Star Wars came out in 1977. Even if you haven’t seen the film (who are you?), you still probably know what year it was released, and recognize characters from the film at every Halloween party you go to. You’re even vaguely aware that there are people in the world who would rather see scientists come up with a functional version of a lightsaber than a cure for cancer.
The lightsaber, the lasersword. George Lucas’s imaginary phallus of death.
Pretty awesome, huh? (Who gave Obama a purple lightsaber? Who’s he supposed to be, Mace Windu?)
Trouble is, if one were ever to be made, it would be necessarily (too) dangerous and impractical to actually use.
To create the effect of the lightsaber, images of actors with actual stick-swords are rotoscoped to become pillars of light, so bright in the center that the glow is actually white! It’s a wonder the Jedi aren’t all blind, isn’t it? Obvious failing aside, I wanted to address the issue of actually using the lightsaber like a sword.
See, a sword is an object that extends from your hand to a point somewhere further than your hand. A lightsaber is only the handle of a sword. Thinking of it this way, every time you see Liam Neeson or Ewan MacGregor or Mark Hamill or that idiot they cast to play Anakin in the new trilogy swinging their lightsaber, it’s something a real lightsaber would be unable to do. Unless you want to give the supposed blade of light mass, which you can’t. Even if we don’t know what the “blade of light” is made of, like if you wanted to say it wasn’t light, but just LOOKED that way, where does that mass go when the saber is turned off? Back into the air? Ha.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably thought of all this before. You’ve probably picked up a lightsaber handle (after taking the 3/4 inch dowel rod out) and tried pretending it still had a blade. After finding out you didn’t have to swing it, that all you had to do to make the thing go wherever you wanted it to was flick your wrist, the kind of lightsaber fighting we saw in the movies begins to look rather ridiculous and way too slow. Actual lightsaber duels would be mind-numbingly fast, kinetic ordeals which would be just as quickly finished. You wouldn’t be able to see, much less comprehend, what had gone down - much like when you watch fencing on TV during the Olympics because diving isn’t on.
There’s a reason why this comparison works. With actual fencing swords, the blades of which are extremely thin and light, the point is to touch the other person on a scorable area first. In a lightsaber fight, the point is to touch the other person on ANY area first. You’re holding the handle to a blade of light that CUTS THROUGH ANYTHING. For Steve’s sake.
On the defensive end, your goal is to NOT EVER GET TOUCHED. I don’t see this happening. If you do get touched, you better hope the other guy is flicking his wrist in a way that isn’t going to send any part of that thing through you. Because parts of you will fall off. Heck, you’d probably cut parts of yourself off before you ever got NEAR the other dude.
You’d be a blind amputee, but at least you’d have a real life lightsaber.
P.S. When I was a little kid I used to wonder if you put a lightsaber on the ground, pointed it right at the earth, and turned it on, if it would bore a hole all the way through the earth, following its own blade until the whole thing burned up and (possibly) exploded. A theoretically logic answer would be “No, because the blade, while appearing quite large, is actually very tiny in diameter. It would have to be to cut through stuff the way it does.”
A better answer would be, “No, because even if lightsabers were real, George Lucas would make them illegal.”
I know I don’t have the money for one. I know. But I’m starting to get this itchy needy feeling. And I don’t know what I’m going to do. Unlimited free 3G wireless access to Wikipedia and if you subscribe to newspapers and blogs they’ll be waiting for you to read when you wake up. Plus the charge lasts several days - Amazon actually SHIPS the thing with the POWER ON. It arrives, and it’s e-ink display is telling you to plug it in. That’s not a piece of plastic with writing on it.
I feel like getting one for my parents because they’re always travelling around the country and sitting at art shows (which can be really boring, especially for my mom).
(The only thing I want to know is if the e-ink display has a backlight so I can read after dark. Because I’m up after dark.)
