“Two radioactive goldfish were found swimming in a juice pitcher of nuclear reactor water in an underground steam tunnel at an Ohio power plant. Investigators are baffled as to how the radioactive fish remained unnoticed in the ‘secure’ facility.
Investigators from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and officials of the plant, which is operated by FirstEnergy Corp., have been looking through surveillance tapes to try to identify who was responsible for leaving the radioactive goldfish in the tunnel on May 2.
They believe one of the 700 employees and contractors who work at the plant smuggled the fish into the facility, Jennifer Young, spokeswoman for FirstEnergy Corp., told AP. The fishy tale has served as an embarrassment for the plant, which has already come under scrutiny for a case in which four contractors were exposed to life-threatening hard radiation in 2011. The plant has also been scutinized for a serious lack of security.
“Last year, Perry got into trouble with the NRC about weaknesses preventing unauthorized access to the plant,”David Lochbaum, a spokesman at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told The Plain Dealer. “Goldfish are not authorized to be inside the tunnel, yet they were there. And Perry cannot determine how they got there or who put them there.”
Officials believe the goldfish were taken through the front door and likely hidden in a plastic bag in a worker’s pocket. All workers are required to pass through security, which detects metal and bombs but not fish and water. Investigators believe the fish were left unnoticed in the tunnel for several days before scaffolding crews discovered them and filed a report. But despite looking through surveillance tapes for more than a week, little progress has been made in identifying the perpetrator(s).
Both of the 1 ½-inch-long fish died shortly after their discovery, but officials at the plant claim that neglect and starvation may have been the cause – not radiation. Chemists found that the fish were admitting small amounts of radiation, but not enough to put anyone at risk, including the fish.
“They did not have exposure to enough radioactivity to hurt them,” Young told The Plain Dealer. “It was probably due to lack of care before they got to the plant. The radiation could not have killed them.”
Lochbaum said the story might sound funny to some, but that smuggling live animals into the plant shows a serious lack of security. The story has caused some to recall an episode of the “Simpsons” in which Blinky, an orange fish, has a third eye due to his exposure to radiation.
“What might be an amusing account of misplaced goldfish today could become tomorrow’s nightmare story if someone with an axe to grind, another Timothy McVeigh type, places a bomb instead of two goldfish in Perry,”Lochbaum told The Plain Dealer, referring to the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building.”
”’We want to provide people with a perfect photographic memory,’ says Martin Källström, CEO of Memoto. His startup is creating a tiny clip-on camera that takes a picture every 30 seconds, capturing whatever you are looking at, and then applies algorithms to the resulting mountain of images to find the most interesting ones.
Just 36 by 36 by 9 millimeters, the inconspicuous plastic camera has a lot crammed inside. The most important component is a five-megapixel image sensor originally designed for mobile phones. An ARM 9 processor running Linux powers a program that wakes the device twice a minute; takes a picture and a reading from the GPS sensor, accelerometer, and magnetometer; and promptly puts the device back to sleep.
Later, when you get home, you plug the camera into a computer to download the pictures. If you like, the process stops here, but if you subscribe to the company’s cloud storage service, things get more interesting. The pictures are fed through an image-processing algorithm that starts to sort out the events in your day. The images are clustered by their predominant colors, and then ‘we get a diagram of how varied the colors are over the day,’ says Källström, whose 17-person company is based in Linköping, Sweden.
That processing turns your photos into “moments”—between 30 and 35 things that have happened during your day, displayed as stacks of photos in a smartphone app or on the Web. Hours spent in front of a computer add up to one moment, a quick coffee break to another. Each is represented by a single sharp, colorful frame—if possible, one with people in it. ‘It allows you, in the app, to see the good parts of your day with the boring parts hidden,’ says Källström.
It’s this clever filtering system, Källström believes, that makes the Memoto more than just a camera. He calls it a “life logging” device that will help people remember what they’ve seen and experienced, or even keep a record for their descendants. ‘I’d like to be able to put in my will what parts of my life log are going to be available for people that come after me,’ says Källström. ‘I’ve always been fascinated by ways to effortlessly document life.’
Life logging is quickly becoming a significant business as consumers embrace wearable self-tracking devices such as Nike’s FuelBand, a bracelet that measures a person’s movements and estimates calories burned. Sharing photos on services like Instagram or Facebook can also be considered a kind of life logging. ‘It’s already mainstream,’ Källström says.
Many large technology companies are considering how to use wearable devices to collect even more personal data. Google, for instance, is now testing a head-mounted computer that can shoot video (see “Google Wants to Install a Computer on Your Face”).
Källström, a 37-year-old software developer, came up with the Memoto concept in 2011 and began working on it full time the next year with partner Oskar Kalmaru and product designer Björn Wesén. Last fall, the team raised $550,189 from the public on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter, where they promised a camera to anyone who paid $279 up front.”