And That Happened

A very grand-slammy day around the Majors . . .

Nationals 14, Brewers 6: Josh Willingham with two grand slams and eight RBI. I think that’s more production than his trade counterpart Emilio Bonifacio has had all season.

Mets 7, Rockies 3: An eighth inning pinch hit grand slam by Fernando Tatis puts a happy ending on what was an otherwise horrible day in Metsville. After the game, Omar Minaya raged at a press conference about how he can no longer sit back and allow reporter infiltration, reporter indoctrination, reporter subversion and the international reporter conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

Cubs 5, Astros 1: Tie game, bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth! Lou Piniella calls for the suicide squeeze! Mike Fontenot know what to do: Contact, baby! Do anything, put it anywhere, but JUST DON’T MISS THE BALL! Oops, he missed the ball and the runner was tagged out. On to extra innings, where, thankfully for Fontenot’s sake, the Cubbies broke out in the 13th inning, via — you guessed it — a game-winning grand slam, this one off the bat of Alfonso Soriano.

Indians 9, Angels 8: A rare bifurcated grand slam won this one, with Victor Martinez hitting a three run home run followed immediately by Jhonny Peralta hitting a solo-shot in the ninth inning. Shut up, it does too count. I’m trying to keep a theme going here.

Yankees 11, Rays 4: It was A-Rod’s birthday yesterday, and if he wanted to, he and his lady friend Kate Hudson could have joined the party and gotten a free grand slam. Since it’s Rodriguez, though, they probably just tried to go to Chi Chi’s to get free nachos and a Polaroid picture wearing that birthday sombrero they give out. Then they probably were crestfallen when they found out that (a) Chi Chi’s went out of business five years ago; and (b) that there aren’t any Polaroids around anymore either. So instead they just went out to some fabulous restaurant and took turns telling one another how rich and beautiful they are. Wait, where was I going with this?

Reds 6, Padres 4: Given how totally each of these teams have fallen apart recently, this was more like rummage sale than a ballgame. Scouts sat behind home plate like Luke and Uncle Owen pickin’ out droids. Based on reports, someone’s got their eyes set on this Red one, but they should be warned: he probably has a bad motivator.

Red Sox 8, A’s 3: Every Red Sox batter got a hit which, if you’re a connoisseur of box scores, is kind of satisfying to see on an aesthetic level. 10Ks for Beckett.

Royals 5, Orioles 3: Billy Butler went 5 for 5 and Bruce Chen wasn’t an unmitigated disaster for once. Interesting — and deceiving — to see that the Royals are only three games worse than the Orioles are this year. I bet Dayton Moore walks around the office complaining about how unfair it is for those in the know to talk about Baltimore’s future and promise while all they do is criticize the Royals.

Twins 4, White Sox 3: Errors were the difference here, as Jayson Nix and Paul Konerko each committed an error in the second which led to Twins runs.

Rangers 5, Tigers 2: Yet another solid start from Tommy Hunter (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER). I don’t know anything about him and I haven’t seen him pitch yet. Royce — anyone — is he any good, or is this a fluke?

Cardinals 6, Dodgers 1: Chris Carpenter finishes July 4-0 by beating L.A. in a manner that compels me to use the term “scattered” (7 IP, 9 H, 1 ER). Not to be confused with scattered, smothered, and covered (sorry, that breakfast reference in the Yankees recap has me hungry). Anyway, in his first four games with St. Louis, Matt Holliday is 8-for-14 with four RBIs. In his last seven games, Mark DeRosa has five homers. I’d say at this point that the midseason deals are paying off for St. Louis.

Phillies 6, Diamondbacks 2: Jamie Moyer, who I am contractually obligated to refer to as “crafty” (though “wily” will also be accepted), baffled the Dbacks with his stunning array of dusty junk, allowing bubkis over six innings. The Phillies now have a seven game lead in the East.

Blue Jays 11, Mariners 4: All hits are not created equal. Toronto only has three more of them than the Ms, but they scored seven more runs, knocking King Felix around in what amounts to his worst start in a couple of years, and preventing him from getting what would have been his 12th win.

