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Run Your Laptop On Nuclear Energy

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the mind-the-jewels-please dept.

Technology 607

Reader zymano points to this news.com artcle on innovations in portable power sources. Would you feel comfortable with a radioactive power source inside your laptop or cellphone?

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607 comments

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Command post! (5, Funny)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662312)

Missle command on a nuclear powered laptop? That would turn my mind into a buttery crazy straw!

Re:Command post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662365)

It's missile you silly yankee boy. Get your pronunciation right.

Re:Command post! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662379)

Nucular missile, to be precise.

Re:Command post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662463)

Nuclear missile.

You know, it really shouldn't take 4 posts to get something this simple right.

Re:Command post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662416)

actually, i'm from texas. so it's more like missuhl ka-mmand

FP fools - HAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAH (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662317)

FP fools - HAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAH

Jared loves your mom! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662318)

it's true, he does!

At subway, you get a sub prepared anyway you like, by the friendly, efficient staff. Choose from mouth-watering veggies, succulent meats and cheeses, and a variety of freshly-baked bread. Why not stop in today and pick up some subs for the whole family to enjoy. I suggest the Italian BMT, piled high with genoa salami, pepperoni, ham, and provolone cheese. Top it with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles, add a few spritzes of italian dressing and you've got a meal fit for king. Subway: eat fresh!

g to the oatse
c to the izzex
fo shizzle my nizzle click here [jareddispatch.com] (note: the site is currently down. I expect it to come back online around Thanksgiving) to dispatch Jared and his formerly overweight goons to crack down on Subway if they don't honor the $3.49 Troll Tuesday deal. Make sure you provide the store number and address. Mine is store number 5839. Don't believe me about the concept of the jared dispatch? Yahoo has an article about it here [yahoo.com] , although it is pretty light on the details.
Note: I've gotten a few comments that the link to Jared Dispatch doesn't work. I think the site got taken down because of abuse of the service. Although the site got taken down, I still highly reccomend Subway and their high quality subs. To show my appreciation, here is a link to Free Subway Coupons. I had to redirect it through Yahoo's site redirector, because my of the filter at work. Anyways, here is the link! [yahoo.com]
Note 2: I've received word that those links to yahoo actually point to goatse.cx. I am truly sorry about that, and I found the cause. A couple weeks ago, a hacker broke into yahoo and set up some scripts that redirect the user to goatse.cx if a file is in a certain directory. I accidentally tried to access a file in one of those haunted directories. I fixed the links (I have a cousin who works at yahoo), so they should bring you to the actual sites now, not goatse.cx. Update 10/28: The hacker, or should I say hax0r [mailto] , actually has posted a page on yahoo on how he did it and how the goatse redirector works. It's a very good read. I suggest reading it soon before yahoo finds out about it and takes it down. Check it out ASAP [yahoo.com] !
Note 3: I am working on locating the articles using google's cache. It is taking some time because I don't remember the exact titles. However, I hope to have the links fixed and working very soon. Keep eating at Subway in the meantime, and request that they bring back the jalepeno cheese roll. It is a fanscrumptiously brilliant roll.
Note 4: To all those who think that sub is an incorrect term, I live in upstate NY, and we call it a sub here. There are no hoagies, grinders, po'boys, footlongs, heroes, or any other made up names. It's not hoagieway after all, its Subway.
Important: It is my duty to report to you, loyal low-threshold readers, of a very disturbing incident that happened to me last week. I went into subway at the normal lunch time, but instead of the standard line out the door, the restaurant was vacant. Normally, the queue doesn't concern me, since the crew knows enough to make me a footlong Italian BMT with my standard fixin's and have it ready at 11:30 sharp, on tuesdays. I approached the counter casually, when two bulky men appeared from each side of the potato chip display rack. They held me down, and Jared appeared from behind the counter. He took my preprepared footlong BMT and cracked an evil grin. The manager grabbed the bottle of italian dressing and lubed up my general ass area. Jared shoved the footlong Italian BMT repeatedly into my ass, mixing it with the chucks of feces that were in my bowels, until the fresh crisp veggies resembled brown spoiled food. I begged him to stop, but little did I know the torture waiting for me. He took the italian dressing, and squirted it into my pee hole. Now, it burns when I pee, and it hurts when I sit. I asked him why he was doing this, and he said that they had tracked me down for my abuse of the Jared Dispatch system. You see, Jared gets airsick, and his constant flying over the country has caused him to lose weight due to his vomiting on planes. Normally, this loss of weight would be a good thing, but Subway can't actually claim that he lost weight by eating Subway subs. They told him to put the weight back on and then lose it again by eating subs, somthing Jared does not want to do. As a result, they are the ones who closed down Jared Dispatch. I am begging you, loyal readers DON'T GO TO JARED DISPATCH [yahoo.com] ANY MORE. Thank you for your time. I have to go to Subway now, and tell them that I want less italian dressing on my footlong Italian BMT. Remember, if you don't eat at subway, then the terrorists win! (note: On the link above, I used client-side redirection. Therefore, if it sends you to goatse.cx, it is a problem with YOUR COMPUTER, NOT THE WEB PAGE!)

