Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Scotch Tape for Your Insides

     Did you know that Scotch tape emits X-rays? Did you know that? I didn't know that. But apprently a group of graduate students at UCLA do. Because they've just released a study on that very issue.
     This group of researchers found that when pullef off it's roll in a vacuum, ordinary Scotch tape, like the kind you have holing your glasses frames together from when they broke when you were all drunk and fell down the stairs at the frat house and haven't had the time or the money to go to the optometrist to get them fixed yet. Just everyday run-of-the mill Scotch tape. And that is not the wackiest part of this escapade. Apparently, they are targeting this new advancement as a way to create X-ray machines for areas where electricity is unavailable or unreliable. Like in ambulances. Or Africa.
     Apparently the Russians knew about this over fifty years ago. Some Soviet scientists back then reported X-rays being admitted when they were pulling Scotch tape, or at least the Russian version of Scotch tape, off of glass. But back then, nobody listened to the Soviets. Well, I shouldn't say that. We listened to everything they said, we just did not believe most of it. So no one over here paid attention.
     Now, what these researchers at UCLA were doing messing around with Scotch tape in a vacuum, I don't know. Maybe one of them was taking a Russian language class and came upon the old Soviet reports. Although why one would be reading fifty-year old scientific reports in a Russian language class is beyond me. But that could be. Ot maybe they were all drunk one night and REALLY super dorky and slipped into the lab and thought it would be cool to put some everyday office supplies into a vacuum.
     I doubt that is the case though, since this seems to be a pretty highly orchestrated experiment. They had a machine in this vacuum doing all the work for them, peeling the rolls at 1.2 inches per second. And what they saw were tons of X-rays admitted when electrons jumped from the roll to the tape that was being pulled away. So that's the deal. They even used the power of these X-rays to take an X-ray of one of the researcher's fingers.  How cool is that?
     And, like any good university students, these guys are looking toward using their invention to aid the human race.  They are thinking that you could peel tape with something as simple as human cranking power, which is all well and good, but how much tape is one going to have to crank to get enough X-rays to examine a leg or a collarbone?  How does one go about changing the tape if the peeling has to be done in a vacuum?  Do you have to get a whole new X-ray machine.  These are all important issues to sort out.  And the young men and women at UCLA have seven years to get it figured out.  Because, like smart university entrepreneurs, they have already taken out a patent on their research.
     So in the end, you may someday be able to get an X-ray of your ribs or femur or teeth from some guy on the corner with a tape peeling machine in the back of his Impala.  Or your vet may be able to take X-rays of Hound II right at your Sand River home.  Who knows?  It's pretty heady stuff.  And if you are too cash-strapped to afford to use the machine, you can just start peeling all that old Scotch tape from your fourth grade art assignments and get a picture of your insides.  But, whether you are a dude or a chick you had better make sure that you don't do any of that business by your crotch.  Because that shit will make your business bind right up.  And I mean your baby making business.  And that's on the Internet, so it must be true.

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