Category Archives: Film

Your Dream Lives On

I’m proud to share “Your Dream Lives On,” a new song that I recently completed. You can watch the music video on YouTube (below) or buy the mp3 here.

If you like it, please support my creative endeavors by purchasing the mp3 (It’s only one dollar!):

olenrambow.bandcamp.com

If you want the sheet music, click here to download it.

And here are the lyrics:

She was just a little girl,
Dreamin’ bigger than she knew she should.
She’d seen how cold the world could be
And had in mind to change it if she could.

She said, “I’m gonna sing the song that will save the world.
I’m gonna speak the words that will heal our souls.
I’m gonna light the fire that will burn away the darkness.
I’m gonna lead the march that will make us whole.”

Well, life made her a widow
With a baby boy to bring up on her own.
And she spent all of her energy
Providing for that boy till he left home.

And all too soon, the years had slipped away,
And she lay dying in her bed.
As the tears were streaming down her cheeks,
She looked me in the eye, and then she said:

“I searched so hard but never found
Those healing words. I never sang that song.
I never lit that fire, never led the march,
And now my dream is gone.”

And I told her, “Mama, your dream will never die.
I watched you live your life. You made me who I am.
I heard you sing your song and saw you lead the march.
You lit the fire inside of me, and so your dream lives on.”

“And now I’m gonna sing the song that will save the world.
I’m gonna speak the words that will heal our souls.
I’m gonna light the fire that will burn away the darkness.
I’m gonna lead the march that will make us whole.”

Well, that was forty years ago,
And now it’s time for me to go as well.
As the tears come streaming down my cheeks,
I take my daughter’s hand, and then I say:

“I searched so hard but never found
Those healing words. I never sang that song.
I never lit that fire, never led the march,
And now the dream is gone.”

And she says, “Daddy, your dream will never die.
I watched you live your life. You made me who I am.
I heard you sing your song and saw you lead the march.
You lit the fire inside of me, and so your dream lives on.”

“And now, I’m gonna sing the song that will save the world.
I’m gonna speak the words that will heal our souls.
I’m gonna light the fire that will burn away the darkness.
I’m gonna lead the march that will make us whole.”

“I’m gonna sing the song that will save the world.
I’m gonna speak the words that will heal our souls.
I’m gonna light the fire that will burn away the darkness.
I’m gonna lead the march that will make us whole.”

‘Cause she was just a little girl,
Dreaming bigger than she knew she should.

Admiral Tarkin’s Split Second of Embarrassment

Tarkin_DS

Just look how embarrassed he is!

In this post, I’m adding an interesting extension to a popular physics problem that’s been circulating on the internet.

The original problem is to calculate the average power output of the Death Star when it blows up Alderaan, making the following assumptions:

  • The shot takes half a second.
  • Alderaan has the same mass and radius as the Earth.
  • The amount of energy delivered is simply equal to the gravitational binding energy of the planet (i.e., the amount of energy required to break it up into tiny pieces and separate them by huge distances).

The extension that I’d like to add is this: Calculate the recoil velocity of the Death Star, and discuss the effect that the associated acceleration would have on the occupants.

First, a quick recap of the original problem.

Gravitational binding energy of a planet is given by the formula

GravitationalBindingEnergy

where M and R are the mass and radius of the planet, and G is the gravitational constant. Plugging in the numbers for Earth gives us a total energy of 2×10^32 J. If this much energy is delivered in half a second, the power output required is 4×10^32 W. This is one million times the total power output of the Sun!

Wow.

Okay, now for the extension. The amount of momentum carried by light is simply the amount of energy in the light divided by the speed of light:

PhotonMomentum

By conservation of momentum, this must also be the amount of momentum carried by the Death Star as it recoils backward (ignoring certain subtle effects that won’t make a big difference in the result). To get the recoil velocity, we simply divide the momentum by the Death Star’s mass.

Crap. What is the Death Star’s mass? It’s got to be somewhere in that technical readout that R2 was carrying…

We’ll just have to get a decent approximation. According to Wikipedia, the diameter of the Death Star is 160 km, so it has a radius of 80 km. Assuming a density similar to that of our moon (3000 kg/m^3), the mass of the Death Star is 6×10^18 kg. In reality, since the Death Star isn’t solid, its mass would probably be less than this, in which case the actual recoil velocity would be greater than the number we’re about to get. But, hey, we’re just looking for an estimate anyway.

Okay, we now have everything we need to calculate the recoil velocity. Are you ready?

It turns out that the Death Star would have to recoil with a velocity of one hundred thousand meters per second. That’s about 360,000 km/h, or 200,000 mph, which is roughly eight times the Earth’s escape velocity. Accelerating to this velocity in half a second amounts to about 20,000 g’s. That’s more than enough to splatter all of the Imperial personnel on board, plumbers and all, into a runny pulp against the walls.

Just imagine the embarrassment on Admiral Tarkin’s face when he realizes, during that split second before he meets his demise against the wall of his command room, how stupid it is to stand on a battle station that’s about to put out so much energy in such a short time in only one direction!

Palindrome

Palindrome1

The music video. (Click to see it on YouTube.)

I had the pleasure of attending the final round of the Van Cliburn piano competition this year, and the experience inspired me to sit down and write a little piece for the piano. The result, a fiery little ditty I’ve named “Palindrome” (due to its overall form; it is not a strict palindrome), is quite fun to play. My friend Saqib filmed me performing it, and we put together a pretty cool video. Click here (or on the picture above) to see it on YouTube.

Click to download the score.

Click to download the score.

If you’re interested in playing the piece yourself, click here to download the score in PDF form. If anyone actually does decide to play it, please let me know. It will make me happy. And if you send or post a recording of it, I’ll mail you a lollipop with my initials engraved on it. There could be no better treat than that.

Watch Me Kill a Sith Lord

Here’s a clip from a Star Wars fan film that I made with some friends from high school (HSPVA!) back in 2000 (the summer after our freshman year in college). The whole film is about 50 minutes long and is called The Ancient Power. Our high school principal, Dr. Karpicke, played the part of our Jedi Master. In this scene, I embrace my anger and turn to the dark side. Join me, and with our powers combined, we can rule the galaxy:

Watch me kill a Sith Lord

Filmed in the Black Box Theater at HSPVA. I did all the light saber effects frame by frame using Adobe AfterEffects and Photoshop. It was TEDIOUS. Here’s a still of me falling on my butt: