Being a tech journalist, I tend to get excited about new things like advanced communications gear, new forms of cloud computing and, of course, the latest and greatest gadgets. Though I suppose, if I am being honest, that all these things are fairly inconsequential when compared with earth-shattering discoveries like fire or world-changing inventions like the wheel. It almost seems like all the really good stuff has already been discovered or created.
But perhaps not this time. Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University have discovered a new form of light. And beyond just the coolness factor of discovering something that has remained hidden throughout all of human history, are the implications of how this discovery could be used. This is certainly something that the government will be highly interested in pursuing.
Light is a unique form of energy that allows us to do things at night, like writing this column at 1:45 in the morning because I am not stuck in a darkened room. But light is also maddingly useless as far as energy beams go. If you take a flashlight and shine the beam at your friend who tries to block it with another beam of light from his own flashlight … nothing happens. The light beams pass through one another without interacting in the slightest. Otherwise, they would be more like lightsabers from Star Wars and you probably couldn’t buy them at Wal-Mart.