Giants 4, Pirates 2: Lincecumazing! OK, I’ll cut that out now. But he really was, tossing a complete game, giving up no earned runs, and striking out 15 Pirates. His game score of 87 is the ninth best of any starter’s performance this season. Though it’s worth noting that I don’t believe in game scores. I just believe in me. Yoko and me. And that’s reality.

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Comments

  1. J.W. said...

    Wow, above and beyond today. I love the semi-hyper ATHs.

    You know, even as a small child I was always surprised by the Jawas willingness to allow the Skywalkers to replace the busted red one for R2. I mean it’s not like we’re talking about Best Buy here, these were thieving little scrap dealers, not really the type of folks to have a particularly consumer friendly return policy. Just consider the baseball equivalent. When the Yankees trade for Bronson Arroyo and he immediately reveals himself to be the classic example of a salted mine (his occasional brilliance and his “experience with pitching in the AL East” make him look a lot shinier and more useful than he really is) and he very quickly starts sputtering and smoking, Walt Jocketty isn’t going to say to Brian Cashman, “ok fine you can have Johnny Cueto instead.” No, Cashman will have to live with the mistake he made. Just as Uncle Owen should have had to.

  2. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Totally disagree with you on the Jawas, J.W.  If the Jawas lose the Skywalkers’ business, they may as well fold up shop, so they have to satisfy them.  They’re ideal customers: they’ll buy protocol droids even when they don’t need them, and their condenser-maintainence needs (up on the south ridges, don’t you know) are such that they’ll likely need a steady supply of droids in the future.

    You piss of the Skywalkers, and you’re basically telling them to go buy their droids at Toshii Station (they’re sold in a stand right behind the power converters).  And then where are the Jawas?  Driving their no-customer-having-asses around the desert in that big old trapezoid of theirs.

    Conclusion: replacing an R2 unit—especially one that they didn’t even have to pay for themselves—is simply good business in today’s Tatoonine economy.

  3. Levi Stahl said...

    I also think there’s a hint of implied violence in the human/Jawa interactions. With the way the humans talk about and interact with the Jawas and the Tusken Raiders, you get a distinct sense of a frontier mentality—and it’s not hard to imagine some hotheaded human, angry about being done wrong by the Jawas, leading a vigilante band on a murderous rampage, wiping out a bunch of them in the name of progress and safety.

    Or am I just being needlessly dark about human nature and history?

  4. Adam said...

    Too hot to sleep last night, so I’m lying in bed thinking about the Yankees (that’s what you think about when you get old and can’t sleep) and get to wondering whether this infield is the best offensive infield of all time.  Cano has the lowest OPS at .849; I did some quick research and found only one other team where all four players were close to that, and it’s the 1950 Red Sox with Dropo, Doerr, Stephens and Pesky.  This infield, with 2 HOF players and 2 very good players, if it continues to perform at this level, might have to be considered the best ever. I’ll leave it to the statheads to figure out if it’s true; hopefully for all of you, I’ll sleep better tonight.

  5. MooseinOhio said...

    Loved the bifurcate grand slam and while it may not technically qualify all the judges, except the Russian, gave you 10’s for artistic interpretation. 

    One potential plus of falling out of the race before the trade deadline is that you can sell tickets, hopefully the expensive seats behind home, to all scouts looking to cherry pick your players.

  6. John said...

    Note ont he Indians game: Because Garko was traded, Hafner couldn’t play (mandatory day off) and Sizemore was sick, the Indians played the entire game with literally no one available on the bench.

    Strike up another win for Shapiro’s 9 man bullpen.

  7. Greg Simons said...

    Love the Star Wars discussion.  Very entertaining.

    Hafner couldn’t play because he had a mandatory day off?  What’s the world coming to?  He’s a DH, how tired can the guy be from striding to the plate four times a game?  He hasn’t played the field since 2007, but if I’m Eric Wedge, I stick a first baseman’s mitt on his hand and tell him to get out on the field.

  8. J.W. said...

    OK, I can see how it would be important to keep a crucial customer happy, but I still think they coulda thrown a caveat emptor out there and shrugged their little robed shoulders and gotten away with it. The Skywalkers need them too, after all. They can’t go paying outrageous Toshii prices, and they really can’t be going all the way to town whenever they need a droid or some parts or whatnot; Owen makes it quite clear that they are pressed for time and man-power.

