Radiation (was: <Silly>: Help with question about web page

From: Tony Duell <ard_at_p850ug1.demon.co.uk>
Date: Wed Aug 18 23:06:57 2004

> > I am told, for example, that it can be much more dangerous to swallow
> > an alpha particle source than a gamma ray source because the alphas
> > are absorbed by bits of your body and do naaty things, although
> > sitting on the bench, the alpha source is the safer, since the
> > radiation is trivial to screen out.
> Trivial, as in a few feet of air is often enough. :-)

Exactly, which also implies that if the alpha source is inside _you_,
then few inches of you will screen out the radiation, i.e. the alpha
particle will interact with you.

> > The normally-sane magazine 'Elektor' had a project [...] Yes, it was
> > claimed to reduce radiation from the wall-wart.
> Which it will.


> Whether eliminating that radiation (which, I daresay, falls into two
> main classes - 50 or 60 Hz electromagnetic, and black-body thermal,
> which latter I think we can ignore) is worth doing is another question
> entirely. Given how much mains-frequency radiation is flying around, I

Actually, reducing the thermal radiation was mentioned as another
benefit, in that it claims said circuit 'saved energy' as well.

> have trouble taking seriously the idea that eliminating the tiny
> fraction a wall-wart throws is going to make any difference - and
> that's even if any of it has any effect, which I don't consider
> anything like proven, much less that it has any _undesirable_ effect.


I would like to know if there's any statistically significant correlation
between health problems and being a radio amateur. The point being that
health problems from people who work with electrical/electronic devices
could be due to stress or various other causes, but presumably amateurs,
who do it for fun, wouldn't suffer from stress when they're messing about
with electronics.

> > Somebody really needs to give the public a decent scientific
> > education....
> Ah, but the problem there is, that requires a public able and willing
> to accept a decent scientific education. It's extraordinarily
> difficult to teach people who aren't the least bit interested in
> learning what you're trying to teach.

Indeed. This is one reason I have no intention of becoming a
schoolteacher. I cna think of nothing worse than trying to teach stuff I
know to be incorrect (and a lot of stuff in the UK school syllabus is
certainly incorrect!) to people who don't want to learn it. A total waste
of time for everyone involved!.

However, I am also worried that the general public don't want to learn
about scientific subjects. Now admittedly in the current society,
scientists are not exactly valued, but this is a different rant...

Received on Wed Aug 18 2004 - 23:06:57 BST

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