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Gov't Report: Laser Pointers Produce Too Much Energy, Pose Risk For the Careless

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the isn't-that-half-the-fun dept.

Government 260

coondoggie writes "Commercial grade green and red laser pointers emit energy far beyond what is safe, posing skin, eye and fire hazards. That was the conclusion of a National Institute of Standards and Technology study on the properties of handheld lasers. The study tested 122 of the devices and found that nearly 90% of green pointers and about 44% of red pointers tested were out of federal safety regulation compliance."

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How else... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43227619)

are we supposed to fight the sharks?

Re:How else... (-1, Offtopic)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227789)

are we supposed to fight the sharks?

Just claim to be a member of the NRA and any attempt by the gummint to lower power is infringing your 2nd amendment rights.

Re:How else... (5, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227839)

are we supposed to fight the sharks?

Just claim to be a member of the NRA and any attempt by the gummint to lower power is infringing your 2nd amendment rights.

It's the NLA, the National LASER Association, and we do have a serious lobbying effort underway.

If the founding fathers had had lasers, then they'd have done fine without France's support.

Re:How else... (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228195)

Just claim to be a member of the NRA and any attempt by the gummint to lower power is infringing your 2nd amendment rights.

Not so much that...as that it seems the govt. figures we are all fucking idiots that can't be trusted with our own judgment to use anything more dangerous than a butter knife, or maybe those rounded edge scissors we all got in first grade.

I sure miss lawn darts and clackers and....

Re:How else... (5, Insightful)

nugatory78 (971318) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228339)

it seems the govt. figures we are all fucking idiots that can't be trusted with our own judgment to use anything more dangerous than a butter knife, or maybe those rounded edge scissors we all got in first grade

I think thats pretty accurate for how a very large number of people in the country should be treated. I definitely don't want a lot of people I know with a commercial laser, as I do like my eyesight. I have a 500 lumen flashlight (its really really bright in a tightly focused beam) and the number of people I told "don't point it at your face because its incredibly bright", that did exactly that is astounding. When I asked why? their response was its only a flashlight... I've seen several people do that with lasers too. Not to mention that is the governments targeted mentality with their current form of "education".

Re:How else... (1, Insightful)

AaronLS (1804210) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228597)

"figures we are all fucking idiots" more like "KNOWS MOST of us are fucking idiots". Some~most people have poor judgement, and no one really cares about saving them from themselves, but instead keeping by-standards from being victims of their poor judgement. It's why we can't have nice things. Shouldn't everyone get to have nuclear weapons?

nice link (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43227621)

You have to login to read the article. No thanks.

Re:nice link (1, Funny)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227797)

-1 TFA!

So then... (4, Funny)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227623)

"The study tested 122 of the devices and found that nearly 90% of green pointers and about 44% of red pointers tested were out of federal safety regulation compliance."

So blue lasers are safe then?

Re:So then... (5, Insightful)

aurispector (530273) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227659)

It's why we can't have nice things. Idiots point lasers at aircraft blinding the pilots and the .gov bans them. Nobody has any common sense.

Re:So then... (1, Insightful)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227715)

Something tells me you don't know the difference between a Code of Federal Regulations and a ban.

Re:So then... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43227807)

A regulation is a ban by another name.

Re:So then... (4, Insightful)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227855)

Have governments have banned you from driving? Because the government regulates who can and cannot drive, in the form of a driver's license. They also regulate how fast you can travel on the road.

Have governments banned you from drinking? Because government regulates who can and cannot buy alcohol.

Re:So then... (2)

preaction (1526109) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228033)

Have governments banned you from smoking week? Because government regulates who can and cannot smoke weed.

Re:So then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43228137)

The government represents "we, the people." WE regulate who can and cannot smoke weed. And who can drive. And who can have sharks with friggin' lasers. The stoners in Colorado and Oregon got off their asses and voted for a change. You can too.

Re:So then... (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228331)

Washington, not Oregon.

Re:So then... (4, Insightful)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228273)

Any random person above the age of 16 can acquire a driver's license. There is no restriction, other than age.

Any random person above the age of 21 can purchase alcohol. There is no restriction, other than age.

