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Mythbusters to Test Cockroach Radiation Myth 573

Posted by Zonk
from the still-be-here-when-we're-gone dept.
redwoodtree writes "An article on the site for the Tri-City Herald sums it up perfectly: 'Contrary to popular belief, not a significant amount of research goes into cockroach radiation.' To test the old saw about 'the cockroaches being the only survivors of a nuclear war' Discovery Channel's Mythbusters are going out to Hanford Site, where plutonium was manufactured for the first nuclear bomb. It's the single most polluted nuclear waste site in the U.S. The Mythbusters are going to take cockroaches and other insects and apply successively higher doses of radiation in a controlled setting."
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Mythbusters to Test Cockroach Radiation Myth

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  • Sorry... (Score:4, Funny)

    by snowgirl (978879) * on Friday October 19, 2007 @04:45PM (#21047875) Journal
    I for one welcome our new irradiated cockroach overlords.

    Really, I apologize, I can't help it... :(
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Friday October 19, 2007 @04:45PM (#21047881)
    Don't forget to test twinkies as well
  • Safety? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by guruevi (827432) <evi@@@smokingcube...be> on Friday October 19, 2007 @04:46PM (#21047885) Homepage
    I wonder how they will handle the nuclear safety of their own and their crew.
    • Re:Safety? (Score:5, Funny)

      by purpledinoz (573045) on Friday October 19, 2007 @04:56PM (#21048107)
      And, for the big finale, I wonder if they're going to set off a nuke. Those guys love to blow things up.
    • Re:Safety? (Score:5, Informative)

      by DrBuzzo (913503) on Friday October 19, 2007 @04:57PM (#21048123) Homepage
      It shouldn't be too hard. I'd imagine that the reason they're going to hanford is not because the site is contaminated but because the they have the people and equipmnet to do this. It could be done rather easily with an x-ray beam or with a high energy radio isotopic source. There are chambers which can do this. Depending on the setup they're used for steralyzine medical equipment, calibrating radiation detectors and such. I have no idea how the procedure would go but Hanford is not contaminated to the point that it's dangerous to just be there. You just shouldn't put stuff you find on the ground in your mouth..
      • Re:Safety? (Score:5, Funny)

        by grogdamighty (884570) on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:07PM (#21048293) Homepage

        You just shouldn't put stuff you find on the ground in your mouth..

        Note: this is generally good advice anywhere.

      • Re:Safety? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by smellsofbikes (890263) on Friday October 19, 2007 @06:27PM (#21049545) Journal
        >Hanford is not contaminated to the point that it's dangerous to just be there.

        Maybe it isn't now, but I had friends working for Bechtel, who were doing radiochemical testing of natural ponds to try and figure out which one was going to go critical *first*. I'm not joking or exaggerating: there was so much leaked radioactive material on/in the ground that they expected it to concentrate through natural drainage to above critical mass. One friend told me about several of the criticality incidents they had, where waste plutonium had accumulated in oil-filled coolant ducts and started thermal runaway reactions (that boiled all the oil, displacing all the plutonium chips, which then settled back down to start the cycle again...) So while Hanford might be okay now, I wouldn't go there unless I was with someone who had worked there a long, long time. That's the only place I've ever visited where they gave me a heavy steel tag with a number stamped on it, for rugged identification, along with the film badge.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by afabbro (33948)
          I'm not joking or exaggerating: there was so much leaked radioactive material on/in the ground that they expected it to concentrate through natural drainage to above critical mass.

          You're not joking...but perhaps you should be. For critical mass, you're talking between 10kg of plutonium (Pu-239) to 80kg (Pu-242). That's a lot of Pu to have "leaked". Not impossible I suppose (in terms of volume, even a Pu-242 core is less than a foot in diameter), but even if there was 10kg of loose Plutonium in the grou

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by DrBuzzo (913503)
          I know the Hanford site is contaminated, but it's primarly with plutonium, which emits mostly alpha particles. I'm not sure what the status of the site is entirely, but I'm guessing that it's probably contained enough that you don't drop dead just from going there. The areas where they have to keep dust down and have tarps and such probably will NOT be on the tour.

