The Buckyball resistance

by Walter Olson on October 17, 2012


A small company goes right on defying the Consumer Product Safety Commission: I’ve got more at Cato at Liberty (& see Nick Farr, Abnormal Use).

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Buckyballs maker gives up - Overlawyered
11.02.12 at 6:30 am

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1 Hugo S. Cunningham 10.17.12 at 7:45 pm

In general I sympathize with libertarian arguments, but Buckyballs is substituting libertarian tub-thumping for optimal product design. I immediately thought of a safety work-around: make the magnetic balls taste foul and unappetizing, and found that a competitor Nanodots is already doing this.

2 Area Man 10.18.12 at 5:28 am

Lolwhut? The number of hot dogs consumed in the US each year is something like 20 billion, resulting in (presumably) 77 child asphyxiations. Total Buckyball sales are 2.5 million last I can find. Number of kids sent to the emergency room because of these magnets: 1700 over 3 years. Let’s bend over backwards to be fair and assume that a mere 1% of these were caused by Buckyballs, the others from their competitors (whose products are magically more delicious). Buckyballs are thus 59,000-fold more dangerous than a hot dog.

Look, I don’t really care one way or another, but why rely on such specious reasoning to defend the product? One thing being harmful does not excuse another thing being harmful, especially not when it’s 59,000 (or whatever) times more likely to hospitalize a kid. In fact, you should conclude that Buckyballs deserve at least thousands of times more scrutiny.

3 Cloudesley Shovell 10.18.12 at 8:24 am

Area Man: Did you just compare annual deaths with 3 years worth of emergency room visits in your statistical analysis? Did you then use the phrase “specious reasoning” in the very next paragraph? There’s a lot of that going around, apparently.

4 Jeff M 10.18.12 at 9:37 am

Area Man, there are more holes in your argument than a wheel of swiss cheese. Are you really comparing a product that is consumed after sold with one that ostensibly is around for years. I’m not going to do the analysis, but Buckyballs purchased on January 1st are still around on December 31st (unless, of course eaten by the child of the purchaser or some random child). On the other hand, a single hotdog purchased at a hotdog stand for a child is around for minutes. You are also ignoring the fact that Buckyballs purchased years ago are still around to be “consumed.”

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