The little bit of propeller head in me thinks this is totally cool:
A team of physicists and engineers at the $3.5 billion National Ignition Facility said they fired an array of 192 laser beams, focused "in perfect unison," and created a single pulse of energy that for 23 billionths of a second generated a thousand times more power than the entire United States consumes in a single second.
Think about that -- 192 laser beams (wicked cool) and a pulse of energy lasting only 23 billionths of a second (they can actually measure something that lasts in the billionths of a second? Whoa.) It's like they made a miniature sun inside a big building in Livermore. Think of what that means. Think of the potential for clean energy. Think of the concept of reproducing what happens inside the sun without having to trigger an atomic bomb to do it. What a great use of taxpayer money.
Ah, but wait:
The ultimate goal of the multibillion-dollar laboratory experiments is to safely mimic in miniature the immensely powerful thermonuclear explosions of hydrogen bombs so that experts can validate their bomb-making computer codes and verify the safety and reliability of America's arsenal of nuclear weapons.