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What Would You Do With the World's Most Powerful Laser?

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the popcorn-house dept.

Shark 143

sciencehabit writes "This week, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California announced an important milestone on the road to achieving ignition, which could lead to producing controlled fusion reactions here on Earth. But NIF isn't just about harnessing the energy of the stars—it's about learning how stars produce their energy in the first place. In fact, pushing matter to extreme pressures and temperatures lets scientists explore all sorts of unanswered questions. At the annual meeting of AAAS in Chicago four physicists sat down with Science Magazine to discuss NIF's basic science potential and what experiments they would do if they had the laser all to themselves."

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Easy... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261081)

Point it at NSA headquarters. ...

Then FAA headquarters, just for grins.

Re:Easy... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261149)

And then Slashdot Beta right afterwards right?

I would.. (5, Funny)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 7 months ago | (#46261085)

>What Would You Do With the World's Most Powerful Laser?

I would attach it to the world's biggest shark. Obvious really.

Re:I would.. (2)

Mashiki (184564) | about 7 months ago | (#46261117)

Of course you would. Next up would be mutant sea bass, ill tempered...mutant sea bass.

Re:I would.. (0)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about 7 months ago | (#46261171)

Except you would need the world's largest battery pack also and the shark would simply sink to the bottom of the ocean. Or attach a large electrical cable making the shark's ability to swim restricted.

Not to mention that the super heated water being turn to steam next to its head would make for instant shark soup.

Also the shark's complete inability to aim said device or do anything other than freak out and try to remove it.

And I am just getting started, I have not even began to address all the practical limitations.... .... ...erm...I meant...sharks with lasers....cool....

Re:I would.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261241)

"Whoooooooosh..."

Re:I would.. (2)

WarJolt (990309) | about 7 months ago | (#46261253)

Such a buzz kill, man. When I invent a shrink ray to shrink the laser, guess whos going to be the laser shark's first victim. Muhahahaha

Re:I would.. (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 7 months ago | (#46261799)

A shrink ray should be easy once someone finds an exploitable defect in the software that is the universe. [slashdot.org]

Re:I would.. (1)

BlueToast (1224550) | about 7 months ago | (#46261345)

point it at the moon

Re:I would.. (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 7 months ago | (#46261769)

... and then carve a face in it.

Re:I would.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261369)

Oh well, I was just thinking I would start my own series "Would it melt?". I guess I'm not as evil as I could.

Re:I would.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261547)

I'd watch it.

Re:I would.. (2)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about 7 months ago | (#46262761)

I would use it to heat three year old edible pizza!

Re: I would.. (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 7 months ago | (#46261395)

But whale sharks aren't very menacing unless you are a krill.

Re: I would.. (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 7 months ago | (#46261839)

Have you ever met a whale shark with a 5TW laser on its head?

Re:I would.. (1)

approachingZero (1365381) | about 7 months ago | (#46261533)

Beat me to it . . .

Obligatory XKCD (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261701)

Don't forget the giant helium balloon... http://xkcd.com/585/

Re:I would.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261705)

two more steps: a device to create supertornados, and genetically engineer megalodons: ultralasermegasharksupernado.

Re:I would.. (1)

dargaud (518470) | about 7 months ago | (#46262007)

Megalodon [google.com] . 'nuf said.

Re:I would.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46262737)

We're going to need a bigger shark.
Quick, someone dig up some DNA and bring back Megalodon [ibtimes.com] !

Story is obvious shark bait (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46262751)

...May as well have been titled "Please insert shark with laserbeam joke here".

Re:I would.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46262989)

ID4 movie comes to mind. If the laser still works after that, I'll try the "Real Genius" pop corn recipe.

I would... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261105)

I would try to put it on the largest shark in world...
No?

Mount it on a shark ... (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 7 months ago | (#46261107)

obviously.

Shark! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261119)

Attach it to a shark, of course !

Clearly. (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 7 months ago | (#46261127)

Probably prepare for unforseen consequences.

Re:Clearly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261337)

It's the worlds most power laser, not the world's most powerful anti-mass spectrometer.

