A 32-year old man working at the Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) is facing terrorism charges in France following his arrest last week. The man was arrested along with his brother last week in Viene, south-east France. His brother has been released. The physicist is facing charges of "criminal association with a terrorist …
Sorry, friends, but if they use radioactive sources like those used in hospitals and industry, they damned sure CAN be used for terrorism. Short-half-life, high power, nasty stuff. Not too dangerous in small amounts, but for someone in the right position, they could "accidentally" get enough to make a fairly nasty dirty bomb.
Maybe there is something...
in that rumor that it will create a black hole that swallows earth???
Dirty bombs are constantly used by the media and government to scare people. The actual damage from them is very small (mostly from the convention explosive blast). They are a weapon designed to create fear and panic. To be killed by the radiation from a DB you'd need to stand in the blast area for about 12 months.
A few years ago I was chatting with the fire brigade liaison officer from one of the London hospitals. They were planning to remove a cobalt-60 source. The fire brigade said that if the flask was damaged they would impose a 1 mile exclusion zone.
Set to blow?
Run for the hills......on Mars!
And I´m sure cirby, professional reg pos[t]er knows more about the materials used at CERN than they do...
Angels & Demons
As all who have made it through to chapter 5 of Dan Brown's magnum opus will know - CERN is secretly manufacturing large quantities of antimatter, which can be rigged to detonate ...
No smoke without fire!
And possible Hogs Bison as well !
Gotta be a wrong 'un.
When they searched his office, they found documents referring to an organisation apparently called the Strong Nuclear Force. Looks like we got him just in time...
Anything 'radioactive' when put in a bomb will, regardless of actual eficacy, cause terror to be spread through a population who have no understanding of the radioactive bogeyman.
Cirby, so could any hospital staffer, by that measure. I'm not feeling the pain.
What is confusing me is how a CERN-grade boffin gets sucked into fundie nonsense of any variety. It's such obvious tosh. Makes me suspect that he was being groomed by dimwit Al Q goons who thought he could give them a Dan Brown Bomb.
it's the damn antimatter
those islamic terrorists are going to plant antimatter under the Vatican and blame it on the illuminati
you heard it here first
Except that the bloke has been off sick all year so he's very clever if he can make a dirty bomb without going near any radioactive material.
Why the obsession with the fact that he was associated with CERN? If a man arrested on terrorist charges is a bin man or a check out clerk is any particular significance attached to his job?
The only real radiation danger from a dirty bomb is inhaling thingys (doesn't want to use the wrong technical term for fear of pedants) of radioactive material because the radioactive material tends to give off alpha radiation which can be blocked by pieces of paper. Oh and the big explosion. Beyond that there's a rather costly clean up process.
Which goes to show, surprise surprise, that firemen don't know anything about radioactive hazards either. A one-mile exclusion zone? FFS, cobalt is a solid. If you drop it, it's going to do nothing nastier than sit on the floor quietly pinging out the odd gamma photon. Sure, you wouldn't want to pick it up with your bare hands but there's a difference between risk management and scaremongering.
fun da mental
Clearly Hadron is designed to expose the origins of the Universe.
Some people clearly believe that this involves disrobing their God and nobody wants to see what that might look like. Specially not the Scots.
"And I´m sure cirby, professional reg pos[t]er knows more about the materials used at CERN than they do..."
Every Reg poster knows more about everything than everyone. Haven't you noticed that before? Or are you new here? I'd guess not, given the spelling error.
@Roger de Laborde
Well, if you're digging a massive tunnel, having a few moles on your staff would be a good thing, wouldn't it?
And he's working down the tunnel, that means he's one of the few people in the world who can truly say:-
"I am a mole. And I live in a hole."
"Which goes to show, surprise surprise, that firemen don't know anything about radioactive hazards either. A one-mile exclusion zone?"
Well in fairness, it's easier that way and erring on the side of legal caution, not real caution. They're calculating the minimum safe distance (safe distance of course being "how close would someone need to be to end up with leukemia at some point for unrelated reasons and think they can sue us?"), and rounding it up massively. Given our new litigious nature, I'd cordone off a city to try and cover my ass.
I think the reason people are concerned when they hear that doctors, research scientists, other professionals, or anyone associated with the analytical, scientific, medical, educational fields is also associated with terrorism is that, religiously motivated or not, terrorism is the recourse of the desperate and chews up the lives of the underprivileged.
