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The Science of Star Wars 538

Posted by timothy
from the gungans-are-tough-and-stringy dept.
anonymous lion writes "National Geographic has an interesting interview with a couple of scientists on the scientific reality of Star Wars. For example, related to the cohabitation of humans and Gungans on NabooSeth Shostak states, "So maybe it's possible to share, as long as neither species has the technology to obliterate, enslave, or merely cook and eat each other.""
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The Science of Star Wars

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  • Cohabitation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:12PM (#12753691)
    related to the cohabitation of humans and Gungans on NabooSeth Shostak states, "So maybe it's possible to share, as long as neither species has the technology to obliterate, enslave, or merely cook and eat each other.""

    Doesn't that qualify more as "The Sociology of Star Wars"?
    • Re:Cohabitation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GuyMannDude (574364) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:21PM (#12753758) Journal

      related to the cohabitation of humans and Gungans on NabooSeth Shostak states, "So maybe it's possible to share, as long as neither species has the technology to obliterate, enslave, or merely cook and eat each other."

      Doesn't that qualify more as "The Sociology of Star Wars"?

      Yeah, it does seem as though the authors are making the assumption that all species are going to beat the crap out of each other. I realize that competition for resources is common among many species here on earth but we all come from a common ancestor if you look far enough back. Does this need for conquest really have to be the same for all life everywhere? If one species really had a superior advantage over another, does it necessarily follow that they will try to dominate them? I think it's at least possible that some species will learn to share resources with other creatures on their planet right away.

      GMD

      • Re:Cohabitation (Score:4, Interesting)

        by metlin (258108) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:48PM (#12753931) Journal
        Well, that would be largely inevitable or highly improbable.

        Survival will be the primary goal of any form of life, and survival will require consumption of resources.

        Unless the resources required for two life forms is remarkably different or there is a truly symbiotic relationship, it is quite likely that the two forms of life will be fighting with each other for resources. It may not even be intentional, but survival would require a fight at least at a very abstract level (deer and zebras sharing the same grasslands). And when you introduce complex factors into the equation, you can be rest assured that there will be a need for survival as you move up the food chain.

        If you do not kill, you will be killed - this is a very likely scenario, and if sentience is to evolve, it would need safe and secure surivival first and foremost.

        Learning to share resources is possible in only one scenario - symbiosis. Otherwise, it is quite unlikely given the nature of life, at least as we know it.
        • Re:Cohabitation (Score:5, Insightful)

          by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @10:26PM (#12754144) Homepage
          Unless the resources required for two life forms is remarkably different

          Like if, for example, one species lives on dry land and the other lives far below the surface of the ocean, you mean?
        • Re:Cohabitation (Score:4, Informative)

          by bckrispi (725257) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @12:10AM (#12754804)
          Unless the resources required for two life forms is remarkably different or there is a truly symbiotic relationship...

          OBI-WAN : You and the Naboo form a symbiont circle. What happens to one of you will affect the other. You must understand this.

          I think that clears up that question. :)

          The gungans were ocean-dwelling amphibians. The naboo were urban humans. It stands to reason that there would be a demarcation of the resources that they consumed. Their differences appeared to be totally social. The Naboo didn't trust the Gungans because they kept a standing army. And the Gungans thought the Naboo thought themselves superior.

      • Re:Cohabitation (Score:3, Informative)

        by poor_boi (548340)
        Yeah, it does seem as though the authors are making the assumption that all species are going to beat the crap out of each other.

        I think if you just plopped down the Naboo and the Gungans in their pictured state of technological development, with all their gadgets and what-not, they could probably get along.

        If we're talking about co-evolution, it seems rather unlikely, unless -- like other /.ers have said -- they consumed extremely different resources and inhabited incompatible / inaccessible areas of

        • by spudgun (39016)
          but rather 'driven stall at a less intelligent stage of evolution'

          Jarjar didn't seem too evolved !
          • Re:Cohabitation (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Afrosheen (42464)
            Well, he was intentionally stupid as a slapstick, stepinfetchit character with ill manners and a stupid method of locomotion. Notice none of his other kind was nearly as retarded in other scenes.