Those statements are not true when it comes to controlled substances. The Controlled Substances Act effectively bans all Schedule I drugs for any purpose. Even people who would otherwise be allowed to manufacture, purchase, or consume Schedule I drugs (i.e. medical marijuana) are in violation of the federal law.

Now, is the CSA a regulation? Yes. All bans are a regulation, but not all regulations are a ban. This concept is easy to understand in terms of "all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares". Why is it so difficult when it comes to government regulations?

Re:So then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43228389)

All persons above 16 who aren't barred for a multitude of traffic regulations and who can demonstrate adequate skill on written and practical tests and acceptable vision.

Re:So then... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228545)

Any random person above the age of 16 can acquire a driver's license. There is no restriction, other than age.

Not true.
1. Vision - if it's too bad, no license
2. Child support - if you're behind too much, no license
3. Convictions - too many offenses? No license. I know of somebody who can't get a license due to a speeding ticket on a bicycle when they were a kid.

regulations typically ban SOMEBODY from doing SOMETHING. If it's a good regulation, this is a good thing.

Re:So then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43228741)

I can't remember that last time a smoked a good week!

Re:So then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43228637)

He certainly doesn't know the definition of common.

Re:So then... (0)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227871)

Nobody's banning lasers you jackass, stop implying mis-information. Also .gov is a TLD.

Re:So then... (1)

AaronLS (1804210) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228661)

Yeh... I've often thought the US's use of .gov was setting them up for phishing scams. People begin to think any .gov site is a legitimate US government site, when that's not necessarily true.

Re:So then... (4, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227891)

Not really.

What this study finds is that most laser pointers outright violate safety regulations that already exist.

Re:So then... (0, Troll)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227903)

Bullshit, this is one of those things where the genie is out of the bottle. I seriously doubt the "Safety hazard" this poses to aircraft as the FAA is reporting over 200 attacks per year now and not a single one has resulted in any sort of mishap. If they were really worried about it they could simply give the pilots polarized glasses to put on during take off and landing and they wouldn't even notice the friggen things.

Re:So then... (3, Insightful)

FrankSchwab (675585) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228293)

And how, precisely, would "polarized glasses" stop laser light?

Insightful, indeed.

Re:So then... (4, Funny)

Ignacio (1465) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228667)

A pair of filters with polarization aligned at right angles to each other will block over 99% of the laser light when placed in front of each other.

Re:So then... (1)

AdamStarks (2634757) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228387)

The issue isn't that the lasers are directly hitting the pilots' eyes, but that because of the distance they're being used at they flare up the entire cockpit window, making it hard to see out of.

This is a real problem, and the fix isn't as simple as tossing shades on the pilots.

Re:So then... (1)

dainichi (1181931) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228423)

Polarized glasses? You're a moron. FILTER glasses!
The polarized glasses would only work if they could guarantee the pilots would not tilt their heads AND if they could guarantee the polarization of the lasers *AND*--this is the most important bit-- if they could somehow guarantee the orientation of the laser.
Back to remedial physics with you!

If you want to protect the pilots, instead give them glasses that filter out INFRARED, Green and Red lasers. And it has to be a relatively sufficient wideband filter because the lasers vary due to MFG tolerances. Infrared also because http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_pointer#Infrared_hazards_of_DPSS_laser_pointers [wikipedia.org]
EXCEPT THEY CAN'T! Modern aircraft use LEDs for indicators and the colors would almost certainly be filtered out by the glasses.

The only hope is LCD shutter glasses triggered by a detector of some form.

Re:So then... (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228745)

Peril Sensitive Sunglasses.

Re:So then... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43228445)

If they were really worried about it they could simply give the pilots polarized glasses to put on during take off and landing and they wouldn't even notice the friggen things.

Some avionics manuals specifically say not to wear polarized glasses - with polarized LCD screens, they would mean you couldn't see the attitude indicator, airspeed, etc.

Re:So then... (2)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227999)

I think that the government can take care of idiots who shine laserpointers at them... without a ban...
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=eb3_1361179577

Pointing one at an apache gunship is one of the most stupid things to do. I mean, pointing at any aircraft is, but one that is built to kill is more than enough to get you on the shortlist for this years Darwin Awards...

