lasers

Scientists Create First Biological Laser from Human Cells

That's right, the age of the biological laser is upon us. But before you let your mind run wild with visions of crazy-awesome bioweapon arms and Cyclops laser blasts, we should probably break down exactly what all this is about. And if that prospect turns you off, just bear in mind that this involves a fusion of human and jellyfish bio material. It's a good day to be a mad science fan. As reported over at Nature News, a Harvard Medical School team pulled this off through the use of enhanced green fluorescent protein (GFP) from bioluminescent jellyfish. See, a laser requires what's called a gain medium (or lensing medium) to amplify light from an external source, in addition to an optical cavity of mirrors.

"TRON" Style Beam-propelled Solar Sailing

The original movie "TRON" featured a breathtaking scene in which a Solar Sailer zips across the virtual world of the Grid on a beam of concentrated energy. The new film, "TRON: Legacy" will provide moviegoers with an updated vision of the vehicle (skip to 2:09 in the trailer) when it opens this week. The coolest part, however, is that this might become humanity's actual means of traveling to other star systems.

Can you really laser proof anything?

Last week, Major Lazer and La Roux joined forces to release their "Lazerproof" mixtape, a mash-up of tracks from their respective 2009 debut albums. The title " is a take on La Roux's hit single, "Bullet Proof," and in addition to providing a sweet 50 minutes of electro, dub and hip-hop goodness, it also raises the question: "Hey, can something really be laser proofed?" The U.S. Air Force thinks so, which is why it put out a 2008 request for project proposals to protect future soldiers and weapons against the looming proliferation of laser weapons. The proposal called for the following:

Own Everything, Advertise Everywhere

Like a lot of you, I recently watched the season finale of AMC's "Mad Men," the absolute best television show in which nothing actually happens. I got to wondering what a modern day Don Draper might apply himself to (aside from, obviously, sleeping around, drinking and smoking). Perhaps he'd use cutting-edge science for the good of advertising? Consider these two real-life possibilities. Each takes high-tech science and uses it to shill a product.

Archaeologists Map Roman Catacombs with Lasers

Forget hand drawn maps and guided tours, our knowledge of the Roman catacombs is getting a major technological upgrade. A team of 10 Austrian and Italian archaeologists, architects and computer scientists just finished a three-year program to create a 3-D map of the Saint Domitilla catacomb system using laser scanners.