          I'm pretty sure that the facility is equipped and knows how the keep people from getting into the really dirty areas. I mean if they did
      • Re:Safety? (Score:5, Informative)

        by osjedi (9084) on Friday October 19, 2007 @08:15PM (#21050901)
        DrBuzzo is correct. They are using an irradiation facility at Pacific Northwest National Lab. Basically you've got a shielded room containing a shielded radiation source. Place things in the room, seal it up, and then using remote control the radiation source is exposed for the pre-determined exposure time and then re-shielded. When the room is no longer 'hot' you can go in and get your stuff out. The facility they are using is used to calibrate dosimeters and other equipment.

        It's nice to see my home-town being used for such an awesome mythbusters episode. : )

        This is osjedi, reporting live from Tri-Cities, WA. Home of the world's best apples, grapes, hopps, cherrys, and weapons grade plutonium.
    • Re:Safety? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MichaelKaiserProScri (691448) on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:00PM (#21048181)

      Gamma irradiator. Basically, big lead tube with a gamma source inside. You can't get it out. You can't expose the source to the outside world. There is a lead "airlock". You put the roach inside. Irradiate. Release. I went to a High School that had a gamma irradiator. We DID this experiment. Exposed roach to greater than 1000, but less than 10000 roentgens. We weren't real precise. But the roach lived long enough for us to decide we better squish it before it reproduced.

      Oh, yes, "stuff doesn't glow when you expose it to radiation". Not 100% true. Some stuff DOES. Namely most crystals. One of the most impressive examples is Sodium Chloride. Yep, table salt. Irradiate it overnight. The gamma rays knock the electrons up to a higher energy level. But since salt has a very tight crystaline structure, they don't snap back down immediatly. Remove from irradiator, and over the course of the next 24 hours, it glows pretty brightly (bright as a glow stick) in a funky red-orange light (spectra of sodium). Eventually all the electrons snap back down to their ground state and it quits glowing. Not radioactive at any point while this is going on. The only thing it emits is red-orange photons which are not "radiation" by most people's standards. (Well it is, but ALL light is...)

      • Dude! (Score:5, Funny)

        by markov_chain (202465) on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:05PM (#21048257) Homepage
        Where exactly did you go to high school? :)
        • Re:Dude! (Score:5, Funny)

          by ArsonSmith (13997) on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:46PM (#21048947) Journal
          Soviet Russia.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by FooAtWFU (699187)
          Apparently my mother's high school had a fun incident where the chemistry class accidentally manufactured a highly unstable and dangerous compound and then painted a lot of the lockers with it (it glowed). They shut down the school for a week? or two? while hazmat teams flew in from across the country. There wasn't any more mixing of actual chemicals... I seem to recall hearing that they also lost a chemistry prof who spilled acid on his lap, and he had to be hospitalized... anyway, there was some craaaazy
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by burndive (855848)
        I totally want to try the salt thing!
      • Re:Safety? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by smellsofbikes (890263) on Friday October 19, 2007 @06:39PM (#21049721) Journal
        For the record, if you dump enough short-wave radiation into almost anything non-metallic, it'll phosphoresce. (quick terminology: if a molecule absorbs short-wavelength radiation and immediately re-emits longer-wave radiation, that's fluorescence. If it absorbs radiation by kicking electrons up into orbits that are higher-energy but the electron has the same spin as a lower-energy electron in an unoccupied orbital, the activated electron can't simply drop back down, so it hangs out for a while until quantum mechanics effects allow it to drop down into a lower orbital and emit an electron: that's phosphorescence. Things that "glow in the dark" are phosphorescence, the time-delay version of fluorescence.) Anyway. I worked with a megawatt-level deep UV laser that would fire for about a millisecond every second when we were analyzing the beam cross-section, to try and see if any of the optics were dying. If they were, spots in that lens would glow after it fired. If paper was in the beam, it'd glow yellow (and be yellow after a shot. After the second it'd be brown and after the third it'd be gone.) So would cloth. Or skin. Kind of cool, in a painful way.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Deadstick (535032)
        Oh, yes, "stuff doesn't glow when you expose it to radiation". Not 100% true. Some stuff DOES. Namely most crystals.

