Nanny State

Buckyballs Bites The Dust


In the face of "baseless and relentless legal badgering" by the federal government, the manufacturer of Buckyballs is discontinuing its popular rare-earth magnet toy for adults. The company will continue to sell the remaining inventory, but will produce no more once the cupboard is bare.

Despite the fact that Buckyballs were sold at high-end stores like Sharper Image, rather than toy stores, and sported multiple labels that read, "WARNING! Keep Away From All Children," the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) pointed to "at least a dozen ingestions of the Buckyballs magnets" since 2009 in its attempt to prevent the company from selling their product to willing customers.

The demise of Buckyballs leaves Zen Magnets as the last of 13 rare-earth magnet makers, though in a statement on their website, the company says, "Magnet spheres may soon be harder to acquire than ammunition in the U.S."The CPSC is now proposing a ban on "high-powered magnets that are part of magnet sets," but is allowing the public to weigh in on the proposal until November 19 at

According to GIMBY (Government in My Backyard), a non-partisan website "designed to build a more engaged citizenry and encourage better federal government performance through the healthy pressure of public opinion," opponents of the ban aren't just office desk-jockeys who enjoy fidgeting with Buckyballs as a stress reliever, but parents and teachers who see both artistic and educational value in the magnets:

"I feel especially passionate about this activity because it is such a great pastime for my son," argues Sharon Bennett. "He is very intelligent and these balls are a great creative outlet for him. He will take them with him on planes, in the car, or to the mall. He creates things that constantly get comments from strangers. Instead of using the internet for mindless videos or games, he uses it to look up new creations for his balls."

"I've created many objects with these magnets that have educational value in mathematics," Edo Timmermans writes. "It is a great tool to teach people about geometry. I placed many tutorials on my Youtube channel EdoTimmermans to enable people to re-create the objects I made and improve their 3D-insight."

Back in September, Reason TV's Kennedy spoke with Craig Zucker, co-founder and CEO of Maxfield and Oberton, the creators of Buckyballs:

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  1. I’m going to call the CPSC (communist party south carolina?) and tell them my daughter choked on ball-bearings from an Autozone.

    1. You mean bearing balls? Or maybe your little spawn has a mouth big enough to swallow an entire bearing.


      1. They make some pretty small ball bearings.

        1. True enough.

    2. Did Fist give you permission to post first?

      1. No, and I tearfully retract my comment before he uses his Fist of Fury in me on me.


  2. Selling fucking magnets – how does it work?

    1. You have a repulsive sense of humor.

      1. Of this, I am positive.

        1. There is nothing at all attractive about your horrible puns. They are absolutely the most repellent thing about H&R. The only thing I’m positive about is the negative reaction you’ll get.

          1. NeutronSweet has no opinion one way or the other.

          2. I can’t help it. I’M BIPOLAR!

            1. Does that mean your mind and spirit are going north and south?

              1. I can see things no one else can see, do things no one else can do.
                Is it hot in here?

                1. I feel kinda….invincible…

      2. Yes. Yes, I do.

    2. I am so glad I tweeted with a timestamp before your comment.

      1. You tweeted? How cute.

        1. I pooped today. Not quite as cute.

          1. whatever!

            1. I think she finds you…attractive!

              1. *facepalm*

                For FUCK’S sake, Timmeh!

                Where’s Warty with the heavy metals?

              2. It would be a rare earth where she didn’t.

    3. Well it is such an attractive product people feel drawn to them

  3. “in a statement on their website, [Zen Magnets] says, ‘Magnet spheres may soon be harder to acquire than ammunition in the U.S.'”

    Every problem has a solution.

    1. Just sell them loaded into shotgun shells?

      1. I’m thinking magnetic buckshot might be more fun than plain old lead…

        1. I think Wile E Coyote already came up with that idea. Ended up stuck to some train tracks in front of a freight.

          1. *Wile E. Coyote sadface look and wave*


      2. The problem is that then someone will hurt themselves trying to actually fire the shell from an actual shotgun, despite warnings plastered all over the box to the effect, “YOU ARE A GODDAMN MORON IF YOU LOAD ONE OF THESE IN A REAL GUN”

  4. CPSC nannies don’t have much use for geometry and 3D visualizations.

  5. If you check out the Zen Magnets site info, you’ll see that

    On Oct 31st, was a well organized barrage of comments from AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) members and NASPGHAN (North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition) members in support of the ban. Pediatrians have even recieved pre-written letters to submit, though in many cases failing to delete a line of instructions.

