16 hours but mine is actually good-ish.  Other than the TMP-era nacelle struts she keeps as much to the TOS style as possible given available materials.  Even the three air intakes up front are meant to echo the three round windows, and the nacelles have the little spikes from certain angles.

I considered doing a Falcon first thinking a saucer would be easier but the drag and weight offset of her asymmetric design seemed troublesome to overcome in my initial forays.  (I should've done a TIE, come to think of it.)  I also did a "Primitive Romulan Warbird" before that when I realized a biplane I was making kinda reminded me of one, but that could be a lot better aesthetically.

I am not a big gamer by any means, but I am rather fond of this publisher's stuff.  I have mentioned the previous game SimpleRockets in regards to the silly lightspeed claim regarding "Jedi Crash", considering it as an easy way for someone to get a sense of how velocity affects direction in gravity field navigation.  This reference has no such scientific utility ... I am just enjoying the fact I got that thing airborne.

If you try it out, please rate it so others can find it more easily.  Thanks!


QotD 2014-1209

QotD = Quote of the Day = New feature for maximally-lazyfied blogging.   Will be irregular.  Will probably have audacity to include self.  What a jackass.  But, digressing:

"No one ever complained about where the power source for Yoda's invisible winch is on Dagobah, or where under his robes Sidious hides his "lightning battery.""

- "Darth Spock" re: kyber crystals, http://www.starfleetjedi.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6665&start=45


Ubiquitous PADDs

At forty bucks for a Wi-Fi, BT, and GPS-enabled Android tablet, we have, I think, reached the era where this is plausible for the everyman:

Bear in mind, I am not sure this is a good thing.

And no, this isn't a sponsored post. It was just the thought I had upon seeing one in a brick-and-mortar store that cheap for the first time.


Classic Hits - Today!

So once, a long time ago, the computerized playlist system of a classic rock station pooped out in the middle of the night.   The young DJ was stuck all alone (save for a friend who was there hanging out) and didn't know who to call or how to fix it, but he knew how to play songs from CDs on the air.  Unfortunately, the collection from his car was not exactly as classic as the normal playlist, so the classic rock station ended up playing what the DJ thought were "classic" songs that were just a few years old, at least until the station owner called to find out why the hell his classic rock station was playing Nirvana and similar.

That was not the pinnacle moment in the history of radio, to be sure, but the point is that one can certainly imagine an event where the reverse happened . . . "You're listening to 109.9 The Frog, playing all of today's greatest hits!  Next up, Buddy Holly's recently-released That'll Be The Day!"  If you heard that, you might think you'd entered some sort of freakish time warp.

That was the situation I found myself in within the past few days.   I went to check up on the Kyber Crystal debate stuff and found that, alas, the current most active inflationist has changed subject . . . no, not to Babylon 5 or some other show I haven't watched, but instead to -- of all things -- the Ewok Arrow.  He has thus kindly provided us with more teachable moments insofar as how not to do this sort of thing.

And then while composing the response herein, I ended up going to look at the SDN forum and found that they were actually claiming that the asteroid that sheared off the bridge tower in TESB had only damaged a communications antenna, and that the reason the ship captain recoiled in horror was merely an instinctive reaction to something big coming his way, like a driver flinching if a water balloon is thrown against the windshield.

I was sorely tempted to stop and go to an internet timeserver to make sure I didn't have a wi-fi connection to 2004.   Seriously!   After all, I'd recently made a series of posts at StarfleetJedi.Net about "Zombie Inflationism" . . . I was referring to inflationists not realizing their religion was extinct, but I had no idea even then that I'd find myself literally seeing modern antiques like "the bridge tower's undamaged!" or "the Ewok arrow didn't hit the backpack!"

The TESB bridge tower obliteration was a question that I'd put to bed on this site in April 2003.  (Here's a Wayback version with the pics intact from 2004.)  I've updated the screencaps since then but didn't need to change the text significantly, because (prepare yourself for a mind-blowing fact) . . . obvious-conclusion remained obvious.

The bridge tower and soon the whole ship were destroyed.  End of debate.

And yet, here it is 11.5 years later and we've got the myth of "That?  'Tis but a scratch!" still being repeated at the inflationist madrasa.

How can they even ... no, wait.  Can they even?  I think not!

And then, lest we forget, we have the arrow thing.

For those of you unaware, the Ewok Arrow was one of the major battles of the olden days.

Here is one of the pages on the topic as it existed over 10 years ago, before access to Star Wars on DVD or much less Blu-ray.   (Note the reference to the long page load time on 56k!)   To summarize, the old inflationists were claiming that an Ewok arrow sticking out of a scout trooper just had to have hit above the guy's backpack on the black bodysuit, despite the clear evidence that this just wasn't so.   The Ewok arrow had clearly penetrated the backpack, as could be determined even with the VHS-video-capture-grade evidence available at the time.

However, there was one frame where the arrow seemed to line up with a smudge on the top of the trooper's backpack, and it was this singular frame that they planted their standard on, despite the fact that this coincidence didn't occur in any other frame where both smudge and arrow were visible.

With the advent of the DVDs, their argument became even less sustainable, and many just sort of dropped the old argument.  At some point I updated with the new DVD images, and though some still tried to claim the arrow wasn't in the backpack, the inflationists seemed generally to stop pressing the issue.

Nevertheless, in 2007 I posted HD caps of the arrow scene to StarfleetJedi.Net which made it even more obvious-er that the arrow was in the backpack.  

I don't recall ever hearing any further argument on the topic, so I presumed that the inflationists had wisely (and, of course, quietly) backed away from the claim.

Silly me.

I was thinking of commenting "you know, for a video guy and self-professed 'evidence man', I find your lack of video disturbing",  But, he references a previous video about the arrow (stormtroopers.mov at SciFights.Net, about 40 minutes in), but even in that video, he basically just glosses over the problem.  As is so often the case, he simply plays the scene, repeats some old wacky claim (or, sometimes, a new, possibly wackier one), and provides no factual analysis or observation.  I can do that better without saying a word:


In the case of the latest video . . . at least unless he edits it, which also happens sometimes . . . he simply shows the frame of the video in which the arrow is lined up nicely with the smudge (is it really 2004 again?), and then goes on to use a gappy fan costume to "prove" that there was a lot of room above the backpack for the arrow to possibly hit, as if somehow the mere presence of a large area not covered by metal or plastoid is relevant.

It isn't.  Even if we accept the fan costume as screen-accurate (though really, why not show a real onscreen one like I did years ago?), the whole nature of the argument is silly.  It doesn't matter if the backpack is way down on the guy's butt like he's some sort of saggy-packed thugtrooper who holds his blaster sideways ... what matters is where the arrow actually hit.  Did it hit the backpack or did it hit above the backpack?  That's the question, not the amount of not-metal-or-plastoid available.  It isn't like the bodysuit would suck the arrow towards itself with greater force with the more of it that showed.

And y'know, it isn't like I haven't spent time pondering this stuff.  Indeed, let's stop and consider the aforementioned issue of screen accuracy, shall we?  Here are the backs of two different scout trooper models uploaded by "abdyla" to the SketchUp 3-D Warehouse:

Those are 3-D models, guys.  It ain't tough to move a digital line ... certainly it is easier than redesigning a plastic suit. And yet even in CG those two wildly different models disagree completely on how high the pack sits up the back.  But to Brian, some random dude from a convention is the highest authority.  Okeedokee.

So where did it hit? Well, it is brutally, patently obvious that the arrow struck the backpack itself.  We've known that for well over a decade.  I argued it successfully based on VHS evidence, then with DVD it was made more plain, and HD only confirmed it that much more.

But Brian doesn't acknowledge the existence of other arguments (unless in strawman form).