        And the cooling water in a reactor...

        rj

        • Re:Safety? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by MichaelKaiserProScri (691448) on Friday October 19, 2007 @09:14PM (#21051425)
          That's a different animal entirely. It's "Cerenkov radiation" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerenkov_radiation [wikipedia.org] . The speed of light in a vacuum is the absolute hard maximum speed most particles can travel at. (ok, just below it for anything with mass). But the LOCAL speed of light varies by medium. Speed of light through air is a bit slower. Speed of light through water is a LOT slower. The blue glow comes when a particle is emited near the speed of light through air and hits the water. It momentarily exceeds the speed of light through water (allowed since it is not exceeding the speed of light in a vacuum), but has to slow down. Slowing down ditches energy which must go somwhere, a blue photon in this case.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by TeknoHog (164938)

            The blue glow comes when a particle is emited near the speed of light through air and hits the water. It momentarily exceeds the speed of light through water (allowed since it is not exceeding the speed of light in a vacuum), but has to slow down. Slowing down ditches energy which must go somwhere, a blue photon in this case.

            AFAIK, the particles don't have to slow down. As you said it's not exceeding c and there's no physical law forcing it to be slowed down to the local speed of light. Cerenkov radiation is the optical/electromagnetic equivalent of a sonic boom, which is created by a plane traveling faster than the local speed of sound.

            Of course, the energy in the light has to come from somewhere and the particle is slowed down eventually. However, there are many ways in which particles radiate by slowing down (e.g. sy

    • by palladiate (1018086) <palladiate.gmail@com> on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:10PM (#21048331)

      In a former life, I worked as an NDT technician. One of our biggest jobs was industrial radiography. Which, long story short, involves radioisotope cameras and lots of safety training. With an radiation safety expert, radiation alarms, survey meters, and proper equipment they'll be plenty safe.

      The biggest problem for them would be to properly dose the cockroaches. What kinds and levels of radiation will they be receiving? Any clown can x-ray a roach until it dies, but what would the fallout profile of a world-ending nuclear war look like? What's the long-term effect of radioisotopes in their bodies? How much ionizing radiation will they receive?

      There's alpha, beta, gamma, neutron... What kind of radiation are they going to use? Safety, while incredibly important for an experiment like this, is relatively easy to accomplish if they get an expert. Attacking the correct problem may prove far more troublesome.

  • by AmIAnAi (975049) * on Friday October 19, 2007 @04:47PM (#21047905)
    Lets hope they don't get besieged by PETA, who seem to want to protect the rights cockroaches now [cbs2chicago.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Trigun (685027)
      Just invite them out to watch the taping.

      • by necama (10131) on Friday October 19, 2007 @04:54PM (#21048063)
        Let's hope the PETA people want to watch the roaches from very close by as the radiation is applied.
        • o crap....don't want to have a mutant Super-PETA ppl.

          besides, this is for scientific research....not solely for entertainment like that roach-eating contest.
          (and for the record....roaches have been around for millions of years....they've survived the devastation that wiped out most other forms of life...they can surely survive if a few of their comrades get irradiated.)
    • by DrSkwid (118965) on Friday October 19, 2007 @04:53PM (#21048045) Homepage Journal
      So what is your criteria for what you will and won't murder ?

      • by tftp (111690) on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:02PM (#21048205) Homepage
        Historically speaking, humans usually murder everything and everyone if that is in any way beneficial or entertaining.

        But really the question is not that simple. Would you savagely murder one fluffy dog to save 100M people from a deadly virus? Would you savagely murder one human to save 100M people from a deadly virus? Would you savagely murder 1M humans to save 100M people from a deadly virus? Where is your threshold? I believe this is what Protectors of the Ringworld couldn't wrap their mind about.

        • Deadly virus? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@g m a i l .com> on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:36PM (#21048769) Journal
          Hell, I might do it for fun.

          These kinds of "dilemma's" are nothing but intellectual masturbation. I'll tell you right now: in a real world situation, that man or that dog would be a greasy spot if it was only thought that their death would save 100,000 people.

          And as for the reverse, you can bet, in a quarantine situation, they would kill as many as it took (or as they could) to keep the sick separated from the well. It's the only thing that can be done in that situation, 1, 100, or 1,000,000. The reverse also holds: if you were stuck in a quarantine, and you believed yourself or your family to be in danger of being infected, you'd do whatever you could to break quarantine, even at the risk of infecting countless others...That's why they defend barricades with guns, not pamphlets on disease control.