    What I can’t figure out is, why would the medical cartels want to ban these things? All their comments are about how much work they’re getting from them…

    (Yes, I am going to hell)

    1. You’ve hung out here this long, and you think that non-curse word, non-racially or sexually bigoted statement that doesn’t involve inserting objects into anuses in any way is going to send you to hell?

      Where will the rest of us be? Super-Hell?

      1. “Where will the rest of us be? Super-Hell?”

        She may be going to Hell, we’ll be going to Hell-Hell.


      2. Mega-Hell, JJ. And I’m already there.

        1. Is that where Mega Shark and Crocosaurus are from?

          1. No. They are unlockables from Turok 8.

            1. You’re a fucking moron, it’s the next DLC for Borderlands. And I just got another Golden Key today, fuck yeah.

              1. WTH? They’ve got Golden Keys again?

                [mumbled cursing]

      3. You’ve hung out here this long, and you think that non-curse word, non-racially or sexually bigoted statement that doesn’t involve inserting objects into anuses in any way is going to send you to hell?

        People really like little kids, man. Even more than they like kittens. It’s fucked up.

        1. Yeah but you didn’t say anything about fisting the little kids’ asses or forcing them to eat your shit. So it’s not nearly as bad as what some people here would say. Not me, of course. Episiarch.

          And I’d kill 10 children to save 1 kitten. It’s science.

          1. Well, JJ, if you look a little higher up in this section, you’ll see I did in fact post a link to a song joking about abusing children. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that…uh…you’re right?

            1. 1) I can’t look at that stuff while I’m at work due to our firewall, so it doesn’t count, and C) you’re dumb. Of course I’m right!

        2. I don’t. I much prefer kittens. Unless I sire a little Groovster and/or Groovette. Then he or she (or both), of course, will be perfect. -)))

          1. Groovster Ultimus?

          2. How could they possibly be perfect, if 50% of them are from you? Is your wife like 200% flawless or something?

            I’m doing the Mendelian Squares on this man, and your asshole gene just keeps popping up in every iteration.

            1. Those are Punnett Squares, doofus! Never been married, Jimbo. Perhaps I will find one here in UKR-landia.

              And yes, whatever wife chooses me, she will be 200% flawless. I hath seen perfection before, and perhaps I will again. -)

              1. Anyone want to place bets on how much longer before Groovus becomes the creepy old doctor that touches women inappropriately?

                  1. I said women. It doesn’t count that he’s touched you inappropriately. Seriously, who hasn’t?

                    1. Your mom? Oh wait, she has too.

              2. Be warned, Russian and Ukranian women are a special kind of crazy.

                1. “Be warned, Russian and Ukranian women are a special kind of crazy.”


          3. I much prefer kittens. Unless I sire a little Groovster and/or Groovette.

            See, he recognizes the near-certitude of brainwashing, and still seems to welcome the possibility.

            They are insidious that way.

            1. Yeah but cats have developed biological weapons to make us love them

      4. Where will the rest of us be? Super-Hell?

        A special level of hell reserved for pedophiles and people who talk at the movies.

        1. Actually, that level is reserved for people who stand on the left side of escalators.

          (Or on the right side, if you live in the UK, Japan, etc.)

