I'm wondering if the idiots who are doing this are using lasers like the ones sold at Lasershoppe.com. Wow: I just went to lasershoppe to read more about the $600 lasers the site sells (which can burn holes through plastic cups, and I learned that they are no longer selling lasers because they don't want to have anything to do with people who would use their lasers maliciously. They link to a CNN article that says six commercial jets have had their cockpits illuminated by laser beams in the last four days. (Photo by Phillip Torrone)
For the record, even a well-aimed laser would be highly unlikely to cause a crash. Hitting both pilots cleanly in the face, through a refractive wraparound windshield, would require a great deal of luck, and even a temporarily blinded crew would still have the means to avoid disaster. Do not equate the results of a laser strike with, for example, having to drive sightless through a busy intersection. Maintaining a jet's stability would be challenging under the circumstances, but not impossible.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.