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Old 2019-03-20, 12:52   #45
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March 20

Spring (vernal equinox) arrives at 5:58 PM EDT (21:58 UTC)

It is also the day of a full moon, the "Full Worm Moon." It is also a "supermoon," the moon being closer to Earth than usual.

Because most Christian denominations use March 21 on the Gregorian calendar as the date of the spring equinox, and use the "liturgical full moon" rather than the astronomical one, today's full moon is not the "first full moon on or after the spring equinox." As a result, that honor goes to the next full moon, which is on Friday, April 19, making that day Good Friday and Sunday, April 21, Easter.

On this day...
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In 1854, the Republican Party of the United States was founded by slavery opponents at a schoolhouse in Ripon (RIH'-puhn), Wisconsin.
It is a sad irony that today, the R's have become the party of John Wilkes Booth. When Booth heard Lincoln talking about granting emancipated slaves the right to vote, he said, "That means nr citizenship. Now, by God, I will put him through. That will be the last speech he will ever make."

And nowadays, the R's are, through gerrymandering, impeding voter registration, closing polling places, etc systematically disenfranchising "them."

Today, March 20, 2019, at sundown, is the beginning of the Jewish holiday Purim, or the "Festival of Lots." A recent utterance of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) regarding "allegiance to another country" has been used as an instrument of persecution of the Jews since much further back than a lot of recent news and opinion pieces indicated. Purim originates in the Fifth Century B.C. in Persia, as described in the Book of Esther. And we turn to Chapter 3, of the KJV (my emphasis):
Quote:
5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.

6 And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.

7 In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.

8 And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them.

9 If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king's treasuries.

10 And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews' enemy. 11And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.
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Old 2019-03-20, 13:04   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Sardonicus View Post
Spring (vernal equinox) arrives at 5:58 PM EDT (21:58 UTC)
Other places exist. Some places have Autumn arriving. Some places have no Spring or Autumn.
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Old 2019-03-20, 13:19   #47
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Originally Posted by retina View Post
Other places exist. Some places have Autumn arriving. Some places have no Spring or Autumn.
OK, it's the autumnal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere, where everything's upside-down and out of phase, and time runs backwards
:-D

I know, the tropics don't have seasons like the temperate zones. In the tropics, it's more like the rainy season and the dry season.

Whether you're in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, or in a temperate, polar, or tropical zone, the equinoxes are when Mr. Sun crosses the celestial equator.
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Old 2019-03-21, 13:13   #48
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March 21

On this day...
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In 1556, Thomas Cranmer, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, was burned at the stake for heresy.
Cranmer, who wrote The Book of Common Prayer, had been coerced by Queen Mary (Mary Tudor, AKA "Bloody Mary") to renounce Protestantism and embrace Catholicism, as part of Mary's attempt to re-Catholicize England. The final act of the public spectacle she had orchestrated did not go exactly according to plan. From Thomas Cranmer: the Yes-Man who said No we have:
Quote:
There was no mercy for Cranmer. Mary could not forgive him for his part in the humiliation of her mother, Catherine of Aragon, and for the public branding of herself as a bastard. Nor could she forget Cranmer’s leadership of the heretical church. He was joined in the Tower by other prominent Protestants such as Ridley, Latimer, Hooper and Bradford. After several relatively serene weeks during which they studied the Bible, Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer were sent to be tried at Oxford. After being condemned as heretics, Ridley and Latimer were burnt outside Balliol College. Cranmer had to witness their deaths. But he was held in the forbidding Bocardo prison until the necessary permission arrived from Rome for the papally appointed archbishop to be tried. In the meantime Cardinal Pole received England back into the Roman faith. When Cranmer had been degraded, excommunicated and condemned as a heretic, Pole replaced him as Archbishop of Canterbury.

