Po coffee.

I spent the morning putting Polonium-210 into coffee cups.  If that behavior seems oddly familiar and sinister…it’s not just your crippling paranoia.)

Imitating a Russian assassin was interesting, but then the job turned into watching liquid nitrogen boil off.  Which beats watching paint dry, but not as much as you’d think.

The question:  will cryo-shock damage 100-micron Polonium-210 wires needed in other experimentation?  We were pretty sure the answer was “no”.  But we also had to prove it.  So we bathed a 200,000 dpm (disintegrations per minute) alpha source in liquid nitrogen.  The high-tech insulated cryo-chamber?  It was a 12-ounce Styrofoam coffee cup nestled inside a 16-ounce Styrofoam coffee cup.

When the scientist noticed me jotting terse notes for later write up, he requested a photocopy because “I love source documents!”.  Except that calling my chicken scratching a “document” is an insult to legibility.  And since no proprietary or Personally Identifiable Information was recorded, I can even show you just what he requested:

BL-13 cryo experiment notes

Here’s an explanation for that eye-gouging text.  I like it better than “worrme’s in dire need of neurological testing!”

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About wormme

I've accepted that all of you are socially superior to me. But no pretending that any of you are rational.
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3 Responses to Po coffee.

  1. Blake says:

    I once had the pleasure of moving the office and exam room equipment of a dermatologist. He had this odd container lined with styrofoam with a fairly tight lid. I seem to recall the container was labeled “liquid nitrogen” or some such. Naturally, I looked inside. It was interesting to see that the liquid inside sloshed around as a liquid should. However, I did not try to prove that, yes, it was actually liquid nitrogen. And no, the dermatologist was not around to supervise the move. After all, I was a professional mover. Said so on the side of the truck.

    • wormme says:

      Heh. I think skin docs use liquid N for…removing warts and such? Not sure. Any other fun surprises whilst moving other peoples’ stuff?

      • Blake says:

        Yeah, my dad had some skin growths removed by a dermatologist with liquid nitrogen. Which is why I wasn’t surprised to find a container labeled as such and also why I accepted the very real possibility the container actually had liquid nitrogen in it.

        Truth betold, you don’t get too many surprises moving office furniture. It being an office environment and all. Although, I did get to hear a regional vp of a very large corporation state the company would never open an office in a certain midwest city due to local government dicking them around about exit sign placement. The regional vp was thoroughly pissed because the company had had to move the cubicle farm three different times, each time because the local fire marshal decided he didn’t like the setup, even though the company and the moving company had followed the marshall’s directions to the letter.

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