He's never gonna get that Delorean off the ground now.
Older smoke detectors contain small amounts of Americium; the ionizing alpha radiation from the stuff makes it possible to run a small electrical current through the air between two electrodes. If aerosol particles (such as smoke) make their way between the electrodes, they absorb the alpha particles, causing the inter-electrode air to no longer be ionized, killing the current across the gap and tripping the alarm.

This was a SCAV item one year...and it is the reason that the Hot Side Hot no longer puts joke items like this on the list.
Quick, get Goldy to do a post on the radiation levels of this guy's kitchen.
He's probably trying to power a stargate to another planet.
I imagine this guy was inspired by David Hahn, who attempted the same thing in 1994 as a kid and later in 2007. He had some nasty radiation burns on his face from his 2007 attempt.
What's the NRA's stance on this issue? I assume something like "You'll take my homemade nukes when you can pry them from my hot dead hands." or "I just use it for hunting."
NRA has no position on this. In fact, we've never even considered it.
Somebody hire that kid!
Pretty cool stuff. Sounds fun to me, is this supposed to be disparaging or frightening somehow?
Now imagine a not too far off future when bio grad students will be able to create viruses in their garages. The material barrier will be far lower, I suspect.
Funny - I had exactly the same thought when I read the article. Too bad we are so stupid as a society that we throw them in jail instead of giving them 10 years of free tuition to Harvard.
@9, nope, I just found the story interesting (although I wouldn't call radiation exposure "fun"--see David Hahn).
@12 I'll give you that... I was actually going to point to David Hahn as another case.

Also for all your radioactive source and/or detector needs. You can usually buy chunks of pitchblende too, but it looks like they're sold out.
The smoke detector I bought yesterday states on the box that it contains americium so it's not just the "older" smoke detectors.
Don't all smoke detectors contain Americium? Isn't that what makes them work? I know it's radioactive, but I thought it was mostly only good for detecting smoke.
@15: Well, there are some optical detectors, but pretty much all ionization detectors use Americium; it emits more alpha radiation and less gamma radiation than radium.

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