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Teen Builds Nuclear Bomb Detector

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the and-for-my-next-trick dept.

Science 210

DaneM writes "An enterprising teenage boy named Taylor Wilson, 17, has created a homemade, hand-held nuclear bomb detector. It utilizes a small fusion reactor that he made when he was 14, and detects nuclear materials by shooting neutrons at closed containers and exciting any nuclear materials inside — which, in turn, causes more radiation to be produced, and is detected by the device. This may provide a simpler, more effective alternative to searching containers visually, one-at-a-time. No information is given about how safe such a practice is. Taylor also has some choice things to say about how science is, in fact, very cool."

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A small fusion reactor (4, Funny)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483780)

Must be nice to have your own portable fusion reactor.

Re:A small fusion reactor (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36483838)

Necessity is the mother of invention. What if you need a portable neutron source and your local mad scientist supply shop doesn't stock any? You take a small detour to build a small fusion reactor and then get on with the project, of course!

Re:A small fusion reactor (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483846)

I wonder how much power it generates.

Re:A small fusion reactor (4, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483896)

Less than it consumes.

Re:A small fusion reactor (1)

operator_error (1363139) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483898)

Yeah, talk about your buried lead! The kid has fusion going for him, egads! TFA says he did the fusion thing 3 years ago, but is otherwise mute on the details. I'm no nuclear physicist, so I had to google to make certain my own understanding of nuclear fusion was in the ballpark.

http://partners.nytimes.com/library/national/science/032399sci-cold-fusion.html [nytimes.com]

Wait until Nature reads about this development at Gizomodo.com; they're gonna be pissed!

Re:A small fusion reactor (4, Informative)

SEE (7681) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484076)

I assure you, the people at Nature already know about the Farnsworthâ"Hirsch fusor.

Re:A small fusion reactor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484344)

Oh, that's Philo Farnsworth and not Hubert J. Farnsworth.

Re:A small fusion reactor (5, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484128)

Fusion reactor is within reach of a hobbyist. It consumes energy but produces fusion. It is not a power generator.

Re:A small fusion reactor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484584)

We even have Fusion CPUs now!
Oh, wait...

Re:A small fusion reactor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484602)

Hobbiests have been doing fusion for years. There's nothing new or exciting here. It might be exciting for you because you didn't know. Most of us who read Nature did.

I've always wanted one of those (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36483918)

I could've used one just the other day...

Re:A small fusion reactor (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36483958)

Seriously, people. Click all the way through to his actual article. Gods of Kobol--this is slashdot! Do it for Science!

Not cold fusion. Not Science Fiction. Certainly not as exciting as it sounds.
His fusion reactor:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farnsworth_fusor [wikipedia.org]

Re:A small fusion reactor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484234)

I'd love to read it but all I see when I click the screen is the Gizmodo logo and a blank white page.

Re:A small fusion reactor (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484510)

Your RequestPolicy Firefox plugin is blocking it.

Re:A small fusion reactor (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36483972)

Next thing you know he'll be busting ghosts.

Re:A small fusion reactor (0)

rwise2112 (648849) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484114)

Mr. Fusion?

Re:A small fusion reactor (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484642)

Can you explain again, where in the airports are these detectors are going top be used? I can clearly see this can be helpful to the TSA... To get more budget again next year.

You're talking absolute shit again... (-1, Troll)

Lundse (1036754) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483784)

That is all

No kidding (-1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483982)

The phrase "fusion reactor" should have set off the bullshit detectors right there. Never mind the kids age or any of that shit, if he had a working fusion reactor, let alone one that could be carried around, that would be the story not a detector.

Also radiation detectors do NOT use reactors of any kind. They don't use radiation at all, not only because of safety but because something that generates what you are trying to measure would rather fuck with the readings. Geiger counters work by having a tube of low pressure, inert, gas and watching when it conducts electricity, as a result of ionizing radiation passing through it. Dosimeters use various technology but quartz fiber is popular, again works by measuring electrical charge sue to ionization. A scintillation counter has something that fluoresces when struck by ionizing radiation, and then various things to amplify and measure the light.

Notice in all cases nowhere does "reactor" or "atomic" or "nuclear" come in when talking about how they are made and how they measure things.

