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Worst Uses for Radiation Ever

December 10, 2007
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In the spirit of finals week, something a little academic:

  • Shoe fitting x-ray device. It basically consisted of a fluoroscope inside a partially shielded box and a fluorescent screen. You put your foot with your shoe on inside it and it imaged your foot, to see how well your shoe fit. People used these all over the place, and they weren’t really completely banned until 1970. They even found one still in use as late as 1981 in….West Virginia. Since when has trying on shoes not worked to see if they fit?!?
  • From 1936-1943, the Fiesta Ware company (and others) used natural uranium to make the red glaze on their pottery. It ended of course when the government realized they should probably be using that uranium to build bombs and confiscated it. Today it’s been calculated that an individual using nothing but Fiesta Ware would ingest 0.21 grams of uranium a year, with an effective dose equivalent of 40 mrem/year.
  • Here’s my favorite: Vita Radium Suppositories “For rectal use by men, are tone restorers of sex and energizers for the entire nervous, glandular and circulatoy systems. These suppositories contain a result-producing amount of highly refined soluble RADIUM, carried in a cocoa butter base.” You know, if someone had some radium, I think probably the worst thing you could do with it is shove it up your ass. Best of all, the company that made this product was located in Denver. Hometown pride!
  • I’m getting this poster for my bedroom:uraniumposter.jpg

Dang, physics has never seemed so sexy. And yes, I do consider this studying.

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