back to article UN rebrands radiation

In an apparent acknowledgment of the plummeting standard of public scientific education in the West, the UN's nuclear tentacle today unveiled a new danger sign for radiation which must approach the nadir of literalism. Shot of the new radiation sign The International Atomic Energy Authority said its new sign, developed in …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A warning for future generations

    Remember, that part of the reason for the new logo is based on the attempt to warn future generations, that if there was some cataclysmic disaster, it could still warn the humans 30,000 years into to future of what the danger is.

  2. Jim McLachlan

    This way!

    I like the new sign. The sun is hot, the pirates are coming, get out this way!


  3. Steve Roper

    Sign looks smelly!

    Aren't arrows with squiggly lines usually used to depict a bad smell? That sign says to me "Run away, this area smells like a sewer farm with toxic waste leaking out of the sludge tanks, oh and by the way, there's a nuclear reactor in here somewhere, so if it blows you're going to be covered in poop and smell like a junkie's bog"!

    The radioactive trefoil (black on yellow background) has been a universally recognised symbol for decades, and is now as ingrained into our culture as the jolly roger (also depicted on the new sign). Also, red is a bad choice of background colour as it is not easily visible in low light, and in such cases can obscure the black symbols on it. The greater complexity of the graphics means the sign is harder to recognise at a distance, whereas the simple trefoil is instantly recognisable. That doesn't say much for the results of five years of research. Sorry, UN, your new sign sucks!

  4. Graham Lockley

    Another Victory

    Yet again we Pastafarians get some free publicity, its obvious really.

    The sun is warming and the reason is because all the pirates have gone.

    Sorry but us Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster devotees knew this anyway but its nice to see some organisations acknowledging this :)

  5. Shaun


    And don't those squiggly arrows look a bit like noodles...

  6. Jasmine Strong

    The wavy lines are silly

    Given that the trefoil's "wings" are supposed to denote radiation, why are there wavy lines on this new (far too busy) symbol at all?

  7. Gareth Lowe

    Designed by Greenpeace

    The green brand names must be loving this. Now radioactivity means only one thing:

    Death! run for your lives!

    Should make changing the battery in your smoke alarm an exciting experience.

  8. Chris

    Stupid, useless, and silly

    Do we need to mention that radiation is used in lots of everyday products? Is that new sign telling people to run away from their microwave ovens? Is it telling medical professionals to run away from their X-ray machines? And let's not forget about nuclear power plants. Would you want a nuclear power plant anywhere near you after seeing this new sign on the side of the building?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    idiocy is the mother of reinvention

    particularly of the wheel

  10. David Harper

    Light is radiation too

    Visible light is radiation too, so the new sign is also a helpful reminder to vampires, zombies and trolls to avoid sunlight.

  11. Martin H Watson

    Who needs this sign?

    Surely this sign will only be displayed in secure areas, accessible only by trained personnel?

  12. Russell Sakne

    Colour blind

    Red and black. Great contrast for high visibility. Especially at night or in a bunker somewhere or if the viewer happens to have impaired colour vision, as about 5% of the world's population do. Why aren't graphic designers taught about colour blindness?

    Surely if it's meant as a warning for future humans, presumably after some technological interregnum, the trefoil can be dispensed with entirely, and the two-element sign placed only where there is a risk of death.

  13. Des

    Which way...

    ...should I run? Sorry, but if this sign is inadvertantly displayed some dunderheads might run in the direction of the arrow towards the source rather than away from in.

  14. Ian Adams

    "introduced to supplement the traditional international symbol for radiation"

    Was interested in checking this as we have radiations sources and signage at work. According to the Iaea website this sign is "introduced to SUPPLEMENT the traditional international symbol for radiation" and is actually intended for the inside of equipment with particularly dangerous radioactive sources. The sign would only become visible to someone dismanteling the equipment and about to expose the source (ie someone in a junk yard scrapping /nicking bits from old hosiptal equipment) . It is specifically not intended for "building access doors, transportation packages or containers". In these terms it makes a bit more sense although why red and not yellow?

  15. Connor Garvey


    Aliens are attacking with high tech sperm! They are creating alien pirate hybrid babies who ran this way.

  16. K`Tetch Dureek

    complete idiots guide to redundancy for idiots

    If the signs meant for the inside of hghly radioactive source equipment, then odds are, whoevers opening it up will tend to know that radiation is dangerous. Now, if they were to make it more effective, a secondary trefoil, with symbolism for alpha, beta and gamma would be better, and any non-emmitted radiation deleted. So, a smoke detector would have one with the top left 'wing' showing with an alpha symbol, and the other two just left as outlines. Thereby indicating the level of risk from the material.

    Knowing the type of radiation is a lot more usefull than just knowingits dangerous, and helps you make better decisions on the required protection levels.Maybe even have a sort of intensity graphic there - maybe a series of bars, like a celphone signal graph.

    Saying that radiation is harmfull is something we already know, if you're going to make a supplimentary sign, at least make it a useful informative one.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah! The benign influence of the holy trinity makes dead people walk again!

    ...I knew it. And it's in this here metal dust?

  18. Mike C


    The new sticker breaks all the rules for warning signs and user interaction. If you display an arrow, it MUST point in the direction people need to go.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't running away inadvisable?

    This really has not been thought through. Isn't it the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 that says one should walk quickly but not run to get away from a hazard? And how fast is one expected to run to outstrip the radiation? Presumably, faster than light.

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