Fortune


:software laser: /n./  An optical laser works by bouncing
   photons back and forth between two mirrors, one totally reflective
   and one partially reflective.  If the lasing material (usually a
   crystal) has the right properties, photons scattering off the atoms
   in the crystal will excite cascades of more photons, all in
   lockstep.  Eventually the beam will escape through the
   partially-reflective mirror.  One kind of {sorcerer's apprentice
   mode} involving {bounce message}s can produce closely analogous
   results, with a {cascade} of messages escaping to flood nearby
   systems.  By mid-1993 there had been at least two publicized
   incidents of this kind.

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