Now, in my opinion, only flagrant, willful ignorance or flagrant, willful dishonesty can possibly be involved, here.  The asteroid scene discussion on SDN can be included here, though I give wiggle room for off-the-cuff forum posts.  But regarding the arrow topic, if you're gonna pretend to be an expert (as Young does), do your job and throw a little research in.   If you claim to have researched it (as Young does), then do your job right and don't lie about it to your viewers, or yourself, as part of your endless, desperate campaign to inflate Star Wars technology over that of other universes.


Blah Blah Scientificalness, Pt. III

In a shocking twist . . . shocking, I say! . . . the obvious conclusion has proven correct.

See, back in Pt. I, we observed the good Mr. Young going through the "denial" stage of grief in reference to the kyber crystals being associated with the Death Star.   Now, he has acknowledged it.

And yet, even in acknowledging it, we have a few teachable moments.

1.  He got to the conclusion in the totally wrong way.

Instead of referencing the "kyber crystal assembly" for the Death Star from Tarkin and thus keeping his conclusions drawn from within the canon, he only acknowledges it because of a "Rebels Recon" behind-the-scenes piece in which Pablo Hidalgo, curiously hatless, mentions it.   Hidalgo describes it as a focusing device, not as an amplifier/converter/tap as the canon shows, which no doubt plays into Young's wishes.

2.  Even upon acknowledging the kyber crystal's use in the Death Star, he couldn't leave well enough alone, and so tried to somehow turn it into a self-contradictory attack on Star Trek by drawing a conclusion about Romulan Warbirds.

Even discussing this claim furthers the goal of distracting attention away from the kyber crystal issue, in my opinion, and is merely the second stage of grief (lashing out in anger), but as it is a teachable moment . . .

See, he touts the claim that he cares more about what can be done by a culture (or "how well" as he puts it) instead of the nuts and bolts of how.  

Generally speaking, this is not wrong-headed on the face of it.   It's not helpful to get lost in the weeds of technobabble for this exercise.  And yet, he's certainly just too happy to make assertions about the nuts and bolts of Star Wars reactors based on his assumptions regarding the Death Star, assumptions about accelerations via antigravs, and so on, and he even continues to call the Death Star a 1E38J weapon, which is simply inaccurate.

He can talk a good talk, but fails to walk the walk.

In this case, he declares Romulan Warbirds to have inferior power generation technology to their Federation counterparts because the D'Deridex is slower at warp by design than a Galaxy Class Starship.

That's silly.   The speed of a warp-powered vessel, like that of an automobile, is based on many factors.   I can have a turbocharged 500 horsepower engine in a truck that might get its butt handed to it easily by a carburetor-breathing 200 horsepower car.   The truck is just bigger, heavier, geared for towing and not speed, et cetera, whereas the car might be an Ariel Atom-esque speed machine.  

In other words, the question of technology as divined by the resulting speed is as much a question of what the vehicle was designed to do.   All engineering is compromise, and just as the F-14 was dominant in its day, the Warbirds are probably superior to almost all Federation ships older than the then-three-year-old-or-so Galaxy Class.

Or for another automotive analogy, suppose I pit two equal engines and cars in a race, but in one I've placed a modern dual-clutch six-speed transmission (or even a modern CVT) and in the other I've mated a three-speed Cruise-O-Matic from a 1965 Ford Mustang.   The Cruise-O-Matic is toast, sorry.

Translating back to Trek, if a Galaxy Class has the choice of its own warp coils or coils based on those from the Ambassador Class, it stands to reason that the Ambassador's Cruise-O-Matic is going to result in a slower ship, even though the two vessels have equal power generation.

Besides which, in the case of a Warbird, we're talking about a vessel something like twice the length and four-and-a-half times the volume of a Galaxy Class ship.  It's also much less compact in general planform, with a crapton more surface area and related necessary structure, so I'm gonna go out on a not-a-limb and say it's probably a damn sight heavier, and thus a lot harder to push, and oh-by-the-way she's supposed to be able to fly at warp while cloaked, too, which probably involves a compromise or two in the engine department.

Of course, all this mental example stuff is not really necessary . . . the cloaked Warbird from "Tin Man" kept up with the Enterprise-D adequately enough . . . she just burned up her 30%-overdriven Cruise-O-Matic warp coils to do so, all while remaining (mostly) cloaked.   Sounds like a damn fine powerplant, to me.

So much for that argument.

3.  This connects with another recent video of his where he seemed to not understand that power systems technologically superior to fusion, such as antimatter, allow you greater energy capacity.  

Sure, if I have a 1 watt flashlight powered by a miniature antimatter reactor and you have a 10 watt flashlight powered by a miniature fusion reactor (or even just some Energizers) then, assuming all other things are equal,  you're better off than I am in a light-fight.   But if we're both sporting 1 watt flashlights of a certain volume, mine will most likely last a helluva lot longer than yours.  And if they're set up to last the same amount of time, mine's gonna be a lot smaller, and thus lighter.

Is it possible for a fusion-powered starship to match the output of an antimatter-powered one?  Absolutely.  But by virtue of the relative energies per unit mass of the two, the fusion-powered vessel will be burning up something like 100 times the fuel.   And that's by mass.   Volume's another story.  Or, quoting from the link, "That is, one gram of antihydrogen (i.e., a “mirror” atom composed of an antiproton and positron (antielectron)) reacted with the same amount of normal hydrogen produces a total energy equivalent to that delivered by 23 Shuttle External Tanks (ET)."  Or as these guys put the same idea, "When a gram of antimatter encounters a gram of normal matter they experience mutual destruction and in the process generate as much energy as all of the energy stored in the liquid hydrogen fuel of 23 Space Shuttle external fuel tanks. A kilogram of the stuff would create energy equal to two billion kilograms of hydrocarbon, or more than one thousand times the energy from a kilogram of plutonium or uranium in a nuclear reactor."

Put simply, the fusion guy's gonna need a bigger boat.

That is to say, for two vessels of similar volume, if they have similar power output and range/endurance then the antimatter-powered ship's gonna have a lot of extra space for other toys, munitions, auxiliary craft, cargo, et cetera.   In other words, an antimatter cargo ship might be the equivalent of a fusion warship in such a circumstance.   Or, of course, the antimatter ship could match the output of the other while being many, many times smaller . . . and even when smaller, still have greater longevity in high-energy activities.   You'd almost have to try to design a smaller antimatter-powered ship to have less longevity in that case.

Of course, since Star Wars vessels are canonically fusion-powered, all of this reasoning applies to, say, Star Destroyers versus Galaxy Class ships, as well.

4.  Just a note for amusement . . .

Young also discusses the looks of Andi Guiterrez with a backhanded compliment.  She's the social media guru and hostess of the behind-the-scenes video shorts, and perfectly suited to the task.

I always find his referencing people's looks amusing (such as in a prior video where he discusses Voyager actresses) because based on an as-yet-undemonstrated-two-years-later claim by Tyralak that someone called Brian ugly on a StarfleetJedi thread, Brian basically declared StarfleetJedi to be an evil den of monsters who caused him to be curled up in a fetal position for an entire weekend.  And of course, this is the same chap who demands folks ignore Mike Wong's people skills and focus on the arguments.  Heh.

Even if the "ugly" claim were true, one's chosen form of presentation is a valid target for criticism, be it my writing style and site design (such as they are) or his choice of face-centric video presentation.  When you put yourself out there, the form in which you do so is something that can be criticized and critiqued.  (I fully expected and accepted that there would be criticism of my voice in the podcast interview from earlier this year.)

In this case, the captivating Andi Guiterrez has put herself out there in video format for public consumption.   I don't think it's wrong of me to note that women should study her maneuvers to see how to do remarkably bewitching things with their mouths even when simply talking.   But, if my opinion were more like Brian's . . . that she's "not that bad-looking", which most women would find more than a little insulting . . . that's not necessarily wrong to say when discussing the Recon videos, either.

Unless, of course, you have a double-standard, like Brian.

5.  Finally, an apology.   I feel as if my recent posts relating to Young's videos are rather dumbed down compared to other posts, and thus lengthier, whereas my readers generally are not the sort to have been fooled on a first viewing.  