            Strangely enough he couldn't eat with manners at the table but he can keep his foolishness under wraps for the 5 seconds he's in a funeral parade in RotS.
        • Re:Cohabitation (Score:3, Interesting)

          by 1u3hr (530656)
          I think if you just plopped down the Naboo and the Gungans in their pictured state of technological development, with all their gadgets and what-not, they could probably get along. If we're talking about co-evolution, it seems rather unlikely

          This begs the question whether all the "humans" in the SW universe are the same species. Unless you're a rabid creationist, the answer must be yes, and so the Naboo were colonists sometime in the not too distant (in evolutionary terms at least) past. The Gungans may b

    • Re:Cohabitation (Score:2, Informative)

      by Rude Turnip (49495)
      It is quite obvious in my mind that the humans living on Naboo are not native to the planet. They might have arrived there 100 years ago or 5,000 years ago for all we know. There are humans living all over the Star Wars galaxy. The reason the two races get along is because by the time they met they were both highly civilized cultures.
    • by reporter (666905) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @12:31AM (#12754884) Homepage
      Star Trek is definitely a space saga that was created to conform as closely as possible to foreseeable technologies. A few decades ago, I read an article about how Gene Roddenberry would consult scientists to probe into the technologies of the future. Then, he adjusted the stories of Star Trek to conform as closely as possible.

      Heck, the next-to-last episode of "Star Trek: Enterprise" actually had a zoomed-in camera shot of a Carl Sagan memorial on mars.

      By contrast, the gem of "Stars Wars" is not the technology but, rather, is the philosophy: the battle between good and evil. One of the themes of that battle is that good will triumph if you stick to your ideals. In the original trilogy, the Force was available to all, and Obi Wan Kenobi even offered to teach the Force to Han Solo, but the swashbuckler was too arrogant to accept the offer.

      Notice how "Star Wars" I and II rather sucked after Lucas tried to inject all that technology into the movies. First and foremost is that concept of midichlorians (which turned the notion of Jedi into some sort of snobbish club into which you are born -- if you inherit midichlorians in your blood). Then, Lucas packs every scene with speedsters (air-borne cars), special effects, etc. All that technology just smothered what little philosophy was there.

      300 years from now, the original "Star Wars" trilogy will still be watched by our descendents. The philosophy of "Star Wars" has made it timeless.

      I cannot say the same for "Star Trek" or the "Star Wars" prequels.

      • you're very ignorant.

        Star Trek has at least as much philosophy if not more. plus it's a far more focused on how we should live our lives.

        Star Trek was the first program to have an interracial kiss and showed a ship full of different races working together.

        in Star Wars the hero was an aryan brat, the only black guy was Judas, the baddies had a french accent, all wrapped up with a philosophy about as deep as the lyrics to a Britney Spears song.
    • Absurd plot holes (Score:3, Interesting)

      by blitz487 (606553)
      I love how in "Revenge of the Sith" Obi-wan says he's going to hide Luke and Leia where Vader will never find them. So where does he place Luke, with a whole galaxy available? Why, with Luke's Uncle on Vader's home planet! Gee, Vader will never think to look there.

      And Leia, Obi-wan puts her where she'll become a princess, because her mother was a queen. Fer crying out loud, a princess is a princess only because she can document her lineage and everyone will know it! Way to hide her, Obi-wan!

      • by dodobh (65811)
        The most obvious place to hide something is often in full sight. You rarely look at what is on the table directly in front of you. Human psychology.
  • Genocide (Score:5, Funny)

    by Shihar (153932) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:12PM (#12753692)
    Look, normally I am against genocide, but if I found a pile of gungans on my planet... nuke the fuckers.
  • by bencvt (686040) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:12PM (#12753698)
    ...by the Bad Astromer. [badastronomy.com] Still, I can never get enough of nitpicking sessions on Hollywood science. :-)
    • by Rei (128717) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @10:03PM (#12754021) Homepage
      I don't agree with all of this, though. A lot of it is too assuming of LAWKI (Life As We Know It). And some assumptions are particularly bad - for example, in relation to Bespin:

      Betts: This is the one planet I have the most trouble buying. There are, of course, examples of gas giants surrounded by moons. We have that in our own solar system. But a "band of habitable atmosphere"?

