In the original “Star Wars,” the Empire’s Death Star is a force to be reckoned with. Generating a death ray capable of vaporizing an entire planet, the space station seems indestructible—except, that is, for a troublesome thermal exhaust duct. It appears even Death Stars have some need for ventilation. The exhaust duct runs from something thermonuclear deep inside the superweapon, although we do not get to know what, exactly, it is exhausting. Perhaps excess ...

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