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The Demise of Model Rocketry?

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the and-the-rockets'-red-glare dept.

Toys 728

Mark Lytle writes "Due to restrictions imposed by the rather broad Homeland Security Act, the hobby I suspect many Slashdotters, being technology buffs, grew up with, the Estes Model Rocket is now firmly on the endangered species list. The little cardboard rockets I learned science with in high school are evidently suspected of being potential weapons of mass destruction. Go figure. Perhaps by getting involved, we can stop this sillyness... Anyway, i hope so...."

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2nd goatse of the day (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342827)

long live the goatse [goatse.cx] !!!

Not very inconvenient - (0, Offtopic)

Omkar (618823) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342829)

Build your own with instructions taken off the 'Net. Nobody will lock you up - problem solved.

Re:Not very inconvenient - (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342839)

Read the article! The problem is not the rocket but that shippers won't ship the solid fuel motors any longer because their employees would have to get licenced with the ATFE.

How are you going to build the motors?

Re:Not very inconvenient - (1)

hplasm (576983) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342874)

Build your own with instructions taken off the 'Net

This refers to building the motors. It is easy.

Who was Joseph Claude Appleby ? (0)

Ontopic (652043) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342873)

Does anybody know?

Re:Not very inconvenient - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342904)

If it's this much hassle to launch a *model* rocket, what does that bode for any privateer trying to put a real payload into orbit?

This is sort of like the hassle it's getting to be for the "amateur" trying to obtain reagents, solvents, glassware, etc. Already been searched for a "meth" lab once by the Task Force, Sheriff, GBI, etc. (Actually they were looking for a 17 yo female (my gf), but they would have LOVED to find crank in that context, the fucking perverts) I was *almost* sorry to disappoint them.

--rgb, from the land where football players and other retarded jocks rule, so help them God.

Re:Not very inconvenient - (3, Informative)

gruber76 (79421) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342933)

According to the link above:
Amateurs who make their own ammonium perchlorate composite propellants will also need an ATF permit to move ammonium perchlorate composite propellant within the state it is made.

Re:Not very inconvenient - (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342960)

If you choose to "build your own", you will run into the following road blocks:

1. If you live in an urban / suburban area, such activities are likely to be outright banned.

2. If you live in a rural area, you will likely require some sort of explosives permit. The training, filing time will probably require you become a professional at building rocket engines. You then get the headaches Estes is running into now.

3. In any event, your activities will probably get you "good neighbor" visits from the local sheriff, county police, state troopers, even the ATF or EPA (you are working with environmentally hazardous materials, remember!)

If you decide to go "full steam ahead" in spite of all the above, eventually expect a visit from the people mentioned in #3 above. In these post 9/11 times, expect to receive a long "all expenses-paid" stay in a state or federal prison!

Re:Not very inconvenient - (2, Funny)

Treebeard the Ent (638978) | more than 11 years ago | (#5343021)

expect to receive a long "all expenses-paid" stay in a state or federal prison!

a.k.a.: Pound me in the ass prison.

oooOOO SLASHDOT FUCKERS OOOooo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342830)

First post, fuckers

Eat some goatse.cx.

You are truly a piece of shit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342843)

you did not get first post you dumb shit. not only does this prove that you can't do anything correctly, much like your negroid father, but it also proves that you are a stupid fuck. you love sucking dick, don't you? of course you fucking faggot. i hope the fight against aids goes well for you, fag. you are truly a shitmaster. and why don't you learn some html (it's not very complicated) so you can make that goatse.cx call [goatse.cx] an actual link? ...fucking retard

OH SLASHDOT (-1)

MAKE IT STOP ARRGGHH (644754) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342832)

SLASHDOT would you like some sausage?! Slashdot would you like some sausages?!

Here We Go... (-1, Offtopic)

vudujava (614609) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342833)

In Post 9/11 America television watches YOU!

Re:Here We Go... (2, Insightful)

vudujava (614609) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342910)

Offtopic my eye...

The Department of Homeland Security has quickly begun to erode your rights. Next thing you know, they'll be measuring the amount of methane gas you expell after a trip to Taco Bell. Those who expell too much will be considered a threat to National Security and incarcerated without legal representation.

Wake up you sheep!

When the going gets tough, the average get conservative - Henry Rollins

First Post!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342834)

First Post!!!!

What? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342835)

Funny, are these things more dangerous than the guns you americans are so fond of?

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342865)

also, wasn't 911 carried out with the aid of BOXCUTTERS? Wouldn't it be more sensible to ban scissors than toy rockets?

Re:What? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5343008)

What they don't want is rocket powered box cutters, imagine the damage they could do.

I for one am glad to see the US government taking such a positive stance on potential problem substances and technologies.

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

warpSpeed (67927) | more than 11 years ago | (#5343031)

Wouldn't it be more sensible to ban scissors than toy rockets?

How about BIC lighters? Each one containes enough butane to make a nice little bomb! Carry a few on board with you... Well I do not want to give anyone any ideas. The restrictions placed on airline travelers are moronic, because they will only catch morons. So now it seems that the moronic restrictions are going to expand to everyday life. I guess cigarettes should now be deemed a weapon of mass destruction too. Just think of the cancer/children/humanity/whatever...

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

yog (19073) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342977)

An anonymous coward wrote:
> Funny, are these things more dangerous than the guns you americans are so fond of?

My, what an "insightful" remark. I'm simply overwhelmed.

I shot off Estes model rockets in my youth. I think the primary danger of these things is to the operator, not to any site they might be targetting. The range is in the hundreds of feet. A slightly larger scale missile might be dangerous if it could be fitted with a payload and launched in the direction of a school, police HQ or the like. I don't think it's appropriate to ban Estes models however. Actually, how many people even use those things anymore? I thought model rocketry was pretty much dead.

Re:What? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342992)

Well, it's difficult to defend yourself and your family with a model rocket...

http://pictures.ehowa.com/francesurrendering.jpg

Besides, you're late on the /. gun control argument. I think it's #2 in the HoF.

it ain't the first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342837)

but sure as hell it won't be the last.

Die slashfags

This is sad, but there is an alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342840)

Everybody knows the best way to make rocket motors is to take aluminum tubing and put dozens of matchheads in them and compress tightly.

I mean, isn't that the acceptable substitute for safe model rocketry?

Oh, and B-14-7's kick ass.

Yes, I'm that old.

That is silly (5, Funny)

Neophytus (642863) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342844)

Next thing I know my model plane will be considered a spyplane if I mount a video camera on it. Actually, I shouldn't give them ideas.

Re:That is silly (3, Funny)

PeDRoRist (639207) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342855)

Hmmmm no, i guess your model plane will be fine unless you let a model-terrorist come aboard. Lame comment.. Yeah i know

Re:That is silly (5, Funny)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342897)

No - what happens next is "Slashdotters" will be considered potential terrorists!! Simple reasoning: why would a website help you build personal submarines and personal rockets?? I see a new slashdot-race developing - everyone who values personal security - better start reading slashdot.

Why? Because nobody is trustworthy anymore! What if my BOFH sysadmin builds a personal submarine and threatens me (the boss)? Can you see it now? We all need peronal submarines, rockets, nuclear reactors and personal 1024-bit encryption to our grey cells. Till then we can't be secure.

Re:That is silly (2, Informative)

AmigaAvenger (210519) | more than 11 years ago | (#5343029)

I've done that quite a bit, and I'm just waiting for the FBI to show up, toss me in solitary, and take my spy planes of mass distruction!

(video at http://www.ryankramer.com/planes/se/sefull.avi [ryankramer.com] if you want to see it. inverted flat spin at 6:40 is definitely something a terrorist would do!)

Gasoline and Soap? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342846)

Wait until they realize what happens when you mix those two together and strike a match!

Little chance of gasoline being outlawed (if it were this whole war business would be out the window), so I guess soap has to go.

Re:Gasoline and Soap? (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342892)

sorry, you're gonna have to help us with a definition of this "soap" you're talking about.

this IS Slashdot, you know

Re:Gasoline and Soap? (5, Funny)

trash eighty (457611) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342906)

so I guess soap has to go.


excellent! a plan with no drawbacks! oh yes i am european.

Re:Gasoline and Soap? (0, Redundant)

sxpert (139117) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342931)

well, there is one particular drawback... those americans that are fond of their body cleanliness will now be extremely stinky...