      Assuming we take that to mean temperature and oxygen without there being anything noxious or dangerous, that's certainly beyond our current expectations or measurements. Making this particularly tricky, molecular oxygen that we breathe does not occur easily in a planetary environment. Almost all the oxygen on Earth comes from life.

      Shostak: I don't know what Tibanna gas might be. Gas-giant planets seem to be swathed in ammonia, methane, and other vapors that, frankly, are neither rare nor particularly valuable. They are useful for cleaning the bathroom or cooking dinner, of course.


      Two major possibilities spring immediately to mind.

      1) Life either evolved or was seeded to the gas giant. In this case, Tibanna gas may well be a biomolecule of significance that has built up in huge quantities over the years on the gas giant. An oxygen-rich layer is quite easily explained in such a case, obviously, assuming that photosynthesis is occurring in the upper layers.

      2) The gas giant has a small amount of residual brown dwarf-activity going on in the core - Dt-Dt fusion, that is. As solar wind can ionise water and split it into hydrogen and oxygen (leaving a tenuous oxygen atmosphere around at least two gas giant moons), having your own low-scale fusion in the deep core should do plenty to split up water in the planet. How quickly it would recombine, of course, is beyond me - and you couldn't have too much energy being produced, or the colony would be fried even in the outer fringes of the atmosphere. A small, old brown dwarf could possibly pull it off (an average-sized, young dwarf will be about 1000K at 1atm), although I don't have the numbers on me.

      In either case, Tibanna gas could be He3. In the second situation, it's all the more likely: Dt-Dt fusion can directly produce He3, or can produce tritium which decays to He3.

      Personally, I have the most trouble buying Hoth. Regularly bombarded, and yet has complex animal life? Not a sign of greenery, and yet has a dense oxygen atmosphere and animals? I have trouble with that one, unless there's some sort of massive subsurface biome there.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:12PM (#12753699)
    That's all you need to know about the "science" of Star Wars.
    • by NanoGator (522640) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:36PM (#12753851) Homepage Journal
      "Fighters make sound in a vacuum."

      Yeah, and an orchestra lead by John Williams follows everybody around. I can't believe how unrealistic incidental music makes a movie. Oh, and don't get me started on looping of dialog!! Those guys shouldn't be futzing around with the sound like that, it's not realistic! I'm a purist that demands that scifi movies be like somebody is carrying around a small camcorder around documenting everything so it's as real as possible! MOD ME UP!!
      • by murr (214674) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @10:20PM (#12754115)
        Yes, I think the next Star Wars movie should be Dogma 95 [martweiss.com] conformant.
    • I love how people bring that up instead of, say, the Force as an example of how unrealistic Star Wars is.

      Sound in a vacuum? Simple way to explain it away - shipboard computers would construct audio cues so you can hear where ships are, where weaponsfire is coming from, etc.

      The Force, though? Eh. Fantasy. Bash that.
    • by Minna Kirai (624281) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @01:30AM (#12755132)
      Fighters make sound in a vacuum.

      Wrong. The space between stars in Star Wars is not a vacuum. There is evidently some background gas suffusing all of it, although probably not breathable.

      Evidence:
      1. Vehicles are audible even far from a planet's surface.

      2. When the Falcon landed in a "cave" inside a smallish asteroid (1 km radius), Han Solo got out and wandered around without a pressurized space-suit.

      3. Small fighter-ships in space combat manuver as if they were airplanes, slicing through a medium which imposes a maximum speed to their movement, rather than being able to accelerate indefinately (until stopped by lightspeed or fuel exhaustion).
  • by TrentL (761772) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:13PM (#12753702) Homepage
    Something I never understood: in the first movie, the Death Star blows up Alderaan. Then at the end, the Death Star is moving in on Yavin. How did the Death Star get to the Yazin system? Are we to assume that it can movie around at light speed?
    • I think the more important question is: can anything move at the speed of light (besides light, obviously)? This has strong connections with time travel, among other things.

