The word "taser" comes from an old racist science fiction novel

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Taser inventor Jack Cover named his gadget after a zapper from Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle, a 1911 YA science fiction novel by Victor Appleton that tells the story of a hero who travels to Africa to get rich by killing elephants for their ivory, and who encounters racist caricatures of "natives" who he fights off with his "electric rifle." Read the rest

What getting tased looks like at 28,500 frames per second

taser

The Slow Mo Guys said "do tase me, bro"—and filmed the results for posterity. The footage was captured with the Phantom v2511 camera. [via Digg]

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Video: "Tase" me bro

Patrick Hall's slow motion video of people being tased zapped with a handheld stun gun. Read the rest

Make taser-proof clothing with carbon-fiber linings

On Hackaday, Shenzhen demonstrates some proof-of-concept "taser-proof clothing" created by adding carbon fiber to the clothes' lining. The carbon fiber textile can be procured in a variety of forms, including upholstery fabric (58" wide, $19.50/yard) and peel-and-stick 50cm tape rolls (this is vinyl, not carbon fiber). Shenzhen claims this will work even if the taser's prongs get to the wearer's body: "Electric current flows through the carbon tape and not through the human body. Always. Even if the taser's needle pierced the skin." Read the rest

Texas cop repeatedly tazes the Statue of Liberty

A Fort Worth, TX cop told a guy in a Statue of Liberty suit to move along from the road-median where he was advertising Liberty Tax Services. Lady Liberty did not immediately comply ("Get away from me! What are you doing? Go talk to my boss!") so the cop tazed the Statue of Liberty. Three times. As Lowering the Bar points out, this has bad optics.

People in Liberty suits have rights, too, but not the unrestricted right to solicit customers from a median. While this does implicate the First Amendment, it would be the kind of time, place, and manner restriction that usually passes muster. The situation would be different if a local government tried to completely ban the use of such "moving signs" or (as I prefer to call them) "business mascots," which of course is something that has happened before. See "The McHenry Code," Lowering the Bar (Sept. 6, 2006).

b Coincidentally, that incident (which happened in Illinois) also involved "Lady Liberty," as well as the Verlo Mattress Factory's "Mattress Man," a 4-by-3-foot ambulatory mattress with "comically large hands." McHenry's city council had decided that such "live moving signs" were distracting drivers (which is part of the point of having one) and causing a nuisance because people honk at them. (The council also threw in an alleged "safety risk" to the person in the costume, saying they might get heatstroke.) If I recall correctly, the council later reversed itself on the complete ban, thus giving Liberty some limited freedom.

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