    Enough! Back to baseball. You’d think that Rollins, Howard, and Utley would have put up some pretty impressive numbers last year, no? But then you look at this year’s Yankee infield and the numbers are ourageous. OPS+ for Cano is 121, Jeter 127, A-Rod 140 and Teixeira 142. Rollins, in his MVP year, had an OPS+ of 103. Utley had 135 and Howard had 124, and then of course there’s Pedro Feliz, he of the 81 OPS+. The 2008 Red Sox had a right side of the infield that compares with the 2009 Yankee right side: Youkilis 143 OPS+, Pedroia 122 (so based on that Cano = 2009 MVP?). The 2009 version of the Boston right side is slightly inferior due to Pedroia’s drop to a 107 OPS+, though Youk is staying strong at 142. So, um, yeah, in conclusion, the 2009 Yankee infield is very strong offensively.

  9. J.W. said...

    Whoops, those numbers were for the 2008 Phils, not the 2007 version which would the Rollins MVP year. In 2007 he had an OPS+ of 118 to go with Utley’s 145 and Howard’s 144. But that year they had an even more drastic hole at 3rd, with Abraham Nunez getting 113 games there and OPS+ing (GASP!) 54.

  10. lar said...

    Sorry, but a good Star Wars discussion is much more attractive to me this morning than a Brewers discussion…

    Technically, the red droid is an R5 unit. It essentially does the same thing as an R2, but it’s designed for other types of ships or something. Also, and this really has little to do with anything, the R5 unit (R5-D4, if I recall correctly) supposedly blew his motivator on purpose so as not to break up the always entertaining C-3P0/R2-D2 marriage. I agree with Craig that the Jawas are almost obligated to replace the “broken” unit that Owen complains about, since he’s probably an important part of their weekly rounds. However, it also might just be a simple matter of payment – I don’t recall if they actually showed Owen paying for the droids. So maybe they needed to replace it in order to receive full payment?

    Finally, upon rewatching that first movie, doesn’t it seem completely out of character for 3P0 to just walk away from R2 after they crash land on Tatooine? I mean, it was only the first 20 minutes of the first movie, so his personality traits and whatnot weren’t really known by all. But by the end of the first trilogy (and then the next trilogy), his character becomes perfectly clear – and ditching his longtime friend in the middle of the desert just because he’s being stubborn about a radar reading he has does not sound like the C-3P0 we all know and love one bit…

    I’m just saying…

  11. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Lar—look, I’m a lawyer, and because of that I’m far more preoccupied by all of the OSHA violations of the Death Star (you don’t think maybe they need a rail or two around that big shaft?  And shouldn’t there be a point beyond which that bridge doesn’t retract? And don’t even get me started about the garbage chute and the radiation exposure for the guys near the main gun; they’re shielding their eyes with their arms for cryin’ out loud!  At least get them better goggles!

    Anyway, I think Meloday is a therapist, so perhaps she may be better suited to addressing the R2-3PO relationship.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go file a brief in the wrongful death suit I’m bringing on behalf of all of the private contractors who were killed on the unfinished Death Star in RoTJ . . .

  12. Greg Simons said...

    I remember not being able to find R2-D2 in stores when I was a kid, so I had to settle for the R5, which I think actually was an R5-D5, not that this distiction will alter the future of the universe or anything.  After all, that was long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away.

  13. Ben2009 said...

    “Finally, upon rewatching that first movie, doesn’t it seem completely out of character for 3P0 to just walk away from R2 after they crash land on Tatooine?”

    Remember, C3P0 and R2D2 had been together for (hundreds of?) years before they crashed on Tatooine.  Everyone, and every droid, has a breaking point.

    Plus, given 3P0’s reaction to finding R2 later, you know he felt bad about leaving him.

  14. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Lar—look, I’m a lawyer, and because of that I’m far more preoccupied by all of the OSHA violations of the Death Star (you don’t think maybe they need a rail or two around that big shaft?  And shouldn’t there be a point beyond which that bridge doesn’t retract? And don’t even get me started about the garbage chute and the radiation exposure for the guys near the main gun; they’re shielding their eyes with their arms for cryin’ out loud!  At least get them better goggles!)