Re:Gasoline and Soap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5343004)

What an excellent idea! Since I can't order D engines any longer, I'll start experimenting with homebrew engines made of gasoline and soap, inside some kind of pressure vessel with a nozzle at one end. I should be able to construct something considerably more powerful and with much higher range than the small and relatively safe motors that my government doesn't want me to have access to any more.

Any success that I have I am sure to make available for all the world to read, so outlawing safe (but weak) hobby engines is really a blessing in disguise, and should advance model rocketry to the point where we can all build gasoline-powered launch vehicles that are powerful enough to carry multiple-pound payloads several miles easily and inexpensively.

Re:Gasoline and Soap? (1)

josecanuc (91) | more than 11 years ago | (#5343013)

Who cares what happens when you mix gasoline and soap together and strike a match? The same thing happens with just gasoline.

Boom.

(Yes, I know what dish soap does to gasoline.) ;-)

The end of an era (4, Funny)

3liter914-6 (625799) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342848)

Maybe it's for the best, what with the future of the space program in jeopardy and all. Why turn children's eyes to the heavens when they have no chance of ever making it there. Still it's sad that millions of young people will never know the joy of sending live crickets hurtling into the wild blue yonder.

Re:The end of an era (2, Insightful)

mrpuffypants (444598) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342936)

naw, the cricket one wasn't the coolest...I loved the one with the camera in the nose cone that, when the charge to pop out the parachute fired, it took a picture facing down...now that was cool to see myself looking up at it. It will NOT be cool if I can't take my kids out to fire these things off one day in the future without getting a police excort for the fuel packs that I bought at Hobby Lobby.

Hobby Lobby = Bin Laden Bazaar =[

Re:The end of an era (1)

Dr.Enormous (651727) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342981)

On the plus side: if we outlaw enough fun, any terrorists in the country will gladly beat themselves into blissful oblivion just to end the monotony.

What's next model blimp restricitions? (1)

nickyj (142376) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342850)

Try and stop me from using my 12 foot blimp.

Re:What's next model blimp restricitions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342871)


or your remote-controlled cropduster.

Rocket Man (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342853)

"She packed my bags last night
Pre-flight,
Zero hour, nine a.m.
And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then.

I miss the earth so much,
I miss my wife.
It's lonely out in space
On such a timeless flight.

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time
Till touch down brings me round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home.
Oh, no, no, no,
I'm a rocket man,
Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone.

Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids,
In fact it's cold as hell
And there's no one there to raise them if you did.

And all this science,
I don't understand.
It's just my job, five days a week,
A Rocket man."

-Rocket Man
Elton John
(Elton John/Bernie Taupin)

That sucks!!!!!!! (2, Insightful)

MrJerryNormandinSir (197432) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342856)

Is this true? I've been flying model rockets wth my kids for years! I taught my mids how to angle the rockets into the wind, and how to get the rocket to land where we want. On a hot summer day with no wind we've used parachutes, on April-June we've used
streamers. I've even built a rocket with a strobe
light for a payload, we launch it at night. the strobe light is my design.

Home of the what?? It's supposed to be FREE!

Re:That sucks!!!!!!! (3, Funny)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342902)

I think it is "Land of the FREE, Home of the BRAVE"

Re:That sucks!!!!!!! (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342948)

I think you nicked that one from the Scots

Re:That sucks!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5343011)

The bush republicans hate our FREEDOM, they want to take away our FREEDOM, and make us into a nation of uneducated religious zelots.

I think its time we get serious about a massive libertarian movement. Voting for a dead guy in one state rather than a live stupid one was a good first step. While its too soon for a none of the above candidate, we could always elect a doorstop candidate. A politician who is there to stop the revolving door of tax and spend and progressive legislation giving more and more power to the very few.

Re:That sucks!!!!!!! (0)

Gekko (45112) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342953)

Hmmm wish I would have thought of a strobe. I used glow sticks. I have also used them for night time croquet matches with some specially made balls.

So where is the land of the free? (2, Interesting)

asmithmd1 (239950) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342954)

With the DMCA, PATRIOT act and soon PATRIOT II it is clear the US is no longer the home of the free. So what is the most free country? Before the Chinese takeover of Hong Kong I remember it being called the free-est country by some libertarian think tank. So what country is most free now?

More info? (1)

jstrain (648252) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342860)

Can someone give me an idea of what we are talking about size-wise here? When I think of a rocket like this, I think of those small model ones that shoot up a couple of hundred feet and come back down. This hardly seems like a weapon capable of bringing the US to its knees.

