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Chernobyl disaster

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Chernobyl Pripyat hospital timm suess

Ukraine's Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was the site of one of history's worst nuclear accidents, when an experiment destroyed reactor number 4 and exposed hundreds of people to high levels of radiation. The site of the April 26, 1986 disaster is still uninhabitable, but remains a popular location for photographers looking to explore the abandoned structures. Photographer Timm Suess traveled to Chernobyl in 2009, and The Atlantic has featured a collection of photos from a nearby abandoned hospital. Suess's journal, videos from his trip, and ambient sound of the area, as well as more photos of schools, an amusement park, and a ship graveyard are also available on his blog.

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Over Christmas I drew up a list of little things about games that have always intrigued, interested, or appealed to me. I’ve been adding to it over the past couple of weeks, and I’ll be writing about these little nuances of gaming in the coming months. These are just idle musings, but I hope you’ll find them to be food for thought. Today’s is about the odd joy in seeing AI entities getting into a fight.
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Nearly a year after the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster that struck Japan, a 20-km (12-mi) radius exclusion zone remains in place around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Residents were evacuated quickly, leaving behind many things, including pets and livestock. Members of United Kennel Club Japan recently ventured into the zone to rescue abandoned dogs and cats that have been fending for themselves for months. The Japanese government recently said it would draw up new evacuation zones by the end of April, and that areas where annual radiation levels are currently higher than 50 millisieverts will not be deemed suitable for living for at least five years. Below are recent images from inside Japan's exclusion zone. The last six images are interactive: starting with number 29 click them to view a fading before/after comparison of Google Streetview images. [34 photos]

Members of United Kennel Club Japan (UKC Japan) care for pets which were rescued from inside the exclusion zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, at the group's pet shelter in Samukawa town, Kanagawa prefecture, on January 25, 2012. Dogs and cats that were abandoned in the Fukushima exclusion zone after last year's nuclear crisis have had to survive high radiation and a lack of food, and they are now struggling with the region's freezing winter weather. A 9.0-magnitude earthquake and massive tsunami on March 11 triggered the world's worst nuclear accident in 25 years and forced residents around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to flee, with many of them having to leave behind their pets. (Reuters/Issei Kato)

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What does a sudden evacuation look like? After everyone is gone, what happens to the places they've abandoned? National Geographic Magazine sent Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder to the nuclear exclusion zone around Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant to find out. Evacuated shortly after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami led to a nuclear radiation crisis, the area has been largely untouched, with food rotting on store shelves and children's backpacks waiting in classrooms. The area may face the same fate as the town of Pripyat, Ukraine after the Chernobyl disaster 25 years ago. This isn't the first time Guttenfelder has gotten a rare glimpse of a place few see, as The Big Picture featured his photographs of North Korea in an earlier post. Collected here are Guttenfelder's haunting images just released of a place abandoned, and of people dealing with the loss. -- Lane Turner (39 photos total)
In this April 7, 2011 photo, local police wearing white suits to protect them from radiation, search for bodies along a river inside Odaka, Japan. Weeks after authorities had searched for victims and started recovery in other tsunami-hit regions, cleanup crews hadn't yet been dispatched around the crippled reactors because of high radiation levels. (AP Photographer David Guttenfelder on assignment for National Geographic Magazine)

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In June, National Geographic sent AP photographer David Guttenfelder into the exclusion zone around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, which was badly damaged in the earthquake and tsunami earlier this year. He captured images of communities that had become ghost towns, with pets and farm animals roaming the streets. Later, in November, Guttenfelder returned to photograph the crippled reactor facility itself as members of the media were allowed inside for the first time since the triple disaster last March. In some places, the reactor buildings appear to be little more than heaps of twisted metal and crumbling concrete. Tens of thousands of area residents remain displaced, with little indication of when, or if, they may ever return to their homes. Collected here are some images from these trips -- the first six are from the December 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine, now on newsstands, and more photos can be seen at the National Geographic website. [20 photos]

After the disasters of March 11, tens of thousands were ordered to leave their homes in the vicinity of the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, some of their footprints now frozen in the mud. (© David Guttenfelder /National Geographic)

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If we are to even consider systemic storytelling we need to leverage the strengths of games in a way that gets to the heart of what give stories their power, characters.

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