March 28, 2015 archive

Random Japan

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Pikachu puts on a suit, hopes hiring managers will choose him as a business formal plushie

Casey Baseel

Despite his cherubic good looks and smooth, unlined face, Pikachu isn’t as young as he used to be. The first Pok√©mon video game was released in Japan in 1996, and considering that the franchise’s most famous pocket monster was ready to go into battle right away, theoretically he must have already been a few years old by that time.

What we’re saying is, Pikachu isn’t a kid anymore. It’s time he entered the workforce and became an economically self-sufficient member of society, which is just what he’s poised to do in his new, suit-wearing plushie form.

While Japan, like most western countries, celebrates the solar new year in January, spring is really considered to be the start of most people’s annual lifestyle cycles. It’s when the school year begins, and also when the vast majority of Japanese companies have their new employees start working.

2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament: Regional Finals Day 1

Yesterday’s Results-

Score Seed Team Record Score Seed Team Record Region
74 2 Gonzaga 34-5 62 11 UCLA 22-14 South
75 4 Louisville 26-8 65 8 NC State 22-14 East
63 1 Duke 31-4 57 5 Utah 26-9 South
58 3 Oklahoma 25-11 62 7 * Michigan State 26-11 East

Go Spartans!

Tonight’s Matchups-

Time Channel Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
6:09pm TBS 1 Kentucky 36-0 3 Notre Dame 32-5 Mid-West
8:49pm TBS 1 Wisconsin 33-3 2 Arizona 33-3 West

2015 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament: Regional Semifinals Day 2

Last Night’s Results-

Score Seed Team Record Score Seed Team Record Region
97 1 South Carolina 33-2 68 4 North Carolina 26-9 South
73 2 Baylor 33-3 44 3 Iowa 26-8 Mid-West
66 2 Florida St. 32-4 65 3 Arizona State 29-6 South
81 1 Notre Dame 34-2 60 4 Stanford 26-10 Mid-West

Not a single upset.

Today’s Matchups-

Time Channel Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
12:00pm ESPN 1 UConn 33-1 5 Texas 24-10 East
2:30pm ESPN 3 Louisville 27-8 7 Dayton 27-6 East
4:30pm ESPN 1 Maryland 31-2 4 Duke 23-10 West
7:00pm ESPN 2 Tennessee 29-5 11 Gonzaga 26-7 West

On This Day In History March 28

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 28 is the 87th day of the year (88th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 278 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1979, the nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island overheats causing a partial meltdown. At 4 a.m. on March 28, 1979, the worst accident in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry begins when a pressure valve in the Unit-2 reactor at Three Mile Island fails to close. Cooling water, contaminated with radiation, drained from the open valve into adjoining buildings, and the core began to dangerously overheat.

The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant was built in 1974 on a sandbar on Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River, just 10 miles downstream from the state capitol in Harrisburg. In 1978, a second state-of-the-art reactor began operating on Three Mile Island, which was lauded for generating affordable and reliable energy in a time of energy crises.

Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station

The power plant was owned and operated by General Public Utilities and Metropolitan Edison (Met Ed). It was the most significant accident in the history of the USA commercial nuclear power generating industry, resulting in the release of up to 481 PBq (13 million curies) of radioactive gases, and less than 740 GBq (20 curies) of the particularly dangerous iodine-131.

The accident began at 4 a.m. on Wednesday, March 28, 1979, with failures in the non-nuclear secondary system, followed by a stuck-open pilot-operated relief valve (PORV) in the primary system, which allowed large amounts of nuclear reactor coolant to escape. The mechanical failures were compounded by the initial failure of plant operators to recognize the situation as a loss-of-coolant accident due to inadequate training and human factors, such as human-computer interaction design oversights relating to ambiguous control room indicators in the power plant’s user interface. In particular, a hidden indicator light led to an operator manually overriding the automatic emergency cooling system of the reactor because the operator mistakenly believed that there was too much coolant water present in the reactor and causing the steam pressure release. The scope and complexity of the accident became clear over the course of five days, as employees of Met Ed, Pennsylvania state officials, and members of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) tried to understand the problem, communicate the situation to the press and local community, decide whether the accident required an emergency evacuation, and ultimately end the crisis. The NRC’s authorization of the release of 40,000 gallons of radioactive waste water directly in the Susquehanna River led to a loss of credibility with the press and community.

In the end, the reactor was brought under control, although full details of the accident were not discovered until much later, following extensive investigations by both a presidential commission and the NRC. The Kemeny Commission Report concluded that “there will either be no case of cancer or the number of cases will be so small that it will never be possible to detect them. The same conclusion applies to the other possible health effects”. Several epidemiological studies in the years since the accident have supported the conclusion that radiation releases from the accident had no perceptible effect on cancer incidence in residents near the plant, though these findings are contested by one team of researchers.

Public reaction to the event was probably influenced by The China Syndrome, a movie which had recently been released and which depicts an accident at a nuclear reactor. Communications from officials during the initial phases of the accident were felt to be confusing. The accident crystallized anti-nuclear safety concerns among activists and the general public, resulted in new regulations for the nuclear industry, and has been cited as a contributor to the decline of new reactor construction that was already underway in the 1970s.

The incident was rated a five on the seven-point International Nuclear Event Scale: Accident With Wider Consequences.

The Breakfast Club (Cold Frosty Morning)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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Breakfast Tune: Dave Hum – Cold Frosty Morning

Today in History

An accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant; Former President Dwight Eisenhower dies; The Spanish Civil War ends; Maria von Trapp of ‘Sound of Music’ fame dies; Singer Reba McEntire born. (March 28)

Breakfast News & Blogs Below