Interview with a Vape-Pire: DIY E-Cigarette Aficionados Talk about Restrictions

By Mark

You may have already seen this article’s companion piece, “When Harm Reduction is a Crime: Tobacco, E-Cigarettes, and the World’s Most Unnecessary Black Market”. That piece describes the potential for an emerging black market in DIY tobacco, nicotine, and vaping products in jurisdictions that try to ban or heavily control them.

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When Harm Reduction is a Crime: Tobacco, E-Cigarettes, and the World’s Most Unnecessary Black Market

2-Part Longform Special Feature! (Part 2 here)- By Mark

This website is (loosely) themed around “Security and the 4th Industrial Revolution.” We write about mind-blowing things technology increasingly empowers people to build, make, and do for good or ill. We talk about post-industrial technology’s applications for terrorism, weapons, smuggling, drugs, war, crime, and all kinds of dark shit. We also cover beneficial stuff people are doing with the same technologies and freedoms to innovate. We cover these issues because they’re interesting, and because they force us to reconsider many traditional assumptions about how policy and government are supposed to work. We also cover them because they’re important: people live and die, and liberty is protected or undermined, by our decisions on new technologies.

But today let’s forget about guns, terrorism, masks that fool facial recognition, counterfeit art, fake drug-testing dongs, cartel tunnels, and narco-submarines. Let’s forget about those things because compared to today’s topic, they barely rate. That’s right. Almost everything we get worked up about as a society is, in pure scale of mortality, bullshit compared to this. Continue reading

The Hunt for White Octubre: Narco-Submarines and the 4th Industrial Revolution

By Mark

It’s May 1944. An American submarine just sank several Japanese ships, and is now under a blistering counterattack. As a seemingly-endless barrage of depth charges explodes around the boat, one of the American submariners asks how much a depth charge costs. A crewmate guesses they cost about $600 each.

“Damn, we’re going to bankrupt these sonovabitches.”

And that’s about right. Except today we’re not bankrupting our adversaries. Our adversaries are bankrupting us. Continue reading

Why Guns Won Before 3D Printing: Industrialization, Post-Industrialization, and the Problem of Scale in Small Arms Control

By Mark

“It might take 10 years or 20 years. Hell, it might take 50 years. But if we make it illegal to own a handgun, eventually there will be no handguns.”  -Gerald Ensley[i]

 “Gun prohibition then, is not the same as banning DDT or leaded gasoline. It is more like banning fire.” –Nicholas Johnson[ii]

When people hear that I write about 3D printed and homemade guns (along with some of the other security implications of the “4th Industrial Revolution and democratization of manufacturing), sometimes they ask me-

“So, does this mean gun control is going to be pointless now?” Continue reading