      • by Rei (128717) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @10:32PM (#12754186) Homepage
        My favorite "among other things" is the existance of life. A couple possibilities on why we haven't seen aliens (apart from those aliens who strangely only visit drunken hillbillies). In a galaxy with probably trillions of planets, where are the aliens? There should be countless species, all with plenty of time and tech to find us.

        1) They're trying to conceal themselves from us. Of course, the questions of A) How, and B) Why immediately come up. They're furthered by the questions of "if one species is concealing itself, why are the others as well?", "how are they blocking all life-indicating radio signals/etc from us that originated hundreds, thousands, or millions of light years away?", etc. In short, it's possible, but raises questions.

        2) We're the first. Yeay for us - we'll be the evil aliens invading the planets of others to colonize or strip them of their resources (until one of them uploads a macintosh virus into our computer). Of course, the odds against this seems quite extreme.

        3) FTL is, sadly, impossible, and all other signs of life (radio, light, death stars blowing up planets, etc) are either taking too long to get to us, or are too weak to be received by the time that they reach us.

        4) Life is extremely rare, and we're freaks of the universe. May raise questions about the existance of a deity (or not).

        All of these are pretty big issues with a lot of questions associated with them. I'd love to know the answer, although all possibilities are a bit disturbing to me.

        P.S. - I don't want to post AC (and am trying first as a different IP, about to give up), but I get this:

        Slashdot requires you to wait 2 minutes between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment.

        It's been 19 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment
        • by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @12:43AM (#12754934) Homepage Journal
          I covered this in a class I taught, once. The way that I chose to look at it was this - every technology (known or unknown) has built-in constraints.

          You can travel fast, in space, but at the price that you're going to be subject to more intense radiation. So, the faster you go, the more effort you need to put in to shielding (by whatever means), which means more mass, which means more energy is needed, which means a larger percentage of the vehicle is going to need to hold engines and fuel. Which means that if you plan on having enough oxygen and supplies to go round, you're going to have less range.

          This means that, for any given technology, speed is going to be pitted against range. With chemical rockets and lead shielding, the limits are going to be fairly low, as the effectiveness of the rockets isn't great but the mass of the shields is. With antimatter and some sort of shielding based on QM exclusion, your limits are much higher, but they'll still be there.

          You can travel slowly, not get so much radiation, but would need a much larger vessel to do so. In order to maintain the integrity of anything large enough, against little things such as gravity wells or even the inertia when you want to make a turn at the lights, you need more infrastructure, which means more maintenance, which means more of your resources are spent on keeping together than going anywhere.

          Now, we've got a minimum constraint - go too slowly, and you won't get there at all. Again, more advanced technology will make for better materials and all that, so this is a moving target, but they'll still have a lower limit.

          A similar problem is faced with wormholes, assuming they can be made navigable. You need exotic matter of equal or greater mass than the vehicle planning on travelling. The more massive the vessel, the more exotic matter you need. Unless you're travelling from a fixed station (a-la the book version of "Contact"). you've got to lug around a generator capable of sustaining enough exotic matter that the wormhole doesn't spontaneously collapse along its entire length. And exotic matter doesn't last long - about 10^-30 seconds - so you need to be able to generate an awful lot of it, for long enough to do the travelling.

          My proposition, then, was that any given type of technology MIGHT be able to travel between the stars, but that there would be upper and lower limits on how far or how fast. Below some level of achievement in a given technology, the bounds cannot be satisfied - the minimum would be greater than the maximum, so there is no value that will work.

          However, there's an upper limit to what any technology can do, too. Antimatter can't supply more energy than the mass-equivalent posesses, no matter how good the conversion, for example. So, some technologies may NEVER be good enough to be used.

          My proposition to the class was a simple one. Working from the idea of limits, is it possible to prove that a technology must (or, indeed, cannot, through a non-existance proof) exist that can satisfy all of the constraints?

          In other words, is it possible to show that no technology - even technologies we know nothing about - could ever be sufficient to travel between the stars? Or is it possible to imagine such a technology, and perhaps even have some idea as to what properties that technology would need to have to make such travel possible?

          The class seemed divided on this, but the answer seemed to be that it was unlikely that such travel was possible. The problem with the limits seemed to be unsolvable, although we couldn't find any obvious way of proving that by reasoning alone.