Re:So then... (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228495)

I checked the aforementioned clip again and the latitude is west (of Greenwich), and 47 north is not where one would expect palmtrees...
It turned out that 047.13.14N - 122.22.64W is near 48th street west, Tacoma, Washington. If the DoD was shooting at laser-pointing-dummies over there at 29-jan-2009, I guess it was already all over the news.
So... sorry for the misinformation... my bad!

Re:So then... (5, Interesting)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227809)

I saw this article earlier and it's a bit misleading. Buried much more deeply...

The NIST tests were conducted on randomly selected commercial laser devices labeled as Class IIIa or 3R and sold as suitable for demonstration use in classrooms and other public spaces

That whole "Class IIIa/3R" thing is a pretty big deal. Lasers of this class are pretty heavily regulated because of the danger they can potentially pose. The color of the laser is almost unimportant, except for the minor detail of how green lasers are generated by dividing infrared light in half, which makes them subject to a bit more regulation since infrared is not a visible emission; invisible emissions are more strictly regulated, since there's no blink reflex to save your eyes.

I wonder what percentage of commercial laser pointers are Class IIIa/3R?

For the record, I did some research on lasers, because we were going to incorporate one into one of our products...until we learned how heavily regulated they are, and went with a diode that pumps out like 50x as much wattage, but doesn't fall under regulations since the emissions aren't coherent. Throughout my research, I learned that no one - literally, no one - has ever reported being injured by a Class IIIa/3R laser. The danger posed by these emissions is more theoretical than practice.

Re:So then... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227919)

Throughout my research, I learned that no one - literally, no one - has ever reported being injured by a Class IIIa/3R laser.

The important part here is reported. Who is going to admit that they damaged their vision after staring into a laser for 4 hours?

Re:So then... (4, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228089)

I had a colleague at work who tried to impress me with his tech ability and ability to buy toys. One such example was his laser pointer. He "overclocked" it and bragged about it and how bright it was now. It could burn things and all that. Generally, if it can burn paper, your blink reflex is not sufficient to prevent blindness. Also, there's some level at which a reflection (even a low powered one, like a partial reflection from glass) coulr cause blindness without prolonged use. I informed him that I did not wish to see his toy, and if he intended to bring it to work, to let me know the day before so I could remain home for my own safety. He was greatly pissed off about that. He wanted to show it off, but I'd rather not go blind from some prick who doesn't know what he's doing shining it at me, or a reflective surface near me.

Re:So then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43228165)

I have a powerful green laser and while it is fun, it is no toy. I wear eye protection and am extremely careful with it. I would never dream of taking it to work or out of a controlled environment. That being said, man is it fun.

Re:So then... (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228429)

Despite my curiosity, I would share your trepidation on that one. I recently bought a £3 1mW red laser for my pet dog to chase, but due to the 'horror' stories of 50-100mW lasers masquerading as 1-5mW I wrote to laserpointerforums.com to ask if there was any way I could test to see it was really 1mW (or thereabouts). AFter all, I don't want to blind my dog.

Anyway, I can smile now, but the response by many there was quite rude :) Here for your amusement is the thread:
http://laserpointerforums.com/f44/very-rough-way-determine-output-supposed-1mw-red-laser-pointer-80339.html [laserpointerforums.com]

Re:So then... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43227949)

I saw someone with a Class IIIa/3R laser on a college campus once. Obviously I called it into the police. No one evacuated campus though.

Re:So then... (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228687)

I think there has been a level of fearmongering above and beyond what the actual risk would dictate. There's a rather humorous argument over at PhotonLexicon, where tsteele93 (and I think one other) debate/argue with most of the others there. Here's a couple of quotes at the start of the thread where he joins in [photonlexicon.com] :

Here's a couple of choice quotes:

Well, the OP was over two years ago and 1W blues had just hit the scene with certain impending doom guaranteed by those who were inclined to believe that it was imminent. Some of the early posts in this thread are downright amusing, with the general premise that the members of this forum held the key to stopping the certain influx of horrific eye injuries that were certain to start flooding in, by making sure sales were only made to "responsible buyers."

