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DT Daily: Navy’s laser weapon, Uber vs. Portland(ia), TV buying guide

Today on DT Daily: the U.S. Navy’s new laser weapon is ready for action, Portland and Uber duke it out, and if you’re thinking about a new TV for the holidays, we can help.

Energy weapons such as phasers, ion cannons, and laser blasters are science fiction staples, but bringing those weapons into reality has been more fiction than science. Until now.

The U.S. Navy says their prototype laser weapons systems, known as “LaWS” in Navy speak, is a prototype no longer and is, in fact, ready for use. Mounted aboard the U.S.S. Ponce, the LaWS weapons system features an essentially invisible 30-kilowatt laser that so far has worked “flawlessly” and with “near-instantaneous lethality” against all targets in all weather conditions, according to the Navy’s head of energy weapons research.

As such, the captain of the U.S.S. Ponce, which is currently deployed in the Persian Gulf, has permission to use the weapon to protect his ship. It costs about one dollar to fire the laser and just one sailor with a video-game type controller runs the system. The LaWS system is just one aspect of the Navy’s very high-tech makeover, which includes stealth drones and new stealthy warships, which will be fitted with the laser system over the next five years.

The rise of citizen taxi service Uber has rubbed many city officials and traditional taxi services the wrong way, and right now, Uber has a fight on its hands here in our hometown of Portland. Despite being told to stay away, Uber launched anyway in Portland, and the city immediately responded with a lawsuit. Drivers caught Ubering here in stumptown face a fine of $2,200 and getting their car impounded, all of which Uber says they will take care of if need be.

We booked a ride on Uber and talked to our driver about why he is bucking city hall. He says he and other drivers are dealing with a city-sponsored “sting” operation to catch them. Really? If you use or drive for Uber, we’d like to hear your story as well, so leave a comment.

TV’s are always a hot holiday segment, and it’s hotter than ever this year. So what kind of TV should you get? LED? LCD? 4K UHD? OLED?

Don’t worry, just turn to our TV buyers guide. We’ve done all the legwork and picked the best models across a price range from a few hundred bucks to ten grand. We’ve also got video reviews, tech term explainers and more. There are some great deals out there, so before you plunk down your cash for that big new flatscreen, make sure you’re getting the most TV you can get for your money.

Your host today is Jillian Rabe. Miss a day? Watch all the episodes of DT Daily right here. And be sure to catch our latest podcast.