Everyone knows at least one guy with one of those fancy laser-pointers – and they always seem to be the kind of guy who won’t shut up about the things, too. Next time your acquaintance offers to light your cigar for you, remind him that the National Ignition Facility will have the most powerful laser in the world, which will focus 500 trillion Watts of power in 20 nanosecond bursts onto materials that the lab boys want to blow up. That’s the equivalent of 1,000 times the electrical output of the entire US in each burst…and it doesn’t take standard batteries, either.