In a way I feel it's an unfortunate necessity, given the inane claims, but I think some of the issue is that the video format allows for so much easier logical sleight-of-hand than text.  

Text you can read at your own pace and re-read as necessary, taking the time to ponder what you see.   With video, however, claptrap can be passed off with an insincere giggle and you might not even realize it as the next sentence's assault on reason begins.   (This is why Bill Clinton, masterful sleazy lying scumbag that he is, gives speeches rather than writing tracts.  He can get away with a lot more con-artistry that way.)

All that having been said, dumbing things down is tiresome for me, so I'll aim for a change of pace in the future.


Death Star Yield Revision

Earlier claims were at least 1E32J based on gravitational binding energy of an Earth-like planet.  1E38J is higher, based on the maximum observed velocity of particles and the presumption of a 1g gravity field.

Both are now unsupportable.  I stipulated to them in the past despite observed material disappearance effects, but now that we officially have repeatedly-demonstrated Trek-like non-thermal non-mechanical vaporization (known elsewhere as POOC'ing, i.e. "phasing out of the continuum"), such estimates are no longer acceptable.

Some or most of Alderaan's mass is rendered absent without apparent conversion to energy . . . it just goes bye-bye . . . ergo gravitational binding energy and 1g presumptions are not a valid tool.

Star Wars isn't hard sci-fi any more than Star Trek is.  Trying to shoehorn it into being so is more absurd now than ever.  Or to put it another way, if you'll forgive the phrasing, we can pretend they're hard right up until the point where they go soft on us, but when they go soft we need to stop pushing, because it's neither of use nor of pleasure to anyone.

Or, the short version:




Crystal Power Amplification versus Scientificalness, Pt. II

And so Young has responded with two more videos here and here, though once again he has responded not-by-name.  One could presume he's seeking to avoid a proverbial urinary olympiad (which is fine with me ... I'm "on vacation"), but given his history of attacking me and this site and that he's broken the glass already by doing it by name from time to time, I must presume that, as with StarfleetJedi.Net, he's simply decided that any criticism is mean of me and so he's getting it filtered in via Tyralak and Vince.

(I mean, I used to try to avoid naming folks who'd made terrible points that I was about to tear down, but only out of kindness.  In Brian's case -- given that he doesn't even link to sites with opposing views -- it seems like it must be something else.)

Irrelevant details aside, he has doubled-down on being "more scientificy than thou" by name-dropping science concepts while continuing to ignore the bedrocks of scientific reasoning . . . which is kinda funny since he frequently references having an astrophysicist on proverbial speed-dial.   I mean, sure, it's an astrophysicist who is the very father of inflationism (and man I hope that there's a strong mental compartmentalization going on there), but still.

A.  Beamed Power and Acceleration

Brian's retort is to make the claim that even if your ship's power is being beamed in from elsewhere . . . his version of the kyber crystal idea . . . that nothing has changed in relation to vessel density and such.    He uses as an example the idea of accelerating toward lightspeed, claiming it is worse if you are getting your power beamed in because you're not losing mass to get to that velocity.

Even if we stipulate that this is a worthwhile example and not a bad analogy, then on the face of it that's still pretty silly, since he has presumably neglected to consider that you probably wouldn't carry all that propellant mass along if you no longer needed it.  

If I have a rocketship of mass X and for this approach-lightspeed mission it requires propellant of mass .5X (which sounds pretty awesome to modern ears anyway, but still), then my total rocketship mass at launch is 1.5X.   As I accelerate, the rocketship mass will go from 1.5X toward 1X, ignoring relativistic effects, but during much of my acceleration I am carrying and accelerating this propellant mass along with me that I don't intend to have at the end of the game.

Meanwhile, if I have a spaceship massing X and a ground-based laser, particle beam, or whatever pushing it toward lightspeed, then my final mass is unchanged from start to finish, and instead of carrying around an extra .5X of propellant I was always at 1X.   From the perspective of the ship, it's a free lunch.  Or launch.  Whatever.

It's even better if you're getting your ship's power from the ground and not having to generate that locally . . . then reactor/generator fuel is also free.  This is especially true if you're considering a ship that will be doing more than just shooting off to near-lightspeed.  Suppose you have a starship that is going to be engaged in a multi-year mission.   Even if it keeps propellant onboard, even just beaming in power to the ship, however impractical it may seem, means that you don't have to carry the mass of the reactor's fuel around with you.

Now, I could try to give him the benefit of the doubt by trying to expand his claim into being a reference to rocket propellant momentum issues versus beam propulsion and aim issues or what-have-you, but if he was aiming for that concept he was decidedly non-obvious about it (to the point that I think I'm simply giving him an escape route by evening mentioning it).  The simple fact is that if you are accelerating propellant along with you, you need a crapton more propellant.

So, let's remove the rocketry angle altogether.

In a certain sense your car is a "beamed"(or at least "collected")-power vehicle, at least in part.   See, while we commonly think of gasoline as fuel, the fact is that it's only half the fuel the car needs . . . actually, a crapton less than half.   The other part is air, and specifically the oxygen in it.  Thus, cars get a significant portion of their energy from the environment, as it were, rather than onboard sources.   If you had to carry the volume of air your car needs for the engine to work, you'd be looking at literally thousands of liters of air per liter of gasoline.  You'd do better just carrying liquid oxygen, but still you'd basically be driving something a whole lot bigger (or with a whole lot less usable volume) than what you're rolling in now.

Now, suppose I had a car with electric motors to drive the wheels (instead of a normal internal combustion car where the engine serves as both power generator and motor, or a hybrid thing where there are electric motors and an internal combustion power generator).   But I put no power generator in it, instead collecting this energy via tesla coil or laser-beam-from-orbit or super-solar kit or wires above like a trolley or what-have-you.   Ignoring the weight for the collection equipment, my car is now one of the most awesome-performing vehicles ever . . . like a Tesla roadster, already no slouch in performance, that's had all 1000 pounds of battery removed, leading to a power-to-weight ratio that would put it on par with some of the fastest petrol-powered four-wheeled speed machines.

And in either case, if I get the power I need each second on a "live feed" each second, then I'll never have the mass of any reserve with me.   In the gasoline and air example, if I was being mid-air-refueled every second, my mass would be minimal and I'd need to fuel tank.

I trust the point is obvious that beamed power really does change things, and arrogantly acting as if you have greater scientificalosity than everyone else when you don't is as embarrassingly silly as that neologism.

B.  Red-hot Herrings

Note that there is no suggestion that the kyber crystal is used to power the Death Star . . . that is Brian's claim alone, my jocular "crystal power" notwithstanding.  The point of this is not to discuss beamed power, per se.   We should be focusing like a superlaser on the Death Star superlaser.  As is becoming more and more apparent, the superlaser is a kyber-crystal-thingy-beam.

Brian makes the claim, as did Clonetrooper Vince, that with the kyber crystal amplification the Death Star is still awesome for having handled said power, or "managed" as Brian puts it.   As Vince so kindly put it in text:
Yes, and the energy beams were produced inside the Death Star, so the ship generated and manipulated all this planet-destroying energy (equivalent to thousands of years of our Sun's output!) without vaporizing itself or it's crew. This sets a benchmark for the vessels power handling capabilities regardless of how the ship generated this energy.
Curiously, Star Wars inflationists never think along such lines when it comes to Star Trek.  A tiny Type-I phaser has effective firepower capable of vaporizing a human body, but we don't hear them suggest that the phaser is awesome for being able to generate and handle that power.

Why is that?  Well, there they do not argue that the energy is 'real', but that it is instead some particles with wacky effects that produce a similar outcome, which is correct.  The same is true of the Death Star, but they refuse to acknowledge this, hence how he continues to assume incorrectly that the beam itself was a simple direct energy transfer laser beam of planet-destroying energy levels . . . an idea long since dismantled even well before kyber crystals came into play.  That's the first problem with this claim.

