November 29, 2007

Just what we need: more 'harmless' rays

Keep your shoes on: T-rays can see right through
From Reuters:
Imagine a trip to the airport without having to slip off your shoes.

A scanner using T-rays, a harmless form of electromagnetic radiation, could make that possible, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory said on Tuesday.

"At airports we have to take off our shoes," Ulrich Welp of Argonne's Materials Science Division said in a telephone interview. "It is kind of a nuisance."

Using T-rays, it would be possible to examine travelers' shoes without the need to disrobe, he said.
Harmless, eh? When have I heard that before. Why is it that the various manifestations and applications of electromagnetic radiation are always presumed harmless until proved otherwise? This presumption has been around since x-rays were discovered, and arguably since the first human became a suntan freak.

Time has proved that new 'forms' of radiation, like new 'forms' of food additives, pesticides, medicines and such sometimes evidence their danger only years after the exposure. Cancers can take decades to form and be detected. Sometimes the harm is visited on the offspring of the exposed person. When scientists can't consistently tell me whether or not eating eggs will kill me, how can anyone say something is harmless?
Examples of the presumption of harmlessness:
  • My parents, "Get outside and get some sun. Sunshine is good for you boy."
  • The shoe salesman, "Step up and put your feet in the fluoroscope machine sonny, so yer Ma can see how these fit."
  • The doctor, "We'd better take a few x-rays, just to be sure."
  • The dentist, "You are due for a full set of bite wing x-rays."
  • Cell phone kiosk cat, "Thats a rumor, man. Cell phones don't cause cancer."
  • Gun shop salesman, "These tritium sights don't give off harmful radiation."
It all reminds me of hearing, "Asbestos is inert. It won't hurt you. Now get the last of it out of that bag." If I go flying again, I'll remove my shoes. Its no trouble, and my feet don't smell that bad.
I'll have a slice without so much rat radiation in it. Check the Feed Trough for video.
Aren't you glad you didn't waste your time watching the faked-up, rat-filled, dishonest CNN/YouTube debate?

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