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Scientists Use A Laser To Try And Recreate The Beginning Of Life, Here’s How

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prague asterisk laser system

Prague asterisk laser system

While scientists are confident that the universe began in a big bang, they’re not sure how life actually came to Earth—likely, it arrived on a comet, asteroid, or a meteorite , perhaps even from Mars. One of the ways scientists deal with questions of the unknown is to try and simulate mysterious events or processes with computer simulations. But in this latest case, scientists used a laser to try and recreate what may have been the first life on Earth.

Given that scientists don’t have access to asteroids to hurl down into the primordial ooze, they had to try and replicate that force and energy. For this experiment scientists from the Czech Republic and from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado used a laser, which they directed at clay and a primordial chemical soup. What they ended up with seemed, at least to them, to be the origin of life on Earth.

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Scientists Claim They’ll Create Matter From Light Within A Year

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LaserIt’s theoretically possible to make solid matter out of pure light. I say theoretical because, though the idea was first posited more than 80 years ago, the feat has never actually been performed in a laboratory setting. That may change soon, however, as researchers now say that they plan to demonstrate a practical application of this theory within a year. Yes, that means that means exactly what you think it means.

Though the theory is sound, scientists have, up to now, been unable to produce viable results in a controlled environment. Physicists at London’s Imperial College recently published a paper making the claim that they have figured out how to make matter out of seemingly nothing, and it involves lasers, which makes it that much more futuristic and science fiction sounding.

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Lasers, Now With More Weather Control Capabilities

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lightningAfter a brutal winter in the Northeast, as well as in much of the rest of the country, I totally understand the urge to control the weather. I’m not talking about rain dances or offerings to the gods, I’m talking about lasers, which scientists think we may be able to use to induce lightning and rain.

This isn’t the first time we’ve tried to exert our control over nature to produce better weather. Scientists in Moscow “seed” clouds to prevent rain on days when big events are scheduled. China has done the same, especially during the Beijing Olympics. They’ve also done the opposite, bringing rain to drought-stricken areas. It’s also possible that wind turbines might help protect us from hurricanes. But directing a high-energy laser beam into the sky seems even more drastic than these other measures—even previous ones involving short laser pulses.

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U.S. Navy Has Drone-Busting Lasers And Robotic Firefighters

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LAWSAfter reading about the Australian triathlon competitor who got clocked in the head by a drone filming the race, I completely understand people who want to shoot the little beasts out of the sky. Incidentally, this is just one of the reasons I’m skeptical that Amazon’s delivery drones will ever come to fruition. A bb gun or a slingshot might do the trick in certain instances, but the United States Navy is thinking bigger, as in a massive laser.

The Navy has been working on its Laser Weapons System for a while now, and is ready to deploy a new prototype on the USS Ponce to test the system in the Persian Gulf. The Laser Weapons System (LaWS) has already undergone successful tests, hitting targets in the air and sending them to the ground in flaming heaps. Recently, the Navy has also experienced success with the LaWS’s tracking and targeting systems. Does anyone else think this is a potentially terrible idea? I still think that maybe cannons are the way to go, or a team of naval pirates.

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Turning Up The Heat, Literally — Lasers Make Flies Fall In Love

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FlyCourtship rituals are some of the most fascinating and downright bizarre acts of the natural world. This applies to humans as much as any other creature. Strange stuff makes us fall in love: a look from across a bar, the pitch of a laugh, pheromones. I’ve yet to see a person fall in love at the flip of a switch, but now I can say I’ve seen it happen to a fly.

I’ve written about optogenetics, the rapidly advancing field that studies controlling brain cells and behavior with light, a few times recently. Most optogenetics experiments have been conducted on mice, which scientists prime by adding genetic material to their brain cells and/or using fiber optic cables, which helps facilitate the experiment. But flies are a bit different — they’re too small for fiber optics, and their exoskeletons block most light. So neuroscientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute got creative. They decided to pursue thermogenetics — the activation of neurons via heat instead of light. Previous studies had been conducted on the TRPA1 protein, which, when added to a fly’s brain cells, can be activated by heat and change the fly’s behavior. But there’s a lag time of about five minutes between the delivery of heat and the noticeable effects, and scientists wanted a more immediate response.

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Homemade Laser Lightsaber Will Totally Ruin Some Electrical Tape

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Handheld lasers are pretty exciting things, but only when being handled by professionals, as I’m not inclined to patch holes on my couch and armchair all day long. I’m thinking the handler should be a Jedi, or at least someone who can lie convincingly about being a Jedi.

And if we’re being quite honest, lying about being one with the Force isn’t necessary if you’ve got something that resembles a working lightsaber, like YouTube’s DIY Laser Guy. His homemade, handheld device uses a 9mm 450 nm laser diode set into a light saber handle, outputting an impressive three watts of power. It won’t be chopping off anybody’s hands in the near future, but I’m guessing it still packs a healthy burn if you put it on your skin. There’s probably another way to get rid of that The Cape tattoo you gave yourself.