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As you begin to wrap gifts this holiday season, you will be peeling plenty of tape. You may also be exposing yourself to a lot of x-rays, as scientists recently demonstrated in an article in Nature.
The video of their experiments is well worth watching. It’s a bit long, but it never becomes uninteresting. It’s especially spooky when they use the x-rays from adhesive tape peeling to take x-rays of their fingers. The crackling Geiger counter isn’t too reassuring, either.
The scientists aren’t peeling the tape at excessive speeds. In fact, a harried gift-wrapper probably moves tape more rapidly, generating even more x-rays.
The microscopic view of tape adhesion is startling.
Fortunately, to get the full effect, the tape has to be peeled in a vacuum. This fact alone likely mitigates the real-world effect, meaning it’s still safe to wrap your presents using good old-fashioned adhesive tape, as long as you don’t do it in a depressurized chamber (which would kill you anyhow).
That said, perhaps this portends a new way of peeking inside presents . . . using the tape itself to thwart the wrapper!