          The desire to protect yourself and your loved ones trumps it all, when it comes down to it. That's just human nature.
      • by R2.0 (532027) on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:03PM (#21048229)
        "So what is your criteria for what you will and won't murder ?"

        Objection, your Honor - Loaded Question (Or is it leading the witness?)!

        The correct question is "So what is your criteria for what you will and won't kill?"

        "Killing" is performing an action that causes something that is living to cease doing so.

        "Murder" is a legal definition, along with "manslaughter", "homicide", etc. By it's very definition, it is impossible to "murder" a cockroach.

        If you are going to troll, do it correctly.

        • by Tim C (15259)
          If you are going to troll, do it correctly.

          Deliberately using a loaded term in order to better incite a reaction isn't trolling correctly?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Guysmiley777 (880063)
        Food chain [chrisworfolk.com]
      • by operagost (62405) on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:53PM (#21049041) Homepage Journal

        So what is your criteria for what you will and won't murder ?
        That depends. Are you still beating your wife?
  • by Marcion (876801) on Friday October 19, 2007 @04:48PM (#21047927) Homepage Journal
    Strange how little cats and dogs are protected on TV, but our little six-legged friends, well 200 can merrily risk their little lives in the name of pseudoscience television.
    • by Lord Ender (156273) on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:44PM (#21048907) Homepage
      Mythbusters is not pseudoscience. Pseudoscience is when people misuse scientific terms to tick people into believing in some manner of BS.

      Mythbusters uses their science terminology properly, is open to peer review, and doesn't try to trick anyone. They even go so far as retesting things if their viewers find holes in their methodologies. It may not be formal, academic science, but it IS real science.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        It is not science, it is a television program. It is constructed for entertainment purposes and they have no obligation to be fair, thorough or even competent. Their obligations are to be entertaining and to fill a time slot and to not offend sponsors or be sued.

        OK, maybe they sometimes DO science, but it is bad science with laughable conclusions. They start with a vague hypothesis and little facts and state a shaky hypothesis. They then proceed to create an experiment to test the shaky hypothesis in the fl
        • by Epistax (544591) <epistax AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday October 20, 2007 @12:38AM (#21052687) Journal
          I agree somewhat, however..

          They start with a vague hypothesis and little facts and state a shaky hypothesis.
          Well, this satisfies a myth then. If what they started with had facts or a sold hypothesis, it wouldn't be (presumed to be) a myth. I haven't seen them test if a feather and a rock will fall at the same speed in a vacuum. My take on it is their whole point is to take on anything with a lot of hearsay and not so much fact.

          I don't know how they work behind the scenes, but my guess and hope would be they do a ton of stuff that never airs because it becomes too obvious and/or not fun to watch. That IS their prerogative. They say "plausible" or "busted", but they only mean in terms of their data point(s).

          Their methodology may not be perfectly sound, but they never claimed to be any final source of information. To me, they try desperately to look like technologically inclined rednecks. They even grew an extra beard on the show just for that purpose. To take them for anything more .. well.. what do you need, a freak'n disclaimer?
          "All data collected in this show is just added to the total data collected by anyone anywhere and does not represent any sort of total coverage of any particular topic in specifics or generalities. You'd be a cheese brained fool to take what this show presents to be the truth outside of its own scope and you'd deserve a federally regulated flogging if you apply the data presented to other real world situations. If in any event you use anything you saw on this show to save your life, Darwin will smite you from the Earth with a great vengeance." ... would that do it for you?

          BRB.. more beer...
        • by horza (87255) on Saturday October 20, 2007 @09:28AM (#21054819) Homepage
          I think it's science, and one of the best kinds... inspiring, entertaining, and educational. They do appear to check for documented cases, eg firing a bullet in the air, and where they do find one they admit it must be true even though their results appear contradictory. Coming up with a hypothesis and testing it is good science. If it's shaky then the laws of physics will find find out. As an earlier poster said, if an assumption upon which a hypothesis was made is thought to be flaky, they will go back and retest using everything suggested by the viewers.