      5. We were all going to hell before we met each other, now we’re gunning for upper management.

    2. Because banning things gives them a stiffy. Doctors are some of the most prohibitionist, paternalistic fucks on the planet. Think of Alec Baldwin’s little speech in Malice:

      “I have an M.D. from Harvard, I am board certified in cardio-thoracic medicine and trauma surgery, I have been awarded citations from seven different medical boards in New England, and I am never, ever sick at sea. So I ask you: when someone goes into that chapel and they fall on their knees and they pray to God that their wife doesn’t miscarry or that their daughter doesn’t bleed to death or that their mother doesn’t suffer acute neural trauma from postoperative shock, who do you think they’re praying to? Now, go ahead and read your Bible, Dennis, and you go to your church, and, with any luck, you might win the annual raffle, but if you’re looking for God, he was in operating room number two on November 17, and he doesn’t like to be second guessed. You ask me if I have a God complex. Let me tell you something: I am God.”

      1. Here is the clip.

        1. I must admit, I do have a soft spot for that exposition.

          1. It’s an amazing scene, the problem is that there’s too much truth in it.

            1. It does remind of residency, actually, and the chief resident at the time was a carbon copy of this scene.

              We had a poor chap come in after being forced to French kiss a 50 lb dumbbell moving at high velocity and pretty much shattered most of his facial bones, and ended up in SICU with brackets and bumpers all over what barely resembled a pile of silly putty masquerading as a face.

              Anywho, let’s call this CR, “Doctor Dickhead”, a real arrogant fucker, and I remember asking him, “Wow, his face is cratered! So, DD, what is the approach is going to be used to achieve some kind of plastic reconstruction? What’s his prognosis on his orbits? You think he’ll have blindness?”

              Then, and I will never forget his stupid little smirk, he looks me in the eye and says, “I patched him up. He’s stable. Anything past that, NOT MY PROBLEM, and I don’t care.” I made up my mind right then I would not be that kind of physician. I saw him a few months ago at a ACS convention in Chi-town, and I still wanted to punch the little fucker. He’s one of the top rated general surgeons in NE OK, by the by.

              1. Why in NE OK, lack of competition?

              2. “He’s one of the top rated general surgeons in NE OK, by the by.”

                That’s a long oxymoron.

                1. That’s a long oxymoron.

                  How so?

        2. I read that thinking who falls to their knees and prays to God that their mother “doesn’t suffer acute neural trauma from postoperative shock”? Other doctors?

          Then I assumed (correctly) that this was Sorkin script.

        3. Not all doctors are like what Epi described (married one), but there’s a reason spouses of doctors wryly say this:

          “What’s the difference between God and a doctor? God knows she’s not a doctor.”

      2. Just one of the reasons I avoid them.

        1. Same here. When I think of doctors, I think of that episode of Seinfeld with poor Elaine and her “chart”.

          1. I think of “it was a million to one shot, doc”

      3. Did you know he is the greatest actor ever? And that he is really important?

        1. “When you see Arrec Barrwin, you will see the true ugriness of mankind.”

  6. The infantilization of the country continues apace.

    1. Really. Children can choke on all kinds of things. What kind of maniac honestly believes that he/she can ensure that everything in a typical household is baby safe?

      1. They don’t think that. It’s about control. It’s always about control. It’s hard for some of us, who do not have this ravenous desire for control over others, to understand. But for these type of people, their desire to control others is an insatiable hunger that can never be satisfied. That is why they are so pervasively dangerous.

        1. Reading the comments on the proposed standard is…educational. Most people are reasonable and think it’s stupid. But not all.

          1. As a pediatric gastrointestinal doctor, and as someone on the front lines of seeing children, I know that kids swallowing things is an every day part of life. Imagine yourself a parent, and finding out that your “adult desk toy” could be the potential cause of life threatening damage to your child–where up to ONE THIRD of children who see these, and ingest them–and I’m talking infants, older kids, even teenagers–can end up having emergent surgery because of potential bowel damage. This is an increasing occurrence, some may even say an EPIDEMIC, and is best prevented not by scolding parents, but by getting these objects off store shelves. Our nation’s children have no voice in politics, and thus it is our responsibility to speak for them. I wholeheartedly support this ban!

            1. That’s a joke post that you made up, right?

              (starts loading shotgun)

            2. As a pediatric gastrointestinal doctor

              Sure you are. So does the term “epidemic” mean something else than the normal definition in the gastrointestinal world?

