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The Science of the Lightsaber

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the the-force dept.

Star Wars Prequels 197

Smartcowboy writes "Chances are that you have seen a lightsaber at one time or another, whether on the evening news or down at the local cantina. Therefore you know that a lightsaber is an amazing and versatile device that is able to cut through nearly anything in a matter of milliseconds. Have you ever wondered how these remarkable weapons work? Where does the energy come from, and how are they able to contain that energy in a rod-like column of glowing power? In this article, you will have a chance to look inside a lightsaber and discover the source of its incredible characteristics." I was sure the blade was made from the focused hate and disappointment of the last three movies.

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197 comments

The Year Was 2005 ... (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786829)

Do we really need to do this again [slashdot.org] ? I mean, seriously guys, it's not the same URL but it resolves to the same damn page. Would you like an easy +5 Insightful response? Just point out the lightsaber is casting a shadow!

On top of that, this has been erroneously filed under "Technology." Let's just pause and let that sink in.

Now I'll quote the article:
  • # A lightsaber is normally about 30 centimeters long, about the size of a large flashlight.
  • # At one end is the hand grip, belt ring and on/off switch (a.k.a., the Activation Matrix).
  • # At the other end there is the blade arc tip and stabilizing ring.
  • # Somewhere on the case (generally near the blade end of the lightsaber) you find one or two adjusting knobs for blade power and blade length.

You are putting that into the technology category? Seriously? I am sorry, normally I roll with the it and just play along when this stuff is under Idle on the frontpage but this is ridiculous. I know I'm just one of many Slashdotters in bitchbitchbitch mode but the next time you come across an article like this put it in your damned April Fools folder and don't revisit it until then!

Next week: The Science of NBC's "Heroes" ... filed under Biotech!

Re:The Year Was 2005 ... (4, Informative)

Aeonite (263338) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786863)

Here's a more appropriate lightsaber article to link to, which explores not the physical construction of the lightsaber, but rather it's mythical import.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_156/5005-Lazer-Swords-and-Thundersabers [escapistmagazine.com]

Yes, I wrote it.

It's also not a 3-year-old article.

Re:The Year Was 2005 ... (0, Offtopic)

Aeonite (263338) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786887)

its its its

crap

its

why do we always spot the it's after we submit?

Re:The Year Was 2005 ... (5, Funny)

JavaRob (28971) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787203)

You would of fixed it if you could of! But, I wouldn't loose any sleep over it. Most people here don't know how it's supposed to be written anyways, and the ones who do could care less.

[heh; take that]

Re:The Year Was 2005 ... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25787587)

You would've fixed it if you could've...

There, fixed that for you.

Re:The Year Was 2005 ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25787713)

it's good to see there's still slashdotters out there who don't get humor....

Re:The Year Was 2005 ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25787603)

um... you got it right the first time.

It's a nice car, but its high speed muffler belt needs replaced.

Re:The Year Was 2005 ... (1)

jggimi (1279324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787731)

Thank you, Michael, for that link to your article. Both interesting and insightful.

Re:The Year Was 2005 ... (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 5 years ago | (#25788257)

Yeah, that was a good article. I know that a lot of people interpret Star Wars through the "hero's journey" lens developed by Joseph Campbell. It's boring now. Somehow, though, your article wasn't - so, nice work!

Re:The Year Was 2005 ... (1, Troll)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786973)

Someone SERIOUSLY needs to get laid. Get a grip buddy.

Re:The Year Was 2005 ... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25787005)

He has a grip. It just happens to be on his pecker. You see, he can't get laid so he has to masturbate.

Re:The Year Was 2005 ... (2, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787127)

You see, he can't get laid so he has to masturbate

The fact that you are posting on /. suggests that you probably aren't doing any better ;)

Welcome to the Internet (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25787031)

What comes around once gets re-posted elsewhere a thousandfold. Eventually, it may just float around the tubes for a while and resurface on one of the posted websites.

Slashdot isn't immune to this.

