Sunday, 13 January 2013

alterFACT: We Nearly Built The Death Star

We were so close! Unfortunately, the government of the United States refused to build the Death Star. Yes, that same Death Star from the Star Wars that Luke blows up. That same Death Star which is the embodiment of evil and kills the Jedi.
It all started after the US presidential election of 2012, or as it turns out, much earlier than that. According to Cracked it is actually quite common for news outlets to report stories of states filing petitions to secede from the Unites States as a political statement. And as it turns out, it's utter bullshit. In reality, the government has to issue a response once the number of petitioners reachers the magical number 25,000... and that's about it. Probably because the petition is posted on the public section of the White House website, meaning that anyone can go there and write their opinion and that these petitions are started by bitter old men who still think that Jim Crow's laws were the best thing to happen since Jesus Christ. And that also means some people create fake accounts to get more signatures.

These meaningless crazy political statements made by residents of the Land of Dixie, usually result in similar jocular petitions. One of them for example asks to “to dissolve the current legalsystem and replace it with a single Hall of Justice, run by Judges;motorcycle-riding law officers who act as police, judge, jury, and executioner."
And of course, the Death Star. This one remarkably got all the 25,000 signatures. Although some petitioners suspiciously enough had names such as D.Vader, Vader.D, and The Dark Lord.

The 25,000 signature meant that the White House had to issue and official response, which they did. Disappointingly enough, the name of the response is "This Isn't the Petition Response You're Looking For", and they couldn't be more right. Among the chief reasons for the rejection of the proposed plan is the estimated cost that is thought to be over $850 quadrillion in terms of raw materials alone (roughly 13,000 times world's GDP), and the fact that the necessary technology doesn't yet exist. The administration then goes on to say that they are "working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it". Some would argue the opposite. Other reasons include lame responses such as "The Administration does not support blowing up planets". Which is about as ironic as it gets considering how just recently news came out that in the 1950's the United States military proposed to blow up the Moon with a nuclear bomb as a show of force to the Soviets. One good point that the response does make is "Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?". The counter argument could be that there is no one as badass as Luke Skywalker. 
Don't be too upset though, the administration does "share(s) your desire for job creation and a strong national defense", so maybe it wasn't a complete waste of time!

Side note: Centives has figured out some highly important logistical questions related to the building of the Death Star such: How long would it take Darth Vader to mop the Death Start? What would the maintenance costs be if the Death Star administration hired janitors to mop it? Here are some answers:

-It would take 11.4 million years for Darth Vader to do it alone. The website also quite cynically remarks that it "would at least give him plenty of time to think about his children"
-If each part of the Death Star were to be cleaned at least once a year, 48 million workers would be needed (around 33% of American labor force)
-Assuming all earned the minimum wage, it would cost $723 bn, or around 30% of American annual budget.


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