            3. I pretty much despise pediatricians for this reason. He wouldn’t know an epidemic if he swallowed one.


              1. It is communicable if one kid eats the other’s magnetic poop.

            4. It’s Buckyballs!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!!

          2. Honestly, warning or no warning, it never really occurred to me that those things were dangerous in that fashion.

            I appreciate the OMG THESE ARE DANGEROUS! furor, if only because it taught me something new.

            But banning them is dumb.

      2. What kind of maniac honestly believes that he/she can ensure that everything in a typical household is baby safe?

        Quite a few parents, actually, mostly modern liberals.

        The rest of us just pad and hide what we can, and stay kind of nervous and jittery for 18 or so years.

    1. That is…no fun at all 🙁

    2. I intend to send that to my favorite California numbskulls.

    3. I just posted this to Facebook, with the line: “Now just like those in Congress, you too can play the game of avoiding deficit reduction!”

    4. And that assumes that Hauser’s law doesn’t exist. It’s the Unicorns and Rainbows Happy Path.

  7. WHOO Buckminster Fuller!

  8. Instead of using the internet for mindless videos or games, he uses it to look up new creations for his balls.

    Ah man, some day I might grow up.

    1. I refuse to grow up. Forget that noise.

  9. Who else used this article to decide what they were giving for Christmas this year?

    1. This whole buckyballs catastrophe has only made me want them more.

  10. Instead of using the internet for mindless videos or games, he uses it to look up new creations for his balls.

    This kid just hitting puberty? I’ll bet he’s coming up with all kinds of creative things to do with his balls. Especially if he’s searching the Internet.

    1. And getting complements from strangers about what he does with his balls.

  11. So this ban is based on the idea that infants might swallow these magnets?

    Wouldn’t that apply to basically anything else and infant can get his hands on put in his mouth?

    So shouldn’t we ban thumbtacks?


    So does logic just decide to up and die when we are doing something FOR THE CHILDREN!!!?

    1. Tman, you obviously haven’t read about especially super dangerous magnets are to children. Because they get stuck to each other inside your tummy and stuff.

      1. Infants are stupid.

        They’ve even done studies proving it!…..babies.htm

        Why do we let them ruin the fun of the rest of the children? This is totally racist.

        1. It’s the “soft-as-a-baby’s-bottom bigotry of low expectations.”

          1. We should start a petition!

            Affirmative action for babies is racist!

            If they don’t learn for themselves they will be forever beholden to the state!

      2. Because they get stuck to each other inside your tummy and stuff.

        No, because if two of them, or two chains of them, wind up in different parts of the small intestine, they’re going to tear through everything in their way. Where “everything in their way” is vital tissue loaded with blood vessels. It’s like getting shot in the gut with a musket ball, except there’s no entrance wound to access the ball from.

        1. Tulpa, I do realize that “tummy” isn’t a technical medical term. I understand what the danger is.

          1. Then why are you making light of it? As a vagina-American, you’re supposed to be nurturing and shit.

              1. Come on, nicole. You know Tulpa had a humorectomy. Don’t tease the poor guy, it’s not right to pick on the handicapped.

            1. vagina-American

              I’m going to have to remember that one. Especially since women are supposed to think their vag’s, vote with their vag’s, etc. In fact, that’s all women are nowadays – just walking, talking vaginas. Now if we can just get them to shut up…

              I keed, I keed. (but not really)

              1. You were clearly missing toward the end of the election cycle. Jezebel told me I had to start calling myself that.

    2. We should ban rat poison right away

      1. On’tday ivegay emthay anyay oremay ideasay.

  12. The CPSC is now proposing a ban on “high-powered magnets that are part of magnet sets,”

    You know – like brushless motors and such.

    but is allowing the public to weigh in on the proposal until November 19 at

    Thank you, your majesty!

    The arrogance just drips from these people like pus.

  13. Instead of using the internet for mindless videos or games, he uses it to look up new creations for his balls.

    *juvenile snickering* Don’t we all…

  14. These things are actually potentially more damaging than thumbtacks, household chemicals, etc, because it requires heavy duty surgery to get them out of the intestines. tacks can be removed with a scope, but the magnetism of these things won’t allow that without ripping up half of the intestine.

