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Checking food with a gamma radiation detector is not too useful. [1][2] Some "preppers" are into this, and get excited if they count for an hour and get 20% higher than usual. They're probably seeing ordinary variation in background radiation, which varies over the course of a day.

A tester called LANFOS has been developed in Japan, to deal with possibly-contaminated food from Fukishima. It's a round pot-like device with shielding and plastic scintillation detectors into which a sample can be inserted. This has been tested against other methods and the results agree with standard laboratory tests.[3] That's a practical solution in an area where you really do have to test.

If you're worried about suddenly encountering a big gamma emitter or X-ray beam, get one of these.[4]

[1] http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2011-04-12/geiger-cou... [2] https://www.princeton.edu/~ota/disk3/1979/7907/790720.PDF [3] http://www.foodqualitynews.com/R-D/Radioactive-compounds-det... [4] https://www.amazon.com/NukAlertTM-radiation-detector-keychai...

Note also the Banana Equivalent Dose https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_equivalent_dose and the related observation by Edward Teller that due to the potassium-40 in people, sleeping with two others gave roughly the same dose rate as being on site at Three Mile Island (latter from memory)....

I'm now interested in hearing about typical sleeping arrangements in Mr Teller's day.

Crowded apartments and poverty in early 20th-century Budapest?

That's what Mr. Teller wanted you to believe

Heh, sorry about the late reply, but his experience in the short lived Hungarian Soviet Republic involved their "quartering troops" in homes/apartments like his, something that at his age and the context he found profoundly disturbing (this is from memory of the recently read and superb The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes).

On the other hand, this was made as a semi-joke by him, so I'm sure it has nothing to do with his memories of events back in 1919.

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