There’s a time and place for laser pointers, those tiny, handheld devices that emit a steady stream of light. Middle-school classrooms, for one. Boardroom presentations, for another.
This concept evades some New Yorkers, like Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s homeland security chief, who have found other, creative uses for the technology. The laser pointer Jerome M. Hauer used to point to something during an October presentation on the response to Hurricane Sandy was attached to the barrel of his handgun, according to a new report from Albany’s Times Union. The move shocked the Swedish officials in attendance:
These officials, one of whom claimed to be an eyewitness, said that three Swedish emergency managers in the delegation were rattled when the gun’s laser tracked across one of their heads before Hauer found the map of New York, at which he wanted to point.
Moral of the story: Don’t use your laser-equipped gun as a presentation tool.
Other New Yorkers have used laser devices to point at something much farther away, like airplanes. In 2013, reports of laser pointers aimed at runway-bound planes jumped 17 percent compared with 2012, from 64 incidents to 75, The New York Times reported in October.
Such beams of light can easily distract pilots, and even temporarily damage their vision. “Several commercial pilots earlier this year suffered significant injury, including a burnt retina,” The Times wrote.
At the hands of the average troublemaker, the beam from a laser pointer appears to end a few hundred feet away. In reality, a pilot can clearly see the light from a low-powered laser more than two miles away, and from a powerful laser more than seven miles away, according to Laserpointersafety.com, which tracks reports of the devices aimed at airplanes.
U.S. pilots report seeing or being illuminated by laser beams about 10 times a night, according to the website. The people behind the beams risk more than the confiscation of their tiny devices if they get caught: Pointing a laser at a plane has been a federal crime since 2012.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”