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Teens Arrested For Motorized Office Chair 338

Posted by samzenpus
from the crazyboy dept.
German police have confiscated the world's fastest office chair and arrested its 17-year-old inventors. The duo added a lawnmower engine, brakes and a metal frame to the office chair and were reported to be driving it all over the streets of Gross-Zimmern. Police did not comment on the chair's handling or acceleration but I look forward to it being profiled on Top Gear.

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Teens Arrested For Motorized Office Chair

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  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @12:17PM (#24660987) Journal

    Oh, please. Making the chair is cool. Driving it on public roads is not so cool. I admit, I chuckled when I saw the picture, but they should have tested it out in an empty parking lot.

    On the other hand, this invention is uber cool!!!

  • by janeuner (815461) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @12:18PM (#24661005)
    God forbid that a bunch of kids make something on their own. They might, you know, invent something useful.
  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @12:23PM (#24661093)

    not much chance of that but it's still cool :D

  • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @12:24PM (#24661115) Journal

    I think the problem isn't that they invented something, it's that they were very irresponsible with it (driving a motor vehicle on the streets without proper training or safety measures).

    And I wouldn't call a lawnmower-engine powered office chair "useful". Interesting, and amusing, but not useful.

  • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @12:28PM (#24661179) Journal

    Except that road regulations are not about safety, but control. Regulations give a false sense of predictability, leading to inattentiveness, and a false sense of entitlement, leading to road rage. Road regulations make the road less safe for everyone.

  • Rocket chair? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by clone53421 (1310749) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @12:28PM (#24661181) Journal

    Is the picture misleading (i.e. not the chair referred to in the article) or did they do something significantly more than put a lawnmower engine on it?

  • disconnect (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@NOSpam.gmail.com> on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @12:29PM (#24661199) Homepage
    You know, confiscation is not "arrest."
  • Outrageous!!!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kellyb9 (954229) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @12:34PM (#24661271)
    ... until i saw the picture. Probably should've let someone know he was going to attach a rocket to an office chair.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @12:43PM (#24661401)

    >Road regulations make the road less safe for everyone.

    While I agree some do (speed infractions, for example), some are incredibly useful and make the roads much safer.

    Examples:

    Two people arrive at a 4-way stop at right angles to each other. Who has the right of way? Regulation: The person to your right.

    When a light is flashing yellow for one direction and red for another direction, who must stop? Regulation: Vehicle approaching flashing red must stop and wait until traffic on flashing yellow passes.

    A vehicle (for example: cyclist) is travelling at 25 km/h. There are several cars stuck behind him. Should the cyclist pull over, or continue to impede traffic? Regulation: Slow vehicles must pull over to let faster vehicles pass. He must pull over.

    There's plenty of other ones, especially obvious ones like having to wait for oncoming traffic to pass before making a left turn, those are just some obscure ones...

  • by jaymz2k4 (790806) <jaymz@jay[ ]eu ['mz.' in gap]> on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @12:45PM (#24661425) Homepage
    because its starting to feel like it... :(
  • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @12:54PM (#24661565) Journal
    Two people arrive at a 4-way stop at right angles to each other. Who has the right of way? Regulation: The person to your right.
    Solution: Use a roundabout instead of a 4-way stop.

    When a light is flashing yellow for one direction and red for another direction, who must stop? Regulation: Vehicle approaching flashing red must stop and wait until traffic on flashing yellow passes.
    Solution: Use a roundabout on slow roads, and a merge lane on fast roads.

    A vehicle (for example: cyclist) is travelling at 25 km/h. There are several cars stuck behind him. Should the cyclist pull over, or continue to impede traffic? Regulation: Slow vehicles must pull over to let faster vehicles pass. He must pull over.
    Solution: Build periodic passing lanes on all major roads, allowing people to drive around slow moving vehicles without requiring them to get off the road.

    These rules you describe, they all revolve around you assuming that I'm going to behave in a particular fashion, and you being encouraged to believe that you have the right to expect and demand that I do. Which means you're inevitably going to get into an accident when your preconceived notions fail to mesh with reality, which you've stopped paying attention to.

    Good engineering accommodates the errors and omissions of users. Bad engineering relies on laws and conventions to overcome inherent systemic flaws. Laws and conventions are, therefore, indicative of bad engineering.
  • by Legion_SB (1300215) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @12:59PM (#24661631) Homepage

    >> Oh, please. Making the chair is cool. Driving it on public roads is not so cool.

    If they were potentially causing a danger on those streets, then OK. But if they weren't being reckless and disrupting safe traffic, then this deserved a "hey kids, cut that out", not a pair of handcuffs.

    If I made that chair, you bet I'd go find a nice non-busy stretch of road to haul ass on.

  • by The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @01:00PM (#24661649)

    Where do you suggest they go to get "proper training" for a motorized office chair? ;-)

  • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @01:01PM (#24661681) Journal

    I don't tailgate. Tailgaters are idiots who let their impatience sabotage their capacity to speed. Good speeders never tailgate, because they know it reduces their reaction time and maneuverability, increasing the likelihood that they will be forced to come to a stop.

    Aside from which, studies have shown that cultures without traffic laws have more efficient mobility and reduced accidents, dipshit. One of the things that gets created when you have a glut of rules is this sense of entitlement that you have, which eradicates courtesy and leads to impulsive acts of stupidity. Like what you've demonstrated in your anonymous post.

