April 24 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 24, 2008

{ 9 comments }

1 Todd Rogers 04.24.08 at 6:49 am

The wife and I were re-ended back in 2002. The following day I received a FedEx package at home with the “If you or a loved one has recently been in a car accident, call this number…” verbiage. What was interesting was the lawyer’s business card. It was a credit card. It had his name and address on it, a black strip on the back, and read something such as: “your accident might be like a credit card with no limit.” I don’t recall exactly but it was something of the such.

2 Jim Collins 04.24.08 at 8:51 am

If the disposible camera had a flash, then I’m inclined to side with the school on this one. When you power the flash on one of these cameras you can sometimes hear a small whine as the capacitor charges up. The discahrge from this capacitor is right up there with a stun gun or Taser. I think a little more information is needed before we go condemning the school officials on this one.

3 John Burgess 04.24.08 at 11:24 am

I remember as a kid, we used to relish the discovery of discarded TVs and radios. We’d rifle the chassis for the capacitors. The capacitor, once hooked up to a C cell battery, provided great amusement on the playground. You’d rev that thing up, apply the bare wires to a piece of bare flesh, and watch the resultant fun and games.

Oddly enough, nobody died, though some did face the rath of Sister Mary X.

Might not the shock resulting from a rewired disposable camera be likened more to a cattle prod’s product? That used to be a feature (not a bug!) at Coney Island’s Steeplechase ride…

But that was the distant past, a time when mercury was a plaything, when cars had no seatbelts, when pregnant women smoke and drank.

4 Deoxy 04.24.08 at 12:01 pm

“The discahrge from this capacitor is right up there with a stun gun or Taser.”

I assure you, it is not. The amount of power put out by a disposable camera flash is simply nowhere near that. In fact, it’s going to be less than what you get from a standard wall-socket, as you can run several lights with that level of power output from a wall socket, and those aren’t dangerous.

5 Jim Collins 04.24.08 at 12:47 pm

Deoxy,
How about you build one, try it on yourself and let us know the results. I’ll even include a link to the instructions.

http://www.ehow.com/how_2049857_taser-from-disposable-camera.html

6 gitarcarver 04.24.08 at 6:41 pm

Well, you are both right and both wrong.

Standard “tasers” that the police use put out somewhere between 10,000 – 50,000 volts at .1 amps. This is less than you would get from sticking your finger in a socket.

The camera “taser” puts out about 330volts a 0.04 amps.

It is the amps that can kill you.

The camera taser will produce a nasty shock and even leave a burn mark. It has enough power to pit metals.

But I think the point of this article is do we really want a class D felony on the record of some kid that is trying to get into college? Do we really want a youthful indescretion of simply “threatening” (according to the police) another kid with this toy to follow him the rest of his life?

That’s not good policy. That is not good use of the educational system. That is not good anything.

There are much better alternatives than arresting this kid and putting him in the legal system.

I know that some will disagree with that, and if you do, all I ask is that you “please don’t tase me, bro.”

7 Christophr Eckel 04.24.08 at 8:28 pm

I agree with Kevin MD.

The cost escalation of healthcare will never be solved without dramatic reform of tort law or its replacement with more predictable contract law. It is very unpleasant, personally taxing, consumes vacation and freetime without any compensation, even when successful, and destructive of one’s peace of mind to be sued. It is a no win situation for doctors. No one else in society is so personally, routinely,repeatedly and individually exposed for every-day bad outcomes in which no mistake is made. If we make medical care a lottery for the plaintiff lawyers and Russian Roulette for the doctors, don’t expect costs to go down. Expect testing and retesting costs to go up. Don’t expect care to get any better. Don’t expect anyone to with enough experience to be able to avoid ER duty to see you if you REALLY need emergency care. ungrateful patient sues me.

8 Deoxy 04.25.08 at 10:53 am

Taser = 10K-50K * .1 = 1000 – 5000 joules

US Wall socket = 110 * 20 (max) = 2200 joules (usually a lot less)

Camera “taser” = 330 * .04 = 13.2 joules

Yeah, that’s some kind of weapon, there. As I said, NO comparison. Calling that a “taser” is like calling a cheap 6″ metal ruler a “sword”.

9 Ted Frank 04.25.08 at 10:13 pm

Vis-a-vis Dohrn, where are all the people who are complaining about John Yoo having an academic job?

Separately: David Bernstein comments.

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