Saying you use a fusion reactor to detect radiation is like saying you use the ocean to detect water.

Re:No kidding (5, Interesting)

_merlin (160982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484068)

"Fusion reactor" is dumbed-down terminology for the masses. What he's built is probably a Farnsworthâ"Hirsch Fusor [wikipedia.org] which can be made quite small. It's not useful for generating energy as it's very inefficient, but it's a good neutron source. Also, you're missing the point of how his contraption is supposed to work. The radiation detector isn't the part that uses the fusor. The fusor is used to send a neutron beam through the package under test. If it contains enriched uranium or plutonium, the interaction with neutrons will cause it to emit far higher levels of neutron flux and gamma radiation than most other materials. If you see this effect, you might want to inspect the package. I don't know how effective it is in practice, but the premise of operation makes sense.

Re:No kidding (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484360)

The fusor is used to send a neutron beam through the package under test. If it contains enriched uranium or plutonium, the interaction with neutrons will cause it to emit far higher levels of neutron flux and gamma radiation than most other materials

And if he does that trick on a barely subcritical mass of uranium 235 or plutonium, it goes bang.

Re:No kidding (2)

_merlin (160982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484488)

And if he does that trick on a barely subcritical mass of uranium 235 or plutonium, it goes bang.

Not likely - the amount of fissile material in a typical nuclear bomb has to be compressed to a fraction of its size by the detonation mechanism in order to achieve criticality. Exposing it to neutron flux won't set it off.

Re:No kidding (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484518)

Yeah thats why I said a barely subcritical mass, not a normal fission bomb. And yes, I know that this is pretty unlikely. Such a mass would be sensitive to other factors such as humidity.

Re:No kidding (2, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484070)

Fusion is actually trivial to achieve. Thousands of people have built units in their garage.. it's a common science fair project.

Perhaps you're confused because you've heard that an effective fusion power plant is an area of active research and not currently available and have incorrectly assumed that this somehow implies that fusion must be hard.

You're wrong, and I hope you feel like an idiot now for being so smug.

Re:No kidding (4, Informative)

SEE (7681) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484090)

I assure you, Farnsworthâ"Hirsch fusors exist, fit the dictionary definition of "reactor", are well within the capabilities of teenagers to build, and do emit neutrons.

And I also assure you that when you bombard fissile material with neutrons, its rate of activity goes up, and that increase in activity makes it easier to detect the fissile material with radiation detectors.

Re:No kidding (4, Informative)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484098)

The operating principle is given in the second sentence of the goddamn summary: Fire neutrons in, watch radiation from activation products. As others have pointed out, otherwise known as Neutron Activation Spectroscopy.

Re:No kidding (2)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484110)

Well, the article did clearly specify this was a different type of detector, which worked by emitting neutrons, exciting nearby fissionable material, and measuring the radiation given off by it after excitation. Still, it's unlikely the boy has has a portable nuclear reactor. Perhaps some of the article is true, and the journalist confused that part.

Re:No kidding (2)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484170)

The fusion reactor is an neutron emitter is all, not a sustainable power supply that generates more energy than is needed to contain it. It's the second of these that's difficult, even the Sun's containment isn't too great, and at that mass, it has gravity doing a large amount of the work. We need to hold our fusion of levels needed to produce energy in strong magnetic fields to hold it together and not let it melt the reactor. The electromagnets needed to produce such magnetic fields use a lot of energy (until the more recent designs, more than the fusion reaction generates).

Re:No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484230)

Wow. Please don't vote parent up and please vote grandparent down.

I expected better of people from Slashdot to not be your average moronic Americans who go batshit insane at the mention of anything nuclear.
Seems I was wrong.

Slashdot really needs a "Moron" rating. Seriously, add it, please.
This kind of stupidity is just embarrassing.
Same goes for all those other morons below here.

It is a nuclear reactor that performs fusion. Get over it.
It isn't efficient. It isn't for getting a profit in power. It is for generating neutrons.
Fusion isn't hard to do if you don't care about what comes out of it, especially if all you want is a neutron source.
Tabletop fusion has been done more times than most people here have probably had hot dinners.
Since there are so many morons on here, I will link this.
Because it seems fusion is seriously hard to do... [wikipedia.org]
SO hard. [wikipedia.org]
Sorry for my mockery, but due to the number of morons that appear to have collected on Slashdot recently, I'm sure you will understand why.

Did he test it? (0)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483790)

Did it work, or did it explode the bomb?

Re:Did he test it? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36483864)

Well, it didn't detect any bombs, but there weren't any, so it has a 100% chance of getting the answer right when there are no bombs around.

Re:Did he test it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484000)

Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

Re:Did he test it? (1)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484188)

Luckily one technically needs to make the uranium/plutonium a critical mass to actually produce a chain fusion reaction, this is usually done by explosives that compact it when the bomb is triggered. Still, I'm a little worried about the nasty effects it could have it it does find a bomb, fundamentally this is we'll attempt to trigger a reaction and see if it does react. This means if I say, had a tungsten reflector sphere with a small hole in it and enough mass, we would a supercriticallity event when they try to test it this way (aka, boom).

Skeptical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36483792)

Nice to know that he used a "fusion reactor he built when he was 14". Just goes to show projects like ITER are a waste of time. We should let 14 year olds deign our nuclear plants. Sarcasm aside, i'm slightly skeptical about this claim. I rank it's crdibility somewhere between Fleishmann and Pons, that is.

Re:Skeptical (1)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483848)

No, this is proof that anyone can make a fusion reaction. But nobody has yet to make a reactor that produces more power than it consumes.

Re:Skeptical (3, Interesting)

NalosLayor (958307) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483868)

Tabletop fusion reactors have existed since the 1950s - created by Philo T. Farnsworth (who invented television as we know it, and who is paid homage to by futurama). They have never been (and likely never will be) able to produce more energy than it takes to fuse the atoms, thus making them impractical as a fusion *power plant* but a "reactor" nevertheless, and a practical source of free neutrons for research purposes, and projects like this.

unsafe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36483802)

this is plainly unsafe. uranium atom + neutron = barium + krypton + 200mev energy + 3 neutrons

Neutron Activation Analysis (1, Informative)

Unsichtbarer_Mensch (710092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483808)

So this dude 'reinvented' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_activation_analysis [wikipedia.org] and solved the problem of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_fusion.Ra-ha-ight [wikipedia.org] .... Yet if we just assume that he uses a regular neutron source like Californium 252 - so no breakthroughs in fusion physics are involved- it would still be interesting to see how he processes the data from the detectors. Maybe that's where the innovation lies.

Re:Neutron Activation Analysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36483852)

To be fair the original says "built" not "invented". No contest on the fusion aspect though...

Re:Neutron Activation Analysis (3, Informative)

Captain Segfault (686912) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483926)

Fusors [wikipedia.org] are a standard neutron source, and they're fairly straightforward to build.

The idea that you could throw hydrogen ions at each other with enough energy to fuse is fairly obvious. It turns out that the obvious ways of doing so are orders of magnitude short of generating net power, but they do generate neutrons.

Re:Neutron Activation Analysis (1)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483940)

The interesting part would be the detection, yes. If it just detects "radiation/no radiation" it won't tell the difference between aluminum and uranium...

A fusion reactor? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36483810)

lol?!

Re:A fusion reactor? (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484136)

Building a fusion reactor ain't so hard. At least as long as you do not care about power input and output.

What science currently has troubles with is to create a fusion reactor with a net surplus of energy after the fusion. That's the thing that's hard. To harness the energy created by nuclear fusion in such a way that the chain reaction can remain stable (i.e. is at the very least self sustaining) is the holy grail of cold fusion power. Not getting atoms to fuse.

Get with it people ! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36483820)

He used his *time machine* to make the nuclear fission reactor. Geez, some people are so cynical !

nobel physics prize is sewed up (2)

decaffeinated (70626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483822)

Built his own fusion reactor...excellent...and also figured out a way to make sure that the resulting neutron flux doesn't turn his carcass into a smouldering ash heap. Bonus.

The linked site (0)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483830)

Of course, "Made on a Mac". I mean, where else can one find a reality distortion field strong enough to make a portable fusion reactor?

Another David Hahn in the making? (1)

Fish (David Trout) (923462) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483834)

Re:Another David Hahn in the making? (1)

arogier (1250960) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483998)

We'll find out if he gets enough radiation poisoning to look like a meth addict while he's knocking off people's smoke detectors.

