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Fact vs. Fiction in Sci-Fi: Lightsabers

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Fiction: The Jedi-ubiquitous light saber, what Obi-Wan Kenobi described as "an elegant weapon for a more civilized age." It can melt through titanium doors like butter, chop off limbs while cauterizing the wound without a drop of blood spilt. The technology is advanced and mystical: each light saber blade is made by a tight loop of highly focused plasma, its color dependent on the crystals used in the hilt. 30 years after the debut of Star Wars, many of us are still wondering where our laser swords are. So where are they?

Fact: Welcome to the 21st century’s own impotent answer to the light saber: the laser pen. Far from an elegant weapon for magical warriors, the laser pen’s only real use is to drive cats into hysterical balls of hissing fur and flashing claws. Ironically, many of you may have seen a laser pen slashing and bouncing across the screen of your local cineplex during a showing of Revenge of the Sith, while everyone in the audience secretly wished that a Jedi would leap out of the screen and chop off the little laser twit’s hand.

Fact vs. Fiction in science fiction is a weekly rubric, comparing what we were promised by maverick directors versus what we were given by lazy, inept scientists. Got an idea for a future Fact vs. Fiction? Let us know in the comments.

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