Re: fighting Anthrax w/ Dr. Strangelove

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Thu Oct 18 2001 - 13:39:26 MDT

On Thu, Oct 18, 2001 at 11:20:28AM -0500, Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> Mike Lorrey wrote,
> > A solution to the 'anthrax in the mail' problem is rather obvious:
> > irradiate the mail. This would eliminate any threat of bacteriological
> > biowarfare through the mail, and may actually be useful against viral
> > contagions as well.
> Excellent idea, Mike! This could be a new security service for those
> mailbox outlets. They can x-ray mail for devices, sniff it for explosives,
> and irradiate it to kill germs.

It sounds quite doable, since much mailhandling is centralized and you
could hence put up a few irradiation units (you don't want them in every
post office, since even the few cobalt 60 irradiation units used in
hospitals and food industry have already managed to cause a few nasty
accidents). Sure, some mail might not be radiation-resistant, but it can
be treated separately.

How much radiation would be necessary for killing bacterial spores?

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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