Silent Laser, Deadly Laser

I once got into a conversation regarding lasers as an assassin's weapon in a science fiction game world. I remember arguing then that lasers aren't silent weapons. The reason is that the ionization of air causes a loud crack (think an electrical arc or a lightning bolt).

I was reminded of this when an almost-argument took place on a message board I frequent. Here's the post:

Oh dear. It appears that I must dispel someone of the illusion that weapons-grade lasers are silent. Trust me, they're not. Once a laser hits the multi-kilojoule range they are in fact very loud. I used to work as a signmaker and one of the tools we used was an etching laser. If used on a human being it would have caused nasty burns, but would not be lethal in of itself. A friend of mine worked for the Dept. of Main Roads and used an industrial laser (which after it interpretted fire for 2 seconds at 20% power while traversing 9cm left as rotate 90 degrees left and fire at 100% power, they refuse to operate it under Windows) that even at the lower settings was quite loud.

You see, when a laser of that intensity burns a path through air (or anything else for that matter), it flash vaporises that path and ionizes it, creating a loud *CRACK* that can be heard for quite a distance. The lasers that most people are familiar with are millijoule range, from television remotes to laser target designators.

Here's a corroborating statement by someone else:

Yup. I once witnessed a CO2 laser punch a hole through a two-inch-thick block of seasoned oak. It was only a split second firing of the laser, resulting in a very neat hole drilled right through the oak, along with a very loud, very sharp BANG!. Not the same "bang" as the firing of a standard powder-propelled ballistic weapon, but very audible and very distinctive all the same.
Pinoy Power

While going through some webcomics this morning I chanced upon this particular Multiplex strip. I do like the humor in the strip over all, and while only a few might get the humor in this particular strip, I'm posting it because I like seeing Filipino visibility in U.S. media.
Mazingkaiser Toy Line Commercial?

I'm not sure what this is... but it sure is cool. Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, God Mazinger, Getta Robo, Grandizer, etc.