Saturday Links

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

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33 Responses to “Saturday Links”

  1. #1 |  Murc | 

    The e-cig thing BAFFLES me.

    And that comes from someone who is deeply supportive of banning ACTUAL smoking indoors in public spaces, and as the grandson and great-grandson of coal miners who, being sick and tired of their friends and family members dying at the age of 35 due to black lung, spent years fighting to force the government to force private industry to protect them from the deadly, deadly airborne chemicals that were a byproduct of their work.

    The only charitable interpretation I can think of is that the people involved legitimately do think that these things are, somehow, just like actual cigarettes, AND that nicotine by itself (absent a toxic tobacco-based delivery system) is someone incredibly dangerous, more dangerous than, say, caffeine. That there’s legitimate scientific illiteracy at work here.

    And that’s the CHARITABLE interpretation.

  2. #2 |  M | 

    So fill your E-Cig with nicotine free flavoring and go have a steam-in (vis smoke-in) protest.

  3. #3 |  EH | 

    It’s not scientific illiteracy, they just want to ban anything that even looks like a cigarette.

  4. #4 |  EH | 

    The Hoboken case is full of “duhhhhhhh.” Prosecutor Ron Venturi should be mocked severely and openly.

  5. #5 |  nospam | 

    This is what you get in an authoritarian society. Through decades of conditioning, more than 90% of the public isn’t happy unless someone is taking their money and telling them what to do. And god help you if you don’t like being treated that way. Even the most meek soccer mom will rabidly call for you to be beaten about the head and shoulders if you don’t go along with their authority fetish.

  6. #6 |  Stephen | 

    I wonder if the neverwet stuff would make my boat go faster if I sprayed it on the hull. Might also keep bird shit from sticking to my car.

  7. #7 |  Marty | 

    good on the guy fighting the hoboken govt about not providing his country of origin. I love immigrants fighting tyranny over in our country.

  8. #8 |  Marty | 

    the elderly animal pictorial is amazing- I couldn’t stop looking. Made me think of my old dog.

  9. #9 |  Jim Wetzel | 

    Woman in picture: “I think nicotine and propylene glycol vapor are wonderful things to breathe … and, Mr. Bystander, I think you should breathe them, too. So, here you go!”

    Bystander: “Wait a minute … what?”

    I have lots of reservations about government-imposed smoking bans in so-called “public places” which are often private property that is merely open to the public. But … what’s the difference between a ban on “E-” cigarettes and non-E cigarettes? In both cases, someone who’s decided to dose himself with this or that is also dosing whoever’s standing around.

  10. #10 |  EH | 

    Jim: Are you joking? What’s the effect of proximity with e-cigs?

  11. #11 |  Doubleu | 

    There are several photography sites dedicated to various abandon locations. The pictures on each site are fascinating and eerie. I always enjoy looking at pictures of things like that.

    The NeverWet stuff is the work of the devil.

  12. #12 |  Jim Wetzel | 

    No. Did you follow the link and look at the photo? If you’re standing near her, is she the only one who’s breathing propylene glycol and nicotine?

    As I said, I’m not in favor of these government bans. I just don’t see where the special outrage about this one comes from … unless it’s from a conviction that there’s some difference in principle between exposure of bystanders to aerosols resulting from combustion (smoke) and their exposure to aerosols generated otherwise. Just asking, is all.

  13. #13 |  Doubleu | 

    Re: abandoning e-cigs because they look like real cigs.

    The TSA wont allow images of guns on purses.

  14. #14 |  Greg | 

    Jim, burning a cigarette creates 4000 chemicals which, when released into a closed environment, has the capacity to, at the least, do some harm to minor children.

    E-cigarette vapor has been tested, and none of the 50 main carcinogens found in secondhand smoke are present. Additionally, unlike smoke, e-cigarette vapor doesn’t make it hard for bystanders to breathe. I have been in a room with 500 e-cigarette users, and another 100 spouses and friends who didn’t use e-cigs, and there was no sign that any person had any comfort problems.

    E-cigarettes are essentially mini-fog machines with some nicotine (which isn’t a carcinogen, and 98-99% is absorbed into the mouth/lungs), with the difference being that fog machines use more propylene glycol in a night than I probably use in six months to a year.

  15. #15 |  Bob | 

    The only thing that amazes me more than retards that want to ban E-cigs is the fact that Neanderthals are making a comeback in New Jersey. And apparently, they have jobs as Port Authority cops, Prosecutors, and Judges!

    There was a TV show on the History Channel about a tribe of Neanderthals in Jersey called “Scrappers”. It detailed their attempts to comprehend modern civilization as they blundered through their day. Very educational! It’s good that these atavisms from the past are being studied by the Scientific Community.

  16. #16 |  Jim Wetzel | 

    Greg (and EH): really, I’m not just trying to be obtuse about this, although I’m sure that’s how I’m coming across. But I’m really not seeing what the bright-line principle is whereby one ridicules bans against E-smoking and does not ridicule bans against non-E-smoking. I’ll freely admit that the idea of breathing this nicotinous pseudo-fog creeps me out pretty well, personally, but I’m certainly opposed to the Boston ban: I mean, you socialize in the 500-E-smoker room, I’ll socialize elsewhere, everybody’s happy, and voluntarism’s a fine thing indeed. Doesn’t the same apply to combustive smoking?

    And with that, I’ll back off and read. I’m sounding pretty obtuse to myself at this point.

  17. #17 |  a_random_guy | 

    @Jim: I think the point here is that the e-cigarette “smoke” is perfectly safe. From Wikipedia: “Because of its low chronic oral toxicity, propylene glycol was classified by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for use as a direct food additive.”