And yet, two plus years later we just haven't seen the injuries.
It is always easy to predict doom and gloom but it is always interesting to see when those predictions don't come true...
It just seems that people don't go buy 1W+ lasers and start pointing them in people's eyes.

...And from another post:

“Right now I haven’t seen an epidemic of injuries,” Dr. Bryan said, but he added that the potential was there. “In the hands of children it’s a very scary proposition.”

Injuries from momentary (accidental/unwanted) exposures: According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as of April 2012 the FDA has never received a report of eye injury from momentary exposures to laser pointers of Class 2 and 3R power (e.g., below 5 milliwatts).

Injuries from Class 4 consumer lasers: There have been no reported injuries from commercially manufactured Class 4 consumer lasers (over 500 milliwatts of visible light), as of April 7 2012. This includes the Wicked Lasers Spyder III Arctic “1 watt” laser which first came out in August 2010, as well as similar high-power Class 4 lasers sold by other companies such as DinoDirect.com. There have been two reports of injuries from homemade or hobbyist kit Class 4 lasers, the results are minor injury and more severe.

Re: How would you know? (1)

EdmundSS (264957) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228783)

So, you only receive a brief flash from the laser, and only have a few rods and cones ablated by the coherent pulse from the laser. That one-second blast has only damaged 0.01% of your vision. Ten years down the line, when half your vision is gone, why would you associate the loss with a laser?

Re:So then... (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227899)

Doesn't matter, shooting a laser into somebody's eye should carry a minimum penalty of getting your ass beat.

Also, everytime I think of laser pointers I now think of this: http://www.wickedlasers.com.hk/ [wickedlasers.com.hk] . The lasers in TFA have nothing on this.

Re:So then... (2)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228059)

My reaction was "So what is the brand of green laser that is putting out 65.5 mw instead of 5mw? And will ThinkGeek be buying up the remaining supply before the government confiscates it?

Re:So then... (1)

An dochasac (591582) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228467)

My reaction was "So what is the brand of green laser that is putting out 65.5 mw instead of 5mw? And will ThinkGeek be buying up the remaining supply before the government confiscates it?

Probably any of the cheap Chinese imports you find on Ebay but don't buy one. Unscrupulous con artists remove the InfraRed filter so a laser power meter shows it as being "bright", hoping the buyer is ignorant of the fact that most of that brightness is in invisible but damaging wavelengths.

Re:So then... (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228539)

But wouldn't that be the point? A seemingly ordinary green laser pointer, that when aimed at dry paper, can start fires?

Ban them (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43227625)

Why not, everything else is being banned.

Idiot federal government. We need to ban THEM.

Re:Ban them (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227691)

So, you're the only voice I see calling for them to be banned, and then you turn around and call the government an idiot, for banning things?

Was that trolling or an honest knee jerk reaction?

Re:Ban them (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227817)

I believe it's called satire. How can you not tell???

Re:Ban them (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227941)

Because it wasn't? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Ban them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43227961)

It was irony. Not very effective, but very obvious...

It's not a ban. (5, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227967)

The government regulators have no desire to prevent you from buying or selling higher power lasers. They do care when you lie to your customers and tell them the lasers are less dangerous than they actually are. They care when you use shoddy manufacturing that allows harmful IR to escape the casing, while again telling the customer that they are completely shielded against this. If these lasers worked as advertized, then there wouldn't be a problem. Alternately if they were sold as class 3B devices (which is what they effectively are) there would be no problem, as the purchasers would know the risks and could plan accordingly. But they weren't and the manufacturers/importers should be held responsible for their recklessness.

In other news, (2, Funny)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227635)

In other news, a report reports that automobiles produce too much energy and poses risks, including death, for the careless.

Re:In other news, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43227729)

Personally I blame physics, I mean if inertia wasn't a thing cars wouldn't be a problem!

Re:In other news, (2)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227761)

In other news, a report reports that automobiles produce too much energy and poses risks, including death, for the careless.

Maybe that's why we regulate who gets to drive one?

