0692: "Dirty Harry"

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby jasonkoller » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:12 pm UTC

RainMan FTW!!!

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby neoliminal » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:37 pm UTC

I have never understood why beam weapons in Sci-Fi are firing "bursts" and not continuous beams that simply stay on target with a continuous line of destruction. There are a few exceptions where this concept gets used, but seriously, where when have you seen a laser in real life that needed to be in "burst" mode. It's just a stupid way to make future guns seem more like current tech. Easier to grasp, I guess.

But how much more bad ass would a constant beam of destruction be?
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby Western Rover » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:44 pm UTC

Nice to see a comic that us 40-year-olds can understand right away, without having to resort to Wikipedia to learn about River Tam or somebody. Not that I mind looking at pictures of River Tam...

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby littlelj » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:45 pm UTC

Ha ha ha ha! I too count rounds (etc) on films, and I'm not sure I even do it consciously :shock:

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby neoliminal » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:59 pm UTC

Western Rover wrote:Nice to see a comic that us 40-year-olds can understand right away, without having to resort to Wikipedia to learn about River Tam or somebody. Not that I mind looking at pictures of River Tam...


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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby sploush » Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:24 pm UTC

When i read this cominc i thought it was about The outsider or Th stranger by Albert Camus


and now thats all i can think of, how the number of shots was supposedly so significant, the court in the book, and the teacher in my school said.

I am not sure wheather i agreed.

What does the number of shots say?

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby MSTK » Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:51 pm UTC

neoliminal wrote:I have never understood why beam weapons in Sci-Fi are firing "bursts" and not continuous beams that simply stay on target with a continuous line of destruction. There are a few exceptions where this concept gets used, but seriously, where when have you seen a laser in real life that needed to be in "burst" mode. It's just a stupid way to make future guns seem more like current tech. Easier to grasp, I guess.

But how much more bad ass would a constant beam of destruction be?


The reason they wouldn't necessarily be able to fire in continuous beams is the same reason a typical camera flash can't stay on continuously.

Laser beams presumably consume much energy (enough so to burn flesh and cut through walls?). Do you remember disposable cameras, where you had to charge up the flash each time? And once you charged it, when you used, it, it made a big flash, and then the energy was gone?
Batteries in those types of cameras don't nearly have the potential difference (voltage) to cause that high intensity of a flash. What they use is a capacitor, which stores up voltage, builds it up slowly, and can unleash it all at once.
This is the reason a camera flash can be many, many times brighter than a flashlight, despite having a weaker battery supply.

Utilizing capacitors allow bursts of energy that are theoretically infinitely higher-voltage than the actual battery's normal output (given a decent amount of time to charge, and enough juice left in the battery, and other limiting factors that prevent us from having a laser gun today).

Assuming the futuristic super-battery, wouldn't it make more sense to have the same sort of charged-up burst, like a camera flash, instead of a weak continuous flashlight? And even if you could have a continuous flashlight type beam at a high power...wouldn't you want something orders of magnitude stronger?

sploush wrote:What does the number of shots say?

K


In The Stranger, it means only that he fired once to kill the man, then multiple times after. Just because.

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby dfjdejulio » Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:12 pm UTC

neoliminal wrote:where when have you seen a laser in real life that needed to be in "burst" mode.

In fact, the very first laser ever had to be fired only in "burst" mode. It was a ruby laser that had to be "pumped" by a flash lamp. You can read up on it here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruby_laser

I like the compromise position "Mass Effect" used. The weapons are slug-throwers, but they don't have countable amounts of ammo. Instead, you've got this lump of heavy mass inside the weapon, and mass manipulation fields (related to the game's title) "shave" off very very small amounts of it and fire it at like relativistic speeds. So you end up with something you can pretend is ordinary gunfire, but you don't count ammo. (Instead, you have to moderate your rate of fire so the weapon doesn't overheat. But you can install gun mods that prevent overheating -- at the cost of taking up gun mod slots that could instead increase damage or add a special effect, so it balances out.)


(Edit: and yes, this is where the name "Ruby Rhod" in the movie "The Fifth Element" comes from.)

