Inventing the Death Ray

We're pretty obsessed with the idea of a death ray. After all, we constantly see these weapons of mass annihilation in movies, read about them in books, and run from them in nightmares. But why haven't we invented one yet?

The folks at The Awl have taken the time to explore this dangerous obsession of ours and wrote up a rather detailed history of mankind's quest to invent a DEATH RAY OF DOOM—complete with much emphasis on the fact that we're probably unable to responsibly wield such weaponry:

Developing electromagnetic weaponry is expensive and requires innovative thinking- "duh!" says every scientist and inventor who has tried to develop it. But listen, you smug scientist/inventors, our new millennium has borne witness to a surge of fresh ideas about how to finally pull the death ray from the world of dreams and imagination into reality. It's looking increasingly likely that the death ray's 2,200-year-old journey may be coming to an end, and perhaps we can even make good on Tesla's vision for using it to save lives instead of vaporizing them. Knowing our species-probably not! But sometimes humanity does okay and it's not impossible this will be one of those times. And if we discover the hard way that someone has at last invented a death ray, at least we'll find out at the speed of light.

I highly recommend heading over to The Awl and reading the full story of humanity's struggle to invent a weapon we're not entirely ready for. It's a long piece, but full of lines that'll make you chuckle before crying yourself to sleep. [The Awl via Boing Boing]