Am I not picturing the same thing here?

Re:More info? (1)

mithras the prophet (579978) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342870)

You might find more info in the article.

Re:More info? (1)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342916)

Yes you are picturing the correct size here. About the size of a roll of pennies.

Re:More info? (1)

JonathanBrickman0000 (536903) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342940)

This kind of 'hobbyist' model rocket has a very wide range of sizes and powers. The highest 'stock' flight in the Estes catalog used to be about 5500 feet. There were several that were rated thusly in the catalogs I remember. Mostly the advertised height was more like 1500 feet. But with vanishingly few exceptions they were build-from-kits, and using multiple engines was simply a matter of a bit more glue and cardboard. With a lot more glue and cardboard, and a lot of compact creative chemistry, the result is obvious. The problem was always guidance, not power.

great. (1)

cap'n foolsy (635911) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342861)

now this is just ridiculous. one of those rockets is hardly a "weapon of mass destruction". i'm sure people have broken windows or maybe injured themselves using these, but they can hardly be used in an offensive way, right? or maybe i'm just underestimating the inventiveness of kids these days...

i'm glad i live in the philippines, where you're free to blow up your hands with fireworks however you can.

Worse than the UK! (5, Insightful)

Big Mark (575945) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342863)

Over this side of the pond getting hold of engines bigger than the Estes D-size is a nightmare, you need to have licences to handle explosives, have your address registered as a storage area for explosives etc before you can even think of buying them. Shipping doesn't appear to be a problem - they stick them in a van and have them driven to you, for a princely sum - but it is an utter fucking nightmare to get hold of the big 'uns.

I don't see why they do it either, D-class motors aren't exactly likely to propel a warhead any significant distance. Then again, we have had the IRA and friends (and enemies!) on our doorstep for over twenty-five years now...

-Mark

over 75 years, actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342889)

and you haven't had the balls to do anything about them that whole time.

who knew the British would end up being so French.

"Stop! or we'll say Stop! again and let you shoot us anyway!"

Re:over 75 years, actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342922)

We had the balls not to take the easy path and murder every Irishman who looked askance at a Brit, and however hard it has been we can look forward to a peaceful resolution to something which could if handled badly have degenerated into a full blown civil war. As I seem to remember a few details about the French in Algeria, I would say that it's not very French at all :P

Re:over 75 years, actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342957)

Heh. You've *had* a civil war going on for all that time. Not as spectacular as some countries, but a civil war just the same. And you've let it drag on all this time without resolving a damn thing.

You can look forward to nothing except more slow bleeding and bombing and murder. They won't stop, not while you've got your panties flapping in the breeze.

Either finish the job your Army bungled in 1914, or get the hell out of Ireland. Those are your choices.

Re:over 75 years, actually (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342930)

what the fuck are you talking about?

for ever one of the fuckers that we take down, there's another New Yorkian shitbag ready to pay for four more

the USA is now, and always has been the root cause of Irish terrorism, just as it caused the Gulf War, created Israel and is trying to destroy Venezuelan democracy now

fuck the USA

Re:over 75 years, actually (1)

hplasm (576983) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342978)

What could be done, with all the US backing behind them?

Re:Worse than the UK! (0, Flamebait)

sxpert (139117) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342919)

Then again, we have had the IRA and friends (and enemies!) on our doorstep for over twenty-five years now...

if only the brits would stop trying to seize a piece of ireland like they have been for the last, say, 400 years, there would be no IRA to talk about

Re:Worse than the UK! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342942)

if only the brits would stop trying to seize a piece of ireland like they have been for the last, say, 400 years, there would be no IRA to talk about

So thats where we've going wrong!

Idiot.

Re:Worse than the UK! (0)

sxpert (139117) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342975)

well, that's proper history...
re-read real history books, not those rewritten by the UK gov...

Re:Worse than the UK! (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#5343020)

Britons COULDN'T GIVE A FUCK about Northern Ireland. It constitutes an ENORMOUS drain on UK resources, about 1 million feuding fuckwits and a bunch of sheep. Just about the only thing that NI's got going for it is a couple of decent motorbike road races, and even they're not as good as the TT.

95% of the British would gladly turn NI over to Eire tomorrow - it's the biggest pain in the arse ever.

