I like gadgets. I like science fiction. I like anything with lasers. That’s just the kind of guy I am. I’m a dork and I’m proud of it. And nothing makes me prouder than when our military wields the latest, deadliest and coolest technology mankind can produce.

On other days, though, I usually just sigh when I see shit like that video up there.

“The US Navy has fired a laser gun from one of its ships for the first time.

Researchers used the high-energy laser (HEL) to disable a boat by setting fire to its engines off the coast of California. Similar systems had previously been tested on land, however moist sea air presented an extra challenge as it reduces a beam’s power.

The navy said that ship-borne lasers could eventually be used to protect vessels from small attack boats. The US military has been experimenting with laser weapons since the 1970s.” – BBC NEWS

It took decades of research and hundreds of millions of dollars to set the engines of a speedboat on fire. A process which, from what it looks like, took several minutes. It’s a good thing there was nobody on the boat driving it or, you know, weaving back and forth. Or holding a mirror. Or firing a rocket launcher. I guess that barring those types of circumstances this thing would come in pretty handy.

Granted, I’m no military expert. I’m not even an expert, period. But it strikes me nonetheless that this boat could have been immobilized in a matter of seconds with a well-aimed bullet. Which would have cost next to nothing compared to the money we probably poured into making a goddamn phaser for the Navy. And of course now that the Navy has a new toy, everyone is going to want one. The Marines will probably want H.I.S.S. tanks next. And the Air Force will want a Star Destroyer. The Army will want lightcycles. Hell, the Secret Service has wanted those special sunglasses from THEY LIVE for years.

But, that’s what makes this country great. We don’t feed the poor or help the needy. We don’t even really want to educate your kids or fix the bridges in your city. What we really want is a needlessly expensive and complicated way to stop a fucking speedboat. At least that money wasn’t spent on unemployment compensation or funding for public libraries. Now that would have just been classic government waste.


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