Australian customs officials have made their first seizure of possibly-deadly "high intensity" laser pointers under newly introduced federal regulations. Some 1,200 of the fearful photon weapons were intercepted in the crackdown. "Unfortunately for a lot of people, the message is still failing to get through," said Oz Home …
A little exageration never hurt anyone...
"In recent months, dozens of laser attacks on aircraft", Um, maybe about four or five cases in the last year, but I guess that doesn't get the headlines buzzing.
Yep, high-powered lasers are forbidden weapons. Anything over 1 milliwatt classifies as a prohibited weapon here in Oz... and as a for a plasma rifle in the 40W range...
...land of rough-and-ready ex-cons: unafraid to wrestle alligators, brave clouds of six-pound mosquitoes, and sweat it out in 130-degree deserts - and terrified of console driving games, swear words on the internet, and laser pointers.
It boggles the mind that nobody has even noticed the potential for this kind of problem in the United States, let alone feel the need for draconian legislation, while the Aussies are apparently knee-deep in ruffians, rapscallions, hooligans, and ne'er-do-wells who want nothing more than to shoot down civil aircraft with laser cannons.
Obvious solution to the problem.
Small laser-guided bombs
Yer missed it, Lewis
A comment on your first piece about the Parramatta Flock says it got closed down after that incident. Sometimes pays to read the comments, mate.
At least they specify the limit, but...
How do we tell that the cheap market-stall laser, or the level from Lidl, is legal if we happen to be going to Australia?
If we don't bring the instructions/packaging, how do those fine protectors of the Australian environment know that a laser pointer is lawful?
This only seems a practical obstruction for wholesale imports.
Who ever thought
a news article would ever contain "In recent months, dozens of laser attacks on aircraft down under have been widely reported"
Reduce Aircraft Noise - install a laser art fixture
What a great idea - if you want to force aircraft to avoid your area, to cut aircraft noise, sponsor a laser art fixture.
If the artist is a black muslim lesbian activist, what is the chances of your "aircraft noise clearance" piece being refused by timid politically correct authorities?
Heathrow protestors take note.
Worth reading the comments
Sometimes - I'll give you that. Mainly it's like standing in a full bathtub on top of a hill in a thunderstorm wearing a copper hat and shouting "the gods are all bastards", though. As I thnk Terry Pratchett first said.
There's a name built for comedy!
Short for Robert.
You can see why he doesn't use the other colloquial.
It might reveal how his forefathers came to be in Oz!
Then he'd be the target for all those nasty, nasty laser pointer thingies.
A strong constitution
I believe the American's have a constitutional right to bare frickin' lasers ...
Mother Hubbard's naked lasers...
That'd be "bear frickin' lasers" madam!
No-one wants to see YOUR naked pointers!
Ms Hiltons, however...
Ban lamps and lenses!
A 100W lamp produces about 1300 lumens (1600 in the USA). 683 lumens of 555nm (green) light make a watt, so that is about 1.9W in all directions. A 5cm lens with a focal length of 10cm will collect 7% of the light into a parallel beam: 133mWatts. The beam will be 5cm across, but a pilot's pupil is only 5mm (in the dark), so the pilot only gets 1.33Watts. On the other hand, you are not going to be able to hold the beam steady on the pilot, so the wide beam from a lamp and a lens will be on the pilot's eyes for more time than the narrow beam from a laser pointer.
That is just with cheap kit. Try adding an extra lens to a projector. A projector has a more powerful lamp, and does a good job of getting most of that light onto your lens. You should be able to get the equivalent of a 25-30mW laser.
Poorly handled regulatory panic
The customs regulation was passed on 1 July with little notice or publicity. My job requires me to import/export networking goods and none of the newsletters from customs agents mentioned this new regulation -- and these are newsletters which mention events which may delay a shipment by a few hours.
So it's not surprising that shipments arrived in Australia without the correct documentation during July and August.
