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Shark

Congress Wants To Resurrect Laser-Wielding 747 302

Harperdog writes "Noah Schactman has a great piece on the Airborne Laser, the ray gun-equipped 747 that became a symbol of wasteful Pentagon weaponeering. Despite sixteen years and billions of dollars in development, the jet could never reliably blast a missile in trials. Now the House Armed Services Committee's Strategic Forces wants the Airborne Laser to be used to defend us against the threat of North Korea's failed missiles."
Hardware Hacking

DIY Laser Pistol Shoot 1MW Blasts 284

An anonymous reader writes "It doesn't get cooler than this — a German hacker put together a 1MW laser pistol capable of shooting straight through a razor blade with a single pulse. Quoting: 'Fitted with a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser, it fires off a 1 MW blast of infrared light once the capacitors have fully charged. The duration of the laser pulse is somewhere near 100ns, so he was unable to catch it on camera, but its effects are easily visible in whatever medium he has fired upon.'" Update: 03/17 18:22 GMT by T : Too bad; turns out it's "only" 1KW, rather than 1MW. I still want one.
Power

Can World's Largest Laser Zap Earth's Energy Woes? 372

newviewmedia.com writes "Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory plan on using a laser the size of three football fields to set off a nuclear reaction so intense that it will make a star bloom on the surface of the Earth. If they're successful, the scientists hope to solve the global energy crisis by harnessing the energy generated by the mini-star."
Earth

China to Use Silver Iodide & Dry Ice to Control the Weather 387

eldavojohn writes "While we made light of it before, the MIT Review is taking a serious look at China's plans to prevent rain over their open 91,000 seat arena for The Olympics. From the article: 'China's national weather-engineering program is also the world's largest, with approximately 1,500 weather modification professionals directing 30 aircraft and their crews, as well as 37,000 part-time workers — mostly peasant farmers — who are on call to blast away at clouds with 7,113 anti-aircraft guns and 4,991 rocket launchers.' They plan on demonstrating their ability to control the weather to the rest of the world, and expanding on their abilities in the future."

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