These measures, however, were all very well so far as Mary and her ministers were concerned, but not enough to signify and confirm the religious counter-revolution which had occurred. What was needed was total, explicit, abject surrender by the arch-heretic Thomas Cranmer. As a yes-man he would go a long way out of obedience to the crown. Yet given his loyalty to the reformed faith and his honesty, this was no straightforward undertaking. What had to be achieved therefore was the total humiliation and demoralisation of the archbishop so that he would sign anything. At his trial for heresy the ecclesiastical lawyer Thomas Martin demolished Cranmer with clinical and tendentious efficiency. He appealed to the gallery by claiming that Cranmer had surrendered to the Devil who had failed to persuade Christ to cast himself down from the temple. But Cranmer had indeed cast himself down: ‘Down with the sacrament! Down with the Mass! Down with the altars! Down with the arms of Christ, and up with a lion and a dog ... all your proceedings and preachings tended to no other, but to fulfil the Devil’s request, Cast yourself down!’ Cranmer was similarly humiliated at his degradation ceremony. He was first made to put on the vestments of an archbishop – but these were shabby and pitiful imitations, like Christ’s crown and robe. Bonner tore these vestments off Cranmer, shouting insults all the while – ‘Now you are no lord!’ He scratched Cranmer’s hands to remove the unction which he had received as a priest.

This calculated cruelty worked. Cranmer signed a series of confessions, each more humiliating than the last. He was ‘coached’ by clever Spanish friars who both bullied and befriended the old man. Why did Cranmer give way? He was unwell, lonely and bewildered. His admirers have denied that Cranmer tried to save his own life. Yet he admitted this himself, and what could be more understandable than that the prospect of the stake should terrify him? Gradually the realisation dawned that he was going to be burnt in any case. On his last night perhaps Cranmer was comforted by his own Litany: ‘That it may please Thee to strengthen such as do stand; to comfort and help the weak-hearted; to raise up them that fall; and finally to beat down Satan under our feet.’ Cranmer learnt the confession he had been made to write out in his own hand; but he also wrote another confession of a very different kind.

Next day, March 21 1556, dawned cold and rainy. It was customary for a sermon to be preached before a condemned heretic was burnt. But if it was wet, a suitable building would be found for the sermon. So the huge crowd of clergy, politicians, university officials and spectators filed into the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. Cranmer was placed on a platform opposite the pulpit where Dr Cole, the Provost of Eton, explained why he was to be burnt even though he had recanted. Northumberland’s death cancelled out the execution of Sir Thomas More. But there remained Cardinal Fisher, the martyred Bishop of Rochester. Ridley, Latimer and Hooper were not enough. Cranmer was to complete this curious law of four eyes for an eye.

When Cole had finished, Cranmer spoke. All eyes were on him. There was total silence. The doomed man led the assembly in the Lord’s Prayer. He prayed for the poor. Then he began his confession which initially followed the official script – until he said this: ‘And now I come to the great thing that troubleth my conscience more than any other thing that I said or did in my life, and that is the setting abroad of writings contrary to the truth which I thought in my heart, and written for fear of death and to save my life if it might be; and that is all such bills which I have written or signed with mine own hand since my degradation: wherein I have written many things untrue. And foreasmuch as my hand offended in writing contrary to my heart, therefore my hand shall first be punished, for if I may come to the fire, it shall be first burned. And as for the Pope, I refuse him, as Christ’s enemy and anti-Christ, with all his false doctrine. And as for the Sacrament ...’ But the pandemonium which now broke out prevented Cranmer’s condemnation of Gardiner’s views on the Mass. Angry hands pulled him down and hustled him out of the church towards the pyre. The Spaniard Villa Garcia accused the lapsed yes-man of changing his speech because he knew he would burn anyway. Cranmer agreed that he might be right. MacCulloch is surprised by Cranmer’s retort, though it seems sensible to me. When they came to the pyre, Cranmer shook hands with onlookers before being chained to the stake as the flames leapt up. True to his word he held his hand in the flames until he collapsed, crying ‘Lord Jesus, receive my soul!’ Catholics claimed that his heretical heart would not burn.
Also on this day:
Quote:
In 1925, Tennessee Gov. Austin Peay (pee) signed the Butler Act, which prohibited the teaching of the Theory of Evolution in public schools. (Tennessee repealed the law in 1967.)
The "Scopes monkey trial" is well-known enough, I feel no need to elaborate on it here. I will mention that one of William Jennings Bryan's concerns about evolution was its use to justify "social Darwinism."
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Old 2019-03-21, 14:46   #49
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One of my best friends during my childhood and later, was born on March 21. He died in 1990 (or 91? I don't exactly remember) in a car accident when he was 23 (or 24?) years old. I don't think that anybody else remembers him now, beside of (maybe) his close family, but I still keep a moment for him every year.

Last fiddled with by LaurV on 2019-03-21 at 14:46
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Old 2019-03-22, 12:33   #50
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March 22

On this day...

