X-Ray #atozchallenge

X-RAY

“X-Ray” is used for the letter X in the NATO spelling alphabet, which I used as the theme for my first-ever A to Z Challenge back in 2012. I remember getting bogged down in the details when I tried talking about Röntgen and his discovery of the x-ray, until finally I gave up and talked about X-Ray Specs and the other wonderful toys you could buy from tiny ads in the backs of comic books.

Anyway, the x-ray was discovered by Wilhelm Röntgen in 1895. He was doing experiments with vacuum tubes, and noticed that a treated piece of cardboard was starting to glow, and that, when he held his hand up in front of it, he could see the bones and everything. He thought, hey, this might be useful someday…

Anyway, x-rays can be found on the electromagnetic spectrum above ultraviolet light and below gamma rays. Their wavelengths are between 10 nanometers and 10 petameters, with a frequency between 300 petahertz and 30 exahertz.

X-rays are especially useful in medicine and dentistry, as we all know, and while they pose a slight health risk, it’s actually lower than the risks posed by naturally-occurring radiation, if this page is to be believed. It’s a case where the benefits from the x-ray outweigh the risks from it. I get my teeth x-rayed about once a year, and it allows my dentist to see if there are any cavities below the gum line and to look for cancers they aren’t able to see on visual inspection. When I was in the hospital after my stroke, I caught pneumonia; they x-rayed my chest daily for about a week (usually at 3 IN THE MORNING) to see if I was getting any better.

They also use x-rays in airport security, to examine the contents of carry-on luggage. They tested the TSA inspectors on their ability to see guns and explosives hidden in carry-ons, and the results were, shall we say, less than satisfactory. Back when he was working, my father-in-law learned to use an x-ray to examine steel tanks for possible weak spots. He got really good at it; he could show the TSA folks a thing or two.

So much for x-rays. What have been your x-ray experiences?

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

19 thoughts on “X-Ray #atozchallenge”

    1. I think the process of taking dental x-rays is a lot less involved than it was years ago, and they’re more safety-conscious, with the lead blanket and all. The equipment is better, too.

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  1. I get a kick out of cartoon x-rays that reveal a variety of weird objects inside the character. And I imagine there are times in reality when a doctor looks at an x-ray and wonders, “What the heck??”

    Trudy @ Reel Focus
    Food in Film: Xiaolongbao

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    1. Remember, X is the Roman numeral for ten, and it also is similar to the Greek letter chi. It’s a real pain in the neck, because there are very few words that start with it. Some cheat a little and use words that start with “ex.” I plan my Aprils around the letter X and choose my theme based on whether or not I can figure out something to do with it.

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    1. I did words that start and end with the same letter a couple of years ago, mostly because of Xerox. This year I needed one that started with X and ended with Y. X is a pain in the backside, because it’s the least-frequently used initial letter (yeah, I’ve checked…. XD).

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  2. You seem to do this so effortlessly every year! I came up short by a couple of letters but maybe I’ll be able to get them in by Sunday. I forgot how time consuming my “creative process” can be and I don’t want to rush through my scrapbooking just to finish the challenge on time. I’ll be better next year! Learning experience πŸ™‚ When I was going through medical assisting classes I actually learned how to take X-rays. At the time I wanted to work in a doctor’s office so I didn’t take the extra classes needed to be an X-ray tech.

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  3. Almost didn’t make it to your Xray post after navigating through all the great audio-videos of traveling folks. Most of my Xrsy experience revolves around annual dental appointments. Although, now it is tri-yearly and they do the lead apron routine twice a year. Not so reassuring to have them run to a back room to press the photo button.

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    1. I’ve never seen the movie or read the book, so I checked Wikipedia (the blogger’s best friend) and you are correct. Mary described “Holes” as “‘Stand By Me’ with holes.” And I knew what she was talking about…

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  4. John, I try to avoid x-rays as much as possible even though they are supposedly safer today than in the past. I feel more comfortable with digital x-ray technology. I don’t know if I’m actually safer or not, but my mind seems to think so. πŸ™‚ I just had dental x-rays a few weeks ago and then I’ll have a mammogram later in the month. Hopefully, I won’t have to have anymore x-rays this year!

    Art Sketching Through the Alphabet β€œX”

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    1. Digital x-ray no doubt also means hi-def, allowing the doctor or dentist to get a better view and find more bad stuff. I think the general process is pretty much the same without having to wait for things to develop. I’m pretty sure my dentist uses the digital method, because the x-rays are done practically instantaneously.

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