Damien Hailey

May 10, 2002:

Given the power of the Death Star and the fact that they are based on the same technology, anything less would be outlandish. Learn to accept it.

You didn't read that all the way, did you?

You feel it is "ridiculously overinflated", which means you think the figure is wrong and you accept it only on the basis of the fact that Lucasfilm has endorsed it, not on its intrinsic merits. The point stands.

Perhaps you could first explain to me how you converted from watts (a unit of power, as given in the book) to teratons (a unit of energy, as thrown around in your spacebattles.com debates). You do know there's a difference between power and energy, don't you? Maybe you should try hanging out on ASVS for a while instead of spacebattles.com's "vs" forums. They'll straighten you out.

Perhaps because from what I've seen on ASVS, they're about as bad as you. You'll forgive me for wanting to hang with at least *some* halfway decent human beings. Demi-flames aside(you should try that sometime), thanks for the info.

Ah, so it's a matter of being "decent human beings", eh? I like the way you spacebattles.com people try to turn everything into a popularity contest. I hate to break it to you, but I'm not out to win any Miss Congeniality contests, and neither are a lot of the guys on ASVS. If that's what you want, go ahead. But I debate on the basis of facts and logic, not style over substance.

I want to show that Curtis Saxton has been unreasonably attacked by a herd of scientifically ignorant sheep on spacebattles.com who have given him zero credit, zero benefit of the doubt, and zero consideration before leaping to the conclusion that he's an irrational fanboy who pulled numbers out of thin air, and then spraying that libelous accusation all over a public bulletin board. I consider that unacceptable, since I communicate with Curtis regularly and I consider him a friend.

You think my response is rude? Too bad. I think you and your friends have been rude to someone I hold in high regard. And as I said, I'm not out to win any Miss Congeniality contests, so I see no reason to humour ignorance.

Did you really think Curtis Saxton, a PhD astrophysicist, would just pull numbers out of thin air which are self-contradictory?

You'd be suprised how often that happens.

Then show that it is the case here, rather than resorting to the style over substance attacks so popular with your crowd.

The collective inability of the rabid B5 contingent on spacebattles.com's "vs" forums to distinguish between power and energy (a distinction they teach in high school), or to distinguish between physical impact protection and energy shielding is not my problem; it is your problem.

No, it's not. Ya see, unlike you, I have no problem with any of this.

You think the figures are "ridiculously overinflated". I think that constitutes a problem.

Because I'm *not* waltzing around here pretending to be anything.

And I did do some research on the subject. As much as you may fail to notice, or admit it, you and this site have in fact become a reference source. I asked a question, and I got it. I had a problem, and I had the flaw in my reasoning corrected(True, it had all the tact of a rampaging Gyarados, but still...). My curiosity has been satisfied. My "homework" has been done. YOU were my homework. Thank you, Mr. Wong. [:)]

Research is not simply asking an expert what he thinks. It's finding out some of the underlying facts and principles for yourself.

Try doing some math on that. I'm tired of all these half-assed, half-baked qualitative assessments I get from fanboys via E-mail. Would it kill you to pick up a calculator and try some of these calcs before presuming the answer, and then expecting me to painstakingly walk you through the calculations you should have done before E-mailing me?

Did I say that? Considering the amount of E-mail you claim to go through, you probably have them on file anyway. Let's not pander to the sympathies of the audience, shall we?

Pot calling the kettle black, I'd say. I don't play popularity games, nor do I care for your "style over substance" tricks.

You're evading the point, which is that you made a claim about asteroid impacts disproving the ICS figures, but you made no attempt whatsoever to produce any numbers to support that claim. And what's this nonsensical assumption that I "have them on file anyway"? Are you saying that you've sent me numbers in the past? I certainly don't recall receiving any. You were responding to my public query as to why no one had come to me with these objections, remember? What makes you think I've already got them in my inbox?

This is the best you could do? Someone points out that the bridge tower shields were probably down, so you answer that even at 1%, you feel they should have held? When shields are down, they're at zero percent! What part of this don't you understand?

The part about an unshielded craft in an area where shields would be a necessity.

So? Vader told them to go in, even though they didn't want to. He ordered a holo-conference, even though they undoubtedly would have preferred to be commanding their ships. He was not thinking of their safety. But would the commanders of those ships have been wise to refuse Darth Vader's instructions? Not unless you figure they were itching for a death by suffocation.

The part of nobody trying a simple tactic such as "field repairs" after being in a field or two for a few days.

Most machines require downtime for maintenance, remember? Those shields were designed for battles which normally don't last for days without a break, and it's generally not easy to repair major systems while under fire. Do you think real-life techs can perform field repairs on an F-16 while it's in flight?

The part of "This is the Pursecutor. Unable to navigate hazardous area. Inquisitor, take point."

Vader ordered every ship into the asteroid field. Vader kills officers who disobey. Vader cut off an officer's objection by saying that "Asteroids don't concern me, Admiral. I want that ship, not excuses." The ships went in, despite the risk. Again, I ask: what part of this don't you understand? If one ship was worse off than the other ships before it went into the field, that's just its bad luck, isn't it? You don't disobey an order from Vader and live.