Or, as I've explained by analogy elsewhere:

If I watch a Dirty Harry movie, I can calculate that, to blow a hole in the badguy of such-and-such size, a projectile of a certain energy and certain characteristics was used.  However, if I have no understanding of gunpowder or clockwork-style mechanics, I may end up making assumptions that require Dirty Harry's trigger finger to be capable of twitching at a sufficient energy level in order to throw the projectile using the trigger as a simple lever, at which point I could go on and make really silly assumptions about how high he should be able to jump, the energy content of his food, and so on.

That would be silly, of course, and would ignore the smoke coming from barrel and between barrel and cylinder on his revolver, but it's no more silly than the way inflationists have always ignored all the peculiar effects related to the Death Star and then gone on to make silly claims based on their faulty conclusions.

Now, let us also ponder an explosion on bullet impact that completely destroys the badguy Dirty Harry fired upon, going off like a multi-ton bomb (. . . in reality, maybe the guy has a dynamite vest or something).  And we ponder this in the context of how we now know about muscle, fat, guns, gunpowder, and bullets, and densities thereof.

Most would agree that continuing to insist that Dirty Harry was storing that additional explosive energy on or in his person and transmitting it via the bullet seems a rather noteworthy assumption, at the very least.  And yet, that is what we are supposed to believe, according to inflationist logic, and if we dare suggest otherwise . . . say, something akin to a sodium bullet being fired into a swimming pool, for instance, or a dynamite vest . . . we're evil and anti-science.

In reality, Dirty Harry is the cause of the explosion, but his finger is not necessarily the source of the energy, in that he, at least potentially, caused a release of energy stored elsewhere, or a localization of available energy, or what-have-you . . . in two separate ways, in the exploding badguy case, with the launch of the bullet propelled by gunpowder and the explosion of the badguy.

Now that we know of the amplification effects of large Kyber crystals, we actually know a lot more about what happened.  Indeed, we know the energy beams they emit have all the weird effects as part and parcel of the beam.  To wit, Rebels has shown us another example of kyber crystals and their effects on detonation in "Breaking Ranks".   A TIE fighter is literally dismantled and largely vaporized, slowly but surely, when caught in the spherical shockwave.  

We didn't get to see the planar shockwave touch anything, but suffice it to say that continuing to declare the superlaser to be a simple 1E38J laser beam engaged in simple thermal heating is approximately the silliest idea in the Vs. Debate.

More to the point, what is the energy level required to handle the power of this wacky beam?    In what way is it even being handled, if at all?    We see the beam pass by some guys in a tunnel, but other than that the only time we see the Death Star interacting with beams in any way, it's just because they're being emitted from it.  The tributary beams themselves interact with each other outside the Death Star, seemingly creating what we might call a kyber matrix outside the Death Star from which the final beam is fired.

What is the energy requirement for that?  What is the momentum against the Death Star when you have beam convergence and emission occurring far from it?   

The assumptions these guys use to further their inflationist goals are just silly!

I mean, I can bounce a laser with just a piece of reflective metal.   Beyond any pedantic arguments, I have expended no energy to handle the laser in this fashion.   And while one would think this "SuperPhaser" beam would eat mirrors for breakfast, the mental point remains true . . . for all we know a specific element is sufficient to deflect the beam, or even very particularly configured magnetic fields, et cetera.   And this assumes that the crystals aren't cut like a diamond to produce a particular beam direction to begin with, requiring no external force to deflect.

The handling claim is furthered by Brian into a mention of waste heat, suggesting that handling the waste heat from this kyber crystal amplification is itself proof of standard inflationist Death Star understandings.

Again, what the hell is the waste heat of a crystal generating a funky beam of this nature?    We have no idea.   We know the kyber crystal aboard the Separatist ship in TCW was believed to have overheated, leading to its explosion, but we never saw any effects of this heating on the ship before the kaboom.   There was no indication of it melting, melting the floor, or even heating the air around it substantially.   It glowed, yes, but it was already supposed to be a luminous green.  Teeny-tiny kyber crystals on Ilum as used for lightsabers glowed too, if you'll recall.  And, despite the numerous Separatist tank shots against it, the stick-on antigrav units that could be blown off by blaster fire were still hanging out on it, perfectly happy, so whatever overheating was involved simply didn't appear to be affecting them.

In other words, so far as we know, large kyber crystals overheat at 100 degrees Fahrenheit.   We don't even know where the big ones are found or how they form . . . we just know the little ones are on a very cold planet.

C.  A Worthwhile Mental Model

Let's imagine you have a simplified laser pointer.   It has a AA battery, a basic flashlight bulb, a shaped ruby crystal, and a focusing lens/mirror apparatus.  The battery powers the bulb, the bulb shines on the ruby, and the shaped ruby flouresces appropriately, generating (with the help of the focusing apparatus) a beam of laser light of, say, a milliwatt.

Now, suppose we can somehow amp up the flourescence of the ruby a zillion times over, say by electrifying it.   So we hook up some jumper cables from a 500kW car engine to the ruby, but otherwise change nothing.    Now we have a ten watt beam, or a 100 watt beam, or a 50kW beam . . . whatever.

Now, in reality, what we have is a complicated setup featuring two separate power systems (a 1.5v and a 12v) feeding a bulb and the ruby, respectively.   But now, POOF! . . . I have used some sort of magic trickery to render the jumper cables and the 12v power source invisible and their mass unnoticeable.   And I hand you the laser pointer and tell you to have fun.   The result is that, so near as you can tell, you have a 1.5v battery powering a 50 kilowatt laser beam.   Or at least this would be your thought before you went blind and ended up burning yourself seriously.

Your mind would be blown, as well it should be.

So what's the difference between this and the kyber crystal?   

Well, the kyber crystal has jumper cables on it from hyperspace, I'd wager.   You still need a battery and a bulb, but you get a lot more out of it than you put into it.   For all intents and purposes, the kyber crystal is like a little battery-powered switch closing a 220v, high-energy circuit.  (And by the way, there's no telling what these ethereal jumper cables mean for its heat capacity.)

Of course, what you get out of it isn't a regular laser beam, either.   It's a beam of ever so strange particles that do really strange, phaser-like things to targets.

Can you even calculate the effect?   Not really, no.   Even if we continue to grant the Death Star superlaser a yield of 1E38J . . . and this in and of itself is questionable now due to some additional observations . . . there's no way in hell to get any reliable answer of that size by following it up the chain to the reactor, because "you can't get there from here".

D.  Density, Indeed

Once again, continuing from the last post, the large kyber crystals aren't superdense, period.   

There is no scene in the shows that would suggest such.  Even in "Breaking Ranks"[REB1] they were supposedly carrying one on a wee little vessel of less than 100m length, which given their supposed super-density (not to mention their strategic import) would be a terrible idea.  The one from TCW over a decade prior was carried easily aboard a shuttle, and then was pushed around by Anakin and Obi-Wan when it had antigravs attached as easily as a car can be pushed around when on a roller dolly jack setup (1, 2), and even Force-pushed a lot more easily than when they'd had to lift it.   Unless the anti-gravs were reading their minds and providing thrust, the simple fact is that the crystal wasn't that massive.

E.  Conclusion

Barring additional kyber crystal stories that change things, it seems apparent that the kyber crystals are integral to the design of the Death Star, creating a beam from the input of the Death Star's fusion powerplant that is capable of destroying a planet.   This beam causes material disappearance and seeming vaporization, along with some blast effects, largely in keeping with my prior research on the topic.

Oh, and while we're on the topic, one can't help but imagine the "seismic charge" as a wee little kyber bomb.  But that's another story.



As I have mentioned recently on forums and such, I am taking an official break from this hobby until next year.  "Official break" means you may see things pop up like a couple of currently-half-complete blog posts or tweets, but generally speaking I will be out of the proverbial office.