DHS here (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483844)

Why don't you have a seat...

Back to the Future? (1)

otaku244 (1804244) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483856)

"It utilizes a small fusion reactor that he made when he was 14" (sic)
OK, great job kid. I just have one problem...
So after a quick rifle through my movie collection I recall a certain Doctor with DeLorean was powered by questionable amounts of radioactive plutonium in a home-made reactor. He had to trifle with a rowdy band of Libyans to get his material.
So who did you trick and to I need to be worried?

Re:Back to the Future? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483884)

Plutonium is used in fission reactor, not fusion.

Re:Back to the Future? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484256)

The fission reactor is used to power the fusion one.

Re:Back to the Future? (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483912)

Why don't you just read the article and related links?

Re:Back to the Future? (1)

Zawash (147532) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483948)

No, no - this is the more advanced version of the reactor in the car, the one at the end of the film - this is the Mr. Fusion version [wikipedia.org] . Come on - a fission reactor is so last millenium!

How very sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36483866)

This boy is clearly a genius with unlimited potential. How extraordinarily sad that he is applying all that potential to something as fucking idiotic as counter-terrorism.

Sigh.

Re:How very sad (4, Funny)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483950)

This boy is clearly a genius with unlimited potential. How extraordinarily sad that he is applying all that potential to something as fucking idiotic as counter-terrorism.

Well, there's not much potential use for a fusor in investment banking, so I guess counter-terrorism is where the money is.

Re:How very sad (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484266)

Well, there's not much potential use for a fusor in investment banking

If we brainstorm a little we might come up with something. It's worth a try...

Re:How very sad (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484148)

Relax. He could be even more useless and study BA or law and become the next manager or lawyer to not even be useless but actually a burden on society.

Re:How very sad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484426)

Grow up, not all counter-terrorism is TEH EVIL. This is the kind of tech that could be genuinely useful, non-invasive, does not infringe privacy or personal liberty, and could save lives rather than being security theatre. It could also have uses beyond counter-terrorism.

And his Dad (-1, Flamebait)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483870)

Another kid holding up something his pop designed, with nodding approval from the kid as he shows off a machine that would take months to build, CAD, proto, testing, more machining, testing. When did this kid go to school? REALLY? REALLY? This is just another science project by a hi-tech dad, thrown to a kid that "probably" doesn't totally understand, or couldn't do the design that he's holding in his hands .without the holding hands of PhD Dad or Mom. Something like this requires money and a lot more.

Re:And his Dad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484212)

Jealous much?

timothy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36483874)

I'm worried that timothy might not be able to tell the difference between reality and comic books.

Stop crapping up my RSS feed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36483880)

Why isn't there some sort of editorial filter between submission and front page?

Nevermind that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484050)

Why do so many alleged nerds not know the difference between cold fusion and fusion?

People are so quick to take the piss out of something on here that half of them skip reading, comprehension, or both.

It's so cool (1)

ikarys (865465) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483894)

"But the thing is, science is cool, and me and my friends who do science are cooler than the people who don't. I have to end this interview now as Mum needs to cut my hair."

Reality check (5, Interesting)

pnot (96038) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483902)

As someone pointed out: building a fusion reactor, while not trivial, is routinely done by tinkerers worldwide: see e.g. this Instructables guide [instructables.com] .

No, the truly amazing thing here is what I found when I clicked through to the original story [pbs.org] (as usual, not linked in the summary):

... here in Reno, we have the University of Nevada-Reno, and I went to the physics department. They offered to give me a bunch of parts, and after I got fusion, they offered to give me my own lab here to work in. So that was very helpful.

Allow me to be the first to say, WHAT THE YELLOW RUBBERY FUCK? In every university department I've ever had experience of, researchers and grad students fight tooth and nail to get funding for anything more expensive than an alligator clip. Meanwhile, these guys have sufficient resources to start handing out equipment and lab space to enterprising teenagers for science fair projects! Hmm, time to start looking for a postdoc position there, I think...

Re:Reality check (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484134)

His own lab? Please tell me they didn't let a little kid in the lab unattended. Undergrads are bad enough.

