flux.jpgWhen transporting nuclear material in the trunk of your car while driving through Brooklyn: prepare to be pulled over. We're not sure if serendipity is the word for this, but an NYPD lieutenant carrying a radiation detector was surprised to hear it go off while driving through Brooklyn on the Belt Parkway.

The device, a RadEye Pager, sounds its alarm when it detects higher than normal levels of radiation nearby. The police have about 900 RadEye Pagers in use citywide, all for counterterrorism purposes.

Yesterday, the lieutenant pointed his RadEye Pager this way and that, and determined that the radiation was coming from the silver Mercedes beside him. He alerted highway officers, who pulled the Mercedes over.

The driver, Syed M. Haider, popped the trunk, and inside was a small rectangular device known as a Troxler Gauge. The gauge, a legal construction device, measures asphalt, concrete and soil density using low-level radioactive isotopes, which happened to set off the pager’s alarm. To be legally transported, though, a Troxler must be inside a shielded container, and Mr. Haider’s Troxler was not.

Jack Bauer never gets that lucky. He has to run around cutting off people's fingers before anyone will tell him where the nukes are. In the end, the penalty for transporting an unshielded nuclear device in the trunk of your car is six summonses.