The after market in atomic marbles is heating up.
Blame it on hoarding.
The CREHST museum, the latest source for the little crystal-clear marbles that have turned honey brown through irradiation, has suddenly discovered it has competition in a small way, and to thwart free enterprise, it has cut off the market.
CREHST has the marbles, passed on to it from the old Hanford Science Center, and for years has continued the tradition of distributing them for bargain prices to people who come to the museum.
The museum also sells pendants that include the little marbles, and a lady who came in recently reportedly told museum staff that she could make them too and bought a bag of the marbles.
Somehow this concerned the museum staffers.
We do not understand why. The function of the little glass balls being exposed to Cobalt 60 (which leaves them harmless) is to demonstrate that atomic power can be something less than the witches' brew that some hysterical environmentalists portray it.
Nevertheless, the marbles have been pulled from the gift shop shelves, more or less, no longer available as a single purchase but only as a 30-marble bag.
And those bags are available only to teachers who bring their classes with them.
It seems arbitrary. Maybe even spiteful.
So somebody found a way to make a little money with the marbles. That's kind of the way we do things in this country.
It's fairly well known that diamond mine owners hoard huge quantities of their gems just to keep the prices artificially high.
That's obviously not what the museum is doing, but it ought to stop anyway.
Come on, CREHST; put the marbles back on the shelves.