Re:Worse than the UK! (1)

JonathanBrickman0000 (536903) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342961)

C-class motors were used on all of the Estes 'stock' 5500-footers twenty years ago.

Also being banned ... (5, Funny)

SuperDuG (134989) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342866)

Toy weapons (IE: Guns and Swords), as obviously these will be used for terrorist training devices. Why use the real thing, when you can go plastic.

Richard Simmons Videos - obviously a terrorist, have you see all those fat people "suffering to the oldies". Excercise is unamerican.

Chess Boards - Obviously the game of chess is nothing more than a war-game simulation with black and white pieces, obviously increasing racial tension.

Linux Operating System and all GNU Products - If I didn't know any better I'd suspect that someone must be funding these "free" projects, obviously since it's not American to give things out for free, it must be terrorism funding.

PokeMon - it's anime, obviously unamerican.

Honorable Mentions Include:

Duke Nuke Um Forever
The Flying/Electric Car
The True OJ Story
And ... silly putty (ain't nothing silly about it)

Will Slashdot be banned??? ... (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342938)

What happens next is "Slashdotters" will be considered potential terrorists!! Simple reasoning: why would a website help you build personal submarines and personal rockets?? I see a new slashdot-race developing - everyone who values personal security - better start reading slashdot.

Why? Because nobody is trustworthy anymore! What if my BOFH sysadmin builds a personal submarine and threatens me (the boss)? Can you see it now? We all need peronal submarines, rockets, nuclear reactors and personal 1024-bit encryption to our grey cells. Till then we can't be secure.

Re:Also being banned ... (1)

edwilli (197728) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342989)

I say give all the kids guns.
http://www.ny.lp.org/guns4tots.htm

Ah, the memories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342872)

When I was in college, we used to glue fins and the little straw directly on the engines, and made a rocket launcher out of a poster mailing tube. A nine-volt battery and a Radio Shack switch for a trigger and we were ready to go. There was a construction trailer down the road and we used it for target practice.

Good times.

ARSA has bigger problems than shipping rockets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342877)

Like the stupid name, for example. Also their lawsuit with the National Association of Rocketry.

All that said, I think the Patriot act restrictions that people transporting explosive cargos should be trained to deal with them safely is incredibly stupid. Would you expect a train driver to know how the storage requirements for HF? I thought not. Why require a truck driver to know the same thing for model rocket engines?

Re:ARSA has bigger problems than shipping rockets (4, Insightful)

MarvinMouse (323641) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342969)

What do they really need to be taught?

I just see it as:

"Okay, you see these engines... and now you see this flame. Don't put the engines near flame. Fire Bad."

It's like duh! It's not that hard to transport model rocket engines. But apparently we need to train them to Defcon 5 level Top Secret Marine training so they can drive those engines around without someone fearing a terrorist attack by the amazing Axis of Evil.

Man, the news in the states is reading more and more like a comicbook everyday. With Weapons of Mass Destruction, Axis of Evil, Terrorist attacks, etc. It's just a big farce now.

They should be already (2, Informative)

sharkey (16670) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342879)

The background checks will be more stringent than those used for baggage screeners at airports.

'Nuff said.

It might sound silly... (5, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342882)

...but when I was a teenager oh so many years ago, we actually did make destructive devices out of model rockets. No guidance system, but boy did they go BOOM when they hit their target (usually wrecked cars at a local junkyard) and the makeshift warhead went BOOM.

However that may be, outlawing them seems to be going a bit too far. A determined terrorist doesn't need a kit to build a bomb or even a crude missile.

You know.... (5, Insightful)

plazman30 (531348) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342886)

There's a boatload of stuff that be used in terrorist acts. Paper can start a fire. Rags and alcohol can also be used. Gasoline can be used to light a subway on fire. But somehow I don't see them banning gasoline or alcohol. So they have to pick on model rockets? A hobby that encourages people to learn about science in a fun way and encourages young minds to consider real careers.

You know, before I went into technology, I used to be a research biologist. Hobbies like Model ROcketry are what kept me interested in science as a kid led me to pursue all science.

You know, if we had recuiters for Pharmaceuticals stading outside of colleges offering new graduates 10.2 million over 3 years, then cancer would have been cured 10 years ago. Why do athletes, that contribute NOTHING to society, get paid the most in our society?

