About that clock...

by technoguy

Well, if your Sponge Bob clock's hands glow as brightly as if they had an electoluminescent coating, then that is very impressive indeed. Assuming that their paint does not contain tritium, then that is exactly the kind of dial paint that I am looking for.

I'm very wary about this whole matter of betavoltaic "atomic" batteries. I notice that they avoid calling it a "nuclear" battery which, from a physics standpoint, is a more accurate term. This careful choice of nomenclature is, of course, all part of a marketing scheme to lull the public into thinking these products will be safe IF they ever make it to market. It's kind of like those MRI or "magnetic resonance imaging" systems that are in wide use today. When I was in college studying chemistry, we worked with the prototype technology that is, today, incorporated in those machines. However, at that time it was called "nuclear magnetic resonance". Although the process does not involve the exposure of the patient to harmful radiation or radio isotopes (but only a VERY powerful magnetic field), they decided to change the name by dropping the "nuclear" part so that they would not scare off potential patients / customers.

As more research is conducted, it is becoming evident that there is no safe level of exposure to radiation, either particle or ionizing. It seems all exposure raises one's risk of cancer. Of course, if one's life is at risk and one needs to have an X-ray or CAT scan, then the risks have to be weighed against the benefits. If I knew FOR A FACT that without the diagnostic imaging I would probably die, then I would opt for the radiation exposure even though it might increase my risk of a future cancer somewhat.

But, I always keep in my mind the fact that one CAT scan exposes the human body to the same dose of radiation that a person standing out in the open at a distance of 1.5 miles from the Hiroshima blast received. Sadly, there are mall boutiques opening up around our country that offer to let shoppers come in for a quick CAT scan just to make sure everything's all right! Such casual use of radiation is unprecedented and, in my opinion, should be outlawed. Medical imaging can reveal all sorts of small abnormalities and growths in the body, 99.99% of which are benign and will never cause the owner problems. But, finding them with the latest overpriced imaging technology can lead to months of needless worry and exposure to further unnecessary radiation, drugs, and even surgery!


Posted on Aug 27, 2005, 11:46 AM

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