Well, at least from my usual posts as of late. Its come that time of the election cycle when everything seems to be about politics. News stories outside politics and the brief glimpse into world news (which is usually politics also) are slim to be seen. And my blog has gotten alot of government commentary lately too.
So I decided to take a break today and cover some interesting stories that have nothing to do with Trump, Clinton, Sanders or stupid choices being made in foriegn policies.
- Hubble Space Telescope Aniversery
The Hubble telescope was launched into space on April 24, 1990. As of tomorrow it will be 26 years old. That’s pretty old for a piece of technology when people regularly are told to trade in their computers every 3-7 years. NASA decided to release photage the telescope took of the Bubble Nebula.
The Bubble Nebula is located in the constilation Cassiopeia, about 7,100 light years from earth. It was discovered in 1787 by William Hershel.
A fact I didn’t know till I read the article I’ve included below is that the Hubble Telescope is a project that NASA is doing in partnership with the European Space Agency. I would definately check out the link, because they animated some of the camera shots and it looks really neat.
- Chernobyl Anniversery
While Chernobyl is not necessarily a happy topic, It is an interesting one as it has become a study in how the Earth repairs itself after a nuclear tragedy. I was only a few months old when it happened, so in a sense I’ve never lived in a world without this incident being a cautionary tale about nuclear power.
On April 26, 1986 operators at the plant were doing a systems check when a series of power spikes and a failed emergency shut down caused a rupture in the reactor. The moderator was exposed to air and ignited, sending a plume of radioactive material. The fallout area covered parts of Belurus, Ukraine and Russia. 31 people were killed directly, and estimates on the secondary deaths caused by the radiation exposure are still being made. The lowest number given is by UNSCEAR a UN oversight organization which places it at 64 as of 2008. Several other estimates are given, although one puts it at a million although it hasn’t passed peer review.
The area around Chernobyl has been blocked by various governments. People wanting to study the area are given day passes as the radiation around the planet is still quite high 30 years down the road. The exclusion zone is 19 miles in all directions.
Places around Europe are still finding lingering issues and radiation exposure in plant and animal life from the diaster. Russia, Ukraine and Belerus still have good portions of their budget dedicated to containment and decontamination.
The other 3 reactors in the plant remained operational till one by one they were closed down. The final reactor was closed in 2000.
At least 3 countries are now nuclear power free because of this disaster. It is also considered the worst nuclear diaster, considered a level 7 incident. Fukushima Japan in 2011 is also given this distiction. In the US, the Three Mile Island Accident (1979)in Pennsylvania was rated level 5.
Chernobyl Diaster (Wikipedia)
Background on the Three Mile Island Accident (National Regulatory Commission)
Three Mile Island Accident (Wiki)
Chernobyl in Pictures (BBC)
- A Coral Reef was found in the Amazon
In the Amazon river mouth, under the muddy waters scientists have found a coral reef as well as several new species of aquatic life. It was previously thought that coral reefs would be smoothered in low light, low oxygen areas such as the sediment thick mouth of the Amazon.
Surprising, Vibrant Reef Discovered in the Muddy Amazon (National Geographic)