innoutAs we all know, Berkeley faces some weighty issues. One concerned person asks, “How come the scientists get all the lasers? I think we should all have access to lasers.”

How do we know this? We don’t just go around asking people about their stance on laser availability. One group of Berkeley students recently launched a website called CitySandbox, where people can voice their thoughts about their community.

The site combines a Google map of the Berkeley area with social networking. Users can click on a specific spot on the map and comment on whatever they so desire. Other users can then comment on the marker that is created and vote on whether or not they like it.

Ideally, this will be a platform where serious community issues can be addressed. The project is part of Berkeley’s Social App Lab, an undergraduate research group which deals with media that changes social participation.

The application has already dealt with some problems such as potholes and crime. We at the Clog are of course very concerned with the pressing matters raised. After all, why are there no closer In-N-Outs?

Image Source: Aaron Friedman under Creative Commons
New website promotes community building [Berkeleyside]
CitySandbox [site]

It's basically this ... only much, much smaller. Just kidding. That’s not even kind of true. What is true, though, is that instead of focusing their energy (heh, heh, heh) on making the world’s biggest laser, Berkeley researchers have recently turned their attention to the other end of the size spectrum.  And they have been successful in their endeavors–they just created “the world’s smallest semiconductor laser.

Now, as usual, we won’t pretend to have any real understanding of how this nano-thing works, but apparently it has solid implications for the fields of optical computing, optics-based telecommunication and nanolasers that manipulate DNA. This means that related technology will be likely become much faster and that scientists will finally be able to develop a tiny army of super-mutants to take over the world.

Image Source: Fenchurch! under Creative Commons
World’s smallest semiconductor laser heralds new era in optical science [NewsCenter]

Laser POWAH!What happens when you shoot off 192 of the world’s biggest, hottest … laser beams at one hydrogen fuel-packed, pea-sized target? A massive explosion

of energy that would make even stars glow with envy and shake large planets to their cores (literally). That’s what.

And that’s what’s going on in the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore Lab. The facility–which was officially dedicated on Friday at a ceremony attended by the likes of the Governator himself–houses the world’s largest laser. Scientists hope to mimic the nuclear fusion that powers stars and eventually harness the incredible energy reactions like that produce to replace other, dirtier, less efficient forms of energy. Mm, baby, clean energy. Is it just us, or did it just get hotter in here? Like, 100 million degrees hotter …

Oh, there’s just one tiny incidental detail we should probably mention: “Another of [the facility's] roles is to study the conditions associated with the inner workings of nuclear weapons.” Well, there’s the rub. Um, yeah, that’s kind of a buzz kill.

Image Source: Fenchurch! under Creative Commons
World’s largest laser opens [UC Newsroom download Loverboy

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