Especially when the article in question involves lightsabers. (And wishing that they were real. *daydreams at work*)

Re:Welcome to the Internet (3, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787205)

Especially when the article in question involves lightsabers. (And wishing that they were real. *daydreams at work*)

I'd rather have a working phaser than a lightsaber. The phaser is a ranged weapon -- works better for us geek weaklings who don't want to get our hands dirty. It also seems more versatile -- you can stun people, injure them, kill them or completely disappear them (let's see them CSI a vaporized corpse!).

In short, the phaser slices, dices and makes julienne fries.

Re:Welcome to the Internet (1)

Jester'snotmynicknam (1065634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787351)

Phasers are actually a lot more doable if you ask me. Particles can be accelerated using laser radiation at the right frequency, and has been used for small scale particle accelerator experiments in the past. My biggest holdup with phasers, is they don't sound right, and neither do freaken lightsabers. To my mind, lethal futuristic superweapons just are not cool if it doesn't do the old school War Of the Worlds "FSZHUULZUZOOZOOZOOOO" sound. Thats a prerequisite for weaponry in my book.

Re:Welcome to the Internet (2, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787525)

I don't know how doable phasers are as described in canon. They utilize a completely invented subatomic particle (the nadion) for their effects. The vaporization effect in particular seems far-fetched -- in Trek they explain it away because of the magical properties of the nadion -- in reality you'd need an awful lot of energy to vaporize the human body (imagine taking 100-200 pounds of water from 98 degrees to >212 degrees in under a second) and you wouldn't want to be standing nearby when it happened.

The concept of a directed energy weapon that would be adjustable and which could stun/injure or kill seems doable in the future though.

Re:Welcome to the Internet (1)

Jester'snotmynicknam (1065634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787749)

oh yeah? well then FWAZZOOOOZOZOOZOOOZOOOOOO to you! :)

yeah, i was letting the whole nadion's don't exist thing slide, since dumping around 4000kj/kgk*60 degrees + heat of fusion (big, don't remember what, but a big number) and the expansion of water to gas thing, and on and on.
Not to mention that terrible terrible smell it would likely make.

The energy question leaves me to think that accelerants packed into containers and accelerated through barrels is probably going to remain the "state of the art" in making dead people for some time to come.

Re:Welcome to the Internet (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25788023)

Not to mention that terrible terrible smell it would likely make.

The smell would be the least of your problems. Vaporizing that much water (and other compounds in the human body) would probably produce an effect similar to a steam explosion at the very least. You wouldn't want to be standing next to someone who got vaporized.....

The energy question leaves me to think that accelerants packed into containers and accelerated through barrels is probably going to remain the "state of the art" in making dead people for some time to come.

Quite likely. Directed energy weapons could have some real world applications -- missile defense for example (imagine a laser replacement for this bad boy [wikipedia.org] ) -- but I doubt we'll see them as personal sidearms in our lifetimes.

Re:Welcome to the Internet (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787849)

Assuming the term 'vaporize' is truly meant and not disintegrated, which is more like what is shown (otherwise we'd see bones). Human perception would view them as roughly the same thing, so calling it vaporization could be human error. On the other hand, you'd probably have a sonic boom as elements expand in disintegration, so...

screw it - it's pseudo-science - they MADE IT UP.

Lightsabers are even more far-fetched - they would need a heated arcing plasma (or something like that) as well as a strong repulsive energy and one hell of a power source.

Re:Welcome to the Internet (2, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787945)

On the other hand, you'd probably have a sonic boom as elements expand in disintegration, so...

I've always rationalized it in my mind as a conversion to neutrinos or some other particle that doesn't really interact with normal matter and which would allow the disintegration of objects as people stand right next to them with little to no ill effects.

Re:Welcome to the Internet (2, Interesting)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 5 years ago | (#25788071)

Well, at least it's not as bad as the "Zat" guns from Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis.

