Comments on: Irradiation by USPS Can Damage Electronics

According to the Compact Flash Association, the irradiation treatments the U.S. Postal Service is using to prevent the spread of anthrax can damage CF cards. These can be not only erased but actually ruined by electron beam irradiation. The association's statement goes on to say, "Testing has confirmed that these systems, which operate in the range of 55 kGy, damage not only semiconductors, but other goods as well, including pharmaceuticals, contact lenses, biological samples, and photographic film."
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Burn baby burn!

I.M. Anonymous @ 1/9/2002 8:56:40 AM #
This is just short of burning the mail!

but what voltage?

I.M. Anonymous @ 1/9/2002 9:03:11 AM #
55 kGr is a fairly high but not outrageous eb dose. They (perhaps intentionally) ignore the most important parameter though - accelerating voltage.

Penetration of the electron beam is strongly dependent on the beam voltage. At 150 kV, the beam will penetrate a single piece of paper. 300 kV goes through maybe 4 pieces. Cost of the equipment goes up dramatically with voltages over about 200 kV.

Without knowing the voltage, it's hard to judge whether this is a credible threat or not. Of course, if they told us the voltage, it would be easy to figure out how to shield anthrax spores so they'd survive the I guess it's just as well that we're in the dark.

This should be no surprise.

I.M. Anonymous @ 1/9/2002 9:31:13 AM #
If it was going to destroy/kill fairly hearty anthrax spores, of course it is going to damage other things. Were they just going to irradiate letters or packages as well? This may end USPS as my preferred delivery service for my hardware orders.

Just Deal
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/9/2002 12:23:10 PM #
This is the price we pay to stay as Fast paced and hi-tech a nation as we are, we all know that there is a work around for the time being so we have to just deal with it.

Better Red Than Dead

I.M. Anonymous @ 1/9/2002 12:45:31 PM #
I'm okay with the occasional memory card getting toasted, and a company being out a few bucks to replace it, rather than having another Postal Service employee die.

RE: Better Red Than Dead
ktran @ 1/9/2002 1:29:10 PM #

K. Tran

RE: Better Red Than Dead
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/9/2002 2:19:21 PM #
not me.

RE: Better Red Than Dead
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/9/2002 3:58:53 PM #
I'm not sure how exactly you think this protects postal employees. Someone has to get the mail to the irradiating machine. These devices were only going to be at main hubs anyhow. Kind of too late once it has been in one or more postal facilities anyhow.


I.M. Anonymous @ 1/9/2002 11:23:52 PM #
just in time for my free SD card via Palm's rebate! yay!

Not true?

I.M. Anonymous @ 1/10/2002 12:44:14 AM #
A blurb on today's Macintouch reads "MacInTouch reader Jeff Gold checked with USPS and was told 'that *only* mail to just a few federal government offices is being irradiated. Mail to the general public and businesses is not being irradiated at all due to concerns like the one you brought up today.'"



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