The Chapel Feralous

ArcanePerspectives.vs.MundaneTimes

Reach for the lasers!!! April 21, 2008

BE A-FEARED!!! BE VERRRRY A-FEARED!!!

LASER POINTERS CLASSED AS WEAPONS IN AUSTRALIA

(Weapons of MASS DESTRUCTION, at that!!!)

“FRIKKIN MEDIA BEAT-UP!”

As an ex-laser printer technician and having an avid interest in futuristy-type stuff, I’m pretty annoyed with the whole overreactive hype surrounding the new laser menace!  It seems every idiot and his (retarded) dog has something to say about the evils of lasers… and I do mean idiot… take the perfection on this one:

Laser possession to attract a jail terms

April 21, 2008 – 5:35PM

Carrying a high-powered laser without a permit could attract a 14-year jail term under tough new NSW laws designed to reduce the potential for “mass murder” resulting from laser attacks on planes.

The proposed legislation, which has been modelled on NSW knife laws, will also make it an offence to carry any kind of laser in public without a reasonable explanation.

Under the proposed legislation, high-powered lasers – category 3 and 4 devices – will be classed as prohibited weapons, and possessing one without a permit will be an offence punishable by up to 14 years in jail.

Police will also be able to frisk anyone suspected of carrying a laser (FB’s note-!!!), and anyone unable to provide a lawful excuse for possessing one could face two years’ jail and a $5,000 fine.

NSW Premier Morris Iemma said the laws were in response to a spate of incidents in which aircraft were targeted with lasers.

Most recently, an air ambulance was picked out by a laser over Sylvania on Saturday night.

The lasers, depending on their strength, can temporarily or even permanently blind pilots, with potentially horrific consequences, Mr Iemma said.

“We are introducing new laws to stop the potential for mass murder when it comes to these hand-held lasers,” he said.

Make no mistake, they are lethal weapons.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the new powers would make it easier to prosecute people who misused lasers.

“These are stupid people doing stupid things, turning these lasers from what they were supposed to be into lethal weapons,” Mr Scipione said.

In the past, police had to catch people in the act of misusing lasers to prosecute them, he said.

The laws will be introduced into the NSW Parliament in May and Mr Iemma said he hoped they could be adopted nationally.

The legislation complements the recent Commonwealth ban on importing high-powered lasers, which can be purchased online for as little as $US50 ($A53.63).

The Australian and International Pilots Association welcomed the plan, saying a national ban would be the best way to deal with the problem.

Teachers, astronomers and builders, who will be among those affected by the laws, accepted the ban on condition it did not interfere with their work.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) supported keeping lasers “out of the hands of idiots“.

“As long as that doesn’t end up impinging on the people that actually require them for work,” CFMEU spokesman Tim Vollmer said.

Western Sydney Amateur Astronomy Group president Gerry Aart accepted the proposed laws were sensible but said his organisation only used weak lasers as a “brilliant tool” for pointing out phenomena indistinct to the naked eye.

However, Australian Optical Society president Professor Hans Bachor said the blanket ban was an overreaction.

“You can’t point (low-powered lasers) at any aircraft over a distance – the effect wouldn’t be big enough,” he said.

Many people used such pointers and the proposed ban could create a headache for police and the community, he said.

>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<

Can a laser pointer harm a pilot?

Legal laser pointers cannot harm a pilot.

Legal laser pointers, with light output of less than 5 mW (5/1000 of a watt), are relatively weak. They are so weak that, at close range, it is difficult or impossible to cause confirmed eye damage. For example, the Mayo Clinic study mentioned above showed no damage to the retina even after a 15 minute exposure to a legal (5 mW) laser pointer. This is echoed by Canadian laser regulators who state that laser pointers cause eye damage only “if you look directly into the beam from a laser pointer for more than a minute and a half in a very steady manner.”

In aircraft incidents, it is safe to say that absolutely no eye damage could occur from even the brightest legal laser pointer. The aircraft would be well beyond the 50 foot range of eye hazard, the aircraft is moving at high speeds, the pilot would naturally blink or avoid the light, and the beam’s light would spread out due to the large laser-to-aircraft distance.

Even illegal laser pointers are not a great concern. For example, if an illegal laser pointer is five times brighter, the eye hazard distance increases to 250 feet. This is still a relatively short distance. This short distance, coupled with the aircraft’s movement and the pilot’s normal blink/avoidance mechanism, would protect the pilot from permanent damage.

Finally, eye damage limits were set conservatively, with a “safety margin”. If you are exposed to laser light at the eye damage limit, it would be unlikely in most people to cause permanent damage.

What concerns experts is not eye damage, but the brightness of laser pointers. This can cause distraction or other visual effects.

*****************************************************

Anyway, lasers get used in so many different ways these days, it’s gonna be interesting to see how the licensing system for “legitimate laser possession” will pan out…

So… ummm… if you use lasers for anything, or have anything to say regarding them, drop me a line.

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