Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday rerun: Atom Jones

I believe we all knew a guy like this:

Swedish man caught trying to split atoms at home
The Associated Press

STOCKHOLM -- A Swedish man who was arrested after trying to split atoms in his kitchen said Wednesday he was only doing it as a hobby.

Richard Handl told The Associated Press that he had the radioactive elements radium, americium and uranium in his apartment in southern Sweden when police showed up and arrested him on charges of unauthorized possession of nuclear material.

The 31-year-old Handl said he had tried for months to set up a nuclear reactor at home and kept a blog about his experiments, describing how he created a small meltdown on his stove.

Only later did he realize it might not be legal and sent a question to Sweden's Radiation Authority, which answered by sending the police.

"I have always been interested in physics and chemistry," Handl said, adding he just wanted to "see if it's possible to split atoms at home."

The police raid took place in late July, but police have refused to comment. If convicted, Handl could face fines or up to two years in prison.

Although he says police didn't detect dangerous levels of radiation in his apartment, he now acknowledges the project wasn't such a good idea.

"From now on, I will stick to the theory," he said.

Ya.  Good idea.  You just know that guy who lives down the street from you is up to something, building a love machine down in his basement or something, who knows what?   But here in America, our hobbyists build boats that are too large to get out the basement door, or make models of baseball stadia out of toothpicks, or train animals to become a bell choir, performing Handel at the holidays.

Over in Sweden, fellow blogger Richard Handl is leading the way among Scandinavian nuclear hobbyists, but listen, if your name was his name too, you might have an interesting hobby as well.  He "just wanted to see if it's possible to split atoms at home." 

Message to Dick:  see if you can go find yourself a date.  Learn to cook. Volunteer at the library, the hospital, the firehouse. Learn to make ships in bottles. Collect old records.  Take up traveling. Get one of those ham radio rigs and talk to other ham radio operators all around the world on your ham radio.  Become a gardener, coach Little League baseball, start your own puppet theater.

We don't want Sweden becoming a nuclear power.  And we certainly don't want anyone to hold the world hostage with his homemade WMD.  

And for the love of IKEA, please clean up that stove!

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