"Extremely weak"? Relative to what? Star Trek, where Jem'Hadar fighters with orders of magnitude lower momentum than the TESB asteroid smashed their way clean through fresh, battle-ready, shielded Klingon warships in "Tears of the Prophets"? Babylon 5, where a miniscule Starfury crashed right through the dorsal fin of a Sharlin in "In the Beginning",

Or the part about asteroids bouncing off a damaged ship in ItB. [:)]

Since I seem to be in the position of high school science teacher and you seem to be in the position of precocious student, I'll phrase this in the form of a question.

Question: since a large asteroid moving at high speed will pulverize or perhaps even vapourize itself upon impact with a solid barrier due to internal stresses and work heating, what does it tell us about this particular asteroid that it bounced instead? Be concise in your answer.

... also with far less momentum than the TESB asteroid? Please, enlighten me on what "extremely weak" means, and how you relate that to other sci-fi series.

How about relative to their own ray shields? But I supposed that's irrevelant now, Encyclopedia Wongica. ^_^

Not irrelevant; just grossly misinterpreted by people who obviously don't understand how to analyze physical impacts as opposed to energy weapons. Here's a hint: they aren't the same. I pointed this out in my last E-mail, and you completely ignored the point. There are specific means of examining them, and you aren't even trying. You obviously just assume that X joules from an energy weapon are equivalent to X joules of KE in a physical impact, yet neither you or any of your spacebattles.com friends have made the slightest effort to justify this assumption.

As long as you're playing this game of pretending that this is "research", I'll give you some homework: justify the aforementioned assumption. Use legitimate scientific concepts to do so.

Only one ship out of his entire fleet sustained major damage, yet you categorically reject the notion that this ship was any different from the others. Why? Do you figure that it was the only ship that took a hit during their entire time in the asteroid field, despite its incredible density and the fact that the Falcon (a relatively miniscule target) was nearly pulverized flying through it?

Easy. I don't. There was that line of: "Considering the damage we've taken, they must've been destroyed." So yes, I assume that a good many of them took some damage.

"Some" damage and "major damage" are two entirely different things. The officer merely stated that the rate of damage must have easily been enough to destroy a tiny freighter. Since none of the other capital ships in his fleet showed visible damage, my point stands. Only one ship took "major damage", as I said. Every other ship sustained only nuisance-level damage; the kind of nuisance damage that one would expect after a lot of pounding (either that, or the officer was talking about damage to the shields themselves rather than the hulls of the ships), which would have been easily enough to destroy the tiny Falcon. There is a large discrepancy in the damage to that one ship and the damage to the other ships, and you have made no attempt to account for this discrepancy, assuming (by deliberately choosing one of many possible interpretations of a scrap of dialogue) that all of the ships took serious damage.

But as all of that was apparently offscreen, the Bridge scene is the only actual example, and quite frankly, it is a glaring one, showing either a limit, or a weak spot.

A limit of an unshielded ship? Sure. But a "weak spot?" Weak relative to what? What kind of unshielded structure would survive an impact of that magnitude without damage? I remind you that it was violent enough to explosively pulverize a million-ton nickel-iron asteroid.

I'm trying to find out which, and I decided to start by consulting a reasonably reliable source (That would be you, if you've been paying attention).

You are not consulting me; you have already made up your mind that the ICS figures are "ridiculously overinflated", and you are fastidiously pretending to be polite even though your only response to my point about ISD strength in relation to other sci-fi series was an evasive appeal to ridicule (Encyclopedia Wongica, eh?) and a repetition of the completely false idea that you can directly equate physical impact KE to energy weapon yield.

You act as though the answers already given by others are inadequate,

As far as I was concerned, they *were.* If they had been satisfactory, and quite frankly not come off as a bunch of excuses, I would'n have written you.

They came off as a bunch of excuses because you have already made up your mind. Rather than looking at obvious explanations (ie- they went in there because Vader told them to and he didn't give a shit about their safety), you desperately search for any interpretation which will serve your pre-ordained conclusion, no matter how outlandish (ie- they went in there because they were stupid, which implies that they actually wanted to). Then, you pretend that by dismissing the possibility of your fanciful interpretation and deliberately choosing the most reasonable interpretation, your opponents are using "excuses".

And so far, the whole point of your explanations has been that the ship should never have been in that field in the first place! Please forgive me for assuming intelligence on the part of the Empire.

Vader felt that the sacrifice of a ship or two would be insignificant in relation to the capture of his son. You can call that a lack of intelligence if you like, but it is a red herring. This was Vader's call, and any attempt to convert it into a broad generalization about the tactics of Imperial officers is foolish at best, and dishonest at worst. The only Imperial officer to comment on the idea did not want to go in there, remember? Vader cut him off, and would have undoubtedly killed him if he objected again.

However, in the light of the mistake made, it does, in fact, make some more since. I do thank you for that.

Are you still convinced that the figures from ICS are "ridiculously overinflated?"

Want more? OK, just for fun, I'll give you a riddle to answer. There's a way that the shields could have held firm against the rock, but it might still have crashed into the tower. Can you figure out what I'm talking about? Give it a try. See if you're up to it. Get your little friends at spacebattles.com to help you out.

I believe that would be your idea of the Particle shields being under the main hull?

Wrong. If I was talking about that, an asteroid would do only superficial surface damage before hitting an impenetrable particle shield just under the surface. Try again, and put on your thinking cap this time. Go ahead and ask if any of your spacebattles.com friends have any ideas; there's no reason to limit yourself. Maybe one of them will surprise me and figure it out. Then again, maybe not.

May 13, 2002

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