Of course, I have a number of things I want to get done such as getting the basic framework of the new site done and, of course, the relaunch of NoLettersHome.  I may fiddle with those, free from the normal time vampire of the forums.  But, no promises.

See you next year!


Crystal Power Amplification versus Scientificalness

So I've seen the inflationist response to my point about the Death Star and its crystal power amplification, and, to put it quite simply, Young has again exposed his inflationist "fanaticism" (to use his favorite descriptor for those who disagree with him) in relation to Star Wars.

I presume he was responding to the version of the point I provided at his old home forum, to wit:
Since the Death Star yield was used as evidence of density, it is pertinent to note that the new TCW story reels recently released demonstrate that the weapon yield was tremendously amplified via the use of kyber crystal(s), which are themselves not especially dense.  Literally, minimal input produces tremendous output.   It violates all sorts of stuff, but there it is in the canon.  It even seems to vaporize people like a phaser, and shows the planar effects we've come to expect. 
"Out of the stories of old, this crystal comes. Long ago in forgotten times when the Sith and Jedi fought for control of the galaxy. Weapons, there were of unimaginable power. Always at their heart, a Kyber Crystal was just like the one you described."
- Yoda 
More on the kyber crystal's effect is found in this thread at StarfleetJedi.Net . . . especially look for Lucky's post with extensive quotes.   Basically, as I state there, "short of an Adult Swim scene of Palpatine cursing into the phone about the delay this was gonna cause to the Deathticle (not to mix my metaphor there), it couldn't have been more clear."   "And just to make sure the point is clear, even if you are feeling charitable and grant your local inflationist's claim that the Death Star was a DET weapon, said inflationist still cannot have a reactor that generates energy commensurate with the yield, because of this crystal power amplification whatzit." 
That's the final nail in the coffin of inflationist claims related to the Death Star, fellas.  I proved long ago that it was not DET . . . I theorized it was a Superlaser Effect related to some sort of hyperspace energy tap.  Now, we have a crystal as the medium for that (assuming the energy comes from hyperspace and not just thin air). 
Without DET, you cannot make a claim about the reactor energy which you then scale down to ships.  Without DET, you have no recoil argument, nor any clear indication of the amount or velocity of debris that are claimed to have hit the Death Star offscreen (over and above the odd debris trajectories and effects noted in this thread), and thus no shield argument.   The only other thing left that I can think of is the claim of Death Star acceleration at Yavin, but so far as I recall there are no actual solid numbers for that.
Put simply, even moreso than before, inflationists have nothing to work with here . . . even if some other desperate argument is available, the preponderance of evidence is clear.   The Death Star is a fusion-powered battlestation capable, thanks to one or more massive kyber crystals, of destroying a planet.   That is all.   It does not equate to megaton blasters or any other scale-down effort. 
The Death Stars will forever own the versus debates because of what they can do and the massive industrial capacity they represent, but even if inflationist claims could be taken seriously before "The Big Bang", they cannot after.
In Brian's response, his three basic evasions (for I feel that term applies more properly than any other) are:

1.  We don't know what the crystal was intended for.
2.  This isn't canon anyway.
3.  It doesn't matter because E=mc²

Let's respond to those in order.

The first is just an effort to play dumb.  We know from Attack of the Clones that they had the Death Star plans at the start of the war, we know from the end of Revenge of the Sith after the war that construction was in progress, and we know from A New Hope that the Death Star was 'a weapon of unimaginable power', to borrow the phrase from Yoda.   We also have all the assorted effects that this crystal and the Death Star exhibit in common.

It is, quite simply, mere denial to argue that the pursuit of a massive kyber crystal during the war was unrelated to the Death Star.  

That makes about as much sense as suggesting the biochips in the clone brains as seen in TCW's sixth season were unrelated to Order 66, or that we wouldn't know who the devil those twin babies were at the end of RotS had Amidala not explicitly said "Luke" and "Leia".

I suppose one could make an Occam-esque argument here, too . . . after all, despite the joke about the EU's old Superweapon-of-the-Week addiction, the fact is that in canon the only known huge-mongous weapon being pursued by the Empire was the Death Star, and when that one was blown up the only other known huge-mongous weapon being pursued by the Empire was yet another Death Star.

Seems to me that, denials aside, the only logical conclusion is that it was for the Death Star.

Regarding the second point, it is canon.  As I said on his old home forum, "As for the canonicity of the episode, even though it is ostensibly an unfinished episode and so one ought to give more than a little leeway to the visuals . . . e.g. Anakin does not have a hollow neck, shadows still exist in Star Wars, et cetera . . . I think the general idea can be derived from it (which is the whole point of this prototype version anyway), and it is a released story in the new canon per the related introductory video."   But let's go at this a little further:

Brian, in his prior video (Q&A 18), attempted to argue that these were no better than deleted scenes, claiming they were deleted/unfinished "for a reason", as if to suggest that it was decided to scrap these out of some quality concern or what-have-you.  Of course, everyone knows it was due to the Disney buyout, which left TCW on an opposing network with all the contractual obligations that entailed.   It's no more complicated than that.

Beyond that, though, we have Pablo Hidalgo at about 90 seconds in on this "The Clone Wars Legacy" video from StarWars.com.   After having noted in the first few seconds that TCW was very important as it represents the last expansion of the Lucas universe by Lucas, Hidalgo talks broadly about the three sets of episodes that were unreleased from the sixth season, with one of those being the Crystal Crisis arc.

 Hidalgo notes that "even though those Clone Wars episodes did not get publicly revealed, we still look at their core stories as having happened."   Many of those tales are being released in other forms, be it the Darth Maul story in comic book form or the continuation of the Ventress story in novel form.

However, it was decided to release the Kyber Crystal arc as-is on StarWars.com, primarily . . . as Pablo notes circa four minutes in . . . because the voice actors had already done such a wonderful job, and any alternate method (e.g. a novel) would leave that work lost.   Anyone who watches the episodes knows this is very much true, if for no other reason than Anakin's "oops, I broke it!"

Finally, just like anything else released in the Disney era, if it isn't said to be Legends then it's the real deal.   As Pablo says about six-and-a-half minutes in, "we're at this point in Star Wars history -- which is a great place to be in but it comes with its own set of challenges -- where we're on the cusp of telling all these new stories, and having them really be integral to the canon as we're going forward."

They chose to release this.  They consider it as having happened.   We can give leeway to the visuals, but that doesn't mean we must strike ourselves completely blind.

His third evasion is the source of the name for this post.   You see, Brian tries to strawman his way through this and suggest that his opponents just want to use the crystal to chalk up Star Wars power generation to magic.   (Did you see any reference to magic in my post?   No, you didn't, because I went out of my way to point out where the energy likely comes from.)  

His desire is to paint himself as the voice of reason and science and his so-called "obsessed" "full of hate" "fanatic" foes as people who argue for magic and fairy dust (which they very well may be snorting).   In and of itself this is not necessarily a sin, but it becomes mere sinful arrogance when one fails to employ scientific reasoning.   You can't claim to be more-scientificcy-than-thou if you don't execute on the basics.

Anyone with Google can regurgitate sufficient scientific concepts to get by in this particular endeavor, but actually thinking through the issues logically and with a view toward actual science is the trick that so many fail to master.   Merely paying lip-service to the scientific discoveries of others and then making claims from them willy-nilly is not good enough.

Or, as I said in the recent Jedi Crash post, "Those who prefer to ignore the canon in favor of cherry-picked elements of it and mix those with claims of rigorous science will no doubt have issues with the conclusions here, but the first step in any scientific investigation is to observe the universe."

