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.


  1. With respect, are you taking a break, or are you ain't? :)
    As soon as Young does something on the same topic you both discuss, you seem to spring back into action like it is a twitch.

  2. I love how you turned one event into a pattern, there. Cute!

    As for your "as soon as", his "Equivalence" response video is eight or nine days old. I probably saw it less than a week ago, and I only saw his "Kyber Crystals 2" video when I started replying to the other.

    If I have a twitch it sure is a slow one, innit there, sport? Hope I don't need physical therapy for that!

  3. You may want to rethink the comparison to Phasers?
    The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1
    SHELBY: I think we should look at modifying the plasma phaser design.
    LAFORGE: At the same time, we'll be retuning phasers to higher EM base emitting frequencies to try to disrupt their subspace field.
    SHELBY: Time index five one four. Data started to fluctuate phaser resonance frequencies. The Borg's beam breaks contact. Slow playback. Take a closer look, Commander. Mister La Forge?

    Hero Worship
    PICARD: No signs of phaser burns on the hull. 
LAFORGE: No, sir. Torsional stress levels point to a disrupter-style weapon.

    Decent, Part 1
    WORF: These wounds were caused by a forced plasma beam, similar to a Ferengi hand phaser.

  4. Impressive. I'd bet those are the only two DET-esque phaser references in existence.

  5. My point wasn't to imply DET-esque effects, but point out that the standard make up of a phaser beam is not the fanon naked nadion beam many promote out of ignorance or dishonesty.

    We also know from "The Best of Both Worlds" and "Scorpion" that phasers can fire anti-matter and Borg nano-probes. YOu'd get very different effects depending on what you choose to shoot.

    "Voy:Extreme Risk" has a type-2 phaser being converted into a shield generator simply by enhancing the power supply, and what were considered relatively minor power fluctuations in "TNG: A Matter of Time" being able to result in an atmosphere being burnt off implies a phaser has systems to contain the beam and limit collateral damage.

    In "TNG: The Wounded" HD version we see that disruptors also make use of the rapid nadion effect, and yet disruptors and phasers are very different weapon. This means nadions are not the main damaging aspect of the beam/pulse.

    If I'd been trying to argue DET-esque effects, I'd have brought up "TNG:The Vengeance Factor" and "TNG: The Enemy".

  6. The Nuclear Disruptive Effect(In series term for NDF) is only talked about in TNG: Cost of Living, and is shown to be extremely violent. It does not account for the gentle effects of a phaser beam, but there are other things like transporters and replicators that could.