Friday, October 24, 2008

OMG my x-ray machine has no x-rays, what do I do???

No, this isn't the exclusive that you've been hearing all about! That's still coming - but it's so scorchingly hot that we're wrapping the web server in a bit of insulation before we put it up. Just in case, you know...

OK, on to the real story. Bear with me a bit here for this MacGyver-type scenario: say you've got an x-ray machine, but picketers at the Lucas Heights reactor have meant that your radiation source hasn't been replaced. Your x-rays have run out! As a vet-type person, a delicate baby something-or-other has been brought to you, and you need to x-ray it to check that its adorable fuzzy leg isn't broken. What to do??? Can you MacGyver up some x-rays to save an cute fluffy baby animal???

The chances are that I wouldn't be writing this if you couldn't.

Apparently, unrolling clear sticky tape (Scotch tape) can generate x-rays, and not just a little sparkle, but enough to image tissue as thick as a human hand.  Freaky.

Back to our MacGyver situation, and all you need to do is get your engineering buddy to wire up a system to unwind sticky tape at about 3cm a second where you want your x-ray source, and ta-da! X-rays = cute fluffy baby animal saved!

Now, those people that prefer tape to staples generally start looking worried about now. To those people: harden up. You don't avoid airplanes because of the x-rays you'll get there, do you?

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