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If we could only find a way as a society to save lives rather than destroy lives... the world would be a much nicer place.Thanks for the Wikipedia Link. Lots of "food for thought" including the disruption caused by things like air and clouds.Miniaturization would be difficult due to power consumption needs, and possibly requirements of a dynamic focal point. You would also have to have extremely fast cutting. A small pin-sized hole may not be lethal. If one felt a burn before lethal damage occurred, the withdraw reflex may be quick enough to save a person (or allow them to fire back). The Kinetic Energy from a gunshot may also have its advantages of disrupting a person's aim.A bullet that fragments on impact can also do massive destruction. There might be advantages of large land/sea based lasers weapons. But, I'm guessing fairly narrow applications, again because of the need to dynamically focus, cutting speed, & etc.Space?Do we want to weaponize space?Certainly advantages of less momentum effect, and high speeds over long distances. Could one build a space based solar powered anti-satellite laser system? DO WE WANT TO DO IT?Lack of kinetic energy transfer might limit the ability of using lasers to prevent an asteroid collision.
Perhaps science fiction is meeting reality faster than we realize.http://www.darkgovernment.com/news/police-seek-portable-pain-weapon/The hand-held beam weapons all appear to be non-lethal, and more designed to disorient and cause pain. And, the "blinding" thing seems to come up.There are apparently tests for vehicle mounted weapons that are designed as destructive weapons.http://spbcar.ru/news/en/article/19673/http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/01/12/army-building-ultra-high-power-laser-guns/Test situations and field deployment may be different though.Interesting notes about the Hague Convention which prohibits flattening (hollow point) bullets for military use. However, they apparently are widely used for civilian use (police), as well as by hunters. But, apparently weapons designers have designed the tumbling bullets to cause greater damage without the same expansion effect.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollow-point_bullet#Legalityhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminal_ballistics#Controlled_penetrationI just have to roll my eyes at the idea that the "expanding" and fragmenting bullets are considered too lethal for military purposes, but just fine to fire at civilians. And, the attempts to create other maximally disruptive bullets to circumvent these treaties. Also note, the St. Petersburg Declaration of 1868 only applies to wars between signatories.