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software laser

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 messages 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