After Hours

Geek Trivia: The Quibble of the Week for February 5

This week's quibble comes from the January 22 edition of Geek Trivia, "Overdose of tragedy." TechRepublic member <strong>Flash00</strong> disputed my rankings of respective radiation accidents.

If you uncover a questionable fact or debatable aspect of this week's Geek Trivia, "A good (space)walk spoiled," just post it in the discussion area. Every week, yours truly will choose the best quibble from the assembled masses and discuss it in a future edition of Geek Trivia.

This week's quibble comes from the January 22 edition of Geek Trivia, "Overdose of tragedy." TechRepublic member Flash00 disputed my rankings of respective radiation accidents.

"SL-1 beats [the accident you described at] Los Alamos, hands down."

Luckily, member Bloggr44 stepped in to split the hair for me.

"A quick look at the facts here makes me think you are wrong that 'Sl-1 beats Los Alamos.' As the Geek Trivia article says, we're talking about instantaneous five-digit REM exposure in the case of Los Alamos, and for the guys who lived through the explosion — and the guys who 'rescued' the survivors — we're talking about exposures more in the 500-REM/hour range. And the last of the survivors of the explosion was removed from the blast site less than two hours after the explosion (9 P.M. to 10:30 P.M.).

"Of course, the burst radiation from the prompt criticality that caused the steam blast that caused the lifting of the reactor lid and radioactive steam may have been high instantaneously — but I'm guessing nowhere near as high as what was generated in the test tube at Los Alamos. Remember: This was, until the control rod was lifted too high, a controlled reaction as opposed to an uncontrolled reaction.

"Without weighing through all the data collected in SL-1 and Los Alamos, I'd bet it's not quite a 'hands down' win. A much bigger bang instead of a flash though, I'll give you that."

Thanks for sorting through this dreary dispute, gang, and keep those quibbles coming.

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About

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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