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> What dreams may come in the days without toy safety regulations., Atomic Energy Labs and Cap Guns
hyzmarca
post Feb 14 2009, 04:42 AM
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The Atomic Energy Lab, the Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab and the Porter Atomic Energy Kit are pure awesomeness in the form of children's educational toys. How many other toys contain radioactive materials, including Uranium? I don't know, but the ones that do probably don't advertise it so enthusiastically. These toys date back to the time when everyone knew that nuclear power was the most awesome thing ever, before the anti-proliferation people ruined it for everyone. You can't find these in stores anymore.

In the old days, one could buy a children's chemistry kit that was sufficiently complete to serve as the basis for a methamphetamine manufacturing operation. Today's chemistry sets are woefully incomplete, mostly because the government won't let companies market some of the more interesting chemicals to children. And this really messes up the education of today's kids, as evidenced by this article.

In the old days, one could buy a realistic toy pistol that didn't have any sort of gaudy safety orange paint. Then there was a huge uproar about inner city cops possibly mistaking toy guns for real ones and killing kids. And now everyone suffers. Perhaps, teaching kids to not point things that look like guns at cops might have been a better idea. But, alas, that was never considered.

Unlike government, which fears that which it does not understand, such as science and black kids with guns, corporations thrive on innovation and imagination and risk. The Megacorps need to encourage the next generation, as much as they can, so it makes sense they they, freed from the evil tyranny of the devil-spawn known as the Consumer Products Safety Commission, would reintroduce toys of awesomeness that were formerly banned.

If you want Little Johnny and Little Jenny to make full use of their Cerebral Boosters, you need to give them toys that stimulate and educate them, toys that contain explosive precursors and uranium, among other things. If they want little ork boys to grow into violence-loving fodder for their military and security forces, they need toy guns that don't suck. If your kids' Matrix games don't include some grey IC then how will they ever learn to be good at cybercombat? The answer is that they won't, and they won't grow into the seven-figure salaried corporate deckers that you know that they can be.

Will there be model rockets? Hell yes. Will there be lawn darts? Of course. Will your Red Ryder have sufficient muzzle velocity to kill a devil rat? Most certainly.


The Sixth World is a dystopia of sorts, and dystopias usually hit kids the hardest; after all, they are the least able to defend themselves. Certainly, the ones who live off of half-eaten garbage and the little bit money they get giving nickle blowjobs to tourists aren't exactly in good shape. But the ones who live in middle class suburbia are neck deep in pure awesomeness, while the lower class SINers can still enjoy jingoistic entertainment designed to mold then into good little soldiers.

And the fun a Shadowrunner can have with this stuff should be just as boundless. A child's chemistry kid, a child's model rocket, few household cleaners, and a length of PVC pipe get you an inaccurate yet effective RPG. The uranium from kids atomic energy kits can be melted into armor piercing bullet cores, though you'd need so many kits that it would be more effective just to buy either the bullets or a few blocks of pure uranium on the black market. BBguns, modified to fire at unsafe muzzle velocities and loaded with unusually dense ammo, can do a number on small rodents, both allowing barrens squatters to hunt for some food and providing runners with an innocuous weapon of dubious effectiveness. And, most importantly, yet most stupidly, if you can't find a real gun you can fake it with a cap pistol you grabbed from an impulse-buy rack at the Stuffer Shack.

There are few limits to the products that can be brought to market in a world where the corporations have nothing to fear from the CPSC, and fewer limits on the toys that can be brought to market in such an environment, and even fewer limits on the insane uses that Shadowrunners could possibly find for those toys. The government thinks that terrorists can use children's model rockets to shoot down airplanes, which is why you need a license to buy them these days. Care to give it a try? It'll be fun, I promise.
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Draco18s
post Feb 14 2009, 06:51 AM
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I now wish I was a kid in the 50s. Uranium ore! IN THE MAIL! (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
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pbangarth
post Feb 14 2009, 07:12 AM
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I was there (born in '53). I had that chemistry set. It was awesome.
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Draco18s
post Feb 14 2009, 08:07 AM
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QUOTE (pbangarth @ Feb 14 2009, 02:12 AM) *
I was there (born in '53). I had that chemistry set. It was awesome.