    It certainly doesn’t justify banning them for adults, but some people here seem to be making light of the danger to children. And we’re not just talking about infants here; there are YouTube videos showing teenage kids making fake tongue rings and other mouth piercings by using a pair of buckyballs, which if swallowed are going to put them in a world of trouble.

    1. Thanks Dr Buzzkill. For crap sake, you can’t even joke about killing babies anymore. This is the kind of America you want, isn’t it?

    2. Then the precious little retards deserve what happens to them.

      You can’t protect people from stupidity.

      1. This is what I was talking about when I said people really like little kids.

        1. Can you imagine what Tulpa’s kids (if he has any) are like?

          1. Thus far I’m an evolutionary dead end.

      2. I suppose you don’t have a problem leaving a loaded gun in your baby’s crib, either?

        Kids are supposed to be stupid and learn from experience. That’s how they’re wired. It was a great plan back when the average woman had 10 children and the only life threatening dangers out there were large predators which we have instincts to avoid.

        In the modern world there are a ton of very dangerous things that we don’t have the instinct to avoid. Eating a thumbtack takes some serious dedication. Swallowing some buckyballs involves no pain whatsoever.

    3. However true that is Tulpa, and you are correct, doesn’t justify a wholesale scourge. Considering I’ve done more bowel surgeries than you ever will (thank SOD), yes, the surgery will be pretty labour intensive and there is a marked risk of potential injury, and no one here is disputing that.

      If it’s not Buckyballs, it is something else that can cause all sorts of potential damage. Try as government might, it cannot idiot-proof the world. Which is why there are medical people in the world to clean up messes that are cause by children and overgrown adolescents of all ages.

      You’re nannying again, and leaving a trail of sand dropping from b’twixt your legs. -)

      1. How am I nannying? I said they shouldn’t be banned for adults. Just saying that unlike most of the stuff the CPSC tries to ban, there really is a severe danger here.

        Which is why there are medical people in the world to clean up messes that are cause by children and overgrown adolescents of all ages.

        Aha. The medical conspiracy to drum up business rears its ugly stethoscope again.

  15. I’m confident there’d be a technologic and/or legal way around the proposed rule. The proposed rule doesn’t even prohibit individual or bulk sales of the magnets, just as sets. It also allows them if they’re too large to swallow or not powerful enough to cause injury, and I’m sure they could be modified to fit those criteria. Plus, there may be kits made such that the magnets would not be removable, yet still be playable with within an enclosure such as a glove box.

  16. The problem is, they tried to cut down the Feds and ended up choking the cities and states instead, because all the Congress-critters had to keep the cash for their pet military projects, leaving no money for basic things like education, disaster relief and road construction… How many cities have declared bankruptcy in the last couple of years? Every week I hear about another one. And the cities are terrified to raise taxes to get themselves out of bankruptcy, so they cut services instead. At that point, why do we even have a government? Why are we a civilization at all?

    1. Yeah, teachers are starving in the street.

  17. That is cool. Apparently the doctor was actually inspired by the stories of the damage caused by swallowed Buckyballs in coming up with this innovative solution. Good for the whole medical team for finding such a creative solution to avoid what sounded like a really scary surgery.

  18. Three sets of Buckyballs;One Orignal(Nickel) Edition,one Gold Edition,and one Black Edition totaling 648 Powerful Rare Earth Magnets.

    Three carrying cases keep them separate,or mix and match for multi-colored fun!Brace yourself,the world’s most popular desktoy is dressed for the Executive Suite and ready to go to work.

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  20. Ban Buckyballs? Really? Shall we stop the sale of any thing potentially dangerous for children, who’s parents can’t be bothered to keep their kids away from?
    Obviously buckyballs are marketed to kids and guns are marketed to possible-psychos who are adults.

    Granted guns, knives and acid are much more dangerous, but at the same time you won’t expect to find them at Walmart and Toy ‘R Us!

  21. Buckyballs are back for sale now

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