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On March 22, 1765, the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act to raise money from the American colonies, which fiercely resisted the tax. (The Stamp Act was repealed a year later.)
Stamp Act
Quote:
Instead of levying a duty on trade goods, the Stamp Act imposed a direct tax on the colonists. Specifically, the act required that, starting in the fall of 1765, legal documents and printed materials must bear a tax stamp provided by commissioned distributors who would collect the tax in exchange for the stamp. The law applied to wills, deeds, newspapers, pamphlets and even playing cards and dice. Part of the revenue from the Stamp Act would be used to maintain several regiments of British soldiers in North America to maintain peace between Native Americans and the colonists. Moreover, since colonial juries had proven notoriously reluctant to find smugglers guilty of their crimes, violators of the Stamp Act could be tried and convicted without juries in the vice-admiralty courts.
<snip>
While the Congress and the colonial assemblies passed resolutions and issued petitions against the Stamp Act, the colonists took matters into their own hands. The most famous popular resistance took place in Boston, where opponents of the Stamp Act, calling themselves the Sons of Liberty, enlisted the rabble of Boston in opposition to the new law. This mob paraded through the streets with an effigy of Andrew Oliver, Boston’s stamp distributor, which they hanged from the Liberty Tree and beheaded before ransacking Oliver’s home. Oliver agreed to resign his commission as stamp distributor.

Similar events transpired in other colonial towns, as crowds mobbed the stamp distributors and threatened their physical well-being and their property. By the beginning of 1766, most of the stamp distributors had resigned their commissions, many of them under duress. Mobs in seaport towns turned away ships carrying the stamp papers from England without allowing them to discharge their cargoes. Determined colonial resistance made it impossible for the British government to bring the Stamp Act into effect. In 1766, Parliament repealed it.
EDIT: Jimmy Carter’s new milestone: longest-lived US president
Quote:
ATLANTA (AP) — Nearly four decades after voters unceremoniously rejected then-President Jimmy Carter’s bid for a second term, the 39th president has reached a milestone that electoral math cannot dispute: He is now the longest-living chief executive in American history.

Friday is the 172nd day beyond Carter’s 94th birthday, exceeding by one day the lifespan of former President George H.W. Bush, who died Nov. 30 at the age of 94 years, 171 days. Both men were born in 1924: Bush on June 12, Carter on Oct. 1.
<snip>
As for what's next, Carter has at least one more accomplishment on his mind, pointing often to The Carter Center's long-running effort to eliminate Guinea worm disease, a parasitic infection attributed to poor drinking water.

There were 3.5 million cases in 21 countries in 1986, when the Carter Center began its eradication program. In 2018, there were 28 cases worldwide.

"I'm hoping that I will live longer than the last Guinea worm," he said in a British television interview in 2016. "That's one of my goals in life, and I think I have a good chance to succeed."

Last fiddled with by Dr Sardonicus on 2019-03-22 at 12:58 Reason: Adding another item
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Old 2019-03-23, 12:51   #51
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March 23

On this day...
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In 1933, the German Reichstag adopted the Enabling Act, which effectively granted Adolf Hitler dictatorial powers.
Prior to the Reichstag meeting, the Communist and some of the Social Democratic members had been arrested. SA and SS "enforcers" attended the session, to make sure the required 2/3 majority voted in favor.

The Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State AKA "Reichstag Fire Decree" had been issued February 28 of that year, and had dispensed with civil liberties.

The Enabling Act, translated into English, is here:
Quote:
Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the Reich.

The Reichstag has enacted the following law, which has the agreement of the Reichsrat and meets the requirements for a constitutional amendment, which is hereby announced:


Article 1
In addition to the procedure prescribed by the Constitution, laws of the Reich may also be enacted by the Reich Government. This includes laws as referred to by Articles 85, Sentence 2, and Article 87 of the Constitution.

Article 2
Laws enacted by the Reich Government may deviate from the Constitution as long as they do not affect the institutions of the Reichstag and the Reichsrat. The rights of the President remain undisturbed.

Article 3
Laws enacted by the Reich Government shall be issued by the Chancellor and announced in the Reichsgesetzblatt. They shall take effect on the day following the announcement, unless they prescribe a different date. Articles 68 to 77 of the Constitution do not apply to laws enacted by the Reich Government.

Article 4
Reich treaties with foreign states that affect matters of Reich legislation shall not require the approval of the bodies concerned with legislation. The Reich Government shall issue the regulations required for the execution of such treaties.