Or as I said somewhat more verbosely once:

"Third, claiming the scientific high ground is audacious, but wrong. The problem with that point of view is a very old one I've brought up many times before . . . indeed, this has been the inflationist problem for a long time. This isn't ghost-hunting, UFO nonsense, creationism, quasi-religious numerological nonsense, or any other pseudo-scientific claptrap where the "evidence" itself is properly presumed false. We are pretending here to actually be watching documentary evidence of another universe, one which we can clearly observe to have certain technologies and capabilities far beyond our modern comprehension. The universe itself features a separate spatial domain we've never even heard of that allows for fantastic velocities, for instance, not to mention mystical energy fields that violate time and space.
And yet, rather than accept that in this context we are stupid and should behave accordingly, not being too overbold in our assertions, some people think it best to ignore most all evidence in favor of our modern, limited comprehension of our own hyperspaceless, Cosmic-Forceless, Living-Forceless, Floating-Island-less, Crazy-Masked-Chicks-less universe.
That's awfully silly. Can you imagine Ben Franklin watching a documentary of modern electrified life and outright rejecting pieces of what he sees because he can't imagine how they might work in reference to some of his pet theories about keys and kites? Or showing a car to someone who has no conception of gasoline and thus concludes the car is ultra-light and has bicycle pedals, rejecting all evidence to the contrary?
The moment we start ignoring canon because we think we know real science and thus don't have to listen to that pesky canon thing anymore, we undercut the entire enterprise of analyzing a sci-fi universe.
And, of course, at that moment we're just talking about our assumptions plus a few scenes from Star Wars we've deigned to bother discussing. Suffice it to say, that's not Star Wars anymore. The sci-fi universe the inflationists have created is nifty and might even be entertaining to watch, but calling it Star Wars is just unoriginal, and the Star Wars I can watch on blu-ray and Netflix, featuring nary a gigaton not fired by a Death Star, doesn't look anything like their version.
Finally, a person isn't an idiot about physics merely for disagreeing with the inflationist point of view. If we set up a battle of canon versus crap-you-think . . . well, we're talking about Star Wars, so you lose, immediately and without mercy. The claim that physics might require certain things is an entertaining note of one's opinion, but does not override the canon facts for the purpose of this exercise. If it's canon that 1+1=3, everytime and everywhere, then it's canon in that universe . . . you can't just ignore it. If you don't like the universe anymore because of it, then that's your prerogative. But if you're analyzing the facts of the universe . . . well, that is one.
Case in point . . . you know and I know that hyperdrive and transporters are impossible, and yet we accept them as canon facts of the universe instead of rejecting them because of their physical impossibility.
The correct role of one's local astrophysicist fanboy at that point is to take his knowledge of science and use it to explore and discuss ways in which the canon reality could be possible, or point out where to our knowledge it just couldn't be. If the conversation turns to power requirements, then the correct behavior is to discuss it in terms of the known power technologies, not make up new ones. And if the stated fuel supply is inadequate, then we simply acknowledge that and move on, maybe going and finding a harder sci-fi universe to play with if that sort of irregularity pisses us of too much.   That would be both educational and highly respective of the universe being discussed.
This is the tack I take with Star Trek and Star Wars, but inflationists do not. I've noted many times and in many ways how Star Trek and Star Wars have elements that don't make sense, and I'll continue to do so. I take the universe for what it is, warts and all, and try to rationalize it, taking all the evidence and deriving a consistent whole. Brian talks a good game about how to treat a universe being analyzed, noting that it is only loony fanatics bent on winning Vs. Debates who would seek to ignore the truth about their preferred franchise, but seriously, if that were so, this video would not have been made. He just explicitly rejected a non-contradiction and defended use of a directly-contradicted scene. The way I figure, direct contradiction is obviously wrong. Something running contrary to a load of assumptions forced onto Star Wars is not.
Put simply, inflationism was born from a perceived need for Star Wars to beat up other sci-fi universes, not from Star Wars itself. Some would say, though, that love of a franchise would best be served by respecting the franchise. Indeed, I think Brian has paid lip-service to that idea at some point, himself.
So where should normal Star Wars tech fans draw the line? At what point do we decide "okay, here is where we start rejecting what the result of the combined effort of the writers and designers and artists involved tells us about the universe . . . indeed, what the universe tells us about itself, the rules of its game . . . and instead start injecting our own sensibilities."
As far as I'm concerned, that should be a very rarely used maneuver, preferably in situations akin to a total blatant one-off error, like if Luke's lightsaber suddenly emitted its blade from the side or something.  Perhaps at some point I'll try to concoct a logical list of how to deal with such issues, since so many people obviously just fly willy-nilly in that regard."

With the general philosophical approach differences well-covered, let's move on to the specifics:

He declares that arithmetic and Einstein's equation are universal, without an asterisk, and that thus the crystal itself must be super-dense to be providing all the energy observed.  

Now, please do stop and ponder the fact that a guy arguing about a show depicting superluminal travel has declared that there are no asterisks in relation to Einstein's equation.

Oops.   I guess the characters are all lying and really old due to time dilation and the aeons of travel but all are flitting about at the same relativistic speed offscreen all the time to keep up appearances?

Um, no.

Back to the point, he's trying to tie it in to the earlier fuel density argument he lost.   The problem, of course, is that there is absolutely zero evidence that the crystal is any denser than we might expect any ho-hum crystal or other solid object of that size to be.

Further, he presumes that the added energy must all be stored in the crystal, as if it is a battery.   This is also wrong, on par with assuming that copper itself generates electricity rather than being a conduit for it.   This is actually quite strange on his part, since he states at one point that it doesn't matter what your energy source is, whether it is fuel, a crystal, or the Force.   And yet, Force-users are mere conduits, so it would seem, unless he seeks to claim that Jedi have a weight problem.

(It also occurs to me here that the statement that the power was amped up was from a character in-universe, a character who theoretically could've been wrong.   It may not have been that the firepower was increased, but merely that the weapon energy striking the crystal was converted into a stream of wackions or some other energy type which produces the peculiar effects, or even that it merely opened up a small conduit within the attenuating crystal through which hyperspace wackions could be emitted, or somesuch.  Any such idea would be an 'out' for Brian, but one he would probably never choose to take.)

Finally . . . and this seems extra-sinful for a big football fan like him . . . he tries to move the goalposts in regards to his claims of uber-dense fuels.  

See, Star Wars inflationists have concocted this notion of hyperdense fuel for Star Wars vessels, a fuel with at least partially imaginary mass.   Without going off in those tachyonic weeds at the moment, the basic gist of the idea is that they have a fuel density equivalent to being able to completely annihilate a natural space body of a mass much larger than a natural body the size of the Death Star on a daily basis, and that they can operate for many days.  Note that I'm talking there about the reactor, and not the superlaser, when noting the annihilation . . . in other words, they're basically arguing that Star Wars has gas in its tank weighing way, way more than the car, though they can flip a magic switch and do a Tardis-like thing of hiding the mass and negating the ship's mass at the same time.  (Though this is, for some strange reason, not used at sublight to allow super-acceleration, because then Saxton and Young and friends couldn't make ridiculous reactor claims anymore.)

Though Brian himself hasn't brought up the tachyonic nonsense that I recall at the moment, and neither has Clonetrooper Vince, both suggest that the fuel should be more massive than the ships by orders of magnitude and not taking up much volume (which means helluva-dense).

And yet, as noted previously on this site, on this blog, and in the aforementioned thread at ASVS.org, the reality is that Star Wars ships and vehicles use flammable liquid fuel, demonstrably of a low density akin to that of water.

All that is merely to point out the goal-post translocation effort Brian engages in when, while trying to argue against the idea that liquid fuel proves anything, he claims that mercury is a dense liquid.


Molten osmium wouldn't even satisfy his needs.   Saxton suggests the Death Star generated energy equivalent to annihilating 1E21 kg to power the destruction of Alderaan.   For natural things of that mass, that would literally be something the size of a moon like Charon, an asteroid like Ceres, or the mass of Earth's oceans multiple times over.  

However, even if the Death Star was a giant gas tank, its 9E14 volume means that you'd be looking at having to store fuel with a density of about a million kilograms per cubic meter.    That's only about 150 times denser than solid iron.

