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#1
CompooterDummy

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I like to write. And, please don't laugh, but I've been working on a story line and I had a dream last night that gave me a little piece of an idea and I've been researching it today. So, I've only got parts of the puzzle for my idea and I'm hoping a science person can help me flesh it out.

The story is a psychological thriller playing a little off the idea from the 1940s movie "gaslight". In this case, a woman's husband is "gaslighting" her, but not literally with gas lights. Instead, he's a doctor, scientist, or some such (not nailed down yet) and he's laced one of her cigarettes with radio-active iodine. He has some sort of device, electronic, I'm guessing, that he uses when he's around her to manipulate the activity level of the radio-active iodine which, in turn causes her to feel either tired and worn out if the radio-activity is elevated (since her thyroid isn't working right) or to "recover" and "feel better" by lowering the radio-activity level.

My question is this: What type of electronic device (small, ideally pocket-sized, or, if necessary, briefcase or backpack sized) could manipulate the activity of radio-active iodine in this way???

I came up with the idea after having this dream that people were walking around a woman causing her to "suffocate", well, in my dream I thought she was suffocating because she was holding her throat in obvious discomfort. I've been researching all day what, in the real world, could really make a scenario like this happen. I started with the biological symptoms which eventually took me to thyroid disease where, in turn, I read about radio-active iodine and my imagination just ran from there.

Also, assuming my story line takes me to this woman "triumphing", once she starts to get a clue about what's going on but is somehow still not sure who exactly is doing this to her, is there some device she could use to find out who has the device that is manipulating the radio-activity? Obviously potassium-iodide would fix her problem, at least that's what I've read. But, surely she'll want to know who her attacker is, right?

Anyway, thanks for any help you can offer.
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#2
PedroDaGR8

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My question is this: What type of electronic device (small, ideally pocket-sized, or, if necessary, briefcase or backpack sized) could manipulate the activity of radio-active iodine in this way???

Bad news. Nothing. Just recently, they have shown that high powered lasers can induce nuclear decay. Otherwise, NOTHING can control it.
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#3
CompooterDummy

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Hmm... that's interesting. I've been getting some input on another board indicating that microwaves could possibly affect radio-active iodine. Clearly, I betray my ignorance here. But, aren't microwaves radio-waves? And, what's the difference between "radio active" and "radio wave"?

It also just occurred to me that by seeking scientific information using layman's language I may be causing a problem with my quest. I'm thinking, for example, of the fact that in the field of law a layman would have no idea that the concepts they tend to wrap around the word "reputation" don't apply but rather, to communicate those concepts, "under the law", they would need to use the phrase "pattern of conduct".

So, there may be a conceptual gap between what I'm trying to communicate and what a "science person" would hear. Maybe I need to do some more research before I can properly ask the question.

Edited by CompooterDummy, 12 June 2009 - 04:09 PM.

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#4
PedroDaGR8

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Unfortunately, nuclei do not interact with radiation well. They will interact with magnetic fields (in that they can flip their spin) but that does nothing to affect their stability.

Microwaves - Translation energy (how an molecule spins around itself)
IR to Visible - Vibrational energy (molecular bonds vibrate)
Visible to UV - Electronic Energy (promote electrons to a high energy level)
Gamma Radiation - Interacts with very little as it is TOO energetic.

The laser work, this is why it was interesting, it was the FIRST time any radiation had been shown to affect radioactivity (excluding a rare type of decay called electron capture, which Iodine does not do).

Radiation = energy that is radiated. When talking about radiowaves or anything along the electromagnetic spectrum (Radiowaves, microwaves, IR, Visible, UV, Xray, Gamma) the carrier of the energy are photons. Massless particles that carry energy. Just accept it as is, when I say waves and particles as in electromagnetic radiation they are both waves and particles at the same time. This is called the wave-particle duality and it just is. It has been proven in experiment after experiment.

Radioactivity - the decay of a nucleus from an unstable state via emission of a particle of one sort or another. The driving source of instability can be excessive mass for the amount of charge, excessive charge for the mass or too much energy in the nuclei. Common forms of radioactive decay are alpha particle, beta particle, gamma radiation, etc.

Radioactive radiation is the emission of the particles (alpha, beta, etc.).

As for what you are asking. I think I understand it, but it just doesn't work in that way. That being said an alternative idea, use something like iron nanoparticles and a high energy radiowave emitter. This is a bit more plausible (albeit they would likely be destroyed by burning). The iron nanoparticles have been used to target cancer here's how:
  • The nanoparticles have an antibody for a cancer specific compound attached to them.
  • Inject into the body
  • THe antibody binds the iron nanoparticle to the cancer cells
  • Hit the body with radiowaves.
  • The the interaction of the nanoparticles and radiowaves cause them to heat up.
  • The cancer cells die from the heat, while the rest of the body is unaffected by the radiowaves.
You could think of ways to apply this to the woman. Kill her slowly by burning her. The radiowaves would not affect the guy AT ALL. They would slowly kill her though.

By the way Gaslight, is that the movie about the guy who is driving his wife insane to steal her jewels?

Edited by PedroDaGR8, 12 June 2009 - 06:26 PM.

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#5
CompooterDummy

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Thanks for all the info! You helped me understand a lot, there.

By the way Gaslight, is that the movie about the guy who is driving his wife insane to steal her jewels?


Yeah, that's pretty much it. Although it's a little more convoluted than that. The jewels actually belonged to his wife's aunt. He murder's the aunt in her attic, where he's convinced the jewels are stashed, but can't find them before he hears her niece coming up the stairs, so he flees.

He hunts down the niece while she's in Italy, woos her, marries her and convinces her to go back to London to live in the house where he murdered the aunt. He sneaks into the attic each evening to look for the jewels and when he turns on the gas lamps in the attic, it causes the gas lamps in the house to dim. Because his wife thinks he's not in the house the dimming confuses her and when she tells him about it he works to convince her she's crazy. He tries to drive her insane to get her completely out of the house so he can hunt for the jewels without fear of getting caught.

First it was a play, then a film, released under more than one title. I like Ingrid Bergman so I'm a fan of the 1940's version.

I'm sure you wanted to know all of that, right? Oh, well, perhaps that's a fair trade. A literary lesson for a science lesson.

Thanks Again "Great Pedro"
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#6
PedroDaGR8

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Yeah, I have seen that movie, but I have a horrible problem of NEVER being able to remember movie names that's why I was asking. I saw the Ingrid Bergman one. My wife is a HUGE fan of movies from the 1930s-1960s. I have seen huge amounts of movies with Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman, Fred Astaire, old Marlon Brando, old Paul Newman, on and on and on. Plus loads of Bollywood movies (my wife is from India). I didn't know Gaslight was a play though. Would make for a very interesting play.
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