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Toys Hardware Technology

Set Free Your Inner Jedi (Or Pyro) 463

sirgoran writes "We've all thought about being the hero fighting off evil-doers and saving the day ever since we first saw Star Wars. The folks at Wicked Lasers have now brought that a little closer to reality with their latest release: a 1-Watt blue diode laser that can set skin and other things on fire. From an article at Daily Tech, where they talk about the dangers of such a powerful laser: 'And here's the best (or worst) part — it can set people (or things) on fire. Apparently the laser is so high-powered that shining it on fleshy parts will cause them to burst into flames. Of course it's equally capable of blinding people.' The thing that caught my eye was the price: $200. I wonder if they'll be able to meet the demand, since (if it works as advertised) this will be on every geek's Christmas list."
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Set Free Your Inner Jedi (Or Pyro)

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  • Re:2nd Amendment (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:22PM (#32568192)

    then don't sell it as a laser pointer

  • Instant Blindness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VidEdit ( 703021 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:23PM (#32568210)
    I'm not sure if people get how crazy dangerous even a low end class 4 laser is to people's eyesight. Even diffuse reflections can cause blindness. And blindness from a direct beam or specular reflection is virtually instant, literally before you can blink. This laser is not a toy. Not something you can casually show off safely to your friends. You can blind people, forever, accidentally, in an instant. Just keep it in mind.
  • by harrkev ( 623093 ) <kfmsd AT harrelsonfamily DOT org> on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:23PM (#32568216) Homepage

    I absolutely do NOT want one of those things. Call me old-fashioned, but I like stereoscopic vision. I would really rather have both of my eyes working just fine, thank you.

    The good thing about guns is that they do not constantly spew out a continuous stream of dangerous projectiles for minutes at a time. Even a full-auto machine gun will run out of bullets after a dozen seconds or so. A laser can emit dangerous projectiles for minutes as a time, and the projectiles can bounce off any reflective surface. This thing is very likely to blind somebody unless rigorous safety procedures are used.

    Anybody who buys one of these without the appropriate safety glasses is a complete idiot and deserves what they get. I just hope they do not blind anybody else in the process.

  • by LordZardoz ( 155141 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:24PM (#32568224)

    Even the most ardent advocates of gun ownership being available to any and everyone will probably agree that selling a gun to someone who has no idea how to use and store it safely is a bad idea.

    So other then what I imagine to be the joy of setting things on fire with a laser, what purpose can this thing serve? This kind of product should be sold with the same level of precaution as explosives and firearms.


  • Re:How soon... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:24PM (#32568228) Journal

    and then finds themselves with a nice attic fire.

    I think the part about being swarmed by VERY angry hornets who are on fire would rate pretty high on the suck-o-meter as well.

  • Re:powerful laser (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tthomas48 ( 180798 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:27PM (#32568262) Homepage

    An interior designer, Realtor or a politician is the correct tool for the job.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:27PM (#32568274) Homepage Journal

    After all the lawsuits. Remember lawn darts?

  • Re:powerful laser (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zediker ( 885207 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:27PM (#32568276)

    what kind of laser would I need to deal with this?

    You would need the Remington 870 Pump-Action

  • Interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Taibhsear ( 1286214 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:37PM (#32568426)

    What is the target purpose for this? Research experiments that could be done? What kind of safety goggles are used with this (material/wavelength tint/etc) and what kind of clothing/protective gear will NOT set on fire if accidental exposure should occur? Also, what kind of battery life are we looking at? (or is this a plug in stationary laser?)

  • by rotide ( 1015173 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:44PM (#32568524)
    Seems to me that being able to blind anyone you see from a long distance is quite different than holding a magnifying glass up to a stick or even wielding a knife.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:45PM (#32568548)

    There's a difference between stuff that can be dangerous if you very carefully try to make it dangerous and stuff that is dangerous unless you very carefully try to make it safe.

  • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:05PM (#32568876) Journal
    Yes, sell and regulate it as a fully automatic weapon.

    Don't they ban fully automatic rifles for civilian use in the USA?

    This laser product is fully automatic weapon in the sense that:
    1) It can continuously cause permanent blindness to people
    2) It can do it at a 200 metre effective range
    3) It does not need a reload after 9 or even 30 shots.

    If you empty a handgun wildly into a crowd, you'd probably hit less than 20 people (and current medical tech might restore a significant number of them near completely). In contrast this laser when used on a crowd can permanently blind far more than 20 people. There are many places where you can find a crowd of hundreds looking at one spot.

