In the Playstation 2 rythm games Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero 2, Star Power is a feature that may be activated when certain circumstances are met, and it serves two major purposes: To maximize your high score, or to save your ass if you get too far into the red zone of the Rock Meter.

Every note you hit is worth a certain amount of points, with double-notes and triple-notes being worth more, and chords being worth so many points-per-second. Hitting enough notes without missing one will eventually build your score multiplyer up to 2x, 3x, and 4x. After you have hit so many notes that are what I call "Star Power earning," Star Power will be ready to activate. This can be done in two ways. If you are using the special guitar controller, you may tilt it straight up, or you may press and hold the Select button for a moment or two if you are playing with a normal controller, this method, by the way, uses the shoulder buttons and the "X" button and there is no strumming involved, only frantic button mashing.

In two player co-operative mode, both players must activate Star Power at the same time. If one player is slow on the uptake, the other must keep the select button held or the guitar pointed up until the other player does likewise, only then will Star Power activate.

As a side note, I prefer to play with the regular controller instead of the guitar. This may be from all the years of fighting games I played, which must have given my fingers quick enough reflexes to make it through a song like Buckethead's Jordan, although on Hard or Expert I find it impossible to complete without my Star Power. Because while Star Power is active, all points are multiplied by 2 in addition to the other multipliers. This means if you successfully keep hitting notes, your multiplier can get up to 8X! Star Power is the best way to maximize your high score. Also, every note you hit beefs up your rock meter more while Star Power is active, so while I'm missing most of that insane screen full of flashy, rainbow colored notes, I can activate my Star Power, and every note I actually manage to hit in that CERTAIN PART... contributes well enough to keeping me from failing the song.

All the life we ever see around us on Earth is powered by light from our local star, the Sun - either directly or indirectly. But where does the Sun get its power from?

Like all stars, our sun was born in a cold, cold cloud of gas and dust, of the sort that fills much of the space between stars. If some part of these clouds gets denser than its surroundings, usually because it's squished by a star exploding nearby, its gravitational attraction starts to pull in more and more matter, eventually forming a big ball.

All the stuff falling in to the centre squashes it together and causes it to heat up, delivering energy in the same way that anything does when it falls from a great height. If it all gets squashed enough and hot enough, hydrogen atoms start to fuse together. That releases even more energy, again for almost the same reason things release energy when you push them over a cliff - atomic nuclei are strongly attracted to each other once they get close enough, even though there are other forces working to keep them apart until they get there. Once they do get the chance to come together, the energy of their intense attraction is released as they unite.

When the hydrogen in the young star starts fusing into helium, the added heat and pressure make it easier for more hydrogen to fuse, and the process sustains itself until the hydrogen is used up. If the star is big enough, it can also fuse heavier elements together for even more energy, and keep on going a lot longer.

So almost all the energy we use here on Earth - all of our food, and most of our electricity - comes from what was left over when a vast gas cloud collapsed in on itself, and the energy that collapse then extracted from pairs of atoms collapsing into each other.

This writeup was read by Jet-Poop for the E2 Podcast Season 6, Episode 2.

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