Re:You know.... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342949)

Because they do contribute. Or, at least people seem to think that they do, and then go ahead and buy a ticket to a game. The funds from that ticket pay the athlete.

I realize that this is obvious, but it helps set up my next statement:

Each individual gets to decide what they value. Your assigning no value to the contributions of a professional athlete does little to dissuade Joe Football from buying his ticket...

Re:You know.... (2, Insightful)

tgagnon (651625) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342962)

You know, if we had recuiters for Pharmaceuticals stading outside of colleges offering new graduates 10.2 million over 3 years, then cancer would have been cured 10 years ago. Why do athletes, that contribute NOTHING to society, get paid the most in our society? I don't see how offering medical graduates tons of money would help cure cancer, hell, most doctors are useless anyways. You go to the doctor, tell him whats wrong and he prescribes whatever drug that has been pushed upon him the most, why do they need to be payed millions for that?

And athletes get paid tons of money because they can do things most people can't do, even if they wanted to, plus they make up such a small percentage of the population. There are tons of people who make money doing useless things, you just hear about the athletes more often. Plus, I can garauntee that most athletes work harder at their jobs than you ever will.

Well... (1)

BlueGecko (109058) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342887)

...I'm not sure about a weapon of mass destruction, but if you jam a C-sized rocket into a heavily modified Alpha and launch it sideways at a crowd by accident (that whole safety key issue is for wimps, after all), I think we've got a weapon of mass panic (WMP).

Not that I'm speaking from experience.

Re:Well... (2, Funny)

sxpert (139117) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342958)

weapon of mass panic (WMP)
is that related to Windows Media Player in any way ?

Previous art (3, Funny)

inyercells (626695) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342896)

The nuns in my elementary school outlawed paper planes, spitballs, match flipping and other various incendiaries and projectiles decades ago. I hope Sister Mary Discipline claims prior art and stops this madness.

We need to rename the hobby. (3, Funny)

MongooseCN (139203) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342899)

Instead of using the nasty word "Rocket" we should rename the hobby the Vertical Paper Propulsion Game.

But really now, you'd need like, 50 Estes E engines to launch a hand grenade a few feet away. I think a terrorist is more likly to use a pickup truck to get a bomb around.

Main problem with U.S... (1)

latenat (652051) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342929)

U.S wants to control they way mini-rockets are distributed... yet they can't control now much of the missiles and WMA they sold to various arabic countries, including Iraqi... before doing law that are so narrow, they should secure the real threats first: themselves.

I'll miss them (-1, Troll)

imrdkl (302224) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342905)

But it's for the best, I suppose.

Reasons (5, Funny)

Root Down (208740) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342908)

It's because, on radar, they look just like stealth nuclear missles - at least until the little parachute pops open, but by then it's DEFCON5 anyway....

I imagine it's because they might be used to disperse chemical agents, though the best I was ever capable of was dispering little model rocket parts.

Didn't you know? (4, Insightful)

sporty (27564) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342912)

Didn't you know? Rocketry, especially model rocketry, is a well known secret art. With some bubble gum, a cardboard tube, an m-80 and some match shavings, we can make "weapons of mass destruction" that can traverse many miles from iraq to the US.

C'mmon. What's the sense in this. Really. Anyone could be as dangerous with a potato gun and be less conspicuous, since you don't have to set it up, aim it and fire. Anyone who wants to make a rocket can make one if they really want to.

Or maybe now we should just restrict banning play stations now that they have technology for guidance systems in them.

Very Sad (5, Interesting)

Spencerian (465343) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342927)

I've been launching rockets since I was six. I taught rocketry at a summer camp. Had to explain the facts of the Challenger incident to kids. Launching rockets perked them up and showed that, at least for them, life can go on.

Basic model rockets (not including the larger amateur rockets) can move fast, but I can't see their immediate danger to the public, as the Estes-type rockets stick to the =1 lb. rule, with very little medal, a plastic or balsa wood nose cone, and limited motor impulse, meaning that it can't lift anything huge. Any kid can tell you that a model rocket self-destructs easily when it strikes anything but air.

Now, I can see some yahoo loading up a Big Bertha payload rocket with a few grams of anthrax and trying to spread it over a neighborhood--that's a sad possibility. Much less likely to use these things as missiles as they just can't hold a lot of explosive charge and would only be dangerous enough in a salvo.