The writers got themselves stuck into a corner really early on when they introduced the "One shot stuns, two shots kills, three shots VAPORIZES" mechanic on that weapon. The first two make sense for a weapon that shoots something akin to lightning bolts, but the third mechanic is just DUMB.

I remember watching the 10 year anniversary show and the producers and actors talking about how much they hated putting that into the show, and how the writers realized it was a dumb mistake almost immediately. (But not fast enough to prevent it becoming canon. DOH!)

Oh well, I guess if we all had to wait until every single sci-fi weapon was completely vetted for scientific accuracy before it could be used in a show we would NEVER get any shows!

Re:Welcome to the Internet (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787911)

(let's see them CSI a vaporized corpse!)

They may not be able to get DNA, but there'd still be some trace of vaporized matter residue (VMR), probably some directionality of VMR dispersal, and thus also void analysis. From that VMR they'd get an electromagnetic signature of the weapon that can be matched to your specific phaser.

using a Tricorder... (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25788711)

one would be able to detect the remnants of the vaporized corpse and do a DNA analysis on the "vapor"[aerosol] particles.

Re:Welcome to the Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25788831)

Yes, but they are SO uncivilized... oh wait, I'm thinking of blasters. BIG difference.

Re:The Year Was 2005 ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25787241)

Would you like an easy +5 Insightful response? Just point out the lightsaber is casting a shadow!

(Stroking goatee ponderously)
Hmmm, I say, the lightsaber *is* casting a shadow.

Re:The Year Was 2005 ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25787437)

Hey, Uh.. lighten up?

Re:The Year Was 2005 ... (2, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787667)

"I know I'm just one of many Slashdotters in bitchbitchbitch mode"

go under user options and select a different mode from the drop down. be sure to click apply and then save.

Re:The Year Was 2005 ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25787807)

Actually, the article has a box on page 2 that says :

"Well, that's how they would work.
Lightsabers 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. Learn more about lightsabers as a special effect."

So they clearly acknowledge that this is just for fun.

And, as "this is just for fun" goes, I loved reading that article. :)

Gilles.

Re:The Year Was 2005 ... (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 5 years ago | (#25789031)

True.. true...

But many times, life imitates art. Automatic doors, wrist communicators, virtual interfaces (which includes touchscreen devices that change on context rather than warping the task to fit the existing interface), moving walkways, holograms, etc., all were once just fantasy.

Though I agree that it's the wrong category, there should at least be a "science fiction" section where this can go... (and I think there is one).

Guide To The Barack Obongo Presidency (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25786875)

Hi, my name is Barack Hussein Obongo [obongo08.com] and I approve of this message

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

INSTALLING YOUR NIGGER.
You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

CONFIGURING YOUR NIGGER
Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

HOUSING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

FEEDING YOUR NIGGER.
Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

MAKING YOUR NIGGER WORK.
Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

ENTERTAINING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

DISPOSAL OF DEAD NIGGERS.
Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NIGGERS - MY NIGGER IS VERY AGGRESIVE
Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

MY NIGGER KEEPS RAPING WHITE WOMEN
They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

WILL MY NIGGER ATTACK ME?
Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

MY NIGGER bitches ABOUT ITS "RIGHTS" AND "RACISM".
Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

MY NIGGER'S HIDE IS A FUNNY COLOR. - WHAT IS THE CORRECT SHADE FOR A NIGGER?
A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

MY NIGGER ACTS LIKE A NIGGER, BUT IS WHITE.
What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

IS THAT LIKE AN ALBINO? ARE THEY RARE?
They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

MY NIGGER SMELLS REALLY BAD
And you were expecting what?

SHOULD I STORE MY DEAD NIGGER?
When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

You know... (2)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786893)

...I don't know why everyone wonders how a fictional lightsaber could work.

"How does it contain the plasma in a rod? Why doesn't it just go everywhere?"

From what I remember of the movies, I don't remember there being any mention of there not being some kind of mechanical core to a lightsaber -- almost like a control rod that extended at the same time that the rod of light did. You'd never know from watching it.