    Anyway, I think Meloday is a therapist, so perhaps she may be better suited to addressing the R2-3PO relationship.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go file a brief in the wrongful death suit I’m bringing on behalf of all of the private contractors who were killed on the unfinished Death Star in RoTJ . . .

  15. Frank said...

    The people who died on the Deathstar knew what they were getting into.  It’s not like they were working at McDonald’s.  Just days earlier, they blew up a freakin’ planet!  They knew what they were there for, knew what they were signing up for…that’s blood money, Craig.  Blood.  Money.

  16. george said...

    Speaking of mid-season moves, Julio (wtf?!?) Lugo… .474/.474/.947/1.421, in his first four games

  17. SeanMcCulloch said...

    Now we’re entering territory I can talk about- I’ll leave you guys to talk about VORP and ERA+ and stuff, but Star Wars is right in my wheelhouse.

    The key fact you’re missing in the Owen/Jawa haggling (The red droid is R5-D4, by the way), is that Owen’s in the middle of paying the Jawa when the motivator blows. The deal isn’t complete, and Owen can still take his money and storm off.  So the Jawas have to replace the droid. 

    The baseball analogy, I guess, would be the Yankees and Red agreeing “in principle” to trade Arroyo.  Then while they’re still inking the final paperwork, he goes out and blows his arm.  At that point, I think the Yankees can pull out of the trade.

    Once the money has finished changing hands, and the deal is officially done, then Owen (and the Yankees) have no recourse to complain.

  18. lar said...

    Great point about the Death Star being a lawyer’s dream, Craig. I agree. Except that it’s the property of a totalitarian regime. If you were practicing law under Stalin and he built a superweapon, I suspect that you’d have a hard time getting your case to trial. But maybe I’m wrong.

    (I’m also partial to Frank’s point…)

    And, Ben, according to the prequel trilogy, apparently 3P0 and R2 had only been together for 18 years. I guess that could be enough for 3P0 to get fed up with R2’s cockiness… Though I still think that someone like 3P0 doesn’t exactly choose to ditch his one and only friend for 18 years in the middle of the desert where there’s little hope for survival…

    Oh, and the Family Guy Star Wars special has some great takes on the Death Star safety protocols and the “power converters” you’ll find at Tosche Station…

  19. J.W. said...

    Actually now that Sean mentions it, I do recall Owen still being mid-negotion when the little red guy conked out. I think the confusion arises from the fact that (I believe) Luke was already starting to walk away with the droids while his uncle finished up the business side of the deal. So in that case the Jawas’ business savviness does really enter into the equation at all. It’s not a matter of accomadating a good customer, they had to offer the R2 unit instead or risk losing the sale altogether. Well I’m glad we got that sorted out. Now all I need is someone to tell me how it makes sense for Jabba the Hutt to threaten Han and Luke with the possibility of being slowly digested by the Sarlac over the course of a thousand years. I mean, seriously does the Sarlac have some way of keeping people alive for a millenium? If so why haven’t any researchers tried to figure out how the Sarlac does that and create a way to do it sans the digesting bit. And how slow must it’s metabolism be if it’s going to digest two puny humans over one freakin’ thousand years. I can’t even make a Snickers last 45 seconds! Also, how did Lando get a job as one of Jobba’s guards? Wasn’t there an interview process of some sort? And wouldn’t he be required to take of that helmet thingy at some point? I’m guessing the guards have some kind of communal shower/locker room area, aren’t any of them curious why this dude won’t take off his helmet? And finally, can anyone, ANYONE, tell me why Omar Minaya still has a job? I’m with Craig, I think he is trying to force his way out. I mean he flipped out like a crazy person at the press conference announcing the firing of a guy for flipping out like a crazy person. Oh, and if C3PO has been around Jedis his whole life, how come when the Ewoks are worshipping him and Luke makes him levitate he thinks that he himself is doing it? He’s definitely seen levitation done before, he definitely knows Luke is of the Jedi persuasion, so I’m pretty sure even he could put it together.

  20. lar said...