Thank you for sending us “Wednesday’s Boy”. I’ve reviewed the story and decided not to purchase it. The writing is solid (although I think you probably need to have the Willy actually tell Jenkins that the same exact thing happened to him, instead of using the omniscient author, and Jenkins’ worry about getting spanked is a bit jarring, as he reads older than the implication - his next line after worrying about getting spanked is “damn it all if the boys saw him”, which doesn’t sound like the construction a spanking-age child would use). As I said, though, the story was well-written, it’s just that seemed a bit, I want to say pointless but that is too strong, perhaps lacking a point. This terrible thing happens and will happen again. I know that horror doesn’t need (and is sometimes ruined by) an explanation, but maybe just a little more to grab onto would have made the trip worthwhile.
Thanks for submitting, and I hope my comments have been at least a tiny bit helpful.
And it is very helpful. But to fix what they don’t like, it would mean rewriting it into a different story. Hmm.
I don’t know if I was trying to make him seem “spanking age.” Dude is 12. Parents don’t seem to have an age limit though.
Why Wolverine's Six Blades Decrease His Coefficient of Death.
I needed some new razors yesterday and I bought these crazy awesome 3-bladed Bic guys who make me feel like I’m a king or something when I run their crazy awesome metal tongues over my skin.
Single bladed razors cut me often, and then I tried double bladed razors. They didn’t cut me as much. Consider:
That’s because more blades were there to share the pressure I applied. With three blades, I get cut EVEN LESS. And it feels so nice.
So, as a super-hero, would you choose to have three blades per hand as Wolverine does, two, or one? With one, of course, you wouldn’t be hampered by having two extra ones, like if you needed to poke a button or something you couldn’t reach with it but didn’t want to poke two other buttons too. Also your force to area of impact ratio would be much more efficient.
Let’s say you were trying to stab something hard like a helicopter, as Wolverine does in the new movie. All of a sudden I don’t believe it. He has to supply three times as much force as he would have to if he only had to stab one spike into the copter. And I don’t care how sharp or indestructible these things are, even getting the first one in would be a tough thing. However, I suppose in the trailer he’s acting as a projectile, and so it’s plausible that he has enough speed to get it done. But does he have enough mass to keep him from just bouncing off once he gets there?
What are the disadvantages of only having one claw? I can’t think of any. Let’s say you only have one, but it’s an extra Wolverine claw-length longer. It’s a sharp wedge with a curved back, and a sword-caliber edge. It’s made of adamantium, a metal that’s stronger than diamond. Wouldn’t you, as this character, completely destroy Wolverine in a fight? Providing you had the same healing power and adamantium-infused skeleton?
anyone ever reblogs me is when I post some stupid picture I got from Stumbleupon. Or if the person reblogging me is Caroline (bless her soul).
I’m following 50 people. Aaaaaaaand 21 are following me. Of those, 8 haven’t used Tumblr in more than a month. I don’t get it. I’m a nice kid. I make and do cool stuff. I post interesting things. Most of it is original content. I mean, maybe none of my readers are Tumblr’ing. I try not to care about this kind of thing, because I know I’m not that important in the grand scheme of the web. It just feels like emptying trash, really. I post it, and there it goes, into the void. Sometimes a piece flutters back out, a gum wrapper or a fortune from a fortune cookie, and that’s nice. But, like I said earlier, usually it’s a gum wrapper from a piece of gum I got from Stumbleupon. Nobody even ‘likes’ my posts. Like, ever.
People use Twitter to ask questions they don’t feel like looking up. I don’t do that because if I did, nobody would answer. I don’t ask for help with projects I’m excited about because I know people won’t care.
I should be working on my short story, “The Demon Wall of Mercy,” in which a guy is about to open a package that isn’t his, that belongs, in fact, to an entity behind some invisible hole in the train station wall, and you know what? I know what’s in that package. Something none of you will expect. It took me three years to figure out what that thing was.
But for some reason I’m sitting here writing about the great apathy of the web. The only reason I ever wanted to blog was because of the opportunity for dialogue it opened up. Dialogue between me and whoever was out there.
Thursday, February 26th, 2009 or "And That Word Was 'Bad'"
11:30 AM - Wakey wakey. Breakfast?
12:40 PM - 20th Century English Novels (OH, MAYBE WE’LL GO TO THE LIGHTHOUSE AT SOME POINT IN THIS BOOK. OR NOT. OR MAYBE.)