You're slipping, dude. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662360)


Radiation in my laptop? (5, Funny)

TheGreenLantern (537864) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662323)

Would you feel comfortable with a radioactive power source inside your laptop or cellphone?

Sure, as long as it's not that yellow radiation.

An atomic pile the size of a walnut? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662332)

An atomic pile the size of a walnut? Nonsense! Even the greatest technicians of the Empire could not do such a thing. Your upstart Foundation must be populated by wizards!

Re:An atomic pile the size of a walnut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662401)

Funny stuff... Sorry no mod points today.

Re:An atomic pile the size of a walnut? (0, Offtopic)

varith (530137) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662476)

Oh for some mod points!

Re:An atomic pile the size of a walnut? (-1, Redundant)

SablKnight (205665) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662526)

Definitely in line with my first thoughts on the matter...

-SablKnight

I predict: better looking people! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662333)

Geeky guys and gals with radioactive laptops on their laps... Our descendents might not be too bright, but I hope they end up better looking because of it!

Jimeny Jilickers (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662334)

Look out radioactive man

Re:Jimeny Jilickers (0, Troll)

DustyCase (619304) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662406)

The Sun is Exploding Again!

*BOOM* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662335)

Imagine one of these things getting dropped. It'll nuke half the state!

why not? (3, Insightful)

C_nemo (520601) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662336)

i feel comfortable with a nuclear detector in my fire alarm

obligatory Ghost busters quote (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662340)

"Why worry. Each one of us is carrying an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on our back. Switch me on"

Nukular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662341)

I's like one of them's in my fone

More importantly.... (5, Funny)

RadioheadKid (461411) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662343)

Would you feel comfortable with a radioactive power source inside your laptop or cellphone?

Inside a cell phone or laptop near my balls! Have to get some lead boxers...

Re:More importantly.... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662485)

Have to get some lead boxers...

Why? scared that superman is gay or something?

Re:More importantly.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662495)

I think he's afraid that the radioactive material might adversely affect his sperm count.

Re:More importantly.... (5, Interesting)

RealAlaskan (576404) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662532)

Would you feel comfortable with the radioactive power source inside you? From the article:
Lal said that medical device makers and cell phone makers have shown interest in commercial applications of the atomic battery, adding that consumers may see the new batteries in cell phones in about three to four years.
So, when you get old, your pacemaker will probably have a radioactive battery, and that will probably seem very comforting indeed.