    I think it’s pretty clear that 3P0 isn’t the brightest of droids…

    And don’t forget just how smooth of a talker Lando is. It’s like he’s a Jedi, but with his coolness. He could play those fools for years.

    I don’t know what to tell you about the Sarlacc though. That’s just weird…

  21. Andy H said...

    The contract for the purchase of the droid wasn’t complete until the Jawas made a ‘delivery’ to the Skywalkers.  The red droid blew up before it even got to the house, so no deal.

    And Craig, I have doubts about the wrongful death suit.  I’m sure the liability insurance policy had a “acts of galactic war/rebellion” exclusion.

  22. Rob^2 said...

    Who’s to say that the people building the second Death Star were subcontractors?  They could have just as easily been Imperial employees.  They’re plight wasn’t much different than the thousands of other Imperial employees that were blown up in the first Death Star.  There must have been restaurants or cafeterias filled with cooks and wait-staff scattered throughout that space station.  And what, you think those shiny floors waxed themselves?

    Face it, *both* Death Stars housed many relatively innocent people.  There’s no reason to single out the one from Return of the Jedi.

  23. Levi Stahl said...

    Actually, shouldn’t we at least consider the possibility that the people who built—and maybe some of the ones of who staffed—both Death Stars were slaves? Have we seen anything that would suggest that the Empire would believe slavery to be beyond the pale?

  24. lar said...

    No, in fact everything we know about the Empire is that they fully endorse slavery, as long as it’s of the non-human species. Wookies, for example, make excellent slaves (Han, in fact, freed Chewbacca from an Imperial slave camp while he was enlisted in the Imperial Navy – that’s where their relationship began).

    The loss of possibly innocent lives on-board both Death Stars should weigh heavily on the shoulders of the Rebellion (esp. since they mourned all those Bothans who died to bring them that information)

  25. Will said...

    I’ve wondered about the hand-rails on the DeathStar, myself. Presumably they’re creating artificial gravity (it looks like they’re in 1g, but the Death Star doesn’t appear to have enough mass for it to naturally generate that gravity), so why would they bother to crank up the gravity in the vast empty spaces inside the station. Why not use that energy to soup up the planet-blasting laser?

  26. Andy said...

    I would assume that the custodial and wait-staff on the Death Star would be neither slaves nor innocent laborers, but droids. And, even without an in-depth knowledge of the law, I can figure that wrongful-death lawsuits don’t really apply when the wronged parties weren’t really alive to begin with.

  27. APBA Guy said...

    OK, with all this Death Star conversation my only contribution is that Craig, in focusing on the OSHA violations, has completely neglected the repeated EPA problems: planetary rubble, etc.

    Also, the discussion thread has so far failed to acknowledge the Dr. Strangelove reference, which was quite clever.

    Finally, Ray Fosse argued that the A’s aren’t pathetic, after a NY sportswriter wrote a long column on how pathetic they are.

    I love Ray, he’s a pleasure, and I have yet to hear the same story twice from him, but really. The A’s are pathetic. They may not be in two years, but since they have been pathetic for 3 years now, we may be mistaking their endless rebuilding for something other than what it is: pathetic.

  28. berselius said...

    “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go file a brief in the wrongful death suit I’m bringing on behalf of all of the private contractors who were killed on the unfinished Death Star in RoTJ . . . “

    Since no one has mentioned it yet…

    Of course there would be tons on contractors on the Death Star. You think the average stormtrooper knows how to install a toilet main?!

  29. Ben2009 said...

    All right, look-you’re a roofer, and some juicy government contract comes your way; you got the wife and kids and the two-story in suburbia – this is a government contract, which means all sorts of benefits. All of a sudden these left-wing militants blast you with lasers and wipe out everyone within a three-mile radius. You didn’t ask for that. You have no personal politics. You’re just trying to scrape out a living.

    I never bought the idea that a contractor working on the Death Star doesn’t have to take responsibility for what he or she is doing.  You’re building “the ultimate power in the universe,” for gosh’ sake.  It never occurred to you that someone might want to take it out?  Oh, I suppose there were a few dupes – people who didn’t know what it was they were building.  But that’s unavoidable.  The vast majority of the contrators had to know what was going on and had to know the risks they were taking.

