Thursday, December 5, 2013

How To Steal Cobalt-60

I know we just did one of these, but mother of God, folks. I can't pass this one up.

1. You'd think this would go without saying, but don't freaking steal cobalt-60.
2. In fact, make a dedicated effort not to steal anything whose name is an element on the periodic table followed by a number. Anything referred to in that manner is going to be bad, bad, bad.
3. Nor should you steal anything that is described as having a half-life.
4. If you are not sure what might be in the truck you are carjacking, ask yourself, 'could this truck possibly contain cobalt-60?' If you think the answer might be yes, don't steal the truck.
5. If confronted with a container of cobalt-60, for the love of all that's holy don't open the container you fool.
6. Cobalt-60 in particular is, aside from its intended purpose as use in medical equipment, is suitable to be the 'dirty' part of a 'dirty bomb', that is, it is the thing you would use in a dirty bomb to render an area uninhabitable. Not that anyone has actually built anything like that, but if they did, cobalt-60 would be a go-to material.
7. That is to say, exposure to cobalt-60 is going to kill you, and it will do so very quickly, though not so quickly that there won't be a period of mind-bendingly painful agony between Point A and Point B. Think maybe a couple days.
8. If you have lost enough of your mind to steal cobalt-60, expect every policeman in the whole wide country to stop at absolutely nothing to get it back (see steps 5 and 6). There's a nonzero chance that international authorities might wish to join them.
9. In fact, do not think 'get away from the cops'. Think 'get away from the military'. You do not have four wanted stars in Grand Theft Auto with cobalt-60 in your possession. You don't have five. You, my friend, have topped out at six stars. In fact, you may have managed to recode the game and given yourself a seventh or eighth.
10. However, do not expect the police to be particularly interested in catching you. This is not because they don't want you caught. In fact, they would like to see you punished very badly, even if they're satisfied that all you really wanted in the first place was the truck. The thing is, because cobalt-60 is ridiculously lethal, the police are going to figure that the problem is just going to take care of itself and the cobalt-60 is going to do a whole lot more thorough job on you than they ever could, and if you're going to be dying horribly soon anyway with no way to help you survive, much less recover to a healthy enough state to go to jail, it's probably not worth bothering. In fact, by the time they get around to holding the press conference, you might already be dead.
11. Besides, even if you do futilely manage to get yourself to a hospital in the vain hope that they might be able to do something, it's not exactly hard to keep an eye out for anyone checking into a hospital for radiation poisoning. That's a tad bit rarer than a broken leg or a case of the flu.
12. I'd say make the most of the time you've got left, but you'll be spending most of it screaming and crying.

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