Bastard. I wasn't born for another 32 years.
*Angry fish shake*
Er fist. Yeah. Angry fist shake. Though shaking fish angrily is fun too.
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hobgoblin
post Feb 14 2009, 08:31 AM
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i would say that bigger corps sont like risk, at least not the ones that can have a impact on their bottom line.
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Tachi
post Feb 14 2009, 10:11 AM
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Ah yes, hearkening back to the good ol' days before the government decided I needed to be protected from myself. God I hate 'Nanny State' society and the morons who made it possible (notice, I didn't say 'necessary'). There was a time when the kid who swallowed two many marbles didn't grow up to have moronic kids of his own. Unfortunately, medical science now saves the idiots, too, and the rest of us have to live by the rules written for them.

The modern desire to remove all reality from every child's life is, IMO, a great disservice to society and the children themselves. Hell, I call them 'little rubber people' for a reason.

I can only hope that by 2070 a child will be able to blow up the garage, jump off the roof, murder helpless little furry animals (my personal favorite during childhood), and generally raise hell, just like when I was a little boy. It'll be good for them. Seriously. Stop looking at me like that! I'm not crazy, you're the crazy one!
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Rad
post Feb 14 2009, 10:11 AM
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Well, at least Etch-a-Sketches are still filled with powdered aluminum.

Stock up, never know when some dumbass parent will get them banned. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
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hobgoblin
post Feb 14 2009, 10:19 AM
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QUOTE (Tachi @ Feb 14 2009, 11:11 AM) *
Ah yes, hearkening back to the good ol' days before the government decided I needed to be protected from myself. God I hate 'Nanny State' society and the morons who made it possible (notice, I didn't say 'necessary'). There was a time when the kid who swallowed two many marbles didn't grow up to have moronic kids of his own. Unfortunately, medical science now saves the idiots, too, and the rest of us have to live by the rules written for them.

The modern desire to remove all reality from every child's life is, IMO, a great disservice to society and the children themselves. Hell, I call them 'little rubber people' for a reason.

I can only hope that by 2070 a child will be able to blow up the garage, jump off the roof, murder helpless little furry animals (my personal favorite during childhood), and generally raise hell, just like when I was a little boy. It'll be good for them. Seriously. Stop looking at me like that! I'm not crazy, you're the crazy one!


im tempted to blame it on lawsuit happy ambulance chasing lawyers.

the insurance companies gets slapped around in court, tells their lobbyists to putt pressure on the legislators, and the ball starts rolling...
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Tachi
post Feb 14 2009, 11:05 AM
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I think the lawyers are just a symptom of a larger 'disease'. Instead of being responsible, raising your kids, and teaching them common sense (which was VERY common once, keep in mind the definition of common sense (in my 1953 Websters) is: The minimum amount of intelligence necessary to survive an average day), it's much easier to blame the people who made the product and forgot to remind you not to let your kid put the plastic bag over his face. Like... uh... DUH!

But hey, I grew up on a farm. If you lived or worked on a farm and had no common sense, you didn't survive long enough grow up, even in the 1980s.
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Rad
post Feb 14 2009, 11:14 AM
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I blame society. It's stated purpose is to allow the incompetent to survive, although they don't quite put it that way.
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Tachi
post Feb 14 2009, 11:36 AM
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While that might be a tad harsh given that there are many useful people who cannot survive without civilized society (like Stephen Hawking), you're mostly right that that seems to have become society's main concern. Shepherding the incompetent. I say, let 'em sink or swim based on their own abilities and usefulness. The seriously handicapped shouldn't be left to die, but neither should idiots be protected from themselves or released from the consequences of their actions. If nothing you do has any consequences, good or bad, then nothing you do has any meaning whatsoever.
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hobgoblin
post Feb 14 2009, 11:36 AM
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QUOTE (Rad @ Feb 14 2009, 12:14 PM) *
I blame society. It's stated purpose is to allow the incompetent to survive, although they don't quite put it that way.

i dont have a problem with them surviving, the problem is breeding and getting into positions of power...
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Tachi
post Feb 14 2009, 11:40 AM
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QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Feb 14 2009, 04:36 AM) *
i dont have a problem with them surviving, the problem is breeding and getting into positions of power...


Hear, hear.
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Browncoatone
post Feb 14 2009, 11:53 AM
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Though I share the author's disdain for the sad state of political correctness, I disagree that corporations will be totally unfettered by government safety laws even in the distopian future of Shadowrun. In a world where you can slap on some electrodes and literally live someone else's life experiences, where would the need for a physical product of such dangerous potential come from? What kind of fun/learning can't be had with simsense and/or augmented reality games? And if you can plug yourself into a glorified TV and get the same thing, why bother with the risk and liability of a real chemistry set?