    The product in its current form does not appear to have a good utility to danger ratio.

    Yes the laser itself has use in projectors and other stuff, but what good purpose does this product in this form have?

    It's not very good as a defensive weapon: it doesn't really have very good stopping power - even if blinded, a gunman could still kill you (and he might have even higher motivation to do so). It has a very high chance of collateral damage.

    To me if you can justify the banning of fully automatic assault rifles for general civilian use, you should also ban this weapon.
  • Re:2nd Amendment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:12PM (#32568992) Homepage Journal

    Does the right to bear arms cover arms which are for more awesome than ever conceived of by the writers of the constitution?

    The 2nd amendment covers arms. If you use, or intend to use, this as a weapon, it's arms. So yes, it's covered.

    At the time, "arms" consisted of the following (and more, and were being developed into new forms every day): All manner of pistols, rifles, muskets, cannons, explosive and solid cannonballs, cannonballs filled with shards, frigates with multiple decks of cannon, wagons with explosives and multiple guns rigged to fire in unison, chain shot, flaming missiles soaked with pitch and other inflammable, easily spread and extremely hard to extinguish compounds, swords, knives, bayonets, fighting canes, brass knuckles, battering rams, catapults, siege towers, caltrops, mines, pits, biologically contaminated materials, glass bottles, garrotes, whips, chains, both fused and mechanically triggered explosives, striking weapons like sticks and poles and pikes and quarterstaffs and maces and war-hammers, spears, bows, axes, arrows and crossbows... I could go on for pages.

    Knowing this, and knowing that arms development and refinement went on all the time, what did they put in the constitution? They put "arms." No more, no less. So it's pretty darned clear they meant: "Tools you use to project violence."

    Not that the USG pays much attention to the actual meaning and intent of the constitution.

    As for "awesome", I don't think this is any more "awesome" than having a flaming arrow fired from a ballista 500 yards (or more) away arrive in your eye socket or your forearm. And that's been an available weapons technology for over 2,000 years.

    Firestorms have always wreaked huge havoc; bio-weapons have been known, and used, for centuries; incoming chain shot, pitch, and barbed weapons, and worse were the rule of the day, and death and maiming has always been death and maiming. Though we do have better medical technology now, so that at least alleviates the previous almost-guarantee of death by peritonitis, gangrene, and similar. Presuming you survive the injury at all.

    Weapons aren't nice. The sudden realization of the panic-stricken that they might be hurt by deployment of a weapon doesn't really change anything except one's state of mind. Before lasers, we could still burn your eyes out from a distance. Before nukes, we could still burn you (and tens of square miles around you) out at thousands of degrees, leaving all manner of chemical poisons lying around in the aftermath, and leaving people on the periphery with all manner of creative types of injuries. Google the Berlin and Tokyo firestorms for examples. Before anthrax, we could still infect you and yours with all kinds of things; see General Jeffery Amherst's letters ca. ~1763 for some bio-weapons history. Before airplanes, we could still deliver explosives and fire by air. And in the end, if your legs terminate at the mid-femur, the question of how it happened - sword, grenade, flying masonary, 50 cal. bullet, infection, weapons shrapnel, mine... that's kind of beside the point. It all sucks about the same.

  • by Thinboy00 ( 1190815 ) <> on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:16PM (#32569068) Journal

    RTFS. Existing lasers can already blind. This one is special because it can make things burst into flames.

  • Re:2nd Amendment (Score:3, Insightful)

    by atomic-penguin ( 100835 ) <(wolfe21) (at) (> on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:28PM (#32569266) Homepage Journal

    The moderator who modded -1 offtopic, must be new here.

  • Re:2nd Amendment (Score:3, Insightful)

    by clone53421 ( 1310749 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:59PM (#32569768) Journal

    I guess it will probably come as a huge shock to you, but people shooting those cameras with rifles, filling the camera’s body with insulating foam, or dropping gasoline-drenched tires over the cameras and lighting them on fire don’t normally attempt it from a moving vehicle either...

  • Re:2nd Amendment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cro Magnon ( 467622 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @04:07PM (#32569882) Homepage Journal

    Of course. All real Jedi build their own lightsabers.

