13 thoughts on “Pen Size Polonium Detector

  1. Me:”Honest! It’s just a Polonium detector!”
    TSA Official: “TURN AROUND NOW!”
    Me: I don’t understand!
    TSA Official:
    Me: “AUUUUUGGGGGGRRRH!”
    TSA Official:

    Okay, well maybe the taser thing is a bit far.

    Actually TSA searched me because I had wires and CDs near eachother. Oh noes! They might copy themselves, causing the RIAA to send a tactical nuke to destroy the nearest 50′ to “neutralize the threat” of copyright infringement!

  2. I can’t think of any TSA or taser questions so I’ll ask one about the detector project.

    The article specifies using a brass tube with a copper nail probe and copper mesh screen as the ion chamber.

    The author ‘suggests’ the screen be copper but how critical is the probe/canister material?

  3. okay, so i will say it now… i become randomly obsessed with one thing or another as time progresses: now it is the “true” random number generator, and this seems wonderful.

    Here is my hodgepodge of an idea:
    first you build one of the ones higher on the page, then you connect the voltage meter to a transistor (to turn it into a button-like signal) which is then connected to the circuit from an old joystick (in place of a button) (the joystick is used as a computer interface without all kinds of fancy circuits and ic’s to program and etc. (this also seems to add a bit of f’up proof (i.e. wont fry your computer)

    you then hook it up to a computer, write a simple program to interpret the clicks of the joystick button as events, and basically do it like hotbits http://www.fourmilab.ch/hotbits/

    or am i just a raving fool?

  4. Another (radioactive), and probably easier random number generator uses a webcam and a Alpha Radiation source(such as that out of a household smoke alarm). The source needs to be infront of the camera, in a completely dark environment, e.g. a lead box. As Alpha particles hit the CCD they create small pulses of what the camera thinks is light. These fall in a completely random fashion- all you need is software to count where these pulses happen – and there’s your random number generator! I remember seeing this on the web ages ago..dono where though

    As for #7 Try googling Alexander Litvinenko….

  5. to 9 and 10

    that was what i was thinking about originally, however i thought that the software would end up being too complex, as i think it would be easier to program something to read button events than to interpret video, i don’t know, i do not program. the other thing is that this will probably require much less compensation for bias, making the numbers more truly random

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