3 PM - Philosophy class in which I AM SO OVER MY HEAD.
4:30 PM - Shopping. Is that right?
5:30 PM - Clean my room (O_o)
7 PM - Dinner en ze cafeterieum
7:30 PM - I DON’T KNOW!
I made a schedule yesterday and it made me feel organized without actually being organized. This is the same way. Here is an excerpt of something I wrote today:
"Hello, Mr. Myer. This is Doctor Riesler, as I’m sure you can probably tell. After going through your tests, I believe I have a diagnosis for your problem. This is where I’d normally give the diagnosis, but due to your special case and certain confidentiality by-laws I’m bound to, my lips are tied. Ha. You’ll have to come in, and maybe that’s better. It might be easier showing than telling anyway, I imagine. Yes. I’m sorry for the news."
This time Marty was only confused. Sorry for the news? What news? That the doctor had a diagnosis? Riesler had left out some important key word that might have preceded that behemoth of a noun, “diagnosis.” “Optimistic,” would have been a good one. He would have been at ease with that. Bad enough to get him canned, but not bad enough to get him killed. “Strange,” would have been more vague, but still better than nothing. His gut felt numb, and that meant whatever the word really was, it was only a subset of another word.
and the sky opened up on him, pelting him with rain. He shuffled toward the building, head down, making no attempt to wipe away the beading drops that fell over the skin of his face, his slack jaw. His hair clung to him like a quivering animal. The door was plain, white, with the number seven scratched into it in rust. It was locked. He pounded a wet fist against the metal.
"Let me in, Goddammit," he said. He turned, swimming in his clothes. Lightning stabbed the earth, and the setting sun watched. There was no rainbow. Trees bent with wind, beyond his van a willow seemed to hang sideways, as if gravity now favored the west. He cracked his knuckles. Today is the day of my life, Willie Silverman thought, and behind him the door clicked open.
“Violets are blue,
Roses are red.
On Valentine’s Day
You exploded my head.”—I wrote this poem for a girl, but I thought since I spent so much time on it I would share it with you too. The first two lines were all I had at last week’s writer’s workshop. She got me something too. A story based on my ideas that she won’t let me read. And a carp.
I just had an impromptu writing session. Impromptu means it wasn’t planned, it just happened. I would like to have a promptu sleeping session now, but we both know that isn’t likely. I’m okay with this, for some reason.
I submitted to two more magazines today, but forgot to write I was submitting simultaneously. Um. Oops? I don’t feel like I ever thought I’d be worrying about selling the same thing to three different places…when I probably won’t sell it to even one place. But I’m worrying just the same.
Read the first chapter of Ulysses by James Joyce. Impressions? Not as hard as I had been told. Just takes a while to read.
Watched the Dark Knight again.
Talked to my mother, my sister, and my father. In that order.
Tuned into the Brianisinyou live podcast…and played a little game with Brian. He didn’t know it, but I was typing things in order to pique his interest enough to say them out loud. (“High-Maint Taint.”) Also I made them talk about Christian Bale when they didn’t want to. I like to play this game as an anonymous user.
I watched Michigan State dismantle Indiana. And Michigan had a respectable showing against UConn.
"My last girlfriend used to say ‘bite me,’ every time we had an argument. My new girlfriend is a vampire. I put them in touch."
"Lucky Charms tricks kids into thinking that eating cereal has an effect on the outcome of their lives. That’s wrong. I think we should make our own luck, manufacture our own charms. Except when I do it, it always ends up tasting like corn flakes and the marshmallows are all white."
"I’m pretty sure motion-sensor toilets were invented for the mass of angry limbless blind people who wanted their toilets to flush at random, da#mit. A perfect example of inventors catering to haters. Lever haters."
"I think the dentist is the only kind of doctor who can get away with fixing something but making it feel worse. If you go to a podiatrist and tell him your feet feel great, he lets you leave. He doesn’t drill holes in them, fill them with cement, and make it so you can’t walk on solid ground for two months. Solid ground, chewy ground, beef-jerky ground. None of it."