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Billionaire Uses Laser to Thwart Paparazzi

The Times Online is reporting that the world's biggest and most expensive private yacht is now mounted with lasers. The ship's owner, billionaire Russian oligarchRoman Abramovich, installed the laser shield to protect his privacy from the paparazzi gnats circling his every move. While the imagery could conjure scenes from Star Wars or some other sci-fi movie, his anti-paparazzi defense won't sear holes through flesh and bone... at least, not yet.

Unlike the laser cannons now in use by the government, these infrared lasers simply block any digital camera lenses nearby. After detecting the electronic light sensors of the camera, the laser system fires off a focused beam of light at the camera that in turn disrupts the device's ability to record a digital image. If security guards patrolling on the boat discover a nearby snoop, they can activate the lasers manually and zap any suspicious camera.

Want to feel a twinge of envy (or annoyance, depending on your view)? This yacht is the forth in 42-yer-old Abramovich's fleet. Like some kind of Imperial Star Destroyer, the vessel is highly armored, prepared for piracy on the high seas according to the Times, consisting of a hull and windows capable of withstanding a missile attack. That's right, it can withstand a missile attack. Additionally, there's a mini-submarine stored in the belly, prepped and ready for emergencies. Currently it's parked in a German shipyard, however once it leaves, the yacht will head to France where it will be fitted with a missile defense system.

So we have to ask: why bother with the wimpy lasers when the boat will be equipped with missiles? Might as well just blow those nosy paparazzi out of the water and do the world some good. Then again, we wouldn't have anything to look at while standing in line at the grocery store.