Just read one of my Christmas presents, "The Radioactive Boy Scout," by Ken Silverstein. What a story. Now, aside from the fact this David Hahn nearly really made a mess of his neighborhood and very likely shortened his life with radiation poisoning, I've got to say this guy has a lot of drive. Had he performed his experiments a century earlier, he of course would have won a Nobel prize in physics. It's too bad he seems unable to channel his intelligence and drive into constructive uses of the technology that fascinates him. (For the uninitiated, the book is about David Hahn, a Detroit suburbanite whoa t age 17 built a model breeder reactor using chamicals he took from smoke detectors, lantern mantles, luminous-dial clocks and other bric-a-brac. He never did createa austained chain reactior or breed the uranium fuel he was hoping, but he did produce massive amounts of radiation to the point the EPA had to pack up his laboratory -- a potting shed in his mother's back yard -- and ship it all to a waste dump in Utah.
I admit to having mixed feelings on nuclear power. On the one hand, it's a tremendous way to produce massive amounts of energy. On the other hand, there's the stuff left over that you wouldn't want to mix with your potato salad. But I have to wonder. With all the worrying about fossil-fuel carbon emissions spreading like cancer in the oceans and the atmosphere, why is concentrated radioactive waste that can be stored such an evil tradeoff for some people? Isn't there some place on the moon where we could rocket this stuff, or have the environmentalists and spiritualists taken that over as well? Let's shoot it into the sun. That damn thing is 93 million miles away and can still cause your skin to bubble on a hot afternoon, so a little earth-originated radioactive material certainly coulnd't hurt it. There's the cost, yes. But how much could a moon-based slingshot or catapult really cost? We don't have to make express deliveries, do we? Just toss it up there and watch it carsh, Shoemaker-Levy-like, into the Sun ten, twenty years hence.
Ear update: After two days of showering and a ten-minute session with an OTC ear-wax removal kit that put a liquid in my ear that sounded like Pop Rocks, the ear wax is gone. For now. But I'm sure it's lurking somewhere, only to return later.