          I assume if they don't mention a documented case then they couldn't find one. Eg for cell phone at gas station:
          http://www.automedia.com/Protecting_Yourself_While_at_the_Pump/dsm20040101sp/3 [automedia.com]

          For buried alive, they admit in some experiments they have to compromise if it means a high chance they will be killed. They do their best to work around it.

          For the black powder engine, as well as the other ancient recreations, it's far simpler than a modern combustion engine. Even there I am impressed how they can take a seized up old car or cement lorry and coax the internal combustion engine back to life within such a short time. Before they destroy it.

          You can nit pick a couple of individual experiments out of the hundreds they have done... do it in their forums and they will do another episode for you to prove they can eliminate any holes you can find.

          It is a TV show. And it IS science.

          Phillip.
  • by User 956 (568564) on Friday October 19, 2007 @04:49PM (#21047943) Homepage
    The Mythbusters are going to take cockroaches and other insects and apply successively higher doses of radiation in a controlled setting.

    So, what precautions do they have on hand in the event one of them grows to enormous size and goes on a rampage?
    • by bigdavex (155746)

      So, what precautions do they have on hand in the event one of them grows to enormous size and goes on a rampage?

      If they have any sense at all, they'll irradiate wasps and centipedes as well to control them.

    • by david.given (6740) <dg AT cowlark DOT com> on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:38PM (#21048795) Homepage Journal

      So, what precautions do they have on hand in the event one of them grows to enormous size and goes on a rampage?

      Adam will whip up something out of a chainsaw, some mysterious plumbing he found at the junk jard, and a large tank of napthalene that he happened to have out back. The result will have a major design flaw but will spew flaming death anyway. The result will be bolted onto Jamie's customised vending machine robot. With the addition of about twelve wireless video cameras, the result will go out and kick ass. Adam will get overexcited.

      Does that answer your question?

  • COAP? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday October 19, 2007 @04:49PM (#21047961) Journal
    FT(Third linked)A:

    All the bugs will go back to San Francisco. But instead of flying, a Mythbusters employee is having to drive the bugs back. Airlines, it seems, don't like cockroaches on a plane.
    I don't know about the airlines, but I'd always assumed coach class was named so as a contraction of cockroach, since flying coach makes me feel like a cockroach.
    • Fuck that! Leave the little fuckers up there! We got enough roaches in San Francisco!

      Once they leave, they need to stay gone!

      Morons.

    • by mstahl (701501)

      it seems, don't like cockroaches on a plane.

      I'm tired of all these muthaf**kin' cockroaches on this muthaf**kin' plane!!

    • Re:COAP? (Score:5, Funny)

      by markana (152984) on Friday October 19, 2007 @04:59PM (#21048147)
      You can't legally treat animals (or insects) as badly as the airlines treat their passengers...

      Cockroaches are used to better living conditions than coach anyway... certainly better food.
  • by Sloppy (14984) on Friday October 19, 2007 @04:55PM (#21048069) Homepage Journal
    Sheesh, this is obviously an attempt to create giant monsters to ravage America. Why do Mythbusters hate America?
  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Friday October 19, 2007 @04:55PM (#21048073) Journal
    Cockroaches are spread out and hidden in walls so they're in places that less radiation will hit. After nuclear winter, they can eat all the carcasses of higher life forms and just plain survive. I never thought,"Hey, cockroaches can withstand more heat than other living organisms." We all know the bacteria that lives in deep sea vents will last because it doesn't get it's energy from the sun, and its shielded from the radiation above ground. Life will continue after nuclear winter, that is certain, but will human life continue is the question.
  • Not studied? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonamused Cow-herd (614126) on Friday October 19, 2007 @04:55PM (#21048079)

    'Contrary to popular belief, not a significant amount of research goes into cockroach radiation.'

    Funny, it seems that a lot of scientists have done just that. [google.com]

    For a pretty decent explanation: the mysterious Dr. Karl! [abc.net.au]
  • by dtolman (688781) <dtolman@yahoo.com> on Friday October 19, 2007 @04:58PM (#21048143) Homepage
    According to "The World Without Us", by Alan Weisman - most of the roaches in the industrialized world will be Dead within 3 years of humanity disappearing! [worldwithoutus.com] Thats without even the radiation. So don't worry... when we go, the roaches will go with us.
  • by autophile (640621) on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:01PM (#21048189)

    ...otherwise his mustache will become huge and go on a rampage!