Brian wants us to believe that some of this energy is constrained even further and stored as mass in the kyber crystal, which would probably just about give it a notable gravitational pull all its own.

By analogy, this is like arguing that the existence of a ten-dollar bill somehow proves that a trillion-dollar bill exists, or at least that this is an adequate retort to those hate-filled, obsessed, anti-trillion-dollar-bill fanatics who reject the existence of any bill larger than a $100,000.

In short, that's utter nonsense.

There is no evidence that this kyber crystal, considered astonishingly large for one in-universe, has more mass than we would expect for any similarly large object.   Certainly the antigrav that carried it (and whose batteries were thought to possibly be not up to the task) behaved like one would expect for a simple large stone, not to mention that the speeder used to pull it wasn't blasting out tons of thrust.

He notes that small kyber crystals are employed in lightsabers as seen in TCW, though he ignores the non-super-dense behavior from the relevant episodes.   Seriously, at 150 times the density of iron, even a tiny shard of a crystal would be interesting for a child to pick up and toss about with two fingers.   Assuming a cubic centimeter of volume, the shards would weigh over a kilogram, which would be like picking up a one-liter bottle of beverage by a tiny, sharp outcropping and two fingers.  

He also misses the fact that small kyber crystals serve a role in relation to data storage devices, again with no obvious high density.

Further, he doesn't notice how the backwards guys who'd found the crystal had chosen to suspend it from the ceiling in their rickety base-ship for storage purposes.    That's generally not the first choice of people dealing with super-dense objects in rickety locations, especially when their only observed antigrav cart was the same one that could barely deal with the crystal when used by Anakin and Obi-Wan, who'd had to use the Force to get it down to begin with.

But perhaps his most annoying claim . . . and you can tell when he's trying to BS you (or at least himself) because he giggles . . . is when he attempts to claim that Amidala noting that Anakin's lightsaber is heavier than she thought it would be is somehow evidence of this super-density.  

Ugh, again.  She probably would've said the same thing if she'd always seen Anakin effortlessly wielding a pistol like the over-a-kilogram US Army M9, but that doesn't mean that the magazine is super-dense, either.

Wrapping up at this point, the last detail I want to make note of is that Brian acts like his ICS apologetics videos are valid, such as in reference to his peculiar acceleration claims.  In fairness, as I have not completed the write-up of everything wrong with them, he presently has the luxury of making such a claim with a relatively straight face.   However, given that I've already nullified two of his strongest examples and shown the logic of how to do so, seemingly even giving Vince pause in regards to them, it should be fairly obvious, even to Brian, that there's a storm on the horizon.  

My advice?   He should stick to B5.  


The Squire of Gothos

While enjoying collegiate poverty, in lieu of cable television I had rabbit ears of questionable utility and a small variety of VHS tapes, with the bulk of those being Star Trek: The Original Series, along with two of the Star Wars films.  (That and dial-up internet (at times using a free trial regenerator of some sort) were my primary forms of entertainment.)   

But, due to a prior misfortune, one of the tapes ended up wiped, at least in part.  Thus, it has probably been at least 15 years since I last saw "The Squire of Gothos".   I'd had opportunity before to watch it but . . . well, I didn't remember it as being particularly necessary.   But, upon realizing it had been fifteen years or so, I decided to have a go.   

Quite remarkable, really, to see a virtually-new episode, from my perspective, especially with the new CBS Digital effects.  While their work was not especially good, it was certainly good enough for me to say "whoa!" when the Enterprise was dodging an onrushing planet.  It certainly looked a lot better than it ever did on my old 13-inch TV/VCR combo!

(That sat, incidentally and coincidentally, on the bottom shelf of an old "metal shelf" etagere of the type seen at the bottom of this EAS page (more specifically the one in the Riker shot with Wes in front of it, but the same basic idea either way).)

There's actually a good bit of tech in the episode, too, from the Enterprise zipping away from the planet at a nice clip while explicitly at impulse power, to the whole planet-dodging sequence, to the little breathing masks they wore, not to mention the oft-forgotten laser signaling device.   Seems like that sort of thing didn't need to be quite so big, what with Texans doing the same thing in 2012 with a simple 1-watt unit on a turret mount.   You'd think a tricorder or communicator could have a simple self-aiming doodad for that purpose.


The Death Star and Crystal Power

Mystic crystal revelations and the mind's true liberation:

Released on StarWars.com is an unfinished arc with critical ramifications for technological understanding of the technology of the Death Star.

1. http://www.starwars.com/video/star-wars-the-clone-wars-story-reel-a-death-on-utapau
2. http://www.starwars.com/video/star-wars-the-clone-wars-story-reel-in-search-of-the-crystal
3. http://www.starwars.com/video/star-wars-the-clone-wars-story-reel-crystal-crisis
4. http://www.starwars.com/video/star-wars-the-clone-wars-story-reel-the-big-bang

To summarize, almost all of the strange Death Star effects get explained in one quick slash of a pen putting the last touch on the word "kyber crystal".

Material disappearance (4th ep) . . . the yield question and how you get it from a fusion reactor . . . the rings and other planar effects . . . the only thing I'm not sure I saw was secondary blast, but the way the ship blew up may very well qualify.

Might even be a touch of explanation of seismic charges, what with the planar effect itself having destructive properties in this instance.

It's not the dawn of a new age, by any means, since it only confirms what I've been saying for over a decade, but it at least puts a name to the more mysterious elements.   And if the kyber crystal does its thing by yanking energy from hyperspace . . . which would still seem the most likely option . . . then I'm truly golden.

It's not the Age of Aquarius, but I'll take it.  Maybe now my old friends from SDN will let the sunshine in?

Time will tell.  They didn't seem to go for that idea even when the EU novel Death Star went my way, but one can always hope.


Rebels Begins

Just a first blush from after watching Rebels:

1.  TIE firepower is comparable to what people who actually watch Star Wars would expect.

The bolts emerge from the red dots on the front via whatever means . . . that's rather different than most SW weapons which actually feature a barrel aperture.   We'll see what that's about sometime, I trust.

2.  The new small Imperial Transport vessel is an interesting design.   From the front it looks somewhat generic, but from above or below the Imperial pedigree becomes obvious as the delta wings provide the appearance of a triangular shape for the ship.   Alas, there's no tower, however . . . would've been a nice touch to have a little cockpit action in that fashion, though as it stands, given the position of the cockpit within the forward rectangle, it appears that this is more the love-child of a Light Cruiser and a Republic Frigate.   Can't wait for a 3-D model to play with, especially to compare against the Republic Light Cruiser.

It features a small paired blaster turret that seems tougher than TIE weaponry, a big platform that drops down for egress, and somehow four TIEs can be attached on the underside.   It isn't clear if the pilots just sit there the whole time or if they're somehow supposed to be crawling in from the outside.

Edit:  After a closer look it appears there are docking tubes that hang down and are attached to the central TIE sphere, meaning egress occurs through the tube.

3.  Star Destroyers may have an upper hangar in addition to a lower hangar.

4.  The Ghost can completely elude ISD sensors, perhaps even masking its hyperspace exit.

5.  Was that a hull-breach atmosphere containment forcefield I saw?   Or was that some other existing forcefield ("shield")?

6.  I've already heard of Brian Young claiming that the Ghost turned in hyperspace, but the claim is based on insuffficient evidence.   The ship's in hyperspace, they talk about changing course, and then the ship's seen in hyperspace.  There's no turn, though the ship is slightly rotating . . . rotating has been seen before, though, in TCW.

Logically, then, the ship either continued on in its hyperspace lane until it reached the next waypoint and then took a different path, or exited hyperspace completely and turned around on the same lane, or concluded the  escape microjump they were engaged in and then went off on the new path, et cetera.

In other words, if I'm on an interstate and plot a new course on my GPS, I don't actually veer off-road at that moment, even if I speed up with a new sense of purpose.