Also, model rockets of the store-bought type have basic aerodynamic stability with fins--no electronic guidance. So, even if the motor could burn long enough (which they can't--about 2-10 sec max), you couldn't guide the thing anywhere. The motors are solid, so there's no way to rig the basic rocket as a liquid-fuel missile, either.

I'd be more worried about R/C planes, which can carry more because they generate lift and can be guided over long distances.

It is time to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342935)

ban out Bush as a weapon of mass destruction...?

slashdot gone to hell (-1, Flamebait)

mobileskimo (461008) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342937)

Now I know its all gone to hell. First the Gates article with chrisd linking to http://www.dibona.com/ and his silly article from Focus which is an MSN site, now this!

When did Slashdot pass quietly on a frontpage article with an advertisement blipvert as a sig? Especially from someone whose email is michael@nospam ???

Is everyone still half-asleep?
the hobby I suspect many Slashdotters, being technology buffs, grew up with

He speaks as if he understands what a slashdotter is.

How does this affect fireworks? (4, Interesting)

wadetemp (217315) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342939)

Aren't those considered class 1 explosives as well? I've definitely seen fireworks with more propellant potential than an Estes rocket (just not the aerodynamics.)

Or are all these wussy shipping corporations who would rather piss customers off then deal with a regulation even touching fireworks in the first place? (It's not like they're made in the US, so I assume they get shipped to the netherregions of the US somehow...)

This is stupid (5, Insightful)

PitViper401 (619163) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342944)

This is stupid. Our government passes all sorts of laws restricting our rights even farther in order to stop terrorism despite the fact that a lot of the terrorist attacks against America have been over seas at our embassies and such places. But the government did such a good job of bolstering people's fears that people are willingly giving away their constitutional rights in order to be "protected from terrorist attacks".

Did this Happen Before? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5342947)

Is this the first time model rocketry has been "jeopardized"? I seem to remember not being able to do model rocketry back in the late 60's because of the paranoia over the Viet Nam war. Can anyone corroborate this?

Help (-1)

fish500 (208702) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342951)

If any mod sees this could you please help me. See I did a silly thing a while back: I tested how low my karma could go by posting dumb crap. Found out that -50 is the lowest you can get. Anyway I like my uid of fish500 - I use it everywhere. I'd like to start participating in /. again but I can only post at -1 so no one sees me. If any mod has any pity and some extra karma to throw my way it would be great to see if I could get back up to 0 karma. I know I could just create a new user but I'm sorta trying this method as a little experiment.

Thank you for your time.

Again the slashdot article bears no reality (4, Insightful)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342966)

References to Weapons of Mass Destruction have nothing to do with this issue. The fact that we are talking about rocket motors is only tangentially relevent. The issue is transportation of "explosive materials," and the new regulations due to the "Homeland Security." Sometimes there are legitimate concerns regarding potentially explosive devices. Remember that airplane crashing in Florida because of the fire in its cargo hold.

No argument that the changes may be excessive. But to claim the government is equating model rockets and weapons of mass destruction shows deliberate ignorance or a pure attempt to get reader reaction.

Ahh yes.. (3, Insightful)

Large Green Mallard (31462) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342970)

I think the TSA/Homeland Security/USPS is hell bent on making life difficult for everyone, on the rationale that at least one or two terrorists will be inconvenianced by it.

"We need ID for you to send this parcel!" .. so when the plane goes down, with 5000 packages on, we can work out who planted the bomb! Or at least, pull the list, and arrest without charging anyone with a middle eastern name.

"We're stopping terrorists!" .. well maybe. It's like saying, I would have won the lottery.. if only I'd played.

This is Absurd (1)

pngwen (72492) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342993)

The only injury I've ever suffered from an Estes Engine was when my rocket was caught in a tree and I broke my arm trying to retrieve it.

My forray into amateur rocketery (greater than 1Kg of propellant) was a different story entirely.

Strange that It'll now be easier to build the large amateur rockets than it will to build and fly model rockets. Boy what a winning combination that is!

As for weapons of mass destruction, no one could realistically think that a rocket with 62g of propellant could cary anything that could devistate much more than a football field, if even that. Mass destruction indeed! (Besides the article doesn't even mention that)

This sort of thing is exactly why we should never have let the supreme court appoint a dictator with an IQ in the double digits. Oh well, se la vive!

