2014-11-15

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.

1 comment:

  1. It's blindingly obvious why Andi was chosen as the social correspondent.

    ReplyDelete