Category: Universe

Death Star Was a Mistake

Written by Ryan Britt

 

 

The Death Star Was Palpatine’s Second Huge Mistake. According to experts, the Empire was in great shape before making a ludicrous, predictably disastrous blunder.

 

In Rogue One, Jyn Erso says “rebellions are built on hope,” but empires — like the one run from Coruscant by Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars — are built on organization. And the way the Galactic Empire organizes its capital and resources in Star Wars is, from a strategic standpoint, absolutely ludicrous. In A New Hope, an Imperial general with giant mutton chops wonders aloud how the Emperor will maintain control through force rather than bureaucracy. It’s a reasonable query: When the Empire begins to legislate by force alone, something that happens at roughly the time Rogue One occurs, it almost invites a successful uprising. The Rebels don’t need hope because, functionally, the Empire has already kneecapped itself.

In the sixth film in the nerd-rival franchise to Star Wars, Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country, Klingon General Chang remarks that “In space, all warriors are cold warriors.” This is true. Modern research on armed conflict in space leads inevitably to engineering competition and a scramble for ports. Professor Charles Cockell of the University of Edinburgh explains that destructive revolutions are a disaster in space precisely because expensive assets (read: space stations) are vulnerable to being cut off or blown up.

Death StarIn The Lethality of Interplanetary Warfare: A Fundamental Constraint on Extraterrestrial Liberty, researchers Steven Baxter and Ian Crawford reinforces the idea that human beings, even those in a galaxy far, far away, would be downright insane to let conflicts get to the point they do in Star Wars.

“An interplanetary ‘war of liberation’ could not be waged without threatening the survival of the human species itself,” they write. Meaning, the militarization of the Empire, by definition, injures the empire.

Human beings are, of course, dumb enough to create all sorts of destructive tools, from nuclear weapons and cheeseburgers, to end themselves. But, if Emperor Palpatine truly is the mastermind of Imperial strategy, the alacrity with which he pursues self harm makes him a standout. The best way to help the Rebels get really excited about organizing and fighting back was to dissolve the senate and build a superweapon. Give a bunch of people a cause and a target and, if Earth history is any precedent, the shooting is going to start.

For years prior, Palpatine was slick: He made it seem like he didn’t want to be the “Supreme Chancellor” of the Republic. He was popular with the people and stayed in office way past his term. If Palpatine was actually smart, he would have kept things like they were in the prequels. When he reorganized the Republic into “The First Galactic Empire,” he actually showed his hand. Democracy ended with a whimper and Padmé got one good line off, “This is how liberty dies,” before the rebellion began in the hearts and minds of the oppressed.

Granted, we have no idea what the Emperor really wanted for his Empire in the long run, but if it was just more power, he already had a pretty good system in place. Puppet governments make colonial organizations strong. In Revenge of the Sith, Palps claims he need to kill the Jedi because otherwise, it would be “civil war without end.” This is ridiculous. He’s the guy who starts the war. His failure to convert Jedis not named Anakin can be chalked up to a lack of trying.

Emperor

Besides, an orchestrated civil war between the Republic and the Separatists was actually what kept the Emperor in power in the first place. Killing all the Jedi made the populous suspicious of the Empire and made it clear that the Emperor was a dangerous maniac. Luke was right when, in Return of the Jedi, he told the Emperor that his overconfidence was his weakness.

If killing all the Jedi was the Emperor’s first mistake, then creating the Death Star wars his second. Maintaining even an illusion of liberty would have been a better decision than the outright martial law imposed by the Death Star. As Baxter and Crawford explain, “It is therefore essential that an interplanetary political framework is established that guarantees colonial liberty without resource to conflict.”

Functionally, once the Emperor invites the dangerous destruction of an interplanetary rebellion, he creates another problem: figuring out how to control the resources to keep the military might of the Empire functioning. Nominally, the Empire’s home base is the planet Coruscant, the outer space equivalent of Rome. But in space, how do you make sure all roads actually lead to Rome, when there are no roads? In Star Wars, space doesn’t have roads.

Courscant

“From a purely self-interested point of view, does it make political or economic sense for one star system to own another one?” The Magacians author and Star Wars fan Lev Grossman asks.

Grossman suspects that the Empire in Star Wars might have a wonky time regulating other planets because of the weirdness of hyperdrive combined with the vastness of space. Grossman further explains that Coruscant trying to subjugate Jedah or Tatooine is super impractical: “It’s like that house upstate that you spent a bundle on but never feel like driving to.”

Daniel Abraham, half of the writing partnership known as James S.A. Corey that authored the Expanse novels has spent a lot of time thinking about travel between our own solar system and other solar systems is and interstellar networks. In The Expanse he details the logistics of how Earth, Mars, the Asteroid Belt, and the Outer Planets would actually interact both politically and economically.

“[The ocean] is one of the ways we try to make sense of space in science fiction, and the closest thing we can compare it to is the ocean,” Abraham says. “But you don’t control shipping lanes, you control ports,” His writing partner, Ty Franck continues. “There’s no way to control hyperspace or who uses it, the only thing you can do is control the ports. For any of that to work, you’d have to have a strong ground presence where goods are brought and dropped off.” Here, the Empire is doing at least one thing right: They’ve got a strong ground presence with tons of stormtroopers on seemingly every single planet they subjugate.