For all we know, even as works of fiction, they could just be normal swords that glow.

Re:You know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25787059)

They're not, though, there has been pseudo-science available from that universe's billions of information depositories that explain exactly how the special particles or electrons or whatever form a container for the plasma in the shape you see.

And it's been available and solidified for -years-.

Re:You know... (2, Funny)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787441)

almost like a control rod that extended at the same time that the rod of light did

If you watch Episode 4, right after Vader kills Obi Wan, he's holding a silver-colored stick. So, perhaps this mechanical core doesn't retract at the same time?

Re:You know... (3, Funny)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787663)

If you watch Episode 4, right after Vader kills Obi Wan, he's holding a silver-colored stick. So, perhaps this mechanical core doesn't retract at the same time?

Good eye. Once the Jedi were defeated, the few survivors had to make their lightsabers from spare parts. I think Obi Wan used one of those powered telescoping radio antennas from an old land speeder.

Re:You know... (3, Interesting)

AdamThor (995520) | more than 5 years ago | (#25788155)

...I don't know why everyone wonders how a fictional lightsaber could work.

Neither do I. Lasers? Plasma? Mechanical core? Containment? Lenses and gyrsoscopes?

THERE WAS NONE OF THAT. There was a guy and his typewriter and a bunch of words that, while compelling, were not true. There is no technology of the lightsaber. There is no "how it works". It doesn't work. It doesn't exist. The same is true of teleporters, holodecks, warp speed, etc.

If someone wants to have some fun writing or reading this kind of stuff that's fine. But it's just fanfic. People seem to ascribe to it some sort of weight it doesn't have b/c of the science tone.

Now get off my lawn!

Every-Day uses of the lightsaber (4, Interesting)

NecroBones (513779) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786901)

Well, at least they didn't show any household uses for the lightsaber that I've already covered. :)

Lightsaber Uses for the Everyday Dark Lord [youtube.com]

Re:Every-Day uses of the lightsaber (1)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 5 years ago | (#25788519)

I've seen my fill of too many all-too-serious sabre videos. Folks, this is how it should be done! Have some fun with it! Most impressive!

2005? (1)

JavaRob (28971) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786997)

I recalled seeing this article at least a few years back, so I clicked the "citation" button on the site to check:

Brain, Marshall. "How Lightsabers Work." 05 May 2005. HowStuffWorks.com.

Ah.

NERDS! (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25787035)

enough said

Re:NERDS! (2)

danieltdp (1287734) | more than 5 years ago | (#25789059)

Parent should be tagget as redundant. It on the friking title: "NEWS FOR NERDS, STUFF THAT MATTERS". Nuf' said

But does it run Linux? (5, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787037)

The Jedi ones, I mean. Everyone knows the red ones run Windows.

Re:But does it run Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25787637)

I'm sure the Purple one is Running on Leopard! ^_^

Re:But does it run Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25787839)

So, Samuel L Jackson's purple light saber, is just a red one that blue screened?

I have one.... (5, Funny)

NiteShaed (315799) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787043)

and apparently there's a lot of trick photography involved in those movies. First of all, the blade is just plastic segments, and you kind of flick it to get the blade to extend. By the way, it doesn't cut worth a damn. It seems that the "light" part of the lightsaber is just a flashlight bulb embedded in the handle and shining through the tube. Pretty disappointing really.
Now the sound effects on the other hand are pretty damn cool. Granted, they're a little tinny compared to the movies, but I figure that's just due to the way they mixed the audio in post-prod.

Re:I have one.... (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787345)

Might I suggest that the next one you get is not a knock off counterfeit. I know this is Slashdot, but the quality of lightsabers that you buy out of the back of a trunk is not of the same quality as those bootleg DVDs. I know that the DRM that the Jedi council is hideous, but still, best to go to a legitimate source and pay full retail.