Batteries which capture the electrons given off during some sorts of radioactive decay are old hat. If the article is to be believed, this is something very different. Also from the article:

... a team from Cornell University last month unveiled a device that converts the energy stored in radioactive material directly into mechanical motion, which in turn moves the parts of a miniscule machine to generate electricity. This type of battery could supply power for decades, said Amit Lal, a professor at Cornell's electrical and computer engineering department and the lead researcher.
``Converts the energy ... directly into mechanical motion''? I guess this would be sort of like the little solar engines, that have paddles which are shiny on one side and black on the other and spin in sunlight? Sounds as if they might have oversimplified when they paraphrased, maybe.

sure... (-1, Troll)

Znonymous Coward (615009) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662344)

Would you feel comfortable with a radioactive power source inside your laptop or cellphone?

Yea about as comfortable as I feel having a monopolistic power inside my laptop or cellphone.

Re:sure... (0, Offtopic)

Znonymous Coward (615009) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662505)

How is that a troll? I though it was +1 funny.

New regulations (3, Insightful)

bsharitt (580506) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662348)

If these came into wide use, the US govenment would probably impose harsh export restrictions, since there is a small amout of radiation.

Export? (1, Insightful)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662381)

Bah, then the US would be like Japan, radiation everywhere. IT would be impossible to locate any smuggled explosive devices.

What Fry would say... (5, Funny)

codeonezero (540302) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662354)

In the infamous words of Fry from Futurama
(On being scanned by some radiation emiting device)

"Ouch, my sperm"

heheh

Re:What Fry would say... (2, Funny)

C_nemo (520601) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662459)

On being scanned by said device a second timne:

"Funny, it doesn't hurt this time"

It could save you lots of money! (2, Funny)

doomdog (541990) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662355)


Why, you'd save a fortune in glo-in-the-dark condoms :-)

Re:It could save you lots of money! (1)

C_nemo (520601) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662489)

I would make a fortune with my patented not-glow-in-the-dark condoms

Potential Risk? (5, Interesting)

Remik (412425) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662361)

"The Department of Transportation last month removed one hurdle to the commercial acceptance of fuel cells powered by methanol by ruling that they could be taken on airplanes. The issue was that these fuel cells contain methanol, which is a flammable liquid."

I don't see them being so quick to remove a similar hurdle for nuclear fuel.

But, hey, if they make nuclear powered cell phones, the radiation would treat the supposed cancer risk. Right?

-R

That would be... (5, Funny)

aao-brad (542582) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662364)

...a whole new definition of blue screen of death. "Error #10012 - Meltdown eminent. "

"imminent", you stupid twat (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662410)


SUre, I don't mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662366)

At least having a laptop powered by nuclear energy.
However, I doubt that I would put it on my lap since
radiation can lower sperm count. Even though I have
no use for sperm, it would be bad nevertheless. :)

Re:Sure, I don't mind. Holy zygotes Batman! (2)

Havokmon (89874) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662488)

However, I doubt that I would put it on my lap since radiation can lower sperm count.

My 4th is on the way, I could avoid the knife AND get a new laptop!

I would not be comfortable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662368)

wacking off to net pr0n with a sterilizing nuclear reactor on my lap.

Even more danger? (2, Interesting)

new_breed (569862) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662369)

First we had that whole fuss about how prolonged use of a mobile phone could cause cancer..And now, you make your head glow as well! Great..can't they invent one that uses solar power instead?

Re:Even more danger? (2, Funny)

hexile (589538) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662500)

Personally I'd rather have a tidal powered cell phone. That way I wouldn't feel so bad about flushing it after my boss has called me 12 times on a Sunday.

Radiation (1)

jammer 4 (34274) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662370)

A lot of people think were killing ourselves with cell phones now. Guess we might as well go all the way and use the hard stuff :)

Oh, Sure... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662371)

...and next thing you know North Korea will turn it into a weapon!

radiation (1, Redundant)

kikawala (613396) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662373)

Would you feel comfortable with a radioactive power source inside your laptop or cellphone?

Would you feel comfortable with a radioactive power source on your lap?

