We learned watching Ghostbusters that for busting ghosts, nothing beats a well-placed zap of protons from a backpack-turned-positron collider. Now, researchers at Harvard University are working on a technique that could let future firefighters do their job (sort of) the same way, using an electric beam—generated by a portable amplifier, which might even fit in a backpack—to put out the flames.
The researchers’ early-stage prototype consists of a 600-watt amplifier hooked up to a electric beam-shooting wand, according to their presentation at the American Chemical Society meeting earlier this week. In tests, they were able to quickly zap out flames over a foot high.
With most of our favorite shows on hiatus until the new year, science-fiction fans need to find some other way to get their fix. Fortunately, this year we have Hulu and it’s admittedly pretty slick streaming technology that means anyone with a reasonably fast Internet connection and web browser can watch video on demand without any fuss. Science Not Fiction looked through Hulu’s science fiction catalog and came up with their five best movies. We’ll be featuring one per day till the end of the week.
First up is Ghostbusters, which married high-tech gadgets with the supernatural. Rooted firmly in the science-fiction and horror tradition of H.P. Lovecraft but executed with deadpan humor, this movie was a real original that has held up surprisingly well.