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby cheeseheadtotherescue » Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:16 pm UTC

That reminds me of the matrix #1 when they walk into the first floor of the tall building and there's that long drawn out gun fight. I remember someone commenting "hey these guns actually run out of bullets... They just don't run out of guns"

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby keithc » Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:17 pm UTC

neoliminal wrote:
Western Rover wrote:Nice to see a comic that us 40-year-olds can understand right away, without having to resort to Wikipedia to learn about River Tam or somebody. Not that I mind looking at pictures of River Tam...


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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby Technical Ben » Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:49 pm UTC

My Second "get out of my head" moment. Well almost. I was trawling through TVtropes last night as I often search movie mistakes when looking at reviews. Got stuck on it for ages. The only reference to mistakes on how much ammo is in a clip I found was to do with Die Hard I think. But then again, this probably has it's own page on TVtropes, so I'll just look for that next time.

Also, it seems like XKCD is an extension of said website now. :wink:
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby Superuser » Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:26 pm UTC

roflmaololetc!!!.. I really like this one!

I think the "definitely" with the repetition really captures the essence of Rain Man, lol.

Funny thing is that I just saw the first Dirty Harry recently. Clint Eastwood is really one bad mofo in that. And I know exactly which strip this panel is referring to. Dirty Harry is eating a hot dog, and first asks the cook to call in that a robbery is in progress.... but the other cops don't show up in time, so Dirty Harry, [ WHILE MUNCHING ON A HOT DOG ] saunters over to the bank and shoots up the robber, then as with a busted up fire hydrant in the background and hot dog in hand delivers his famous speech.

Good stuff (but where's the hot dog???)
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby phillipsjk » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:23 pm UTC

MSTK wrote:Utilizing capacitors allow bursts of energy that are theoretically infinitely higher-voltage than the actual battery's normal output (given a decent amount of time to charge, and enough juice left in the battery, and other limiting factors that prevent us from having a laser gun today).


Your explanation was mostly correct until you decided to say "infinitely." The term "Infinity" means to increase without bound: it is not a number and should not be used as such.

One flash module I took out of a camera had a Capacitor rated for 350V. In actual operation (using 2.4V battery) the voltage only goes up to about 180V. You also did not explain how such a voltage is generated using a "charge pump," but hand-waving is allowed when discussing futuristic weapons :)

Personally, I would have explained it using thermal limits: this laser that can vaporize targets has what? 99.99% efficiency? Therefore, a temperature rise of the target of say 1000(deg)C should roughly correspond with a temperature rise of the weapon of .1 degree (assuming same heat capacity). If the object destroyed is 100x larger than the weapon, the weapon temperature just rose 10 degrees.
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby rrwoods » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:46 pm UTC

Sean.H wrote:Rain Man (Casino Scene): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RW1qHA5Hqwc

Bah -- you know, I love that scene, I absolutely love it. But now that I actually play blackjack, the line "there's no one in the world that can count a six-deck shoe" really irks me now. I don't think that was any truer in '88 than it is now, either.
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby spork » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:50 pm UTC

Obligatory "get out of my head Randall" post - I started watching through the Dirty Harry movies for the first time Wednesday and after the first "are you feelin lucky, punk" found myself counting the shots.

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby Sprocket » Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:58 pm UTC

Yeah, if the movie is specifically ASKING you to look for that, you really can't help but notice.
In general however, if you're distracted with counting shots, either the movie is terribly boring, or you're terribly boring. If this is the third time you've seen the movie, then yeah maybe you count shots for fun, but you should be engaged enough that you're not distracted with such things, and if you're not, well you're watching the wrong movie.

That being said, this comic was terribly cute. 1+1...+2+1+1...

Maybe that's the official difference between a film and a movie. In a movie you have as many bullets as you need.
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby Analogbits » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:27 pm UTC

From Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magazine_%28firearms%29

"With the increased use of semi-automatic and automatic firearms, the detachable box magazine became increasingly common. Soon after the adoption of the M1911 pistol, the term "magazine" was settled on by the military and firearms experts, though the term "clip" is often used in its place (though only for detachable magazines, never fixed).[15][16][17] The defining difference between clips and magazines is the presence of a feed mechanism in a magazine, typically a spring loaded follower, which a clip lacks. Use of the term "clip" to refer to detachable magazines is a point of strong disagreement.[2][18][19][20]"

How about "shells" vs. "rounds? :)

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby QuineQuine » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:34 pm UTC

Energy weapons? Is there another kind?