          I suspect the reason aliens AREN'T here (or, if they are, at least not common) is that the difficulties are great enough as to put it beyond the reaches of any but the most advanced, assuming even they can. And by being so difficult, there would be really no interest in visiting a star u

    • Are we to assume that it can movie around at light speed?

      Assume nothing. It's all but spelled out in the movie. "Move the station", "hey, where'd that come from?" and all the rest.

      Practically speaking, what use is a planet-destroying weapon that can't move between planets to destroy?
    • by cocoamix (560647) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:20PM (#12753756)
      Since it had no visible engines and no solar sails, we can only surmise that they launched it from a giant baseball-pitching machine.
    • by Marko DeBeeste (761376) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:21PM (#12753760)
      My favorite part was when they arrive at the rebel base and somebody says "Leia, thank God you're alive. When Alderan was destroyed, we feared the worst."
      No, everythings fine, just a couple of billion people incinerated.
    • Yes it did! From what I read, it did have a hyperdrive, but was on the slow end of the sprectrum (although going faster than light can't be considered slow...unless we're talking Ludicrous Speed!) as hyperdrives go in the SW universe. If I remember the first novelation correctly, it took the Death Star a while to get to Yavin but not too long for the Rebels to evacuate. But the added time allowed the Alliance to analyze the Death Star and mount an effective attack.

      If you watch Ep. IV, you do get the hin
    • by hehman (448117) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:57PM (#12753980) Homepage Journal
      No, don't be silly. They built the Death Star in orbit around Alderaan.

      As for how they got to Yavin, it was conveniently the next planet out in the same solar system. Questionable planning by rebels, putting their secret base in the same system as the Death Star.

      The rest of the galaxy, of course, was kept in line by knowing that they were at risk of being blown up in a few hundred thousand years if they didn't behave.
    • The Death Star instead moved the Universe around it.
      It is obvious that there are still people who treat it as the center of the Universe.
  • by MikeDawg (721537) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:15PM (#12753720) Homepage Journal
    The sad part of this is, that my dad and I once had this conversation a couple of years back (related to the original 3 Star Wars). He always kept nit-picking at them, explaining to me that Luke should have two shadows (if I remember correctly Tattooine had 2 suns, I could be wrong). I guess thats what I get for having a physics teacher for a father.
  • wtfhatta? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Amouth (879122) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:15PM (#12753722)
    did i miss something.. i ... i though starwars was about making money..
  • Clueless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:18PM (#12753742)
    > So maybe it's possible to share, as long as neither species has the
    > technology to obliterate, enslave, or merely cook and eat each other.

    What a crock. Forget the tech and look to morals and clue for the answer. How many countries on THIS planet have the tech to "obliterate, enslave or cook" most of the rest of the population? Obviously it isn't a techological limit. And besides, those Gungans appeared to have a fair bit of tech themselves.
    • Re:Clueless (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lemmy Caution (8378)
      To me, the whole article was an embarassment. Talk about missing a large, slow-moving target: it's really awkward when someone from a hard-sciences angle tries to do social theory (especially sociobiology). They have no idea how simplisitic and naive they really are, perhaps due to overconfidence in their own analytic abilities in their home domains.

      And he was teleological as all hell. So what if an underwater species would come somewhat late to fire? They could build considerable technological prowess on
  • by Shoggoth of Maul (674988) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:20PM (#12753754) Journal

    The secret's out, people. Now everyone knows that Star Wars is not actually "hard" science fiction!

    At least they didn't do a study or anything. [slashdot.org]

  • the book (Score:2, Informative)

    by cryptoz (878581)
    There was a book published with this exact title many, many years ago.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0312 209584/103-6435152-7840603?v=glance [amazon.com]

    In short, there's no science in the movies at all. None. And everyone should know that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:26PM (#12753786)
    So Obi and Qui Gon find Anakin infested with force bacteria. Qui Gon says he's make a good Jedi. Yoda says hell no he's to freaking old. The kid is what? four.
    Well, spoiler coming, turns out that wasn't the best idea. As Yoda predicted he went to the dark, a bunch Jedis got it in scenes reminiscent of the original Godfather.
    Somehow Obi makes it. Hooks up with Luke eighteen years later and says, basically, screw it four years old may be too old to be a Jedi but eighteen is no problem. No freakin way a half assed jedi could get turned to the dark side and make things even efffin worse. I'll train Luke.

