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Some people use strong magnets as fake tongue or cheek piercings.


I'm not saying this is a valid reason to ban the sale of these items. (Sell anything, so long as you make clear warnings about non-obvious risks. Thus, a chainsaw doesn't need much warnings, because it's a chainsaw. But little magnetic balls which are very appealing to children but also dangerous - yep, give them some clear warnings.)

There has to be a point where we just throw our hands up and say the person deserves a darwin award. I don't think there has really been any epidemic concern over teenagers swallowing these though, and I don't think younger children use these as fake piercings.

Well, that escalated.

I kind of agree. That's why I mentioned chainsaws. This instruction manuel for a Stihl chainsaw is, I think, good. There are many pages of warnings. Most of them are informative and address real problems - page 4 talks about why this chainsaw is a special use saw. There are no "Don't hold the wrong end" warnings here.


Some things are dangerous. Everyone can reasonably know they're dangerous, and we don't need to withdraw those items from sale. Other items are dangerous, but those dangers are not obvious, and even though we put warnings on the objects we still find people being harmed.

Again, I'm not sure that harm is enough to force some items off the market. Maybe just bigger, better, warnings.

Well then you're proposing that we should have issued 1,700 "Darwin awards" since just 2009, almost all of them to small children.

I think it's much less likely that you actually mean this, and more likely that you haven't read much about the CPSC's side of this story.

I think it is pretty clear that I am refering to teenagers eating magnets getting a Darwin award, not children..... Talk about uncharitable interpretations.

I think it's pretty clear that I don't think you're OK with little kids being hurt by magnets.

Is being obtuse a sport for you?


Yes. I thought saying "I think it's unlikely you actually think little kids should get Darwin awards" communicated that he wasn't writing callously, but just hadn't considered the CPSC's side.

Given your continued insistence on trying to change the argument to one about the elimination of all small round magnets, I can only assume that you're either trolling or just completely unwilling to think about other people's positions. You certainly don't come across as stupid enough for it to be anything else.

That is to say, given the rather high quality of your other contributions to the site, I can't imagine that your posts here are only accidentally coming across as obtuse. Perhaps I'm wrong! It's been known to happen.

Mostly I just got the impression of someone trying to invoke condescension. Have you just never heard of cost-benefits? Otherwise, elaborating a bit more might make your points less opaque.

cost/benefit? There are plenty of affordable substitute goods for toy magnets.

That's one source of negative utility in this case. A general cost-benefit analysis of this policy decision would need to take into account quite a few more.

Anyway, I was referring to tptacek's apparent failure to consider that someone might think some finite number of deaths acceptable.

I have no problem with that. The only issue I have is when people cast a data-driven policy decision about a relatively dangerous novelty item as some kind of ignorant overreach.

'Ignorant overreach' is a value judgment, even if it doesn't sound quite like one. We can disagree about which data is relevant and how it should drive policy, and end up right back where we started.

The only ways out (that I can see) are to either talk about the disagreement itself or ignore each other and go back to lobbyist fights.

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