Article 5
This law takes effect with the day of its proclamation. It loses force on April 1, 1937, or if the present Reich Government is replaced by another.

Berlin, March 24, 1933

The Reich President von Hindenburg
Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler
Reich Minister of the Interior Frick
Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs Freiherr von Neurath
Reich Minister of Finance Graf Schwerin von Krosigk
The Weimar Constitution may be found here.
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Old 2019-03-24, 12:55   #52
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March 24

On this day...
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In 1765, Britain enacted the Quartering Act, requiring American colonists to provide temporary housing to British soldiers.
Quartering Act (1765)
Quote:
British motivations for enforcing the Quartering Act were mixed. Some officials were legitimately concerned about protecting the colonies from attack and viewed this law as a logical means to do so. Also part of the calculation, however, was a desire to cut costs. If the colonies were to be protected, why should they not pay for the soldiers? In particular, the British ministry was faced with the prospect of bringing home the French and Indian War veterans and providing them with pay and pensions. If those soldiers could be kept in service in America, the colonies would pay for them and spare a tax-weary English public from additional burdens.
<snip>
The reaction of the colonists was largely negative and was rooted in two issues:

1) Traditional fear of standing armies. The colonists generally preferred to rely on militia units rather than formal armies. Militiamen could be called for service during a particular crisis, then disbanded when the fighting was concluded.

2) Cost. The cost of expenses for an army was no small matter for the colonial assemblies. In the past when an attack by a foreign power was imminent, they usually responded with the necessary appropriations. However, in the mid-1760s most colonists no longer feared the French. Many had concluded that the soldiers were present for the purpose of assuring American compliance with unpopular programs drafted in England.
The Third Amendment to the Constitution of the United States states:
Quote:
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
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Old 2019-03-25, 15:31   #53
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March 25

On this day,,,
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On March 25, 1911, 146 people, mostly young female immigrants, were killed when fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Co. in New York.
I first read about this fire in a story entitled A Rain of Burning Girls in a book called Crimes and Chaos by Avram Davidson. A more recent work is Triangle: The Fire that Changed America by David Von Drehle. The company owners didn't suffer, either legally or financially. There were some efforts to improve fire safety in the wake of the fire.

I note an apparent discrepancy between the two accounts. In Avram Davidson's account, the number of dead is said to be 147. In the more recent account, it is said to be 146.

Also on this day...
Quote:
In 1975, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia was shot to death by a nephew with a history of mental illness. (The nephew was beheaded in June 1975.)
In 1966, demonstrators attacked the headquarters of Saudi television, because television was "un-Islamic." One of the attackers, a nephew of the King, was killed by a security guard. King Faisal declared the guard's hands were clean of the man's blood because he was acting under his orders. The man who killed King Faisal was the dead man's brother. He was convicted of killing the king, and beheaded. (I seem to recall that this was deliberately done with three strokes so the condemned man would suffer before he died, but I may be remembering a different beheading ordered to be carried out in this way.)
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Old 2019-03-26, 13:26   #54
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March 26

On this date...

Quote:
In 1812, an earthquake devastated Caracas, Venezuela, causing an estimated 26,000 deaths, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
1812 Caracas earthquake
Quote:
Since the earthquake occurred on Maundy Thursday, while the Venezuelan War of Independence was raging, it was explained by royalist authorities as divine punishment for the rebellion against the Spanish Crown. The archbishop of Caracas, Narciso Coll y Prat, referred to the event as "the terrifying but well-deserved earthquake" which "confirms in our days the prophecies revealed by God to men about the ancient impious and proud cities: Babylon, Jerusalem and the Tower of Babel".

The first international assistance received by Venezuela in response to the earthquake came from the United States, "...when the congress convened in Washington decreed unanimously the sending of five ships loaded with flour, to the coasts of Venezuela to be distributed among the most indigent of its inhabitants." This $50,000 was the first-ever instance of U.S. foreign aid.

CARACAS EARTHQUAKE OF 1812
Quote:
When Diego Jalón at Barquisimeto heard of the Carora defeat, he rounded up troops and prepared to march against Monteverde. Nature intervened in a deadly, dramatic fashion. On Thursday, March 26, 1812, a massive earthquake struck northeastern Venezuela. The quake swallowed up Jalón and his soldiers, along with their provisions, weapons, and munitions. Friends dug the injured Jalón from the ruins and carried him to San Carlos.

