Just before Christmas 1997, tens of thousands of Japanese schoolkids tuned in to watch the latest TV episode of the cartoon series Pokémon, and thousands of them fainted and were hospitalised. Ben Radford conducts a postmortem on one of the most extensive cases of ‘mass hysteria’ in recent years.
With no permanent waste repository in sight, the nuclear industry is storing spent fuel at reactor sites. The crisis at the nuclear plant in Japan, due in part to exposed spent fuel, is forcing American scientists and policy-makers to look for safer courses of action.
With high radiation levels now being reported far from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, people around the world are understandably concerned about how they might be affected - people such as Marcelino Alvarez, one of the developers behind the crowdsourced radiation map, RDTN.org.
Huge shock absorbers, walls that slide and Teflon foundation pads that isolate buildings from the ground all help explain why medium- and high-rise structures in Japan remained standing in the wake of the country's largest earthquake on record, construction experts said Friday.
Randall Munroe was getting pretty confused by the various media reports, so he talked to a friend who is the senior reactor operator at Reed Research Reactor, and with her help compiled a pretty illuminating infographic putting the radiation levels measured near Fukushima so far into perspective.