382: Trebuchet

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It was also fun when those teenagers tried to egg our house and it insta-cooked the eggs in mid-air.
Title text: It was also fun when those teenagers tried to egg our house and it insta-cooked the eggs in mid-air.


This is a straightforward comic playing on Megan's contradictory stance on Cueball's historical trebuchet project and her own auto-targeting kilowatt laser.

She explains her stance with the fact that her invention helps keep the squirrels off the feeder. The fact that it actually works is backed up by the sound of a squirrel squeaking as it gets zapped by the laser. But getting hold of such a laser and programming the auto-targeting so it only zaps squirrels and not the birds is a very complicated process - and there are probably many other ways to keep the squirrels off the feeder. So Megan is of course no better than Cueball here.

The title text refers to egging, throwing eggs at houses, other objects, or even people. While this is illegal it's still a famous form of protest; more often it's simple random vandalism or pranking, most common on Halloween in the US. Generally targets are chosen at random, with little specific malicious intent towards the victim, although it's not unusual for people to seek out and target the property of those who they dislike.

If we do, however, assume that Megan programmed the laser to only shoot squirrels, it's likely faulty (unless her intent all along was to fry eggs in midair). Or it could be that she has programmed the laser to shoot any object moving towards her house in the air.

Trebuchets are referred to in later comics: 1160: Drop Those Pounds and 1190: Time. They are also mentioned in the title text of 1378: Turbine.

Much later in 1846: Drone Problems Megan has created a device to shoot down drones, so this is her go to solution for annoying things...

To give some scale for Megan’s kilowatt laser: in Laser Pointer, Randall remarks that a 1-watt laser (so, 1000 times less powerful) is an extremely dangerous thing … capable of burning skin and setting things on fire, and implies that it should not be legal for consumer purchase in the US. The limits for a 'safe' laser (one that can be used without goggles, so laser pointers for example) is a 5mW laser (0.005W). A “kilowatt laser” – it’s unclear if this is exactly a 1kW laser or merely around that range – is a laser weapon: for instance, Lockheed Martin’s Area Defense Anti-Munitions system uses a 10kW laser, at most only ten times as powerful as Megan’s laser.


[Cueball is working on something on a table, and Megan is sitting at a computer.]
Cueball: The trebuchet is almost done!
Megan: Mm.
Cueball: The range should be over 150 meters.
[Megan leans back on her chair.]
Megan: Look,
Megan: I'm sure it's a cool project.
[Picture of a trebuchet, with some spare parts to its right.]
Megan: But eventually you'll need to outgrow these toys, and focus your energy on something practical.
Megan: This mad science is getting out of hand.
[The camera zooms out, and we see a cross-section of an exterior wall/window from ground to gutter and lower edge of the roof, showing that the characters are inside but the off-frame action is outside.]
Cueball: Says the girl who mounted an auto-targeting kilowatt laser on the roof.
Megan: That's practical! It keeps the squirrels off the feeder!
[From off-frame.]
Squirrel: Squeak!

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It should probably be noted that a 1 kW laser is ludicrously powerful, as in, enough to vaporise stone in a localised area for etching 04:31, 11 December 2015 (UTC)

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT Nafedalbi (talk) 19:04, 15 April 2022 (UTC)Nafedalbi