Re:I have one.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25787811)

The ones in the movies are both plastic and Lighted. The Clone Wars Scene where Anakin and Count Dooku were fighting in the dark had florescent lighted sabers that would shatter if they hit one another. The scene kept changing so quickly that it looked like they were attacking but mostly just showing off light patterns from the blades.

Re:I have one.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25788905)

The ones in the movies are both plastic and Lighted. The Clone Wars Scene where Anakin and Count Dooku were fighting in the dark had florescent lighted sabers that would shatter if they hit one another. The scene kept changing so quickly that it looked like they were attacking but mostly just showing off light patterns from the blades.

Well first of all WOOOOSH.

Secondly, in the orignal series Lucas just had them use regular fencing foils, and they painted the film with the effects afterwards.

No idea what they used in the newest trio, but I would hazard a guess they once again used fencing/sparring equipment and just CG'd the saber in place of the props.

Re:I have one.... (2, Funny)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787989)

That's nothing, I have a millenium falcon in my basement, but as it turns out, the real thing is plastic and only a few feet in diameter. It also only goes about 50 mph, and that's if you throw it at 50 mph.

if you dropped one... (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787055)

I've wondered before, what would happen if you dropped one?

Remember the rash of pulp stories in the earlier years of tethered micro black holes that were accidentally released and orbited around the inside of a planet whilst slowly gaining mass and eating more and more.

Would a lightsaber power itself from the mass it removes/cuts - would the "battery" die out. Unlike a micro blackhole it would not generate a gravitational field.

Really, its a slow day at work - I cannot even believe I am thinking about this...

Did anybody ever think of practical jokes you could play with a theoretical light saber...?

And why is it lightsaber not lightsabre...?

Re:if you dropped one... (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787209)

In the EU the Lightsabers can be fitted with a safety cut out which turns the blade off if the saber isn't being held for a period of time (to let you do the cool throwy thing). Because they're completely individual items, made by each user, how they handle stuff like that is down to the wielder.

Re:if you dropped one... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787311)

Because they're completely individual items

Don't worry -- eventually China will figure out how to stamp them out of plastic for three cents a unit ;)

Just to point out... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787529)

That the parent poster probably meant "Expanded Universe" [wikipedia.org] not "European Union". [wikipedia.org]

But I guess it is a bit too late...
Someone already mentioned China stamping out plastic ones for 3 cents per unit.
In order to profit from the market demand for those EU and USA made lightsabers I guess.

Re:if you dropped one... (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787695)

Remember the rash of pulp stories in the earlier years of tethered micro black holes that were accidentally released and orbited around the inside of a planet whilst slowly gaining mass and eating more and more.

I liked both Thrice Upon a Time and Artifact. Are there more?

If you haven't seen Indy Mogul's take on lightsabers [indymogul.com] , you should. I loved how they used the premise of having only one real lightsaber in existence set up the gag when two real lightsabers interact with each other.

Re:if you dropped one... (2, Insightful)

qzak (1115661) | more than 5 years ago | (#25788171)

Why would you have to drop one to have it start eating everything?

If the thing vaporizes everything, I wonder why the AIR around it survives, and you don't end up with a constant wind inwards towards the blade.

Re:if you dropped one... (1)

edge_gid (682113) | more than 5 years ago | (#25788543)

I've wondered before, what would happen if you dropped one?

Am I the only one that have seen this? This is EXACTLY how I pictured it at least.

Jedi Butter Fingers [robotchicken.org]

(Note: put the volume up and listen to the yelling in the background)

Re:if you dropped one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25789095)

I've wondered before, what would happen if you dropped one?

You must have never watches the movies because they dropped the things all the time. They conveniently turn off when not held and magically never hit anything when they go flying out of their hands.

Remember the rash of pulp stories in the earlier years of tethered micro black holes that were accidentally released and orbited around the inside of a planet whilst slowly gaining mass and eating more and more.

No.

Would a lightsaber power itself from the mass it removes/cuts - would the "battery" die out. Unlike a micro blackhole it would not generate a gravitational field.

