So I've mainly been posting over at the HMS Beagle Science Blog, because it's all work-related and things, but this next bit of gloriousness is entirely mine.
First, you should probably know that I've been a fan of the original Star Trek ever since I was a kid. This was back in the 70s, before the disastrous fashion - not to mention script - choices of the early seasons of "The Next Generation". I made my own phaser Type I and Type II toys out of wood, and when I could coerce him into playing "landing party", my brother would always have to be a red shirt, or a Klingon, or the gaseous cloud creature from "Obsession", depending on my mood.
Never, oh never, did it get as close to cool as this, though: you can now, with a bit of ingenuity and by following some directions, build a working model of a Type II phaser. Personally, in my darkest hours, I've really, really wanted a couple of those classic phasers from the Think Geek catalogue for a while now, just haven't had the cash and the nerve to order them, and the communicator, and the tricorder (because damnit Jim, you need the set). After all, when one is edging as dangerously near to forty as I am, it's important not to look completely childish. So why two phasers? One to play with, clearly, and one to experiment on, of course. Very, very cool. Between that and trying to make my sonic screwdriver actually do something, that's probably more on the electronics projects front than I really have time for.
Don't believe me about how cool this is? Here's the video from the article on Gizmodo:
Sure, it only works against black mylar balloons. So far. You'll remember that other story from late last year, about the "phaser" that can stun worms, so perhaps we can see where this is going. For my part, I think I feel a Halloween costume taking shape... and it's not going to be from that wretched re-boot movie, either.