Uninformed Comment

Dangerous photon emissions

Posted in Crime and the Law, Humour, In the news, Technology by uninformedcomment on April 16, 2010

Bar code

In Erie County, Pennsylvania, a trial begins on Monday to determine whether a convenience store can be held liable for injuries to a 12-year-old girl inflicted by a checkout worker. The details are shocking.

It is claimed that the clerk deliberately shone a barcode scanner in the girl’s face, burning the girl’s skin and causing her Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Tourette’s Syndrome.[1]

1. What is a barcode scanner?

Barcode scanners are routinely used in retail establishments by often untrained staff, and it’s time the dangers of these devices were highlighted.

“]LED diagrams

PHOTON-emitting DIODE, illustrating potential dangers. Note FORBIDDEN BAND bottom right - was the sales even clerk MADE AWARE of this band?

Each barcode scanner contains at least one of these PHOTON-emitting DIODES, which are used to fire potentially deadly PHOTONS INDISCRIMINATELY and CONTINUALLY in ALL DIRECTIONS – even the deadly PHOTON GUN  only emits one photon at a time, in a controlled direction[3], and they are only ever operated by skilled scientists in laboratories.

Photons are also used in LASER BEAMS, which are capable of shooting down satellites in space!

2. How deadly are photons?

In the right hands, and emitted according to safety regulations, there is no doubt that photons can be used harmlessly, and may even be of benefit under certain circumstances. They are used in SPACECRAFT, in some categories of military WEAPONS, and by scientists seeking to shed light on various mysteries of the Universe, such as “DARK MATTER”.

Yet used indiscriminately, their effect is not entirely known, due to the QUANTUM EFFECTS of these particles. In fact, these photons can literally be in TWO PLACES AT THE SAME TIME, doubling the number of targets they may hit in ONE SHOT. And, amazingly, SCIENTISTS DO NOT KNOW WHY this happens! Even EINSTEIN was BAFFLED by Quantum Theory, famously saying that “God does not play bridge”.

Einstein: confused

Einstein: baffled

Each photon-emitting diode operates with 30-60 MILLIWATTS of power! [2]  Contrast that with a domestic microwave oven, which emits merely 600-1000 Watts. And a microwave oven has SEALED DOORS, yet it can be used to COOK FOOD!

So powerful are these barcode-reading beams that they are designed to BOUNCE OFF portions of the target and back again.

3. What is to be done?

There are currently NO REGULATIONS in the United Kingdom, United States or any other developed country regarding the SAFETY aspects of barcode scanners used in retail outlets. It is clear that this state of affairs CANNOT go on – we need proper TRAINING for all employees handling all types of photon emitter (not just barcode scanners).

In addition, it is SCANDALOUS that operatives are allowed to continue to use these devices near to unsuspecting customers. Surely it wouldn’t be beyond the capabilities of supermarkets and other stores to put PHOTON-RESISTANT BARRIERS between the devices and the general public? Such shields are not difficult to use or expensive compared to the LIFE of a CHILD – why were they not installed previously?

Photon shield

Photon Shield protecting a child

And our thoughts and prayers are with the little girl in Pennsylvania, who may be having flashbacks and shouting obscenities for the rest of her life as a result of misuse of a dangerous and little-understood technology. Let us hope that Justice is done, and that no more little girls in Pennsylvania – or anywhere else, for that matter – come to harm as a result of barcode-scanner misuse.


  1. Associated Press
  2. Wikipedia
  3. New Scientist
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One Response

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  1. Rafiel Saavedra said, on March 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    What a little ninny. The only training you can get regarding these devices is a sign on the employee door saying “Don’t shine at people”. That’s it. The same education everyone gets in elementary the day some kid brings a small laser and shines it at his classmates. If you read the article you’ll find that the girl had issues long before the scanner got to her, apparently she had some sort of light sensitivity which is pretty rare in people. Otherwise you can flash a barcode scanner on your wrist and nothing will happen. The clerk was stupid when he or she shined it at the little girl and should be reprimanded, but c’mon this incident is by no means a call for REFORMS or additional precautions. The world isn’t made of fluffy pillows, grow up.

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