Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Radioactive Boy Scout by Ken Silverstein was a quick little read; an expanded magazine article really, but very interesting and a little scary in the way that only non-fiction can be. It's the story of a kid who was obsessed with chemistry and little else. He had a tremendous ability and curiosity and managed to teach himself enough over the years to build a nuclear breeder reactor in the shed in his mom's backyard. It was producing enough radiation that it required the EPA to come clean it up and bury the remnants in a nuclear waste dump. The scariest thing was how relatively easy it was for him to gain not only the knowledge and techniques he used, but also the materials and elements he needed. Sadly, instead of recognizing his drive and ability and channeling it into more productive paths, the adults in his life dismissed his interest as a destructive hobby and consistently underestimated his abilities.

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