    Fake science I can live with, clear jedi incompetence is a bit harder.
    • I think you are right that the age was a problem.

      But I think it was a bigger problem that Yoda "much fear in him saw". And this was because of his experiences with getting drawn away and eventually losing his mother.

      So, if Luke was older, but harmonious then maybe...

      My god. I'm debating how things work in George Lucas fantasy universe.
    • While Yoda didn't like starting so late (Anakin was 9 not four, according to Lucas Ep1 was a story about a 9 year old boy.), his main objection was 'fear' in the boy. Anakin was just to subject fears and worries.

      **minor spoiler**

      Notice how fear of loosing Padme is THE reason he falls victum to Palpatine manipulations. Anakin is trully fuds biggest victum. It's even possible Yoda and the other masters got some hint of this through thier views of the future.

      Mycroft
  • by king-manic (409855) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:26PM (#12753787)
    Human civilization is approx. 4000 years old. In that time we have pretty much closed the technology gap of the vairous tribes of humanity. We can all forge metal, we can all make things move via petroleum based products, we can kill each other with projectiles ect...

    In 10,000 the technology gap of a community of star systems that communicate with each other woudl also close. So it's not such a huge issue. Technology doesn't have to spread directly, even the rumor of something being possible can send other cultures into a frenzy to find out how. The stories marco polo brought back from china were more useful then the inventions and products he brought back. It sent europe into a frenzy into trying to mimic these items.

    In the proccess of trying to mimic these products they derived their own innovations and advanced further. Over 10,000 this would equilize the technologies of the various intelligent life forms. As for the robots, perhaps innovation in robot designed leveled off long ago and even 100 year old droid are useful. Or AI requires some rare material that is now in short supply so even old droids must be maintained.
    • by GuyMannDude (574364) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @10:06PM (#12754034) Journal

      I agree with king-manic that technological gulfs, while huge, could be reduced significantly through interstellar trade. What is more signficant -- and I never see mentioned in these types of discussions -- are the huge gulfs in intelligence and mental abilities. There are going to be species out there that are vastly more intelligent or have incredible memories. In the movies and TV shows, all aliens have pretty much the same brainpower. That's just unrealistic.

      Consider the following scenario: a race of technologically advanced reptiles are being attacked by intelligent insects from another world. The insects are more intelligent than the reptiles and have the same level of technological development. The reptiles are fucked unless they can get some help. They approach a world called Earth that contains intelligent bipedial mammals named humans. These mammals show promise but are relatively young and do not have sophisticated technology. They also are highly unpredictable and warlike. Knowing the risks, the reptiles make an offer: if the humans agree to enter the war by serving as tactical officers onboard their warships, the reptiles will provide the humans with advances in medicine, communications, power generation, and warp drive. Humans, eager for a chance to obtain technologies necessary to solve problems on their planet, leap at the chance. The highly-logical insects are used to the methodical, logical battleplans of the reptiles and are baffled by the unconventional tactics of the humans. They are quickly and easily defeated. Fearing they have created a monster, the reptiles quickly sever ties with the humans but not before they have transfered a signficant amount of technological know-how. Within a few decades, humans become a threat to the very reptiles who kick-started their space exploration.

      Technology gaps are easily solved. Huge gaps in cognitive function are what make long-duration star wars unlikely.

      GMD

      • There are going to be species out there that are vastly more intelligent or have incredible memories. In the movies and TV shows, all aliens have pretty much the same brainpower. That's just unrealistic.

        This is a fair point, but it's surprisingly difficult to avoid. Sub-human intelligences are just dumb/goofy/difficult to take seriously. And superhuman intelligences: well, it's logically impossible for somebody to write a story about a person who's smarter than the writer. (That is, it's entirely poss

    • As for the robots, perhaps innovation in robot designed leveled off long ago and even 100 year old droid are useful. Or AI requires some rare material that is now in short supply so even old droids must be maintained.

