Pacific Rim: Kaiju Attacks and the Walls to stop them (?)

Originally at the end of Nerdometrics Episode 2 I wanted to share a few thoughts with Kyle Yount (Kaijucast) on Pacific Rim.  Partly due to schedule and partly due to the subject we decided we needed a separate discussion, AND we needed someone else to join the discussion and got just that! I had two main thoughts I wanted to crunch some numbers on and not only spoke to Kyle, but Andy Camble of Kaiju 101 joined in on the conversation!

SPOILER ALERTS GALORE. If you haven’t seen the movie yet you should! So go do it now!

You can listen to the episode here!

KAIJU ATTACK FREQUENCY

The first thought was on the frequency of Kaiju attacks in Pacific Rim continuity: in both the movie and the (movie) novelization, one of the scientists discusses the frequency of Kaiju attacks and uses this data to predict (a) that the frequency doubles over time (that is, each successive attack is assumed to happen in half the time it took between the previous attacks) and (b) that there will be a ‘double event’ where two Kaiju come through the breach, then three, and so on.  Based on this you’d expect the frequency of attacks, when mapped out over time to look something like this in terms of shape:

Nerdometrics 03 - Time between attacks (expected)

Instead, when I charted all of the Kaiju attack information (chronicled in detail in the Pacific Rim novelization) I got this.  Important note: the chart of the left is what I discussed with Kyle and Andy on the podcast, however in discussing it I realized I had errors (missing the 2023 attacks).  The second chart is not only a corrected chart, but a chart I made that assumed the attacks happened as close to the formula above as possible.

Nerdometrics 03 - Time between attacks A Nerdometrics 03 - Time between attacks B

I’m sure you can’t help but notice these charts look nothing like what the expected value.

BUILDING THE KAIJU WALL VERSUS BUILDING JAEGERS

In the movie, the governments of the world decide at a certain point to pull funding from the Jaeger project so they can focus their monies and efforts on building an ‘Anti-Kaiju Wall’, a huge structure presumably 30 stories high, with all kinds of reinforcements, that builds a perimeter around the entire Pacific Ring of Fire itself. When I first heard that my first thought was: why? At the point this decision got made, yes the PPDC had lost plenty of Jaegers but (1) you would have to think they had taken out more Kaiju than the numbers of jaegers they had (proven true by the book) and (2) since there weren’t any Kaiju stomping around the globe at the time it’s safe to say the Jaegers were 100% effective in their goal.  Compare that to a future where Kaiju stomp unhappily around the world, kept out by a wall as their numbers increase and their strategy didn’t seem to make sense.

But to a larger point, are Jaegers really that expensive in the grand scheme of things?  Worldwide GDP in 2012 was $70 Trillion, or $70,000 billion (which builds 1,167 Jaegers at a cost of $60 billion each, if we were to divert all of the world’s funds to such a project).  Of course we wouldn’t do that, but what are we spending on defense right now?

Nerdometrics 03 - Defense spending 2012

The top 9 Defense spenders in the world alone spent $1,239 Billion last year on defense, meaning – the Top Nine countries could reroute existing funds and build 20 Jaegers starting tomorrow.   In other words, even if everyone decided we needed something additional to assist the Jaegers – like an anti-Kaiju wall – such an undertaking could be pursued without touching current defense budgets.

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