Under their shared nom de plume, Abraham and Franck actually wrote the “last” of the Star Wars “Expanded Universe” novels, Honor Among Thieves in 2014. “We turned off the lights of the EU,” Abraham jokes. In the novel, the duo plays with the idea of eliminating hyperspace from the galaxy of Star Wars. “When you have hyperdrive … you can ship things over long distances … the huge mcguffin [of *Honor Among Thieves*] we were fighting over was a tool that would shut down hyperspace, and would make it so you could not ship things from one place to another. The stars became isolated again.”

X-Wings

In Rogue One, the Empire has already politically isolated itself by building the Death Star. To extend Grossman’s second home analogy, what the Empire is doing is not only buying an extra property they don’t ever want to visit, but then bizarrely setting it on fire, too. If you blow up planets you presumably want to rule — and obtain resources from — you’re doing more than shooting yourself in space boot. You’re inviting the dismantling of an Empire which hardly should have been able exist to begin with. The Rebels may seem scrappy and desperate in Star Wars, but if the Empire had been smart, they would have never give the Rebels a reason to rebel in the first place.

 

Article taken from Inverse

There Is No Phone

iPhone and (An)Droids

Which phone is better? Straightforward and apparently technical debate. However, when it comes to mobile phones, this is a completely irrelevant question. First of all, because it enforces viewing the problem from a reverse angle, an upside down psychology.

This would not be a proper procurement when it comes to cars, for instance. You would consider your habits: whether it would be a weekend car or for daily commute. Where it would be driven: motorway or city. Is your driving license for manual or automatic cars. Do you make frequent long distance trips. What is your estimated annual mileage. What is your budget. And many many more. But definitely not focusing only on the engine.

Another example would be the choice of the audio system. Starting point would be the room (environment) and the type of the music to be played. This brings us to the first parameter to consider in phone procurement.

Platform

If you happen to be a remnant from the nineties and still keep everything on the phone: contacts, calendars, notes, photos, you may skip this section, or this entire post all together. Make sure the phone of your choice has sufficient memory and/or external SD card option and chose whichever high spec phone you line. Goes without saying that if you lose your phone you lose all your data. Unless you have a recent tape backup.

a-true-cloud-platform

Depending on the choice of Cloud features and daily use may vary. It may be more or less challenging to integrate your emails, contacts, calendars, notes, bookmarks, etc. into your device. I was a happy iPhone user from the first days of smartphones. I owned and loved every single model until recently when I realised that they just don’t work well for me. And it was not about the phones.

My choice of a cloud was Google, with all corresponding services and apps that come with it. And I had them all on my iPhones. Google Maps next to Apple maps. Google Docs and Sheets next to Pages and Numbers. Apple services work great but unless your laptop is a Macbook, there would not be a proper handover. The best way to enjoy your cloud services to their full potentials is to have your data and your apps available seamlessly on all your devices.

And this goes beyond your phone. Consider all your devices in your ecosystem: desktop, laptop, tablet, watch, TV. Sadly, mix and match scenario does not give best results. Stick to the same platform and to the same type of devices.

Call handling

This applies to locked phones only. Android allows a proper call handling from any app (Phone, WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, Hangouts – remember that one?). They all appear as a call, with full screen caller info and accept/deny slider. On the other hand, iPhone allows this functionality only for Phone and FaceTime apps. All the other ones could only rely to a silly little (unreliable) notification.

Again, this would depend on your habits and requirements. If you only receive standard phone calls, this might not concern you. However if you have friends and family all over the world who call you using any of these free services, you might not want to miss their calls.

Notifications

I wouldn’t say there is a proper comparison here. Apple has only recently started introducing enhanced functionalities into notification area, including some sort of widgets. Well, the first draft.

Android concept of notifications is mature, fine-tuned and provides an easier, faster, more functional phone use experience and supports the Without opening the App philosophy.

Default Apps

You should be able to choose your default Apps, right? Don’t take this for granted. My preferred browser is Google Chrome, on all devices. On iPhone the default browser is Safari. Period. It’s not bad, but I don’t want it. However I had it on every tap on a hyperlink. Default app is Mail, in spite of Outlook being my choice.

This was not intended to support any particular app over the other. You just need to be aware of all the things to consider while making your choice.

Ok Google vs Siri

Compared to Siri, Ok Google looks like a retarded cousin no one likes to talk about. It takes long to process, needs to be slowly talked to, misinterprets (almost) everything, requires many repetition until finally remembers your voice (if at all), takes long time to get used to.

Siri works out of the box, requires minimal setup, works almost perfectly. And as of iOS 10 it can manage third party apps as well.

This functionality could save you loads of time and ease the use of your device. It pays out to study and configure it properly.

Performance

Having in mind all of the above, does it really matter? Just aim the latest model possible, they all tend to get better in each incarnation.

ios-7-vs-android-jelly-bean

Conclusion (?)

In twenty first century all your devices are only that – devices. The real game is on the platform. This is where your data is, or should be. Devices will only display, in their own way according to your preferred way of work.

Finally, this is all about the personal choice. I have merely tried to make you aware of the parameters to consider in the process.