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"...if you want to know what your future looks like, don't waste your time on Analog; read Time magazine. We are already saturated in the future. "
- Peter Watts

Sparkers  
  A device used to deliver small amounts of electric current to chirpsithra, who use it for the same reason humans use alcohol.  

What will you have? Everyone has their favorite drink, I suppose. Electrical stimulation of the appropriate brain area would probably be cheaper for humans, too, when they learn how to do it. As a matter of fact, I seem to recall that Niven and Pournelle have written about this very thing in other novels like Ringworld Engineers (see droud).

I have to keep facilities for a score of aliens. Liquors for humans; sparkers for chirps; flavored absolute alcohol for thtopar; spongecake soaked in a cyanide solution, and I keep a damn close watch on thatů
Technovelgy from Niven's Laws, by Larry Niven.
Published by Owlswick Press in 1984
Additional resources -

In this story, another in the Draco Tavern series, Niven provides a classic alien viewpoint story. Unfortunately, I can't say much more about it without spoiling the story. The quote comes from Assimilating Our Culture, That's What They're Doing! From the collection listed below.

The idea of aliens crowding around a bar is older than these stories, and even older than the famous scene from Star Wars. Here's an illustration of an alien bar scene from Asteroid Pirates by Royal W. Heckman, published in Astounding Science Fiction in 1938:


(Alien bar scene from Asteroid Pirates by Royal W. Heckman)

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Niven's Laws
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven
  Tech news articles related to Niven's Laws
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven

Sparkers-related news articles:
  - Mass Production Of In Vitro Meat From One Sample

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