So You Want to Build the Death Star?

A few economics students at Lehigh are changing the way the world views numbers through their thought-provoking blog, Centives.

Dozens of posts have tackled a range of issues critical to our national dialogue. Among them: "How much do I have to save to go to Hogwarts?", "How many zombies would it take to defeat the Nazis?" and "Are weather prediction sites lying to me?"

They've even examined the role of game theory in The Hunger Games, coming to the conclusion that ... well, we'll let you read the rest.

But it was their post about the Death Star that really captured the imagination--and admiration--of reporters and Star Wars fanatics everywhere. The students computed the steel composition of the galactic weapon before coming to the conclusion that the Death Star would cost an estimated $852,000,000,000,000,000 to build.

It was a price tag that was just too compelling to ignore. Media outlets from Forbes to PC magazine reported the news.

Centives links to a number of things: Daily Bulletins are snapshots of stories on the Web, while their own economics research is captured in their own editorials. They even have a Greatest Hits section. Take a look!