Cleanup from Chernobyl took decades, and the initial concrete "sarcophagus" that was built over it didn't last terribly well, and leaked rather more than you'd want a nuclear disaster shield to leak (though fortunately, it mostly let rainwater in rather than anything out). Turns out, though, that all that rainwater may actually have been helping things a bit.
Subreactor room 305/2 - which is one of the many bits of the former plant that contain a whole lot of weird, radioactive "lava" that flowed in there during the meltdown and then cooled - is, unfortunately, showing signs of an increasing fission reaction, which is really not something you want outside of an operating reactor core. It seems that the leaking rainwater was actually moderating the reaction, and now it's dried out, nothing is there to capture and slow down all those errant neutrons.
There's nothing to worry too much about yet - scientists have a whole load of possible approaches as to how to quiet the reaction down if it gets a bit too out of hand, and most of them involve robots because, thankfully, robot technology has improved significantly in the decades since the original disaster - but it's still a little more than I wanted to hear about Chernobyl this year.
The Centennial Memorial Tower in Sapporo, Japan is set to be demolished - which is a grand shame, as they just don't make them like this any more. Modern architecture is obsessed with looking clean and pretty, rather than making a statement like this tower does.
Unfortunately, the tower has been in bad shape for many years, with random pieces falling off - so it sort of has to be demolished. Fingers crossed that a replacement will keep the same design ideas; if you ask me, we just don't build enough ridiculous, imposing monuments any more.
They're also tearing down Tokyo's Nakagin Capsule Tower, which is similarly iconic and honestly an inspired design I wish more places had at least borrowed some ideas from. It's not a great month for modernist architecture in Japan.
The Golden Gate Bridge, in San Francisco, is iconic - world-famous, even. And, yes, painting it is hard, but apparently adding all the various safety features they didn't think about back in the 1930s is even harder.
When they retrofitted the western side's safety railing last year, the engineers accidentally introduced an element into the bridge that makes it hum in certain wind conditions. And it's not just a quiet hum - it's clearly audible when driving across and even audible from houses a few miles away.
They're now close to a fix, but I'm sure this is a case where you really double-check the fix, to make sure you don't accidentally amplify the hum, or send it into the ultrasonic and deafen bats, or something.
Ford really went in on their electric vehicle push this week with the introduction of the F-150 Lightning - their all-electric version of the truck that has been the US' best selling vehicle for decades.
Among other tricks, including your standard ridiculous acceleration and a very decent range for its price point, the new Lightning can power an entire house for days - after all, it's basically a 100kWh battery that happens to have a chassis around it. This, and other marketing around the new Lightning, is clearly designed to cater to the F-150's base - no mention of the environment, and instead lots of talking about its power, speed, and presumed ability to save entire villages from mysterious threats.
Of course, the F-150 still has an incredibly dangerous design for pedestrians with that giant front cross-section, but this is an unfortunate design aesthetic common to many popular US cars. If Ford can get the majority of the US to start taking electric vehicles seriously, this is probably still a net win overall.