April 09, 2003

Warm and Free can't be Bad, right?

In December 2001 three Georgian woodcutters discovered something strange in the woods - a metal cylinder a little bigger than a flashlight sticking out of the snow. They noticed it was warm and had melted the snow around it. They congratulated each other on their good fortune and took their new compact space heater home. In retrospect, it probably wasn't the smartest move but I'm sure it gets really, really cold there so you really can't fault them. When they got it home they discovered it did a great job heating the old shack. Heck, they didn't even have to plug it in! Perfect! Not really. What they found is called a radiothermal generator. The device had a large chunk of radioactive strontium 90 as its power source. Within hours the men suffered severe skin burns and internal organ damage. Two of the three were hospitalized for over 3 months. The lesson you should learn: Beware of magical space heaters.

Posted by thom at April 9, 2003 01:53 AM
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