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Beer Government The Military United States Idle Science

US Military Tested the Effects of a Nuclear Holocaust On Beer 215

pigrabbitbear writes "Is bottled beer nuclear bombproof? The United States government conducted a couple tests in the 1950s to find out—it exploded nuclear bombs with 'packaged commercial beverages' deposited at varying distances from the blast center to see if beer and soda would be safe to drink afterwards. The finding? Yep, surviving bottled and canned drinks can be consumed in the event of a nuclear holocaust, without major health risks."
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US Military Tested the Effects of a Nuclear Holocaust On Beer

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  • Re:Waste of money (Score:5, Informative)

    by demonbug ( 309515 ) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @08:21PM (#41406481) Journal

    How do you think we learned it is safe? Besides, I'm sure this wasn't a central reason for the testing, more like an add-on since they were setting off the nukes anyway.

  • Re:Waste of money (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pseudonym Authority ( 1591027 ) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @08:23PM (#41406491)
    Money borrowed in 1955 would have been paid off in 1985. Unless you want to claim that you still are because the debt was rolled over, at which point you need to start complaining about the horrible debts that were racked up putting down the Whiskey Rebellion by Washington too.
  • Re:Waste of money (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:05PM (#41406715)

    The United State's national debt was completely paid off in January 1835. It only lasted a year though.


  • by Penurious Penguin ( 2687307 ) on Friday September 21, 2012 @01:57AM (#41408063) Journal
    Reminds me of the time I was visiting Bristol (England) and walked into a pub for a beer. The bartender and I had been chatting when some grumpy chap at the far end of the bar ordered a beer. After he got his beer, we resumed chatting. Moments later I heard all sorts of grumbling and complaining. The guy's beer was cold, and he wasn't having anything to do with it. The bartender pleaded with him, saying "it's cellar temperature sir!" and finally got him another pint. Well, the second one was just as cold and the grumpy fellow threw a verbal fit. Perhaps suspecting I was from the US, he wanted to illustrate something; I'll never know. But it sure was a show. I can still remember the spitting contempt in his voice when he said, "cowld be'eh?" and as if just figuring it all out, finished with deliberate punctuation "Oi, cain't, drink, cowld, be eh. ...Pifff .....Cowld be'eh." as he shook his head in confused revulsion. Maybe it was the weather.
  • Re:Waste of money (Score:5, Informative)

    by Artifakt ( 700173 ) on Friday September 21, 2012 @03:03AM (#41408267)

    Glass and water, yes, but bottle tops are thin steel, and cans are aluminum. Starting from the most common isotope of Iron (which is about 90% of all the iron in the normal environment), one extra neutron captured gives an isotope with a half-life of roughly a couple of days. For aluminum, having the most stable isotope capture either 1 or 2 neutrons gives it a half-life of respectively 2 or 6 minutes. Military exposure recommendations are to assume aluminum in fallouts will be back to close to background rates in less than three days. That's a lot of half-lives at 6 min each, so Al will initially be a major source of the total radiation dose, but it's contribution will fall off much faster than the fallout overall becomes non-radioactive. You can take the proportionate decay rates and conclude that Iron won't contribute 1/1000th of the dose in the same quantities, but won't get back to near background level dose for thousands of times as long. So, for the first 37.8 hours, you should drink from bottles, and after that, switch to cans. *

    * This is not a real recommendation. Real fallout will not just include neutron activated metals found naturally in whatever got nuked, but bomb material daughter products, and some of these may be very exotic isotopes, so real fallout should (but won't) come with a YMMV warning. If you are in a real fallout zone, knowing whether the soil of the target area was Al dominant minerals or not will probably not be of any use to you.

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