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby Story » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:36 pm UTC

I haven't seen Rain Man or Dirty Harry, but I did see the new Sherlock Holmes movie last week, and this comic definitely reminded me of that.
Of course, Holmes would probably be able to also tell you where the gun was manufactured based on the sound of the gunshot.


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saksan wrote:Out of interest, does anyone know whether they're meant to be firing bullets or beams in Firefly? That always bothered me.


They fire metal slugs. See Vera in "Our Mrs. Reynolds", or any gunfight scene when you hear bullets hit metal. They just probably use a different propellant other than gun powder, which is how I account for the "pew pew pew" noise they make.
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby sableye22 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:19 pm UTC

Aww, now I miss Kim again. :(
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby phillipsjk » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:54 pm UTC

QuineQuine wrote:Energy weapons? Is there another kind?


Well, most weapon designs require energy to operate, poison gas probably being a notable exception.

Is "projectiless" a better term?
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby Lazar » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:59 pm UTC

phillipsjk wrote:Well, most weapon designs require energy to operate, poison gas probably being a notable exception.

Is "projectiless" a better term?

I believe the term is "directed energy weapon".
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby cellocgw » Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:15 pm UTC

I have never understood why beam weapons in Sci-Fi are firing "bursts" and not continuous beams that simply stay on target with a continuous line of destruction. There are a few exceptions where this concept gets used, but seriously, where when have you seen a laser in real life that needed to be in "burst" mode. It's just a stupid way to make future guns seem more like current tech. Easier to grasp, I guess.


You young whippersnapper -- in my day (really, no fooling), continuous beam lasers, other than HeNe were pretty rare. It took a lot of flashlamp energy to get a laser pulse out of ruby or Nd:YAG.
Even now, using Q-switch technologies produces much higher peak power in short pulses than any continuous laser.
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby rateguard » Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:06 am UTC

ohmygodohmygod i have seen BOTH of these movies, hahaha GOOMHR! lol

and the alt-text has inspired me to become a bullet-counting intellectual as well. i take pride in my disabilities because they reflect my intelligence and love of science :)

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby rpgamer » Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:13 am UTC

MSTK wrote:
neoliminal wrote:I have never understood why beam weapons in Sci-Fi are firing "bursts" and not continuous beams that simply stay on target with a continuous line of destruction. There are a few exceptions where this concept gets used, but seriously, where when have you seen a laser in real life that needed to be in "burst" mode. It's just a stupid way to make future guns seem more like current tech. Easier to grasp, I guess.

But how much more bad ass would a constant beam of destruction be?


The reason they wouldn't necessarily be able to fire in continuous beams is the same reason a typical camera flash can't stay on continuously.

Laser beams presumably consume much energy (enough so to burn flesh and cut through walls?). Do you remember disposable cameras, where you had to charge up the flash each time? And once you charged it, when you used, it, it made a big flash, and then the energy was gone?
Batteries in those types of cameras don't nearly have the potential difference (voltage) to cause that high intensity of a flash. What they use is a capacitor, which stores up voltage, builds it up slowly, and can unleash it all at once.
This is the reason a camera flash can be many, many times brighter than a flashlight, despite having a weaker battery supply.


I think the real question here is why energy weapons don't move at the speed of light. But surely that's been done to death.
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby kingomri » Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:47 am UTC

rrwoods wrote:
Sean.H wrote:Rain Man (Casino Scene): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RW1qHA5Hqwc

Bah -- you know, I love that scene, I absolutely love it. But now that I actually play blackjack, the line "there's no one in the world that can count a six-deck shoe" really irks me now. I don't think that was any truer in '88 than it is now, either.

That comment bugged me too since it's clearly not true, but I suppose nobody in the world can count a six-deck shoe the way Raymond can. Sure, it's not that hard to use a card counting system with six decks, but knowing exactly what cards are left? That's pretty ridiculous. But maybe I'm just making up justifications for the line :P

The thing that really bugged me is how quickly they won so much money, with a not terribly substantial bankroll... especially when one of the players can't even play basic strategy right and hits on 18.

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby MSTK » Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:23 am UTC

phillipsjk wrote:
MSTK wrote:Utilizing capacitors allow bursts of energy that are theoretically infinitely higher-voltage than the actual battery's normal output (given a decent amount of time to charge, and enough juice left in the battery, and other limiting factors that prevent us from having a laser gun today).


