Leave it to SEMO to leave radioactive material lying around

Fake News written by Martha Throebeck on Tuesday, June 27, 2000

from the not-one-single-geiger-counter-on-the-whole-campus dept.

CAPE GIRARDEAU -- When word broke last week that radioactive material had been discovered in the basement and a second-story lab of Magill Hall, the reaction from SEMO students was the same: "Now that explains a few things!" Said one student I interviewed, "I always knew my science profs were a little wacky. Now I know why!"

While the materials found in Magill, including Americium-241 (don't ask, I'm not entirely sure how to pronounce it, either), Cobalt-60, and Cesium-137 are not known to affect people's behavior, that hasn't stopped students from speculating. One former student, who is now as far away from Cape as possible (somewhere around Asia), told us via email, "I had these really fruity professors in the 1970s who kept rambling about the environment, running out of fossil fuels, and the end of industrial civilization. I always attributed their their eco-freakish behavior to narcotics, but now I know better: they were handling radioactive isotopes, not weed."

The college has been quick to downplay the health risks associated with the trace amounts of material discovered, which has led some to develop conspiracy theories. "Apparently these materials were handled in the 1970s," explained one member of the local Cape Conspiracy Club. "Which was about the same time that some SEMO faculty were investigating reports of UFOs around Piedmont, Missouri. Coincidence? I think not."

After I gave the conspiracy theorist a blank stare, he continued, "Don't you see? It's just like in the X-Files... the college is part of a massive cover-up concocted by the Federal government. The Americium-241 is probably the byproduct of some alien technology that They don't want us to know about!"