Today was a rather eventful day, and very nerve racking for me. As you may know I have software that uploads data from a geiger counter in my living room to a website that displays background radiation rates around the world. I turn on my computer, hook up my Digilert Geiger Counter to my computer via a patch cable, open the program and viola, background radiation levels in Yukon Oklahoma are displayed for the world to see on the World Wide Web.
Somebody clued me in to what was happening. My data was being watched on a conspiracy website, and it did not look good. My data was showing background counts of 300 and 900 counts per minute! (here are the links: http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message1461366/pg1 and http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message1461059/pg1 ). I was not concerned about the radiation levels being accurate, since spikes in background occasionally measure 40 cpm, I was concerned that there may be a problem with the data being inaccurate. I immediately took a short break and called my wife.
The first thing I asked her to do was look at the digital display on the geiger counter, she said 14, which is the normal counts per minute. After she read what the display I asked her to shut down the computer.
My lesson of the day was make sure all your equipment is functioning well. The patch cable I was using may be defective, or the jack in the geiger counter may be bent, so the data was being displayed was from the cable shorting, not from radiation levels increasing in Oklahoma.
Note to self: Check Equipment Regularly, especially if the data is visible to the entire world to see.
As for other events, background rates in Fukushima are up around the stricken power plant. It is suspected that there may be leaks of coolant from the reactors. This has been detected using radiation detectors and carefully plotting out the levels of radiation through the facility and on the grounds. 30 of the workers have been exposed to levels of radiation higher than previously thought. These workers have exceeded the 25 REM (Roentgen Equivalent Man) exposure limit. Fortunately for the general population and people outside the exclusion zone they have not been exposed to levels anywhere near the dose the workers have received. In Chernobyl hundreds of workers where exposed to high levels of radiation, however 25 years later all the cancers that where predicted have yet to appear.
Still enjoying low background rates in Yukon, OK, Digilert 20 Counts Per Minute; PM1703m Scintillator 6 microRoentgens per hour; Geiger Counter Wristwatch .14 microSieverts per hour