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Joel: I don't have many friends who would have thought of that.

Thanks, I guess. I'm not sure, but it's possible that might say more about your friends than about me. Then again, I suppose not everyone has a Geiger counter, for reasons I cannot fathom.

I was on sabbatical in England when Chernobyl blew up. The newspapers showed maps of Europe with a widening cloud of radioactive dust drifting across northern Scandinavia and then down over the British Isles. Everyone was told to stay indoors, and to avoid certain foods. They did tests on Welsh lambs, and found that in a typical herd there would be one single lamb that was radiating like hell, while all the rest were clean. That was when I vowed never again to be without a Geiger counter.

When I was a kid, living in New Mexico in the 1950s, the world was going crazy with atmospheric nuclear testing. My father made a Geiger counter from a kit that he bought, and we took readings every day for many months. As regular as clockwork, we would see a spike in ambient radiation about a week after each test in the South Pacific.

Here is the unit that I have, a Gamma Scout manufactured in Germany:

When the battery runs out (not user replaceable), I plan to replace it with one of those Russian military units.

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