Re:In other news, (1)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227877)

Given that there are pedestrians (not in a vehicle) killed crossing streets by an automobile, seemingly every day, it isn't working.
By that logic, they should ban pedestrians from walking within 20ft of any road.

Some things are dangerous and should be left dangerous. Just educate that they carry risk and responsibility.

Re:In other news, (2)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228007)

Given that there are pedestrians (not in a vehicle) killed crossing streets by an automobile, seemingly every day, it isn't working. By that logic, they should ban pedestrians from walking within 20ft of any road.

Some things are dangerous and should be left dangerous. Just educate that they carry risk and responsibility.

I'm guessing there are a lot less deaths than there would be if we let 12 year olds drive. The fact that something is inherently dangerous is a reason to make it safer, not to just accept any number of casualties occurring from unrestricted use. Look at the history of industrial safety if you need further convincing.

Re: who gets to drive one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43227955)

They only regulate who drives one ON PUBLIC ROADS. Details, details.

Re: who gets to drive one? (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228153)

They only regulate who drives one ON PUBLIC ROADS. Details, details.

So we require all laser pointer enthusiasts to have dome enclosures over their property as the solution to all this? I guess it could work, but I'm betting you'll have a hard time getting buy-in.

Re:In other news, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43228337)

What country are you from? Here in the USA, driver's licences are handed out like candy, especially if you're an illegal immigrant.

Re:In other news, (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227837)

I'm telling you guys... air is bad for you too, all that CO2 & CO, only way to stay safe is to stop breathing.

Re:In other news, (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227843)

In other news, a report reports that automobiles produce too much energy and poses risks, including death, for the careless.

I fully agree that overly powerful cars should be banned from the roads. Or at least tamed down to "normal" car levels through a "track switch" that can enable the full performance of the car for use at the track (like the Bugatti Veyron's "high speed mode" that can only be activated while stopped with a special key). They are a hazard on the roads - I don't think anyone owns a 350+ HP sports car to drive in a safe and legal manner all the time, and the car commercials (with their trained drivers on a closed course) make that point too.

The difference between overpowered sports cars and overpowered lasers is that it's a lot easier to buy an overpowered laser without knowing that you have one.

Re:In other news, (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228311)

I fully agree that overly powerful cars should be banned from the roads. Or at least tamed down to "normal" car levels through a "track switch" that can enable the full performance of the car for use at the track (like the Bugatti Veyron's "high speed mode" that can only be activated while stopped with a special key). They are a hazard on the roads - I don't think anyone owns a 350+ HP sports car to drive in a safe and legal manner all the time, and the car commercials (with their trained drivers on a closed course) make that point too.

Man...are you ever the buzzkill. I'm guessing we shouldn't be able to have corvettes or porsches, or be able to mod our cars in any fashion to go over 55mph to suit you?

Where's the fun in that? If you can't handle a performance car, don't get one...but why rain on the parade of those who can?

I've actually been SAVED from a number of accidents by having a car with enough performance to get the fuck out of the way of some other idiots on the road that didn't know how to drive and usually, were trying to drive piece of shit cars like they WERE performance cars.

Re:In other news, (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228475)

I fully agree that overly powerful cars should be banned from the roads. Or at least tamed down to "normal" car levels through a "track switch" that can enable the full performance of the car for use at the track (like the Bugatti Veyron's "high speed mode" that can only be activated while stopped with a special key). They are a hazard on the roads - I don't think anyone owns a 350+ HP sports car to drive in a safe and legal manner all the time, and the car commercials (with their trained drivers on a closed course) make that point too.

Man...are you ever the buzzkill. I'm guessing we shouldn't be able to have corvettes or porsches, or be able to mod our cars in any fashion to go over 55mph to suit you?

Where's the fun in that? If you can't handle a performance car, don't get one...but why rain on the parade of those who can?

I'm not saying you shouldn't have fun, you should absolutely have fun on closed courses (work with your car club to shut down those fun mountain roads for your uninterupted enjoyment), just don't have your fun at the expense of innocent drivers that use the roads for transportation. And I say that as someone who lost a close friend who was T-boned by a 280Z traveling at high speed through a stop sign -- cops said the 280Z was driving so fast, that it's likely that my friend couldn't even see the car coming around the bend in the road when she entered the intersection.