Re:Clearly. (1)

irbeginner (3412409) | about 7 months ago | (#46261559)

Rise and shine Mr. Freeman. Wake up and smell the trolling

Re:Clearly. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 7 months ago | (#46261609)

Rise and shine Mr. Freeman. Wake up and smell the trolling

I'm trying to provide an incentive for Slashdot to add a "+0, somebody had to do it" mod.

Plus, half-life jokes lose humor quite rapidly at first; but people dislike solving differential equations, so they usually just wave their hands and admit that they remain at least slightly funny more or less forever!

Popcorn (4, Funny)

Radak (126696) | about 7 months ago | (#46261137)

I'd make popcorn in Professor Hathaway's house, of course.

Re: Popcorn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261165)

...making giant Swiss cheese.

Re:Popcorn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261187)

I'd make popcorn in Professor Hathaway's house, of course.

Awesome, nice 1980's reference there!

Re:Popcorn (1)

Papaspud (2562773) | about 7 months ago | (#46261247)

There was some pretty Weird science back then..........

Re:Popcorn (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 7 months ago | (#46261867)

There was some pretty Weird science back then..........

Awesome, nice 1985 reference there!

Re:Popcorn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261215)

Damn, you beat me to it. +1

Re:Popcorn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261229)

Damn, you beat me to it.

Re:Popcorn (1)

ItsJustAPseudonym (1259172) | about 7 months ago | (#46263097)

Popcorn? He hates popcorn.

Mount it on an airplane (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261139)

Let those assholes on the ground get a taste of their own medicine.

Guess the cartoon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261145)

I would commit the ultimate case of vandalism! I will write my name on the face of the moon! MWUAHAHAHAH!

Re:Guess the cartoon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261217)

I would commit the ultimate case of vandalism! I will write my name on the face of the moon! MWUAHAHAHAH!

Obligatory vintage SF reference... [scifik.cz]

Re:Guess the cartoon! (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 7 months ago | (#46261255)

Spoooooonnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!

(My daughter loves that show!)

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261151)

...would welcome myself as the new overlord.

Excellent tool for high density+temperature plasma (1)

mtpaley (2652983) | about 7 months ago | (#46261153)

IMHO the NIF is a excellent tool in researching the properties of ultra dense materials be they fusable or not and is up there with CERN as a high energy physics lab and it covers bulk phenomena that CERN can never touch. I expect papers on Rayleigh–Taylor instability, neutron absorption cross sections and tests on the theoretical reaction probabilities/speeds of H,D fusion. But (and you all knew I was about to say that) this is a research tool on the subjects I just mentioned and many others not a step towards a fusion power source. This is a excellent research tool and I fully support it - just don't think of it as a proto-proto-proto type fusion power plant.

Re:Excellent tool for high density+temperature pla (1)

WarJolt (990309) | about 7 months ago | (#46261299)

I think you missed a proto-

Mwahahaha (1)

MindPrison (864299) | about 7 months ago | (#46261173)

"What Would You Do With the World's Most Powerful Laser?"

Toast my 80yo suburban neighbors barbecue for complaining about a few branches & leafs in my yard.

Either that, or prove that time traveling is actually possible.

Enormous swiss cheese, or assassination (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261177)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoT-h0S1gkE

Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261179)

Shine it at airplanes

tease the neighborhood cats (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 7 months ago | (#46261199)

I must can has quicky thingy.

Simple.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#46261209)

Put it on an orbital weapons platform, then hold the moon for ransom of ......1 Million Dollars....

Nevermind it cost 22.4 Billion to get the platform launched..

Re:Simple.... (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 7 months ago | (#46262527)

Dude, you forgot to put your pinky to your mouth!!!!

Stroking my cat... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261213)

I expect you to die, Mr. Bond.

Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261333)

Nice one!

I would... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261251)

I would use it to obliterate the abomination that is Slashdot Beta... but then, who wouldn't?

I would take it to Black Mesa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261257)

and hire a janitor named Gordon to keep the test chamber maintained.

