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"walls of the city" logo conceptualized by Oleg Volk and executed by Linoge. Logo is © "walls of the city".

ionizing radiation is not your friend

Just a friendly reminder, courtesy of my father, who spent more than a few years cuddled up to a high-output nuclear reactor and more than a few nuclear weapons:

There is no safe level or threshold of ionizing radiation exposure.

“Backscatter scanners” now used at airports all over the country employ x-rays, which are a form of ionizing radiation. Worse, bystanders/onlookers are not shielded from these devices (just look at them), and thus will be receiving doses of radiation whether they go through the machines or not.

To be certain, we expose ourselves to ionizing radiation on a daily basis – stepping outside, going to the dentist/doctor, flying on a plane (especially flying on a plane, given your altitude), etc. However, every exposure to radiation should be kept to a minimum, and is experienced as part of a larger cost-benefit analysis: is the danger to you from that dose of ionizing radiation smaller or greater than the danger posed to you by starving if you never go to the grocery store, or a cavity, or a broken limb, or not visiting your parents over the holidays?

And bear in mind the second conclusion from the above-linked report:

Even exposure to background radiation causes some cancers. Additional exposures cause additional risks.

So, tell me: even discounting the invasion of privacy, even ignoring the infringement of the Fourth Amendment, even ignoring the absurdity of it all; is threatening the health of millions of American citizens an acceptable cost for the “benefit” of a “security” system that does not even perform as advertised?

8 comments to ionizing radiation is not your friend

  • Every time I get an X-ray the Tech has a lead apron on and is wearing a radiation counter. They also have a calibration certificate on the wall. I wouldn’t know how to read it, but someone does.
    I’m sure there is an expert in the facility or on call if something goes wrong.

    I’m betting that there are no calibration certs anywhere, and the TSA repair tech has less repair experience than the X-ray tech that calls someone when their “real” machine is out of order.

  • It appears that the TSA people who run these cancer factories day-in-and-day-out will be our sacrificial lambs for the disbanding of the organization.

    Win win.

    Lose is that tax monies will be used to pay for damages and medical treatment….

  • @Kurt P – Not only does the tech have on a lead apron, so do you, over any areas that are not actually being examined.

    My mother had a horrid point – do these sensors have power settings, and can the technicians adjust them?

    @Weer’d Beard – Far be it for me to wish ill or harm on anyone, but these people are volunteering to stand near devices spraying out ionizing radiation without any shielding, and to force others to do the same. They are bringing it upon themselves.

  • Dixie

    @Linoge… do these sensors have power settings, and can the technicians adjust them?

    Yes, they do– Low, Medium, High and You’ll Never Need A Night-Light Again.

  • Sadly, I do not think x-rays possess sufficient power to make your last days bright… they break down DNA quite effectively, but causing other materials to become radioactive appears to be the realm of gamma rays.

    Though I can just see the next Marvel superhero now…

  • Dixie

    @LinogeThough I can just see the next Marvel superhero now…

    Scan Man: once a mild-mannered traveling salesman, he was scanned until his DNA mutated. He now uses his powers of flight, X-Ray vision and invisibility to avenge himself on the TSA. “Nice thong you’re wearing today, Officer McGroper!”

  • X-ray vision with automatic-upload-to-Flickr abilities… just so everyone can feel comfortable knowing they have seen their TSA groper naked already!

  • [...] Apparently the American people have absolutely no problems with complete strangers being able to electronically photograph them naked, and no problems with being dosed with an unhealthy amount of ionizing radiation. [...]



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