December 16, 2017

Pokémon Christmas in the Arctic.

In 1997 on this day, that classic parental admonition of "Television will rot your brain" was given  sudden urgency.  Seems, over seven hundred Japanese schoolchildren became dizzy and nauseated while watching an episode of the popular Japanese cartoon series Pokémon.  Some even had seizures.  Hospitals across the country were inundated with retching, convulsing kids, and a few parents, in scenes reminiscent of a really bad Japanese sci-fi movie.

"I was shocked to see my daughter lose consciousness," said Yukiko Iwasaki, whose eight-year-old suffered a seizure.  "She started to breathe only when I hit her on the back."

The spasmodic mass reaction was triggered about 20 minutes into Pokémon episode 38, "Computer Warrior Porigon," which, like other episodes of the top-rated show, was produced in an intense version of animation known as anime.  A vivid explosion, with pulsating strobe-light effects, apparently walloped those kids with their eyes glued to their television sets on the evening of December 16.

Warning, the following episode has been know to cause seizures in young children.  Watch at your own risk:


On this day in 2010, an ancient forest emerged in the Arctic from the melting ice line we all know as Global Warming.  Scientist found a petrified forest that dated from 2 to 8 millions ago.

Joel Barker, a research scientist at Byrd Polar Research Center, said, "Mummified forests aren't so uncommon, but what makes this one unique is that it's so far north. When the climate began to cool 11 million years ago, these plants would have been the first to feel the effects. And because the trees' organic material is preserved, we can get a high-resolution view of how quickly the climate changed and how the plants responded to that change."

Since this 2010 Arctic "mummy forest" finding, other interesting photos have been popping up on the web which show other things being seen from underneath the melting ice. 

These NASA photos show an ancient city:

The map of Turkish admiral Piri Reis in 1513

Historian and cartographer at the University of Cambridge, Christopher Adam, believes there might be a rational explanation for the NASA photos: "One of histories most puzzling maps is that of the Turkish admiral Piri Reis in 1513 AD which successfully mapped the coastline of Antarctica over 500 years ago. What is most fascinating about this map is that it shows the coastline of Antarctica without any ice. How is this possible when images of the coastline of Antarctica were only seen for the first time after the development of ground-penetrating radar in 1958?  Is it possible Antarctica has not always been covered under such an ice sheet?  This could be evidence that it is a possibility” he acknowledges, "A slight pole shift or displacement of the axis of rotation of the Earth in historical times is possibly the only rational explanation that comes to mind but we definitely need more research done before we jump to any conclusion.”


And, then there are the pyramids.


Finally, on this December the 16th, I think we should remember the hungry:  it was this day in the year 2007 that experts from the world Bank, with the assistance of the International Monetary Fund and a few United Nations agencies, updated their statistical tables from the Regan/Bush era projections to admit that the estimated numbers of poor people in the world was five-hundred million more than previously recorded.

As Eduardo Galeano said in his book Children of the Days,  "They, the poor, already knew."

Merry Christmas 2017

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