The reason that such dangerous toys were available in the mid 20th is that no adult had bothered to consider how they could be abused. America's youth taught them how and the adults over-reacted when they saw what their negligence had yielded.

The funny thing is that the youth of today continues to surprise and educate their elders by finding new ways to abuse emerging technologies in ways their designers never intended. Case in point: Youths in Australia, having been busted for speeding by a photo-radar van, managed to get a life-sized photograph of that van's license plate which they of course put over the license plates of their car and proceeded to race through the intersection monitored by that very same photo-radar van. About three weeks later the police received 17 speeding violations for their photo-radar van sent to them by...their photo-radar van.

Some American teens, not to be out done by their like-minded counterparts down-under, have begun to use photo-radar vans as a weapon. In revenge or spite, they'll acquire a life-sized photo of the target's license plate and then put it on a car the same color, some times even the same make, as the target's and go speeding past a radar van or purposely run a red light with a photo enforcement unit deployed.

Obviously this wasn't the intended function for which the technology was developed and deployed and the legislatures are beginning to react to the abuse with new laws.

Can you imagine what a teenager in 2070 would do with a patch of CleenTac ™, a lightstick, a blank RFID chip, a roll of fishing line, a dry erase marker and some Pepper Punch? Me neither, but I'm sure it's not what the designers intended!

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GreyBrother
post Feb 14 2009, 12:04 PM
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What's the purpose of the Cracking Skill Group? Exploiting a device to work not the way it was intended to work.

But i salute to Tachi. He reads my mind.
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hobgoblin
post Feb 14 2009, 12:13 PM
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as they say, the street finds its own use for tings.
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Rad
post Feb 14 2009, 12:18 PM
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QUOTE (Tachi @ Feb 14 2009, 03:36 AM) *
While that might be a tad harsh given that there are many useful people who cannot survive without civilized society (like Stephen Hawking), you're mostly right that that seems to have become society's main concern. Shepherding the incompetent. I say, let 'em sink or swim based on their own abilities and usefulness. The seriously handicapped shouldn't be left to die, but neither should idiots be protected from themselves or released from the consequences of their actions. If nothing you do has any consequences, good or bad, then nothing you do has any meaning whatsoever.


Explain how Stephen Hawking is useful? Quantum physics has effectively proven science and the quest for knowledge to be futile. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
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Tachi
post Feb 14 2009, 12:20 PM
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*Returns GreyBrother's salute*


@ Browncoatone

I can concede your point, in a way, but I don't necessarily agree. But, that's just probably because I was the kind of kid that fished with Grandpa's Dynamite, made 'apple bombs', constructed shuriken and other weapons out of scrap iron, rebuilt irrigation motors (under supervision, those things are expensive), drove tractor (without supervision, I'd already been driving two years), and wandered off with my own rifle in the afternoons to murder prairie dogs, at 8 years old. It's all about how the kid is trained by his parents (or in my case, Grandpa). I got beaten when I deserved it, and I got praise when I did things right without having to be told (if you have to be told then it is training and involves no personal initiative, i.e. requires no praise). If I ever have kids, I'll teach them the same way. Of course, my Grandpa was the type that can make you feel an inch tall with a look, or, make you feel like you saved the world with only two words. He was the kind of man that people respected instinctively, and that type make the best teachers. I haven't mastered that, yet.

QUOTE (Rad @ Feb 14 2009, 05:18 AM) *
Explain how Stephen Hawking is useful? Quantum physics has effectively proven science and the quest for knowledge to be futile. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)

He makes me laugh when people do impersonations of him. That's more than enough for me.
(mechanical monotone)
Oh yeah baby, lick it there, yeah, yeah, like that you whore.
(/mechanical monotone) (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif)
Plus, if you ever need someone to listen to your ideas, then come back a year later to tell you that though you were technically right, your rush to judgment compromised your results, and next time you should calm down and work on it for 10 years before publishing, he's definitely your man. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)


Back on topic, I think hyzmarca is right on this one. The Corps are likely to revert to a (controlled) survival of the fittest policy among kids, and especially teens, in the hope of creating better, more competent/cutthroat executives. I would if I were them, after all, it's not like they have to answer to the government or even parents, except insofar as it affects their stock prices or consumer satisfaction (don't want them to quit buying our stuff after all).
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Draco18s
post Feb 14 2009, 04:44 PM
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Right, they're not going to make baby toys using lead paint to see who survives, but they'll certainly make toys that are dangerous if you don't follow the instructions and start doing shit willy nilly (say...hitting that uranium ore with a hammer).

