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The Polonium Epidemic

poloniumResearchers at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are raising concern about a potential epidemic of polonium poisonings.  “Evidence that Palestinian President Yasser Arafat died of polonium poisoning in 2004 indicates that the rate of death by this means is twice what we previously thought,” said an informed source at the CDC.  The other known victim, in 2006, was Alexander Livinenko, a former officer of the Russian Federal Security Service.

“This is serious business,” said the source.  “Almost anyone can make polonium by bombarding bismuth with high energy neutrons and then purifying the result pyrochemically.  Anyone with a nuclear reactor or even a cyclotron can get their hands (or at least their chemically resistant gloves in a negative pressure alpha box) on them.”

Although Russia is the largest manufacturer of polonium, it claims to have no information about how Livinenko could have been contaminated.  However, this reporter approached the Palestinian Nuclear Authority to obtain further information as to how their President may have come in contact with the substance.

“Sorry, we have no polonium,” said an official.

“Can you suggest another source?” I asked.

“It’s rumored that our Israeli cousins may have a nuclear facility,” she replied.

So I checked.

“Yes, we have a small, very old reactor,” I was told.  “But it’s only for baking matzos.”

Back at the CDC, my source corroborated my findings.

“Yes, we made the same kinds of inquiries and got nowhere,” she said.  “Clearly the possibilities are endless, and if we try to match the persons who have both means and motive, we will never find the truth.

“We have therefore concluded that polonium is proliferating and randomly poisoning former Palestinian presidents and exiled Russian security officers.   Who knows who’s next?  We therefore caution the public to stay away from polonium manufacturers and distributors and for retailers to remove concentrated polonium from their shelves.

“Better safe than sorry.”

8 Responses to The Polonium Epidemic

  1. who_me July 7, 2012 at 1:01 am #

    clever, but:

  2. Ariadna Theokopoulos July 7, 2012 at 1:37 am #

    I have just been informed by our resident logician that I have “scientific training” so I might as well behave accordingly.
    This article needs serious revision:
    1. The “death rate” (mortality) of the epidemic could not have “doubled” because death rate = number of death per 1,000 population exposed. We only know for sure of two people who were exposed to Polonium: Arafat and Litwinenko, and since they are the total population and both are dead, the mortality is 100% and cannot grow.
    2. It is true that the CDC handles epidemics and issues (or did back before I had a scientific training) their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWR) from which you could find out how many people had been bitten by aardwarks in New Mexico during the year and how many cases of leprosy were diagnosed. BUT they only cover the US. The article should have referenced WHO instead.
    3. The article fails to establish commonalities of potential exposure between the two deceased. Litwinenko visited Israel and was known to hang out with MOSAD afficionados like the Russian jewish oligarchs, therefore the only common element of potential exposure for both him and Arafat is Israel.
    It is hypothetically possible that Iran is somehow contaminating Israel with Polonium, in which case the health of Israeli leaders should be watched.

  3. Paul Larudee July 7, 2012 at 2:15 am #

    Hmmmmmm. And three out of the other four suspected cases of polonium poisoning were in Israel, as well. However, those were never confirmed by Israel. I wonder if it got into the matsos.

  4. searching July 7, 2012 at 2:24 am #

    all roads lead to Israel.