Author Topic: Radiation or Magnetars?  (Read 1543 times)

Offline skep48

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Radiation or Magnetars?
« on: August 17, 2013, 11:59:03 AM »
I say a news clip on the radiation situation at Fukashima plant, so I decided to look it up.  It is amazing how much I don't know about radiation.  The news was talking about plutonium in the soil and how it is the deadliest element on earth, but from what I have read, plutonium isnt that bad.  I always thought that the longer the half life the worse it is, but after my day and a half of learning is seems to me to be the opposite.  I knew what half life was already from the podcast but I had never heard of biological half life.  I find this all very interesting and a show on it would be awesome for someone like me.

As far as magnetars, TiPhy has mentioned them a couple of times but all I really know is that they are neutron stars with powerful magnetic fields.  How are they formed? Why haven't we found more of them? I would also enjoy a show on magnetars as well. 

Offline calura

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Re: Radiation or Magnetars?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2013, 03:41:16 AM »
I say a news clip on the radiation situation at Fukashima plant, so I decided to look it up.  I always thought that the longer the half life the worse it is, but after my day and a half of learning is seems to me to be the opposite.  I knew what half life was already from the podcast but I had never heard of biological half life.

A long half life is bad as far as pollution is concerned, because it takes hundreds or thousands of years for it to break down enough to a safe level (assuming it's decay products aren't also radioactive, which is even worse).  But if something has a short half life, that means it's decaying rapidly and spitting out a lot of radiation, which is why you don't want it in your body.  That's from my very rough understanding anyway, someone else please correct me if that's wrong. 

I concur that this would be a great subject for a show.  I also learnt a lot about nuclear power etc after the Fukashima disaster - there were so many alarmist statements flying around on the news and whenever I went researching to find out if any of them had a basis in fact there'd be some new and interesting thing to learn about reactors or decay products etc.