Radioactive oatmeal experiments

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Pyrrho
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Radioactive oatmeal experiments

Postby Pyrrho » Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:38 pm

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https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/ ... 180962424/

The Fernald State School, originally called The Massachusetts School for the Feeble-Minded, housed mentally disabled children along with those who had been abandoned by their parents. Conditions at the school were often brutal; staff deprived boys of meals, forced them to do manual labor and abused them. Boyce, who lived there after being abandoned by his family, was eager to join the Science Club. He hoped the scientists, in their positions of authority, might see the mistreatment and put an end to it.

“We didn’t know anything at the time,” Boyce said of the experiments. “We just thought we were special.” Learning the truth about the club felt like a deep betrayal.

The boys didn’t find out the whole story about their contaminated cereal for another four decades. During a stretch between the late 1940s and early 1950s, Robert Harris, a professor of nutrition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, led three different experiments involving 74 Fernald boys, aged 10 to 17. As part of the study, the boys were fed oatmeal and milk laced with radioactive iron and calcium; in another experiment, scientists directly injected the boys with radioactive calcium.
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Re: Radioactive oatmeal experiments

Postby Abdul Alhazred » Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:05 pm

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Re: Radioactive oatmeal experiments

Postby Abdul Alhazred » Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:12 pm

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Re: Radioactive oatmeal experiments

Postby sparks » Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:59 pm

Abdul Alhazred wrote:Scandal or selling point?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBoD_zRfz_4


Selling point, but an ill considered one. Really depends on what the 'mildly radioactive substance' was... Something that cannot be readily be absorbed into the body with a half life of a few days or weeks is one thing. Weapons grade plutonium is another.
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Re: Radioactive oatmeal experiments

Postby Rob Lister » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:24 pm

sparks wrote:Selling point, but an ill considered one. Really depends on what the 'mildly radioactive substance' was... Something that cannot be readily be absorbed into the body with a half life of a few days or weeks is one thing. Weapons grade plutonium is another.


Yea, weapons grade plutonium would be far preferable. It doesn't absorb into the skin and decays by a mostly harmless alpha particle after about 30,000 years to harmless U235.

Radioactive calcium or iron would absorb and decay in days by beta/gamma and make you very sick/dead

Rule of thumb: longer half life is safer.

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Re: Radioactive oatmeal experiments

Postby Anaxagoras » Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:09 pm

Rob, I understand your point about short half lives being worse than very long ones, but with plutonium, the main problem is toxicity. Lead is bad not because it's radioactive but because it's a heavy metal, which are not good. Gram for gram, plutonium is probably worse than lead.
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Re: Radioactive oatmeal experiments

Postby Rob Lister » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:17 am

Anaxagoras wrote:Rob, I understand your point about short half lives being worse than very long ones, but with plutonium, the main problem is toxicity. Lead is bad not because it's radioactive but because it's a heavy metal, which are not good. Gram for gram, plutonium is probably worse than lead.


I would say more like uranium than lead, toxicity wise. Lead is easily absorbed though the gastrointestinal track, Pu is not. Lead attacks the central nervous system, U and Pu do not.

U or Pu would be nasty to inhale, but generally safe to touch.
http://web.ead.anl.gov/uranium/guide/uc ... /index.cfm

I don't recommend making a bowling ball from either U or Pu. Lead is fine.

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Re: Radioactive oatmeal experiments

Postby Witness » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:35 am


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Re: Radioactive oatmeal experiments

Postby sparks » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:44 am

In any event, let's just admit that Listy's 'ad the Plutonium.
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Re: Radioactive oatmeal experiments

Postby Witness » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:31 am

↑ I fear it was the other way round… :(

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Re: Radioactive oatmeal experiments

Postby sparks » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:00 am

Hey? What if it was Homeopathic Plutonium?



Wait....
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Re: Radioactive oatmeal experiments

Postby Doctor X » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:10 am

We use to DREAM of Radioactive Oatmeal!

Would have been a feast to us!

We were happy with just a lump of strychnine-impregnated lumps of cold cyanide.

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Re: Radioactive oatmeal experiments

Postby sparks » Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:51 am

Dayum! And here I thought 5 miles through the snow barefoot uphill both ways was fucked!
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Re: Radioactive oatmeal experiments

Postby Doctor X » Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:24 am

We were evicted from our snow covered hill. We had to live in the lake . . . uphill . . . both ways!

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