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Thursday, January 10, 2008

More Dallas Wackeyness

I do read the online version of the Dallas Morning News to keep up with the goings on in my old home town. Today's paper brings a cautionary tale from the suburban town of Rockwell. It seems that a 22 year old fellow was bragging on the internet that he had built a nuclear reactor in his parents garage. He claimed to be making plutonium, the synthetic element used as a trigger on thermonuclear, or "thermonuculur" as said in Texas, device. That little post got some very serious people in dark suits interested, and they paid him a visit. The young man had gotten a bit of americanium he had purchased online. The alpha emitter americanium 241 is usually found in inexpensive battery operated smoke detectors. The "reactor" was dismantled and carted away at the request of the amateur scientist's parents. Actual reactors require more shielding than is found in your average suburban garage.

Does this sort of thing happen everywhere, or is it just Dallas?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've got a bit of americanium 241 at my desk right now. I'm building a cloud chamber to put it in, just to watch the alpha particles radiate out from it. Should provide for an entertaining night.