So I was shocked when I heard that at least one of the London bombers was a qualified teacher, that qualified doctors were involved in the abortive attack on Glasgow airport. As I understand it, the typical terrorist cannon fodder are not typically the kind of people who would have the financial, social, or educational background to be professionals.
I really hope this is just a case of an excess of zeal on the part of French law enforcement, as the alternative - that a particle physicist, a man of knowledge, logic and words - could be actively involved in terrorism is far scarier than 100,000 dirt-poor farmers armed with rocket-launchers. It would mean that even those who should know better are turning to the dark side.
Fuck that for a laugh, mate.
"As I understand it, the typical terrorist cannon fodder are not typically the kind of people who would have the financial, social, or educational background to be professionals."
This is the understandable gut reaction, but it is actually wrong. I remember reading in New Scientist a while back that a surprisingly large proportion of suicide bombers are actually well educated:
Quite how that nugget managed to stay lodged in my brain for five years I'll never know...
So Mr Bond...
"So I was shocked when I heard that at least one of the London bombers was a qualified teacher, that qualified doctors were involved in the abortive attack on Glasgow airport. As I understand it, the typical terrorist cannon fodder are not typically the kind of people who would have the financial, social, or educational background to be professionals"
Won't some body think of the children?!? Avoid the hospitals, avoid your work place.. avoid everything.. you heard it here first folks..
Paris cause we all know she's the master planner innit...
You got to Chapter Five? You lived? Wow! You have hardcore stamina and an iron gut for dross!
Paris, 'cos she thinks Dan Brown is great!
That is a terrifying thought: people who ought to have the intellect to know better, to seek other means to aid their cause, are instead putting their lives on the line.
I suppose belief in a cause, religious or otherwise, is a powerful thing.
The real reason tourist organistions try to recruit well educated people in good jobs is for funding. A recruited doctor may keep on giving, they don't really want them to blow themselves up since that's a funding stream cut off.
Purely by coincidence a story has surfaced today about Al Qaeda being almost bankrupt. It's kind of funny that the powers that be seemed to be surprised by this, for most tourist organisations living hand to mouth is the norm.
@ grease monkey
Would that be Al Quada's 18-30 branch bringing devastation to a beach resort near you?
Paris, she likes to travel and cause havoc
@Grease Monkey Re: tourist organisation
I owe you a beer for the LOL!
"Dirty Bomb?" I'd have thought that the stuff would be far more dangrous if it was sprinkled in a "fixin's bar" at your local motorway fast fud trough. A pinch here, a pinch there and soon you have a nationwide panic.
Of course, no-one in their right mind noshes down in a motorway chew'n'choke.
It's the Higgs Effect
Clearly an example of the Higgs Effect, whereby if a Higgs boson is in danger of being detected it goes back in time to upset the experiment, thereby avoiding detection. The meltdown and coolant leak at the LHC is thought to have been a previous occurrence of the same phenomenon.
Note, this theory was proposed in all seriousness by an otherwise intelligent-seeming physics boffin, not found in a Dan Brown novel. Ah, wait a minute - it says here this boffin is a leading proponent of string theory. That explains it, then.
I am amused that the NZ Herald is cited above as an authority for events transpiring on almost the exact opposite side of the globe.
Not that they are necessarily worse than any other paper, but they are a long way from the action on this one. Perhaps we could consult the Herald if we want to know what John Key is up to.
"I'd cordone off a city to try and cover my ass."
That's how they do it in Boston. 1-31-07 Never Forget!
Fact is, the sources used in high energy physics (that's what they're up to at CERN) are always sealed inside a metal container, which is then usually installed into a secondary container / collimator, which is in turn usually mounted to an experiment fixture. They are most commonly used to calibrate or test charged particle detectors. They are usually low in activity, as low as possible such that one can do the necessary work. There is such a rigmarole involved in their use that many physicists and experimenters simply carry a cup saucer instead (google radioactive red fiestaware). That's right you can buy dinnerware on ebay that is more radioactive than the stuff that nuclear scientists get to play with.
cirby, the only place I know to get a radioactive source that could hurt anyone is medical sterilization facility.
What say we chalk this one up to the dismal quality of science education received by the general public? I sure hope I don't have to foot the bill when Annihilator finds out about all of the Tritium that's been carelessly lost in the Gareloch (thanks Lewis!).
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