Fun_People Archive
31 Oct
Set Phasers to Shock

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 97 01:34:55 -0800
To: Fun_People
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Subject: Set Phasers to Shock

Forwarded-by: Robin Stephenson <>

... in this week's New Scientist there's an article claiming that a patent
has been granted for a `phaser':

        Set phasers to shock...

	[...] uses lasers to generate intense beams of ultraviolet light.
	These create a path of ionised air down which precisely modulated
	electrical current is sent.  The currents can be manipulated to
	cause painful contractions, stun a victim painlessly [oh yeah?], or
	induce a heart attack.  [...] over 100 metres [...] penetrate
	clothing [...]  many shots before it needs reloading.

Don't panic just yet, however:

	[...] A hand-held version of the phaser is not yet available because
	the argon-fluoride discharge-pumped excimer laser it uses is as big
	as a kitchen table.

You may now begin to become slightly concerned:

	[...] any technically competent person would be able to build a

        ( New Scientist (Paul Guinnessy, 1 November 1997)

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