(I can’t embed vimeo but this is better in a larger format anyway)

Online for a limited time as part of Vimeo’s presentation of TIFF Short Cuts!

Forced to care for her catatonic lover Malcolm after a secret quantum experiment goes awry, Erin is determined to uncover the cause of his condition — even at the risk of her own life. This riveting contemporary science-fiction story, from one of the writers of Orphan Black, bridges alternate dimensions as it explores how far a person will go for someone they love.

I liked it; I was expecting a particular plot twist based on pop-sci representations of entanglement. I won’t tell you if that’s what happens.

Death Star Economics Redux

The Death Star Is a Surprisingly Cost-Effective Weapons System

[H]ow big is the Republic/Empire? There’s probably a canonical figure somewhere, but I don’t know where. So I’ll just pull a number out of my ass based on the apparent size of the Old Senate, and figure a bare minimum of 10,000 planets. That means the Death Star requires .03 percent of the GDP of each planet in the Republic/Empire annually. By comparison, this is the equivalent of about $5 billion per year in the current-day United States.

Went there first, I did, but not in as much detail.

You Will Not Win This Bid

How Much Would it Cost to build the Death Star?

We began by looking at how big the Death Star is. The first one is reported to be 140km in diameter and it sure looks like it’s made of steel. But how much steel? We decided to model the Death Star as having a similar density in steel as a modern warship. After all, they’re both essentially floating weapons platforms so that seems reasonable.

What? A battleship has to support its own weight and float in the water. That puts an upper an lower bound on its average density. A Death Star is assembled in space. The only thing it has to support itself against is gravitational collapse, and you have sci-fi technologies like tractor beams and force fields and hyperspace travel.

[A]t today’s rate of steel production (1.3 billion tonnes annually), it would take 833,315 years to produce enough steel to begin work. So once someone notices what you’re up to, you have to fend them off for 800 millennia before you have a chance to fight back.

This is the Galactic Republic/Empire, not one planet! I don’t know if there’s a definitive source, but indications are that there are more than a million member worlds with many times that number of colonies.

Oh, and the cost of the steel alone? At 2012 prices, about $852,000,000,000,000,000. Or roughly 13,000 times the world’s GDP

But, as we see, less steel and many, many planets from which to draw resources.