Case and point, anyone see the article about the 49 year old man who accidentally shot the host at his neighbor's super bowl party? Cop left a gun on the table--loaded and safty off--and the guy picked it up.

Forty Nine years old and did stupid shit with a gun. Fine, he was drunk so he didn't take certain precautions ("is it loaded?") but still.
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hobgoblin
post Feb 14 2009, 05:39 PM
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i wonder what kind of cop leaves a loaded gun on a table...
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Draco18s
post Feb 14 2009, 06:14 PM
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QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Feb 14 2009, 12:39 PM) *
i wonder what kind of cop leaves a loaded gun on a table...


I have no idea. The article in the paper was all about the guy who got shot and the guy who did the shooting.
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Browncoatone
post Feb 14 2009, 11:46 PM
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Bear in mind two things with regards to safety standards:

#1 Just because the corporations enjoy extra-nationality on their property doesn't mean they don't have to obey the law (and hence, have legal liability) outside of their property.

#2 Major corporations may very well be forced to obey the law, but they also have a hand in making the law.

Case in point: the Daisy Outdoor Products corporation which manufactures virtually all domestically produced BB guns was instrumental in passing legislation requiring an orange or red barrel on all toy guns or replicas imported into the country. That means that when I purchased my fully automatic electric airsoft rifle from China (Japan doesn't sell them directly to the States) it came with a removable orange barrel tip installed and a free matte black barrel tip included. Why does Daisy give a damn about airsoft rifles so much that they spent time and money getting a law passed that required airsoft rifles to have orange barrels? Because it helps them retain their commanding position in the domestic BB gun market.

Don't you think that the megacorps of 2070 are going to use the same methods to maintain their market share against upstart companies that threaten their product lines?

This doesn't mean that society won't change and come back into the realm of commonsense when it comes to what toys can or cannot be sold, but I do think it wouldn't be as extreme as some imagine it could be.
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Dumori
post Feb 15 2009, 01:30 AM
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[rant]
This current climit annoys me. Gone are the days of harmless tinkering. FFS even rock climbing get looked down on i a sence of why risk your life, amuter pantechnicons are views as nigh on suicidal. I have an odd habit of designing weapons learning as much as i can all the physics behind my plans often they hit huge walls my rapid firing crossbow needed a strong flexible arm that would survive the rapid firing and as a physical test would likely but me in jail its not worth any monetary investment. My dabbling into electromagnetic weaponry again was dropped due the the climit of making a deadly item means you will use it to kill millions and odd idea give that gangs of 16 year old have got HMGs and to the best of my knowledge have not been raided. I sadens me that out of fear I have stoped exploring an area of science that interests me alot.
[/rant]
However in 2070 i can see some items that are controlled coming back in to favor only due to lacking concern over them when terrorist have used nukes and other powerful items. When the fear over a low grade bomb would drop. When guns are common place who would care about replicas? yes poor jimmy could get kill waving one about but who would really care. I can see many items being freely available via legall and common less than legal sources. Toys wise we know there are drone capable of robbery and murder that a kid can easily pick up they also rock at framing software updates and running bot nets. Tasers and knock out gas would be also easy to pick up at least more that today god i can see parents in the 2070's giving there kids these thing to protect them selves with downtown Seattle being hoem to more that one violent street gang.
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Crusher Bob
post Feb 15 2009, 04:37 AM
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QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Feb 15 2009, 01:39 AM) *
i wonder what kind of cop leaves a loaded gun on a table...

I'd assume it was a Glock, which are safe to leave with a round in the chamber. As long as you don't pull the trigger, anyway... and if you are pulling the trigger, I'd assume you want to shoot something.
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Tachi
post Feb 15 2009, 09:02 AM
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QUOTE (Crusher Bob @ Feb 14 2009, 09:37 PM) *
I'd assume it was a Glock, which are safe to leave with a round in the chamber. As long as you don't pull the trigger, anyway... and if you are pulling the trigger, I'd assume you want to shoot something.

Agreed. I carry an M&P40 with a trigger safety only, fully loaded, all the time. It's fully the fault of the person who picked it up and pulled the trigger. I've never had an ND in the 24 years I've been shooting. Though the cop was an idiot for leaving it on the table.
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