(R.E.P.U.B.L.I.C.A.N) Rightwing Extremists Preaching Untolerant Bable Like Insessant Children Ad Nauseum

Model rocketry under attack! (1, Flamebait)

joehill48 (634803) | more than 11 years ago | (#5342998)

If it takes the elimination of model rocketry to wake up Slashdotters to the scale of the attacks Bush, Ashcroft and co. are waging against our cherished freedoms, so be it. But people might want to consider that other things might be a little more important, like hundreds or thousands (we don't know) of people being locked up indefinitely, with no access at all to the outside world and no rights whatsoever. In the Third World, they call people in such situations "the Disappeared." The only way to save all the little things that are slipping away, like model rocketry, is to get together and take a stand around the big things like the wholesale gutting of the Constitution.

for great justice! (2, Interesting)

unborracho (108756) | more than 11 years ago | (#5343002)

Has the threat of terrorism really gotten so bad to the point that the government now thinks that estes rockets could now possibly be mass destruction weapons?

I hate to think of the day that my children, or my children's children won't be able to have the glory i had when i made my first 2-stage d-engine rocket... that was a good day...

Risks at the airport (5, Interesting)

Engelbot (24601) | more than 11 years ago | (#5343005)

We had a vendor come in and replace some equipment at work a while ago, and when we were talking during lunch, he said that one of his hobbies was model rocketry--he'd been doing it for several decades. All his jackets, bags, and shoes are covered in blackpowder residue.

He allots a good hour on top of the airlines' recommendations to get through security.

for the time being (1)

werdnab (556710) | more than 11 years ago | (#5343012)

I've built many of these over the years, and I enjoy building and launching them. But, considering how touchy we all are now, it is worth the wait until we can all relax and start enjoying these hobbies again.

It wouldn't take much to load a toy rocket with a bio/chemical agent and poision the water supply of a city. Granted, they will only carry small amounts, but a few grams of Anthrax did a lot of damage in DC.

We need to hunker down, defeat the enemy, and then we can think about having some fun again.

ACLU (4, Insightful)

duffian (603117) | more than 11 years ago | (#5343019)

Now is the time to stand up for your rights. Become a member:

www.aclu.org [aclu.org]

Arse News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5343028)

That would be almost as funny as the Mainichi Daily News [mainichi.co.jp] .

GF.

They are not outlawing the hobby... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5343030)

They are just placing restrictions on the shipment of the engines (explosives). Everyone here seems to be saying they are outlawing the rockets themselves because they can be used as a weapon. That isn't what the article was saying at all.


This makes me wonder what is happening with fireworks then. I know there are a lot of fireworks out there that have quite a bit more explosive force, and potental to be used in other ways. I'd bet on fireworks being banned long before the Estes Rockets.


But, Guess if they do ban the rockets, that means a lot less rocket geeks, and more computer geeks or game programmers. I also wonder how many kids will turn to biology since bugs can be found anywhere and extracting body parts hasn't been outlawed yet.


I just hope they don't outlaw these hobbys for kids, since as you know, Saddam does like to dismember his victims.

UPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5343032)

It just says that UPS isn't going to ship them anymore. Funny the Mark Lytle makes it sound like model rockets are being outlawed. The rest just puts limits on power. I can still by fireworks in many states, I don't think model rockets are in real danger, except people who like to do crazy stuff.

I could harm or kill people by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5343033)

throwing them a hammer, some heavy wood structure or strong punches, but I could also use the above to nail a picture in my living room.

On 9/11/2001 I, like many others, wrote here about the US government that would have fought back terrorists the wrong way (ie limiting individual freedom). Sadly we were right.

People, this thing is getting out of control. I'm lucky enough to live far outside the US, but for those who can change something with their vote I strongly suggest to think carefully next time before giving the wrong people a seat into the Whitehouse.

This DOES make sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5343035)

Of course no one thinks that model rockets are a weapon of mass destruction. But they probably do set off explosives detectors. It makes sense to classify them as explosives if they really are explosive and they set off the detectors. Think of how difficult it will be to find real dangerous explosives if other similar items like this are allowed to be shipped unregulated! Yes, I do see these little model rockets as a threat to homeland security. Not because they are a danger themselves, but because they help the really dangerous items to go undetected.
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