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OMG We’re All Gonna Die, Part 4632

Stay out of the produce section.

by
Charlie Martin

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March 29, 2014 - 6:30 am

Despair is a sin. It’s bhavatrishna. But sometimes …

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Here a story that’s being pushed as a Facebook thing now. It apparently started as a story in Edmonton, Alberta. Here’s the money quote:

“Some of the kelp that I found was higher than what the International Atomic Energy Agency sets as radioactive contamination, which is 1,450 counts over a 10-minute period,” she said. “Some of my samples came up as 1,700 or 1,800.”

Can’t blame the poor little girl, who is probably having glow-in-the-dark nightmares now. But one would hope someone, like say her science teacher, would do a little research. (If you want to do a little research, you can do worse than my piece “Understanding Radation” about 3 years ago. But here’s the tl;dr version.)

So, 1700 counts in 10 minutes. Here is the part in which we divide. 1700 counts in 10 minutes is about 170 counts a minute, which is a little less than 3 counts a second.

The Potassium-40 in a 150g banana? Around 20 counts a second.

Good thing this kid didn’t go to the produce section.

More from PJ Lifestyle: 7 Ways Noah Turns the Bible Upside Down

Charlie Martin writes on science, health, culture and technology for PJ Media. Follow his 13 week diet and exercise experiment on Facebook and at PJ Lifestyle

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Top Rated Comments   
I have become less discriminating or all you all have become more clever. I had to up vote most of you.
Global warming, climate change is running down; they need a new calamity off stage to move into place. Ai, ai! It's isotopes or you, whatever. Spend money at it quick, don't think, just spend more money!!!
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Life: you'll never get out of it alive.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
One thing everyone who has lived and died has in common: they breathed air. Ergo, air is toxic.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (40)
All Comments   (40)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Most people die in bed.
Avoid beds.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kelp? Who eats kelp?
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Beer (yes, beer) and bananas are radioactive!
Don't eat foods that start with the letter "B" or you will die sometime or other unless you are immortal.
I'm going to take my chances on being immortal...
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Plants contain phytotoxins to discourage browsers, human and otherwise.
That's why we have a liver.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Better wear my dosimetry badge when I go shopping
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
You have to understand that "metronews.ca"; which published the story is a filthy left wing piece of shite, so bad that it makes Pravda look good. Not to mention being innumerate, anti-science and stupid. And those are its good points.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nice, had a good chortle from that. Thanks Charlie
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
OK. Do these same folks hit the roof when they learn how C14>N14 dating starts with the organic host (read human) ingesting naturally occurring, radioactive Carbon 14 (along with lots of other elements that are radioactive.) I'm getting extremely tired of all these "scientific" chicken little predictions. The really bad part is that as sensor and testing systems get more sensitive they keep "finding" more "dangerous" chemicals in our food, water, air, soil, walls, mattresses and, of course, Congress. That erroneous data is now used regulate every aspect of our lives for the "safety of the children." (or blamed on Global Warming and the Koch Bros.) Arrrggghhhhh!
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have a feeling that they think "C14>N14 dating" is a website that competes with match.com.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great article Charlie, and I am impressed with yours and the commenters knowledge.

We eat radioactive Potassium-40 (K-40) every day in anything that has potassium in it. K-40 is a small percentage of the potassium, and it is unavoidable. K-40 being a beta emitter, the beta emissions are easily absorbed if there is a lot of other mass, such as in a banana, which makes it hard to measure with a standard Geiger counter. It is easily measured if it is in a form that is mostly potassium such as substitute salt (potassium chloride). Substitute salt is a great training tool for learning about beta emitters and a small dish of it gives about 800 counts per minute with a Geiger counter.

Potassium is homeostatic in our bodies, meaning we maintain a relatively constant level and excess is eliminated - mostly via urine. Therefore we also maintain a constant level of K-40 in our bodies. And then there are all the other natural radionuclides we routinely ingest...

Lordy, I hope the "scary radiation" thing isn't coming back. I've fought that stupid battle enough.

29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nothing to see here. Just move along...
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
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