  • Boric Acid (Score:5, Funny)

    by curmudgeon99 (1040054) <curmudgeon99 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:01PM (#21048195)
    As a proud resident of cochroach-ridden New York City, I can report that the little devils are immune to everything but Boric Acid which--apparently--causes them to become constipated.
  • by shrikel (535309) <hlagfarj.gmail@com> on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:04PM (#21048251)
    Haven't they learned ANYTHING from science fiction?? Geez. Well, there goes the neighborhood.
  • take care (Score:5, Funny)

    by clem (5683) on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:05PM (#21048271) Homepage
    Don't get bitten by any of those radioactive cockroaches. Lord knows the superpowers you'd acquire.
  • by BlueshiftVFX (1158033) on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:13PM (#21048377)
    Ok so when does the "But all life is valuable" argument begin to sound idiotic. what about the Aids virus? what about that life? what about all other Virus "Life-Forms" that cause all kinds of horrible ailments and diseases? wont' somebody think of them too? is there life any less valuable then another?
    • by ewhenn (647989) on Friday October 19, 2007 @06:38PM (#21049701)
      Yeah, that "life is valuable" line is a bunch of bull shit. If you look back over human history you would come to the conclusion that as a whole, humans do not believe other humans lives are valuable.


      To all of those whining "oh, how can they just kill those living things???". Put down your fucking hamburger, take off your leather shoes, and head off into the woods. Go take up your own cause and live naked in a cave you overzealous assholes.
  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx.b c . ca> on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:14PM (#21048397) Journal
    ... for Paul and Jamie to blast off and land on the moon to provide current affirmation that humanity has been there before. Although I'm sure that the hoax-sayers will just insist that they are part of the conspiracy also. Still... a condensed version of the trip would make an awesome extended episode (and they'd also get to bust some myths about zero-G during the flight).
  • Number of Roaches? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Valiss (463641) on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:24PM (#21048561) Homepage
    I was always told that the cockroaches will survive a nuclear blast not because they are more resistant to radiation, but because of the sheer number and geographic ubiquitous.
  • by Arthur B. (806360) on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:42PM (#21048867)
    does not mean coackroaches would inherit the earth. A good experiment would need to test radiation exposure over different generations... what if radiation makes them sterile? What if they have so much mutations due to radiation they start to drift and look the precious genetic information that allowed them to survive. We are constantly degenerating and are constantly evolving to preserve our fitness... would the coackroaches be able to do that if genetic drift was significantly increased? Maybe, maybe not.
  • I've done this (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rimcrazy (146022) on Friday October 19, 2007 @06:39PM (#21049731)
    I use to radiate parts for Motorola back when I worked for the Military Electronics group. We use to use the Gamma cell over at ASU. We put in a cockroach one Friday and came back Monday to check on it. Can't remember if it was the new gamma cell or the old one. The new one was around 20KRads/Min the old one was around 1KR/min. Either way, it was in the chamber for about 3 days or about 4320 mins. Bounded it got between 86Mega Rads or 4.3Mega Rads. It lived. There is little or no water in a cockroach so there is nothing to absorb the radiation. To Gamma radiation, they are immune. To be a correct experiment they would need to expose across a broad range of particles and radiation and not just Gamma.
  • by ThanatosMinor (1046978) on Friday October 19, 2007 @08:56PM (#21051283)
    Roaches, in fact all insects, are very resistant to short doses of radiation. The reason behind this is that radiation does the most damage to cells when they're dividing. It just so happens that roaches molt about once a week, which is a single cell division. If you aren't radiating the roach when this is happening, your radiation will mostly fall on deaf ears.

    However, after a nuclear blast, the fallout would be a source of constant radiation and would probably kill any roaches that had to live in it for a week or two.
  • by Peaker (72084) <gnupeakerNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday October 19, 2007 @09:38PM (#21051611) Homepage
    A bit offtopic, but I recently discovered that soapy water kills cock roaches faster than all commercial poisons I tried!

    Try it, its pretty amazing.

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