Re:radiation (1)

GuyZero (303599) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662496)

Would you feel comfortable with a radioactive power source on your lap?

I already have a radioactive power source in my lap. And it's HOT.

Nuclear laptop (2)

murphj (321112) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662374)

Think of the money my girlfriend will save on birth control pills!

Leet (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662376)


With a nuclear powered notebook on my lap I could save a load of money on future child support payments.

The ultimate mod... (5, Funny)

Blimey85 (609949) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662377)

No need for neon inside your case kiddies, the nuclear power source glows in the dark. And if you want to kick it up a notch, try our brand new nuclear powered monitors... true glowing beauty that you have to see to... hey... my face hurts... my whole body... feels like it's on fire... what's going on... ahh.. the burning.....ahhh!!!!

Flammable Liquid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662378)

Why were they even questioning methanol on a plane for?

Doesn't the airline already hand out little bottles of ethanol in flight?

News flash. (2)

torre (620087) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662380)

New trend of impotence traced to new laptops carrying radioactive power plants as batteries...

like the GhostBusters (2)

kipple (244681) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662385)

...they had a nuclear-like reactor on their back, and they felt SO cool.

So would I with a nuclear-powered laptop (how much battery life do you have? Oh, a couple thousand years).

As long as I won't drop it (you'll notice if I will).

cheers

Nuclear powered cellphone (3, Insightful)

Christianfreak (100697) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662390)

The "Cellphones cause cancer" groups would defenatly have fits over that. But the Government might find it useful. I can just see Bush on TV, "If we don't stop the evil terrorists(tm), they could turn your cellphone into a nuclear holocost. Think of the children!"

In all seriousness if the manufacturers can guarentee that its safe I'm all for portable power that lasts 200 years.

Re:Nuclear powered cellphone (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662513)

In all seriousness if the manufacturers can guarentee that its safe I'm all for portable power that lasts 200 years.

Screw that. I want the manufacturer, a government agency, and a dozen or so independent non-profit organizations to guarantee it is safe. I mean, we saw well letting the company tell us what is safe worked with tobacco. ;)

But do that, and yeah, I'd use one. :)

Re:Nuclear powered cellphone (1)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662533)

If it only emits beta radiation, there isn't much to worry about. Beta particles can be stopped by a sheet of paper. Just make sure your phone is wrapped in paper and you're good to go.

Radio Waves and Radioactivity (2, Interesting)

thefinite (563510) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662391)

I would guess that there is simply too much irrational behavior relative to nuclear power to make these batteries all that popular. The irony is how quickly we ignore the supposed dangers from cell phone radio waves. The difference seems to be the emotional baggage that follows anything "nukyoolar". Too bad, too.

Re:Radio Waves and Radioactivity (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662451)

The difference seems to be the emotional baggage that follows anything "nukyoolar".
And the hundred years worth of experimental evidence showing the extreme dangers of nuclear power sources, compared to the small, inconclusive quantity of experiments that have been done on cellphone radiation. Don't forget about that!

Heh... radiation... (1)

pdboddy (620164) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662396)

I dunno about you, but I've read the instructions that came with my cell phone. There's a part that says to hold the cell phone 2 to 3 centimeters from my ear while using the phone. Radio waves that close to your head aren't good I suppose... what's a little bit of radiation to go along with it? =P

I'd feel safe if... (5, Funny)

TomHoward (576101) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662402)

Would you feel comfortable with a radioactive power source inside your laptop or cellphone?

So long as it wasn't running Windows.

Re:I'd feel safe if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662461)

Troll.

I'd hope that trolls like you *would* go ahead and get a laptop with a radioactive power source. The genepool thanks you.

Not for me (3, Interesting)

Rossalina W Sanchez (575882) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662403)

I think the only real problem I would have with it is that there might be some problems later on when I get pregnant. There are still a lot of issues with radiation regarding females and felopian tubes that we don't know about yet and will take years for science to find out about.