  30. Rob² said...

    This raises a good question:  If the wait-staff and custodians are all droids, why wouldn’t the rest of the construction be done by droids, too?

    I mean, they’ve outsourced nursing and surgery to droids, why not welding?

  31. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Really strong unions in the Empire. You wouldn’t think it, but it’s true.  Only 35% of any workforce can be droids.

    They’re not even allowed in most bars.

  32. Wes said...

    @Will,

    Your comment about artificial gravity got me to thinking—-would they really be using artificial gravity?  Even in a galaxy as technologically advanced as theirs, I have my doubts about creating artificial gravity.  I don’t even know what that means.

    Anyway, here’s my thinking, and all of this could totally be wrong because I worked through it really quickly over a cup of coffee using Wikipedia and my memory as a source of info:
    1)  The original Death Star blew up Alderan (sp?) into tiny little bits that went flying everywhere.  I take that to mean the Death Star’s energy beam had enough energy to overcome the gravitational potential energy of the planet, and then probably a bit more to make all of those pieces go flying.
    2) As best as I can tell, the gravitational potential energy of the earth is roughly 10^26 MJ.
    3)  The power density of nuclear fission of natural uranium is about 500,000 MJ/kg in a light water reactor.  I’m not sure what this number really means from Wikipedia, but I assume it’s a one-time use thing, so 1 kg of natural uranium will give that energy, and after that you need more uranium.
    4) So, that would mean you need a mass of at least 10^20 kg of uranium to completely destroy one or two earth sized planets.
    5)  The mass of the earth is about 6 x 10^24 kg.

    So, based on just the uranium mass you would need, you’re a long way off to recreating the force of gravity of the earth.  But, there’s a lot of assumptions in that.  The planners might have been planning on destroying planets a bit bigger than the earth, and surely they wanted enough of a fuel supply on hand to destroy more than one planet before needing to refuel their power source, however they would do that anyway.  Of course you can imagine they might have used something more advanced than uranium fission for energy, but perhaps not—-obviously no one had done something like this before given the surprise of Solo et al. when they first saw it.  For a major innovative endeavor like that, you can imagine starting with the simplest possible efficient energy source.  And, if you want to quickly build up the energy to use your massive weapon again, the more nuclear fuel the better.

    Oh, and just as a check, the radius of a 10^20 kg uranium sphere would be something like 100 km I think.  Add on a little extra space for infrastructure (the extra mass from that is negligible—-I checked) and any extra uranium, and you’ve definitely got a moon sized object.

    Artificial gravity?  I don’t think it’s necessary.  Just a bunch of science fiction…

  33. lar said...

    Wes,

    Outstanding comment. I love it.

    There are definitely a few assumptions in there. The biggest one, I think, assuming that the Death Star laser provides all the power necessary to destroy the planet. I would think that there’s a good argument somewhere saying that the laser is meant to do something to the planet so that it destroys itself (like boiling the core, or something equally silly). If we can assume it’s some sort of special technology that wreaks havoc to the structure of a planet, then we have no way to even do “back of the envelope” type number-crunching (at least, I have no idea how you could do that).

    The other assumption that I’d point out is that you have them using nuclear fission as the power source. Assuming they are using nuclear power (and there is no other mentino of nukes in Star Wars canon that I’ve ever heard of), it is just as likely that they’ve figured out how to create nuclear fusion (after all, they can fly in hyperspace, build planet-size structures, and bend light). I know very little advanced physics or anything else nuclear-related, but I do recall learning that *fission* is only something like 3% efficient while *fusion* is something like 95% efficient. If that’s right, then their nuclear fusion powered weapon would be 30 times more powerful (I’m guessing… there might be some advanced stats in here that I’m not considering) than the nuclear fission powered one you mentioned. Which would change the math considerably.

    Of course, they could just invoke the “movie magic/science fiction” power source explanation, rendering all of our analysis moot (maybe they discovered some gigantic creature that spits out planet-destroying rays?). Silly movies.

    Personally, I just like to assume artificial gravity was discovered somewhere and somehow. It makes my mind so much freer…

  34. Rob^2 said...

    @Wes – Aren’t you assuming that the explosive power of the fully operational Death Star comes solely from the beam?  Couldn’t the beam be causing some kind of nuclear explosion of the planet itself?