Crazy Eddie (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 7 months ago | (#46261265)

Launch a light sail to the stars

I'm surprised the NIF still exists, since (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 7 months ago | (#46261271)

didn't the Congress vote to cut it'd funding?

Re:I'm surprised the NIF still exists, since (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 7 months ago | (#46261357)

It wasn't cut, because it didn't have the word "Super" in the name. The "Superconducting Super Collider" got cut, because Congress saw the name "Super" in it, and obviously thought that it must be too expensive. US Scientists are very careful now about avoiding the use of the word "Super" in their projects now.

If it had been called, the "Super National Super Ignition Super Facility" . . . it would have been cut.

Mount it on a dune buggy (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 7 months ago | (#46261285)

Invade a desert nation with a bunch of my weaponizedmotorcycle-riding buddies and blow up some tanks.

Power (2)

StripedCow (776465) | about 7 months ago | (#46261289)

1. Build large nuclear power plant on the moon.
2. Use strongest laser to beam power to earth.

Alternatively,

1. Build large solar plant
2. Bring it into space
3. Send it towards the Sun
4. Use strongest laser to beam power to earth.

(Warning: please think this over first; this was just me brainstorming.)

Re:Power (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 7 months ago | (#46261885)

You've never built a Microwave Power Station in SimCity have you?

What would you do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261301)

I would burn a gigantic smiley face into the moon. Why haven't we done that already?

Perfect target for this... (5, Funny)

rts008 (812749) | about 7 months ago | (#46261307)

I would fire it at /.Beta.

I would NOT (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261321)

look into it with my remaining eye.

What would I do...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261323)

Cook the world's biggest hotdog?

Mount it on the world's biggest shark?

"Frikkin' Giant Lasers!!!"

Thank your government research dollars for this (1)

fascismforthepeople (2805977) | about 7 months ago | (#46261343)

Would the uninhibited free market that some people champion have been able to create this? Maybe it could have, but we haven't seen it happen yet. This was the collaboration of a lot of people, building on a lot of publicly funded work.

What everyone else does with a laser of course.. (1)

formfeed (703859) | about 7 months ago | (#46261353)

- cut out some plywood enclosure for your raspi or arduino.
- try to etch some copper off a pcb while looking at the reflection.
- mount it on a quad copter and shoot around in the neighborhood, then post it on youtube.
- try building a projector and accidentally burn down city hall.

The Practical Option (1)

KermodeBear (738243) | about 7 months ago | (#46261355)

Sell it. I don't need the world's biggest laser. I'd much rather have the money.

Re:The Practical Option (1)

ThaumaTechnician (2701261) | about 7 months ago | (#46262021)

No, no, no: Step One: use it to rob the rest of world Step Two: give half of it back Step three: destroy it. /whoever buys it off of you can get the money back...

aim it at 385323N 770032W (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261371)

aim it at 385323N 770032W

Re:aim it at 385323N 770032W (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 7 months ago | (#46261917)

Who lives on the corner of May Day St and Glendale Place in Washing DC?

What would you do with your laser superpower? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261381)

Would you use it for good or for awesome?

We all know the answer... (2)

r1348 (2567295) | about 7 months ago | (#46261479)

Dicks on the moon.

The Moon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261669)

id burn a hole in the moon, ofcourse! or rather, melt me a nice puddle of moon dust...

total bs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261695)

"But NIF isn't just about harnessing the energy of the stars—it's about learning how stars produce their energy in the first place"

Nonsense, it's about nuclear weapons design and stockpile stewardship. dress it up as a science project all you like..

As J. R. O. said.. "technically sweet"

Re:total bs (1)

gargleblast (683147) | about 7 months ago | (#46262743)

This. The NIF is basically a weapons lab, but with an astoundingly good PR wing. They tout themselves as contenders in some "race" against ITER. Their machine was used as a set-prop in Star Trek. And they regularly generate "major milestone" headlines, for accomplishments that are relatively minor, and way overdue. All for a lab that, in essence, tests thermonuclear weapons.