Your explanation was mostly correct until you decided to say "infinitely." The term "Infinity" means to increase without bound: it is not a number and should not be used as such.

One flash module I took out of a camera had a Capacitor rated for 350V. In actual operation (using 2.4V battery) the voltage only goes up to about 180V. You also did not explain how such a voltage is generated using a "charge pump," but hand-waving is allowed when discussing futuristic weapons :)

Personally, I would have explained it using thermal limits: this laser that can vaporize targets has what? 99.99% efficiency? Therefore, a temperature rise of the target of say 1000(deg)C should roughly correspond with a temperature rise of the weapon of .1 degree (assuming same heat capacity). If the object destroyed is 100x larger than the weapon, the weapon temperature just rose 10 degrees.


I didn't use it as a number; i used it to show that capacitance can be extended as far as its physical limitations and that there are no "theoretical" limitations behind it.

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby phillipsjk » Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:54 am UTC

"Arbitrarily" would have been a better term then.
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Sat Jan 23, 2010 10:38 am UTC

Or "Significantly."
neoliminal wrote:I have never understood why beam weapons in Sci-Fi are firing "bursts" and not continuous beams that simply stay on target with a continuous line of destruction. There are a few exceptions where this concept gets used, but seriously, where when have you seen a laser in real life that needed to be in "burst" mode. It's just a stupid way to make future guns seem more like current tech. Easier to grasp, I guess.

But how much more bad ass would a constant beam of destruction be?
Conserve power. Don't they actually tell you in the military to use short controlled bursts with a machine gun instead of a stream of death? Same deal. You're wasting energy frying the air when there's no badguy in front of you.


As for the comic, this guy made the classic mistake: confirming his enemy's assumption. Instead of acknowledging defeat and saying "...shit", a grin might have made the other guy reconsider his calculations. Then you kick him in the head.
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby Story » Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:40 pm UTC

kingomri wrote:
rrwoods wrote:
Sean.H wrote:Rain Man (Casino Scene): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RW1qHA5Hqwc

Bah -- you know, I love that scene, I absolutely love it. But now that I actually play blackjack, the line "there's no one in the world that can count a six-deck shoe" really irks me now. I don't think that was any truer in '88 than it is now, either.

That comment bugged me too since it's clearly not true, but I suppose nobody in the world can count a six-deck shoe the way Raymond can. Sure, it's not that hard to use a card counting system with six decks, but knowing exactly what cards are left? That's pretty ridiculous. But maybe I'm just making up justifications for the line :P

The thing that really bugged me is how quickly they won so much money, with a not terribly substantial bankroll... especially when one of the players can't even play basic strategy right and hits on 18.


Well if one of them was doubling his bet every time, it wouldn't have taken long. It wouldn't have taken long for them to be suspicious either.

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby JustDoug » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:07 pm UTC

Analogbits wrote:How about "shells" vs. "rounds? :)



I don't even need Wikipedia for this one: you're looking for cartridges, not shells or rounds. The bullet is the projectile. The case is what holds the primer and propellant. The unit is a cartridge. If the projectile contains explosive or illuminant, then it's a shell (edit: actually, if it's more than a single projectile or contains sub-projectiles, a la shotshells). A round is a single firing of the weapon(s) (plural if battery fire- and not the elecric one, smart guy). Clips hold bullets in a bunch to be easily loaded into a magazine.

Heck, I'm not even in the NRA, and I know this stuff. 'Course, I've forgotten almost all the calculus I ever learned, so I guess it's balanced out.

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby RogueCynic » Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:36 pm UTC

neoliminal wrote:I have never understood why beam weapons in Sci-Fi are firing "bursts" and not continuous beams that simply stay on target with a continuous line of destruction. There are a few exceptions where this concept gets used, but seriously, where when have you seen a laser in real life that needed to be in "burst" mode. It's just a stupid way to make future guns seem more like current tech. Easier to grasp, I guess.

But how much more bad ass would a constant beam of destruction be?


