YouTube user magx1 builds a lot of home-made gas lasers, running electric current through sealed tubes filled with various gases. When you do that, you get the gas atoms all riled up and their electrons absorb energy. Eventually, that energy gets released in the form of directional, highly focused light—a laser. There's a bit more to it than that, but you've got the idea.
One type of laser magx1 builds is called a carbon dioxide laser, though it actually contains a mixture of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen and helium. In this video, the carbon dioxide in the mix is coming from his own breath.
By exhaling into my 'supply' balloon, I was able to get pretty good results considering! Unlike a 'proper' laser mix of CO2, N2, and He; the 'breath' trick appears to have a much narrower pressure range over which lasing will occur. But I like it anyway - it doesn't get much more DIY than this!
Nick Sousanis, who delivered his doctoral dissertation in comic book form, has a new comic in the current Nature magazine, explaining the last 25 years’ worth of climate talks, as a primer in advance of the Paris climate talks next week.
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