  • by misexistentialist ( 1537887 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @04:28PM (#32570200)
    It would have been more succinct to say, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid."
  • by Kral_Blbec ( 1201285 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @05:16PM (#32571006)
    You forgot to mention that if someone uses it to assault someone then they have already broken the law by the assault. Classifying crimes by the weapon used is pointless. The only regulation of selling, owning and using weapons should be the laws against assault and murder which have always been on the books.
    Just like phishing scams and online fraud, if it is already illegal then there is no need to generate new a bazillion laws to specify this *new* type of crime. Close loop holes that might be present by the new technology, but there is no need to demonize modern crime methods anymore than the traditional form.
  • Re:2nd Amendment (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rary ( 566291 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @05:50PM (#32571494)

    Language does constantly evolve to the point where old expressions can take on new meanings. However, not every proposed evolution has value. Using "to beg the question" to mean "to raise the question" adds nothing to the language, and serves merely to muddle an existing phrase. Therefore, its incorporation into acceptable speech should be fought.

  • Re:2nd Amendment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @06:30PM (#32572048) Journal

    The grandparent's assertion requires the acceptance of the definition of "begging" as dodging or avoiding rather than the current universally accepted dictionary definition.

    "begging" in this context does not mean "dodging". "begging the question" means that you are being asked to accept a postulate for the sake of argument, and that postulate is equivalent to the question being debated. You are metaphorically being asked for something, which is the dictionary definition of begging.

    Anyone who says "eh, language evolves" when "begs the question" is misused should consider how they'd react when someone points to their monitor and says "computer" or points to their tower and says "CPU". If enough people use "computer" to mean "monitor", then that's what it really means right?

  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @06:31PM (#32572062) Homepage Journal

    Regardless of the intent, though, it IS a weapon at shorter ranges.

    So are nail guns, PVC tubing, Drano, elastics and snowmobiles.

    From what I can see, all you need to do is check the "this shit is dangerous" agreements and checkout with a credit card. That is unacceptable. Sales for this shit needs to be at least as restricted as for firearms or someone WILL get hurt.

    By that logic, a good part of what you can find in stores should be restricted.

    But, just like nail guns, PVC tubing, Drano, elastics and snowmobiles, personal lasers have legitimate uses, for which they are used. Teaching photography and hobby astronomy, for example (have you ever tried to point out Mars to someone using your finger?). Or building a fence. Or finding broken glass on the floor. It has lots of valid uses, just like a knife.

    Stop being such a knee-jerk reactionary. If someone uses something to hurt or harm others, prosecute them for that, and don't penalize based on the potential.

  • Re:2nd Amendment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @06:34PM (#32572098) Journal

    9 times out of 10 when the public uses the word "theory" they really mean "hypothesis". Should that stop scientists from using the word "theory" correctly? Should that stop us from educating people about the real definition of the word "theory"? Should scientists have to change their language every time the public warps it beyond recognition?

    Look at the damage the misunderstanding of the word "theory" has done in the context of the "theory of evolution". It's just a theory, right?

    Words mean whatever it's more useful for them to mean. "begs the question" is much more useful as a type of fallacy than as a synonym for "raises the question".

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @06:47PM (#32572274) Homepage

    Even looking at the dot this thing projects on a wall could damage your eyes. It might sound cool but I do NOT want one of these in my house. Ever.

  • by Sir_Lewk ( 967686 ) <> on Monday June 14, 2010 @08:34PM (#32573336)

    It "IS" a weapon at short range regardless of intent in the same way that my set of cooking knives "ARE" weapons at short range.

    In other words: Of course intent matters.

  • Re:2nd Amendment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @09:04PM (#32573532) Journal

    First your argument doesn't actually counter the actual substance of mine: That it's a fallacy to insist that a non-standard definition of a word can be used to claim that using that word in a sentence by it's standard definition is incorrect.

    I don't dispute your argument, it's irrelevant. When we use "begging the question" we mean begging in the actual standard dictionary definition sense.

    Second you have effectively just "begged the question" yourself by automatically assuming that your position is correct by the bare assertion that it is correct.

    I have etymology on my side.

    Third you've ignored my supporting point that it is just as much a fallacy to try and insist that anyone using the word "let" to mean permitting or allowing is incorrect as it is to insist that anyone using the word beg to mean... begging... in terms of desperately raising a question is similarly incorrect.

    I'm sorry, I have no idea what you are arguing here. I suspect it's related to the above irrelevant point.

  • Re:2nd Amendment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by achbed ( 97139 ) * <sd.achbed@org> on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @12:19AM (#32574696) Homepage Journal
    Ah Slashdot. Where a discussion of a portable laser being used as a weapon can devolve into a grammar and logical fallacy flamewar in 4 posts or less.

FORTRAN is the language of Powerful Computers. -- Steven Feiner