      A better (and possibly even more plausible) idea is that since droids are sentient beings, destroying one is closer to murder than scrapping (e.g.) an inanimate microwave oven. Destroying them for no good reason might be frowned upon or outright illegal. The droids could also be given enough
    • Human civilization is approx. 4000 years old.

      Actually, more like 5,000 years old. You see, Egypt had kings and starting a writing system in the Predynastic era, which is a century or so before around 3,000 BC, making it 5,000 years old at least.

      The Pyramids were build around 2450 BC, during the Old Kingdom.

      Manetho traces the list of kings, and that has been corroborated by the Palermo stone. Read more on this great site [ancient-egypt.org], which is still incomplete. Here is the early Dynastic period [ancient-egypt.org], and Dynasty 1 [ancient-egypt.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to make me believe there's one all-powerful force controlling everything. There's no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.

    Check out the The Force Skeptics Page [netcom.com]:

    The Jedi Knights are known for their supposed ability to perform "miracles." They can influence others' thoughts with a wave of their hand, use a slender light saber

  • by espergreen (849246) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:27PM (#12753795) Homepage
    In a galaxy far, far away a long time ago.

    You can't argue with history. noobs
  • ... they get past the faulty idea of conflict, just as we today know that if the president of the or leader of any other country was taken out it wouldn't make much difference to the gears and bearing organization really running the show.

    We know today there are things we did hundreds and even thousands of years ago that we have found better deceptive ways of dealing with instead of in brute force conflict. like duping teh Aerican public about WMD in iraq...

    Anyways we are still babies in comparison to any
    • Not that I know anything in particular but here comes a little speculation just for fun.

      Isn't it entirely possible that an alien species might have a strong urge to explore, but the thought of war might never have even occurred to them?

      They might be vegeterians and never had a need for hunting anyway.

      So, they might arrive at planet earth and not have as much as a sling shot.

      I'm not saying that it is likely, but I can't prove that it wouldn't be the case. But it isn't very likely that we'll get visitors
  • C3PO (Score:5, Funny)

    by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:31PM (#12753821)
    In the future there will be homosexual robots
  • That article should not have been named the Science of Star Wars. I should have been named the climate and science of the worlds of star wars.

  • by lheal (86013) <lheal1999@yahoo . c om> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:33PM (#12753834) Journal
    Are they trying to imply that Star Wars wasn't real?

    I suppose they didn't really have light sabers, either?

    What next, Darth Vader's voice was dubbed?

    I'd better lie down a while.
  • by Trogre (513942)
    He's only viewing the Star Wars universe from an evolutionary perspective.

    I was hoping for a more scientific foundation, but it's easy for some people to confuse the two I suppose.

  • by illtron (722358) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:39PM (#12753873) Homepage Journal
    They make a few good points, but they're missing some of the Star Wars facts. A few that come to mind:

    1. Yoda knew Luke was coming. It wasn't coincidence that he lost control of his fighter and landed in Yoda's back yard. That was the Force. They mention that it might be the case, but aren't sure. Well, it is.

    2. There's very little or no liquid water on Tatooine, which they say. But they neglect the fact that this is obvious. Uncle Owen runs a moisture farm, which collects water vapor through a series of vaporators spread across the desert. They grow crops underground in tunnels.

    3. Chemists correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't the molecular weight determine where oxygen might occur in an atmosphere? If Tibanna, a gas used in heavy blasters in the Star Wars galaxy, weighs more than oxygen, isn't it very possible that there would be oxygen above it? Maybe it's something that's common in the upper atmosphere (we see mining pods floating around), but is breathable in its natural form, sort of like how nitrogen makes up a good part of our breathable atmosphere?

    4. They totally copped out on Coruscant. They worry too much about the location. I'd figure that all this intense development on Coruscant might have started long before anybody decided it would be the seat of galactic government. Sure they risk a lot by being there, but you don't want to make the trash on the other side of the outer rim fly all the way across the galaxy, do you? Location, location, location!

    5. I don't think Hoth is right in the asteroid field. The Falcon had to fly for a while before they got to it, and eventually (it seems conceivable that the trip took weeks) made it to Bespin. Even at sublight speeds, space vessels in the Star Wars galaxy have got to be pretty fast. All kinds of junk from space makes its way to Earth's atmosphere every day, and it hasn't stopped us from developing civilization. I don't see why the occasional small meteorite would stop animals from living on Hoth.