Re:total bs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46263083)

Regardless of how much NIF tries to hide it is mainly funded for weapons code testing (not that much if you actually talk to the people who work there or look at any of the stuff they write or say at outreach events), most large projects have additional side goals. Even projects a thousand times cheaper than NIF have a person trying to use the same setup to test things like astrophysical models or basic science. You can look a proposal or progress report for something like a tokamak, see ten pages of talk about confinement and fusion physics, and then there will be another page of astrophysics tests, etc.

Burn the worlds biggest ants (1)

Bizzeh (851225) | about 7 months ago | (#46261759)

Burn the worlds biggest ants... what else?

Space invaders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46261901)

Stick it on a X-Axis moving platform and shoot at space invaders.

First "pew! pew! pew!" post (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about 7 months ago | (#46261991)

Unless someone spelled "pew" differently.

Launch a spaceship! (1)

farrellj (563) | about 7 months ago | (#46262051)

Launch a spaceship, of course!

Burn (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 7 months ago | (#46262157)

Probably replace my policy of ripping a new asshole where needed to burning a new asshole where needed.

Ask Darth Vader (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46262321)

Bye Bye Alderan

Attach it to (1)

ezzthetic (976321) | about 7 months ago | (#46262383)

the world's most powerful shark.

Rocket Launch assist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46262471)

Build an array of large powerful vertically oriented lasers around your space rocket launch platform, And use them to thermally evacuate the atmosphere in the vicinity of the launch trajectory, might be a nice ground based way to reduce the necessary launch fuel mass, by reducing drag. Problem is, that benefit may be outweighed by additional heat and laser shielding on the rocket.

That Q&A (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46262621)

"R.R.: I would would dope the fuel with heavy elements and see what happens." Love the guys spirit, that's an experimental scientist right there, after all the things designed to survive a serious fusion reaction.

Destroy Beta of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46262627)

Why bother even asking?

I know what I'd do (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 7 months ago | (#46262631)

I'd figure out a way to use it to stop all the ridiculous Hugh Pickens DOT com reposts on Slashdot.

Not really a fan of NIF (1)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about 7 months ago | (#46262647)

I can't say that I'm really a fan of the National Ignition Facility. The PR side of it is "a grand search into fusion power research", but the reality seems to be nuclear weapons research. Coupled with the fact that the project has had massive mismanagement and cost overruns from an original ~$1 Billion estimate to costing over $4.2 Billion. Advanced research is never predictable to be sure, and some cost overrun/failure is to be expected but a four fold increase in costs AND no ignition? Sounds like we're not getting much bang for our research bucks.

That jerk (1)

fizzer06 (1500649) | about 7 months ago | (#46262747)

I would then have a way to deal with that jerk hogging the passing lane and blocking traffic.

Flight path (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46262907)

I can't believe nobody has said "point it at planes" yet - sharks indeed. You're all living in fantasy worlds. Out in the real world it's all planes.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/03/26/1439205/man-who-pointed-laser-at-aircraft-gets-30-month-sentence

I would... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46263027)

...use it to amuse myself watching tigers and lions chase the dot around - from a distance.

Shoot Down Space Junk (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 7 months ago | (#46263101)

Could it be put in high orbit, and used to shoot down all the small bits of space junk that is being tracked. Something has to be done eventually to clean up that mess, why not use some of that star wars technology to do that? Would this laser have enough light pressure to push the smaller pieces into a decaying orbit?

Towards the Moon (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 7 months ago | (#46263185)

Point at the Moon during a summer solar eclipse to get the Sun light back.

Get laid (2)

sandbagger (654585) | about 7 months ago | (#46263211)

Now this would impress chicks!

What else? (1)

gargleblast (683147) | about 7 months ago | (#46263311)

1. Tell the Pentagon it's for weapons research.
2. Tell everyone else it's for green energy.
3. Profit.

Incomming transmission on subspace channel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46263415)

Send a message to the highest probable planetary system to sustain life.

Conduct the ultimate experiment... (1)

vanye (7120) | about 7 months ago | (#46263425)

Can you pop enough corn to demolish a house?

richard.

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