Nature has a job to do: provide for and nurture the fragile ecosystem of life. And she does a pretty dang good job at it, too. But still, fuck her. Mankind is pretty sure we're better than nature in every way, and for some reason we feel the need to prove it in increasingly extravagant, overcompensating ways.
Everybody knows there are some shady goings-on going on in the American Southwest: What with all the nuclear testing and the inter-dimensional warfare, New Mexico is essentially a haven for mad scientists trying to choke the universe into submission. And they've succeeded, with pretty much the most Metal-with-a-capital-"M" thing science has done since the invention of the guitar shredding robot (patent pending): Man-made lightning.
But it's not some far-fetched weapon of death from the sketchiest division of DARPA, this is very real, and it was called forth by a group of scientists from Europe, using a frickin' laser beam. Sure, triggering lightning isn't new. People have been doing it for decades using a copper filament attached to a rocket which, while awesome, is sadly never going to be used to strike down your enemies, because it's all about altitude. That method cannot cause ground-strikes. On the other hand, doing it with a laser requires nothing more than a cloud to shoot it at and either a reckless disregard for the unsinged flesh of your team, or a burning hatred of everybody in your immediate vicinity.
While this clearly seems to be the stuff of world domination schemes, the scientists say they're just studying the effects of lightning in a more realistic setting. And that's probably true -- with their results, airplanes and buildings could be better built to resist errant lightning strikes. After all, it's not like you could build some kind of lightning laser cannon that basically shoots Force lightning at people over long distances by making the electricity travel down a beam of plasma. Oh, wait, you totally can.