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Eponymously Yours, W. Skeffington Higgins
 
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Monday, December 10th, 2007

Time Event
12:31p
What Did You Do with the Technetium-99m I Gave You Yesterday?
An alternate title might be

Inject All You Want. We'll Make More!


Roger Z brought in a clipping about account of a technetium-99m shortage.

My first thought on skimming this was "There's always a technetium-99m shortage. There's always going to be a technetium-99m shortage."

Technetium-99m has a six-hour half-life.

Alas, the news proves to be non-trivial. Hospitals obtain fresh technetium-99m from a supply of molybdenum-99, which has a 66-hour half-life, with 99mTc as a decay product. Make the molybdenum isotope in a reactor, transport it to hospitals, then "milk" fresh technetium from a solution containing 99Mo. This works for many days, then eventually fresh 99Mo is needed.

If the Chalk River reactor is down for a few days, no problem. If it's down for several weeks, trouble.
8:37p
Heinlein in His Own Voice
Thanks to Scott Timberg in the L.A. Times and John Scalzi's spirited rebuttal, everyone seems to be talking about Heinlein today.

Why not let Heinlein talk to you?

The NPR folks reviving the old "This I Believe" radio program have made Robert Heinlein's 1952 essay available on streaming audio.

I knew this tape existed in an archive, but I'd never heard it until I attended the Heinlein conference last summer.

I believe that this hairless embryo with the aching oversized braincase and the opposable thumb—this animal barely up from the apes—will endure, will endure longer than his home planet, will spread out to the other planets—to the stars and beyond—carrying with him his honesty, his insatiable curiosity, his unlimited courage, and his noble essential decency. This I believe with all my heart.

Update: I need to check this, but it looks like the MP3 can be downloaded directly from http://www.thisibelieve.org/audio/TIB1950_Heinlein.mp3.

Further Update: The URL has been changed since I posted this last night. Possibly the webmaster at thisibelieve.org doesn't want us to download the MP3, for some reason. (But what reason?) I hope I am not violating some unknown etiquette by providing the new URL here: http://www.thisibelieve.org/audio/TIB1950_HeinleinR.mp3.

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