14 January 2013

White House in Disappointing Death Star Rebuff

LEGO Death StarThe response of the White House to a recent petition urging the US government to construct a Death Star demonstrates exactly what has gone wrong with America today.

The Administration provided three main reasons for deflecting the will of the people, which basically boil down to:
  1. it is too expensive;
  2. it is too dangerous; and
  3. it is just not good enough.
Once upon a time, we could have expected better from the executive leadership of the world's most powerful nation.  When someone suggested that America stick it to the commies by putting the first man on the Moon, did JFK say 'nah, it costs too much'?  No, he did not.  He said:

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

And in doing so, he inspired a nation, and a world.

Then he set about applying great American ingenuity to the task, as provided by great Americans like Dr Wernher Von Braun, who was flexible enough to move from the V-2 to the Saturn V since, as the equally great American political analyst Tom Lehrer would later put it, 'Once ze rockets go up, who cares vere zey come down: zat's not my department...'.

TOO EXPENSIVE?

In light of this negativity from the White House, it is fortunate that a few enterprising economics students have done the sums on Death Star construction.  Not only did they confirm that the Earth has the necessary resources to build not just one, but up to two million Death Stars (assuming we are prepared to mine the core for its iron), but they also estimated the cost at only US$852 quadrillion.

The US Administration suggests that this price tag will have an adverse impact on the deficit, and indeed it is equivalent to the GDP of the entire planet 13,000 times over.  However, since the clever economics students also estimated that it would take 833,315 years just to manufacture enough steel, it will actually be necessary to spend only 1.6% of the world's current GDP each year in order to complete construction.

So no, Mr President, it is not too expensive to construct a Death Star.  Not only is it totally affordable, and not only will it create jobs, stimulate the economy, and provide opportunities for grand leaps forward in innovation, invention and technology, but if you do not get started soon, the Chinese (who already produce more than one third of the world's steel) almost certainly will.

TOO DANGEROUS?

While the White House's lack of faith is disturbing, its concern about the consequences of building a Death Star is even more troubling.  To quote the response to the petition: 'The Administration does not support blowing up planets.'

That comment bears repeating, just in case you missed its significance:

'The Administration does not support blowing up planets.'

Well, that is exactly what we have come to expect from the Obama Administration.  In fact, as a reason for blocking the development of a Death Star it should be challenged without delay in the Supreme Court as a likely violation of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.

As David Keene would surely inform the President in no uncertain terms, Death Stars do not blow up planets, people blow up planets.

And the Administration will surely be singing a different tune when the galaxy is being threatened by Collectors, Reapers, Flood, Covenant, Klingons, Borg, or even Sith with Death Stars of their own.

We can surely all agree that in case of galactic conflict, the only sensible weapon of choice for a well-regulated militia is a Death Star.

In any case, if the current US Administration was really so concerned about the destruction of planets, it would have ratified the Kyoto Protocol immediately upon taking office.  Hypocrites.

NOT GOOD ENOUGH?

Finally – and this is the issue which most interests and saddens Patentology – we turn to the sheer lack of vision in the Administration's third reason for refusing to take on the Death Star project:

Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

There are so many things wrong with this statement, it is hard to know where to begin.
Firstly, the taxpayer dollars are not 'countless'.  Just two lines above, the cost was estimated at US$852 quadrillion.  Do you even read you own writing?  Sure, this is big.  But it is not 'countless'.

Second, an X-wing starfighter is not a 'starship'.  While it has a hyperdrive, and can, in a pinch, be used to make interstellar trips to out-of-the-way destinations such as Dagobah, it is still basically a fighter.  With no sleeping berths, galley, sick bay or even toilet facilities, I would challenge the Administration's Paul Shawcross to spend a week travelling by X-wing, and then see if he still calls it a 'starship'.  By then, I have no doubt he would be begging to share a cabin with a Wookie on an old rustbucket like the Millennium Falcon!

Thirdly, the vulnerability identified in the Death Star design is hardly a 'fundamental flaw.'  Nobody would have considered a tiny, two-metre diameter thermal exhaust port via which a chain reaction could be initiated in the main reactor to be a realistically-exploitable weakness.  Nobody, that is, who had not misspent his youth bullseying womp rats in his T-16 back home!  What are the odds?

In any event, if the Obama Administration had bothered to do any research at all into the viability of the project, they would know that the thermal exhaust port vulnerability was eliminated in the Death Star II, which would surely form the basis for any new design.

More to the point, however, no design is ever perfect.  The real challenge – and benefit – in the Death Star project lies in the potential to find and solve existing problems, develop new technologies, and to invent and discover new and useful processes, machines, manufactures, and compositions of matter, along with new and useful improvements thereof.  Because that is the kind of thinking that once made America great, and the kind of thinking that is needed to make America great once again!

DUTY!

So yes, Mr President, not only can you build a Death Star, it is your duty to do so as an American, and a citizen of Earth!

Help us, Barack Obama – you’re our only hope.

2 comments:

A. Non said...

You are a very funny man. In a noice way

Mark Summerfield said...

Koind of you to soi so!

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