    That said, I expect that part of the motivation for banning e-cigs is the idea that they may tempt people into smoking real cigarettes. Whether that is right or wrong, I can’t say, but I see the argument.

    If it’s all about getting a nicotine fix, why not a stick of nicotine gum, a patch, or some other less obtrusive method. Why a miniature smoke generator?

  18. #18 |  Radley Balko | 

    If it’s all about getting a nicotine fix, why not a stick of nicotine gum, a patch, or some other less obtrusive method. Why a miniature smoke generator?

    Why not? Also, it doesn’t generate smoke, just vapor.

    I’d also imagine mimicking a cigarette helps people who are trying to quit better than a patch or gum.

  19. #19 |  Marty | 

    I hate smoking bans and I don’t smoke. People think businesses not supported by public funds are ‘public’ properties, subject to the whims of the majority. This e cigarette ban highlights how ridiculous the nannies are. They’ll be banning perfume and scented laundry detergent, next. Cabbies will have to get rid of their pine tree air fresheners.
    They’re taking 100 miles for every reasonable inch they were offered.

  20. #20 |  Bob | 

    If it’s all about getting a nicotine fix, why not a stick of nicotine gum, a patch, or some other less obtrusive method. Why a miniature smoke generator?

    Because it’s not just about getting a nicotine fix. It’s about an addiction, which is a complex set of behaviors and patterns set into the mind. It’s REALLY difficult for smokers to quit because of the myriad overlaps of all these habits and patterns.

    Treating cigarette addiction as if it’s simply a physical addiction to nicotine is as foolish and useless as telling obese people to “Just eat less food.”

  21. #21 |  CyniCAl | 

    Boston to World: do what the fuck we say or we’ll fuck you up.

  22. #22 |  CyniCAl | 

    #15 | Bob — “Neanderthals are making a comeback in New Jersey.”

    Bob, when I fled NJ in 1988, whatever sanity present at the time in that dismal fucking hellhole came along with me. I can assure you that Neanderthals have been in charge there forever and will remain so.

    Damn, I hate the Northeast. Philadelphia is the worst. There’s only about three city blocks in Manhattan that I can tolerate.


  23. #23 |  Carl-Bear | 

    @ #9/#12/#16 Jim:

    And the EPA says CO2 is a lethal pollutant that’s going to cause the planet to go up in flames (sadly, only a very mild exaggeration of its position). So if I catch you breathing in sorta-vaguely near proximity to me, I’m going to sue you, and maybe even file a criminal assault complaint.

    “The dose makes the poison.” – Paracelsus

  24. #24 |  Mr. Rearden | 

    The hedonic nature of puffing on an e-cigarette helps smokers to quit better than gum or patches.

    The hedonic nature of puffing on an e-cigarette is likely what is making the nanny-staters uncomfortable, not the actual contents of the vapor. They don’t like that you’re enjoying something they’ve deemed unhealthy.

  25. #25 |  H. Rearden | 

    Can we ban patchouli oil perfume? There nothing that turns my stomach more than that scent. There has to be some substance in it that is more lethal than e-cig vapor.

  26. #26 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 


    The EPA meta-study on “Environmental Tobacco Smoke” admits (PP33-36, somewhere in there, it’s a while since I read the dratted thing) that the highest level of exposure that they expected to encounter in the real world would amount to smoking two fifths of a cigarette a day. The ‘danger’ of being exposed to ‘secondhand smoke’ has been wildly exaggerated, by people who feel about tobacco they way that the Anti-Saloon League felt about alcohol; damn that facts, they KNOW it’s bad.. To then say that danger exists from being in the vicinity of someone ‘smoking’ an e-cigarette is a huge leap of (bad) faith.

    If secondhand smoke, and by extension secondhand e-cigarette steam, annoying? Sure. So are creepy christmas songs, Che shirts, and a lot of other things that people seem to feel compelled to share. Deal. With. It.

    Or keep pushing, and watch what happens when we replay Prohibition with Tobacco. Hint; the archetype of the Benevolent or Wise Drunk in popular culture seems to have originated with the Roaring 20’s, and we didn’t start getting over it until the 1970’s.

    As for why not the Gum or the Patches; why would somebody who enjoys nicotine want to put money in the coffers of the very people who constantly badger him?

  27. #27 |  BamBam | 

    @19 “They’ll be banning perfume and scented laundry detergent, next.” Already done in many government offices. My County Elections Office has this ban, and presented the other bans to me when I wanted to watch how they do voting machine validation (a joke), validate votes, etc. There were also distance bans (distance to the employees), verbal bans, even noise bans (no loud coughing, no sneezing, etc).

  28. #28 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 


    Seeing that coughing and sneezing are at least in part involuntary, how the pluperfect hell do they get away with that?

    Or hasn’t it been challenged yet?

  29. #29 |  Windy | 

    Some apt quotes about the nanny state:

    “I would rather live in a society which treated children as adults than one which treated adults as children.” — Lizard

    “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficial … the greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.” — Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, 1928

    “Virtually all reasonable laws are obeyed, not because they are the law, but because reasonable people would do that anyway. If you obey a law simply because it is the law, that’s a pretty likely sign that it shouldn’t be a law.” —?

  30. #30 |  c andrew | 

    Regarding NeverWet. Alec Guiness already invented this.

  31. #31 |  c andrew | 

    But I still think it’s pretty cool. There are all sorts of things I need to spray with this!

  32. #32 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Regarding neverwet; Am I the only person here who thinks that clothes sprayed with the stuff will be exquisitely uncomfortable?

  33. #33 |  croaker | 

    And notice we have yet another case of a persecutor upping the penalty just for forcing this to a trial. “Take my generous plea-bargain or I will put you in a cage with an HIV+ ass rapist for his enjoyment.” Sheesh.