I believe its to keep id10ts from shooting up the place. Funny comic Randall.
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby TMBFY » Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:55 pm UTC

A constant beam of destruction would be much harder to control, would it not?
Also, the stealth of shooting a gun from a hidden location would be lost, since the "beam of destruction" would lead right back to wherever the shooter was concealed. XD

as for the comic...not that great. the alt text made it for me, because i found that much more amusing a concept. i almost wish they had illustrated that, and then made the current comic dialogue the alt text...
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby dudyk » Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:50 pm UTC

RogueCynic wrote:
neoliminal wrote:I have never understood why beam weapons in Sci-Fi are firing "bursts" and not continuous beams that simply stay on target with a continuous line of destruction. There are a few exceptions where this concept gets used, but seriously, where when have you seen a laser in real life that needed to be in "burst" mode. It's just a stupid way to make future guns seem more like current tech. Easier to grasp, I guess.

But how much more bad ass would a constant beam of destruction be?


I believe its to keep id10ts from shooting up the place. Funny comic Randall.

Keep in mind that most Sci-Fi is in space, a beam of destruction is much more likely to cause decompression of the ship\space-station...

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby adaviel » Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:08 pm UTC

neoliminal wrote:I have never understood why beam weapons in Sci-Fi are firing "bursts" and not continuous beams that simply stay on target with a continuous line of destruction. There are a few exceptions where this concept gets used, but seriously, where when have you seen a laser in real life that needed to be in "burst" mode. It's just a stupid way to make future guns seem more like current tech. Easier to grasp, I guess.

But how much more bad ass would a constant beam of destruction be?


Depends on your Sci-Fi. In "Ringworld" (no movie yet) Louis is defending himself against a crazed mob with a flashlight-laser (the Puppeteer ship Lying Bastard carried no weapons of course, but lots of things that could be easily used as weapons). He stays on target to kill a single assailant, or swipes it across multiple assailants to slow them down. Later in the series, the "meteor defense" (an artificial solar flare lasing in X-ray) tracks an invulnerable spacecraft for thousands of klicks firing continuously. Seriously bad-ass. The somewhat campy and more fantastic Lensman series (written before lasers were invented) used a supernova captured in a kind of giant electronic vacuum tube to generate a hugely more destructive "beam" of destruction.
And I think their hand-weapons (DeLameters) fired a continuous beam. Could be used as a welding torch.

The earliest laser I remember hearing about (in the '60s ?) was a ruby-rod one pumped by a xenon flash tube. So, single shot.
I have also posited a chemical laser powered by explosives, which get used up real quick. The optics probably get damaged, too, by the burst, so make the whole assembly disposable and put it in a machine pistol clip. Not sure what noise that would make; like firing blanks probably. The rapid expansion of vaporised material from the target would make some kind of noise.
An electrically-pumped pulse-mode laser might make some noise from the charging circuit (like a flashgun; I think what you hear is mechanical noise from the high-frequency transformers used to step up the battery voltage).

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby dabigkid » Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:55 pm UTC

It was pretty funny. xkcd is starting to get slightly better. Woo!

Really upset at how few people in this thread understood the references.
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby Faranya » Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:13 pm UTC

QuineQuine wrote:Energy weapons? Is there another kind?


Yes...the kind that use matter as ammunition instead.

Unless you want to use matter and energy interchangeably...
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oxymormon
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby oxymormon » Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:41 pm UTC

I'm a little concerned about the timeliness of this comic, seeing as how Kim Peek (the inspiration for rain man) died last month.

http://www.sltrib.com/ci_14043625

just sayin'

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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby dennisw » Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:29 am UTC

Faranya wrote:
QuineQuine wrote:Energy weapons? Is there another kind?


Yes...the kind that use matter as ammunition instead.

Unless you want to use matter and energy interchangeably...

Actually, I do, but, sadly, I can't. :cry:
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Re: "Dirty Harry" Discussion

Postby theta4 » Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:35 am UTC

Awwww, dennisw, don't cry :(

And does anybody else find it incredibly disconcerting that Rain Man, who is autistic, is being threatened? What kind of sicko would threaten to kill an autistic person?!

Also, energy weapons fire short bursts because they need to be charged, probably with something like a capacitor. The power source itself doesn't put out enough wattage, so joules are saved for a few seconds and then discharged in a very short burst of time, boosting the wattage to a destructive level.

For example, if a power source outputs 100 watts, we can conclude that after 1 second of charging, 100 joules will have been saved. Discharging all 100 joules into the weapon over a 20 nanosecond time frame results in 5 gigawatt power output. That's way more than 1.21 gigawatts. Lethality has occurred.

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