Last fall I came across a story (and video) about the SALT Gun, a non-lethal home defense weapon. Think of a paint-ball gun except the balls are filled with some combination of chemicals that incapacitates. This video is what persuaded me to order one of these. And I like the idea of a weapon that won’t kill my drunken next door neighbor if he stumbles into the wrong house at 3 a.m.
After reading the operations manual and handling the gun for a bit, I decided to return it. (The company has a 30 day return policy.) Here are a few of the reasons I decided not to keep the gun. First, from the ops manual:
Pressurize the SALT Gun only when it will be immediately used.
At 2:00 a.m., in the dark, with a stranger in the house… will my wife remember this extra step?
Firing the SALT Gun – Eye protection must be worn by the user.
I’m guessing this something they have to put in the operations manual but it raises the question: Is this device save for my wife to use? Must she keep safety glasses with the gun?
I found the Trigger Safety Button hard to operate. Had to push very hard and fiddle with it to move it to either position.
And finally, I found the gun bulky, a bit heavy for a woman and generally unwieldy. This might be the perfect solution for some… but not for us.
This one is for posterity. I haven’t seen or heard from Craig Watson since the 50s. Our fathers worked together at KBOA (Kennett MO) back in the day before Craig’s family moved to Memphis, TN where his dad was a well-known TV sports reporter. We were born on the same day so I wound up with some photos. If you’re out there, Craig… hey! call me.
Cosmologist Max Tegmark says “consciousness is the way information feels when it’s being processed.” This Ted Talk runs about 15 minutes and is one of the rare discussions of consciousness that I can almost follow.
In 1984 I went to work for Learfield Communications. At that time the company operated state and regional radio networks and had recently switched from delivering that audio programming by satellite (from land lines). Among other responsibilities, I did affiliate relations which meant keeping our affiliate radio stations happy. One of the big technical challenges in those early days was the quality of our satellite audio feeds. Really bad with some of our networks. In an effort to address these concerns I set up a closed circuit conference call — sometime in the late ‘80s — during which engineers from our affiliate stations could call in and ask questions of our technical staff. Kent Malinowski was head of our satellite division (Mark Lucas and Cathy Zeiler worked with him); and Charlie Peters, Learfield’s chief engineer)
I’m archiving the audio of this call here for posterity. No idea who might ever listen to this bit of Learfield history (or why).
Part 1 (30 min) – Part 2 (30 min) [It might be necessary to download these mp3 files before listening]