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View Diary: Warrantless Searches of Muslim Sites, Whistleblowers Threatened With Firing (203 comments)

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  •  Scientific note (none)
    The isotopes of uranium and plutonium used in nuclear devices are relatively weak emittors of radiation (mainly alpha and beta particles which don't penetrate very well and weak gamma particles which do penetrate like x-rays).  Some nuclear devices also contain tritium gas which leaks and has to be replenished periodically.  Tritium is a very weak beta emittor which won't even penetrate a piece of paper.

    Any detection of these elements would require intrusive searches inside the premises.  Remote sensing would be highly unreliable or worthless

    "Men...think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one." - Charles MacKay

    by mstein on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 12:31:16 PM PST

    •  more evidence (none)
      of this being an incompetent approach.
      •  "incompetent approach" (none)
        I tend to agree, since they are so incompetent at most things. Has it occurred to any of us that if this story has legs, we would have heard about the gov. finding and stopping a dirty bomb? Even one? When they actually catch somebody, they can't contain themselves, even if the info should be classified. Look at W, blurting out about how they caught that guy who was supposedly plotting to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge with blow torches? He blew the government's case by admitting that they had spied on this guy without a warrant. "Nyah, nyah, we did too do something right by breaking the law! Ooops, did I just say that?" Now, the guy is talking with lawyers about suing Bush. I hope he does, even though it's not the best case, because he's probably guilty.

        Nyah. If they had found anything in the last four years to prove they are protecting us, you can be sure we would have heard about it. Incompetent AND Illegal. I wish we could impeach for both.

        "That story isn't worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

        by martyc35 on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 05:42:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  A question (none)
      Somewhere, I've seen nontechnical accounts of NEST having some method of remotely detecting a nuclear device in (for instance) the hold of a ship.  I didn't think much about this problem, but presumed this was some active detection method (aiming a neutron beam at them and watching what scatters, or something like that).  Is this pure science fiction?    

      How about shipping containers?  I understand we do something in our ports to check them for nuclear materials without actually opening and searching each container.  Are we detecting tritium in this case, or something else?

      I'm afraid this is rather a hole in my knowledge - damn hard trying to be a Renaissance man nowadays ...

      •  I saw an item... (none)
        in the paper about the neutron beam approach and don't know much more about it.  I find it unlikely that there is portable technology that could be reliably and safely used covertly in public places but who knows?

        "Men...think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one." - Charles MacKay

        by mstein on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 06:12:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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