Remember all the mutant freak babies that were born in some Nevada towns after the Army was performing nuclear tests back in the 40's?

Sure this thing sounds safe but are you going to risk giving birth to a retard or a one armed baby when they really don't have any conclusive studies yet? I'm not.

Re:Not for me (1, Redundant)

tiedyejeremy (559815) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662483)

Oh my god!!!

A woman on slashdot!

I'd like to see... (0, Redundant)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662411)

I'd like to see a beowulf cluster of those...

I'd like to see... (-1, Redundant)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662486)

I'd like to see a beowulf cluster of those...

(Reposted, account some moron moderating it as "overrated")

Not near my head or my other head (2)

ari_j (90255) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662412)

Sorry, but I refuse to put a source of radiation powerful enough to run my laptop or cell phone that close to my brain or testicles. I can't think clearly without all of the above, and don't want to mess them up for myself. (Note that cell phone antennas help place the radiation away from the head, when you get a cell phone with a decent external antenna, so they're of lesser risk, and only affect my brain, not my reproductive organs.)

Re:Not near my head or my other head (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662494)

Sorry, but I refuse to put a source of radiation powerful enough to run my laptop or cell phone that close to my brain or testicles. I can't think clearly without all of the above, and don't want to mess them up for myself. (Note that cell phone antennas help place the radiation away from the head, when you get a cell phone with a decent external antenna, so they're of lesser risk, and only affect my brain, not my reproductive organs.)

Electromagnetic radiation is NOT THE SAME THING as beta radiation. One is a particle (an electron [wolfram.com] to be exact, of which there are already plenty of in your current batteries) and the other is a magnetic field.

Nuclear powered cell phone? (1)

Thakandar2 (260848) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662418)

I could of sworn my cell phone was supposed to be baking my brain already...

Or is that because I'm driving my SUV while I drive? I can't remember...

Re:Nuclear powered cell phone? (2)

tiedyejeremy (559815) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662511)

I hope you're driving your SUV while you drive - It's a lot safer than eating cereal while you drive.

first thought. (1)

morgajel (568462) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662423)

ok, lemme think of this...radiation.....

"why do they call it a LAPtop?"

no thanks, I don't like nuclear balls.

Snow Crash!! (2)

Flamesplash (469287) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662425)

Sounds like something taken from the book Snow Crash. If only the book or Stephenson had an actual web site.

Re:Snow Crash!! (1)

gabriel-dialupusa (555359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662478)

Like this one?
http://cryptonomicon.com [cryptonomicon.com] /

Enjoy. :)

looks like Saddam Hussein (1, Redundant)

waspleg (316038) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662429)

needs to apply for a few thousand new platinum Visa cards now..

Re:looks like Saddam Hussein (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662501)

I read that as 'a few thousand new plutonum Visa cards'

What do do with them... (4, Insightful)

stubear (130454) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662435)

...when they eventually do wear out? Eventually these batteries will have to be replaced and if they use radioactive material in their core then they could pose a very hazardous problem to the environment. Yucca is going to look like a playground compared to the problem with these batteries being disposed of when laptops are thrown out and replaced without transferring batteries for whatever reason.

Radioactivity in my lap? (5, Funny)

dmuth (14143) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662436)

Well, so much for me having kids!

Oh, wait... that means I'd actually have to get NEAR a real-life female first...

heh... (2)

rebelcool (247749) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662523)

Considering how warm laptops can get on the bottom these days you have more to fear from that. Sperm is very sensitive to temperature changes and heat is a prime enemy of them (which is why the testicles are outside the body instead of inside)

What, me worry? (2)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662437)

Would you feel comfortable with a radioactive power source inside your laptop or cellphone?

Heck, no. I simply wouldn't feel safe knowing that there were hazardous materials [epa.gov] inside my computer...

(runs and hides from the Radioactive Boogeyman)

Another Beta Test (3, Funny)

tiedyejeremy (559815) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662440)

Just what we need - to be the subjects of another beta test!