The devastating quake zigzagged through the heart of Patriot-held territory from Barquisimeto and Mérida in the west eastward through San Felipe, El Tocuyo, Caracas, and La Guaira. Thousands of people died in churches, crowded on Holy Thursday, and dozens of Patriot-held towns and cities lay in ruins. Four thousand people died in the churches of Caracas; ten thousand in the whole city; and another ten thousand in the surrounding environs. More of the injured later died.

The Royalist Díaz witnessed the destruction. He left his house in Caracas at four o’clock in the afternoon. As he neared the plaza of San Jacinto, the earth shook and rumbled. He ran toward the middle of the plaza. Balconies from the Post Office fell at his feet. He saw the church of San Jacinto collapse. As he stood alone in the midst of the ruins, he heard groans from the church. "I climbed over the ruins and entered. I saw about forty persons dead or dying under the rubble. I climbed out again, and I shall never forget that moment. On the top of the heap I found Don Simón Bolívar in his shirt sleeves. Utmost terror or desperation was painted on his face. He saw me and cried these impious and extravagant words: `If nature oppose us, we will fight against her and force her to obey us.'"

Simón Bolívar’s Quest for Glory / Richard W. Slatta and Jane Lucas De Grummond © 2003
Also on this date

Quote:
On March 26, 1979, a peace treaty was signed by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and witnessed by President Jimmy Carter at the White House.
A look at the landmark Egypt, Israel peace treaty, sealed 40 years ago
Quote:
In November 1977 the Egyptian leader traveled to Jerusalem for peace talks, becoming the first Arab head of state to visit the Jewish nation.

It culminated a year later in the US-brokered Camp David Accords, signed in September 1978 by Sadat and Begin, that envisaged a proper peace treaty between the two nations within three months.

‘Miracle’ treaty

When no formal peace accord had been signed three months later, Begin decided to end Israel’s freeze on settlements in the West Bank as evoked in the Camp David Accords.

To save the peace process, Carter headed to both countries.

His efforts paid off and on March 26, 1979 Sadat and Begin signed the treaty at a 10-minute White House ceremony attended by some 2,000 dignitaries.
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Old 2019-03-26, 22:56   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Sardonicus View Post
March 11
Perhaps too recent to come to mind in a 'history' thread, but March 11 was 8th anniversary of the great Tōhoku earthquake and the ensuing tsunami which precipitated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster at the same-named nuclear power plant run by the thoroughly corrupt Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) monopoly. Among other things, TEPCO had built a massive 8-story "electric power museum" complete with hi-tech theater in which were shown cute-mascoted nuclear-power-themed anime films created by the PR arm of the utility:

After the earthquake: So farewell then, Plutonium kun | Spike Japan
Quote:
the undisputed star of the galaxy of TEPCO image characters must be Plutonium kun. I once wrote of Yu-chan, the cartoon mascot of the battered former coal town of Yubari, that “Japan of course has a massive talent for cuteification: if you can cuteify coalmining, you can cuteify anything”, but never in my darkest nightmares did I dream of encountering Plutonium kun. ... Plutonium kun also appeared in a 10-minute anime made about a decade ago by the Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation (now the Japan Atomic Energy Agency), an industry body specializing in the development of fast-breeder and advanced-thermal reactors, an anime that was swiftly withdrawn in part because of a scene in which Plutonium kun gets his boy pal to drink a glass of liquid plutonium while he sweetly intones that “I’m hardly absorbed by your stomach or intestines and I’m expelled by your body, so in fact I can’t kill people at all”.
I seem to recall a Japanese city named Nagasaki whose residents might take issue with the notion of Plutonium boy being unable to kill people - but their PR folks were dismal, they didn't create a cute mascot for their story. Maybe a sexy anime girl-mascot named Chain Reaction chan, modeled after the racy Denko chan shown in the above article, but with a bikini top in form of a pair of hollow Pu hemispheres. Whenever Chain Reaction chan is threatened by evil baddies like the slavering many-tentacled Nuclear Regulatory Monster, she whips off her bikini top, aligns the 2 cups together to form a sphere, then scrunches it together and chants the magic chain-reaction-invoking chant "rah, rah, sis boom bah!" - and 1 magic mushroom cloud later, the baddies are vaporized, while Chain Reaction chan's magic powers keep her and her friends perfectly safe. I envision a whole series of animated shorts, graphic novels and mascot-swag sales here.

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2019-03-26 at 23:20
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