I was just looking at a really interesting Radiation Dose Chart on the xkcd.com website, which bills itself as “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.” I tell you, this is a really clever site – the cartoons are often extremely thought-provoking, and every now and again they will come up with something like this chart that really makes you think.
The first thing it makes me think is how clever they are to compress so much data into so small a space in such a way as to be so understandable (I now know how much ionizing radiation I can expect to absorb every time I eat a banana, for example).
The second thing it makes me think is that I wish I’d done something like this myself (I think that a lot these days – I see something and think “Wow – that’s such a good idea, I wish I’d thought of that!”)
The third thing it makes me think is that it might be a good idea to invest in a Geiger counter. Also called a Geiger-Müller counter, a Geiger counter is a type of particle detector that measures ionizing radiation.
I know that I’m being a bit of a “worry-wart,” but every now and again I get feelings of grim forebodings – these feelings usually come after watching one of those programs on the Discovery Channel with a title like “Ten ways in which the world could end by Wednesday lunchtime.”
Click on this image to be taken to the full version of
the Radiation Dose Chart on the xkcd.com website
And you start to ponder what would happen if Yellowstone Park erupted in a Super Volcano
. And you look at all that’s currently going on in the world, such as the recent floods in Australia and earthquakes in New Zealand and failed nuclear reactors in Japan. And (if you are me) you say to yourself: “Hang on a moment, I live only about 15 miles from the Tennessee Valley Authorities’ Browns Ferry nuclear plant!”
The problem is that I don’t like spending money if I don’t have to. I just did a search for “Geiger counter”
on Amazon.com. Anything that looks reasonably good costs anywhere from $350 to $500, which is too rich for my blood (of course, in the event of a major disaster, I would be thinking “I wish I’d purchased that little rascal when I had the chance.”
I did see a Ghost Meter
that was very reasonably priced at only $29.99, but since I don’t believe in Ghosts – and since it doesn’t double up as a Geiger counter – I decided to pass.
Maybe I’ll have a beer instead…