This was on a curvy country road known to be fun to drive on.

I've actually been SAVED from a number of accidents by having a car with enough performance to get the fuck out of the way of some other idiots on the road that didn't know how to drive and usually, were trying to drive piece of shit cars like they WERE performance cars.

I hear that argument a lot: "I need this powerful car so I can get out of other people's way"... but I've been driving for over 30 years, and in all of that time, there was only once when I had to rely on my vehicle's performance to get out of the way of an accident. And that was when I was on my motorcycle at a stoplight and saw the car approaching from behind at a high rate of speed - I made a quick (and illegal) right turn on red - he squealed to a stop in the middle of the intersection.

Re:In other news, (1)

Neuroelectronic (643221) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227845)

emotionally immature /. poster makes sloppy car analogy.

Not just careless (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227655)

TFA, which has the same headline, ends by mentioning that people point them at pilots in planes taking off or landing. So way to make a misleading headline, networkworld. Not getting the traffic you want?

Re:Not just careless (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228011)

TFA, which has the same headline, ends by mentioning that people point them at pilots in planes taking off or landing. So way to make a misleading headline, networkworld. Not getting the traffic you want?

From TFA:

Commercial grade green and red laser pointers emit energy far beyond what is safe, posing skin, eye and fire hazards.

So what is misleading by saying "Laser Pointers Produce Too Much Energy, Pose Risk For the Careless"? Do you think everyone understands the eye risk of the laser pointed they bought on eBay and understands that aiming it on people risks eye and even skin injury, and that even an errant reflection from a shiny surface has the same danger?

At least the moon is safe of those careless people (5, Interesting)

Anon, Not Coward D (2797805) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227671)

Obligatory xkcd http://what-if.xkcd.com/13/ [xkcd.com]

Re:At least the moon is safe of those careless peo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43227863)

More power!

His what-if series is most amusing...

Re: National Ignition Facility??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43227991)

I Wanna Work There!!

Excellent Darwin devices. (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227677)

Hey they help cull the stupid.

Re:Excellent Darwin devices. (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228683)

Not very effective at removing idiots from the gene pool, unless people are aiming them at their genitals.

Blindness will not prevent idiots from reproducing....

A lobbying group composed of house cats said... (5, Funny)

Steauengeglase (512315) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227709)

"We need more testing in this field, particularly on that white wall over there."

Re:A lobbying group composed of house cats said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43228397)

Have always found it odd lasers are sold as pet toys and strange people buy them for this purpose.

Holey Cats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43227747)

Holey Cats, Batman!

Must Not... (2)

captain_nifty (132748) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227749)

...buy lots of laser pointers.

This makes me soooo want to buy laser pointers I don't need, just because I may soon not be able to.

How unsafe would a cluster of these be...

now I just need some hydrogen balloons.

Re:Must Not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43227835)

Careful This is how the NRA got idiots to overpay for guns they don't need.

Bye bye Wicked Lasers. Nice knowing you (0)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227771)

Title says it all. Meet the ban hammer!

Re:Bye bye Wicked Lasers. Nice knowing you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43227859)

If we were going to ban lasers because they hurt a couple of people a year, you'd think we could ban cigarettes because they hurt thousands of people per year first. In fact, that is my vote. No more banning of any products that hurt less people than cigarettes do until they ban said cigarettes first. Then we would stop banning things pretty much, but that's OK.

Re:Bye bye Wicked Lasers. Nice knowing you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43228129)

Cigarettes will never be banned as they bring in too much tax revenue. Of course, that all changes with Government Healthcare becomes mandatory in order to reduce costs. That, and along with damn near everything else short of a padded room!

Warning (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227805)

Do not look directly into Laser (or Lightsaber) with remaining good eye.

Laser pointers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43227825)

The green laser pointers, aimed at the ground, are great for getting rid of unwanted birds.

Life is unsafe (3, Insightful)

jxander (2605655) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227853)

In a similar report, we've found that 100% of lighters, knives, crampons and Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifles are outside tolerable limits for safety.

