Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Radiation Level Normal - Merry Christmas

Truthout, one of the main Left leaning news and opinion web sites, has a review of a book by Gar Smith called Nuclear Roulette: The Truth About The Most Dangerous Energy Source On Earth, (disclosure: they are offering the book as a free gift if you donate to Truthout.)


The book recounts some of the deception and outright lying governments, especially ours, have done in the wake of the nuclear emergencies we've had so far, including after the Fukishima disaster in Japan when President Obama was telling people not to worry at the same time scientists were tracking the huge cloud of radiation that was crossing over the United States.

After the Fukishima disaster I bought myself a geiger counter. When it came in the mail I took it around with me to the various places I normally go to see what kind of radiation I'm exposed to: the drive to work, at my workplace and the route I was driving then, which was from Albuquerque to Gallup to Farmington and back to Albuquerque.

And of course at my apartment, which is in a fairly large complex that sits in an industrial park on the west mesa where the old West Mesa Airport used to be.

New Mexico being the nation's nuclear playground I had always wondered about the radiation levels here. Also, I'm always wanting to stop paying rent and buy something and I'd want to go over any property I bought with a geiger counter first.

The testing I've done hasn't turned up anything extreme. A rad level of 100 is considered in the danger zone. Most readings around the country are in the teens and 20s, but go up to as high as the 60s, at least the readings at the nuclear watch dog web site Radiation Network, where volunteers around the country have their geiger counters hooked up to the internet via their computers. (The volunteers for this site come and go. Currently there's no one doing any detecting in New Mexico, but the map does list our main nuclear radiation sites. I found another monitoring web site today.)

My apartment generally reads in the 40s, although it fluctuates as I walk around holding the geiger counter. Near the floor it's usually from 10 to 30 points higher. (I'm on the ground floor. I think these apartment buildings have foundations but the floors are concrete slabs. There may be something between the slab and the carpet but probably not much.)

Readings usually fluctuate within a range of 10 or so. I don't know why, but it may be because the readout is an average of the last few seconds of what the geiger counter detects, so there's some delay there. If you have the sound on, of course, you hear the familiar clicking sound. It varies in frequency and seems to be the radiation level in real time.

Once I was walking around the apartment and started getting readings in the 70s and low 80s. It took some time to find out why, but the culprit turned out to be a little box of rocks I'd been picked up down by the river to put in my aquarium. When I took the box of rocks outside the level went back to the 40s and 50s.

I don't know if it was the rocks or because they were from the river. I'd tend to think it was because they were rocks. We have a lot of volcanic rock here which will be a mixture of many elements from all levels of the earth's crust. But I will add that on the drive to work, from here on the west side to my company's warehouse on the north side, via I-40 and I-25, I never got a reading higher than the 50s, and that was when I was crossing the Rio Grande. All though the bottoms, in fact, the readings were 10 to 20 points higher. But the highest readings I get are here in my apartment.




Today I got readings in the 70s after I set the geiger counter down on my computer's keyboard.

I bought my geiger counter from a company called Mineral Lab, in Prescott, AZ, which also runs the Radiation Network. They were nice about mailing it instead of shipping it Fedex. When things come Fedex I won't get them because I'm not here during the day of if I am I'm sleeping. Some companies will go out of their way to mail things and some won't. They simply refuse, and don't get my money.


My Holbrook Away From Home

Last week when the blizzard that missed Albuquerque came through Arizona I was sitting in a truck stop in Holbrook waiting for the Phoenix relay driver, as I do five nights a week, when the snow started coming down heavy. I whipped out my trusty little cheap digital camera and tried to get pictures of the big fluffy flakes.

Shooting through the windshield the pictures were kind of interesting but no big fluffy flakes.



I rolled down the side window and pointed the camera at the little camper trailer the CB repairman uses, which sits under a bright pole light. (CB repair shops are a fixture at many truck stops.)



I finally thought to try using the flash. 




Then, still with the flash, pointing the camera up at the pole light.





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