All kidding aside, I see major problems convincing portable electronics users that they'll be safe with ooooohhhhh.... "Radioactive" devices in their cars.

It's sad, because no one seems at all concerned with the energy already put off by cell phones and the batteries could be an awesome step torward better power management.

I wonder what the disposal concerns and criteria are?

Nuke batteries (5, Funny)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662442)

"The amount of radioactivity is so miniscule that you don't have to worry about it as much."

If I may ask a simple question here: As much as what ?

Beta particles... (5, Informative)

crc32 (133399) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662445)

These things are so weak that even a sheet of paper will block them. These things will probably be encased in metal and plastic. Everyone who is concerned about radation near their bodies should be more worried about the antennas than the isotopes. If these things can be shown to be safer than Lead, or Nickel-Cadmium (both extremely toxic, even in miniscule amounts), then these may be the next wave of power generation...

Nay (0, Troll)

EggplantMan (549708) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662448)

These are not safe. Most types of energy based on nuclear processes have harmful waste products (like gamma particles and alpha rays). Are you going to trust that your laptop has the proper radiation shielding? Keep in mind that it is most often over your crotch. Considering the already poor odds of any geek reproducing, the effects of radiating their crotches could be disastrous.

Re:Nay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662492)

Read the article. It states that the researchers are using radioactive materials that emit ONLY beta radiation - not the skin-penetrating alpha or gamma radiation you just spoke of. Sheesh!

Here's to (1)

greechneb (574646) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662452)

twice the radiation, half the time! The extra radiation couldn't hurt anything, could it? It's not like I use my head for anything anyway....

I fear... (5, Funny)

jhines0042 (184217) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662454)

...that this will not fly unless Beta Radiation hires a serious PR firm to spin its image into a happy, fun loving, club hopping, racially indeterminate, good looking female that everyone would want to have in their lap.

Radiation (5, Informative)

starsong (624646) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662455)

The radiation mentioned in the article is just the emission of beta particles -- in other words, ordinary electrons. At the energy levels associated with atomic decays they would be stopped by a thick piece of paper, to say nothing of human skin.

So this actually sounds like quite a novel and safe approach. It's not like they're shoving a few pounds of plutonium into the thing and trying to get energy from the heat -- like NASA does on space probes.

great even worse toxic waste (1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662467)

Even now we read the horror stories about kids in third world countries combing toxic piles of computer cast offs for valuable bits and pieces. Do you really want to think about adding (more than normal background) *radioactive* junk to the mix?
It sounds like the researchers are considering something with a relatively long half-life. That means a) long after one of the fuel pack mechanical energy converters gives up the ghost, the radiation will continue and b) there will be sufficient value for scavengers to go after the stuff.

Once again the fundamental question is not "Can we do it?" but "Should we do it?" While I agree that on the whole the "Protect Mother Earth" crowd is over the top, we do have a responsibility to protect fellow members of our species. Are kids better off scrounging in rice fields in SE Asia or combing through old Mobo's?

More info from Cornell (5, Informative)

nystul555 (579614) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662469)

Here's more info, straight from Cornell.

http://www.news.cornell.edu/Chronicle/02/11.7.02 /t iny_battery.html

http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Oct02/canti le ver.ws.html

It seems to me that this should be safe. They note in the article that they are only creating batteries which use Beta radiation, which is too weak to hurt you. If that is true, then yeah, I would use them, if it meant my laptop or cellphone would last for 10 or 20 years.

Flywheels (1)

matt-fu (96262) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662470)

I'd much rather have a flywheel power source.

