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  Quakes and nuclear power team up for dangerMar 12, 2011 7:18 AM PST | url
Added 1 new A* page:Boy, I think I'm getting slower and slower at drawing here in my dotage. Well, hopefully next week I can get a good chunk of this promising little encounter drawn up for you.
Once again I've neglected to nudge my lovely A* readers into checking out the latest page of my Sunday fairy tale comic, The Princess and the Giant. I don't have a fancy link banner for you to click this week (you'll see why when you see the comic, if you've been paying attention to what's usually in the banners... :o), but clicking that link right there in the previous sentence will do the trick. A new page of that will go up Sunday...if I can survive the cursed annual "Fall Back" part of that obsolete, wasteful ritual known as Daylight Savings that shorts this poor Sunday by an hour. ;P
I have to thank the proprietor of Jeff's Online Comics for adding A* to his link list--thanks, Jeff! He's got an interesting thing going on there that I haven't seen done for link lists before, where two layers of framed menus at the top let you browse his categorized comic listings, then load the comic you select in the window below the menus, so the menus are still available for checking the other comics. I'm not the world's hugest fan of frames, but that seems like a pretty good way to put them to work.
Lots of awful stuff happened in the past day in Japan, including a huge 8.9 offshore quake, followed by a 7-meter tsunami--the tsunami causing most of the ensuing death and destruction there, since Japan's one of the most earthquake-prepared countries in terms of having buildings able to withstand them. EXCEPT, as it turns out, for one very vital type of aging building: nuclear power plants. Japan has a lot of them (Japan has 53 nuclear reactors, which makes it the third-largest nuclear power-using nation in the world: 34.5% of Japan's electricity comes from nuclear power (compare that with the largest nuclear power user, the United States, whose nuclear power still only accounts for about 20% of electricity use)), and apparently they aren't all great at withstanding earthquakes, because five reactors at two plants declared states of emergency after the quake after their ability to cool their nuclear cores was impaired due to earthquake damage. At one reactor, radiation levels inside increased 1,000-fold, and 8-fold outside--although that's still well within what's considered safe levels.
Still, residents for miles around the plants were evacuated, which turned out to be a very good idea, because a building housing a nuclear reactor at one of those Japanese plants just exploded--the one that was on an emergency backup cooling system (hm I see that article says Japan has 55 reactors producing 24 percent of the nation's electricity--hopefully the Associated Press and Wikipedia will sort this numerical discrepancy out :P). Apparently the explosion hasn't led to an increased release of radiation into the environment, which is a very good thing--although the article also mentions that at one point before the explosion, radiation outside had been so high that you'd absorb a year's worth of normal radiation (from the Sun mostly) in just an hour, which is not so good.
I think I got these stats from this Wikipedia article, but anyway according to some of my old A* research notes, a year's worth of radiation for your average person in the States is supposed to be 0.36 cSv ("centisieverts"). 200 cSv is the point at which nausea, hair loss, and chance of death are supposed to start kicking in, and at the 500 cSv range, human fatality rate is about 50%. Fortunately the radiation levels mentioned in the article are well below that, but still, 365 times the normal Earthly radiation level is not something you want to have going on on a regular basis, so hopefully they get that patched up--and hopefully this is a wakeup call to any other nuclear facilities in the world that might have similar critical structural failures in a large earthquake...but I'm sure humanity hasn't seen the last of this type of problem by a long shot.
Oh yeah, before I scurry off for the weekend, I have some art related to today's sole page, so it won't be so lonely by itself. First, here's the original storyboard sketch for it:
If you compare that with the finished page, you'll notice that I stuck very closely to the position of the door and the lunging knifey fellow, which came out pretty well by my standards in the storyboard sketch, but I felt that the demure Selenis way down at the bottom on the right side wasn't cutting it, so I decided to change what I was doing with her. And naturally that meant I had to waste some time trying to get a working pose; I drew a rather nice one right off the bat, but then decided it wasn't right for the page. Still it came out okay so I might as well post it for you; I've added placed it at double normal size in the episode 12 gallery; you can also get to it by clicking this small preview version:
And of course I have to mention that the galleries are always available from the "episodes" page accessible from the site's top menu, since that isn't really obvious. Okay bye! :D
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