    Perhaps they have some future technology that can cause atoms to spontaneously explode in a fission reaction caused by a high-energy plasma beam.  Then you’d really only need to generate the beam and let the atomic reaction take over.

  35. Levi Stahl said...

    Maybe it’s like microwave popcorn: the microwaves (Death Star mega-laser) heats up the water (planetary goodness) that’s already inside the popcorn (Alderaan) and makes it provide the explosive force.

    Gaah. I just compared the deaths of millions (billions?) of Alderaanians to cooking popcorn. I’m going to end up in Star Wars hell.

  36. Will said...

    Levi: give my regards to Moff Tarkin when you get there.

    As for the Death Star’s power supply, I think it more likely to assume they use fusion rather than fission.  With all the energy weapons they use in that universe, it seems likely that they would have figured out a way to deal with the high-energy plasma involved in fusion reactors.

    For bonus nerd points, we could now discuss whether the Star Trek method of using matter/anti-matter annihilation would be even more efficient, and if that technology existed in the Star Wars universe.

    And now, moving back to the question of gravity, my second reason for assuming the likelihood of artificial gravity is that the big landing bay that the Millennium Falcon lands in is perpendicular to the crust of the Death Star. If it was using natural gravity, wouldn’t all the decks be parallel to the crust? The decks should be in layers, like an onion.

  37. TC said...

    Levi-

    Of course, if you put JiffyPop in the microwave, then blue light comes out.  And if exploding planets are anything like exploding stars (and why wouldn’t they be), then, though you don’t see it in the movies, a red light should emanate from Alderaan.  When red meets blue, the Falcon goes back in time, and Chewy talked to Barack Obama.  I think.

  38. Linus said...

    Oh.. and there is no reason to estimate Alderaan to the same size as Earth, in fact it probably could be much smaller than earth. Additionally, Alderaan could have been just as unstable as say Venus. 

    But, instead of using either fusion or fission, perhaps the Death Star uses something like the latest Star Trek movie and creates a singularity in the planet core (the big beam is just to drill to the center) and “blowing” it up that way. There would be a supernova type explosion, but then matter would collapse into itself.

  39. TC said...

    Linus-

    You run into two problems, there.  First, we can plainly see Alderaan exploding, ka-BOOM, outwards, scattering rubble in every direction. So, creating the gravitational singularity, and thus, a black hole, you’re not likely to get that fun, er, tragic firework. 

    Beyond that, on a level of pure planetary destruction, you’re going to run into problems.  Let’s say Alderaan is the size of Earth, and the black uses up most (maybe 75%?) of the planet’s core, with designs on blowing the rest up.  Your black hole is now the of pea (approximately), and it is very hot and emitting all kinds of radiation.  Sure, everyone on the surface is dead, but they’re not blowing up. Of course, the effects of gravity (and thus, black holes and singularities) are dependent upon distance and mass.  While the mass is pretty good, we’re talking about an object the size of a pea, floating through the middle of the planet.  It would take a long, long time before that black hole sucked anything up. 

    So, yeah, the Star Trek plan, while likely to kill plenty of people, won’t really destroy the planet.  At least, not in the cinematical sense.

  40. Craig Calcaterra said...

    So what you’re saying is that the “Spaceballs” method of sucking out all of a planet’s oxygen is more feasible than going the Death Star route?

    [prepare to transform Spaceball One to Mega Maid . . .]

  41. Will said...

    Craig, that’d only work if you can figure out the extremely complicated combination for the air shield.

  42. Skip said...

    Tommy hunter currently is benefiting from unsustainable hit luck, HR/FB% and strand rate. While his minor league numbers haven’t been otherworldly he does have a bit of a pedigree as a first rounder in the 2007 draft and may very well be serviceable going forward, if not necessarily this year.

  43. Levi Stahl said...

    Carlos Lee’s home run at Wrigley was one of the longest to dead center I’ve ever seen. But I think Soriano’s was longer. Wow, what a way to end a game.

  44. Greg Simons said...

    Chi Chi’s is out of business?!?!  Say it ain’t so, Craig.  Where will I get my fried ice cream now???

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