"worry free??" (0)

sickmtbnutcase (608308) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662472)

"The amount of radioactivity is so miniscule that you don't have to worry about it as much."

yeah, if you don't drop it, shake it, burn it, eat it... sounds great to me!

alpha, beta, gamma (5, Informative)

tbmaddux (145207) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662475)

Something wrong here. From the original article:
Lal said that he chose only isotopes that emit beta particles because their energy is small enough not to penetrate skin. Radioactive material can emit beta particles, alpha particles or gamma rays--the last two of which are carry enough energy to be hazardous, said Lal.
Alpha particles [epa.gov] are helium nuclei, and cannot penetrate the skin. Alpha emmitters aren't much concern unless ingested or inhaled. Beta particles [epa.gov] are electrons, they can penetrate the skin and/or burn it. So either it's really an alpha emitter and harmless, or it's a beta emitter and of concern.

Note to self: (1)

whiteranger99x (235024) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662477)

Do not place laptop on lap during use or cell phone in pocket for fear of developing a third testicle that glows in the dark and having my wang fall off and having my eyes melt while i make a phone call.

Radioactive Batteries? (2)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662480)

Hmmm...this sounds like radioactive batteries, except that I think radioactive batteries aren't mechanical. I personally wouldn't mind this at all, if the radiation that leaks from it isn't too high, that is. My only concern is that they migh be insanely heavy (both the source of the radiation and the radiation shield), which would render them useless for portable devices. Haven't read the article though, just looked at it for a few seconds.

What it means... (2, Funny)

_ZorKa_ (86716) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662482)

is that we are just one step closer to getting one of those cool laser guns that never runs out of fire power :)

I wub nuclear energy! (0)

ChaoticChaos (603248) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662515)

"Would you feel comfortable with a radioactive power source inside your laptop or cellphone?" Sure, until my nads start to shrivel.

Cell Phone Radiation (1)

Durin00 (530952) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662516)

I hope that the long term exposure to radiation cause those damned cell-phone talkin', SUV driving maniacs to go sterile... or at least pee blood for awhile.

Ingenious way to sterilize geeks....... (1)

Albinoman (584294) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662520)

Not that theyre doing a lot of breeding to begin with.

Yes I know the article says its not harmful, but neither was thalidomide. At least now boyscouts wanting to make a breeder reactor [slashdot.org] in their mother's tool shed have a much easier way that doesnt involve forged documents.

I might.. (1)

xchino (591175) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662522)

as long as it wasn't a windows box. That could give fatal exception a new meaning. But seriously, with a proper means of protective housing I see no problem with it, and I feel it would be a step in the right direction in easing the reliance on fossil fuels. And for all the posts claiming dropping your laptop will result in a nuclear explosion, it would take one hell of a fall to split atoms.

Done already? (1)

zeth (452280) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662524)

Something like this has actually been done before. Several years ago, before is was forbidden to reseach into this technology, ABB Atom here in Sweden created a "nuclear powerplant for the home". It was safe, cheap...
Too bad they had to stop the development.

Not necessarily dangerous (5, Informative)

pclminion (145572) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662525)

Did any of you actually read the article? They've chosen particular isotopes which emit only beta radiation, because beta radiation cannot penetrate the skin (well, ok, high-energy betas can, but I assume they've chosen isotopes that produce low-energy betas). Beta radiation is composed of fast electrons -- that's it!

I would definitely be cautious using a battery like this, but I wouldn't be automatically opposed to trying it. Besides, if lots of radiation was leaking out of this thing, then that would be a pretty inefficient battery, wouldn't it?

Geez (2)

wizarddc (105860) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662527)

And you thought all that Mountain Dew you were drinking made you sterile...

Read the article maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4662529)

If you read the article, it says that the atomic material used poses next to no safety/health risks.

They online use beta emitting isotopes. (2)

Prince_Ali (614163) | more than 11 years ago | (#4662530)

The article states that the isotopes that they use only emit beta radiation. Even if it got out of its casing it would not penetrate your skin. There is no reason to fear.
People will of course fear. It is just like people getting up in arms about irradiated food. They didn't understand that exposing food to radiation does not make it radioactive. I don't think this situation would be any different.
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