Siberian nuclear reactors up for grabs

There are a bunch of burned out nuclear lighthouses sitting around Siberia. Even if this sort of thing doesn’t interest you, you should still check out the fucking awesome pictures.

Let me explain. The northern coast of Russia is a really convenient shipping route. The problem is that it’s mostly in the Arctic Circle and is under complete darkness for 100 days of the year. To work around this, the Soviet Union decided to build a chain of lighthouses along the coast. Being as how the coastline is hundreds of miles away from anything resembling civilization, the Soviets opted to make the lighthouses autonomous. At the time, the best way of doing this was by powering them with a mini nuclear reactor.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the lighthouses were mostly forgotten by the government and fell into disrepair after decades of neglect. During that time, metal looters stripped the lighthouses for copper and other valuable scrap. Unfortunately a good bit of that metal was used for shielding the reactor, and now most of the lighthouses and surrounding area are radioactive dead zones.

Men to be extinct real soon now

According to this, significantly fewer males are being born, and those that are have smaller genitals and lower sperm counts. This is apparently a side effect of pollution.

A host of common chemicals is feminizing males of every class of vertebrate animals, from fish to mammals, including people. Many have been identified as ‘endocrine disruptors’ or gender-benders because they interfere with hormones. Communities heavily polluted with gender-benders in Canada, Russia, and Italy have given birth to twice as many girls as boys, which may offer a clue to the mysterious shift in sex ratios worldwide. And a study at Rotterdam’s Erasmus University showed that boys whose mothers had been exposed to PCBs grew up wanting to play with dolls and tea sets rather than with traditionally male toys. It also follows hard on the heels of new American research which shows that baby boys born to women exposed to widespread chemicals in pregnancy are born with smaller penises and feminized genitals. It is calculated that 250,000 babies who would have been boys have been born as girls instead in the US and Japan alone. And sperm counts are dropping precipitously. Studies in more than 20 countries have shown that they have dropped from 150 million per milliliter of sperm fluid to 60 million over 50 years.

I’d like to think that genetic engineering your child’s gender will advance to the point where this is no longer relevant, but still… kind of ominous.

Here’s something fun

Nine scientists and one sci-fi writer made predictions on how the world will likely end. Volcanoes, asteroids, and alien attacks are all represented. Interestingly though, nobody makes any mention of global thermonuclear war. We still have all those bombs, remember?

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven…

As soon as the order comes – day or night – eight farmers will rush to a battery of 37mm anti-aircraft guns installed in a courtyard in the village of Beixing. Four will carry the shells to the guns, two will load them and two will take aim and open fire at the enemy in the sky.

Their mission is to protect the honour of a nation. But their targets are not fighter jets or bombers; they are the rain clouds and smog that threaten to spoil the Beijing Olympics.