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ATRENSSELAER

The Minutia File

How Lightsabers Work

Lightsaber demonstration
The popular Web site How Stuff Works, created by Marshall Brain ’83, this spring paid a tongue-in-cheek homage to the Star Wars craze with a feature on “How Lightsabers Work” (www.howstuffworks.com/lightsaber.htm).

How Stuff Works features hundreds of articles that explain the inner workings of everything from diamonds to chocolate to a rotary engine, as well as hypnosis, cell phones, home appliances, audio electronics, holiday traditions — you name it and Brain or one of his staff members is researching and writing about that topic right now. Visitors even can learn how the site itself works.

But lightsabers? A caveat at the bottom of the page explains: “Well, that’s how they would work. Light-sabers are only a figment of George Lucas’ imagination, of course. This is an entirely fictional article, based on information in Star Wars movies and books.” The sidesplitting feature describes the inner workings of lightsabers, and lists many common usages.

“Nearly anything you would normally find around the home or office is easy to cut with a lightsaber, including steel pipes, reinforcing beams, mounting struts and so on. If you happen to find yourself hanging upside down in a cave, a lightsaber is the perfect tool to use to cut the rope.”

“A lightsaber is like a sword on steroids,” the site says. Suggested household usages include food preparation (“the big advantage of using a lightsaber, of course, is that you can both cut and toast the bagel in one stroke”), or reheating coffee and slicing a cake. Landscapers can use them to trim hedges or fell a tree.

The Web site describes how lightsabers are powered, referring to arc waves, cycling field energizers, crystal energy, and such.

Lest you think Brain has gone to the Dark Side, the Web site also carries an “important safety” warning: “A lightsaber is not a toy! Keep it out of reach of children at all times. Lightsaber locks are required in most states.”
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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in March, June, September, and December by the Office of Communications.

 
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