  • by Timosch (1212482) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @01:06PM (#24661751)
    Solution: Use a roundabout on slow roads...
    And when leaving the roundabout, who has got priority? The car leaving it, or the one coming in? And anyway, right or left lane?
    There will always be traffic rules, and they are damned necessary. If you allow people to drive around on the highway (or even on the German Autobahn), it will not only result in the loss of their lifes, but also in the threatening and propably loss of others'.
  • by nightfire-unique (253895) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @01:06PM (#24661753)

    I suppose this is probably one of those "happy-days" fantasies, but how cool would it be to live back in an age where regulation didn't exist. Where danger was all around. Where you could invent, and wow people. Where accidents happened. Where imagination was your only limit.

    The lawyer has replaced the priest.

  • by ednopantz (467288) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @01:06PM (#24661759)

    Solution: Use a roundabout instead of a 4-way stop.

    Uh.. I have driven in roundabouts and I'll take a stop sign any day of the week.

  • by st0rmshad0w (412661) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @01:14PM (#24661863)

    Motorized wheelchairs are allowed on the roads, at least the residential streets around here, I don't see much difference.

  • by R2.0 (532027) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @01:22PM (#24661971)

    "Good engineering accommodates the errors and omissions of users. Bad engineering relies on laws and conventions to overcome inherent systemic flaws. Laws and conventions are, therefore, indicative of bad engineering."

    Good engineering accommodates errors and omissions INSOFAR as it is practical/cost effective. Your solutions all require significantly more capital investment than the ones in existence now.

    There is also a similar hazard in that relying on engineering to make something idiot proof allows the idiots to have a false sense of security, inevitably leading them to strive to newer, previously unimaginable heights of stupidity that the engineers hadn't even thought possible.

  • by Otter (3800) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @01:22PM (#24661977) Journal
    You'd most likely have died in infancy from improperly pasteurized milk. Pretty freaking cool, huh?
  • by Dogtanian (588974) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @01:24PM (#24661987) Homepage

    Use a roundabout instead of a 4-way stop.

    You do realise that if there are no traffic regulations, then people are free to drive straight over the roundabout, go the wrong way around it, or use it as a meeting place for a pimped-out-bouncy-suspension car convention?

  • by KDR_11k (778916) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @01:34PM (#24662117)

    You realize what regulations do? They enforce not only speed limits (wouldn't want some idiot to go 160km/h in a residential area), they also enforce basic vehicle safety standards. Easy example: Parts that fall off or increase the danger for other people in a crash. If your car is so crappy that your trunk cover falls off that's a definite safety hazard and can very well end up killing people. Adorning your car with spikes is a terrible idea, especially if it's done on the front (that you get arrested after killing somebody with them is little consolation to their next of kin!). There's simply too many things that can go wrong when you've got metal hunks of 1t and over moving at speeds in excess of even 30km/h. Humans are NOT naturally capable of handling these things!

    This whole "laws are only about control" bullshit meme is used way too often, I have no idea what people got hit with to get such idiotic ideas. We don't live in a world of Nietzschean supermen, people don't behave on their own and to allow reasonably safe coexistence with that many humans around it's simply necessary to make laws.

  • Re:ACHTUNG! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @01:34PM (#24662121) Homepage Journal

    He was austrian. You know, we are very precise and stuff over here.

  • by st0rmshad0w (412661) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @01:36PM (#24662151)

    Two people arrive at a 4-way stop at right angles to each other. Who has the right of way? Regulation: The person to your right. Solution: Use a roundabout instead of a 4-way stop.

    Yes because replacing every single 4 way intersection in a residential neighborhood would be so simple, or in a city. EVERY intersection within 6 blocks of me is a 4 way stop, in at congested, 200+ year old city with small houses and tiny streets. PREDATING automobiles. I find your solution laughable and your assertation regarding engineering proposterous given that the road was developed before the automobile.

  • by operagost (62405) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @01:44PM (#24662253) Homepage Journal
    The state of New Jersey had (and still has a few) circles (roundabouts), and the biggest problem with them is that you have to steal a huge amount of land through eminent domain to build them. Periodic passing lanes also require real estate, as do merge lanes. Obviously these are not universal solutions.
  • by philspear (1142299) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @01:56PM (#24662489)

    Solution: Use a roundabout instead of a 4-way stop.

    Problem with solution: now instead of a relatively cheap and easy-to-navigate 4 way stop, you have two weeks of construction to put in a roundabout that will cost much more (even assuming none of the 4 property owners object to replacing significant portions of their property with roads).

    So as to make the regulation uneeded, you'll have to replace all 4 way stops with a roundabout. I have no idea how many 4 way stops there are in whatever city you live in, or how much more a 4 way stop costs. I have no idea how long it would take to replace it. I have no idea whether roundabouts are even safer.

    I do know that whatever the answers to all of those questions, your suggestion is absolutely unworkable and absurd, so you must work in a state legislature.

    The laws you're talking about are laws that keep construction and taxes down to realistic levels.

  • by nightfire-unique (253895) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @01:57PM (#24662531)

    You'd most likely have died in infancy from improperly pasteurized milk. Pretty freaking cool, huh?

    And yet, somehow they got by. People exercised their own judgment, self control and personal responsibility. No government body was looking out for them; they simply smelled the milk before they drank.

  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @02:21PM (#24662963)

    >And yet, somehow they got by.

    Sure did, except your mom had 9 kids of which 5 survived into adulthood.

    Good old days!

  • by janrinok (846318) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @03:00PM (#24663627)

    How does meeting safety standards have anything to do with your method of propulsion?

    In much the same way that riding a bicycle doesn't require insurance or a driving licence. I'm sorry, what is your question again?

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