Yes, it's a fusion reactor. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36483906)

Where it says "fusion reactor" it means "Farnsworth Fusor". Yes, it fuses hydrogen. No, it doesn't have net power output.

Fusion Reactors aren't myth, people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36483908)

For the love of Science, fusion reactors are actually pretty easy to make. The problem is making them pass unity (ie, produce more power than they consume).

Go look up a Farnsworth-Hirsch Fusor - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusor . Kids have been making them for scout merit badges for years.

Not sure if good idea... (1, Interesting)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483916)

Neutron radiation leads to neutron activation. I don't know off the top of my head what intensity of neutron radiation would be needed, but exposure which forms long-lived isotopes is cumulative. Common isotopes of iron, nickel and copper are all susceptible to some amount of activation.

Cross-section to spall neutrons off of U238 or Th232 are ~1barn with halflife of days, but the most common isotope of iron has a n-2n cross section of around half a barn and the result has a halflife of several years. Any nuke techs care to chime in?

Yes, fusion reactor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36483920)

To all the idiots being smartasses and trying to claim he couldn't possibly have built a fusion reactor:

Making a fusion reactor is easy. What is difficult is to create a fusion reactor that produces useful amounts of power at a reasonable cost. If all you want is the neutrons then power output is not important, making it relatively easy to do. You only need a few kV or electric potential, and every cathode ray tube or even just some flourescent light armatures contain the electronics needed. The reason this won't get you a power plant is that to make the thing produce more power than you put in you need a good energy confinement ( making sure most of the energy you put is not just radiated away and wasted ). Now THAT is very tricky, and generally involves the use of computer controlled magnets or extremely powerful lasers.

Love it. (1)

mustPushCart (1871520) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483924)

Detecting nuclear bombs by shooting neutrons at it is like detecting dynamite by throwing fire at it right?

Re:Love it. (3, Insightful)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483952)

Nope, the bomb's fissile material is subcritical until the point of explosion, when it's compressed by an explosive charge (in crude terms, actually an explosive lens) into supercriticality. While subcritical, no amount of neutron bombardment will trigger it.

Re:Love it. (2)

azalin (67640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483974)

You know that you can't set of dynamite that easily. Basicly the whole idea of dynamite is to have an explosive that doesn't blow in your face.
C4 can even be used in some camping stoves to heat your dinner.

Re:Love it. (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484434)

Detecting nuclear bombs by shooting neutrons at it is like detecting dynamite by throwing fire at it right?

Yes, more or less. As actually dynamite is not exploding when thrown into fire. It just burns (not very good btw) off.

Summary AND article misleading (2)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483930)

Okay, you might call it a fusion reactor, but it's just a fusor no matter how you look at it. It could most likely be replaced with any other neutron source, since what drives this is the neutron bombardment and the detection of induced radiation, the source of neutrons doesn't matter.

Also, this is in no way revolutionary. What is revolutionary, however, is that the ICE and border guard hasn't managed to implement an automated neutron scanner yet, but a 17-years-old kid managed to. That is why I congratulate him, and hope the government takes notice of him.

Re:Summary AND article misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484160)

With the father or mother likely as engineers or physicists its no surprise the kid was educated and/or helped building such equipment. If anyone asks me that's not worth praising, unless he never got help from the parents or teaches in any way beyond basic education, in that case, very good for him/her.

Re:Summary AND article misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484238)

DTRA is the agency who develops these things, not ICE or CBP. And it has major problems ... the first is shielding; the second is false positives. If you make it sensitive enough to see through simple shielding (concrete) than your false-positive rate becomes unacceptably high. Sorry, physics sucks that way.

Re:Summary AND article misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484340)

being noticed by the government is rarely a good thing

ICE (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484540)

ICE and border guard hasn't managed to implement an automated neutron scanner yet, but a 17-years-old kid managed to.

That's because they are too busy taking down websites for the RIAA.

Re:Summary AND article misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484656)

Yeah, because when I got a projectile (plane) flying at 1000 km/h, with a nuclear warhead inside, I fuckin' think "landing, and going through the checks", before detonating it. :P

Guys, you know I like you. And that I respect everyone.
But it is way beyond me, how most Americans can be so delusional about this. How do you even get the idea that anybody who wanted to nuke something would go through any checks? I mean hasn't 9/11 told you anything?
Come on. You're way smarter than this!

