Saturday, November 25, 2006

Define 'violence'

Former spy Alexander Litvinenko died recently of radiation poisoning from polonium 210. According to a friend, on his death-bed he accused Putin of involvement.

According to Yahoo! Alerts,
Russian President Vladimir Putin says the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko is a tragedy, but he sees no definitive proof it was a "violent death."

Um, no? He just stumbled across polonium-210 then, did he?:
One ton of uranium ore contains only about 100 micrograms (0.0001 grams) of polonium.

Due to its scarcity, polonium is usually produced by bombarding bismuth-209 with neutrons in a nuclear reactor. This forms bismuth-210, which has a half-life of 5 days. Bismuth-210 decays into polonium-210 through beta decay. Milligram amounts of polonium-210 have been produced by this method.

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