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Friday, August 1, 2008

The Rock in My Room

I used to collect minerals and cool rocks as a kid. All the different sizes, colors and shapes have fascinated me, and they still do. Yes, I know - I always nurtured this inner nerd-slash-scientist in me, it was just a matter of when not the if to come to surface. The organized chaos is something hard to descirbe. You cannot be sure that something really is random, yet see the beauty in it.
The collection never grew to a large proportions, most of the pieces wait in cardboard boxes for their fate. Some of the bigger, crystallized minerals are still in my room. Objects which remind me off all the weird hobbies I've taken on and abandoned eventually.
I had an idea today. Let's test if any of the rocks has detectable radioactivity over the background radiation. Oh yes. It's good to have all those expensive and exotic measuring devices in a common household. Of course it is quite ironic not to find a measuring tape in your home, but to have a frequency counter, radio scanner and a dosimeter within an arm's reach...
So anyways - I've found out that I kept a rock with four times the normal background radiation in my rooms. The close reading (beta plus gamma radiation) gives around 0.47 uSv... (where u=micro) Hey, I would not really want to keep that under my pillow.
Radioactive rock? Anyone? Check out the very short video. The beeping is coming from the dosimeter, of course safety standards would be badly crossed with that kind of long time exposure: