The Most Awesome Toy of All
In our efforts to make the world safe for retards, we have removed all of the fun from life. That includes the most awesome toy of all time: The Atom!
This bad boy comes to us from 1959. It comes with a spinthariscope and a cloud chamber for two different ways of viewing radioactive decay; it comes with an electroscope for doing electroscopy things; and it also comes with two radiation sources: radium and uranium ore!
Drooling idiots who injure themselves with Nerf dart guns need not apply.
This was back in the day when men were men, and boys were men, and girls were men, too! This toy had balls! It was nuclear!
It was also very educational. Of course, these days you wouldn’t be able to sell something like this. “Oh, help! It’s nook-yoo-lur! Get it away from me! It’s almost as dangerous as the swine flu vaccine!”
I’ll have you know that most of the radiation this thing gave off was alpha, and that’s relatively harmless. As Wikipedia says:
In general, external alpha radiation is not harmful since alpha particles are effectively shielded by a few centimeters of air, a piece of paper, or the thin layer of dead skin cells.… If substances emitting alpha particles are ingested, inhaled, injected or introduced through the skin, then it could result in a measurable dose.
So as long as you keep this thing away from your baby sister who sticks everything in her mouth, you should be fine.
My only concern is that the source of that radiation was tiny amounts of radium and uranium ore, and I don’t know if there are any additional concerns around those materials (besides obvious careful handling).
But if you think that toy is frakkin’ stupendous, check out this puppy:
This mother-of-all-awesome-toys dates back to 1951.
If, back in those days, the U.S. government could have its soldiers stand above ground to witness a nuclear blast, and then march through fallout across the drop zone, it sure as hell could give its kids radioactive materials for Christmas.
To quote ORAU:
The set came with four types of uranium ore, a beta-alpha source (Pb-210), a pure beta source (Ru-106), a gamma source (Zn-65?), a spinthariscope, a cloud chamber with its own short-lived alpha source (Po-210), an electroscope, a geiger counter, a manual, a comic book… and a government manual “Prospecting for Uranium.”
You wouldn’t even be able to mail this toy today! Imagine trying to bring this to market in 2009.
This toy isn’t all roses, though. It’s a little backward. What do you notice here (aside from the fact that he seems to be enjoying being radiated a little too much)?
Based on the illustrations on the packaging, this toy is only for boys. I guess girls aren’t smart enough for this thing. Marie Curie will have to go back to doing the laundry.
from defense contractors, just like real scientists!
a viewer like this to look at pornography!
complex and help perpetuate the Cold War!
The toy also comes with this order form for buying more fissionable material:
I was disappointed to read that the toy is useless today, because all of its radiation has decayed away. It would be really funny to send in this order form today, but the A.C. Gilbert Company went out of business more than 40 years ago. I guess there is no such thing as long-term support any more. Where is a guy supposed to buy radioactive materials these days? (Maybe I should mail this form to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and see what happens.)
They mentioned above that the kit also came with a comic book:
That’s right. Dagwood Bumstead splits the atom. Is that what Dithers & Co. has been doing all these years? They’re a defense contractor? And Dagwood is one of our top scientists? And we won the Cold War?
I noticed one last thing about this toy. As you’ll recall, Marie Curie died from exposure to radiation. That makes me wonder what happened to all the boys who had this kit. The illustration that comes with the kit makes it obvious. It made them gay: