Death Star petition reaches 25,000 votes

David Kravets: "A petition demanding the President Barack Obama administration build a Death Star like the one in Star Wars reached 25,000-plus signatures Thursday, a threshold requiring the government to respond whether it will build the fictional weapon capable of annihilating planets with its super laser." [Wired]


  1. Would there be any first amendment issues raised if the feds just deadpanned(in the most official manner possible, of course) “The power to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.” and left it at that?

    1. i agree — i hope barack gives a response totally based on the canon of the movies. that would be simultaneously hilarious and bad ass.

    1. You poor, naive bastards. Reagan DID approve it! What do you think the military has been secretly up to for the last 30 years??

  2. This reminds me of how “Jedi” is apparently a significant world religion according to Census results.  I guess Star Wars fans have somehow become a legitimate, politically relevant cultural group these days.  It all seems a bit odd to me really.

    1. Well the census results in the UK do have Jedi as a significant result but the office of national statistics will only categorize it as “no religion”. Not sure what the prerequisite for “legitimate religion” is.

      1. To count as a religion you would probably have to show that the purported adherents actually believed the claims made by the religion to be true. I don’t think there is good reason to believe that any significant proportion of the people writing Jedi Knight believe that there is a force holding the universe together that can be tapped by Jedis. So Jedi Knight is a religion to the same extent that Harry Potter’s world is.

        But fictional worlds can certainly turn into religions. Scientology is a religion based on the bad SF novels of a bad writer who was an unscrupulous confidence trickster. The pagan religion of Ancient Rome and Greece comes from the poems of Homer and his fellow entertainers.

        1. This thread makes me wonder a bit about whether there’s a practical difference between Fandom and religion (being pretty clueless about both of them.)  Like, some people would probably argue that Christians are just “fans” of a high-fantasy novel called The Bible, and so on.  And both groups seem to be lobbying the government for silly things.  :P

          1. There’s additional complexity because the various things-that-have-historically-been-widely-accepted-as-‘religions’, which we probably have to take into account if we want our definition of the word “religion” to be at all useful, have had quite different positions on the role and importance of orthodoxy vs. orthopraxy vs. ritualism, and have also generally been muddied further by alliances with the state or other notable institutions.

            By the standards of, say, the Roman Imperial cult, somebody who acted like a ‘fan'(loved his fandom, participated in the rituals at Augustuscon, etc.) would probably count as a good pious sort of guy. 

            By the standards of a more rigidly orthodox religion(Calvinism, say), a ‘fan’ who is gung-ho about Star Wars; but doesn’t actually believe in the literal truth of a galaxy far far away would be in trouble.

            Even in theory and overwhelmingly in practice, religions differ in how much they demand a specific internal belief state(something that fandom followers would generally fail), vs. how much they are content to ignore your internal faith state so long as you affirm the correct sources and reject the correct sources(something that fandom would be very polarized about: some fans are excellent at rigorous canon/non-canon nitpicking and love nothing more, while the fanfic enthusiasts would probably be seen as akin to the dangerous loose cannons, nuns having visions, non-sanctioned ‘holy men’ and various others who usually end up being either suppressed or turned into official saints)vs. how much they really just want you to observe certain rituals in certain social contexts and leave the believing to the professionals(which ‘fans’ would probably be pretty good at, since they tend to like Cons and such; but mostly don’t affirm the actual truth of the object of their enthusiasm under questioning).

    1. If you think that doesn’t have a well-oiled mechanism for bit-bucketing input with the effort of no more than two clicks of an intern or maybe a low-level flunkie, I’ve got an illusion of representation to sell you…

      The only possible way this particular one might rise above the ‘here, have a nice soothing form letter’ school is if somebody decides that a sufficiently cute pop culture reference joke response will poll incrementally better than a form letter.

      1. Having worked on the White House site back in ’93-97 (yes before it went live) I would think the most likely result of this petition will be to grab it with both hands and use it for the earned media value.

        Carney will certainly be asked about it and have a response. And the response is an opportunity to get an administration message through. Like pointing out that defense costs have to be considered against the likelihood of a threat and the likelihood that the proposed weapons system would be effective against that threat.

  3. I hope these people also voted to request more funding to NASA and serious issues, instead of wasting their votes (and civil servants’ time) on, well, this.

  4. The press conference should be held at night, during a full moon. The President can’t point and say ‘That’s no moon.’, and walk off the stage.

  5. Like the US government really needs encouragement to spend more money on horrifying weapons…

  6. Guys. This is not a serious petition. It cannot be, because humanity overwhelmingly lacks the capacity to create a Death Star or anything like one.

    Creating a Dyson Sphere would be an absurd challenge. But the Death Star isn’t a normal Dyson Sphere. Instead of containing a natural star which serves as a source of power, the Death Star has some nebulous artificial power core, with an energy output several times that of a main phase star.

    This is flatly impossible, and is going to be impossible for a very, very long time. It is absurdly, staggeringly, and utterly impossible. We’d have to have the technology to not only move planets worth of matter throughout a solar system, but we’d also have to have the technology to create an artificial star. What.

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