Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Criminal beacons

Criminal radio beacons
  [vote for,

Upon 1st conviction every criminal is fed a pill sized transmitter made of 2 dis-similar metals. If you remember your chemistry class acid + 2 dis-similar metals = battery. Because the acid in your stomach is always being produced we have a never ending supply of energy with which to power our radio beacon. The device would have a loop of metal wire wound around it and held tight against the pill with wax. When the pill hit your stomach the wax would be disolved and the metal loop would unwind making the device too large to exit the stomach. The radio beacon could track the location of known offenders at all times, alerting officers if a known pedofile got too close to a school or locating repeat offenders instantly. Pros: non-removeable, never out of power Cons: eventually it will be digested, signal blocked by tin foil, privacy issues
WhiteWiz, Mar 03 2004


       Baked.....Rebecca Ore, " Outlaw School ". Slightly, ever so slightly different twist on the technology, but probably the way it will be done under one of the revisions of the Patriot Act.   

       She's well worth the read....
normzone, Mar 04 2004

saker, Mar 04 2004

       It would be possible for a criminal with enough money to pay a surgeon to remove the device. Alternatively they could try taking emetics or laxatives to flush it out one way or the other.   

       Would the transmitter give out enough power to be detected over a wide area? Although I don't know of any research in stomach-powered battery technology, I'm skeptical; otherwise you could power a mobile phone for an indefinite period of time with a fairly small battery.   

       I'm also worried about the health consequences of a large metal object stuck in your stomach. It's true that there have been experiments with subcutaneous radio transmitters, but they have some of the same limitations. I think existing methods of tagging offenders with wristlets or anklets are more humane.
kropotkin, Mar 04 2004

yabba do yabba dabba, Mar 04 2004

       //Upon 1st conviction every criminal// Every criminal? For every conviction? Every criminal is taken from the place of sentencing to some either purpose-built facility or some ad hoc forcefeeding room with restraints and burly security guards with saps and tazers and whatnot? And they have a pill pushed unceremoniously down their gullet? For traffic offences? For repetitive beats?   

       //The radio beacon could track the location of known offenders at all times// Well, assuming that the radio beacon would transmit the location of every criminal -every criminal! - who the hell is going to be able to fund, man and maintain a central or distributed tracking system where fat cops sit staring blankly at radar screen, stuffing donuts into their faces like stoner air traffic controllers?   

       //locating repeat offenders instantly. // Uh-huh. Instantly, the police will be able to tell, just by the appearance of a clutch of pixels on some computer screen, that a criminal offence has been committed? Perhaps that kleptomaniac was *just shopping.* Granted, if a prisoner has been released under the requirement that they do not go within a certain distance of certain places, then your case may be arguable. But for *every criminal*?   

       The only good thing about this idea is that it makes me imagine a lawyer standing in court arguing "the evidence from the stomach transmitter proves only that my client's *stomach* was in the vicinity of the schoolyard, not that he was there in his entirety."
calum, Mar 04 2004

       Zantac; good point. Laxative wouldn't work, the wire loop would keep the device from exiting the stomache. Cloning transmissions; this could be a problem but would require smart criminals... if they were so smart they wouldn't have gotten caught in the first place. sugery; do you think they might be concerned that their make-shift surgeon would take their money, put them to sleep and leave, or put them to sleep forever? It would probubly use existing cell phone towers and just transmit a serial number the same way cell phones keep "pinging" the towers to know what their signal strength is.
WhiteWiz, Mar 04 2004

       WhiteWiz, I suspect you are one arrest away from fishboning your own idea...
dbsousa, Mar 05 2004

       Also note that a battery does not run on acid alone. The metal plates react with the acid (and/or with each other) to make electricity. The metal plates of your battery will be used up pretty quickly.
scad mientist, Mar 05 2004

       Since the battery's going to run out anyway, why not just make the convict swallow a new one every week? The old one could fold itself away or tunnel its way out or something. Of course, the criminal's likely to be dead of poisoning by then anyway. Are you thinking of a lead-acid battery? Zinc is toxic in large doses too, and mercury and cadmium aren't nice either.   

       And I love WhiteWiz's argument that we shouldn't worry about smart criminals circumventing the device because smart criminals wouldn't get caught. If only the prison service operated on the same basis. They could just put a sign on the gate saying "there's nothing of interest this way" and they'd never have any escapes.
kropotkin, Mar 05 2004


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