Related to the spate of laser illuminations of aircraft, the NSW state government passed a law to make laser pointers a weapon. This was remarkably poorly handled: not until well after the law came into effect could I get simple answers to questions like "will telecommunications company staff require weapons licenses to use visual fault indicators" (basically a big laser pointer shone down fiber) and "do handheld lasers need to be stored in a weapons-grade locker as opposed to a toolbox".
The answer to both questions is yes. This implies that people who have had a nervous or mental illness in the past will no longer be able to possess a firearm, that is, to be a telecommunications company optical systems technician. Similarly, techs should avoid a bad divorce, since the tactical use of an AVO by your partner will result in you losing your license.
I think we can safely say that the NSW state government hasn't fully considered the results of its legislation.
I wouldn't say that console driving games are targeted.
While the classification board considers games about spraying graffiti to be so bad that no one should be allowed to play them, they seem to be okay with games that promote illegal street racing ...
Whichever you are most comfortable with .. http://bellsouthpwp.net/j/o/jonfoote/dali/other/arms.html
Laser light is phase coherent
These laser thingies are nastier because the light all arrives in phase, the beam doesn't spread and is much narrower at the target. A non-coherent source just can't match it for intensity.
But, a camera lens plus some custom optics and a high power xenon flash tube can do some nasty things.
Paris, she knows about getting flashed.
DVD burners contain powerful red lasers
From a typical DVD burner it is trivially easy to extract a laser diode capable of 200 to 300mW emission of coherent red light which can be focussed to a very well collimated beam using a SLR camera lens or similar. These lasers are widely used by amateur holography enthusiasts because they are several hundred times more powerful than a typical laser pointer. Any ban will not be effective in the presence of even mildly competent miscreants, unless it also bans the import of all DVD burners.
The true reason...
All this hoo-har is to distract a Aussie public from the fact that Aussieland is drying up and that there isn't enough water to irrigate their crops, let alone produce masses of tinnies. So they have to find something to make them look the other way !!
Something about Aussies and sheep...
"In recent months, dozens of laser attacks on aircraft down under have been widely reported. "
The law's the law.
I wish you guys would stop picking on the laws passed by our Pollies. We pay bucket loads of perfectly good tax money for those wankers to totally stuff up "The Lucky Country".
There seems to be a logic flaw in the new law filtering machine. It chucks out anything useful and leaves us with, or I should say without, laser pointers. Someone needs to take a light-sword to their private members bills.
I kid you not.
There was a recent case here where a young man flashed his laser at a police helicopter. The police got him (and his car had concealed firearms no less). When asked why he did it, the man responded "he [the helicopter pilot] started it". Shallow end of the gene pool here, folks.
Surely other countries have such dickheads as well? How do they deal with it? Ours is a knee-jerk reaction.
Oh, and all incoming mail is screened 100% (xrays) and those bargain lasers from dealextreme are right on Customs' radar. Even small "personal use" shipments are confiscated.
Re: Yer missed it, Lewis
I'm not sure where the info on the "art" installation being shut down comes from (probably was for a week or so) but it's certainly back on and flashing it's little green lasers around now. As a resident of said area I regularly walk past/under/around the thing and it was certainly on the other night.
As for this being an issue... seems the whole laser pointer scare has calmed down, at least here in NSW anyway. Olympics, Obhama and Interest Rates are all the news stories now... that and Pamela Anderson visiting.
re: Laser light is (phase) coherent
unlike our politicians
"Such permits will only be issued to those with a legitimate use for the gadgets, such as surveyors and astronomers."
Surveyors - gotcha, those theodothingis use lasers.
Astronomers - why? "Oi, Gary, look through the 40" reflector. See that plane just coming into Mars International Spaceport? Watch what happens if I turn on the laser..."
Actually it's up and running again...
@ Lewis Page
You missed out the bit about 'whilst standing in a tin bath full of seawater' - Honestly if you're going to quote TP at least get it right.