What a foolish genius (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483980)

If there is one thing not to mess with as a teen, it's nuclelar tech.

I don't think so (0)

ocean_soul (1019086) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484054)

"It utilizes a small fusion reactor that he made [...]" That right there is a clear indication this is bullshit.

Re:I don't think so (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484156)

Again: Fusing atoms isn't rocket science. Getting more energy out of it than you put in is the nontrivial part.

Re:I don't think so (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484548)

This comment is a clear indication that you don't have a clue.

Re:I don't think so (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484646)

Stop reading slashdot and go read a science book.

You are way behind the curve on a site filled mostly with folks that aren't.

I'm gonna barf SPIN SPIN (0)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484096)

What the hell is with his web page? Does he hate gays and incite them with all his crooked pictures?

Fission not Fusion (0)

bl968 (190792) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484112)

If he had created a Fusion reactor both him and his familiy would be set for life...

Re:Fission not Fusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484158)

Uh No, It's fusion. Simple magnetic compression in a spiral. 2 H fuse = N~ He? WTF don't ask me.
Takes more energy to do the reaction then you get out, Like others said "Farnsworth fusor"
. Some other quacks have tried to produce + energy from the reaction ( more like suckers + $ = profits for quacks )
None have succeeded, from what I have read.

Re:Fission not Fusion (1)

RobinH (124750) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484318)

For goodness sake, please read the other comments above you. He probably has a Farnsworth Fusor.

Typical anti-white comment... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484124)

First comment on the article:

"Is being that pale a sign of radiation exposure?"

No, it's a sign of INTELLIGENCE.

Wouldn't you all have fallen off your chairs if he had been BLACK?

Do blacks offer anything useful to the world? What's your children's country going to be like when it's 50% non-white? How about 80% non-white?

Hell on earth, that's what, and you all know it.

Nothing new here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484172)

There is nothing new here other than a kid decides he wants to become sterile.

Gizmodo (1)

indytx (825419) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484184)

I love the Gizmodo link. Nothing like having a blank screen when I follow the link because I have to allow scripts on the page for simple text to show up. Nice. Good work on the post.

Re:Gizmodo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484244)

Gizmodo is 99% gossip and worthless tripe. I'm a starred commenter at lifehacker (my star works across all Gawker sites) and I simply cannot stand giz. Like you, I don't allow javascript there either and block 100% of their ads, even on LH due to the obnoxious nature of them. Any web property that has 15 external links for ad/graphical content is just "bad."

I do allow javascript from 2 sites so LH will work, but no others. I don't allow javascript on /. either.

You and I know that Javascript is very dangerous and shouldn't be allowed on 99.9999% of the web sites that we use, including /. If you can't achieve the look with CSS, then you really shouldn't do it.

I checked. It's not April 1. (0)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484242)

Sketchy fusion reactor is sketchy.

Aiming for the TSA boondoggle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484274)

He can probably milk them for millions - further 'research' needed and all that.

Aargh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36484288)

Why "utilize" - was the word "use" not long enough? Consultancy past shining through?

Another teenage fusor (2)

aniefer (910494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484390)

At first I thought the article was about this guy [blogspot.com] , another teenager building a fusion reactor.

This could work (4, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484626)

Read the paper [sciradioactive.com] . He bought or built a "Farnsworth Fusor" to send 2.5 MeV neutrons into a package, and then look for high energy products of neutron induced fission from the package. These would be high enough in energy that the natural background would be quite low, making false positives low. There is no reason why this shouldn't work (although whether its practical is another question.)

He tested it on "20 grams of Natural Uranium Trioxide (UO3) containing - 99.3% U238 and 0.7% U235." (In other words, about 0.1 grams of U235.) The integration time he found he needed was 10 minutes, rather than the 15 seconds desired by DHS, but it's an interesting concept. He doesn't do any calculations as to the expected return from an interesting about of U235 (say, 100 grams), but it would be higher, and so integration times should be less.

He also says that the incident beam is low enough not to be harmful : "the system has low enough does as to not affect the health or functionality of the cargo and operator, However, he doesn't state any dosage information, which I would fault him on if I were grading this paper.

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