    It seems that for a couple of scientific types, those guys didn't really ask enough of the right questions. That's all I've got.
  • Somebody is getting interviewed about the science of Star Wars. Again.
  • It is spooky enough for me when I see a sci-fi movie where you can hear shots fired in space.

    And people manually driving fighter ships or aiming guns at other ships (double you tee eff they have no computers?). And old robots cracking codes in seconds in order to open some door. And tiny planes size of cessna refuelling some chemical and able to land/takeoff on a planet. And ubiquity of oxygen. And some 'force shields' around ships and abundance of them around compounds.

    SW and science/common sense don't
  • Wrong. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jericho4.0 (565125) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:53PM (#12753957)
    The scientists interviewed make a couple of points I think have little grounding in fact. One is confusing "advanced" with "evolved". A longer period of time to evolve does not imply greater intelligence. All creatures are equally well "evolved".

    The other is stating that an advanced civilization would shun planets for artificial habitats. For an astronomer, he seems unfamiliar with the fact that the universe is largely cold, empty space with nasty hazards and such. Why would a race automaticly want to go live in space?

  • Also a TV Special (Score:3, Informative)

    by ErikTheRed (162431) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @09:54PM (#12753963) Homepage

    There was also a National Geographic 'Science of Star Wars' TV special on (I think) Discovery HD. It was basically a 3-hour infomercial with no useful information, at least not for anyone who makes any reasonable effort to keep current in tech.
  • Humans??? (Score:2, Interesting)

    what i never understood was the scientific reasoning behind how a "long time ago" in a "galaxy far far away" a species identical to humans (so much to be called by the same name IIRC) evolved and is technologically superior by probably a few centuries to a millenium to us. Anyone have any ideas?
  • Finally! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Lisandro (799651) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @10:11PM (#12754071)
    I admit it: i was waiting for a Star Wars story so i could finally post this link [vgcats.com] (and yes, it is obligatory). That guy's a genious.
  • The Museum of Science in Boston is opening a Science of Star Wars exhibit in October. They've been building it for 2 years! It's going to be huge and very cool. The website is here: http://starwars.mos.org/>
  • by mbrother (739193) * <mbrother@u[ ].edu ['wyo' in gap]> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:14PM (#12754498) Homepage
    As much as the next scientist, I like to find ways to conduct outreach and bring science to the public. But I have my limits, and Star Wars is about as far from science as you can get. There are plenty of other, better vehicles. We may as well do the "science" of Sex and the City or the "science" of American Idol. Really.

    Lucas and/or some non-scientific Hollywood writer types made some shit up that they thought would fly. It's just dumb for scientists to sit around and come up with justifications for it after the fact when so much of it is so dumb to start with. It doesn't serve the cause of education.
  • by dominion (3153) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:22PM (#12754553) Homepage

    After the last star wars movie, my friends and I spent twenty minutes outside of the theater arguing whether Naboo was an apartheid state.

    The only conclusion we came to is that we're total geeks, and we needed to stop before anybody noticed.
  • by Merovign (557032) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:54PM (#12754720)

    1) It's fiction. And a movie. 20 minutes of silent space battle would be boring. It works in Firefly because it's not 30% of the screen time. Maybe they have little AIs in the spaceships that make Surround Sound representations of the events around the ship to aid in navigation. Who knows?

    2) What's with the sociology? Repulsorlifts! Lightsabers! Blasters! FTL! That's what we want.

    3) It's become amusing how rapidly the "we don't know that yet so it's impossible" crowd jumps out. Sure, it may be the case that we eventually conclude that none of these "effects" are possible in the real world. But what kind of a world can be made in a place where people never research antigravity or FTL or "force fields" 'cause it's all just presumed to be "impossible?"

    The "anti-explorers," we'll call them. :)
  • by tonywestonuk (261622) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @05:38AM (#12755864)
    We want to know about about Makeing REAL Light sabres. Check this out for info http://www.exn.ca/starwars/plasmasaber.cfm [www.exn.ca]

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