In case you didn't know, LIGHT SABERS ARE NOT REAL. OMG you fucking nerds, stop going so far into your fandoms you start thinking this shit could exist somehow! No property of physics can even begin to explain how a lightsaber could work, and now you want it so the "blade" recharges the battery when it cuts through things?

I'll tell you what. Explain to me how a weapon that can melt through blast doors can also be held inches from one's face and clothing without setting them ablaze (not to mention leaving the hilt cool enough to touch no matter how long it stays on, and then clip to a belt loop right after), and I'll tell you how a battery can power a lightsaber indefinitely.

Really, its a slow day at work - I cannot even believe I am thinking about this...

Go home then.

Did anybody ever think of practical jokes you could play with a theoretical light saber...?

There's this new site called YouTube.com that might help you in your search.

And why is it lightsaber not lightsabre...?

It's spelled "lightsaber" because George Lucas uses the American subset of English. You know, from having been born in America?

Now get off my lawn, damn kids.

Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25787109)

"I was sure the blade was made from the focused hate and disappointment of the last three movies."

Weak.

Chopping Firewood? (1)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787123)

Am I the only one out there that thought a lightsaber would make chopping firewood a snap?

Re:Chopping Firewood? (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787273)

You don't have to chop firewood when you have a lighsaber. You just stick that slice o' tree right into your fireplace, jam your lightsaber into the middle of it and wait for it to light on fire. Mission Accomplished.

Re:Chopping Firewood? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787391)


Am I the only one out there that thought a lightsaber would make chopping firewood a snap?

... and also lighting it.

Star Wars retards (1)

El Puerco Loco (31491) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787515)

Stop buying all the graflex flashguns! there are some of us out there who still use them for their intended purpose. douchenozzles.

lightsabers are scarier than guns and table saws (3, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787635)

You'd have to be a Jedi to use one of these things because any average Joe is likely to cut off his own foot. A light saber represents the awesome mutilating ability of power tools combined with a form factor that's even more prone to mischief. No weight in the blade, will cause major damage with fleeting contact. They're cool but you'll be losing fingers and limbs.

Re:lightsabers are scarier than guns and table saw (1)

sydney troz (1204528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25788177)

You make a good point, but there's actually a reason only Jedis *can* use them: the gyroscope required for stabilizing the beam makes the lightsaber impossible to handle for anyone without superhuman strength. Read that in the The Visual Dictionary of Star Wars, Episodes IV, V, & VI: The Ultimate Guide to Star Wars Characters and Creatures [amazon.com] .

Re:lightsabers are scarier than guns and table saw (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25788871)

Han Solo used one one once to open up a Tan Tan. Luke was training with it before he had any force abilities at all. I don't habeeb it.

Re:lightsabers are scarier than guns and table saw (1)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25788185)

You know it:

http://www.break.com/usercontent/2007/4/Lightsaber-for-Christmas-282297.html

Toast (1)

joss (1346) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787679)

They are of course perfect for making toast, slice and cook together. Steaks are doable but they turn out a bit rare.

Aproptiatley (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787751)

My Quote of the day is coming up

So this is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause.

George Lukas

How did the get on the fp?

Mental masturbation (2, Insightful)

CharlieG (34950) | more than 5 years ago | (#25787785)

All the articles about the "tech" of Star Wars, Star Trek, etc (up to an including the old Star Trek 'Engineering Manual' are nothing but mental masturbation for geeks. They are great when your in your teens, but...

Just enjoy the show/movie

Re:Mental masturbation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25787985)

There's got to be a Natalie Portman joke in there somewhere.

lame tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25788009)

where's the lame tag

Geek mode on.... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25788495)

> A lightsaber is a unique device, created by hand -- the controls will be slightly different on each individual lightsaber that you buy.

Buy? I was under the impression that each Jedi fashioned his own.

Geek mode off...

That said, I don't think the article works even as a parody.

Re:Geek mode on.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25788547)

Geek mode off...

if only it were that easy, huh.

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