If we get a lot more examples then there might be sufficient smoke to declare a fire, but as it stands all we have is an inflationist getting really over-excited at the thought of hyperdrive being as good as possible compared to other sci-fi FTL systems.   Frankly, I don't think hyperdrive's too bad off even if they can't change course while in mid-flight as per the entire Star Wars canon, but then I am not an extremist who's ready to ditch canon at the first sign of inflation.

More to come . . . 

A Trek Sound and a Rebels Yell

The Rebels premiere features the Wilhelm, which is right and proper.

There was also another noise that caught my ear when I first heard it while watching the Extended Preview clip.

If you go to http://trekcore.com/audio/ and find Computer Beep 10, you'll note that it's the same sound (minus a slight modification) as the sound of Kanan releasing his cargo crates while on the road out of town.

In the Rebels preview, it's at 5:59 or so.   While the preview's sound design seemed like it was probably complete, I figured I'd wait till the premiere to confirm that it was indeed in there, and it is.

Nothing wrong with that sort of thing, mind you . . . everyone snatches from Trek's sci-fi sound libraries (I think I've heard both Trek and Wars use one another's weapons sounds from time to time, for instance).   Nevertheless, it amused me to have caught it.


STrek-v-SWars.Net Forum Saves

Turns out, I saved over 75 pages from the STrek-v-SWars forum, and here they are.

I may post some more in-depth thread reviews here later, but for now I've got some quickie-notes on the threads.

With apologies, I only saved what I was interested in, meaning they were probably threads I was involved in anyway.  Sorry for all the 'me' in them.  But, there's assorted canon stuff, some superlaser/Alderaan action (which happens to be the thread that Wayback indexed about 75 times), and the old Star Wars ship scale discussions. 

STrek-v-SWars.Net's forums sort of occupied a sweet spot that the StarfleetJedi.Net forums had for a long while, too.  See, ASVS and SDN weren't really good places for discussion or exploration of ideas, and Spacebattles was similarly afflicted (not to mention being too broad in scope).   The STrek forums had folks from both sides, and while there was still a lot of animosity, there was at least an opportunity to flesh out concepts in public forums without it necessarily turning into a flame war.  Not that there weren't some flames, but still.

SFJ is still the premiere spot for community research and such, but with opposing voices preferring to isolate themselves in proverbial echo chambers (and make up false claims of how bad SFJ is to excuse the isolation), there's not a lot of difference of opinion.  The adversarial system has certain advantages at times . . . I daresay some of my best recent work was in a thread on ASVS.org where it was me and two hardcore inflationists talking past one another.   I enjoyed myself, if nothing else.


STrek-v-SWars.Net Forums, Pt. 2

So I had the below post ready to go but shortly before hitting "Publish" some neuron finally sparked in my increasingly-senile brain.  I actually saved a few threads from STrek-v-SWars.Net, including the scaling thread.  

I'd completely forgotten that, even within the past year or so when such information would've been very useful whilst chatting with someone.  Sucks to be senile.

So, I'll go ahead and share the below, but I'm also going to go back and post the threads I have in the Obsidian Order section.   I'll try to edit the page numbers and such so the threads "work".  

In the meantime, enjoy:


Continuing from the last post  . . .

13.  http://web.archive.org/web/20050513164514/http://www.strek-v-swars.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=4754&amp

Someone suggests Leia subconsciously used latent force energy deflection powers to deal with the shoulder shot, noting that it is better than the claim that the wall behind her was hit.   That latter claim was the primary argument of the opposition for quite awhile . . . I recall someone claiming on Spacebattles once that since sparks were involved, it must have been a hit against metal.   I went through several scenes from RotJ showing sparks resulting from hits against wood and other non-metallic objects.   I should go find that again.

Also, there was a specific thread on Force-user energy deflection:  http://web.archive.org/web/20050826072115/http://www.strek-v-swars.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=4876&amp

14.  http://web.archive.org/web/20050513164634/http://www.strek-v-swars.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=4810&amp

Subspace weaponry thread, interesting thought.

15.  http://web.archive.org/web/20050513164720/http://www.strek-v-swars.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=4816&amp

Not to tease you here, but I just wanted to complain that with the end of Geocities in 2009, this pic-heavy post is pic-less, which is a shame because I wanted to see if his claims of asteroid destruction were as weird as Brian Young's current claims . . . not to mention to see the context of two inflationary types going at it with each other over how much inflation to engage in.

16.  http://web.archive.org/web/20050513164728/http://www.strek-v-swars.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=4826&amp

Interesting post about Imperial and Mon Cal design philosophies and implied differences.   It relies on the EU but may be useful anyway, and remains interesting.   Contrast the stand-and-fight thought (facing the enemy) with the broadside idea shown in RotS.  They're not contrary, mind you, but complementary.

17.  http://web.archive.org/web/20050825192319/http://www.strek-v-swars.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=4904&amp

Oy vey.  The Federation = communist yarn again.   Fortunately, it appears that my old post-scarcity argument has been discussed and written about by others since (not saying they got it from me, mind you . . . just that it was the logical idea), so maybe this silly idea is on its way toward fading.

18.  http://web.archive.org/web/20050513163547/http://www.strek-v-swars.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=4906&amp

The tantalizing last page of a discussion of the "Masks" phaser event.  I don't see the calc, though.  Oh well.

19.  http://web.archive.org/web/20050513163854/http://www.strek-v-swars.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=4957&amp

Supposedly one of the EU novels had a Star Destroyer parked between twelve blue giant stars.   I never heard of this, which is strange because even if something was terribly wrong with the example the inflationists would've commonly glommed on to it anyway.

20.  http://web.archive.org/web/20050513163926/http://www.strek-v-swars.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=4965&amp

A piece of conversation about Garak's failed plan to use the Defiant's weapons to reduce the Founder homeworld to a smoking cinder.

21.  http://web.archive.org/web/20050513164240/http://www.strek-v-swars.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=4974&amp

An unusual thread in which some pro-Wars guy I don't even know talks about how I'm a thoughtful and civil debater, while complimenting the STrek-v-SWars forum generally.  Y'know, I'm so used to people saying horrid things about me, not to mention being all too aware (and having much too good recall) of occasions where I didn't live up to my own high standards, I daresay I don't always give myself enough credit.

On the other hand, I also know I've lost a lot of my capacity for patience over the years, so maybe my self-assessment is just right.

Speaking of me, where the hell am I?   I've only seen myself in one thread so far.

22.  http://web.archive.org/web/20050513164353/http://www.strek-v-swars.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=4983&amp

Ah, speak of the devil.   This appears to be the genesis post of the page about Vaporizing a Small Town.

23. http://web.archive.org/web/20050513164518/http://www.strek-v-swars.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=4999&amp

A little blurb on aircraft versus tanks.   I want a tank with engage-able antigravs on it.  Best of both worlds, baby.

But really, if your shields are basically a super-wall, and your opponents are firing weapons capable of causing huge craters just from hitting the shield, a ground vehicle will be annoying because you'll always be climbing out of craters.

That's what inflationists never seem to think about in regards to the Hoth battle.  They want nuclear yields all the time, but none of the snow ever melts, and the AT-AT hull never even gets so much as warm so near as can be observed.  Even Luke's crash site didn't just boil away from under him . . . and the Imperials stepped on it, so they evidently didn't expect a problem either.

24. http://web.archive.org/web/20050513164600/http://www.strek-v-swars.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=5009&amp

Ah, here I am again.  I don't know which, but it appears Wayne Poe had gone to a lot of trouble to try to counter one of my "Incomplete" pages, which sounds very much like the way Brian Young recently tried to do the same thing.   Also, there's discussion of Poe having been banned from STrek-v-SWars.Net.   I didn't remember that.

25.  http://web.archive.org/web/20050513164711/http://www.strek-v-swars.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=5037&amp

And, boom.  Here's one of the pages of the "Scaling of Imperial Destroyers" thread.   Looks to be page 8.

Since I've skipped ahead, I know there are at least one or two more pages available, too.  Can't wait to read that.