Seriously, you'll shoot your eye out, kid.

Re:Life is unsafe (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228701)

In a similar report, we've found that 100% of lighters, knives, crampons and Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifles are outside tolerable limits for safety.

However, the researcher studying the safety of lawn darts was unavailable for comment; reports indicate he was last seen being loaded into an ambulance...

If the TFA is serious... (1, Insightful)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227907)

Back in the day men use to resolve these problems on their own. Why the fuck is this even neccissary, and at the very worst "harm caused by laser" in court is perfectly well covered by a gazillion pre-existing assault laws. Should be, "assault with any fucking bloody object". Make it a fucking law and stop tacking bullshit on or putting your grubby little regulatory hands into the marketplaces of this country over stupid shit.

Illegal by label only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43227923)

They are only 'illegal' if the federally mandated label states that they are of one class of power output and the device exceeds that stated output level. Simply changing the label to indicate that the device is a Class 4 instead of Class 3R or Class 3B device brings them into compliance. However, there are still local ordinances [state.ny.us] that require operators of lasers to be licensed and the installation to comply with said ordinances. The FAA also has certain notification requirements for use of lasers in an outdoor aerial display venue.

Re:Illegal by label only (2)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228413)

"Simply" changing the level?

A LOT of things are different whenever you change levels. For instance, Class I devices do not need emission indicators. But higher powered lasers do need emission indicators. In fact, they need fail-safe emission indicators, which typically means using two LEDs and two current limiting resistors and two GPIO pins on your microcontroller. Not only that, but the color of the emission indicator must be substantially different from the emissions themselves, so that an operator wearing safety glasses can still see the indicator light up.

Plus, there's that whole product report thing that you have to send to the FDA's CDRH. I'm not entirely sure but it's probably a felony to put false statements into the Initial Product Report.

So (1)

ozduo (2043408) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227935)

now it will be illegal to strap one onto my AK47

They can have ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227947)

... my homemade DVD burner laser pointer when they pry it out of my cold, dead hands.

Oh, we can do something about THAT? (5, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year and a half ago | (#43227957)

One retarded kid swallows a magnet, and they can ban buckyballs. A pilot or something might get blinded at some point in the future and we can ban laser pointer sales. 30,000 people a year die from gun violence and we can't even pass universal fucking background checks?

No. Fuck this shit. I move that every citizen of the USA shall receive from the government one glock 9 mm pistol, one box of hollow point ammunition, one multi-watt laser pointer, one... no, make that TWO extremely fucking dangerous magnets, [unitednuclear.com] and a big fucking bucket of fireworks, to do with as they please. In one year, the survivors can get together and discuss additional regulation. :-/

Re:Oh, we can do something about THAT? (5, Funny)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228047)

Throw in a gallon of jeagermeister, and a 3 wheeler ATV and you have my vote! ;)

Re:Oh, we can do something about THAT? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228383)

Good thinking! Should we make a whitehouse.gov petition?

You have my vote (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228357)

You have my vote

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43227981)

The careless should perish and die. Stop protecting the stupid ones, you're making all of us weaker in the process.

So you're saying... (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228031)

I shouldn't keep pointing my 1W Wicked Laser at passing airliners? Where's the fun in that?

In other news (1)

bored (40072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228143)

The sun emits energy far beyond what is safe, posing skin, eye and fire hazards.

Who paid for this research? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43228233)

I thought NIST was supported by public funds.
The public should be able to read the report without qualification.
Why do we need to sign-up for an account with IOPScience?
Why do we need to agree to their daft set of rules?
Maybe we should put IOPScience on the chopping block!!

What is "safe" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43228457)

Chuck Norris's fist produces enough energy to pose a risk to the careless. Perhaps we should regulate him.

List of tested lasers.... (1)

BenJeremy (181303) | about a year and a half ago | (#43228489)

...and how terribly bad they were over the safety limits?

Also, can you publish the retailers carrying them and prices, so I can surely avoid getting them? /Heading back to the Flashlight Forums to discuss my new hexa-Cree 6000 lumen pen light.

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