Linked by Howard Fosdick on Fri 2nd Dec 2011 12:12 UTC
Privacy, Security, Encryption If you're modest, think twice before having sex in your van, truck, or RV. Law enforcement uses roving vans with backscatter X-ray technology to peer inside vehicles (the same technology used in airport body scanners). In the Land of the Free, authorities don't request search warrants. More at Forbes here and here. What, you don't want an X-ray bath?
Thread beginning with comment 498749
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Radiation?
by Gone fishing on Fri 2nd Dec 2011 19:53 UTC
Gone fishing
Member since:
2006-02-22

So this involves driving around beaming high energy penetrating radiation at folk.

Not only endangering privacy but DNA too.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Radiation?
by Neolander on Fri 2nd Dec 2011 20:52 in reply to "Radiation?"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Well, spontaneously, I'd say that it depends on the x-ray dose. Ordinary radiography doses should remain pretty much harmless as long as exposure remains exceptional.

The problem is that metals only weakly transmit most electromagnetic waves, absorbing and reflecting most of them. If this is also true of x-rays (which I don't remember), it means that what is a safe dose for people fornicating inside a car could be highly harmful for an unprotected pedestrian passing by near the police van.

And in any case, sending ionizing radiation on people without their consent is simply not right, no matter if it should have no averse health effect on most people.

Edited 2011-12-02 20:53 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Radiation?
by Tuishimi on Fri 2nd Dec 2011 22:06 in reply to "RE: Radiation?"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Now we know where all recent claims of spontaneous combustion come from!

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Radiation?
by Buzzila on Fri 2nd Dec 2011 22:39 in reply to "RE: Radiation?"
Buzzila Member since:
2011-12-02

Any dose of ionising radiation has inherent harm through stochastic effects - a several photons could cause a double-strand break which can lead to cancer; given enough radiation, deterministic effects will occur, so epilation and erythema.

I'd be very concerned over the exposure used on these machines - x-ray photons abide the inverse square law, and as mentioned before, it will be attenuated by metal sheeting twice and the contents of the car before being detected. The dose received will invariably be high - even more so if you stand next to the car.

If a pregnant woman and small children would particularly be at risk; furthermore, the skin dose received from these machines is likely to be very high (like the back-scatter machines), again, increasing the likelihood of cancer and other affects.

This is also not taking into consideration the care and quality assurance the machines may or may not be getting. In the UK, x-ray based machinery (in addition to other imaging technology used), by law, has to be constantly assessed in-house and by medical physicist in addition to maintained to ensure that everything is working safely; it is probable that these do not (there was an article on 400 people receiving a dose a lot higher from a CT exam).

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Radiation?
by Alfman on Fri 2nd Dec 2011 23:15 in reply to "RE: Radiation?"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Neolander,

"Well, spontaneously, I'd say that it depends on the x-ray dose. Ordinary radiography doses should remain pretty much harmless as long as exposure remains exceptional."

Well, as I understand it, it's not the quantity that matters, but rather the odds that any given x-ray photon interacts with our cellular dna to create a mutation. What are the odds that any given exposure results in a cancerous mutation? Non-cancerous cell mutations probably aren't harmful when the cells just die off on their own, but I'm not sure about non-cancerous mutations that don't kill off the cell.

Assume a cell C undergoes a series of exposures resulting in various mutations a,b,c. My question is, would the cell still have become cancerous without all the previous mutations?

C[ ] -> original cell
C[ a ] -> benign mutation
C[ a , b ] -> benign mutation
C[ a , b , c ] -> first cancer symptoms
C[ b ] -> cancerous?
C[ c ] -> cancerous?
C[ b , c ] -> cancerous?
C[ a , c ] -> cancerous?

If any of the later 4 above are cancerous, it suggests a coincidence that the prior mutations did not result in cancer. If a cell has equal risk of contracting cancer at each exposure, then it places doubt on the common medical notion that x-rays are ok as long as they're infrequent.

If we could digitally test a cell's DNS for traces of cancer characteristics, then we could mathematically prove correlations between multiple mutations and cancer, I wonder if anyone's attempted it.

Edit: fix osnews formatting

Edited 2011-12-02 23:19 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2